Brenda Cooper

Jun
19

Wilders release week recap!

Wow – what fun.  That was a wild first week for Wilders. Pun intended. Thought this list of all the events and interviews and the like might be worth putting together for folks since there are still ways to read parts of Wilders up on the web, a few giveaways, and lots of interviews.  So here is the list in no particular order:

Giveaways (Hurry!):

One copy at Bibliosanctum

One Copy at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

Note! Two people already won copies by being part of my mailing list.  Sign up on my front page if you want a chance to win copies of books in the future! You’ll also get a monthly newsletter from me.  Never more than monthly, at least so far!  Sometimes less than monthly.

Chapters posted:

Prolog and first chapter at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist.

Prolog and first chapter at Bibliosanctum

Most of Chapter Two at Whiskey with my Book.

Reviews and Recommendations:

Sunday Recommendation at Unbound Worlds

Review by Astroguyz

Wilders is mentioned by Nisi Shawl in the Sunday Review of Books

Wilders looked at by Foreword Reviews

Interviews and Guest Posts:

Matt Staggs and I talk about climate fiction at Unbound Worlds.

Guest Post at SFF.net “Climate Fiction is good for our genre (and for us!)

Interview with fellow climate fiction author Brian Burt (I interview him)

Interview with Brian Burt (he interviews me)

Fun, wide-ranging interview with Riley at Whiskey with my Book.

Really fun guest post at Marie Brennan’s “Spark of Life”  

Readings:

I had a great reading at University Bookstore on June 14th.  They have signed copies.

There will be a reading (with Nancy Kress!) at Powell’s Cedar Crossing on July 18th.

 

Thanks to everyone who helped out – all of the bloggers and reviewers and fellow authors and friends. 

Jun
10

Interview with Brian Burt, author of “In the Tears of God”

Here is my interview with fellow author Brian Burt, who also writes climate fiction. I enjoyed meeting Brian online and working with him to exchange interview.

I just finished Aquarius Rising. I really enjoyed the book, so I’ll start with thanking you for giving me a copy.  As I mentioned when we started this conversation a few months ago, I’m interested in other authors who write climate fiction.

For the sake of my readers, I’ll start with some context:  Aquarius Rising is an action/adventure novel set in a far future where the land has been ravaged by geo-engineering gone bad, and the sea is full of colonies of humans adapted to the sea with bioengineering that went well.  It’s a great set-up, and if I say anything else it could be a spoiler.  So on to the interview questions:

Brenda: Your world building is excellent.  I felt that you had created a post-apocalyptic world that made sense and you were consistent and clear as you described the world. It was also unique. Can you talk a little about the process you went through to create the world? What was the most fun, and why?

Brian Burt: I admit I had a blast fleshing out the details of this fictional world. I actually wrote a short story originally, “Neptune’s Children,” inspired by this vision of human-dolphin hybrids swimming through the ruins of drowned coastal cities, transforming them into reef communities. Honestly, the short story wasn’t very good. I couldn’t do justice to the vision in that abbreviated format. So the tale grew into a novel, then a trilogy. As someone from the Midwest, far from any ocean shoreline, I loved researching the marine ecosystems and creatures who might populate this world. I learned so much, and every discovery triggered more ideas. It’s trite, but we’ve explored the surface of the Moon in more detail than the ocean depths. That aura of mystery provides incredibly rich soil (or sand 😉 from which story ideas can sprout!

Brenda: Your story is set in the Pacific Northwest.  I liked that; it’s my home. Why did you choose to set the story there?

Brian Burt: I envy you, Brenda, for living in such a beautiful place! I’ve always lived in the Great Lakes region, but my brother and sister both lived in Portland, Oregon, at different times, so I took the opportunity to travel to the Pacific Northwest for visits. It took my breath away. You can rightly claim to offer some of the most gorgeous natural scenery in the country, I think. When I started work on Aquarius Rising, I could think of no better setting than the coasts of Oregon and Washington State: rugged coastline, towering mountains, lush forests, thunderous waterfalls. I couldn’t imagine a place that would more dramatically demonstrate the tragedy of climate change, of what we have to lose and what could be regained if we reverse our course.

Brenda: Aquarius Rising is your first published novel after a short-story career.  How much different did you find novels?  Why?

