2017/07/31

Superversive vs. PulpRev

Paladin vs. Antipaladin

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a few of my readers for dinner and lively conversation. We talked for hours on a wide range of subjects, which as you'd expect of SFF fans getting some personal time with an author whose work they enjoy, included several hot button issues of the current publishing industry.

Even now, when digital age necessities like hustling on social media, building email lists, and gaming Amazon's algorithm have largely made signings, convention appearances, and book tours obsolete, it still behooves authors to get out and talk to their audiences in meatspace. After all, the biggest change ushered in by the digital publishing revolution has been to once again make the reader king.

Below, in no particular order, I've listed some of the topics that my readers brought up. The sample size was admittedly small, but the fact that the sample came from out of town to chat with me about these items tends to suggest something about their overall importance.


The Superversive Movement vs. The Pulp Revolution

Though my work doesn't meet the ideal of either literary movement, I'm sympathetic to and have friends in both camps.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Superversives and the #PulpRev, the former seek to overturn the rampant nihilism in contemporary SFF from above with stories informed by genuine virtue, while the latter identify post-World War II Campbellian sci-fi as the point where the genre went off the rails. The PulpRev revisits the classic pulps for the inspiration to make science fiction and fantasy--which are really the same genre--fun, heroic, and truly romantic again.

A brief rundown of my readers' opinions on both movements:
  • The Superversives have more high profile authors.
  • The #PulpRev has a far bigger cultural footprint--due to their greater willingness to interact with the public on social media.
  • The Superversives lag behind in terms of marketing their ideas.
  • On the whole, the #PulpRev has the upper hand--though the two movements aren't exactly in direct competition. There's a high degree of overlap.
To any Superversives who feel inclined to take umbrage: don't shoot the messenger! This is just what I heard.

Luckily, my readers did have actionable advice to help the Superversive movement catch up:
  1. Your membership is too private and insular. Discuss what's going on in the movement out in the open more often. Conversations about upcoming projects, new members, superversive philosophy, etc. should be had in public to raise awareness and build interest.
  2. The Superversive Roundtables are too long. Try keeping the ordinary shows to one hour, tops. Your audience will give you a little longer for special events.
  3. Sci-Phi Journal, Forbidden Thoughts, and Astounding Frontiers are good. But there's always room for improvement. Superversive magazines and anthologies should have a stronger editorial voice, and the story selections should show greater intentionality.
Considering the raw brand power at the Superversives' disposal, they should be able to quickly gain ground if these suggestions are implemented. They sound simple--and they are--but they'll require discipline to succeed.


Castalia House

Lead Editor Vox Day has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he expects Castalia House to surpass Tor Books as the #1 publisher of science fiction and fantasy. This small, upstart house is off to a strong start, boasting 100% growth three years in a row and a blog that has already become a force to be reckoned with under the able editorship of  Appendix N mastermind and #PulpRev guru Jeffro Johnson.

Of course, there's still plenty of room to grow. Here's a sampling of what my readers had to say about Castalia House:
  • CH's nonfiction selection is superb. Whether it's venerable military historian Martin van Creveld, ninja Ivan Throne, or the Supreme Dark Lord himself, Day has assembled a deep bench of world-class scholars. Oh, and lest we forget, gardeners.
  • Grandmasters like John C. Wright and best sellers like David VanDyke exemplify the strong brands to be found among CH's biggest fiction authors.
  • However, one of my interlocutors noted that all of CH's name fiction authors already had strong brands before they signed on. Castalia has yet to take a sci-fi author from the slush pile to the A list.
  • It was also pointed out that CH's catalog is rather heavy on nonfiction for a house that aspires to the top spot in science fiction publishing. One reader opined that they need more authors.
That said, it should be mentioned that Castalia House has only been in business for three years. They've accomplished a tremendous amount in that short span, and their stable of authors will naturally fill out in time. I have it on good authority that the company's leadership is keenly interested in building up unknown authors from scratch, and they're devising strategies to make that happen. Recent experiments to this effect show promise.


On a personal note...

It was super cool hearing firsthand what my readers think about my books. One especially awesome guy asked how The Hymn of the Pearl is doing sales-wise (it's doing well, but as I said above, there's always room to do better). He even brought a paperback copy of The Secret Kings for me to sign. Looks like I spoke too soon about signings being obsolete.

Apparently people are excited about my next book. Don't worry. I won't draw out the suspense any longer than necessary.

Thanks to all of my awesome readers. You are why I do what I do!

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/28

Moral Cowards

My recent exchange with a British Twitter user in the wake of the Charlie Gard decision provides a case study in the moral cowardice of those who preen about their support for using the state to strip parents of their rights.

Steel&Fire1

Steel&Fire2

Steel&Fire3

As the record shows, it didn't take long for me to generate enough cognitive dissonance in my formerly pontificating opponent to make her abandon the field. Then, to insulate herself from exposure to identity-threatening arguments, she took the further precaution of blocking me.

Her personal attack/nonsense rebuttal combo provides two CogDis tells rolled into one. This chick had gone round after round with at least one lawyer on the legal merits of the case, but she beat a hasty retreat when I popped her bloated ego balloon.

Let this be a lesson to those that would argue with people who brag about their support for government-sanctioned baby murder. They strike a cool, rational pose, but underneath they're moral cowards who want the state to do their dirty work.

What they always fail to think through is that advocating for the courts to seize and kill children without their parents' consent leaves no less blood on their hands. When you join your will to a state policy, you're as morally culpable for the results as the soulless bureaucrats who carry out the sentence.

Point this out, and watch the scumbags squirm.

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/27

Noob Author Mistakes

Eighty percent of Americans want to be writers. Few will ever sit down to write a book, and fewer still will actually finish one. That's only half the battle, though, because the literary world is rife with pitfalls that are lying in wait for first-time authors.

Publisher, editor, and author Russell Newquist joined me last night to go over his list of common noob author mistakes. What are the most common first-time author errors, and how can you avoid them? Find out here:



One common misconception among new authors is that marketing doesn't matter. This assumption is mistaken because your books won't be read if no one knows they exist.

On that note, my Dragon Award-winning SF/horror novel Souldancer and its even better sequel The Secret Kings are on sale now for a limited time. Get them both for less than seven bucks!

Souldancer - Brian NiemeierThe Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/26

Postmodern Lit Is Cancer

Castalia House Lead Editor Vox Day has been making a strong case that postmodern literature isn't just bad writing, but non-writing, over at his blog.

