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Tag: books

New Daniel Keys Moran

This is unexpected but pleasing. Fortuitously, I’ve been reading the four extant Continuing Time novels in reverse chronological order. And lo, now there’s a new short story collection including a lot of Continuing Time material! I guess I’m going to pause before The Long Run.

Daniel Keys Moran’s The Long Run was thrillingly exciting to me in the 90s. It fit roughly into the cyberpunk category, and the author was clearly technically savvy. The computer technology rang true. Even today: yep, of course it’s possible to figure out who wrote a chunk of computer code based on their stylistic quirks. DKM is a very good stylist, unapologetic about his quirks, versed in pop culture. I could have mainlined his stuff.

Then in his next book it turns out that this cool near future cyberpunk series is actually a huge future history. Mind-blowing. And he has the whole thing planned out, cool!

And then stuff happened and he went quiet. If you search my blog for his name, I was pretty cynical about it for a while. Sorry: I was younger. I just wanted it to be true so much. Thirty books, millennia of story, huge themes, a completely confident author. It was so exciting.

Now it’s fine. He should be first and foremost happy, except that the Lakers should not win NBA championships. But anything else is just fine, and any more words are gravy. The existing books are good by themselves.

And now there’s another one, so that’s awesome!

Some of the short story collection is previously published stories; “Realtime” and “Given the Game” were both magazine publications back in the day. The Continuing Time stories look to be new. There’s a teeny bit of time overlap — “The Shivering Bastard at Devnet” is dated 2676, which is also when Lord November: The Man-Spacething War was set. “The Shepherds” is set in 2049, which is the middle of the years in which the Castanaveras telepaths were born, but perhaps more interesting is the evocative line “Peter Janssen is shot from Jupiter orbit by a Zaradin Cathedral Starship” from the timeline.

Going back to the 1994 press release on the state of the Continuing Time, “The Shepherds” is listed as a short story set in 2049. “Platformer” is listed as a novel set between 2964 and 3031. The vision has stayed remarkably consistent.

Late edit: “‘Tales’ is more than half new material, btw — more than 175 pages out of the 365 or so. None of it’s ever been collected before.” So there you go.

It’s been a while since I played the reference-hunting game in the Continuing Time. If you want to play it yourself, the old Kithrup archive is still there.

More Books Than That

Susan and I visited a whole bunch of bookstores on Saturday. Seattle goes all out for Independent Bookstore Day — 19 participating indie bookstores run this program where you get a passport and get stamps at each participating store and if you get to all the stores in one day, you get 25% off purchases for the next year. Last year we missed it. This year it was a priority.

It involved two ferries, ten hours of driving, and a lot of cookbooks. This… is our story.


It is rather difficult to talk about Neal Stephenson’s newest without spoiling lots. In generic, cloudy, unsatisfying terms: it’s a Stephenson book, with lots of thought experiments and science and so forth. There are action scenes. The world changes dramatically during the course of the book, as a result of the actions of the protagonists. There is a romance of sorts, in which a practical female character falls for a slightly fuzzy-minded idealist.

The alien world setting is nice. I found myself very engaged by the society and the worldbuilding. Which is good, because there’s a lot of it before the plot proper starts.

OK, spoilers. Don’t get too excited, since it’s just gonna be a one-liner quip.

The Armageddon Blues

Daniel Keys Moran has put The Armageddon Blues up for download, right over here. It’s not his best novel, but it’s worth reading. And it’s a good sign, because it fulfills the promise that there’s more coming. So big thanks to him.

The judge in the Rodgers/Moran court case has apparently asked both parties to stop flaming each other online. At least, he asked DKM to take his blog down and there’s nothing left of all the posts Alan Rodgers made about how evil DKM was over on his blog. Thanks thusly go out to the judge, too.

DKM Surfaces

From his new blog:

In any event, AI War is the only thing I’ll be working on this summer, and once it’s clean, I’m going to roll into the concluding sequel — it’s been years since I’ve written SF, but I am going to publish AI War and its sequel, Crystal Wind, before the people who care about it succumb to Alzheimers.

But, yeah. He was gonna turn in AI War to Bantam in 1995. And he was gonna animate The Long Run in 1998 — “the pilot will happen.” Plans, I suppose, sometimes fall through.

There’s this weird dichotomy, too. DKM says, “Now … the book is still under contract to Bantam. I doubt they want it, but who knows?” Bantam said, back in 1998, “Mr. Moran has bought back the rights to his Players: The Ai Wars and left Bantam.”

So take it all for what it’s worth. It’s also the case that the guy went blind in one eye, and I can see how that would blow out one’s ability to write. I wouldn’t criticize him for not finishing the books; I’m just suspicious of his ability to self-evaluate the chances that they’ll get done.

Recent Reading: The Lost Colony

The Last Colony is a pretty fun read in the “crowded galaxy with humans jostling for position” subgenre of the space opera subgenre. It’s kind of hard for me to evaluate it objectively, because it kept hitting all these SF tropes I know and love. Look! A colony lands on a new planet, and yeah, that thing that happens quite often in colonizing novels happens. Hey, there’s a wide-ranging alliance among semi-hostile races. And… wait, no powered armor.

This isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s all done quite well, albeit there’s no payoff to the thing that always happens in colonizing novels. It’s just the kind of thing that suits me perfectly, and I can’t say if it’d make someone who isn’t steeped in the field quite as happy.

The politics is fun. I really like the way Scalzi writes politics; you get a good range of motivations, bad guys don’t always agree, and it’s complex but believable. People get lucky a lot, but I suspect that’s a world law of the Scalziverse.

Hm. Yeah, it definitely is. “Hey, we managed to lay our hands on this MacGuffin here for reasons which will go completely unexplained, but it’s what you need, yep.” OK, so his characters are remarkably lucky as a class.

Quibbles: there’s a big expository lump or two in the middle of the book, and a couple of characters who exist largely to feed our protagonist expository lumps. See also Scalzi’s remarks on the Fermi Paradox. It might have been a slightly better book if he hadn’t given into the temptation to answer those particular critics via lumpage, but eh, it’s a pretty small lump.

So fun reading. I really like coherent straight-forward heroic space opera. (I also like Iain Banks, mind you.) This is that.