marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2019-01-15 07:39 am

Reprints of All Systems Red and Raksura Books

* On January 22, The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red will be re-released in hardcover to match the other three novellas.

* Night Shade Books is going to reissue the first three Books of the Raksura in mass market paperback. The Cloud Roads will be out this Fall, and The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths will be out in 2020.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2019-01-04 11:41 am

The Harbors of the Sun Review

I'm going to re-post some things here that got deleted with my tumblr:

Here's one of my favorite reviews of The Books of the Raksura


Review by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun of The Harbors of the Sun
http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/the-harbors-of-the-sun-by-martha-wells/

A quick and dirty description of the series as a whole that I’ve seen Wells herself use is “bisexual, polyamorous, matriarchal, shapeshifting flying lizard people.” This is absolutely correct. However it’s also more of the “who” than the “what” of the series. The what of the Raksura books is more complicated and subtle. If you had asked me what the series was about before reading The Edge of Worlds and The Harbors of the Sun, I would have answered that it was about a young man finding a home and his people after being on his own for too long. I would have said it was about rediscovering family and learning to trust again. Those answers are all still true, but now I realize that this series is also very much about a community constantly under attack, how they deal with trauma and continue fighting to survive and find a safe space.

Without giving away too much, Moon starts the series isolated and ignorant of his people because of an attack on his birthplace; and the results and reactions to this and other attacks that happen within the books affect every character deeply and in different ways. In between the exciting action scenes, characters are dealing with feelings of abandonment, PTSD, and the reverberations of sexual assault through whole families and communities. These heavy subjects are no less well depicted for the series’ being set in a secondary fantasy world. Wells handles them with subtlety and grace, so they slowly build almost within the background of the series, book by book. For example, there are a few characters in the series that are born as the result of sexual assault and while this is never ignored, it’s also not focused on too closely. However, in The Harbors of the Sun we, along with the characters, are forced to confront more directly what life would be like for those taken and forced to impregnate their captors and where they might find some consolation. (That sentence is a great call out to the book, so after you read it? Make sure to come back and marvel at my brilliance.) Wells never glosses over the pain and the after effects of terrible things; she treats these horrors with the respect they deserve unlike many other writers who linger over sexual assault and other violations to both eroticize the acts and use them to shock the reader.

Another great aspect of the series is the casual queerness of the characters. What I mean by a casual queerness is that the world itself is queer, so sexuality is a non-issue most of the time and since most of the characters are bisexual there is no single queer character for the whole of a complex identity to be pinned upon. As mentioned above, the Raksura are polyamorous, and though Moon’s main relationship is with the queen, Jade, he also has a strong and loving relationship with the male mentor-turned-warrior Chime. Chime is explicitly described as Moon’s favorite multiple times in the books. None of this is a main focus of the books but it is wonderful to see a world where queer sexuality is so accepted that it need not necessitate any conversation or explanation. Though it is thankfully becoming more common, it is still thrilling to see a world where queerness doesn’t exist as a way to isolate a character or to give them a tortured past. While many of Wells’s characters do have dark pasts, none of these are the result of their sexuality.

The series as a whole deserves all the accolades it has received and more, and The Harbors of the Sun acts as a lovely and fitting final book in the series. The adventure is thrilling and fast paced, moving you along at a steady pace that will make you rage at any real life interruptions. As always with Wells, the worldbuilding is top-notch and interesting, featuring unique species and fascinating flora and fauna that feel both fantastic and also oddly realistic. The interpersonal relationships between characters and the intrigue between both different species and political factions will keep you wondering until the very end. It’s always hard when a beloved series ends, but The Harbors of the Sun brings the Books of the Raksura to a satisfying end, one that leaves most characters in very different places emotionally than they were at their introduction. The world that Wells built still feels open and alive; so that this is more of a gentle tapering off than a firm end. Moon will certainly have many more adventures, even if we never get to see them.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2018-04-17 10:01 am

Sex and the Single Raksura

Since the series is up for a Hugo nomination now, I thought I'd repost this older essay.

It took two years to sell the completed manuscript of The Cloud Roads to a publisher. (My agent was the one doing all the work. I was just sitting at home writing The Serpent Sea and Emilie and the Hollow World (which didn’t have a publisher either at that time), and quietly freaking out.) But one of the comments my agent got back on The Cloud Roads was that it was hard to follow.

If you’ve read it, you know it’s not a multi-character, multi-storyline epic. Moon is the only POV and the story is pretty linear. After talking to other readers about it for a while, I think the reason for that comment was the Raksura’s gender neutral names.