Brian Burt: Honestly, I found sitting in front of the keyboard for that first novel to be terrifying. With short fiction, you have almost instant gratification. You labor for a few weeks or a few months to craft and refine a story and you’re rewarded with a finished work. You send it off to a magazine or anthology and move on to the next. Starting a novel felt like launching an assault on Everest; the scope, the commitment, the potential disappointment of not finding a publishing home after investing all that time and effort were intimidating. Eventually, though, I settled into a rhythm and found that novel-writing has its distinct rewards. You’re less constrained, can develop ideas and characters more richly, can experience the joy of finding that the tale takes on a life of its own. You may even find yourself on a detour into uncharted territory you never envisioned at the outset.

Brenda: Looking it your blog posts on Goodreads, I see that you are an optimist.  I am too, although I have to admit that the last few years have been harder.  The more climate science I read, the more worried I become that we are close to tipping points. Going backwards on policy right now feels dangerous.  What do you do to maintain your own optimism?

Brian Burt: Wow, do I agree with you! Earth is a water planet; oceans cover more than 70% of its surface. About 40% of humans live within 60 miles of the coast and could be forced from their homes as sea levels rise in the wake of global warming. It’s been a major struggle to maintain optimism in the face of recent political events and the impact on environmental policy. At some point, I felt so distressed by the daily news that I decided it was time to hunt for the encouraging stories buried amidst the gloom and doom, to share those with others whom I figured might also need a boost. I started publishing blog posts with the hash tag #CauseForOptimism. It’s been a healthy exercise. It definitely lifts my own spirits, and I hope it does the same for others.

Brenda: What do you think is the most important thing that we can do as individuals to create a better future? 

Brian Burt: I’ve been tremendously encouraged by the recent peaceful public protests like the Climate March and the March for Science. I think this is the most vital step we can take as individuals: to speak up for scientific facts, to lobby government officials to take responsible action based on those facts, and to support the scientific organizations who analyze those facts to help us understand potential impacts. And of course we can all take local action on a smaller scale: striving for energy efficiency in our own homes and commutes, recycling, reusing, and being conscious of our own carbon footprint. Even small improvements in these areas, multiplied by millions of people, can add up to a big effect.

Brenda: Same question, but globally?  Climate change is a global problem. What one thing do you think might be the most important to do on a global scale?

Brian Burt: As a species, I really do worry that we’re at a pivotal point in our social evolution. First, I think we need to do everything we can to acknowledge that this problem affects every nation, every person, and requires unified action if we’re going to solve it, or at least mitigate the worst effects. That means honoring the Paris climate agreement, for starters. It means instituting meaningful economic regulations like a carbon tax or cap and trade to more accurately reflect the true cost of burning fossil fuels. And it means remembering how vital science is to improving our odds; we should be funneling investments into renewal energy and green technologies, treating the challenge of climate change like it’s the Apollo space program of this generation.

I think SF writers have a role to play in sharing the vision of a better future, and dramatizing the consequences of inaction. Science fiction has been doing this for a long time, through novels, short stories, and nonfiction, too. Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl published Our Angry Earth more than twenty-five years ago, with common-sense suggestions about how to avoid environmental disaster. It’s sad to realize that we’re still rehashing the same tired argument today in the U.S., still pretending that the problem doesn’t exist. I’m optimistic that my kids’ generation is savvy enough to avoid that trap, acknowledge the scientific reality, and save us from ourselves. I just wish they didn’t have to carry that burden.

Brenda: Tell me about your next book.  When is it coming out and where can people find it? 

Brian Burt: Book Three of the Aquarius Rising trilogy, The Price of Eden, has just been released by Double Dragon Publishing. That and the first two novels in the series (In the Tears of God, Blood Tide) can be found at all the major online booksellers, and paperback copies can be ordered through Amazon or Lulu.

Brenda: I understand that you have finished the trilogy.  Do you plan to write more in this world, or create another one?

Brian Burt: I always planned on Aquarius Rising being three volumes, and The Price of Eden really does finish the story line. I don’t think those characters want me to interfere in their lives any further. I do have another weird world of “alternative facts” bouncing around inside my skull that I hope to explore next; if all goes well, that may develop into another eco-fiction series. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

Brian’s interview with me can be found on Goodreads. 

I recommend that you all go buy Aquarius Rising and start his series.

