Archives for posts with tag: ebooks

To recap, we kicked back a couple of times over the holidays and here’s what we saw.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Insurgent
His Girl Friday
Ex Machina
Babadook
Ant-Man
The Jane Austen Book Club
Love & Mercy

I covered His Girl Friday in the last review. Skip it unless you’re interested in 1940s screwball comedies.

Small budget films: I’ll start with Babadook. Someone on Facebook said, “Never see a movie with *bad* in the title.” This is a horror film written and directed by an Australian woman. Anthony Lane, the movie critic for The New Yorker, whose opinions I usually agree with for the most part, was much taken by this movie. So we sat down to watch. Sadly, the Facebook commentator was right. First off, when I’m relaxing to see a movie, I don’t want to see a character kill a beloved family pet to indicate how evil s/he has become. The rabbit in Fatal Attraction, which definitely showed evil, is my limit. I mean, some people eat rabbits, after all. But a dog, cat, or horse? No. Just no. Beyond that objection, I found too many scenes staged just like The Sixth Sense. “Homage” is one device; “rip off” is another. Skip it.

The Jane Austen Book Club is based on Karen Joy Fowler’s book. A fun and clever film to watch! My favorite part is when Grigg, the foxy male member of the book club, introduces a female member to science fiction. What a treat to hear Patrice Ann’s name spoken on the big screen! (That’s Pat Murphy, of course.) Grigg’s complaint—“I’ll read your books but you won’t read mine”—hits home. Will women only read romances about love and money, whereas men go for more intellectual fare like science fiction but will also try a romance or two? The publishing business still seems to be stuck in this rut. Anyway, recommended.

Love & Mercy is the story of Brian Wilson’s battle with mental illness. I’m hardly a Beach Boys fan, but I’m always interested in creative people’s lives and struggles. The film doesn’t successfully carry off Wilson’s transition from hearing music in his head (I’ve done that) and being obsessive-compulsive about composing pop tunes (who knew he was a musical genius?) to becoming a paranoid schizophrenic. But I liked the woman who saves him and marries him and their romantic story. Interesting.

Finally, Ex Machina was named by Time Magazine as one of the top ten films of 2015. Alicia Vikander is up for all kinds of awards for her portrayal of an “AI,” a truly self-thinking artificial intelligence housed in a beautiful woman’s synthetic body. The film, made for $15 million, earned $25 million worldwide, a success story if not a breakout hit. The film plays like an Omni story edited by Ellen Datlow—brilliant, intelligent, intellectual, sexy, and tactile with a shockingly dark ending. Recommended.

Next we move on to YA dystopia: Insurgent. As I wrote in a previous review of Divergent, I found the premise absurd and unbelievable. I only agreed to watch this second installment out of professional obligation. It doesn’t get better. The story is slow, the characters unbelievable, the premise still absurd, and nothing is invested in the outcome. I won’t see the final installment. Life is too short. Skip it.

Finally, international spy action thrillers and comic book movies. In spite of the fact that the film was a box office flop, we really wanted to love The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Turns out, the box office was right. The problems are many: the actors never come to life (showing a close-up of the clenched hand of a man who has barely suppressed rage doesn’t work the first time, let alone the next half-dozen times), they have no chemistry with each other or any other characters, and the attempts at humor, required of this genre, fall flat. An expensive disappointment.

In contrast, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, with the ever dependable Tom Cruise, is a totally enjoyable international spy action thriller, which turns the Mission Impossible premise upside down, to good effect. Cruise is a master of the telling look that carries a touch of humor. I think Cruise is underrated for his mastery of comedy. He’s hilarious as the male empowerment sex guru in Magnolia and even more hilarious, and pitch perfect, as the balding, pudgy, self-absorbed movie studio executive in Tropic Thunder—a truly hilarious movie. At an awards ceremony a few years ago, Cruise walked out unannounced onstage costumed as the balding, pudgy, self-absorbed movie studio executive and launched into his iconic dance at the end of Tropic Thunder. People were rolling in the aisles. Highly recommended.

At last we come to Ant-Man. What can I say? This is a Marvel Comics movie, slyly tied in to the Iron Man and Avengers franchises. With a super-technology that’s truly original, an engaging flawed hero, the dependable Michael Douglas looking very foxy indeed as the aging genius inventor, his strong, brilliant, and physically powerful daughter (who is set up for a sequel; stick around after the end credits), and humor that is laugh-out-loud funny, this is a treat. We watched it twice. Highly recommended.

So there you have it, my friends. My opinions, only. Hope they help guide you! Time is precious!

