All posts by Tobias Buckell

21 Nov

Xenowealth Kickstarter update: tweaked stretch goals include free METAtropolis novellas (first time in text format for readers) & other updates

The Xenowealth Kickstarter is rocking it at 380% over it’s goal. 144 backers, and we’ve unlocked several stretch goals.

You’re all blowing me away.

One of my readers asked if I’ll include an essay about the origins of the Xenowealth and how I came to build it. I thought that was a great idea, and updated the Kickstarter and table of contents to include that I’d be doing such an essay.

But I’ll also open this up. I know some of my readers of this blog have read the books repeatedly in order to do in depth reviews and some scholarship on the books and stories, which means you might know more about the Xenowealth than I do. If you’re interested in writing an essay as well for the appendices, email me at tobias@tobiasbuckell.com. I can offer $50 for a short essay, and I’ll include that in the table of contents if we come to an agreement.

Okay, I’ll get to the point of the blog post, stretch goal updates! You’re all amazing me, so let’s up the fun a bit.

The METAtropolis series is the multiple Audie-award winning and Hugo nominated series that I wrote three novellas for. I’m including these three novellas, which are only available as audiobooks right now, as free eBooks in the stretch goals.

These books will be delivered some time in December, after the finish of the whole Kickstarter (the novellas will launch individually for sale in January or February, for novella prices, so you don’t just get them for free, but get them a couple months earlier than anyone else).

So let’s add this up.

If we hit the stretch goal of $7,500 the Kickstarter delivers all this:

1) Xenowealth: A Collection, featuring art and new story, and essay from me
2) A free eBook of my short story collection ‘Tides from the New Worlds.’
3) A free copy of eBook of the Xenowealth novel ‘The Apocalypse Ocean.’
4) a free copy of eBook of my short story collection ‘Mitigated Futures.’
5) free eBook of the novella Stochasti-city, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.
6) free eBook of the novella Byways, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.
7) free eBook of the novella Tensegrity, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.

That’s a ton of value for $10 if you just jump in at the minimum: 3 story collections, 3 novellas, and one novel.

20 Nov

Well, Xenowealth: A Collection had a heck of a first day on Kickstarter

I stayed up late the night before yesterday, and at 12:03 I launched the Kickstarter for Xenowealth: A Collection.

The last time I did this was in 2012. In 2011 I Kickstarted my Xenowealth novel ‘The Apocalypse Ocean,’ something that created a lot of buzz as it was still pretty rare more for a novelist at the time.

The last collection I did was Mitigated Futures, in early 2012. So I have those two campaigns to draw from and compare.

I launched at just past midnight to take advantage of evening West Coast backers. I wanted it up for morning Europeans as well in the wee hours (for me), as I have a larger UK readership now than in 2011/2012. Time zones; they’re a thing.

This launch really blew away previous opening day results, though. The Apocalypse Ocean had $2,074 in pre-orders at the end of day one. Mitigated Futures was $1,741. Xenowealth: A Collection, was at $3,354. So as far as launches go: shit, you all blew this one right out of the water!

A lot of people are pinging me that they hope we reach high enough to unlock a Xenowealth novella. Heck, sounds cool to me! What are the chances of that? I have no idea. This is a giant question mark moving forward. The average chart of a Kickstarter daily campaign chart looks something like this:

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But this chart from Kicktraq shows Mitigated Futures:

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If Xenowealth: A Collection follows the same pattern, there should be a stunning drop off starting today, with occasional single orders until the last day, where an additional 21% jump happens. That suggests we may get close to the Tobias S. Buckell Omnibus of short stories stretch goal for everyone, though the first day’s blow out is still more than the entire Mitigated Futures Kickstarter. So who knows if this has the juice to go that far?

One thing is, while I plugged the Kickstarter hard on day one, I can’t keep that up for 29 days. I’ve burned social capital, sure, but I don’t want to set my entire twitter feed on fire. So it will still until the last few days.

Some people are reaching out for interviews, and I’m happy to do anything like that for the project.

Another question asked is why I didn’t put a higher goal amount on the Kickstarter? That was mainly because this wasn’t a project I was trying to fund the actual writing of, but I was looking to turn into a physical book for fans of the Xenowealth. For single-author collections, I want to put the amount low, as we all know I’m doing the collection. The question is more: how many people want pre-orders, and in what format?