First, Vox relates a discussion he had with a CH author about a bad writing habit that's baffled him for years:
What we were discussing is the nonsensical metaphor or simile. Now, I have used a nonsensical simile at least once myself, although I did so knowingly, as it was an inside joke. Some old-school Ilk might remember the phrase "then it hit him, like a cheetah" from Rebel Moon. That was something my best friend's brother used to say, because my best friend's brother is a complete goofball who gloried in saying nonsensical things like that. The point is that I knew it was a silly simile and horrifically bad writing, although I suppose it is not a nonsensical simile from a technical perspective, since being hit by a cheetah at 60+ MPH would presumably be the sort of thing that would bowl one over.
However, as the writer explained, the mediocre writer doesn't know that the metaphor or the simile is nonsensical. To him, it is an emotionally true connection, and therefore it makes sense, even when it objectively doesn't. For the purposes of reference, here are the four examples from the rough draft to which the author, Johan Kalsi, is referring, a bizarre metaphor that completely mystified me, and not only because the author utilized it FOUR FREAKING TIMES in a single scene.
Jeckell's broad, sleepy face held his lips in a strange smile, as if he had just caught a mouse between his teeth. 
Jeckell continued to chew on his mouse, doing nothing to wipe his face clean of its aura of smug supremacy.
Jeckell stopped gnawing the imaginary mouse for a moment.
Everyone gasped. Jeckell stood up and punched the table in front of him, his jaw clenched back down on the mouse.
I like to think that my editorial comments were polite, professional and helpful: "What the fuck is going on with this guy chewing on a nonexistent mouse? What does that even look like? Lose the fucking mouse!"

Parallelisms and pseudo-archaic formulations abound: "They caught up and set out each day in the dark before the day yet was and they ate cold meat and biscuit and made no fire"; "and they would always be so and never be otherwise"; "the captain wrote on nor did he look up"; "there rode no soul save he," and so forth.
The reader is meant to be carried along on the stream of language. In the New York Times review of The Crossing, Robert Hass praised the effect: "It is a matter of straight-on writing, a veering accumulation of compound sentences, stinginess with commas, and a witching repetition of words ... Once this style is established, firm, faintly hypnotic, the crispness and sinuousness of the sentences ... gather to a magic." The key word here is "accumulation." Like Proulx and so many others today, McCarthy relies more on barrages of hit-and-miss verbiage than on careful use of just the right words.
Vox's comment:
That's why there is so often no meaning to be found in their works, that there is neither action nor character to be found in the texts. No one actually reads these books! They are, instead, scanned, with no more comprehension of the empty contents surveyed than the whole language reader grasps the phonetics of the words he is reading.

An unnamed Castalia House author weighs in:
Now, today's post about bad writing makes a similar case that Modernism, and in particular its virulent Boomer strain - Postmodernism - is culture cancer.
Many people could see that Modernist literature was, at base and overall, simply not as deep or interesting as those books which had not gottenn caught up in Modernism's well-crafted, insubstantial mopefests.
The clue that Modernism was a dead-end can be found in its best products: As I Lay Dying, The Wasteland, Invisible Man, Heart of Darkness and The Aspern Papers are ALL, at heart, about how writing from a Modernist perspective is a pointless, disjointed exercise that renders a man insignificant. Wait for death, write or don't...in the end Material Man is a Hollow Man. If even Modernist novels don't like Modernist novels, you know you've chanced on a Very Bad Idea.
When the reactionary Post-Modernism came along, the self-defeating problem became clear. There were plenty of sane readers who said, "Okay, that way lies madness. Taken to its logical conclusion, PM could lead to the end of literature!"

Vox's closing argument:
The following three passages are the same string of words taken from the 1985 National Book Award winner. I divided the original passage into 15 strings based on the punctuation and randomized it twice. Now, without looking anything up on the Internet, see if you can tell which passage is in the correct order, Number 1, 2, or 3.
  1. We simply walk toward the sliding doors ... This is not Tibet ... sealed off ... timeless. Code words and ceremonial phrases. It is just a question of deciphering ... Another reason why I think of Tibet. Dying is an art in Tibet ... Energy waves, incident radiation ... Look how well-lighted everything is ... Not that we would want to ... Chants, numerology, horoscopes, recitations. Here we don't die, we shop. But the difference is less marked than you think. Everything is concealed in symbolism... This simple truth is hard to fathom. But once we stop denying death, we can proceed calmly to die ... Tibetans try to see death for what it is. It is the end of attachment to things. The large doors slide open, they close unbidden. We don't have to cling to life artificially, or to death ...
  2. Everything is concealed in symbolism ... The large doors slide open, they close unbidden. Energy waves, incident radiation ... code words and ceremonial phrases. It is just a question of deciphering ... Not that we would want to ... This is not Tibet ... Tibetans try to see death for what it is. It is the end of attachment to things. This simple truth is hard to fathom. But once we stop denying death, we can proceed calmly to die ... We don't have to cling to life artificially, or to death ... We simply walk toward the sliding doors ... Look how well-lighted everything is ... sealed off ... timeless. Another reason why I think of Tibet. Dying is an art in Tibet ... Chants, numerology, horoscopes, recitations. Here we don't die, we shop. But the difference is less marked than you think."
  3. Energy waves, incident radiation ... This is not Tibet ...timeless. Chants, numerology, horoscopes, recitations. Here we don't die, we shop. But the difference is less marked than you think. We don't have to cling to life artificially, or to death ...Another reason why I think of Tibet. Dying is an art in Tibet ... Everything is concealed in symbolism... Look how well-lighted everything is ... code words and ceremonial phrases. It is just a question of deciphering ... We simply walk toward the sliding doors ... Not that we would want to ... Tibetans try to see death for what it is. It is the end of attachment to things. Sealed off ... This simple truth is hard to fathom. But once we stop denying death, we can proceed calmly to die ... The large doors slide open, they close unbidden. 

My comment:

Modernism denied the validity of divine revelation as source of truth and placed all of its faith in the self-sufficiency of the human intellect. Postmodernism realized the failure of the Modernist project and reduced every question to a matter of raw will. What you've seen above is the inevitable result.