Jun
01

Reading Recommendation: New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

I finished reading 2140 the day that the United States announced it would pull out of the Paris agreement on Climate Change.  I believe today may go down in history as the day we lost global political power and destroyed the global good will of other nations towards us, and maybe worse. But that’s a different blog post, and maybe after I calm down I’ll be able to write that.  This post is to recommend that everyone read 2140.

This ambitious look at a future when sea level has risen to swamp coastlines and New Yorkers travel through canals in a “super-Venice” is brilliant.  It’s full of believable and interesting characters.  It’s well-researched and deeply imaginative.  I was quite sad to have finished it and to leave the world Robinson created behind.

I’ve read a lot of climate fiction, and this may be the best climate fiction book written so far.  While it pulls no punches, it is also hopeful. It’s characters are as full of foibles, hope, despair, and ingenuity as real people.  The future in this book feels plausible. It’s also a bit of an emotional antidote to the current political crazies. It’s also long — so it may be a healthy way to avoid taking in too much news all at once while still thinking deeply about the things that matter.

Note that I listened to this in the Audible version (and then went out and bought the hardback).  The narration is quite good.

May
24

Wilders Pre-Release Book Giveaway!

I’m giving away at least two copies of Wilders (or POST) on June 9th.

If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’re already entered in the contest. If you are not, there are a variety of ways to get entered (or increase your chances to win.) Below in the contest rules are the ways you can earn or request extra entries.

This is my way of giving out a few free books, but it’s also my way of getting more people to join my monthly newsletter and/or to meet people who are reading my work.  I hope the contest helps me get more notice for Wilders, which debuts on June 13th. I’m ending the contest at midnight on the 9th so I can mail books to people around the time they become available in stores.

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES (BECAUSE THEY ARE REQUIRED)

This is a sweepstakes — that’s what they call it anyway, upon some research.

  1. There will be at least two winners selected.
  2. Here are ways to enter:
    • The easiest way to enter is to be a subscriber to my newsletter. To subscribe, go here: http://www.brenda-cooper.com/.  If you are already a subscriber you have one entry already (but can earn more!)
    • You can encourage a friend to sign up for my newsletter and/or buy Wilders, and just let me know via the “contact” form on this page.
    • You can send me any comment you like on any of my work that you’ve read. I may use some of these comments in promotion, but if I plan to use yours, I’ll let you know and ask for your permission.
    • You can send me a link to a review you’ve made of any of my work. It can be a new review or even an old review, on any platform, and it can have been a bad review. Not important.  Your entry will be a thanks for taking the time to review!
    • You can send me an email via the “contact” form requesting an entry, and I’ll enter you in the drawing.
  3. The prize is a physical or ebook copy of Wilders or POST for each winner, which I’ll mail at my cost  to anywhere in the US.  If the winner is outside the US, the prize will be an ebook edition.
  4. Prizes will be picked by random drawing. All prizes will be awarded.
  5. Winners will be notified by email.  They must respond within 7 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  6. The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the United States.
  7. The contest opens May 23rd, 2017 and closes at midnight on June 9th, 2017 (Pacific time).
  8. No purchase necessary.
  9. Winners may be asked to provide a photo of themselves (hey, maybe with the book!) for the blog and to sign a release allowing me to use it here on the blog. But they won’t have to.

THANKS!

May
09

Reading Recommendation: Dark Money, by Jane Mayer

Jane Mayer’s Dark Money uses our recent political past to illuminate the off-kilter present. Reading it made made me very angry.  While our country has never been perfect, fair, or completely free of the influence of the rich, the events described in this book chronicle a slow, insidious, and nearly complete take-over the Republican Party by the ultra-rich, much of it in hidden donations.  The book is not about how everyday Republicans are evil, or about how liberals are not evil (there’s some dark money there as well). It convincingly describes the systematic dismantling of the laws that protected us from government by the rich, and the subsequent purchase of our politicians.

Everyone should read this book.

I recently read the science fiction book (R)evolution, by P.J. Manney. I loved the book, which a page-turning thriller and a discussion of transhumanism that rises above the simplistic story that we’ll be perfect after we get more digital abilities. But (R)evolution involves a conspiracy theory among the very rich, and I thought Manney went a bit overboard on that.  I’m not a conspiracy theory-type.  Now I believe that what (R)evolution and Dark Money describe are possible.

Dark Money is hard to read. It’s relentless.  But all of us who care about the collective, the commons, the environment, biodiversity, or just about any other cause that doesn’t directly support making the rich richer should read it.  If we want to take back our future, we need to understand what and who we are fighting.

Of note – Dark Money has over a thousand reviews, and it’s 5 stars all the way.

In case you want to learn more, here is a longer review of the book from the New York Times.

Apr
25

The Importance of Science to SF

I am writing this from a coffee shop in DC.  One of the reasons I came here at this time was to participate in the March for Science right here in the capital.

The March

I ran into three friends, fellow writer Brenda Clough and her husband Larry Clough, and another fellow writer, Chris Cevasco. What a small world. Brenda introduced me to Michelle Lighton (who they had just met), and she and Larry gifted me and Michelle with their signs as they attended the rally but had to leave before the march started. Here are the signs and some quotes from me and Michelle in the New York Times.

We were wet and cold and yet everyone was smiles and enthusiasm. The signs were great. The march was quiet (I suspect it’s easier for many scientists to think of and create great signs than to scream loudly). It touched me to do the walk here, in the seat of so many debates and decisions.

We walked past the EPA building, and people chanted “Save the EPA!”  I can’t believe that phrase should even make sense, much less that we might have to fight tooth and nail for it.  That’s like saying “Save the blue in the sky” to me.  But then, I’m old enough to recall the bad smog days in California, and I read enough to know what China’s air looks like.  Air should, of course, look like nothing.  And the EPA does so much more than that. We need them. But end rant, for the moment.

Why I Showed Up

I’m not a scientist.  Some SF writers are actual scientists, but I understand science at the level of an informed reader. I do read a lot. As an SF writer, I’m dependent on the work of scientists. The world building in my next book, Wilders, was partly based on Half Earth by biologist E.O. Wilson and the sequel is informed by Carl Safina’s book How Animals Think and Feel.  There’s more, but it could take a page to list all of the research I’ve done for these two books, about half of which is straight science reading.

As a writer I take what I learn from science and engineering and expand and extend it, and wrap character and feelings around it. When I’m done, it’s not science. But it’s based there.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Scientists sometimes take our ideas and make them happen.  Many inventions have been attributed to Star Trek.  Second Life talks out loud about its based on concepts in Neal Stephenson’s excellent book, Snow Crash. I could make a list.  But mostly I want to make the point that there is a loose but valuable circle of ideas that moves from scientist to science fiction writer to scientist to science fiction writer….

It felt important to march. It’s a way to be counted.  There are so many ways we can all show our resistance to backward policies, and it’s so important to do so. We cannot get tired or confused or give up. Politics has never mattered as much as it does now, and moving forward with policies based firmly on peer-reviewed science has never been more important.  The lives of many plants and animals, many people, and maybe even of all of us are at stake.

Mar
18

Norwescon Schedule

I’ll be at Norwescon 40 in Seattle April 13th and 14th. Here’s my schedule:

Friday

Dystopia / Utopia

10:00am – 11:00am @ Cascade 10

What-Ifs of Ancient and Medieval History

2:00pm – 4:00pm @ Evergreen 3&4

A Writer’s Toolbox for Description – Writing Workshop – 2 spots left as of 4/2!

2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Cascade 12

Saturday

Reading

11:30am – 12:00pm @ Cascade 2

Autograph Session 2

3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Grand 2

Koffee Klatsch

5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Pro Suite

The Year is 2067

7:00pm – 8:00pm @ Evergreen 1&2

 

 

Feb
23

I’ll be at Emerald City Comicon and Norwescon

There are two places you can find me shortly — I’ll be at Emerald City Comicon which runs March 2nd through 5th at the Seattle Convention Center.  You can find me on Sunday for sure, when I’ll be moderating a panel on science fiction: predicting the future. Books should be available at the University Bookstore booth there. I’m also hoping to get there part of Saturday, life allowing.

Not long after, I’ll be at Norwescon. I just got my programming, which is great. I have some good panels, a reading, a Kaffeeklatch, and I’ll be teaching a one-hour hands-on workshop about description on Saturday at 2:00.  You can sign up now, and if you’re interested, that’s probably a good idea. Participation is limited.

 

Nov
30

Enter to Win a Free Book! Join my mailing list…

The holidays are coming and we are giving away books!