For me, this was a feature, not a bug. I found it hard to talk about the bisexuality or pansexuality of the characters when they had no concept of heterosexuality, so I tried in various ways to show it. And our concepts of gender don’t map exactly onto the Raksura’s concepts of gender. Using gender neutral names helped me keep that in mind while I was writing. But for some people it was too confusing; they had to assign a gender to identify who the character was.

There were other things people didn’t like. Raksura form intensely close bonds with each other, but are not romantic in the way most earth humans would interpret it. The closest they come to kissing is biting, and they don’t say to each other "I love you." The queens and consorts are the only ones who form single permanent sexual relationships that we would recognize as marriages, and even they aren’t exclusive with each other. (Though a consort wouldn’t sleep with another queen unless he wanted to start a war.) Moon is the only Raksura in the book who has seen any other type of relationship, and even he only has an outsider’s understanding of them.

For infertile warriors and fertile Arbora, sexual relationships are friendly and casual. Having children is a serious business, and partners are selected with a lot of attention toward the court’s bloodlines and what the court needs. But the relationships between Arbora child-bearing partners aren’t exclusive and aren’t marriages, the way we’d think of marriages, and children are raised communally. (When it’s normal to give birth to five babies at one time, it takes an organized segment of the community to take care of all of them.)

The entire court is basically a very large, often cranky, extended family.

I had beta readers for The Cloud Roads who tried to see the Raksuran relationships as marriages and nuclear families, and it just didn’t work for them because the relationships didn’t make sense that way. To me, trying to see the relationships of your flying lizard ant lion people as being exactly like earth human relationships was what didn’t make sense.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2018-04-01 07:24 pm

Books of the Raksura post

Here’s an introductory post about the HUGO-NOMINATED!!!! Books of the Raksura series from the publisher, Night Shade Books:


http://www.nightshadebooks.com/2018/04/01/hugo-award-nomination-the-books-of-the-raksura-by-martha-wells/
marthawells: (Reading)
2017-12-11 10:09 am

What I've Done This Year

Award-eligible stuff:


Novella: May 2017 All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries in ebook and paperback, from Tor.com


Novel: July 2017 The Harbors of the Sun, the last book in the Books of the Raksura series, in hardcover, paperback, and ebook, from Night Shade Books.

The Books of the Raksura is eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Series, and this will be its last year of eligibility.


Short Story: July 2017 "Birthright" in Mech: Age of Steel from Ragnarok.


Not Award Eligible:

The trade paperback reprint of The Edge of Worlds


Writing Stats:

I wrote three more Murderbot Diaries novellas this year, Artificial Condition, which will come out in May 2018, Rogue Protocol in August 2018, and Exit Strategy, which isn't scheduled yet. All three together are a total of about 105,000 words. I also wrote a bunch of short fiction for the Raksura Patreon, probably around 15,000 to 18,000 words worth.


Misc:

This was a really...strange year in a lot of ways, but career-wise, it was very good. I completed the Books of the Raksura series and I was very happy with how The Harbors of the Sun turned out. All Systems Red, my first SF novella, came out and it did really super well, and got lots of great reviews and was listed as one of Amazon's best books of 2017, which was awesome.

And I read a lot of great books by a lot of new and new-to-me authors: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3386681-martha-wells?read_at=2017

And I was toastmaster at the World Fantasy Convention in 2017, and this was my speech: https://www.tor.com/2017/11/07/unbury-the-future-martha-wells-full-speech-from-the-2017-world-fantasy-awards/
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-09-02 08:16 am

The Harbors of the Sun Review

http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/the-harbors-of-the-sun-by-martha-wells/

Great Review of The Harbors of the Sun in Strange Horizons: (Not spoilery)


A quick and dirty description of the series as a whole that I’ve seen Wells herself use is “bisexual, polyamorous, matriarchal, shapeshifting flying lizard people.” This is absolutely correct. However it’s also more of the “who” than the “what” of the series. The what of the Raksura books is more complicated and subtle. If you had asked me what the series was about before reading The Edge of Worlds and The Harbors of the Sun, I would have answered that it was about a young man finding a home and his people after being on his own for too long. I would have said it was about rediscovering family and learning to trust again. Those answers are all still true, but now I realize that this series is also very much about a community constantly under attack, how they deal with trauma and continue fighting to survive and find a safe space.

