Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots and avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship The Creative Fire. Her best friend has been raped and killed, the ship is falling apart around her, and no one she knows has any real information about what’s happening to them. The social structure on board Creative Fire is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom, but she dreams of freedom and equality.
Everything changes when a ship-wide accident reveals secrets she and her friends had only imagined. Now, she has to fight for her freedom and the freedom of everyone she loves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and much more knowledgeable than Ruby. Her weapons are a fabulous voice, a quick mind, a deep stubbornness, and a passion for freedom. And complicating it all—an unreliable A.I. and an enigmatic man she met – and kissed – exactly once—and one of them may hold the key to her success. If Ruby can’t transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future, and nothing will ever change.
THE CREATIVE FIRE is character driven, social science fiction. The story echoes a mythic tale out of our planet-bound past. Like the historical Evita Peron, Ruby rises from the dregs of society to hold incredible popularity and power. Her story is about love and lust and need, about rising to a challenge, and about a thirst for knowledge and influence so deep that it burns.
Praise for The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep….
“In her new novel, The Creative Fire, Brenda Cooper gives this scenario a thorough, intelligent shaking and reworking, hewing to lots of the glorious old props while infusing a new strain of social justice and semi-YA, Hunger Games vitality into the milieu.” – Paul Di Fillipo for Locus Magazine
“Issues ranging from class, fairness and empowerment to women’s rights are touched upon and explored. Like the symbol that Ruby comes to use in the novel, the themes are braided together into the narrative. What I had expected to be solely a character study in a technological universe instead is a character-focused drama that touches deep themes and ideas that speak to the issues of today, in the high tradition of science fiction.” Paul Weimer, reviewing for SF Signal
“I loved reading this book, and everything in it.” …on The Creative Fire, at Boekie’s Book reviews.
“I loved The Diamond Deep. Excellent writing, fabulous story, and an emotional punch that leaves you wishing that Cooper wrote faster. Damned fine story telling.” J A Pitts – Author of FORGED IN FIRE
A review of my most recent four book series (in two duologies) came out yesterday. Duology 1 is The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep, and Duology 2 is Edge of Dark and Spear of Light. All of them came out from Pyr. The second two books came out because after I finished the first story, I wanted to explore the world more deeply (Worldbuilding is one main reason I write SF instead of contemporary fiction). So they are two complete and loosely linked stories in one world.
As an author, I usually don’t talk a lot about reviews, except maybe to point people to good reviews in hopes it will encourage them to try my work. Good reviews make me happy. Bad reviews make me sad, but if they’re thoughtful enough I can learn something about the reader experience from them. I don’t argue with reviewers. I’ve seen writers do that, and I’ve never seen that turn out well.
So why do I want to talk about this one?
For the first time, I’ve had what feels like a review of a body of work, rather a point in time in my career, and:
Here’s a link to the review, which is over at Skiffy and Fanty.
Seattle Geekly is one of my favorite podcasts. There are two reasons: the show is fun to listen to (even if you’re not from Seattle) and the creators, Shannon and Matt, are fabulous. Here they are in episode 206, interviewing me as well as fellow author William Hertling and filk singers Debs and Errol.
Even better, there’s a giveaway. Drop by the site and enter for a chance to win a free copy of the Ruby’s Song duology.
I’m very pleased to announce that Lou Anders at Pyr has chosen to buy two more books. This will be another duology, and will tell an entirely different story than Ruby’s, although it is in the same universe. I’m picking up about fifty years after the end of The Diamond Deep, and telling a story about the fight to save a planet and a whole vast ecosystem of orbiting space stations. It lets me play with human and trans-humans, and to explore a universe I got to build up in the last book but didn’t really have the time to showcase much there. I’m almost exactly halfway through the first draft of Edge of Dark – which is book one. I think it’s something readers will like. I’m pitching this one slightly more adult with no young-adult main characters.
