Category Archives: Books

Tales From The Radiation Age On Sale Right Now

Sheehan_TalesRadiationAge_front_cvr_FINALHey cats and kittens. For those of you who haven’t yet found your way into the strange world which launched this site, I am pleased to announce that Kindle editions of Tales From The Radiation Age are now on sale at Amazon for just $1.99.

No, seriously. A buck-nine-nine. Which means that, for less than a cup of one of your fancy-pantsy coffees, you can get 575 pages of giant robots, dinosaur attacks, temporospatial shenanigans, whiskey drinking, hookers, mad scientists and bar fights. 575 pages of a world gone wrong–a joyous apocalypse that gives a big, fat middle finger to all your miserable, gray-faced dystopias. 575 pages of spies, grifters, pretty girls, semen-thieves, train-robbers, idiots and madmen, all just trying to get by in a future where the folks with the brains are far more dangerous than the folks with the guns. Most of the time, anyway.

Want a taste before you go blowing all your folding money on a bunch of silly words from the likes of me? Of course you do. Like the man says, the first one is always free…

Here’s your free sample right here…

Even More Book News: 2014 Campbellian Anthology Available Now

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Today is a good day for book geeks. The 2014 Campbellian Anthology is currently available for download in myriad forms, for all possible electronical book-reading widgets.

Don’t understand why you should be excited about this? Let me ‘splain. This is basically the long list for writers nominated for the 2014 John W. Campbell Award For Best New Writer–a sampling from 111 different authors who crossed the first, biggest hurdle and had their first book published in the last 2 years. These are the best debuts out there, and though full books aren’t included (I believe they took basically the first 3 chapters from most nominated books), the whole thing clocks in at a staggering 860,000-plus words of world-shattering awesomeness. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

This is a limited time deal, so get on over there and download your copy soon. And if I may take just a moment for crass self-promotion, my own debut novel, A Private Little War, is one of the books selected. So if you haven’t read it yet, you’ll get a chance to check out the first three chapters for free. Nice, right?

2014 Campbellian Anthology [Stupefying Stories]

Discount Book Alert: Tales From The Radiation Age (The Book) On Sale From Amazon

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So I just got word that the completed version of my Kindle serial, Tales From The Radiation Age, is being put up for one of Amazon’s 20 For $2 promotions. Which basically means that you can get it in its full digital version (no waiting for serialized episodes to be delivered, from the first word all the way through to the last) right this very minute for just $2.

A sweet deal? Yes it is. For the amount of dinosaurs, giant robots, bar fights, whiskey drinking, bad language and prostitutes you’re getting, I think it’s a steal. And if two bucks just seems to dear to you, think about it this way: You’re only paying $1 for each parallel universe the story covers, about 75-cents for each buried Max Headroom reference, 66-cents for every triceratops ridden and a nickel per mad scientist.

I have also just received my box of official paperbacks (the physical book won’t be on sale until March), and I’m trying to figure a good way to give them away. They’re cool. The design is gorgeous. And even if you hate the story, the thing is big enough to make a good doorstop or bludgeoning weapon, should the need arise. So Keep your eyes on this space for your chance at scoring an early, signed copy.

Amazon’s 20 For $2 [amazon.com]
Tales From The Radiation Age [Get it cheap right here]

Steampunk vs. Dieselpunk: Choose Your Fuel

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Editor’s Note: I did this post a while back for Richard Ellis Preston’s excellent blog, A Bag Of Good Writing. He asked me to lay out the differences between steampunk and dieselpunk because I had (rather accidentally) written a dieselpunk book with A Private Little War and he’s well known for turning out fine steampunk tales. What began as a small conversation ballooned into a bit of a manifesto, and since I like a good manifesto now and again (because they mean you care about something, and caring is a fine tonic against snark and cynicism), I figured I’d reprint it here. Please to enjoy…

Let me begin by saying that I love all you Steampunks. I truly do. I love your airships and your fancy goggles, your aether and your flywheels. I’m not just saying this because I’m writing here, in one of the bastions of steampunkery, but because I really am a fan. Corsets and cogs, pipeworks and pistols—I get the attraction to both the physical details of the setting and the joyously weird, post-modern frisson of plunking an evolved and of-the-moment characters down into a place where their very modernity drives the style and conflict.

But mostly I love you cats for your victory. Among all the various and scattered blank-punk sects out there, it is the steampunks who have moved the cultural needle the furthest. And I know this because, in the course of putting together my most recent book, the Kindle serial, Tales From The Radiation Age, I had no less than three people (one publishing professional, one working writer and one of my early readers) come to me and ask, “Hey, uh, you gonna put any of that steampunk in this book? Because people really seem to be into that these days…”

Continue reading Steampunk vs. Dieselpunk: Choose Your Fuel

Special Holiday Deal On A Private Little War

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“He felt something in his belly twist up like cold fingers curling into a fist. This is it, he’d thought. This is when it all goes bad…

So here’s some good post-holiday news for any of you out there who love sci-fi, aliens, biplanes and war stories and maybe have a little space to fill on your new Christmas Kindles. The inscrutable book gods over at Amazon have decreed that my novel, A Private Little War, shall be on sale for a few days. Right now, you can get the e-book version for just $1.99–which is a pretty good deal.

