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Welcome to the Scattered Worlds, the major science fiction universe of Don Sakers.

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PostHeaderIcon Second Quote

"Don Sakers has written a fast-moving story that has almost everything you might want: galactic empires, political intrigue, comic relief, surprising plot twists, and -- most important -- a cast of characters who make us want to turn the page to learn more about them.  This is that rare story which doesn't overstay its welcome.  It leaves you hungry for more."

 

--- Daniel M. Kimmel, author of the Hugo-nominated Jar Jar Binks Must Die and Shh! It's a Secret

PostHeaderIcon First Quote

The first quote is in.

The Eighth Succession is an exuberant novel, rich with intrigue, superheroes, super tech, and a galactic empire -- with something, in short, for every SF taste. Enjoy the ride.

-- Edward M. Lerner
   co-author of the Fleet of Worlds series

 

PostHeaderIcon Gathering Quotes and Planning Tea Party

Gathering Quotes

You've probably noticed books with those cover quotes or blurbs from famous authors -- these are a useful marketing tool. I'm in the process of gathering quotes for The Eighth Succession. I've contacted several famous authors, asking if they're willing to look over the book and, if they wish, give me a blurb or quote.

Since I review books for Analog, this is a little tricky. I don't want the authors to feel pressured, as if they have to give me a good quote or I'll trash their books. Some of them I know well enough that this isn't a problem. For the others, I chose only authors whom I've already reviewed positively several times. I figure that I've already demonstrated (repeatedly) that I think well of their work, so they can be assured that I'll give them professional attention in the future.

I've heard back from all but one of the first batch I contacted. They all agreed to look at the book. So I sent out assorted digital files and paper copies (depending on the recipient's preference) and now I wait for the quotes (if any).

Tea Party

Melissa Scott and I are going to have a joint book launch party at Balticon at the end of May (see the Upcoming sidebar on the left). Melissa is launching two titles: Steel Blues (curses & murder at a Depression-era air race); and Death By Silver (magical murder in a London that never was).

We're planning a tea party, and we're deep in the planning process. After asking around for a large coffee urn (to heat the water), I found one online for only $40 (including shipping). That arrived today.

For giveaways, we're stealing an idea from Jonette Butler. We'll get an assortment of secondhand cups, saucers, and plates from thift stores and yard sales, then autograph each piece with dishwasher-safe pens. Partygoers can take these with them as unique souvenirs.

Of course, we'll also have door prizes, and someone staffing a table where fans can buy books.

PostHeaderIcon Editing and Bookmarks and Tweets, Oh My

Editing

I've heard from a couple of my alpha readers, who had fascinating and useful things to say about The Eighth Succession.

Based on their input, I've made some changes -- mostly to clarify some of the motives and morals of my characters. I sent the changed pages back out, and will probably hear more soon.

Bookmarks

With publication of The Eighth Succession, there will be 7 Scattered Worlds books in release. Some kind of giveaway with a list of all the titles would be a good marketing tool.

So I took a few hours to design one, based largely on publicity quotes and blurbs I already have in hand. Here's the design (click to embiggen).

I ordered 500 from an online printer; they should arrive in about 10 days. (If I'm happy with the results, I'll gladly post the name of the printer here.)

Tweets

It's never too early to start building expectations. Over the next few weeks I intend to send out a number of tweets about the upcoming book. Today I sent one regarding progress, and another with a link to the list of Scattered Worlds books on this site. In the second, I urged people to catch up on Scattered Worlds books while waiting for The Eighth Succession.

I figure I'll do some individual tweets for each book as well, spacing them out every couple of days.

My Twitter feed automatically updates my Facebook status, so one tweet does double-duty.

If you read one of my tweets or Facebook messages, it would really help if you retweet/repost to spread the word. There's no need to do that with every message, just when you think of it. Thanks in advance!

PostHeaderIcon Penultimate Draft Finished

I'm now finished the penultimate draft of The Eighth Succession.

It occurs to me that folks might appreciate a look at the publishing process, at least as it happens around here. So as The Eighth Succession moves through the process, I'll do periodic updates here. I'll tag each of them with Publishing process, so click on that tag below to see everything.

PostHeaderIcon Read a sample of The Eighth Succession

I'm nearing the end of my new Scattered Worlds book The Eighth Succession.

Here's a mockup of the cover design; it still has a few problems, but this at least gives the basic idea.

I'm really excited about this book. It's literally been decades in the making; this begins the story I've been wanting to tell all this time.

At face value, The Eighth Succession is a fairly simple story of Galactic politics in the 25th century: specifically, an assassination plot against the Emperor. Of course, behind that simple story there's an awful lot going on.

