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:

  • Support me on Patreon!  Just a dollar a month gets you access to exclusive stories, early access to new books as they come out, and more!
  • 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, and Politics Luther is usually angry and profane.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • 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!

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In which I’m an asshole but I’m trying to stop

91f2oZK0TILI used to discover new books by going to physical bookstores and spending a pleasurable hour searching through the shelves.  That method is effectively obsolete now, as damn near everything I read is something I discovered online (on Twitter, more often than not) and added to my Amazon wish list.  Sometimes I end up at Barnes and Noble anyway, though, and for whatever reason every time I set foot in that place nowadays it leads to a blog post.

I came across Christopher Ruocchio’s Empire of Silence at some point in the past few days; I don’t remember exactly when, but comparing something to Dune is guaranteed to get my attention and I added it to my wishlist.  We ended up celebrating my birthday tonight with steak and book-shopping, and I happened to find a copy of the book on the shelf somewhere.  I wasn’t familiar with Ruocchio– I think this is his debut novel, but I’m not 100% sure, and he’s definitely a young guy– and my first thought upon seeing his author picture was … well, judgmental.  I’m not gonna bother saying how, but he’d done nothing to deserve said judgmentalness.

And then I noticed that his author bio mentioned his Twitter feed, and so I pulled my phone out and went to look at his Twitter, specifically to see if he was posting anything on Twitter that would give me an excuse to not buy his books.  And I came across this Tweet:

Here’s the thing: my opinions on politics are very very apparent from my Twitter feed, and still pretty goddamn apparent from my blog posts.  I am absolutely certain that there are some people out there who might enjoy my books but won’t/wouldn’t have given me the chance because of my politics, and that’s okay.  Anyone who doesn’t want to read my work for any reason whatsoever is absolutely free to not do so, as none of you owe me anything.

My personal rule on the politics of authors and various and sundry other artists who I support is You Don’t Want None There Won’t Be None.  I’ve never deliberately gone looking for someone’s political ideas before deciding to check out their work before, but there have definitely been some authors– Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons come to mind immediately, and I threw away a John C. Wright book unread once I found out what a piece of shit he was, and I’m sure there are others– whose work I no longer read or never started because I find them to be such odious people.  But if you either keep your shit to yourself or if you put it out there you do it in such a way that you don’t immediately convince me that you’re a boil on the asshole of humanity, I’ve never been one to go looking for bullshit.  But if you put it out there, well, there might be consequences.

But that’s exactly what the hell I was doing– trying to comb this dude’s Twitter feed for a reason not to buy his book, because something about the way he looks set me off.

I don’t like the fact that I’ve turned into that person.

Long story short, I bought the goddamn book, which I was gonna do anyway, but as soon as I realized I was trying to find a reason to write this dude off and not buy his book I decided I had to buy it.  And I’m gonna try harder to rein in my own dickishness in the future, because this shit is ridiculous, and I don’t want to do it again.

Now I just gotta hope to hell I like the thing.  🙂

 

#REVIEW: TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, by Rebecca Roanhorse

trail-of-lightning-9781534413498_hrHere’s a one-sentence review of Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse, that ought to tell you basically everything you need to know:  I started it Saturday night at 10:30 PM, reading before going to sleep as I always do, and I had finished it by dinnertime the following day, and I worked from 11-5 on the day I finished it.

I woke up at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and rather than roll over and go back to sleep I grabbed a cup of coffee and took this book out onto my back porch to read outside for an hour or two before it got too hot.  I realized after I’d been out there for an hour that I’d left my phone sitting next to my bed.  Do you have any goddamn idea how rare it is for me to be more than ten feet from my phone for an hour?

(Okay, yeah, you probably do, but still.)

If that’s not enough, and if that gorgeous cover isn’t enough, how about the genre?  Trail of Lightning is Navajo post-apocalyptic urban fantasy.  And hard core Navajo, to the point where I feel kind of bad saying “Navajo” and not “Diné”.  There are words in this book that contain letters that I don’t know the names of, guys.(*)  A pronunciation guide would not have gone unappreciated.

Right, the story.

It is The Future.  Global warming and sea level rise has gone way way worse than anyone imagined (it is hinted, but not explicitly stated, that something supernatural may have happened to make it worse) and as a result huge swaths of what used to be the United States– like the entire midwest– have drowned and Dinétah, the Navajo nation, is an independent nation-state on its own again.  Maggie Hoskie is a social outcast who hunts monsters.

There are monsters, by the way.

I’m no hero.  I’m more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy.  I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.