Very pleased with the review roundup for The Diamond Deep. Here’s a brief spin through the highlights:
“There is a real first contact feel to Ruby and the denizens of The Creative Fire coming to terms with alien cultures, alien technology and even an alien environment. Given that, Ruby’s impact on the The Diamond Deep, while as striking as her impact on The Creative Fire, takes different forms and has different consequences.”
“I almost relegated it to the “save-for-later” pile. Boy, am I so very glad I didn’t.”
“A sequel to 2012’s The Creative Fire, this is a worthy conclusion to Ruby’s story.”
And best of all, one of my old friends from Longview came up to me at Orycon and told me she’d been up all night reading it. That’s maybe the best thing a writer can hear…..
Bothe The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep can be found in all of the usual places, and signed copies are available at The University Bookstore in Seattle or at Powell’s City of Books, Beaverton Store, in Portland.
Now back to writing the next book and seeing if I can drive those four stars right through the roof to five stars. 🙂
The Diamond Deep came out early this month. Since I was out of the country, I couldn’t have a proper party. So I’ll be throwing one at Orycon, hanging out at a signing, and visiting a book festival over the next ten days. I will have a few copies of both The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep available. But buying from me isn’t the best choice. It doesn’t support bookstores. Not only that, but I can’t sell you an electronic copy. So here’s the great deal for you….
Anytime between now and the end of the last event of the weekend (a great grand signing at the Powell’s in Beaverton, Oregon!), if you can find me and show me a receipt for en electronic version or bring me a print version and a receipt from a store, from Amazon, or from a bookseller at Orycon, I’ll give you a card to fill out that will enter you into a drawing for one of John Picacio’s 2014 calendar’s plus one of his Lotteria cards. The calendar will ship when John ships them all, late in this year.
Not only is this a great prize, but there is a link between the prize and the books. John is the cover artist for both novels, and his fabulous art for The Creative Fire won a Chesley, which is a prestigious art award.
So here’s where I’ll be in case you want to find me and enter:
This weekend (November 2nd and third) I’ll be at the Northwest Bookfest in Kirkland at a booth with other local authors. I’ll be there about half the time. Others include Louise Marley, Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, and more….I think you can get to us for free, but I’ll tweet out for sure Saturday morning (follow @brendacooper). Next weekend, November 9th and 10th, I’ll be at Orycon in Portland, Oregon. On Saturday night, I’ll be hosting a party with another author and two editors (John Pitts is releasing his new collection, and his editor, Patrick Swenson will be there. Bryan Thomas Schmidt will be there for the release of an exciting new anthology edited, Ray Gun Chronicles. I have a story in there). We’ll be in the Presidential Suite and we will be having fun!
Sunday night, November 10th — starting at 4:30 PM, I’ll be joining other authors at the best Portland mass signing of the year, the Sci-Fi Authorfest at Powell’s in Beaverton. This is really fun — lots of us are there, storm troopers occasionally wander through, it’s family friendly, it’s near restaurants, and….if you buy a book there and have me sign it, this will be the last opportunity to enter this particular drawing.
Don’t miss this chance to have a wall full of John Picacio’s work for all of 2014! The picture below is linked to his Kickstarter, just in case you want to be sure to get a calendar!
Where it appears that I will be very moderate, as I am moderating far more often than actually opining…..:)
Orycon is in Portland, Oregon, November 8-10
Reading (Probably from The Diamond Deep!)
Sat Nov 9 10:00am-10:30am
Political Systems in SF
Sat Nov 9 11:00am-12:00pm
Why don’t writers get it right? What to think about when developing local, national, global, and interplanetary governments. How governments with different cultural values really operate and (fail to?) interact.
I will moderate this session
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Sat Nov 9 12:00pm-1:00pm
Join members of Broad Universe–an organization dedicated to women in genre fiction–for a whole bunch of really short readings crammed into one hour. Editorial note – there are always REALLY FUN. You get to hear SEVEN women in short time….and I promise, some will blow your socks off! Consider grabbing a sack lunch and joining us for this fun panel.
