Archive for the 'Media' Category

book recommendation: Now That You’re Here

In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.

One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body–his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee–a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom–may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

I consider myself something of a connoisseur of stories about parallel universes. I’ve been a fan of multiple worlds since the Spock-with-a-beard episode of the original Star Trek, and I never tire of seeing the idea explored in television, films, and of course books. It seems like the last decade has enjoyed a kind of alternate-universe Renaissance; the idea of visiting other universes has gone from a niche concept like the old show Sliders in the 1990s to a mainstream popular culture phenomenon. That’s good news for aficionados like me who can’t get enough of these tales, but the flip side is that we’ve kind of seen everything by now. Or have we?

One of the joys of multiverse stories is that there are as many variations on the topic as there are (potentially) other worlds out there. The key to making these stories unique, entertaining, and moving is to focus on the characters who live them — and that’s where Amy K. Nichols’ debut YA novel, Now That You’re Here, shines. Main characters Eevee Solomon and Danny Ogden (who alternate chapters throughout the book), and a host of secondary characters including Eevee’s best friend Warren, are believable, sympathetic, and engaging. You need a compelling cast to ground a book like this in reality — take your pick of which — and whisk the reader along through the inevitable exposition. One of the trickiest parts of any book dealing with theoretical quantum physics is conveying it to readers, and Nichols manages that delicate balance well.

Rather than dwelling on the complex science that might make multiple worlds — and travel between them — possible, Nichols emphasizes the complexity of people: What makes us who we are, and the relationships that bind us together. What’s most important is how Danny’s jump from his universe to Eevee’s affects them both. Their stories intersect and parallel each other in surprising, fascinating ways; Danny loses his universe, a dystopian surveillance state, and in turn shakes up Eevee’s world, allowing her to realize just how controlled her own life has been. This book also celebrates geeks and how intelligence, curiosity, and compassion can empower teens to accomplish profound things — all with a bit of wit, humor, and romance.

From its literally explosive start, Now That You’re Here hooks the reader and pulls them into Eevee’s world right along with Danny. The mystery of how Danny exchanged places with his other self is explained (mostly) in a satisfying, and to me entirely fresh way, and the sensible and clever steps Eevee, Danny, and Warren take to unravel it and devise a solution to send him home is thrilling. But it’s the personal questions they ask of themselves and each other, and the answers they find together, that provides the real substance of the novel.

If you’re new to books about parallel universes, Now That You’re Here is the perfect place to launch your adventure across multiple worlds. And if you think you’ve seen it all, you’re wrong; though this book necessarily treads on some familiar ground, you haven’t met anyone like Eevee and Danny — or their other selves — yet. Fans of books like Parallel by Lauren Miller, Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, and Planesrunner by Ian McDonald shouldn’t miss this exciting take on the multiverse. I’m already looking forward to While You Were Gone, the second book in the Duplexity duology, in which we see what the alternate Eevee and Danny are up to in Danny’s parallel world. Brilliant, right?

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols is now available from Knopf Books for Young Readers. While You Were Gone (Duplexity #2) will follow in 2015.

This post originally appeared at The League of Extraordinary Writers.

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books vs. babies!

me_and_rPeople sometimes talk about books as if they are babies, raised by the author and ultimately sent into the world to make their fortunes. We even wish authors a “happy book birthday” on their publication day! In the last month, I’ve been thinking about the similarities and differences between “book babies” and actual babies, since I’m in the position to compare the two directly; as it happens (as it was meant to happen), my new book and our first baby were both scheduled to debut in the first week of November. :-o

My son turned up a little early, which made the launch of The Silence of Six slightly easier, but it has still been an interesting experience juggling my new life as a father with my life as a writer with a day job. I decided to put books and babies side by side in the chart below. Like books and babies, it’s still a work in progress, and I left a few things out. Do you have anything you would add or disagree with? Let me know in the comments below!

[Click to embiggen]

[Click to embiggen]

This post originally appeared at Pub(lishing) Crawl on Dec. 3, 2014.

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book birthdays

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Hey, today’s my birthday! It’s also the birthday of one Edward Cullen (June 20, 1901), from a little-known series called Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, as well as Jackson Meyer (June 20, 1990), the time-traveling protagonist of Julie Cross’ Tempest Trilogy.

What other book birthdays do you know? What characters do you share a birthday with?

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we need diverse books

We need diverse books because the only book character that looked like me when I was a kid was Claudia Kishi.

We need diverse books because the only book character that looked like me when I was a kid was Claudia Kishi, who admittedly is awesome.

Happy May Day, everyone!

Today is the first of three days of online campaigning for more diverse books! It seems appropriate to begin this on May 1, because May Day has become known in the U.S. as a day for promoting change. “Mayday” is also an internationally recognized distress signal, and we do need help. Mayday. Mayday. Mayday.

The call for diversity in books means we want to see books written by and about people of all races, genders, abilities, sexual orientations, cultures, religions, shapes, sizes, and more. Traditionally, diversity has been underrepresented in publishing, because supposedly diverse books don’t sell. It’s hard to sell what isn’t there or is hidden. We need to change that too, so we not only need to see more diverse books, but we need to buy and promote them too.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks has been trending for the past couple of days on Twitter, and we hope it continues to generate interest, along with the other phases of the campaign. Today, check out http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com and share and submit photos telling everyone “We need diverse books because…”

Visit Facebook for more info on the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and find out how to spread the word and get involved. And follow along on Twitter and Tumblr from May 1-3. Thank you!

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happy birthday, fair coin!

FairCoin_2Hey, remember when Pyr Books published my first novel, Fair Coin? That was something like, two years ago. Almost exactly two years ago. Okay, it was exactly two years ago today.

If you had a time-traveling DeLorean, you could enter MAR 06 2012 into its time circuits and go back to pick the book up on its release day. (Thanks!) Don’t have a time machine? Well, you can still find Fair Coin in quality independent book shops and on the internet, even in 2014.

In the novel, Ephraim’s “wishing coin” completely changes his life, and the book has done the same for me — fortunately in all good ways. So far. The last year as an author has been particularly great, what with all the wonderful authors, librarians, teachers, and readers I’ve met; an amazing new audiobook narrated by MacLeod Andrews; and of course a shiny Andre Norton Award. No complaints here. Thank you to everyone who has read Fair Coin and reviewed it, recommended it, voted for it, bought it for a kid, shared it with a parent, and just generally been very supportive.

ttIt’s been two years, but I promise I’ve been working on new books, and I really expect to finish them any day now… Really, I’m not kidding. Stop giving me that look. Whether they get published is another matter, but I’m at least going to try to get my part done.

I also have written and sold a few short stories this year that should be published soonish in exciting collections, and I even have two recent story publications — a YA time-travel story titled “Shadows of My Future Self” in Inaccurate Realities #2, and a reprint of “Caution: Contents Hot” in Coffee: 14 Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic — so you could always look for those. And if you’d like to see me in person, check out my event calendar.

In the meantime, I hope Fair Coin‘s twos aren’t too terrible, especially since its younger brother is coming up on a birthday in about six months…

(BTW, by crazy random happenstance, today is also the birthday of Faircoin, “the first fairly distributed crypto currency”! You can use that to buy books, right?)

 

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