Review: Continuum by Wendy Nikel

September 3, 2017 0

Like Wendy Nikel herself, I am a sucker for almost any time travel story, so Continuum was a good fit for me as a reader. Time travel as vacation meets the problem solving of Quantum Leap in a satisifying package.

The story begins in the past when Elise Morley retrieves a client who has forgotten herself and almost takes a voyage on the Titanic with her fiancee. Elise saves the client, but the rather inelegant Extraction causes fallout which ripples through the book. Meanwhile, it turns out that the travel agency where Elise works is not the only entity to have access to this technology, and a government agency has been sending people to the future. Elise is sent to retrieve a rogue agent.

While I wish we could have spent more time in the heads of a couple of the characters who were relevant to the past, I found the story that focused on the future well-paced and interesting I wanted just a bit more to explain what Allen was doing and why, although his ultimate motivation was a solid payoff. Chandler charmed me a great deal. And while Elise strikes me as world weary at first, she has a noble turn of character and a surprise plot twist which work pretty well.

Nikel is a solid writer with vivid description, an imaginative future, and a command of accurate historical speech. Check out that purse snatcher in 1912. Her characters manifest their time stream’s habits and inflections brilliantly, which is a real value add for this reader.

Nikel creates a rich world in which she could easily weave a tapestry of other time travel adventures.  While Elise seems like she ends up in a place from which she cannot return, well, it is time travel after all, and whose to say continuity has to be linear?

The Year of Living Authorly Post 12: The Future Comes Knocking

May 30, 2017 0

Recently, my agent asked me to send her some pitches for some new projects. This is another thing that is different for me as a publishing author–Strategic Planning.

Right now, I am still working diligently on the Klaereon sequel, and I plan to finish it by the end of the summer. There will be a short interlude for a short story, but then what next? This is the space where strategic planning comes in. By sending my agent, someone who is a marketplace specialist, several proposals for new projects, we can make an educated guess about which one of the projects might be smart to develop next.

The short summary, pitch, and query letter skills all come into play here, so some of the techniques I have already learned had quite a workout last week. I found that I enjoyed the process, as the Venn diagram overlap between creativity and organization is this very sweet spot. The technical writing masters also comes in handy here.

This is a sign post on the road that denotes working with your agent and strategically developing your next project is, in fact, a mark of writing as a career. Crossing into a writing career is a new piece of the overall puzzle, and I have been “careering,” so to speak, with editing, formatting, and planning book support, but this new piece speaks more to the future than any other piece has.

Let’s see what the future holds!

Unreliable Alumni on the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List

February 5, 2017 0

Unreliable Alumni were well-represented on the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List (and you better believe that both our TBR stacks and our TBI (to-be-interviewed) lists have grown!)

Congratulations, everyone!

Walter Jon Williams (Novels—Science FictionImpersonations: A Story of the Praxis)

Paul Cornell (Novels—FantasyWho Killed Sherlock Holmes?NovellasThe Lost Child of Lychford)

Richard Kadrey (Novels—FantasyThe Perdition Score)

Ken Liu (Novels—Fantasy: The Wall of StormsCollectionsThe Paper Menagerie and Other Stories; Anthologies—Reprints/Bests: Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation, editor/translator; Short Stories: “Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit – Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts” (in Drowned Worlds); “Seven Birthdays” (in Bridging Infinity))

Fran Wilde (Novels—FantasyCloudboundNovelettes: “The Jewel and Her Lapidary“; Short Stories—”Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left“)

Stephen Graham Jones (Novels—HorrorMongrelsNovelettes: “Birdfather“; “The Night Cyclist“)

Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Novels—HorrorCertain Dark Things)

Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Novels—HorrorHEX)

Paul Tremblay (Novels—HorrorDisappearance at Devil’s Rock)

Yoon Ha Lee (coming soon) (First NovelsNinefox Gambit; Novelettes: “Foxfire, Foxfire“; Short Stories—”Shadow’s Weave”)