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website (newly updated for 2016) for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Gilded Age is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India, and Mexico.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Barnes and Noble has a Science Fiction and Fantasy blog. Here’s the blogger’s reaction to the newly announced 2016 Philip K Dick Award ballot:

“Sorry Hugos, but for my money, there’s no more interesting award in sci-fi than the ones named for Philip K. Dick. In the tradition of everyone’s favorite gonzo pulpist, the “PKD Award” honors innovative genre works that debuted in paperback, offering a nice reminder that you don’t need the prestige of a hardcover release to write a mind-blowing book (just ask William Gibson, whose seminal cyberpunk classic Neuromancer claimed the title in 1984), and in fact, if past winners are any evidence, the format might be seem as a license to take greater risks.

This year’s nominees are of a piece with PKD contenders of the past: they twist genre tropes in new ways, carving new toe-holds in well-worn tropes. Which brings us to another thing we love about this particular award: the winner is basically impossible to exist. Here are the nominees for this year’s PKD Award for best novel originally published in paperback in 2015:”

So there you have it, my friends. I think what the blogger was trying to say is that all PKD Award Finalists are winners. Here’s the link to see the ballot, book descriptions, and book covers. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/this-years-philip-k-dick-award-nominees-take-sf-in-strange-new-direcions/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Gilded Age is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India, and Mexico.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

 

2016 Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced

The judges of the 2016 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, are pleased to announce six nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:
EDGE OF DARK by Brenda Cooper (Pyr)
AFTER THE SAUCERS LANDED by Douglas Lain (Night Shade Books)
(R)EVOLUTION by PJ Manney (47North)
APEX by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
WINDSWEPT by Adam Rakunas (Angry Robot Books)
ARCHANGEL by Marguerite Reed (Arche Press)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, March 25, 2016 at Norwescon 39 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.
The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.  Last year’s winner was THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by Meg Elison (Sybaritic Press) with a special citation to ELYSIUM by Jennifer Marie Brissett (Aqueduct Press).

The current judges are Eric James Fullilove, James C. Glass, David Higgins, Lisa Mason (chair), and Jack Skillingstead.

So there you have it, my friends. Here’s the link to the official site. http://www.philipkdickaward.org/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Gilded Age is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India, and Mexico.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Breaking news!

I sold a story, “Anything For You,” to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and I’m too happy to remain on vacation. (I’m not really on vacation, I’m wrapping things up as a judge for the 2016 Philip K Dick Award and the newly appointed chairwoman of the PKD jury, plus I’m working my butt off to finish some things in peace and quiet, but never mind. Define “vacation.”)

Anything For You” (at 3,600 words) will be my fourth story in F&SF—I’m honored and delighted to publish in this great magazine again—and my thirtieth published story.

My first F&SF story, “Destination,” was acquired by Kathyrn Kristine Rusch, “Teardrop” and “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day” were Gordon Van Gelder picks, and “Anything For You” was given the nod by the terrific new editor, C.c. Finlay, himself a novelist, prolific storywriter, and husband to Rae Carson, a bestselling YA fantasy novelist.

This elevates 2015 from a “pretty good year” to an outstanding year! Happy happy New Year!

A revised version of “Destination” is published in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories. http://www.lisamason.com/strangeladies.html

F&SF is a traditional print magazine. Here’s the link to their site and their description. You will find all the information you need about how to order a subscription, order a single issue, submit your own story, and obtain ebook versions on Amazon.

https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/ The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949, is the award-winning SF magazine which is the original publisher of SF classics like Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. Each double-sized bimonthly issue offers:
–compelling short fiction by writers such as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Bisson and many others;
–the science fiction field’s most respected and outspoken opinions on Books, Films and Science;
–humor from our cartoonists and writers.

So there you have it, my friends. 2015 was an excellent year for me. In addition to this new sale, I published two stories in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, was granted and gave two interviews in F&SF. I participated as an author in the Time Travel Bundle at Storybundle.com, curated and participated as an author in the Philip K Dick Award Bundle, and am now curating the 2016 Story Collection Bundle, as well as participating as an author. Other projects are underway for 2016. And I’m serving as a judge for the 2016 Philip K Dick Award and was recently appointed as the chairwoman of the jury.

The biggest change on the home-front is that, after eight catless years since Alana died, Tom and I adopted a young girl cat, a blue-eyed Siamese-Angora mix, whom we named Athena. After being raised by a cat breeder, Athena is making leaps and bounds on a daily basis towards transforming herself into a loving, calm, smart, delightful family member. We’re so lucky to have found her!