Without giving away too much, Moon starts the series isolated and ignorant of his people because of an attack on his birthplace; and the results and reactions to this and other attacks that happen within the books affect every character deeply and in different ways. In between the exciting action scenes, characters are dealing with feelings of abandonment, PTSD, and the reverberations of sexual assault through whole families and communities. These heavy subjects are no less well depicted for the series’ being set in a secondary fantasy world. Wells handles them with subtlety and grace, so they slowly build almost within the background of the series, book by book. For example, there are a few characters in the series that are born as the result of sexual assault and while this is never ignored, it’s also not focused on too closely. However, in The Harbors of the Sun we, along with the characters, are forced to confront more directly what life would be like for those taken and forced to impregnate their captors and where they might find some consolation. (That sentence is a great call out to the book, so after you read it? Make sure to come back and marvel at my brilliance.) Wells never glosses over the pain and the after effects of terrible things; she treats these horrors with the respect they deserve unlike many other writers who linger over sexual assault and other violations to both eroticize the acts and use them to shock the reader.

Another great aspect of the series is the casual queerness of the characters. What I mean by a casual queerness is that the world itself is queer, so sexuality is a non-issue most of the time and since most of the characters are bisexual there is no single queer character for the whole of a complex identity to be pinned upon. As mentioned above, the Raksura are polyamorous, and though Moon’s main relationship is with the queen, Jade, he also has a strong and loving relationship with the male mentor-turned-warrior Chime. Chime is explicitly described as Moon’s favorite multiple times in the books. None of this is a main focus of the books but it is wonderful to see a world where queer sexuality is so accepted that it need not necessitate any conversation or explanation. Though it is thankfully becoming more common, it is still thrilling to see a world where queerness doesn’t exist as a way to isolate a character or to give them a tortured past. While many of Wells’s characters do have dark pasts, none of these are the result of their sexuality.


If you've read the book and are inclined, it can use more reviews/ratings at Amazon, GoodReads, etc. Those reviews really do help books and writers appreciate them a lot.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-07-12 09:28 am

Swag!

Raksura stickers and buttons


This is the first time I’ve been able to afford actual swag for a signing. These are stickers with art by Pentapoda, and I also have buttons. I’ll have them at the Murder by the Book (in Houston) signing with Rachel Caine on 7/15/2017 at 4:30 (if you can’t come, you can order our signed and personalized books to ship to you at http://www.murderbooks.com/event/wells-caine ) and at ArmadilloCon http://armadillocon.org/d39/#/ and World Fantasy 2017 http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-07-03 07:33 am

One More Sleep to Raksura Day







So, tomorrow, July 4 2017, is the release day for The Harbors of the Sun, the last book in the Books of the Raksura series.

The ebooks will be dropping tomorrow, but I think the trade paperbacks and hardcovers have already started shipping. (I haven't heard anything about an audio version yet.)

If you want a signed edition, you can order one shipped to you from Murder by the Book as part of a signing I'm doing there with Rachel Caine on July 15. (You can probably get a whole signed set of Raksura books if you want, as long as you order in enough time for the store to get them.)


The timeline for all novels, and the novellas and stories collected in Stories of the Raksura I and II is:


"The Tale of Indigo and Cloud" - in the Reaches, before the Time of the Great Leaving

"The Forest Boy" - Moon as a young boy

"The Dead City" - Moon as a young man, after Saraseil

"Adaptation" - sometime later, at the old Indigo Cloud colony in the east

The Cloud Roads - two turns later

The Serpent Sea - eleven days later after the end of The Cloud Roads

The Siren Depths - two months after the end of The Serpent Sea

"Mimesis" - three months after the end of The Siren Depths

"Trading Lesson" - a month later

"The Falling World" - one turn since arriving at the Reaches colony. Jade, Chime and Balm go missing while on a trip to another court.

"The Dark Earth Below" - half a turn after the end of "The Falling World." Jade is about to have her clutch and the court is under attack.

The Edge of Worlds - one turn after "The Dark Earth Below"

The Harbors of the Sun - immediately after The Edge of Worlds


The Raksura Patreon with flash fiction about the Indigo Cloud Court is here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2458567

The Traveler's Guide to the Three Worlds is here: http://www.marthawells.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page


Happy reading!
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
2017-06-05 10:13 am

The Harbors of the Sun Excerpt and Signing

In less than a month, The Harbors of the Sun, the last Raksura book, will be out in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook.

(If you missed it, The Edge of Worlds is already out in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook.)

If you want signed copies, I'm doing a signing with Rachel Caine at Murder By The Book on Saturday, July 15, at 4:30, and you can order our books and get them signed and personalized and shipped to you here: http://www.murderbooks.com/event/wells-caine

(You can also order signed copies of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red.)


