Archive for the 'Science Fiction and Fantasy' 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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november events

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. I’ll be at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Philadelphia for Futures and Fairy Tales: A Kaleidoscope of Diverse Adventures with authors Claire Legrand, Sarah Fine, Sarah Raasch, Shveta Thakrar, and Julia Rios (co-editor of Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories).

This event is a stop on the Futures and Fairy Tales book tour, and Claire and the Sarahs graciously agreed to team up with Kaleidoscope for one big night. I’m really looking forward to it! If you’re in the area, please come by. This is probably my last in-person event for 2014!

If you can’t make it, you can also catch me online tomorrow night during a Twitter chat with YA Books Central from 9 to 10 p.m. EST. We will be discussing my new book, The Silence of Six, giving away copies, and taking questions. Follow the hashtag #SilenceofSix to participate!

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see you at Dragon Con!

ToothlessI’ll be at Dragon Con from Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 1! This is my busiest convention yet. My schedule is below, and if you’re using the mobile app to plan your weekend, I’m the only guest with the last name Myers. Whenever I’m not participating on programming, chances are you can find me in the Pyr Books Booth, #424, 425 in the new exhibitor space adjacent to the Westin. Come say hi, get copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed, and pick up free bookmarks and a special Dragon Con discount coupon for an amazing new anthology I’m in, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. And of course, you can always reach me on Twitter.

FRIDAY, August 29

4:00 p.m. — Dragons! Defenders of Berk, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow, Marriot A707

SATURDAY, August 30

11:30 a.m. — Writing for the Young Adult Market, Hyatt Embassy D-F

1:00 p.m. — Buffy Summers and Harry Potter: The Chosen Ones, Westin Chastain FG

2:30 p.m. — LEGOs are Awesome, Marriot A708

4:00 p.m. — Signing: Pyr Books Booth #424, 425 (1 hour)

7:00 p.m. — All Kinds of Super Heroes, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — From Page to Screen: Dystopia, Hyatt International South

SUNDAY, August 31

10:00 a.m. — Diversity in YA, Marriot A707

11:30 a.m. — Signing: Pyr Books Booth #424, 425 (1 hour)

1:00 p.m. — Hungry for the Hunger Games?, Hilton Crystal Ballroom

4:00 p.m. — Reading, Hyatt Roswell* (I’m hoping to find a few others to read selections from the Kaleidoscope anthology with me. Please e-mail me if you’re interested!)

*Updated 8/25/14 to add signings on Saturday and Sunday

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“Atlantic Rim”: A GISHWHES Story

elopusI wrote this 140-word drabble for a friend’s GISHWHES team, to fulfill scavenger hunt item #78: “Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus.”

There was no room for a title in my submission, but I’m calling it “Atlantic Rim”, for reasons which may soon be obvious. Enjoy!

“Atlantic Rim” by E.C. Myers

Misha didn’t know why the Queen of England summoned him for an audience, but when a queen calls, you don’t let it go to voicemail.

“Please approach the throne.” The Queen’s aide frowned. “You’ve shaved.”

“Sorry?” Misha stroked his chin.

“At least you wore the trenchcoat.” The man beckoned him forward. “Kneel.”

Misha kneeled.

“By decree of Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth, Misha Collins is hereby conferred an honorary knighthood for service to the Crown. Etcetera.”

Misha squinted at the elderly woman. “Does she ever talk? Also, what service?”

The room trembled. Outside the window, a ten-story-tall beast crawled toward the palace on eight squishy tentacles. Its elephantine trunk swung ominously.

“Um,” Misha said. “You know I’m not really an angel?”

“Then you’ll need the Royal Mecha-Corgi to battle Elopus.” The aide tossed him a key ring. “Good luck.”

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new short story available today!

20140805_000310My short story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” is available today in the anthology Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories!

I’m honored to be in this collection with amazing authors Garth Nix, Karen Healey, Sean Williams, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Vylar Kaftan, Amal El-Mohtar, William Alexander, Shveta Thakrar, and many more. From the flap copy:

What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage.

I think this is an important book, and I also think “Kiss” is one of my best stories. (See an excerpt below the fold.) I wrote a bit more about the anthology and diversity in YA over at the League of Extraordinary Writers today, and there have already been a couple of very favorable reviews that offer deeper glimpses at the stories within:

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I hope you’ll check out this collection and enjoy my story. It’s available now in eBook and print (available Oct. 1 in Australia) wherever books are sold. You can also enter to win one of ten free copies at Goodreads through Aug. 20 and enter another giveaway at the Book Smugglers (and read an interview with the editors) through Aug. 9.

 

Continue reading ‘new short story available today!’

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