Finally, 2016 ushers in, under Chinese astrology, the Year of the Monkey. Yep, he’s the Trickster. Expect surprises, nasty and otherwise. Beware, take care.

I want to wish you all now a Very Merry (and safe) Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! See you next year!

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Gilded Age is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India, and Mexico.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

No, urban development in Los Angeles moved on after the war years. The Garden of A—a fell into disrepair and was leveled in the 1960s. A strip mall and parking lot were built over the grave of the beautiful historic Mediterranean apartment complex.

Joni Mitchell’s delightful ditty, Big Yellow Taxi, is about the demise of the Garden. The song goes, “Don’t it always seem to go; you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved Paradise, put up a parking lot.”

I never knew that, did you? I read about the connection recently in an article in The Hollywood Reporter. I’ve received that trade journal for free ever since I sold my Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” to Universal Studios. I don’t know who comp’ed me! It’s pretty funny. Every year I receive an email from THR begging me to renew my free subscription!

The Garden of Abracadabra was built in Berkeley in 1850 during the California Gold Rush. This beautiful Mediterranean building won’t be demolished any time soon!

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Yes, partially, and also on an historic apartment complex in Hollywood in the 1940s.

What on earth was that? It went by what was considered a whimsical name, The Garden of A—. It was a Mediterranean apartment complex with bungalows and a pool. Sheilah Graham wrote a memoir with the same name about the place, which was inhabited by many famous actors of the 1940s, like Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, and Greta Garbo, usually before they attained their fame, and also by the New Yorker crowd of writers, like Dorothy Parker, John O’Hara, and Robert Benchley, who came to Hollywood to write screenplays. Sheilah and her lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald, also spent a great deal of time there.

I loved the idea of an apartment building inhabited not by famous actors and writers, but by all sorts of supernatural people and entities!

As you would expect with a crowd of professional exhibitionists living in close quarters, the denizens of the Hollywood Garden were infamous for their shenanigans. Several scenes from Marx brothers’ movies were based on incidents that took place there: people hiding in closets, people charging through doors into someone’s bedroom. Various scenes in “A Day At the Races” or “Horse Feathers” were inspired by life at the wild and crazy Garden.

So, too, the Garden of Abracadabra is “the biggest, coolest party place in Berkeley.” I take the reader to several of the parties that supernatural entities throw!

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

11.22.15.LISA.MASON.FANDSFNOV.DEC.2015

– Tell us a bit about “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day.”
Imagine a person from five hundred years ago observing how we live today. Indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Electricity and light bulbs. Radio and television. Cars and jets. Antibiotics and advanced surgery. Computers and home printers. Smart phones! The Internet!
I’m perhaps still best known for my two time travel novels, Summer of Love, a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist, and The Gilded Age, a New York Times Notable Book. In those books, I was determined to prove that in the far future, five hundred years from now, time travel and faster-than-light technology will be as feasible as the Internet.
The science of faster-than-light communication is speculative, true, but science nonetheless. For my two novels, I researched time travel and faster-than-light; a bit of that research has carried over into “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” I consulted Paul J. Nahin’s highly regarded Time Machines published by the American Institute of Physics, John W. Macvey’s Time Travel published by Scarborough House, and Martin Gardner’s Time Travel published by W. H. Freeman.
One of the many paradoxes of FTL communication is that a faster-than-light answer sent to the past from the future about the future arrives before the questioner in the past poses the question. L.S. Schulman published technical papers about this theoretical phenomenon—“Correlating Arrows of Time” and “Tachyon Paradoxes”—in the American Journal of Physics in the 1970s, which are reprised in Nahin’s book.
I thought there was enough dramatic potential in that one paradox alone for an intriguing story.

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?
Not faster-than-light physics at all, at least not at first.
One night I heard a pundit on a radio talk show discussing the medieval metaphysician Nostradamus and how, by gazing into a mirror or (by some accounts) in a bowl of water, he received communications from the future. He then composed a book of quatrains that purported to be predictions.
Predictions about the far future, not the price of eggs five hundred years ago. The pundit claimed that Nostradamus predicted, among other things, World War I, the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, World War II, the atomic bomb, and more. The quatrains he (the pundit) read on the radio sounded like implausible long shots to me but I wanted to read them for myself.
My husband, Tom Robinson, is a serious book collector going way back and has a supernatural ability to lay his hands on a specific book among the many thousands in our library. This must be what living with a water douser is like. I don’t even try to find the book. I just say, “Nostradamus,” and within moments Tom is pulling out The Predictions of Nostradamus from some stack.
I spent time with the book and had to conclude that the quatrains are, frankly, gibberish. I didn’t see how any of them accurately described anything in history, at least events that I could recognize.
Then ah-ha! There was the second theme of “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.”
What are we to make of any kind of prediction? When you listen, you hear predictions about everything under the sun on a daily basis. What the weather will be—well, they’ve got sophisticated satellite pictures and all kinds of scientific analysis, but they still don’t always get reality right. What will the economy do, how will the election turn out. “Authorities” are constantly predicting what the future will be and reality, when it arrives in the Now, can be tricky.

