Blog Ketchup: Contact With Chaos, Balticon, and RMS Pre-Orders

I like giving blog entries a single theme, but when I'm this far behind sometimes I just need to catch up. For lack of a better term, then, there's the theme. Three things, and no actual ketchup: First and foremost: I owe Michael Z. Williamson a book review. Long ago, during the waning months of the last decade he sent me a copy of Contact with Chaos. The 10,000-foot view: feuding, star-faring humans find a planet with a civilization of sophonts attempting to thrive under metal-poor conditions. Politics among the humans and the aliens are complicated, but are still not as involving as the science. For lack of a better term, this is a stonepunk novel, and it's excellent hard sci-fi. Mike and others did piles of research into what you can and cannot do with ceramics, glass, stone, bone, and wood, and it shows in the story. In good ways. This is one of those books where I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and then I began wondering if I'd counted my upstairs neighbor's legs correctly, because he has too many shoes. It's a satisfying book that doesn't need a sequel, but I really want one anyway. Secondly: I'll be at Balticon this coming weekend. If you want to find me there, check the Howard Tayler Public Calendar on Google. In fact, if you want to find me ANYWHERE, this calendar is your best bet. Future convention appearances, local events, and even simple movie outings where I'm willing to be approached will all show up on this page. And as I mentioned last week, I'll have a dozen or so advance copies of Schlock Mercenary: Resident Mad Scientist available for sale there. These will be numbered sketch-editions only, I'm afraid. With supplies this limited (and a FedEx bill this high) I need to charge a premium ($30.) Thirdly, and in that same vein: Pre-orders for Schlock Mercenary: Resident Mad Scientist open on Tuesday morning at 8:00am Mountain Time. If you've bought Schlock books before, this one will still astound you. If you've never bought Schlock books before, start by purchasing this one. This is without a doubt my finest printed work to date, by virtue of all the amazing help I had putting it together. More correctly, it's this good because of the amazing team behind it. Saying "I had help" understates the extent of everyone else's contributions. We'll be restocking some other items like t-shirts and magnets, and we'll be putting some brand-new stuff in there as well. The store update on Tuesday will be significant, because we very badly want to have some of your money, and we long ago decided the best way to get it would be to allow you to exchange it for things you simply cannot live one more day without. Well... they're pre-orders, and there's shipping time involved. I guess that superlative falls apart pretty quickly, unless "another day" means "allow six weeks for delivery."

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