Ann Gimpel, Phoebe Kitanidis, Cat Rambo, (*)MeiLin Miranda, S. A. Bolich, Brenda Cooper, Laurel Anne Hill
Can the USA become a nation of makers again?
Sat Nov 9 2:00pm-3:00pm
What’s stopping us? What’s helping us? What do we need to do?
I will moderate this session
300 years from now
Sat Nov 9 3:00pm-4:00pm
What will Earth be like? Will we recognize it? Will we have left? Will we have survived?
Copy Machines – Precursor to Replicator?
Sat Nov 9 4:00pm-5:00pm
It’s not Star Trek yet, but 3D printers are getting better and cheaper fast. Higher end machines can do complex multi material objects. What are the economic and social implications? Is SF taking note?
Science and Spirituality
Sat Nov 9 5:00pm-6:00pm
Are science and spirituality mutually exclusive or intertwined?
I will moderate this session
**** BOOK LAUNCH PARTY FOR THE DIAMOND DEEP, for the anthology RAY GUN CHRONICLES, and for J.A. Pitt’s collection, BRAVADO’s HOUSE OF BLUES *** location TBA
How can we become energy independent?
Sun Nov 10 12:00pm-1:00pm
Natural gas powered cars? Cold fusion? Tapping the earth’s core? Compost for energy?
I will moderate this session
Starting from scratch
Sun Nov 10 1:00pm-2:00pm
How would you rebuild society from the ground up?
I will moderate this session
The Diamond Deep is about how love and strength and creativity can shine in the face of great power, and about the way that real leaders protect their people. It’s also about the speed of change. The core “what if’ for this second story in the duology is “What if you were effectively stranded in a place with little change, while your home culture surfs waves of new technology and expands to fill a solar system?”
Every book takes work – my work for a year and a bit to write and polish, and following that the art and art direction, the book design, the copyedit, the marketing, and I suspect a lot more that I never see. Pyr and I have together birthed The Diamond Deep, with help from the fabulous John Picacio and a host of others.
I’m really happy that the entire saga is not only done, but also available for people to order. It’s getting a good start – It’s a Barnes and Noble Bookseller’s pick for October and Romantic Times gave it a four-star review.
It will also be available at The University Bookstore in Seattle, where I am doing my first post-release reading on October 18th. If you’re local to me, please come down and support all of the great work Duane does for us in the community.
There will also be a launch party for it at Orycon in early November. Yes, that’s a bit late. But I’m traveling, and I wanted to throw a party I can attend! More on that later…..
I’m very pleased that John Picacio won the Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book for his fabulous cover art for “The Creative Fire.” Here’s a tiny bit about the award from the ASFA website:
“The Chesleys have long been internationally acclaimed as the most prestigious awards in the field of fantastic arts. These awards are nominated and decided upon by the members of our community, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.”
I’m pretty pleased with my Worldcon schedule this year. I’ll be busy!
Please note the reading on Saturday — I’ll read from The Diamond Deep, which will be launching a month after Worldcon, at Orycon 35!
Friday 09:00 – 10:00
Friday 12:00 – 13:00
Panel will identify first and third world perspectives related to environmental stewardship. Who has to pay, and what is the price?
Friday 15:00 – 16:00
If and when our AI masters arrive, how will they come about? Will they spring spontaneously from the internet or be deliberately built by men? Our panelists discuss the possibility. Will they rule us, destroy us, or partner with us?
Friday 18:00 – 19:00
New data shows a salinity and pH level compatible with anaerobic respiration, and the presence of Epsom salts on the surface says something organic may indeed be happening. What will we find if we do sink a probe through the crust? What kind of biochemistry would work in that setting? (Hint: think glass!) What about sensory systems?