Fair warning, though. It is a dark book. Unlike Tales From The Radiation Age which is a straight up, pulp-style adventure story full of giant robots and dinosaurs, A Private Little War is grim and, at times, just plain nasty. It’s a story of mercenary pilots sent to pacify a planet full of technologically backwards natives and, as such, is a story about the kind of men and women who would take that kind of job–hired genocide artists, more or less, and those kinds of folks are not always the most pleasant to hang out with.

Still, I’m ridiculously proud of it for two big reasons. First, because it is exactly the book I wanted to write. Not nice, not pretty, not focus-grouped for maximum audience appeal. I went into it with the idea of trying to tell a war story that actually felt like a war story–absent political jingoism, shiny gadget-lust and that kind of rah-rah, strong-jawed white guy exceptionalism that seems to be the true geography of most bad military sci-fi–and at no point during the writing, selling or publishing of it did anyone come to me and demand that I gentle it in any way. It’s a pure artifact–or as pure as I could make it anyhow. A book about bad people who do bad things for a living but, on the other hand, it’s also funny and bloody and full of action and, occasionally, even sweet. That’s reason one.

Reason two? It earned for me one of my best days ever as a writer, which was the day that Hugh Howey (the guy who writes the Wool books and one of the true rock stars of this brave new world of book-writing) read it and said this about it:

“Following in the tradition of classic science fiction novels that revel in the folly of war, Jason’s debut novel has all the trappings of the golden age and all the makings of a masterpiece. The prose is deep and effortless. The characters are real. You’ll want to wear boots and a flak jacket when you read this book. It’s everything I love about hard science fiction and war stories, all wrapped up in one.”

Which, essentially, I want to tattoo on my chest so I can carry it with me every day of my writing career. For those of you who don’t know Howey, you should immediately go out and buy all his books for everyone you know (after buying copies of mine, of course…), but getting the virtual back-pat from him was particularly meaningful to me because Hugh Howey was who I wanted to be when I grew up. His Wool books were those rare sorts of stories which, from page one, word one, grabbed me by the neck and just shook me. Granted, he was pressing pretty hard on a lot of my geek buttons (mysterious vaults! class warfare! lost societies and secret histories!), but I literally could not put them down. I’d read them at work, hiding out in my office with the door closed while I pretended to be hard at work on something else. I’d read them on the train and in bed. And when I finished every single one of them, I went right back to the beginning and started over.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, I’m a fan. And while A Private Little War has taken a lot of shit from people who wanted it to be something brighter, shinier, more hopeful or less full of bad language and murder, knowing that Hugh Howey liked it just kind of wiped that all away. He got it. A lot of other people didn’t. And I’m cool with that.

So the point of this unexpectedly long and rambling post is thus: A Private Little War is on sale for $1.99 until January 10. Hugh Howey and me both think its a pretty swell read, so maybe you should check it out. And seriously, at a buck-ninety-nine, what kind of risk are you really taking? Maybe you’ll hate it. You won’t be alone in that opinion if you do. But maybe you’ll go the other way and join the book’s weird little cult of fans.

We’re a small cult, but we’re feisty. And we’d be happy to have you on our side.

A Private Little War [on sale at Amazon until January 10]

Hugh Howey [Because you really should check him out if you haven’t already]

Americans Love Libraries (And Screw Anyone Who Says Otherwise)

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I love libraries. I grew up with a library as one of the central poles around which my young life rotated–my school, my home, my neighborhood, my library. When I was a boy we probably went to my local library once a week or more, always stripping the racks bare of books about spaceships, aliens, ray guns and, later, monsters and sons of bitches, both real and imaginary. The first serious writing I ever did was because of my local library (it was in the lobby that I found the entry form for the Avon Flare Young Novelists Competition, for which I wrote my first full book, at age 14 or 15) and, in the summer, I took classes at the library that taught me all sorts of interesting things (most notably: where in the stacks to go to kiss a girl and not get caught).

Now that I’m older, I go to the library less but I love it just the same. And, apparently, I’m not alone. PEW Research came out with a big study last month which asked Americans how they felt about libraries and the response was…heartening. Had you asked me last week whether or not I thought most Americans valued libraries I would’ve guessed that most of them wouldn’t have known where their local library was and that more than half wouldn’t have bothered pissing on it if it was burning, I am a bit of a pessimist and was proven totally wrong by the data. To wit…

Continue reading Americans Love Libraries (And Screw Anyone Who Says Otherwise)

Best Sci-Fi Books For Kids: Wordy Gifts For The Small Nerds In Your Life

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Recently, I did a post on the NPR books blog about science fiction books for kids–about choosing the right ones, and the right age at which to launch them upon your defenseless children. I deliberately left out a lot of stuff that had a big impact on me (the Heinlein juveniles, most notably, and some stuff that’s just been recommended to death) and lost a bunch more to my own verbose enthusiasm for the topic–which led me to write a couple thousand words for an outlet that really kinda wanted something short, simple and pluggish.

Which is cool. I get what NPR was after, and I was more than happy to provide what service I could. The books that made the final cut were all awesome and noggin-rattling and included such gems as Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino (a favorite around our house) and Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, which I’d somehow forgotten dealt rather heavily with some pretty out-there stuff–like space stations and alien invasions and other things that you’re missing out on if all you remember is Augustus Gloop getting sucked up in the giant pipe from the movie version of the first Charlie Bucket book.

Anyway, what with the holidays fast approaching and many of you out there in possession of small people of your very own, I figured it was worth reposting the link to the original piece here. And, as an added bonus, I’ve thrown in some of the books that ended up on the cutting room floor. Check ’em out after the jump.

More great sci-fi books for kids, right this way