That’s what we are now finding out.

Either way, this is a fun way to tie-in to the relaunch of the Xenowealth books, and it’s a great way to get some physical copies out to fans so that they have all the Xenowealth material in their libraries.

No matter where we go from here, I think we all won.

19 Nov

My latest short story collection, Xenowealth: A Collection, now live on Kickstarter

Wow, the last time I did this was well over two years ago. My crowd funding fu might be a little rusty. But here we go:

I’m using Kickstarter to take pre-orders and crowdfund my latest short story collection, which will be coming out as an eBook, paperback, and hardcover. And this is going to be something special to me, because it’s the collection of all the Xenowealth stories.

The working title as I planned this out and waited for the rights to all arrive was ‘Pepper Unleashed.’ So if you like the character, you might enjoy this…

Here are the deets:

In early 2006 my novel Crystal Rain launched the first book in the Xenowealth series. It was followed up by Ragamuffin in 2007, which was a Nebula award nominee, and Sly Mongoose. I get a lot of mail about these books, and to satisfy reader requests, turned to crowdfunding to create The Apocalypse Ocean, the fourth book in the Xenowealth series.

The books will be relaunching this 2015. In January, Crystal Rain will come out in a trade paperback format from Tor Books, with other books to follow. To celebrate the relaunch, I set out to answer another popular fan request: combine all the short stories I’ve written in the Xenowealth worlds into a single collection.

If you’ve wanted all your Pepper stories bound into one volume: here’s your chance.

And there will even be some stories you may not have encountered…

There are different pledge levels, from $5 all the way on up, for things like eBooks and paperbacks and hardcovers. There should be something for everyone.

And there are stretch goals. Lots of them.

Go check out the Kickstarter here.

Here is the cover, by Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios.

Buckell Xenowealth Flare

17 Nov

There’s a new, high-paying short SF market in town from Motherboard. Some thoughts on Terraform’s launch

A new weekly short story and daily SF blog launched recently. Terraform, from Motherboard, the people from Vice.

Critics may argue about science fiction’s literary origins—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein! No, Gulliver’s Travels!—but the genre metastasized in the 1950s and 60s, through the vehicle of pulp magazine publishing, as fantastic short stories and serialized adventures. Short stories are the DNA of the genre; bite-sized futures and parallel realities designed to jar their readers into radical disconnection with the present-day.

Surely we have room for short stories again in our networked world. They don’t take too much of our precious time. The medium is nimble and versatile. We could slip short stories into our pockets (and send them to our Pockets), daisy-chaining fiction to the op-eds and news pieces we read and share ad nauseam every day.

(Via Why We Terraformed a New Home for Future Fiction | Motherboard.)

As many new markets do, they started off with a manifesto. Even though the pulps of the 50s and 60s are well behind us, the science fiction short story market still exists today, and is healthier than many other short story markets. Careers are made here. I built mine there, and have almost 60 short stories published to show for it.

Terraform’s manifesto included the insinuation that short SF had died off. And they were, rightfully, called to task in their comments section for that. Because, in short, it ain’t true.

But let’s be fair, it’s an easy place to miss. While my whole early career revolved around short stories, the first time I signed an anthology in a mall I learning that hardly anyone realizes short stories exist, let alone short SF stories. The whole distribution mechanism and grocery store presence faded away, which for many meant the form had disappeared. I once spent a day quizzing SF readers in a store about short stories. It was illuminating how many of them didn’t even realize they were a thing.

We know better, but Vice is a big, fucking media machine with some big hit counts. Yes, they should have googled, but in many ways our assumption that Terraform is *all about us* somewhat misses the point.

Terraform is competing with science and SF blogs like IO9, and they’ve done a cool thing by experimenting with short form fiction. I mean, imagine if IO9 did that, right? Even my own readers sometimes don’t realize I have new book until IO9 mentions it, and they email me the link to say ‘hey!’ The most widely read short story I’ve ever had was run on IO9, and I had distant friends reaching to say it was the first thing of mine they’d read.

So I can understand their not focusing. Would it be nice. Hell yes. Am I glad they amended the manifesto to point out some great online zines (including my favorite, Clarkesworld)? Yes.