Saturday 14:00 – 14:30
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00
Google+Facebook+Microsoft+Prism=NSA becoming big brother. Or does it?
Sunday 12:00 – 13:00
Technological convergence of uploading our consciousness into a machine to cheat death… The Science and science fiction of understanding what consciousness is – the mysterious thing that makes you – you. And how to upload it – after all the brain is nothing less than a very powerful and very odd computer – our wetware.
Sunday 14:00 – 15:00
Where science fiction once looked to the future as the setting for speculation, nowadays the focus seems to be on alternate pasts, fantasy worlds, or consciously “retro” futures. We’re no longer showing the way to what things might be like. We discuss whether this is connected to the general fear of decline and decay in the English-language world — or has science fiction simply run out of ideas?
Sunday 15:00 – 16:00
With all of space, time, biology and imagination to work with, why is it so hard to create fictional aliens that aren’t just humans in rubber suits. Our panelists discuss some of the more successful aliens from fiction as well as what to consider when creating new ones.
Sunday 17:00 – 18:00
One of the best things about the flash and energy of book promotion is that you meet new folk on the blog tour, and you get to do strange new things. Kind of like mini-anthology requests, only you’re returning a thousand word blog post instead a three thousand word story.
At any rate, if any of you are curious about how Ruby from THE CREATIVE FIRE first sang in public, you can find out over at Literary Escapism. It also looks like you can win a book if you comment, and all you have to answer the question What type of gift would you make (and give) for the Festival of Leaving?
The Creative Fire (Book One of Ruby’s Song) is now available at Amazon.com.
It can also be ordered from Barnes and Noble.
Opening chapters may be available online soon. We’ll link to them here.
Praise for The Creative Fire:
“Cooper puts a science fiction spin on the life of Eva Perón in this fast-paced, teen-friendly series starter.” – Publisher’s Weekly. Publisher’s Weekly chose The Creative Fire as one of the top ten fall 2012 releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
“On the one hand we have Brenda Cooper’s lush, sensual, emotionally driven writing. And on the other we have Ruby, a young woman with an inexhaustible drive for freedom. Put them together on The Creative Fire, a ship ripe for revolution, and you have a timeless story that sings. Highly recommended.”– Brad Beaulieu, Author of The Winds of Khalakhovo
“I loved reading this book, and everything in it.” – Boekie’s Book Review
“The Creative Fire is a fascinating tale of an often overlooked facet of the multi-generational ark concept; how would societies evolve in such a space-borne worldlet? Would they share the same dreams and goals as their ancestors?” – David Dickinson of Astro Guyz
Praise for Brenda Cooper’s Silver Ship series:
“Fast-paced and full-bodied, “Silver Ship” is character-driven hard SF at its best.” – The Seattle Times
“Cooper reveals an ambitious literary nature here, with the chops to carry it all off. Not only do we get our main thread about pioneering a planet, we also get … a tour of a cyber-savvy civilized world, a guerrilla-war interlude and the foreshadowings of an interplanetary war…. Her prose has a certain elegance and gravitas that endows the tale with deeper emotional resonance than you might at first expect.” – Sci Fi Review
“Brenda Cooper’s newest novel is a feast of character and concept. She depicts the devastation of war on microcosmic and macrocosmic levels, and even more so, the driving motives of young men and women caught in deadly conflict. Don’t miss this compelling work by a major new talent.” – Mary A. Turzillo, An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl.
“Brenda Cooper tells a tale of a powerful brother and sister in a fight for their lives, offering insights along the way into the nature of courage and the hunger for community that burns in every human being.” – Louise Marley. Multiple award-winning author of The Glass Harmonica and Terrorists of Irustan
I am a writer, public speaker, and a futurist. I’m interested in how new technologies might change us and our world, particularly for the better.
I’m excited about my most recent book series, a duology called “The Glittering” which includes the books Edge of Dark and Spear of Light, both published by Pyr.