That paragraph is from page 2.  It was at that precise moment that I knew I was in and this book was going to be something special.  Maggie is a bit of an asshole, so if you’re not the type to like abrasive first-person protagonists this may not quite be your cup of tea, but watching her hunt monsters and argue with trickster gods and do magic stuff and navigate the fascinating world that Rebecca Roanhorse has created was absolutely one of the biggest pleasures of the year so far with me.  Trail of Lightning joins two other debut novels by women of color– Jade City and The Poppy War— that are guaranteed to be on my top 10 list at the end of the year.  Roanhorse’s prose is clear and accessible and the book absolutely flies; this is the kind of novel that I want to write as much as I want to read it.

I’m just not going to try and read it out loud.  🙂

(*) hataałii, for example– I have no idea what to do with that L–, or yá’át’ééh, which has accents and apostrophes.  No italics for the Navajo words, either, which is great, unless you’re scanning for words you don’t know and don’t have that to help you.  (**)

(**) Audio on the web is inconsistent, but the ł may be pronounced like a W.

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:

  • Support me on Patreon!  Just a dollar a month gets you access to exclusive stories, early access to new books as they come out, and more!
  • 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, and Politics Luther is usually angry and profane.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • 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!

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#REVIEW: THE LIVES OF TAO, by Wesley Chu

51zuwjF8-lL._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_The Lives of Tao is the second of Wesley Chu’s books that I have read.  It is, I’m pretty certain, his debut novel, and has two sequels, The Deaths of Tao and The Rebirths of Tao.  I like Chu’s work quite a bit from what I’ve read of it, but this one has a few problems that didn’t show up in Time Salvager, which was the first Chu book I read.  He has some major strengths as an author, chief among which is writing fast-paced books that are difficult to put down and writing solid action.  The book has some weak parts, too, but we’ll get to those later.

The premise is thus: millions of years ago (think during the dinosaur age) a rather large group of aliens crashed on Earth.  The aliens found Earth’s atmosphere uninhabitable for them and quickly discovered that the only way they would be able to survive on our planet was to effectively act as symbiotic organisms and inhabit the bodies of creatures that were already surviving on Earth.  They were isolated from each other for millions of years (the aliens, the Quasing, aren’t precisely immortal– they can be killed– but they don’t die of old age) but eventually Earth managed to evolve intelligent life and ever since then the Quasing have been guiding our evolution as a species and trying to get humanity to a point where they can go back to space– which is apparently way more complicated than it sounds.   The book picks up when Tao, a Quasing whose host has just been killed is forced to inhabit the body of an overweight, unambitious computer programmer named Roen Tan, and basically has to change him from a video-game-obsessed chubby schlub into an international man of mystery and combat operative in a not-especially long period of time.  Oh and there are two different factions of the Quasing now and they don’t like each other all that much.

If that premise interests you, you should read this book; you’ll like it.  If you’re already scratching your head and going “Well, wait, what about…” then you might want to skip it, as not quite fully thinking the premise through is why this is a perfect four-star book (out of five) for me.  Over the course of the book you find out that most of the Quasing characters you encounter have inhabited major historical figures over the course of their, remember, theoretically infinite, millions-of-years-old lives.  Tao himself was, among others, Genghis Khan and Zhang Sanfeng, who you may not have heard of but was the inventor of tai chi.  At various points in the book Shakespeare, Galileo, the apostle Peter and any number of other important historical figures are all revealed to have been hosts for Quasing.

The problem is, “humans have never controlled their own destinies and have been inhabited by aliens manipulating them in a shadow war for literally all of history” isn’t the premise for an action-adventure with some comedy elements like this book.  It’s the premise of a horror story.  And the Quasing are not remotely alien enough to be actual aliens, much less aliens that are all millions of years old.  It’s not quite clear how they’ve not managed to return themselves to space yet either; they’ve retained all of their scientific knowledge, but Chu’s need to keep to the actual human span of history means that there need to be ridiculous bits like Galileo having been told by a Quasing that Earth wasn’t the center of the universe.  Did this just … never come up before?   I mean, once humans had opposable thumbs and enough of an intellect to use their tools, what was keeping the Quasing from just jumpstarting us to at least something close to the level of technology they had?  There are nods here and there to one of the factions not really wanting to alter human history that much, but there are apparently hundreds if not thousands of these things and they’ve been here for, again, the literal entirety of human history.  There’s no human history to alter.  There’s only Quasing history.

But again: I read this book in about three days in big gulps.  If you can ignore the previous paragraph, if that sort of thing isn’t going to get under your skin and gnaw at you, you’re probably going to like this book, and even though I am one of those people I’m going to end up picking up the sequels.  Don’t get me wrong: four stars, I enjoyed reading this.  But the premise needed some work before this went to print.  We’ll see if there are any corrections applied in the later books.  For now?  I’m still in.