« choose an author

Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Paying Tribute: The Stars My Destination

by Ty Franck

I’ve been kicking this one around for a while now, trying to figure out how to approach it,  and I’ve come up with no brilliant answers, so here it is.

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester:

The Stars My Destination is a book I first read when I was way too young to understand it.   Someone bought it for me when I was about 11 in a large collection of short SF novels.  I read the whole collection several times, and I have almost no memory of what else was in it.   The Stars My Destination kicked my ass so hard it literally blew the other stories out of my mind.

Continue reading ›


Voting for the Hugo

by Daniel Abraham

For those who are hip to the science fiction awards scene, I wanted to remind y’all that tomorrow is the last day to register for Worldcon this year and still get to vote for the Hugo awards.

For those of you who aren’t hip to the science fiction awards scene, it goes like this.  The Hugo Award (named for editor Hugo Gernsback) is one of the most prestigious awards in the field.  It’s voted on by members of Worldcon, so if you’re going to this year’s Worldcon in Chicago, you get to both nominate works to appear on the final ballot and cast a final ballot that counts.

Or, if you’re not going, you can get a supporting membership for $50 — which has in recent years included electronic access to copies of most if not all of the works that get on the final ballot, and as such is actually pretty cheap for a collection of the most popular science fiction and fantasy work done in the last year.

And this is one of those cases where just a few votes really does count.  Last year, total number of people voting was a little over 2000, and the best novel award was only about 20 votes ahead of the second place title.

The nominations process for getting on the final ballot is oing to be open for a while yet, but if you want to be one of the elect and get a voice in what wins the prize, now’s the time.


The Only Thing Worse Than Being Talked About

by Daniel Abraham

The very honorable Jim Hines has made mock of one of my covers, and been picked up by Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

I am reminded of the writer who was offered a review of his book in the New York TImes, but on the condition that the review would be an excoriation.  I suppose if anyone’s cover is going to be held up for public ridicule, better that it be one of mine…


Giving Birth

by Ty Franck

Depending on your particular process, books start out in a lot of different ways. For some writers they begin as a moment, one particular scene that leaps into their head fully formed. George RR Martin has often said that the entire Ice and Fire saga began with the scene of Ned Stark and his boys finding the dire wolf pups.

I know writers who always begin from the end. They have their climactic scene in mind, and they work backwards from there to figure out why those people are in that situation. I myself have written three short stories that began with nothing more than a title I found evocative.

Daniel and I begin with five acts, and a vague chapter outline.

But not matter what your process is, there is this moment where the story stops being a thing you are trying to hammer into a recognizable shape, and comes to life. It begins telling you what it’s supposed to be. It fights back when you’re doing it wrong. It flows like water when you’re doing it right. After all the pushing and heavy breathing, something fully formed starts to appear. You know, intellectually, that you made it. But it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like it was always there just waiting for you to find it.

The storytelling water broke today on book #3 of The Expanse series. This was not a painless process. We’d been hammering at this thing for months, now, looking for the book. We knew the major plot points. We knew who the characters were. We knew everything except what the book was about. And believe me, you can NOT write a book until you know what it’s about. And what a book is about is never the plot. The plot is a skeleton on which meaning can hang, but if your plot is the meaning, you’ve failed I think.

So, today, a chapter stood up and said, “I’m wrong. Fix me.” And during a discussion about how to fix that one moment, just four paragraphs long, the rest of the book fell into place. It’s kind of awe inspiring to watch it happen. I’m a rationalist and a materialist. I am the last person to assign supernatural qualities to anything. But there is something in the act of creating stories that feels a tad mystical. I suspect that it’s when your subconscious mind and conscious mind finally agree on something, and everything clicks into place. But the feeling is definitely that the process isn’t entirely under your control anymore.

But, today, for the first time, I started to think this third book can be great.

I’m finally excited to write it.


Podcastle, Balfour & Meriwether

by Daniel Abraham

It was the third of December in 188-, and snow swirled down grey and damp upon the cobblestones of London. Meriwether paced before the wide window of the King Street flat impatiently. Balfour sat before the roaring fire, correcting a draft monograph he had written on the subject of Asiatic hand combat as adapted to the English frame.

I cannot understand how you can be so devilishly placid,” Meriwether said at last.

“Practice,” Balfour grunted.

“Every winter it’s the same,” Meriwether said, gesturing at the falling snow. “The darkness comes earlier, the cold drives men from the roads, and I have this…stirring. This unutterable restlessness. The winter traps me, my friend. It holds me captive.”

If you missed the original story on Subterranean, you can now listen to it at Podcastle.



by Daniel Abraham

James S. A. Corey has earned both a Hottie and an Unexpected Surprise. Because I have just finished rewatching Dodgeball, I can say nothing else about this without the risk of saying something I will later regret.

My kindergarten-age daughter has not seen the film, but does sometimes spontaneously say “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”  Ah, the things they pick up in daycare…


Do you like cheap things? We have a cheap thing for you.

by Ty Franck

In a Crazy Eddie level price slashing move, Orbit has decided to sell a number of their e-book titles for $2.99 for a limited time.  One of those titles is Leviathan Wakes.  What makes this madness even more. . . mad, is that the e-book of Leviathan Wakes also contains a FREE copy of the ARC of Dragon’s Path.  That’s TWO books for $2.99, delivered right to your e-reader of choice!  That’s over 350,000 words of slam bang entertainment for less than a penny per thousand!  If you aren’t already buying one, you must be crazier than Orbit is.


Barnes & Noble

Note: the new price has already shown up at Amazon, but we expect it to roll out to all the other e-book sites in the very near future.

Update:  Ok, it looks like the promo officially starts tomorrow, and we’ll have more links to additional e-book sites then.  Looks like Amazon went a little early . . .

Update again:  Here is a link to the full list of e-retailers that have the discounted books.


That day

by Daniel Abraham

Joyeux noel, y’all.


Random Stuff About Ty

by Ty Franck

Here I am interviewed by the center of the writing universe (seriously, this woman knows everyone) Emily Mah.  I mostly natter on about nonsense, but there’s a lovely picture of Jen Taylor, famous video game voice and TV/Movie actress, hugging on me.  So it’s worth checking out just for that.


Ignite New Mexico: Adapting Game of Thrones

by Daniel Abraham

So a little while back, my buddy Cameron told me about this gig he’s part of here in Albuquerque called Ignite New Mexico.  Every so often folks get together and spend an evening doing presentations to one another.  The talks are five minutes long (no longer) on the theory that even if the talk sucks, something else interesting will be along in a minute.  I was in the first part of the Game of Thrones comic book adaptation, and so I did a (very) brief rundown of how that process works and what some of the challenges were coming into it.

We came out with something like this: