STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m a writer and an editor.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

I can be found in several different places on the Internet.  Here’s the important ones:

  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  Warning: Twitter is where Politics Luther hangs out.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • Sign up for my mailing list here.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I accept any and all friend requests.
  • My official Author page on Amazon is located here.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts.
  • And, of course, you’re already at infinitefreetime.com, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Prostetnic hi-res cropped

 

#REVIEW: JADE CITY, by Fonda Lee

34606064Every so often, shit ends up working out the way I want it to.

I bought Jade City effectively at random– I was at a Barnes and Noble with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and desperately searching for anything at all in the sci-fi section that looked like it had been written by a person of color.  Jade City was on my Amazon wish list, so I’d come across it the title before somewhere, but at the time couldn’t remember where– and, in fact, still can’t.  So I really bought the book for no other reason other than it was there, and it took me a while to get around to reading it.

You should go grab it and read it right now.

A Goodreads friend asked me the other day what “flavor of fantasy” this book was.  It’s a trickier question to answer than one might think, because here’s the thing: this isn’t really all that much of a fantasy book.  The best comparison I can make for it, honestly, is The Godfather.  Except in pseudo-Japan, which in this book is called Kekon, and while the Corleones were pretty explicitly all criminals, the No Peak clan, which all of the main characters in the book are members (or aspiring members) of, is almost more like a local governing agency than a mafia family.  The trappings are there, sorta?  And no one in the book is ever averse to using violence or various other forms of street mayhem when it’s necessary?  But there’s really no element in this book of having to hide from police, and if anything the book goes out of its way to emphasize how the clans help regulate the actual criminals.

So, the fantasy element: Kekon is the world’s only source of jade.  Jade, in this world, provides superpowers to certain people, known as Green Bones, who keep it in contact with their skin.  The more jade you can handle, the stronger you are; powers include strength, invulnerability, speed, enhanced perception, the usual bundle of Superman-esque abilities, more superhero-style than magical.  Not everyone can use jade, though; some people are simply immune to its effects where others (including most foreigners) are quickly driven crazy by exposure to it.  Jade exposure can also harm veteran Green Bones if they wear too much jade or go too far when using it.

So, yeah: Kekon is controlled by clans, and the clans tightly regulate the supply of jade and how much each clan has access to, and also how much can be exported to other countries.  There’s also a drug, called Shine, that cuts down on jade’s negative effects somewhat, allowing foreigners to use it at high doses and cutting down on jade sickness in Green Bones in smaller doses.  The drug is also pretty tightly regulated, although other countries are working hard at synthesizing it so that they can have their own Green Bones.

Take all of this and drop a clan war on top of it, along with a subplot hinting at no small amount of international intrigue– like, I can see future books in this series easily incorporating spy elements– as one clan begins smuggling jade to other countries without the others knowing and the other countries make plans to take control of Kekon’s jade production entirely.  Throw in a pretty damn compelling intergenerational family story that doesn’t even need the fantasy elements, a couple of awesome woman characters, and a subplot involving a petty street thief and you have what is easily my favorite book of the year so far, and an early frontrunner for best book of the year.   Fonda Lee is the shit, guys, and I can’t wait for the second book in this series.

Go read it.

Self-improvement is exhausting

1*8Ar3DCW48UrBB8YiA2J6XAI remain fully caught up on the “draw every day” project, if only because I drew two pictures tonight.  I am beginning to think that the best use of my time might be to actually find some sort of art tutorial thing rather than constantly drawing from .jpg files of animated characters.  I can whip up a Buttercup in a hot second but I’m not convinced that being able to draw Buttercup well is the same thing as being able to draw.  I remain vaguely terrified of the idea of drawing something unique for some reason.  This is, of course, not why I started this project.  Fuck fear.  But if I’m going to take this seriously I feel like I ought to try and find some sort of resource more useful than thinking of a kids’ TV show I like and Googling good images of the characters.

Speaking of creativity, I left work today after telling my boss that I was only coming back on Saturday if I’d managed to get some writing done in the next two days.  Luckily I have nothing in particular that I need to get done tomorrow or the day after, or at least nothing that I can think of (well, okay, I could use an oil change for my car, and I have to take the boy to school both days; I don’t think either of those really count) and so I won’t have any good excuse to not get something done.  Then again, I’m really good at generating excuses.

I’ll finish Fonda Lee’s Jade City tonight, so expect a glowing review in the next couple of days.  It’s an early frontrunner for my favorite book of the year, I’ll tell you that.  I’m considering spending February only reading books by black authors, so if you have anyone in particular you’d like to recommend, please feel free to chime in in comments and make some suggestions.

Oh man

Mojo_Jojo.jpgI had a dream last night about not being able to sleep, if you’re wondering how the last couple of days have gone.  I just haven’t had much to say lately; sorry about that.  On the plus side, I’m about halfway through Jade City by Fonda Lee and it is holy shitballs good, especially for a book that I bought effectively at random.

I was about to post a picture of Mojo Jojo that I just drew as penance for my silence, but my phone is in the other room, and oh god is that so far away.  So… uh… here’s an actual drawing of Mojo Jojo.

(Also, this is probably obvious, but those of you who have been around long enough to remember that I occasionally liveblog the SOTU: I won’t be watching. I can’t put up with that thing’s voice long enough to watch.  Sorry.)