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/25

Tremendous Trifles

The following quote from G.K. Chesterton comes courtesy of essayist extraordinaire Tom Simon:
‘“Can you not see,” I said, “that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is – what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is – what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos. In the excellent tale of ‘The Dragon's Grandmother’, in all the other tales of Grimm, it is assumed that the young man setting out on his travels will have all substantial truths in him; that he will be brave, full of faith, reasonable, that he will respect his parents, keep his word, rescue one kind of people, defy another kind, ‘parcere subjectis et debellare’, etc. Then, having assumed this centre of sanity, the writer entertains himself by fancying what would happen if the whole world went mad all round it, if the sun turned green and the moon blue, if horses had six legs and giants had two heads. But your modern literature takes insanity as its centre. Therefore, it loses the interest even of insanity. A lunatic is not startling to himself, because he is quite serious; that is what makes him a lunatic. A man who thinks he is a piece of glass is to himself as dull as a piece of glass. A man who thinks he is a chicken is to himself as common as a chicken. It is only sanity that can see even a wild poetry in insanity. Therefore, these wise old tales made the hero ordinary and the tale extraordinary. But you have made the hero extraordinary and the tale ordinary – so ordinary – oh, so very ordinary.”’ —G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
Read Mr.Simon's original comment on this post.

"if you like creative and thoroughly realized fantasy, you will thoroughly enjoy The Hymn of the Pearl"

2017/07/24

Valerian and Dunkirk

Dunkirk 2017

This week we're proud to bring you a Geek Gab double feature. First, Daddy Warpig and Dorrinal review Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Luc Besson. Does the movie live up to the venerable sci-fi comic series? Then, in a shocking twist, all of us saw Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.

Bonus: Daddy Warpig watches Leon: The Professional for the first time!

Listen to our reviews here.



In other important news, today is the last day to submit Dragon Award nominations. Submissions are free and open to everyone.

Here's what science fiction authors and critics are saying about my Best Sci-Fi Novel eligible book The Secret Kings:
I’m going to have to go with The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier. Its predecessor proved worthy of last year’s Dragon Award, and the third book in the series only ratchets everything up further. Solid book. Read my review of it here.
-Author Russell Newquist
This fragment of the Soul Cycle is ultimately filled with action, fun, and crimes against Social Justice. I wish him the best in his part of the restoration of SFF. 9 of 10 fell deeds.
-The Injustice Gamer Alfred Genesson

The Secret Kings is a worthy candidate for a Dragon Award."
-VFM #0352

Today is also the last day to get The Secret Kings for free through my newsletter. Claim your free book here!

Once again I renew my pledge to share the honors with my lovely and talented editor L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright if The Secret Kings is nominated for Best SF Novel in the 2017 Dragon Award contest.

Reminder: Please refrain from nominating the same work in more than one category, as doing so will disqualify your ballot.

Nominate SK and your other favorite works of genre fiction here for free.

I want to make it easy for you to enjoy the whole award-winning Soul Cycle. Not only is The Secret Kings free, its predecessor, Souldancer is now on sale for only $2.99!

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

Thanks to all of my wonderful readers for your constant and generous support!

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/21

PulpFail

Appendix N author Jeffro Johnson recently took to Google+ to point out five ways that Rogue One fails to meet the pulp standards of the original Star Wars saga.

Rogue One dad
#PulpFail number one: So the empire is here to kidnap dude's family and force him to create a doomsday weapon. This whole scene is set up merely to show that (a) little girl is strong female stoic even at a young age, (b) her parents LOVE her and give her mementos to show how they feel, and (c) that daddy is a passive little bitch that is unwilling and unable sell his life dearly. Oh, that last one stings. This sort of scene has been done in countless Westerns. Except... lemme tell you how it goes. Dad knows he's overmatched. He looks his foe in the eye. He knows he's going to die. But he reaches for his gun anyway and is blown away. The whole family dies... but somehow the kid survives. He then dedicates his entire life to learning how to kick ass and achieve vengeance. Shitty post-modern loser dad here is just pleading for mercy while is wife draws the gun and attempts to do something against all odds. She risks her life and (the image is not on google)... he runs to her side when she gets shot and looks all the world like some Scarlet O'Hara momentarily overcome with the sheer drama of it all. Except Scarlet O'Hara could actually shoot a Yankee deserter in cold blood. This opening scene is bullshit. I would rather convert to old school Viking religion with its concept of a warriors death and Ragnarok and everthing else than subscribe to anything remotely like the value system of the non-culture that produced this piece of garbage. Seriously, this opening scene is just one gigantic kick in the balls. Screw these people.

Rogue One kills
#PulpFail number two: Introducing a protagonist by having him betray someone that trusts him in order to save his own skin. He shoots a disabled person in the back after telling him everything will be okay. This is the sort of story beat you'd typically reserve in order to fully establish that a bad guy completely deserves the ass whoopin' that's coming to him. Absolutely moronic. These people are incapable of conveying the sort of pulp ethos that was fundamental to Star Wars.

Rogue One this guy
#PulpFail number three: It's crazy. They have scenes. They look like Star Wars. The music tells me that something important is happening. But it feels like this movie has no idea how to get started. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper" isn't edgy enough. No, we have to show fish lips mortally wound a few rebels that are rescuing her. Meanwhile... the rebels have to be shown as being mean and nasty. And OH MY GOSH! Who can complain when they have recreated the control room set from the battle of Yavin? And dropped in a throwaway character from Return of the Jedi?!
But this underweight, rat faced fellow that talks like what... Cheech and Chong or something? What the hell?! It's like they had focus groups help them find the most un-Star Warsy thing conceivable. Is there supposed to be romantic tension between him and fish lips? I can't tell. The opening scene with them packing to go to Dangerville is set to maximum cringe. He asks he to pretty please let him have the blaster she's not supposed to have. That's right, spymaster extraordinaire let that get right past him.
Dude is going on a critical mission and he has to depend on someone that is established as wanting to fight the rebellion tooth and nail every step of the way. Seems like that would be a good time to lay down the law. For dude to have any credibility, he would be shown setting the tone, schooling her on what his expectations are. If she's too awesome for that, then he's (a) not the monster he's been established as being and (b) unable to hold his own in any sort of repartee with his romantic foil. It's like the conflicting requirements cancel each other out, leaving an inherently schizophrenic mess of a film that has no idea what it actually wants to be.

