NIAA Progress Report #8

Work continues well on the big manuscript submission of 2011 with Nothing is an Accident.  I continue to stick to my schedule of Monday through Friday, with submitting to five agents per day to keep the numbers up.  With the agent I received a request for the manuscript for, it was eventually rejected, but then shortly after I received another request from another agent for more manuscript, so now I’m keeping my fingers with this one.  I’ve also been in contact with a couple big name author friends of mine, hitting them up for possible agents they might know to submit to, and I’ve gotten a few more from them to do this with.  And as for my numbers on how many agents I’ve submitted to, how many rejected, here are the stats:

Agent Count

“Flashback” by Dan Simmons (Reagan Arthur, 2011)


It seems like the bestselling and award winner author, Dan Simmons, used up a lot of his talent and ability with the truly fantastic The Terror, and almost as good Drood, and in the meantime has been publishing sub-par work that fans and readers of his have come to expect to be otherwise.  Black Hills was an atrocious story that seemed to get lost in itself; while Flashback is a definite improvement on its predecessor, yet it still has a lot to be desired as a science fiction novel, especially when coming from the mind of such a talented author.

In Flashback, the United States is on the brink of collapse, but the citizens of America don’t care because 87% of them are addicted to a drug known as “flashback,” that when taken allows users to travel back into their past and memories and live specific moments over and over in excruciating detail, to the point where it is almost as if the memory were reality.  Nick Bottom used to be a detective, a good one, and then his wife was killed in a car crash, and now he’s been fired and is addicted to flashback like so many others, reliving moments with the love of his life.  But Bottom was a good cop and one rich man knows that, and is employing him one last time to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor’s son, because Bottom remembers the time of the murder and will need to use flashback to remember some important details to see if he can find out just who this murderer is.

While Flashback seems like a vaguely interesting science fiction premise, and Simmons tries for a quasi-noire story in down and out Nick Bottom, the big problem is that this storyline and construct has been done and overdone in some way or shape or form numerous time in the genre and through various mediums: William Gibson did it with Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson did it with Snow Crash, Phillip K. Dick did it with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (made renowned by the movie version, Blade Runner), Richard K. Morgan is another author who uses this construct.  Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a distracting obstruction if Flashback was written by a middling author, or even a new one; but to have it written by a man whom many have come to expect truly great and original and astounding novels from . . . it leaves one feeling disappointed to say the least.  Here’s hoping Simmons novel in 2012, whatever it might be, is a big improvement, or the man may begin dropping fans like a person suffering severe leprosy drops digits and eventual limbs.

Originally written on September 21, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

“White Horse” Progress Report 23



REASON FOR STOPPING: Reached a good stopping point for the week.

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 14,181 words

This was easily the most productive week writing-wise I’ve ever had in my life.  Who knew the key was to not have a job keeping you busy each day.  It was kind of fun to feel like a full time writer for the week.  And here were the word goals I hit each day:

  • Monday – 5274
  • Tuesday – 4419
  • Wednesday – 2161
  • Thursday – 2327

Completed all of chapter fifteen and made some good headway with chapter sixteen.  The novel is moving along with great speed now that I’ve completely outlined the rest of the plot.  I think 75k is still a good final word count goal for the manuscript, though there is a chance it may go over, but this is definitely the right ballpark for it.  The other goal I hit at the end of this week was I reached PAGE 300!

BookBanter Links Roundup for 09/29/11

“Vortex” by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor, 2011)


Robert Charles Wilson returns with the thrilling conclusion to his trilogy that began with Spin and Axis, in Vortex.  Like the previous sequel, this one begins with something completely new and different from the other novels, immediately hooking in the reader, though this time Wilson provides a familiar face, Turk Findley, to guide the reader along.

Through the power of the enigmatic beings known as the Hypotheticals, Turk has been transported ten thousand years into the future, along with the unique character of Isaac Dvali, who was created as a conduit to the Hypotheticals.  They find themselves joining with a population known as the Vox, who travel on a massive island that is the size of a continent.  The Vox have been traveling for centuries through the arches to different worlds.  They know that the world known as Earth, which is now in ruin and degradation, but it is the place where they hope to finally face and commune with the Hypotheticals.

The strange twist to this is that this story of Findley, Isaac and the Vox is being told through the journal writings of a troubled man known as Orin Mather, ten thousand years in the past (set in the world and time of Spin), who is being helped by a psychiatrist, Sandra Cole, as well as a cop, Bose.  They’re all trying to deal with this story set in the distant future and decide whether it’s true or a work of fantastic fiction.