But mainly, before I saw their slip up in the manifesto, I’m excited to see a new market trying to something new and with a potential for a large audience and paying very well. This will be great for new writers, great for short stories. More markets is better. More *readers* is better, and having Vice send traffic around is potentially awesome (Motherboard has 48,000 readers on twitter, quarter of a million tied to it on Facebook, 402,000 followers on YouTube. This makes them, in one swoop, one of the larger audiences for SF).

I have no idea how this will shake out, but my reaction is ‘cool. More places for writers to sell to and more fiction that I get to read.’

They will make mistakes, but part of someone becoming part of a field is being welcomed in, not just them making all the right obeisance. I’m ready to correct a mistake or call something out. But I’m also excited to see the launch of a new venue.

So, Terraform, welcome. I like that you guys are paying 20c/w as a ‘base’ rate and I hope that a rising tide lifts all boats.

For writers, here are the guidelines for Terraform.

14 Nov

Audible launches the Xenowealth novels in Audiobook with all new narrators

Guys! Guys! Guys!

So I’ve been sitting on this news for… just about forever.

I pointed out on twitter while traveling that Hurricane Fever had been turned into an audiobook, which meant both Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever were available to be listened to.

But today you can find the whole Xenowealth backlist now in audio, right before the Tor relaunch coming this January!

The Books!

If you don’t want to listen to me blather any more, here we go, click on a cover to go to the Audible page.

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The cover to The Apocalypse Ocean should be updated shortly, in a few days, they’re using the older one.

The Narrators!

Okay, the previous audio versions of these books did not have narrators familiar with the Caribbean dialect. I got… emails about that. I didn’t get to work closely with those versions, alas, but Audible has been very cool about working to get Robin Miles, who does the audiobooks for Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord, involved in the casting of the books. Robin suggested and worked with Prentice Onayemi to do the narration of Hurricane Fever, Crystal Rain, and Sly Mongoose. And, in a total dream come true for me, Robin herself narrates Ragamuffin and The Apocalypse Ocean.

This was such an amazing thing. Robin called me many times to go over pronunciations for things in the book. In fact, if you saw me hunched over in a corner with a pad and paper while at Worldcon in London, I was probably sounding out things with her on the phone.

So I’m very, very happy about these audio versions and how hard Robin and Prentice worked on them.

So if you enjoy audiobooks, please check these out!

10 Nov

How to Get Signed and Personalized Tobias S. Buckell Books for the Holidays, 2014

Winter’s coming! Which means we’ll soon be shopping for gifts for each other and doing our best, if we’re too far away from the equator, to keep coldwarm. And there’s nothing better than sitting inside a warm home with a book, right?

At John Scalzi’s excellent suggestion (he’s been doing this a few years), I’m teaming up with Jay & Mary’s Book Center, the closest independent bookseller to me, to offer signed and personalized books. You can get a great gift and support a independent book store, which is a double win.

How to do it?

1. Ring up Jay & Mary’s Book Center, via their 800 number (800-842-1604) and explain that you want to order signed copies of my books. And they’ve asked that everyone please call rather than send email, as they find it easier to keep track that way.

2. Tell them what books you’d like and whether you want it just plainly signed by me, or if you’d like me to sign it to a specific name (great for gifts), and if there’s something specific you’d like me to write in the book. Do remember to make it clear if you’re ordering the book as a gift who’s name the book is being signed to. If it’s unclear to me, I’ll avoid using a specific name.

3. You don’t have to order just my books. For example, John Scalzi will be in to sign books at Jay & Mary. You could get *two* New York Times Bestelling authors signing your books at once.

4. Give Jay & Mary your mailing address and billing info. This is open to US Residents only, alas, due to shipping issues.

5. After that, I’ll be swinging by Jay & Mary’s to sign the books for you!

If you want the books by Christmas, the deadline for that is December 10th in order to make sure they get to you!

Here are the books of mine that are available:

Current Hardcover: Hurricane Fever.

Paperback: Arctic Rising. The Xenowealth novels Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose may still have some warehouses holding them, the best thing to do is ask and find out. As the trade paperbacks are coming out this January, they may be harder to order this season around.