The Harbors of the Sun Excerpt

Sleeping in swamps was always difficult. The brackish mud was too cool against Moon's scales to be comfortable, and every time he managed to doze off, something crawled over him. The clouds of insects sheltering in the tall grass weren't much interested in Raksura, but the ugly little things that looked like fish with legs had sharp teeth and were annoyingly persistent. Moon had always found sleeping in his scaled form awkward and not restful, but the distractions made it nearly impossible.

Fortunately for his temper, the sky was finally darkening toward evening. Moon shoved himself up out of the mud and slid through the sharp grass blades and over to a much larger puddle. He found a knot of driftwood near the edge and chunked it in. "Stone, wake up."

Bubbles broke the muddy surface, then a big dark scaled tail whipped up and took a swing at Moon. He dodged and went to find a less muddy place to clean off in.

He waded through the waist-deep grass out to one of the pools where the sea entered the wetlands. Sitting on his heels in the cool saltwater, he scrubbed the sticky mud off his scales with handfuls of sand. The empty sea stretched out, the evening sky was indigo and purple, and the quarter moon gleamed on the water. The breeze held saltwater and the intense green scent of the wetland grasses, leavened with various flowers and laced with bird scat and dead fish. All the groundling shipping that he had spotted throughout the afternoon, both surface sailing ships and flying boats, had already made port.

Moon glanced around again out of habit, even though nothing could see him except for a few tall spindly shore birds striding away through the shallows. Then he shifted.

His wings, tail, spines, and black scales flowed away into his soft-skinned form. Anyone watching would now see a tall lean groundling, with dark bronze skin and dark hair. He was dressed in light pants cut off at the knee and a loose brown shirt, the kind of clothes some groundlings wore for sailing or other work. It wouldn't draw attention in most of the groundling ports Moon had visited, but this wasn't exactly a groundling port. He felt the wind lift his hair and scratched at the back of his neck where he hadn't managed to get all the mud out of his spines.

With no warning, Stone stepped out of the grass. Moon twitched in spite of himself. Stone was in his groundling form now too, with gray skin and hair, in battered clothes much like Moon's, and a pack slung across his shoulder. He was somehow already dry and mostly clean, despite having been buried in a mud wallow for most of the afternoon. Clearly not in any better a mood than Moon was, he said, "What's taking you so long?"

"I'm waiting for you." Moon hissed at him and followed him back through the grass.

read more )
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-05-29 08:03 am

Raksura Patreon

Since it's Memorial Day in the US (May 29, 2017) I'm leaving the Raksura Patreon story #36 visible to non-Patrons for the day. It's "Moon, Stone, and Ember, on the eve of a court visit."


https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2458567
marthawells: (Stargate)
2017-04-25 07:44 am

The Edge of Worlds Paperback



I think it's already been shipping, but this is the official release day for trade paperback reprint of The Edge of Worlds. It's the second to last Raksura book.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-04-07 07:15 am

The Edge of Worlds Paperback

The Edge of Worlds cover


The trade paperback of The Edge of Worlds is officially out on April 25 2017, may ship earlier, and has a cheaper preorder price: Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

It's already available in ebook, hardcover, and audiobook.

It's the next to last book in the Books of the Raksura series. The last book, The Harbors of the Sun will be out July 4 2017, in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. (I don't know about the audiobook yet.)

If you want a signed, personalized copy, you can order one through Murder by the Book here: http://www.murderbooks.com/event/martha-wells

If you want a signed, personalized copy of the 150 page novella The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red you can preorder one here: http://www.murderbooks.com/event/martha-wells-preorder
marthawells: (Reading)
2017-02-14 07:28 am

Paperback of The Harbors of the Sun



The The Harbors of the Sun is going to be released simultaneously on July 4 in paperback, hardcover, and ebook. The paperbacks are now up for preorder at discount on Barnes & Noble and at regular price (so far) at Amazon.

Hardcovers and ebooks are available for preorder at:

Barnes and Noble, Amazon US, Powells, Mysterious Galaxy, Chapters Indigo, Books a Million, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain, all other Amazons, and Indiebound.

Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, iTunes, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Spain, and all other Amazon Kindles.




The Edge of Worlds is coming out in paperback in March and is available for preorder at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

It's already out in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook:

Amazon US, Powell's, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Mysterious Galaxy, Books-a-Million, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain and all the other Amazons. Order it locally in the US from an independent bookseller through Indiebound.

Amazon US, Barnes & Noble Nookbook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain, and all other Amazons.
marthawells: (Default)
2017-02-06 10:51 am

Three Worlds Map on Exhibit





This exhibit has the map I made for the Books of the Raksura.