Want to know how to win? The official rules are listed below, but read on for the highlights.

postWe are giving away one copy of one of the following books, POST, Edge of Dark, Spear of Light, or Cracking the Sky to TWO lucky winners.  Winner chooses the book.

If you have signed up for my newsletter you are already entered to win. If you are not signed up for the newsletter, you can sign up right on the front page of my site. The newsletter comes out no more than once a month, and contains information about upcoming releases, personal notes from me, and sometimes recommendations about other things.  Or even unexpected treats (for example, someone already on the list could win a book!).  Riley, who won last round, wrote me a note and said, “Edge of Dark is one of the best books I have read this year.” There is a link to his review of the book in the December newsletter.

The contest ends on December 14th.

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES (BECAUSE THEY ARE REQUIRED)

This is a sweepstakes — that’s what they call it anyway, upon some research.

  1. There will be two winners selected.
  2. The easiest way to enter sis to be a subscriber to my newsletter. To subscribe, go here: http://www.brenda-cooper.com/.  You can also send me an email via the “contact” form and I’ll enter you in the drawing.
  3. cracking-the-sky-e1430148705679The prize is a physical copy of one of my books: POST, Edge of Dark, Spear of Light, or Cracking the Sky, which I’ll mail to you at my cost (anywhere in the US). If a winner already has all of the books listed, I’ll offer a different book from my inventory if they want that instead.
  4. Prizes will be picked by random drawing. All prizes will be awarded.
  5. Winners will be notified by email.  They must respond within 7 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  6. The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the United States.
  7. The contest opens December 1st, 2016 and closes at midnight on December 14th, 2016 (Pacific time).
  8. No purchase necessary.
  9. I’ll publish a list of winners on this blog.
  10. Winners may be asked to provide a photo of themselves (hey, maybe with the book!) for the blog and to sign a release allowing me to use it here on the blog.

THANKS!

 

 

Nov
21

Orycon: Edge is Awarded, POST is talked about….

This is my brief Orycon report. Orycon is held once each year in November, in Portland, Oregon.

I always enjoy this convention, and this year was no different.  I had many great conversations with friends. Most, of course, were about politics. So I’ll let you imagine those for now, since we’re all talking politics this month.  There will be a lot for all of us writers to say in the next year, hopefully with our pens and not just on social media.

The big news, of course, is that Edge of Dark (Pyr) won the Endeavour Award, which is given for a “distinguished SCIEendeavor-picture-brenda-lag-jimNCE FICTION or FANTASY BOOK written by a Pacific Northwest author or authors and published in the previous year.” I’m truly honored by the award, especially given the strength of the competition.  Pictured is Laura Anne Gilman, who was also a finalist for the award for Silver on the Road, Jim Fiscus, who does a lot of work to make this award work every year (he also has a team), and me.

At my reading, most of the audience had read Edge of Dark, so I read from POST (eSpec Books) for the first time. It went well, and I’ve already gotten some great feedback from readers who picked it up there are started it.  The Goodreads giveaway for POST runs through November 30th if you want to enter. POST is a near-future post-apocalypse story that explores the early parts of recovery after a complex set of disasters driven by climate change, economic stress, and illness.

I spent some time in the bar getting feedback from my official first readers for the first draft of Wilders. That’s the next book from Pyr, which will be out in June of 2017.  I was a little worried, but while there’s a lot to do to improve it and fix challenges, everyone who’s read it so far likes it.  So now the trick will be finding time to finish it and improve it! That will start after Thanksgiving.

Edge of Dark coverI enjoyed the ride to and from Orycon, in spite of driving rain and big trucks throwing spray all over our windshield during our late-night sprint home on Saturday. I’ve known Laura Anne Gilman for some time, but hadn’t had the pleasure of long conversations with her (I love her writing – I haven’t caught up, but her Vineart fantasy series is fabulous, and her Silver on the Road was a finalist for the Endeavour). Since we rode together to and from Portland, we talked, some of our conversation tired and silly as we struggled to get home safely. Which we succeeded at, in spite of being tired-out writers post-convention.

Please consider signing up for my newsletter. It comes out once a month, and its a great way to keep up with me. More news on that front soon, but of note, there just might be a giveaway that ALL members of the mailing list get to participate in soon. Consider that a hint.