Rogue One Whitaker
#PulpFail number four: Okay, so the rebellion comes in two flavors: scuzzy and extra scuzzy. Mummified Peter Cushing is freaking weird. Stormtroopers are here to play Keystone Kops. And there are more shout outs to classic movies than there is plot. Finally something happens.
FIsh lips, who is established as having extreme daddy issues because her father didn't have the sense to, you know, defend his family. But she was also ABANDONED by the guy that is being set up as the meanest, nastiest, cruelest most Machievellian scumbag in the galaxy.
Oh, but this guy that is so evil and nasty...? He's also really sentimental about this random girl.
???
Lemme tell you how the galaxy works at its most basic level: blood is thicker than water. And the scummiest scum bag in the galaxy would hand fish lips over to his boys for a brief bit of entertainment before indulging in this kind of bizarre sentimentality.
What the hell are they doing setting up two father figures for fishlips anyway...? Like they have time for this sort of distraction in what's supposed to be pulp style adventure. The people that made this are brain damaged.

Rogue One council
#PulpFail number five: The all new extra-diverse rebel council refuses to reach consensus on stealing the death star plans. Subtext: diversity = division. With the exception of the squid people, the non-whites mostly sit this battle out. Then for the Battle of Yavin...? Man, they are totally gone, leaving all the fighting adventure to the all-white cast of the real Star Wars movie.
The pulps are filled with nuanced treatments of colonialism and forging bonds of friendship and love across racial lines. Rogue One? It's so racist, I am literally shaking.

My comment:

At the store yesterday, a buddy and I were indulging in lavish speculation about how Disney will screw up the Han Solo movie.

Awkward-looking lady across the aisle from us looks up from the shopping list she's hunched over and asks if we're talking about the new Star Wars. Pregnant pause. We say "yes" at the same time.

Lady: *Nervous laugh* "I'll be there opening day."
*Looks back down. Pushes her cart around the corner out of sight*

There are people whose lives have no other meaning than Star Wars. They are legion. And now their last common cultural touchstone is being strip-mined of all value.

It's like some kind of memetic disease. They pay people who hate them to be insulted. Delude themselves into thinking they enjoyed the experience. Realize they've been had on the second viewing. But selective amnesia sets in by the time the next round of postmodern hazing begins.

I don't know if these inmates of pop culture purgatory can be saved. I have to try.


Reminder: Dragon Award nominations close on Monday. My latest space opera The Secret Kings is eligible for Best Sci-Fi Novel.

"The Secret Kings is a worthy candidate for a Dragon Award."
-VFM #0352

Get SK for free.

Nominate it and your other favorite books, movies, shows, and games for a Dragon Award.


@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/20

Appendix N vs The Great Books

D&D 1st ed DMG

Just for fun, I've decided to post excerpts from the plot synopses of three books from the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest British Novels and three books from Appendix N. I made my selections at random by rolling d%.

Now, if you'll indulge my decidedly un-scientific methods, let's begin the experiment. Can you tell which books excite modernist literary critics and which inspired Dungeons & Dragons?
1) a young hay-trusser named Michael Henchard gets drunk on rum-laced furmity and argues with his wife, Susan. He decides to auction off his wife and baby daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, to a sailor, Mr. Newson, for five guineas. Sober the next day, he is too late to recover his family. When he realises that his wife and daughter are gone, he swears not to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far.
2) The eponymous hero is born as a male nobleman in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. He undergoes a mysterious change of sex at the age of about 30 and lives on for more than 300 years into modern times without aging perceptibly.
3) Holger Carlsen is an American-trained Danish engineer who joins the Danish Resistance to the Nazis. At the shore near Elsinore he is among the group of resistance fighters trying to cover the escape to Sweden of an important scientist (evidently, the nuclear physicist Niels Bohr). With a German force closing in, Carlsen is shot - and suddenly finds himself carried to a parallel universe, a world where Northern European legend concerning Charlemagne ("The Matter of France") is real.
4) Dorothea Brooke appears set for a comfortable and idle life as the wife of neighbouring landowner Sir James Chettam, but to the dismay of her sister Celia and her uncle Mr Brooke, she marries The Reverend Edward Casaubon. Expecting fulfilment by sharing in his intellectual life, Dorothea discovers his animosity towards her ambitions during an unhappy honeymoon in Rome. Realising his great project is doomed to failure, her feelings change to pity. Dorothea forms a warm friendship with a young cousin of Casaubon's, Will Ladislaw, but her husband's antipathy towards him is clear and he is forbidden to visit. In poor health, Casaubon attempts to extract from Dorothea a promise that, should he die, she will "avoid doing what I should deprecate and apply yourself to do what I desire". He dies before she is able to reply, and she later learns of a provision to his will that, if she marries Ladislaw, she will lose her inheritance.
5) The novel concerns American Leif Langdon who discovers a warm valley in Alaska. Two races inhabit the valley, the Little People and a branch of an ancient Mongolian race; they worship the evil Kraken named Khalk'ru which they summon from another dimension to offer human sacrifice. The inhabitants recognize Langdon as the reincarnation of their long dead hero, Dwayanu. Dwayanu's spirit possesses Langdon and starts a war with the Little People. Langdon eventually fights off the presence of Dwayanu and destroys the Kraken.
6) Forced to flee his city of Melnibone, Elric and his sorcerous blade Stormbringer journey through barren hills to the edge of a black sea. Elric finds a dark ship and begins a voyage that will bring him face-to-face with all the champions Time can summon--and more.
OK, that last one especially is a no-brainer. Scanning those synopses, I'm reminded of something that John C. Wright said: "Science fiction is about an ordinary man having extraordinary adventures in a strange new world. Literary fiction is about an ordinary man doing nothing in his own back yard."

Here's one more book blurb you might be interested in:
Do you love classics like Frank Herbert or HP Lovecraft? Get this.Do you have fond memories of Pen/Pencil games? Get this.Do you just want to have a hell of a ride? Get this.

2017/07/19

Audiobooks with JimFear138

The audiobook market is experiencing astronomical growth. On the latest episode of Geek Gab: On the Books, I talk audiobooks with narrator, audiobook producer, and podcaster JimFear138:



In other book-related news, the eBook version of my Dragon Award-winning SF/horror novel Souldancer is now on sale for only $2.99:

#FakeBooks vs. Fun Books


Speaking of #FakeBooks, I noticed this on Amazon a minute ago:

Collapsing Hardcover eBook

I'm not sure what's sadder--that Scalzi's failed blockbuster is $12.99 in eBook, or that the hardcover has already dropped to the same price. Either way, with a preachy, derivative tome that Tor is charging as much for in eBook as in hardback, Scalzi has completed his apotheosis as the quintessential tradpub poster boy.