New Cushing Exhibition Opens February 10th

Come explore realms and cities, lands and planets that never existed save in the imagination! Fantastical lands await you at the Worlds Imagined: Maps of Imaginary Places Collection exhibit. Plan your next adventure to your favorite literary, film, or game locale using maps from the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives and Maps & GIS collections.

The opening reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 9 2017 and will be followed by the lecture beginning at 6:30 p.m. All of which is free and open to the public.

The opening lecture and reception will feature Priscilla Spencer, a renowned fantasy cartographer, writer, and producer. Three of her own maps, Kingdom of the Westlands (2016), The Realm of Alera and the Barbarian Lands (2015), and Yggdrasil and Nine Realms of the Norse (2012), are included within the exhibition.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2017-01-24 10:06 am

Publishing News

I got some good news today. Skyhorse/Nightshade is going with simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback editions of The Harbors of the Sun. (This was after Barnes & Noble said they'd take 1200 copies if it was released in trade paperback, but only a few 100 if released in hardcover.) I think this is great, because people who want a nice hardcover can get one and you still have the more affordable trade paperback.

Also, I posted the new Raksura Patreon story today: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2458567
marthawells: (Miko)
2017-01-18 08:51 am

Three Worlds Map

I'm not getting much done this week, as watching the fascist takeover of the US is kind of terrifying and depressing and enraging. But here's something I stumbled on recently that I told someone I'd post. Maybe it'll distract me and others and provide a few minutes of relief.

This is the only map of the Three Worlds, from The Books of the Raksura. The original is at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, being prepared for a spot in an exhibition of maps of imaginary places. I thought I hadn't taken any photos of it, but found these the other day:






I didn't ever want professional maps in the books, because I wanted the reader to visualize the Three Worlds as a vast landscape with no boundaries, so these were only for personal reference.
marthawells: (SGA Team)
2016-12-05 09:41 am

Year End Round Up

Well, it's been a fucking horrible year. But here's a round-up of stuff I wrote and read:


Things Published

December 2015

"The Dark Gates" The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft, Journalstone Press.
Reja and her companions Fletcher and Tamith solve a mysterious disappearance.

"The Potter's Daughter" audio reprint at Episode 86 of the podcast Far-Fetched Fables, read by Diane Sieverson.
Kade Carrion before the events of The Element of Fire

January 2016

"Night at the Opera" audio reprint at Podcastle.
A noble Rienish family asks Reynard Morane to thwart a sorcerous blackmailer, and he recruits a reluctant Nicholas Valiarde to help.

April 2016

The Edge of Worlds Night Shade Books, ISBN 9781597808439. Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Reviewed by the New York Times:
"The venerated pulp spirit in science fiction and fantasy has dwindled since the golden age of the 1920s to '50s. Yet an atavistic craving for adventure remains, and it is this need that Wells's books in general and the Raksura books in particular satisfy. The stories are straightforward adventure, but what makes Wells's "new pulp" feel fresh is its refusal to take the easier storytelling routes of its forebears. Rather than thinly veil an existing human society as alien others, for example, Wells - a master world builder - creates a multicultural world of humanized monsters...The result is breathtakingly surprising and fun. So for readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board."
- New York Times

Forthcoming in 2017

January 2017

"Birthright" Mech: Age of Steel, Ragnarok Publications, ISBN 978-1941987858.

April 2017

The Edge of Worlds Night Shade Books, Paperback edition.

July 2017

The Harbors of the Sun Night Shade Books, ISBN 978-1597808910.
The last book in the Books of the Raksura series.

Also forthcoming: The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red, a novella from Tor.com in ebook and paperback and the sequel.

Words written in 2016: about 163832

Some of My Favorite Books:

Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde
Court of Fives and The Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? by Paul Cornell
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
Sacrifice by Cindy Pon
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2016-11-03 11:30 am

The Harbors of the Sun ebook preorder



The next (and last) Raksura book, The Harbors of the Sun, is starting show up for preorder in ebook on Kindle and Kobo. (It should also be showing up on Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, France, Germany, etc, just check your local Amazon.)

The paperback of The Edge of Worlds will be out in April and is up for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you've already read The Edge of Worlds, please consider leaving a review or rating on Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing, etc. It really does help, and it's all the advertising the books will get. And it's very much appreciated.
marthawells: (Teyla)
2016-09-21 09:22 am

Book Quote Wednesday

Book quotes I’ve been posting on Twitter for Book Quote Wednesday