Anthologies I’m in: Upgraded, Dead Man’s Hand, The Book of Silverberg (you’re free to ask about others, but again I wouldn’t be sure about their availability).

Good luck shopping, and thanks so much for supporting Jay & Mary’s Book Center,. When John took me over to show me the store I was excited to realize there was an independent I could do this with (and pick up a couple books from while I was there). They seem like a great store, and I’m thrilled to be working with them.

Best!

07 Nov

Cult Pop has a new interview with me up

Cult Pop, the Detroit area cable interview show about all things pop culture, has a new episode up with an interview by my and then Cherie Priest as well.

Double bonus awesome!

Cult Pop 61, This episode Jim Hall interviews two authors. First we caught up with science fiction writer Tobias Buckell at GenreCon in Livonia Michigan. They discuss his latest book, “Hurricane Fever”. Since he was from the Caribbean, he wanted to use that area as more than a backdrop to the story. He then reveals that the books in the Xenowealth Series are being re-released in trade paperback versions. Be sure to look for him on Twitter and sign up for his newsletter .

(Via Cult Pop – A Show About Anything Interesting!.)

06 Nov

May I draw your attention to the posts of Elizabeth Bear, Laura J. Mixon, and Rochita Loenen Ruiz?

Author Laura J. Mixon has spent time documenting carefully and with links the damage done by a person using several pseudonyms online with the intent of damaging writers, using the community of people who care about diversity as a shield and to recruit allies.

It’s very detailed and documents a repeated history of this person attacking young, promising diverse writers.

Our genre has always had a soft spot for sharp-tongued souls. The person who speaks embarrassing truths has an honored—if discomfiting—place at the dinner table, in our SFF Island of Misfit Toys. Though some dislike the extreme rhetoric she uses in her reviews and on Twitter, Requires Hate has shown a deft way with words, and has been promoted as a contender for a Hugo award for some of her blog posts.

What has also become clear in recent weeks is that Benjanun, in the roles of Requires Hate and her other known pseudonyms (including Winterfox, acrackedmoon, ACM, pyrofennec, Valse De La Lune, valsedelune, and Lesifoere), has a decade-plus history of destructive trolling behavior in online SFF and videogaming communities, going back to at least 2003.

One of the highlights of London Worldcon was meeting Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, a Filipino writer who I have chatted with on twitter occasionally, who has spoken up about this and should be read:

I believe that no one has any right to dictate to me when I should speak, where I should speak or how I should speak on any given subject. I also believe that questioning a person on the choices they make is breach of personhood. In matters pertaining to decisions about one’s profession, that questioning is a clear breach of professionalism. I also want to reiterate that if the work under discussion is a work that I have not read in its completed form, it is not right for me to criticize the work or condemn it.

(Via Standing Up and Speaking Truth | From the Beloved Country.)

Elizabeth Bear has written a fantastic post that I retweeted as well that should be read:

It saddens me deeply that some people within communities I consider essential to the health of my industry and my social group (they’re largely the same thing, that being how both publishing and the internet work) use those communities as camouflage to hide abuse, as springboards to facilitate it, and as cheering sections, god help us all, to reward them for their most violent behaviors.

You can often spot them because, instead of going after people with a great deal of social capital and perceived strength, they go after those who are marginalized, young, at the cusp of their professional careers, or struggling with a setback. They go after people who would seem natural allies, who would trust them, who would take their violence much more personally than somebody who actually despises them or to whom their opinion means nothing.

These predators gaslight; they reversion the truth; they have an explanation for everything. And all of it piles up to make you feel as if you’ve lost your grip on reality. As if nothing you perceived was the truth. You think their narrative doesn’t make sense, but other people buy it, and because memory is fallible, you start to buy it too.

They’re not there to teach, to elevate, to change the system. On some level, they don’t want the system changed–because if it were, where would they go to get their kicks?

I’ve seen some of the damage done by RH, but a lot of people have kept quiet, worried that they would harm their careers or be targeted for speaking up.

That is sobering. And I have to admit I didn’t appreciate the true extent and wideness, as well as deep history and multiple pseudonyms this form of harassment continued consistently via the internet.

I do not call on anyone to ‘not publish’ the person’s current pseudonym that they are writing under. That is the tactic they have used, I will not stoop to that.