Get the startlingly original, award-winning Souldancer for less than a quarter of what Tor is demanding for Scalzi's Asimov ripoff.

And remember, Dragon Award nominations close on Monday. Nominating is free, so cast your ballot today!

Get The Secret Kings, the WrongFans' choice for Best Sci-Fi Novel here for free!

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

Nominate The Secret Kings, along with your other favorite books, movies, TV shows, and games, for a 2017 Dragon Award here!

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/18

PulpRev Interview

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jesse Abraham Lucas of PulpRev.com. He asked me about the Pulp Revolution, writing in general, and certain projects of my own.

The following is an excerpt.
Is there anything you can tell us about your WIP with Castalia House? Anything we should expect? Any way we can prepare ourselves?
Castalia House has engaged me to write the first three books in a planned ongoing series of space opera novels. The series is called Faraway Wars. It is part of Vox Day’s Creative Deconvergence project. His aim is to offer fun, high quality alternatives to SJW converged science fiction franchises.
As you’ve no doubt guessed by now, Faraway Wars is intended as a non-converged parallel to Star Wars. The last two feature films and the Aftermath series of tie-in novels have made it clear that Disney has co-opted George Lucas’ beloved franchise as a vehicle for social justice virtue signaling. Vox’s stated intent is to correct these abuses without stepping on anyone’s toes in terms of trademarks and copyright.
To that end, one of the editors at Castalia House devised a new space opera setting that will nonetheless be familiar to science fiction fans. Faraway Wars shouldn’t be thought of as an attempt to copy Star Wars. Rather, it draws inspiration from many of the same pulp and Campbell-era tropes that influenced George Lucas to create his iconic series.
Embers of Empire, the first Faraway Wars book, was pitched to me as, “What if Luke Skywalker had turned to the Dark Side at the end of Return of the Jedi?” Mind you, that hypothetical is meant as a springboard to jumpstart the creative process, like the “what if?” questions that serve as the impetus for all works of speculative fiction. The characters and situations in EoE aren’t mere carbon copies. I worked hard to put my unique mark on the book while making the FW universe a place where SF fans feel comfortable.
Still, Soul Cycle readers will know that you can’t rest easy for long in one of my stories.
Read the rest here.

And if you can't wait for the deconvergence of space opera, my new novella The Hymn of the Pearl breaks high fantasy out of the psuedo-Medieval elf rut the genre has been languishing in by featuring an inventive, Sandersonian magic system in a world inspired by Late Antiquity.


@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/17

Ape-ocalypse Now

Simpsons Planet of the Apes

This week on Geek Gab, Daddy Warpig reports on the Planet of the Apes prequel marathon he attended, culminating with the series' latest installment War for the Planet of the Apes. Do the CG effects hold up? Are the Vietnam War allegories still as fresh as they were in the 1969 original?

Tune in and find out!



Special Update: Today Larry Correia is holding a BOOK BOMB! for my fellow Castalia House author LawDog, whose new true crime/humor book The LawDog Files.

The LawDog Files

For those who are unfamiliar with how a BOOK BOMB! works, the idea is to get as many people to buy the book from Amazon as possible in one day. The book gains velocity, sending its Amazon rank into the stratosphere, and the author GETS PAID!

For an excellent case study in BOOK BOMB effects, check out the after action report on Larry's BB of my own book Nethereal here.

Get out there and support LawDog's book launch. Not only is he a veteran law enforcement officer, he's one of Larry's original alpha readers from his gun forum days. What more of an endorsement do you need?


Already bought The LawDog Files? My own brand new fantasy novella The Hymn of the Pearl is the perfect travel-size adventure to tide you over till the next Castalia House/PulpRev release.

The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier
"Niemeier created a more interesting magic system than Brandon Sanderson."
Now as a Sanderson fan, I can say yep, "Hymn of the Pearl" does that.
-Jeff Miller

2017/07/14

The Last Starfighter

The Last Starfighter

Bradford Walker reviews a classic film from Hollywood's last pulp era:
We return once more to that period between the late ’70s and mid ’80s when that last flourish of old-school pulp sensibility arose in the form of feature films out of Hollywood done by then-rising names in the business. This time, it’s The Last Starfighter, another Space Opera made possible due to the success of Star Wars.
This film, like Tron, falls into that “Boy’s Own Adventure” style of adventure where our hero–although an adult–still speaks and acts like the boys this film is intended to entertain. That means the film’s style of presentation is in harmony with that audience also: earnest, sincere, and uncomplicated- but not simple.
The reason this is superversive is that this film’s story, as with many stories aimed at boys, is about the necessity of accepting responsibility- not just for yourself, but on behalf of those depending upon you. For an emerging generation of boys, soon to become men, this learning how to face difficult and dangerous realities even when you would rather run because if you don’t no one else will.
I was in the target demographic for The Last Starfighter when it first came out. I remember the film fondly, although bigger pulp-inspired franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones pushed it to the periphery of my attention. Bradford's review has motivated me to give Starfighter another look, though.

Read the rest at Superversive SF.

Also, be sure to pick up the first issue of the new superversive sci-fi anthology series, Astounding Frontiers.

Astounding Frontiers

Reminder: Dragon Award nominations close on July 24th. If you haven't cast your ballot yet, I invite you to consider my third Soul Cycle book The Secret Kings for Best Science Fiction Novel.
This story represents a huge leap forward for the author, better than any of his previous works. The story itself is one continuous rollercoaster, never boring filler material. After the previous two books, the pressure is on in this novel, and the author delivers beautifully. This book feels like one continuous boss fight with twenty stages. The tension and action never let up for more than a breath.
-Adam Smith
Get The Secret Kings for free here.

Nominate The Secret Kings for Best Science Fiction Novel here.

2017/07/13

The Mountain that Writes at Pulp Speed

In which Larry Correia indisputably proves himself not just to be The Mountain That Writes, but The Mountain That Writes at pulp speed:

Larry Correia Pulp Speed

Original thread here.

I'll save you the time of counting. Larry is outproducing George R. R. Martin thirteen books to one.

The days of authors being picked out of the slush pile or the old short fiction market by the Big Five publishers to become household names while writing one book per year, or whenever they feel like it, are over. The future of genre fiction looks much like the pulp past: enterprising authors toiling in the word mines to bring their readers a steady stream of pure entertainment.