Readers of the trilogy may not get all the resolution they expect, especially not if they’re wondering what happened to certain characters in Spin, or why things are happening the way they are and at this time, i.e. why the Hypotheticals are doing this?  However, readers will be completely hooked by the great storytelling and full and developed characters that are all trying to understand the big why of it all, just like the reader.  And it is really only at the very end of Vortex that readers get the full answers they’ve been patiently waiting for since the stars blacked out and disappeared long ago in Spin.

Originally written on September 21, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

You might also like . . .

Spin    Axis    Chronoliths

This is Post Number 1000 of the BookBanter Blog

Yep, this is the official one thousandth post of this blog, which has been going for just a couple years now (BookBanter Blog’s birthday is September 26th!).  Let’s see what stats we can find about the BookBanter Blog . . .

  • 1000 posts (duh!)
  • 94 categories
  • 3,206 tags
  • 43,557 hits since the blog began (not bad!)
  • busiest day was April 4th, 2011 with 601 hits
  • First post was made on September 26, 2009

Top Ten Posts of All Time:

If You’re Going to Read One Zombie Novel This Year, Read “Feed” More stats 2,360
“The Rules for Marriage” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider (Grand Central, 2001) More stats 2,128
“Beowulf: A New Verse Translation” by Seamus Heaney (Norton, 2000) More stats 860
An Interview with Mira Grant (April, 2010) More stats 724
A Halloween Post with Some Recommended Halloween Reads More stats 688
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” Translated by Simon Armitage (Norton, 2007) More stats 584
“San Francisco Giants: 50 Years” by Brian Murphy (Insight Editions, 2008) More stats 535
Dancing With Dragons: An Interview With Naomi Novik More stats 535
An Interview with Peter Straub (March, 2010) More stats 529
“Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland” by Bryan Sykes (Norton, 2006) More stats 456

BookBanter Links Roundup For 09/28/11

“Axis” by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor, 2007)


Robert Charles Wilson’s sequel to the Hugo Award winning Spin, Axis, does what not a lot of sequels do: it continues readers on this most unique story, but with a whole new world and cast of characters that helps to give everything a new pristine look, as if one were reading a individual, stand-alone novel, and not a sequel.

The god-like beings known as the Hypotheticals are doing what they do best: messing with the ways of the cosmos.  In Axis, the reader travels through the giant arch gate located in the Indian Ocean and into the new and different world known as Equatoria, which was apparently created for humanity by these Hypotheticals.  Lise Adams travels to Equatoria in search of her missing father.  She hires Turk Findley, who has a less than clean rap sheet, to fly her to her father’s last known destination.  Lise’s father was obsessed with the Hypotheticals, so now she hopes to not only find out what happened to him, but perhaps get some answers to these mysterious beings.

Then there is Isaac, a genetically engineered child who is to serve as a conduit between humanity and the Hypotheticals, and now he is coming of age and his true fruition will come to pass.  Lise and Turk meet up with Isaac and they continue their journey deeper into Equatoria in search of answers.  And it seems as if the Hypotheticals are making things happen, as underground something mighty is awoken and the earth begins to tremble.

While it’s not required that one read Spin before you tackle Axis, it certainly helps to provide a foundation for the reader, nevertheless Wilson does a good job of answering the questions and covering a little of what happened in the previous book; one of the characters even shows up as a surprise.  Axis also does what Spin did very well: provide a good story with some great characters.  Readers will be hooked with the captivating duo in Lise and Turk, as their unusual pasts are explored while the book progresses; and then there is the unique Isaac.  Readers will be not be able to put down this worthy sequel leading up to an important climax that gets resolved in the final book of the trilogy, Vortex.

Originally written on September 21, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

You might also like . . .

Spin    Mysterium    Chronoliths

Upcoming Interviews on BookBanter

Here’s a listing of upcoming interviews on BookBanter for the next couple of months leading up to December.

[Updated 09/28: I realized there was a noticeable lacking of female authors being interviewed, and since I had one more spot open for the year, I set-up an interview with Juliet Eilperin, who wrote Demon Fish, which is schedule to go up November 1st]


Coming October 1st

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson

Inmate 1577

Author of Inmate 1577


Coming October 15th

Rober Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson


Author of Spin and Axis


Coming November 1st

John Barnes

Elizabeth Eileperin

Demon Fish

Author of Demon Fish


Coming November 1st

John Barnes

John Barnes

Directive 51

Author of Directive 51 and Daybreak Zero


Coming November 15th

Ben Loory

Ben Loory

Stories for Nighttime

Author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day


Coming December 1st

Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline

Ready Player One

Author of Ready Player One

BookBanter Links Roundup for 09/27/11