Hey guys! Silently and Very Fast, my AI novella and REAL SCIENCE FICTION I SWEARZ has concluded over at Clarkesworld.

You can still get one of the last copies of the hardcover here, or just read it for free in electronic form at CW. Either way, I hope you enjoy it and do not throw eggs in it. Feel free to leave comments there or here.

I’m mainly consumed with my mom visiting and Under Milk Wood going up on Saturday night–if anyone is local they should definitely come! (630pm, Brackett Church on Peaks Island, admission is one canned food item for the Peaks Island Food Pantry) and selling books at the craft fair tomorrow. It is a PACKED weekend here on the island. Plus I’m turning in the final Fairyland edits today. No rest for anyone, ever.

But Monday I shall return!

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Cat’s AI novella Silently and Very Fast has reached its conclusion over at Clarkesworld Magazine. Already praised and chosen for Dozois’s Year’s Best SF anthology, Silently has been published in limited edition hardcover and posted serially at Clarkesworld over the final three months of 2011. The novella explores artificial intelligence through the lens of folklore and twisted family, following an entity from its first moments through a swath of human history and beyond.

Read Silently and Very Fast.

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I’ve been watching 24 lately as I frantically try to accomplish all the things this week (finish my mom’s Christmas present, finish editing Fairyland 2, and the play I’m directing goes up on Saturday, too).

I pay attention to some seasons and episodes more than others–it’s not really hard to follow, even with only half a brain focused on it. A lot of the show is like a YouTube montage of people yelling WE’RE OUT OF TIME/RUNNING OUT OF TIME/WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME!!! only it’s not a montage, it’s just the show.

But the thing that frustrates me is such a writer thing to be frustrated by.

The villains, we just never know where they’re coming from.

Oh sure, America sucks, blow things up, yes, we get that they’re Bad and want to Do Bad Things. But we never hear why they want those things, what specific beef they’ve got, what their history is (I want to hear Marie Warner’s story, you guys) and how they got to that point. Most importantly, we never hear what sort of world they hope will follow their apocalypse party.

So you want to meltdown all the nuclear reactors/release a virus in all kinds of cities/whatever. You basically hope to bring about the end of America as a civilization, right? Because that’s what will happen. (And money is not a good answer either, even though they occasionally try that one, because it will not be worth much when everyone is dead and you are hoping to trade non-irradiated water for uninfected food.) And many of the effects of the 24 crises would actually be worldwide. So you want the zombie apocalypse. What is it you hope will follow that? I’m willing to hear that you want a pre-industrial Caliphate–I won’t like it, but it’s at least a concrete goal. I’m willing to hear that you think nixing half of humanity with an incurable 100% mortality virus will heal the earth because overpopulation or whatever.

What I do not like is the constant YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND that the villains spout, and then clam up. Like, somehow that’s an acceptable response during an interrogation? It’s as good as asking for a lawyer, it would seem. We could never understand? Well then! No more questions, sir! Would you like the light or dark cell? Right this way. There’s something to be said for villains monologuing. At least we get to understand. No wait, we couldn’t understand, so I guess we won’t even try?

And I am always interested in the why. When I was editing Apex I asked for a rewrite on a story to give me more “whyporn”. I want it laid out, at least a little, why the villain does what they do, and more than that–why they feel they are righteous. Because they all do believe they are doing the right thing, the hard thing, but the right thing. To act as though those motivations are incomprehensible is to simply dismiss those who commit terrible acts as inhuman and beyond understanding–and really, most of the time they’re terribly human and very understandable. We just feel better about our own stupid, petty, venal motivations when we shrug them off and say they’re monsters, who cares why?

But most of the time, in real life, villains are acting out those stupid, petty, venal impulses on a large scale, that’s all. And it pays to understand the process by which the small ugly thoughts we all have blossom into this horrible angry all engulfing Thing.

That’s how you write a good villain. An interesting villain. And 24 makes interesting villains and then just stubbornly refuses to examine them or even allow them to speak. I know it’s supposed to be this Rah Rah Jack Bauer Punches People In the Soul show, but in its first seasons it was often quite deft and interesting–right up until we should actually hear the whyporn, and then the YOU JUST WOULDN’T GET ME scowly crap starts up, every single damn season.

Show, I am frustrate. WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

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Terri Windling is in need.

Besides being a groundbreaking editor, artist, and author, she’s kind of a fairy godmother to the whole fantasy field, and a human being that fairly glows with inner light. We’re trying to help her get on her feet after medical and legal issues.

That means auction.

So, go over to the magick4terri community and see the spectacular array of stuff on offer there. I have a couple of things available–

1. You can name a character in the next Fairyland book! Not necessarily a Tuckerization, though it can be if you want it to be. Name the character anything you like. I promise it will be a character with lines and some importance, not just a walk-on. I VERY RARELY do this, in fact, I’ve only done it once before, for SJ Tucker’s auction. That resulted in Ivan Nikolaevich form Deathless, because sometimes symmetry is a beautiful thing (the buyer asked me to use his name, which is actually two names, but to alter it in some way. You can ask for a similarly specific naming.)

2. A printed handbound manuscript of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. The ARCs won’t be out til March, so this is your chance to read before anyone else ever, essentially. Anyone who doesn’t work at Macmillan and/or isn’t married to me.

Bid on these things! Bid on other things! Help make magic happen for our magical lady.

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WOW!

Fairyland has made it to the final round of voting in the GoodReads Reader’s Choice Award! I’ve never even been nominated before, let alone made it to the final round. And Deathless made it to the semi-final!

Please, if you have a moment, head over and vote for Fairyland in the Middle Grade section of the poll. It just takes a minute–and there’s tons of other awesome books to vote for in a bunch of categories, too.

Real blogging soon, I promise! Like, today even!

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Vote now for your favorite books!

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