Aspiring authors who were counting on tradpub to make them the next George R. R. Martin, James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King should adjust their expectations accordingly.

GRRM could not be reached for comment.

GRRM Bubble


NB: Several people have been commenting on how much fun they've had reading my new fantasy novella, including at least one guy who knows all about writing at pulp speed.

The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier
I enjoyed reading The Hymn of the Pearl.
-Pulp author Jonathan Moeller

2017/07/12

Black Tide Rising TV

TV producers Miker Lermon and Richard Rosenthal recently joined Daddy Warpig and myself to discuss their upcoming adaptation of Black Tide Rising by John Ringo.

How can writers get their novels adapted for TV?

Does Hollywood still have a monopoly on movie and television production?

What sets Ringo's work apart from other zombie series?

Listen in to the latest episode of Geek Gab: On the Books and find out!


And don't forget: Reject #FakeBooks. Read Fun Books!

Fake Books v Fun Books 2

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/11

Hazeroth Was Right

Over at Amatopia, the Daytime Renegade reviews Souldancer.

Hazeroth Was Right
Recently, I read and really enjoyed Part I of Brian Niemeier‘s three-part Soul Cycle series, Nethereal. Having read Part II, Souldancer, I can say that Brian improves upon nearly every aspect of the already impressive Nethereal, creating one of the most memorable sci-fi worlds I have had the pleasure to be invited into.
All are welcome.

Slight correction: three-part for now ;)
In Souldancer, Brian improves upon nearly everything that worked about Nethereal, and with a cast made up of almost entirely new characters. Let’s go over the two big reasons Souldancer works: a deeper exploration of Nethereal‘s themes and raising the stakes:
Themes
Brian doesn’t ignore or gloss over things he brought up in Nethereal. Instead, he takes explores them in ways that make his world richer.
Ever wonder what the deal with this world’s mythology and religion is? Thera, Zadok, and the rest? Wonder no more, because Brian provides more clues as to their struggle, and introduces new deities and the way they exert influence on the world.
Confused about ether and workings and other types of power, or wanted to see more of them?
How about all of those Gen in Avalon? What’s their deal?
Even having a character be a Nesshin–a group discussed but never encountered in Nethereal–brilliantly lifts the curtain on a world we were only previously offered tantalizing peeks.
And we get to see Mithgar, beyond just a few scenes set in its capital city, Ostrith! Sure, the planet’s a smoldering wreck of its former glory, but still! While the action is mostly confined to this one planet, the setting has enough strangeness to make it its own character.
Fear not: Some old friends and enemies do return, just not necessarily the way you remembered them from the first book.
The way Brian fits the new pieces in with the old to hint at the picture to come in Book III is nothing short of masterful. This is what sequels are supposed to do: explore the world deeper.
DR provides even more insightful, glowing commentary in his original review. If you're still on the fence about picking up the Dragon Award-winning Souldancer, I encourage you to read the rest.

It's heartening to see so many readers discovering the world of the Soul Cycle as a place they can escape to and just have fun. I promise that you won't find any ham-fisted civics lectures, Crystal Dragon Christians bashed in effigy, or Harlequin romance disguised as science fiction. Since that about sums up the reading experience on offer from the Big Five publishers these days, it's no wonder SFF fans are welcoming the Soul Cycle as a breath of fresh air.

And for those who've already enjoyed the first three Soul Cycle books, my equally entertaining yet more compact standalone fantasy novella The Hymn of the Pearl is available now.
Fake Books vs. Fun Books

 Whatever your preferred flavor of SFF, remember: choose Fun Books over #FakeBooks.

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/10

Spider-Man and Castlevania

Spider-Man Homecoming

After years of negotiations and one too many lamentable movies from SONY, Marvel has (temporarily) regained the rights to Spider-Man.

Has Marvel redeemed their most beloved character's troubled franchise? Listen in to the latest episode of Geek Gab and find out!


Bonus: I review the first episode of Netflix's original Castlevania animated series. Can writer Warren Ellis display a basic grasp of history, avoid a slew of post-1980 genre tropes, and stop being a poor man's Alan Moore?

No, he cannot. As a result, Netflix has produced a show less deserving of a review than a public service announcement against STDs. Listen in for the same reason you've listened to recordings of the Hindenburg disaster.

For a series that ditches the postmodern tropes in favor of straight up, fast-paced fun, check out my award-winning Soul Cycle.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


And don't forget, my Dragon Award-eligible science fiction novel The Secret Kings, Soul Cycle Book III is now free through my newsletter!

The Dragon Awards are right around the corner. Nominate your favorite works of genre fiction here. It's free!

2017/07/07

Jeffro on The Last Kingdom

Appendix N author Jeffro Johnson tries his hand at what he calls a Brian Niemeier style post.
I’ve heard good things about The Last Kingdom, so I decided to check it out. Judging from the first episode, it’s basically Vikings meets Game of Thrones… but without the most aggressively awful elements of each.
It’s still bad, though.
Now, I’m no historian. But the Christians depicted in this are just plain stupid. From the boy disobeying his father to hurl insults at boats full of vikings, to the superstitious mother, and on to Priest that nearly drowns a boy while baptizing him. It’s embarrassing. You don’t look at this and think, “man, I wonder who’s going to win… awesome Vikings or cool British people?” You think… “thank goodness the Vikings cleaned out the gene pool to the extent that they did!”
There’s nothing in the way of tension there. And no one to really root for. And if you started to, it’s all in vain. The whole point here is to create bargain bin Ned Stark and discount Robert Barantheon as quickly as possible so they can be killed off. I would have thought this sort of cheap trick would be worn out by now as it isn’t good for much once the shock value has worn off. The thing is… for it to work, the characters have to give off an ongoing protagonist type vibe long enough that you become attached to them. These guys don’t. At all.
And the actual protagonist…? Who you don’t really notice is a protagonist until he is replaced by a guy this really, really good at standing around, looking cool? His whole arc here is a carbon copy of The Last Samurai. You know the story: dumb American/Westerner/whatever goes off to fight barbarians somewhere. Something goes wrong and he finds himself a captive within their society. Gradually he goes native, with a great desire to earn their respect. Finally, by applying a synthesis of barbarism and civilization, he does stupendously awesome things and makes the bad people feel bad.
It’s already a tired plot. But it’s especially incoherent here. The writers have already gone out of their way to establish the premise that “Vikings are SMRT, Christians are brain damaged.” But this dumb kid that enjoys invoking Woden around his priest and lying about his dad… how does he just spontaneously know to be awesome and honorable and brave (and foolish) when everyone around him is contemptible? And why would a Viking chief– who are all established is being barbarically barbarous, wild, bloodthirsty, and cruel– why would he suddenly see something of value in this boy, enough to inspire him to adopt him and so forth…?
Where do the values come from that make all of this possible? Why… they’ve essentially been mocked at and sneered at and lampooned for the preceding thirty minutes. It’s the same thing as the Game of Thrones story beats. The writers understand that these sorts of scenes have worked pretty well for other creators over the past ten or twenty years. But they have no concept of how to organically set them up in such a way that they reproduce the intended emotional response.
It is highly recommended that you read the rest. How did I grade Jeffro's attempt to righteously defenestrate a smug, secularist pile of revisionist history?

