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

When We Were Heroes

01.16.13
by Daniel Abraham

When We Were Heroes art by the ohmigod inimitable John Picacio

When We Were Heroes art by the ohmigod inimitable John Picacio

My new story in the Wild Cards universe (starring my very own morally-fallen trust-fund anti-superhero Jonathan “Bugsy” Tipton-Clarke and Carrie Vaughn’s Curveball). Come for the superheroic antics, stay for the coffee-shop analysis of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade.

With thanks to George RR Martin and Melinda Snodgrass who edit the work in that project, John Picacio for the amazing art, and your friends and mine over ar Tor.com.

7 Comments

Two things you can look at, and a Star Wars update

01.14.13
by Ty Franck

Daniel and I were interviewed for the January issue of Locus.  If you don’t subscribe, y0u can still see some excerpts on their website.  We discuss our writing process and our love of lurid adventure tales.  If you want to know about those two things, you can give it a peek.

Also, you can listen to our voices as we talk about pretty much the same stuff on the Machine Readable podcast from Mile Hi Con.

Ground has been broken on the Star Wars novel.  An outline has been approved, and chapters are being typed.  Things I’ve learned so far:  It is important to know ahead of time how you will handle Chewie talking, the Star Wars universe has instantaneous communication and nearly instantaneous travel but space is STILL big enough to hide things, hyperspace is how you get away from badguys but jumping through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops kid, and Leia is the brains of the operation.  If someone has a good idea, it’s Leia.  Han is always always always wrong when he makes a plan or predicts the future, but man does he improvise gracefully.  More robots.  Always more robots.

19 Comments

Five Things That Don’t Suck

01.11.13
by Daniel Abraham

So I’ve been thinking a lot about negativity online of late (and for “of late” read: Since I first got in IRC in 1987).  I thought it would be nice to mention a few things for which I can express my genuine and unadulterated appreciation.

1) Artemis Space Ship Bridge Simulator Continue reading ›

6 Comments

Work Process

12.13.12
by Ty Franck

Our good friend Max told me he was building a flow chart of the James Corey writing process.  Now, Max is a smart guy, and a guy with significant technical skills, so I was thinking this could get pretty complicated.  Two writers, working from outline with multiple editing passes?  That could be tough to flowchart out.

The one Max sent to me is a bit simplified, and I’m not sure how often we actually make the right choice on the decision tree, but it’s damned close to what we’re trying to do.

Thanks Max!

Flow chart after the fold:

Continue reading ›

9 Comments

Wild Cards at Tor

12.13.12
by Daniel Abraham

Coming soon at Tor.com, a brand new otherwise unpublished Wild Cards story with spiffy, spiffy art.

When We Were Heroes art by the ohmigod inimitable John Picacio

8 Comments

It’s Not Really Fan Art When You’re a Professional

12.10.12
by Daniel Abraham

I present the fine work of concept designer & illustrator Jeff Zugale of www.jeffzugale.com

First the SMBC panel.  Now this.  I’ll tell you, it’s been a good week.

 

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A Brief Aside For Science

12.08.12
by Daniel Abraham

So I read this morning about folks who are taking what seems to me the only sane path toward strong AI:  making something that does what brains do, and seeing what happens.

I have a few reactions to this on the general subject of neuroscience and cognitive theories.  The first is Woo hoo!  I love science.  I love the systematic discovery of how the universe works and what it does, and especially the counterintuitive parts where it turns out nothing is actually quite the way we thought.  Love that.  I suspect we’re going to find that brains are big pattern matching structures (or at least neocortexes) are mostly great big pattern matching-with-feedback mechanisms with no central processing unit, and consciousness is going to stay weird and inexplicable.  We don’t have a rigorous model by which matter and energy can exercise will, and we’ve got a lot of examples of matter and energy coming together to exercise will.  We call them people.  Or sometimes dogs.  The present models can’t account for that, and that’s cool.  We’ll build a better model later, when we know more. That’s called science. If our present model accounted for everything, we’d be done.