But I damn well sure will draw awareness to the accounts of people speaking up and documenting how they were ill-treated. That shit’s gotta stop. Criticism and disagreement are one thing, this is another. And the person’s use of deletions, multiple pseudonyms, as well as expert use of a cause I’m passionate about (diversity) have led me to also initially underestimate this.

Since Bermuda (when this broke out, and I was mainly broadcasting tweets) I have only been using twitter to talk to friends and have been not keeping up on the 400 or so tweets a day. Sorry, I’m behind. But I had to take a moment to speak up on this.

27 Oct

Seeing the Dinosaurs in Lima

I took the kids down with me to run some chores in Lima on Sunday, and to reward them took them to a dinosaur exhibit that was being advertised for that weekend only in the fairgrounds called “Discover the Dinosaurs.”

I knew it would be somewhat cheesy, but the girls love dinosaurs and I thought it would be fun.

$60 worth of fun? Ouch. The tickets were crazy expensive. And as we approached the door there were parents walking out cussing up a storm. $20/person is a lot of money for a family to shell out around these parts, and people weren’t getting a lot for their money.

But, I’d been worried that this would be some sort of Creation Science exhibit where we’d find out that dinosaurs and cavemen frolicked around the Earth a few thousand years ago (that sort of thing pops up in this part of the country, and sometimes they trick to trick people in by claiming to be science exhibits), so I was happy that it was actually what was advertised.

On the other hand, an expensive dinosaur exhibit with pre-printed posters featuring wikipedia information about dinosaurs and some very limited animatronic rubber dinosaurs wasn’t exactly a science high point.

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The ‘many exciting rides’ were a line of 6 dinosaurs that gently rocked up and down for two minutes, like the pony at the grocery store:

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There were three inflatable bouncy castles with inflated dinosaurs in the middle that were the high point. The kids loved those, though since all the kids did their best to stay there, it was kid chaos. They were, literally, bouncing off the walls.

Oh, and after the $20 fee each, there was overpriced face-painting (extra) and $20 each to dig for gems and wear a hard hat (but not dino-bones, gems, it wasn’t even similarly themed). I opted out.

Afterwards Thalia turned to me. “That wasn’t a very good show, was it?”

“No,” I said. “It was kind of cheesy.”

“Well, thanks for taking us, though, Dad.”

Points for trying, dad.

On the way in, a grandfather asked me if it was as bad as the complaints online about it. “Pretty much,” I said. “But if you already have the money spent in your mind [he knew the price] there are worse ways to spend a couple hours.”

I think Calli was more blown away by browsing tools at Lowes.

Now I understand why the show only spends a weekend in any one place.

27 Oct

BusyContacts looks interesting for contacts management

I mentioned investigating CRM solutions to handle so many contacts a couple posts back. Good grief, man, on the desktop side the field is so. fucking. clunky. So much unintuitive software.

I know I no longer have the patience I did in my 20s for fiddling around with software, but there’s a certain level of ‘why can’t I…?’ that if I keep having to ask, I just uninstall and move on.

The reason is that most of the solutions are aimed at large teams and small companies (Highrise online, Daylite and etc on the desktop).

Most of the software felt like using a nuke to hit a fly. And a lot of it is so focused on sales teams that I would have to artificially adapt my own flow to look that metaphor (I do have a ‘pipeline’ of sorts surrounding selling, writing, promoting a novel, but it doesn’t match selling lots of widgets that exactly).

Further, a lot of them required replacing my existing calendar and other apps to use their system. A non-starter for me.

All my searching this weekend, the only app that appealed to my in terms of just jumping in to use it was an iPhone-only app that allowed very basic contacts management. But I don’t live on the small screen like that.

However, I did find that the makers of one of the best Calendar replacement apps for OS-X will be creating BusyContacts.

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If the simplicity and ease of use, as well as development cycle, of this app is anything like BusyCal, I’m in.

I signed up for the public beta and I can’t wait for this program to drop. All I want is to be able to tag contacts, view them in clusters quickly, and keep notes/info about them in one place.

I’ll download and play with BusyCal before I make any decisions.

Daylite came close, but I found it frustrating the way projects and tasks wouldn’t let me drag and drop between them, and the project management threatened to be overly complicated compared to my quick and easy TaskPaper set up.