A+

For more masterful assassinations of postmodernism, get Jeffro's best selling Appendix N, now in hardcover!

Appendix N - Jeffro Johnson

Here's a tantalizing tidbit: the same artist who designed Appendix N's gorgeous cover is currently working on the cover for my own Faraway Wars: Embers of Empire. An exclusive preview of Castalia House's upcoming space opera series can be found in my new standalone novella The Hymn of the Pearl.


The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier

And don't forget to nominate The Secret Kings for Best Science Fiction Novel in the 2017 Dragon Awards! #TeamJagi


@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/06

Praise for Hymn of the Pearl

Author and publisher Russell Newquist reviews my new novella, They Hymn of the Pearl:

The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier
Last Friday, an unexpected gift appeared in my e-mail inbox: Brian Niemeier’s new novella, Hymn of the Pearl. Full disclosure: in case you didn’t guess from the previous sentence, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. As a longtime friend, this flew straight to the top of my reading list.
Unlike most of Brian’s previous work, this one is short. It’s also a quick, easy read. Given my current schedule, I liked that. Other readers might find it disappointing. Then again, at $2.99 its price reflects that.
Brian’s use of fate as the mechanic for a magical system utterly fascinated me. Given how much fantasy work is out there that I haven’t read, this may not be truly original. But it was new to me, and I really enjoyed it. It drew me in and left me with a lot of unanswered questions. The author, however, clearly understood the system and had it all mapped out. That made it function well in practice.
Even more, the interplay between the two competing “classes” of wizards made for some interesting thought. It carried the weight of an honest religious argument, but without the baggage of real world religions to bog it down.
The author also skillfully weaves personal character struggles with sweeping political entanglements, and the threat of an actual war hangs over everything.
This book kept me fascinated from the beginning. If you’re a fan of Brian’s earlier works, you’ll definitely enjoy it. If you haven’t read his others, Hymn of the Pearl is a great place to start. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5 stars.
Thanks to friends and readers like Russell, The Hymn of the Pearl has already recouped its production costs and is earning for me as we speak.

The far superior ROI is just one major advantage of indie over tradpub. You can hear me discuss the indie vs. tradpub question in depth with author John Del Arroz on the latest episode of Geek Gab: On the Books.

And don't forget: my third thrilling Soul Cycle novel The Secret Kings is free right now through my newsletter. Claim your free copy here.

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

When you're done reading The Secret Kings, or if you've already enjoyed it, please nominate it for Best Science Fiction Novel in the 2017 Dragon Awards. You won't be alone. Many indie and PulpRev writers, including Jon and Russell, have already endorsed it.

Nominate The Secret Kings for the Best Sci-Fi Dragon Award.

#TeamJagi

2017/07/04

A World without Politics

File the latest analog mindset Tourette's spasm from Scalzi & friends under  SF SJWs Always Double Down.

Whomever Whatever

H/t @Azu-Rayn
“Dear whomever: Kiss my ass,” author John Scalzi tells a room full of fans. The crowd laughs and applauds.
Scalzi, who is a Hugo award-winning science fiction author of novels like Old Man’s War and Redshirts, was at Book Con — an annual convention of authors and booksellers at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Along with fellow science fiction authors Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, and Cory Doctorow, Scalzi appeared on a panel on Saturday to discuss resistance in science fiction.
“People will visit my website or Twitter feed where apparently I have political opinions,” said Scalzi. “Then I get the sorrowful email that says, ‘I thought I was coming to you for entertainment, but you’re telling me how to think and regretfully I must not read your books anymore.’ They’re expecting me to say something like, ‘No, don’t leave.’ They’re not expecting the email I actually send, which is ‘Dear whomever: kiss my ass.”
Annalee Newitz, who co-founded io9 and has a debut sci-fi novel Autonomous coming out in September, chimed in to add, “If you’re setting [a story] on earth with humans, you can’t have a world without politics.”
All four authors lingered on the inherent absurdity of the notion that science fiction is entertainment and therefore shouldn’t be political.
Science fiction fans must always remember to thank Scalzi and Newitz for giving us two statements that perfectly diagnose the causes of tradpub SF's demise.

The rank dishonesty of those public comments is striking. First we have Scalzi admitting how he's alienating readers who come to him for fun and adventure but get double handfuls of message fic. He's the sci-fi equivalent of the prudish curmudgeon who hands out Jack Chick tracts on Halloween instead of candy.

As for the snarky reply he purportedly gives to ex-readers who dare complain, you can be sure it's bullshit. After all, Scalzi's years of observably duplicitous attention-seeking provided the basis for the First Law of SJWs.

Any professional author who wants to stay in this business had better care when readers say, "I'm not reading you anymore, and here's why." It's Market Research 101.

No, he cares. His living depends on readers buying his books. Finding out that there are fewer of them every day is not a revelation that inspires confidence. He's bringing up these emails from disaffected readers and glibly dismissing them to reinforce his self-delusions.

Whereas Scalzi is mainly lying to himself, Newitz commits the graver injustice of lying to readers. She brazenly misrepresents the plight of readers who say, "This isn't fun. We wanted action, adventure, and wonder; not civics lectures," when she replies with a non-sequitur about world building.

Here's a thought experiment: when Newitz says that a world with humans can't be a world without politics, can you imagine her defending a story that features libertarianism, conservatism, or nationalism as prominently as Scalzi's books bang the Leftist drum?

Then we come to the non-argument where readers who are sick to death of getting lectured by finger-wagging schoolmarms are told that their wishes are inherently absurd.