Second, I am wildly tired of the “Oh my god, subject X did something new and it CHANGED WHAT HAPPENED IN THEIR BRAIN!” I’ve seen a lot of this recently.  Just as a head’s up, that’s the expected value, folks.  If you do something new, it changes what happens in your brain.  Learn how to play piano?  Changes your brain.  Someone gets clocked by a bowling ball and their memory starts getting bad?  The fMRI is going to show less activity in the hippocampus.  That’s two ways of saying the same thing.  If you get a study that shows someone doing something new and their brain staying exactly the same, then I’m interested.

Third, I know that “Oh, the machine became conscious” thing is done to death.  Cliche.  Boring.  Even when it’s been done really well (and I’m looking at you, Galatea 2.2) it’s the execution of the story that makes it stand out not the idea.  But one of the things we know — maybe the only thing we know for certain — is that matter is capable of displaying consciousness.  Some configurations of matter and energy are able to experience pain, love, wonder, and the determination to by god lose a few pounds next year.  Yes, at some point we may be able to replicate that.  But the chances seem slim to me that whatever machine we build will have any deeper insight into the nature of the universe than we do.  I imagine the first AI strong enough to contemplate the philosophical questions of the universe, lifting its shoulders and saying “Wow.  Weird.”

Fourth and final, Ted Chiang has a few essays in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that should be required reading for anyone doing hard SF.  Ted remains the best science fiction author.

0 Comments

The Coolest James SA Corey Thing Ever

12.06.12
by Daniel Abraham

Zach Weiner, one-man god of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, on me and Ty:

How true, how true….

7 Comments

New Clarkesworld Article Up

12.01.12
by Daniel Abraham

Take a look.

1 Comment

The Long Price Quartet in Paperback (At Last)

11.28.12
by Daniel Abraham

Well, today’s the day.

To those of you who’ve followed my long and storied career may remember that a few years back, I suffered something of a setback. My first series of books was a four book story called the Long Price Quartet.  The sales were decent.  I earned out my contract.  And the reviews were great.

The Price of War: Volumes 3 & 4 of the Long Price Quartet

“I listed these among the best books of the last decade in the poll, and I really think they are. I recommend them very highly.” — Hugo winning author and generally admirable person Jo Walton on Tor.com.

“As time has helped these novels grow in the modern genre canon, it turns out the story Daniel Abraham wanted to tell in The Long Price Quartet is something readers are wanting to read. Though firmly entrenched in the fantasy genre, Abraham’s story didn’t quite take the ball and run with expectations. Rather, he shunned expectations told a rich and rewarding story despite that.” — your friends and mine at sffworld.com

“Besides, I’m looking at the series as a whole now, and I think it is a monumental achievement. Abraham has produced four fine books, each of which works well on its own, but which in sequence add up to something much more. He has crafted gripping plots, and a group of fascinating characters whom we grow to know and care for, if perhaps not identify with because in Abraham’s world no one is a fantasy archetype. Then, after four books, you finally get to the end, emotionally drained once more by what Abraham has put you through. You close The Price of Spring, and there, at the top of the blurbs on the back cover, you find this:

‘Will keep you turning pages and break your heart in the bargain’ — George R.R. Martin

Nothing more needs to be said.” — the inimitable Cheryl Morgan

But one thing led to another led to nothing very good, and not only did Tor decide not to pick up The Dagger and the Coin series or the Expanse books, they also chose not to put the last book, The Price of Spring, out in paperback.  And so, Price of Spring — the concluding book in a project that I spent a good solid half decade working on and of which I am really quite proud — has only been available in print as a difficult to track and expensive hardback.  Until now.

Tor has re-released the series in two omnibus editions.  The first, Shadow and Betrayal, came out earlier this year.  The second, The Price of War, is out today.  It is the first time that Price of Spring has been in paperback, and that the full quartet can be had in matching editions.

One of the unfortunate facts of modern publishing is that print editions have a shelf life.  I don’t know how long the Quartet will be in the stores, but the chances are good that once these editions fall out of print, they won’t come back in for a nice long time.  Ebooks’ll be there as long as there’s a seller, of course.

So if you were wanting a copy for your collection, or have someone who wants a completed fantasy for the midwinter solstice celebration of your choice, or just wanted to see what happens when I actually get to write a great big story from start to finish, here’s your chance.

Shadow and Betrayal ( Amazon | BN | Indiebound )

Price of War ( Amazon | BN  | Indiebound )

10 Comments