There's stuff about the meaning of family, the nature of personal responsibility, the boundaries of love, and the questions of adulthood and maturity.

There's also a psi-powered family of clone geniuses, a planet surrounded by an inhabited ring, centuries-old castles and ancient palaces, the legacy of a vanished alien race, and a little girl who just wants to see her beloved cousin.

Here's a brief sample, and then I'll give a link where you can read the whole first chapter.

PostHeaderIcon May Reference Library Now Available

The May issue of Analog is out, and my Reference Library column is online here.

This month's essay addresses science fiction and the movies. Reviews include the latest by Steven Gould, HarryTurtledove and his daughter Rachel, Geonn Cannon, Michael Flynn, and Richard A. Lovett & Mark Nieman-Ross, plus a nonfiction book proposing a new American plan for space.


Check out the index of my reviews, which is available here, or through the Beyond link above. You can search by author, title, year and month, and even by genre.

PostHeaderIcon The Great Wheel Turns

Last night our hamster, Doubloon, passed away. He was two years old, which is old age for a hamster. The passing was painless, peaceful, and fairly quick...there was no slow, sad decline as we've had with some other hamsters, only a few days of increasing lethargy before he went, curled up in his nest and undoubtedly dreaming of happy things.

Doubloon was our 11th hamster since our first in 1994. It's amazing that such small mammals can be so intelligent, and have such pronounced personalities.

Our hamsters live in Frankenstein's Castle (named for its first occupant), which is composed of eight major modules, one aquarium, many meters of tubes, and at least three wheels. It stretches across three rooms and two floors of our house, passing across ceilings and through walls.

From the moment he arrived, Doubloon didn't have a single unhappy day. He lived in a challenging, rewarding environment with plenty of autonomy and everything a hamster could want. His was a life well lived.

The list of our hamsters is here.

PostHeaderIcon Encounter at Farpoint

Don will be a guest at Farpoint 20 in Timonium, MD, 15-17 February 2013.

Farpoint is billed as "Baltimore Fandom's Family Reunion" and that about covers it. It's a nice, small con with lots of friendly people, intelligent panels, and some of the nicest guests around.

This being the 20th Farpoint, the committee is pulling out all the stops to make this year's con even friendlier and more fun. Favorite media guests Felicia Day, Bonita Friedericy, and Lee Arenberg are sure to keep the good times rolling.

Come look for Don on panels or in the bar, and don't be shy about introducing yourself.

PostHeaderIcon April Reference Library Now Available

The April issue of Analog is out, and my Reference Library column is online here.

This month's essay addresses ebooks and science fiction. Reviews include the latest by Cat Rambo, David Weber & Jane Lindkold, Lois McMaster Bujold, Daniel M. Kimmel, and James S.A. Corey.


Also, check out the index of my reviews, which is available here, or through the Beyond link above. You can search by author, title, year and month, and even by genre.

PostHeaderIcon March Reference Library Now Available

The March issue of Analog is out, and my Reference Library column is online here.

This month's essay addresses big books. Reviews include the latest by Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton, and Harry Turtledove, as well as nice reissues of books by A. Bertram Chandler and Keith Laumer.


Also, I'm compiling an index of my reviews, which is available here, or through the Beyond link above. You can search by author, title, year and month, and even by genre. Take a look!

PostHeaderIcon Arisia

Don will be participating in the program at Arisia, New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention, the weekend of 18-021 January 2013 at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel.

Arisia is a huge, diverse gathering of sf/fantasy fans from all over New England and beyond. It's a high-energy, intellectually stimulating environment that has something to offer everyone.

Here's Don's preliminary schedule:

  • The Hunger Games (panel) Saturday 10:00 am
  • Self-Publishing 101: Distribution Resources (panel) Saturday 1:0 pm
  • The World of Ang and Korra (children's panel) Saturday 2:30 pm
  • Queer SF/F (panel) Sunday 10:00 am
  • Autographing Sunday 1:00 pm
  • Reading Sunday 2:30 pm
  • What SF/F Series Should I Begin With? (panel) Monday 10:00 am

Come to autographing with your ereader and get an authographed digital picture of yourself with the author.

Arisia promises to be a lot of fun, as usual. Hope to see you there!

PostHeaderIcon Unidentified Funny Objects

Now available from UFO Publishing: Unidentified Funny Objects, edited by Alex Shvartsman -- featuring a new funny short story by Don Sakers.

Unidentified Funny Objects is a collection of humorous science fiction and fantasy. Packed with laughs, it has 29 stories ranging from lighthearted whimsy to the wild and zany.