This bait and switch is monumentally dishonest. Everyone knows damn well that the readers leaving tradpub in droves aren't precious snowflakes who get the vapors from any mention of politics in a secondary world's background. (See the Third Law of SJWs.)

What the readers are is tired of being propagandized.

The authors on that panel have forgotten--or, more likely, are studiously ignoring--the fact that authors work for readers; not publishers. Only two parties are absolutely necessary in the author-reader relationship. I'll let you figure out which two.

The Big Five publishers and their pet propagandists masquerading as storytellers know this. Their once packed conventions and trade shows are shrinking. Their profits are down; their market dominance lost to indie, small presses, and Amazon's own imprints.

Top comment goes to Castalia House author and Hugo finalist Ben Cheah:

Ben Cheah

Successful non-tradpub authors like Ben and myself listen to our readers. We know that you want entertainment; not propaganda.

For a totally insane supernatural space opera with guns, pirates, demons, and zero politics, check out Nethereal, book I of my award-winning Soul Cycle.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

And don't forget to nominate The Secret Kings, Soul Cycle Book III for Best Science Fiction Novel at the Dragon Awards. In stark contrast to the Hugos, the Dragons know how to have fun!

Haven't read The Secret Kings? Get it for free here.

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/03

Baby Driver

Daddy Warpig's review of Baby Driver, the new Edgar Wright film, has been receiving quite a bit of praise. Tune in to the latest episode of Geek Gab and see what you think. Bonus: two other movie reviews!

Listen here.


In Superversive news, Astounding Frontiers will be released later this month. Look for my alternate Late Antiquity adventure story "The Robber Council", serialized in three parts.

Also, I can confirm that Forbidden Thoughts, vol. 2 is in the works!

Reminder: if you haven't picked up your copy of my new fantasy novella The Hymn of the Pearl, what are you waiting for? Here's what you're missing:
The setting is clearly modeled on antiquity, which is a nice change from the medieval/steampunk/dieselpunk/urban fantasy settings that so many authors are using these days. At times I was reminded of the work of K. J. Parker, but with less snark.
Get your copy of The Hymn of the Pearl here!

The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier

Need something else fun to read on the road this Independence Day? My fan favorite space opera novel The Secret Kings is free this month.

Get your free copy of The Secret Kings here!

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

Don't forget: The Secret Kings is eligible for Best Science Fiction Novel at the 2017 Dragon Awards. If you like unique, genre-bending sci-fi that's always entertaining and never lectures you, please nominate SK for this year's Dragon of SF and give some well-deserved recognition to a great lady editor. #TeamJagi

Cast your free ballot to nominate The Secret Kings for Best Sci-Fi Novel here!

Thanks to all my readers for your support.

@BrianNiemeier

2017/07/01

The Hymn of the Pearl Is Here!

It's my sincere pleasure to announce the launch of my first standalone novella, The Hymn of the Pearl.

The Hymn of the Pearl - Brian Niemeier
Campbell Award finalist and Dragon Award winner Brian Niemeier reveals a haunting new world of high fantasy in his first standalone novella The Hymn of the Pearl.
Vestiges of the Saronican Empire litter the known world, proclaiming the truth that even the greatest powers must bow to fate’s decrees.
Humanity’s misfortunes were once moderated by an ancient line of priests. Now the order of Advocates lies fallen, afflicted with every curse their cheiromancy had lifted from the shoulders of men. Into the ensuing chaos step the Arbiters: a new order of cheirologists who boast the power to change fate…for a price.
When a warring nation petitions the Arbiters for victory over a superior foe, the order dispatches Manthus, a cheirologist known for his unorthodox thinking and his flexible morals. Manthus seeks help from a sister Arbiter even less scrupulous than he is. Despite the aid of a disgraced general, their combined powers prove unequal to the task.
Their only hope of stopping a senseless war lies with the last Advocate: a man who bears a curse so terrible that all who approach him risk death—and worse. As fortune turns and armies clash, Manthus enters a perilous alliance that could destroy him or free the world from fate itself.
As Castalia House Blog editor Jeffro Johnson told me, The Hymn of the Pearl is unlike anything I've written before. Whereas up till this point I've written novels and short stories in the science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and mil-SF genres, today's new release marks my first foray into both high fantasy and novellas.

Authors take a risk venturing beyond their comfort zone, but the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Hymn of the Pearl preview tells me that my readers are interested in seeing me tell stories outside of the Soul Cycle. This novella stems from a challenge from a friend to do just that, and I hope you'll be pleased with the result.

By the way, Soul Cycle fans needn't worry. The fourth and final SC book, The Ophian Rising will be out later this year.

It's good to see so much interest in a non-SC book though. Because as some have correctly deduced, I have another book, the first in a new space opera series, coming soon from Castalia House. And because I love my readers, I've got something special planned for them.

Included with every purchase of The Hymn of the Pearl is an exclusive preview of Faraway Wars: Book I - Embers of Empire.

I guarantee you won't want to miss this.


Last but by no means least, the Dragon Awards are almost upon us. Last year I was deeply honored when you made Souldancer the first indie novel to win a Dragon. But my joy was bittersweet because, sadly, the Dragons don't yet have a Best Editor category. My outstanding editor L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright deserved recognition for her work, so I publicly shared SD's win with her.

This year, Souldancer's sequel The Secret Kings is eligible for a Dragon Award in the Best Science Fiction Novel category. Jagi edited SK too, and she's got a special place in her heart for it. She and my readers agree that the third book is even better than its Dragon-winning precursor, and who am I to argue?

Here's my pledge to you: if The Secret Kings is nominated for this year's Best Sci-Fi Novel Dragon Award, I will once again dedicate the nomination to Jagi and share the accolades with her.

Convention membership isn't required to vote, and best of all, it's free!

And to make sure everybody gets a chance to read the eligible work before voting, I am giving away The Secret Kings through my newsletter for free!

Nominations close on 07/24/2017, and the free giveaway is for a limited time only, so get your copy and cast your vote!

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier
This story represents a huge leap forward for the author, better than any of his previous works. The story itself is one continuous rollercoaster, never boring filler material. After the previous two books, the pressure is on in this novel, and the author delivers beautifully. This book feels like one continuous boss fight with twenty stages. The tension and action never let up for more than a breath.
--Adam Smith

Already read SK? Excellent!



Thanks again to all of my readers. You are the reason I do this.

@BrianNiemeier #TeamJagi