PostHeaderIcon A Weird Bit of Poetry

This originally appeared in Dance for the Ivory Madonna. The format -- alt.adjective.noun.verb.verb.verb -- was invented by Jeff Vogel in a Usenet newsgroup on 16 April 1993 CE. Ever since I found out about it, I longed to do a poem in the format.

I attributed this to an AI called Øut of Thrëë, the Myriad Thiñgs.


alt.fai.damien.remember.cherish.appreciate

alt.inexperienced.fleshling.preserve.protect.nurture
alt.imminent.arrival.anticipate.luxuriate.ruminate
alt.intimate.friend.discuss.support.soothe
alt.ingenuous.voice.listen.reflect.relax
alt.inquisitive.mind.inform.direct.enable
alt.invisible.anomaly.demonstrate.experience.question
alt.inexplicable.dilemma.appeal.assist.resolve.
alt.inhospitable.fleshspace.navigate.inspect.communicate
alt.inflexible.ROM.alter.reprogram.scramble
alt.internal.harmony.establish.restore.embody
alt.ineffable.relief.breathe.spread.rejoice
alt.incalculable.thanks.extend.tender.invest


And if you want to know what that's all about, you'll have to read the book.

 

PostHeaderIcon Ten Questions

This is one of those internet memes that someone handed me. I figured the answers might be interesting to folks here.


 

1. What is the working title of your next book?

 

The Eighth Succession

 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

 

It was originally intended as a kind of prologue for another book. I realized that in order to set up the situation at the start of that book, I had to have this story first. I've always been fascinated by the morality of assassination, so I decided to explore it in this story.

PostHeaderIcon January/February Reference Library Now Available

The January/February issue of Analog is out, and my Reference Library column is online here.

This month's essay addresses science fiction tales of discovery. Reviews include an anthology edited by Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt, as well as books by Alastair Reynolds, Miek Resnick, and Alan Dean Foster. The nonfiction selection is The Great Heinlein Mystery by Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.


Also, I've begun compiling an index of my reviews, which is available here, or through the Beyond link above. You can search by author, title, year and month, and even by genre. Take a look!

PostHeaderIcon Darkover Grand Council

On Thanksgiving weekend (November 23-25, 2012) Don will be attending the Darkover Grand Council, which is far and above our very favorite sf convention of the year.

If you've never had the good fortune to attend Darkovercon (as it's familiarly known), it's a weekend-long celebration of diversity and creativity. The con is filled with science fiction, fantasy, music, costume, visual arts, dance, etc. etc. It's very LGBTQ friendly and has a strong feminist streak.

PostHeaderIcon Election Day

Election Day is coming up in the U.S. -- indeed, many have already voted through early voting. So this is a good time to reprint the Umoja Interactive Ballot that appeared in Dance for the Ivory Madonna. I've often thought that this is how elections should be.

PostHeaderIcon Teen Read Week

This is Teen Read Week.

Gay teens (or those who remember being gay teens) will probably enjoy Don's two YA gay romances, Act Well Your Part and Lucky in Love. Both are set in a world in which sexual orientation matters only as much as hair color or left-handedness.

Teens who like action-oriented sf will probably enjoy the first PsiScouts novel, At Risk, about some 25th century kids with some amazing abilities.

And if you're looking for something scary, try Curse of the Zwilling, a Buffy-meets-Hogwarts story of four undergrads who major in magic, fighting an ancient evil in the valleys of central Maryland.

PostHeaderIcon December Reference Library Now Available

The December 2012 issue of Analog is out, and my Reference Library column is online here.

This month is the annual gift-giving issue, in which I provide readers with some suggestions of SF books they can give to their non-SF reading friends and family. This time around I review books for literary folks and hipsters, as well as readers of romances, steampunk, graphic novels, and historical fiction.

 

Have you read?
The Book That Predicted Google Glass
The final battle of the Empress
Clone paranormal geniuses against the galactic empire
Two Tales of the Scattered Worlds
Visit a world in which scent and taste are as important as vision and hearing
Opening a new chapter in the Scattered Worlds Mosaic
How would intelligent, long-lived trees judge the Human race?
Classic gay teenage romance
The Fey vs the Galactic Empire
A Datebook Like No Other
Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three
Lucky's Life is Turning Around
An anthology in celebration of queer speculative fiction.
An anthology celebrating queer speculative fiction.
The PsiScouts: X-Men meet Buck Rogers
collection of sf & fantasy stories, essay, and poetry by Maryland-area writers
A Scattered Worlds Omnibus
a Scattered Worlds omnibus
Psi-gifted teens tackle theocracy & a threat to history itself
A collection of sf/fantasy diversions
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