– Was this story personal to you in any way? If so, how?
Oh, I think everyone has their eyes on the future the moment your parents shove you out the door at the age of five to go to school. I know I certainly did. And focusing on the future doesn’t stop once you graduate, oh no. Then you have to get the job, succeed at the job, save up to buy a home, find a suitable mate, maybe have a family, save for retirement. And boom! You’re 70 years old . . . and then you have to think about your future ill health and dying.
There was a movement in the 1960s to Be Here Now. People took up meditation to be mindful of the moment. People dropped out the “rat race” to “live for today.” And they did have a point. Only when you attend to the moment can you perceive what forces are entrapping you, enslaving you. Only then can you take the first steps to free yourself. But first, you have to “wake up.”
Mind you, I realize it’s really important to plan for your future. But it’s also important to savor the moments of life that pass by only too quickly.
But what if a moment, a day, is really crappy? Just about everyone has had a day like that, what seems like the worst day of your life. You get into a fender bender, the boss yells at you, three checks bounce at the bank because you forgot to transfer funds, you burn dinner, and your spouse is in a lousy mood and yells at you, too.
What if that day somehow never ended?
And what if that day included the big, big transitions in life? Being born, giving birth or waiting for a birth, and dying are the most transitional moments of anyone’s life. What if those transitional moments were never consummated?
In “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day,” Benjamin finds himself on that supremely crappy day. He’s understandably focused on his future, on what he hopes to achieve the next day. But he must focus on the moment, even though it’s a crappy moment. He must “wake up.” Only then can he perceive what is trapping him, enslaving him. And only then can he do what he does to free himself and, by the way, free all of space-time.

– Did you have in mind any other examples in the rich tradition of time travel stories while writing “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day,” or did the story come to you organically?
Tomorrow is A Lovely Day” isn’t directly inspired by any other story. It’s definitely “organic,” a product of my own inspiration, the splicing together two different themes, faster-than-light communication and Nostradamus’ medieval predictions.
I like the technique of splicing two disparate themes and finding a common ground. My Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” which sold as the basis for a feature film to Universal Studios, weaves a succinct tale around burn wound healing technology and the purported crash of an alien spaceship at Rosswell, New Mexico.
That said, I’m always up for a good time travel story. A rich tradition, indeed! Or perhaps a broader, if less elegant, term would be “time manipulation” stories.
In the classic tradition of traveling in time in the same geophysical location, there’s of course H.G. Welles’ classic Victorian novel The Time Machine. Of more recent vintage is C. L. Moore’s wonderful novella, “The Vintage Season,” which in 1946 explored time travel as tourism, traveling to a different time and a different geophysical location. Robert Silverberg has often played with time travel tropes and published in 1989 a sequel to Moore’s novella, “In Another Country.” [A peripatetic world traveler, Silverberg often uses tourism or traveling as a trope in his fiction. “Sailing to Byzantium” (not a time manipulation) from 1986 springs to mind.]
Even more intriguing is moving in time within your own life and attempting to alter your own past. That happens in “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” My all-time favorite story in this subgenre (and maybe my all-time favorite SF story, period) is Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies—“. The story, so hilarious and fiendishly clever, could have been written yesterday. In fact, Heinlein published it in 1959. Silverberg weighs in with this subgenre, too, with “Needle in a Timestack.”
Finally, another fascinating subgenre within the time manipulation trope is traveling backwards in time within your own life. The classic tale in this subgenre is Fritz Leiber’s “The Man Who Never Grew Young,” published in 1947. F. Scott Fitzgerald tried his hand in “The Strange Case of Benjamin Buttons,” and Martin Amis in Time’s Arrow.
My major problem with these tales is that they’re all told from a man’s point-of-view. I think a woman protagonist would have quite a different take.
I’ve done just that in “Illyria, My Love,” in which a woman and man love each other, the woman a bit jealously so, against a horrific background of constant war on the planet they’ve immigrated to when life on Earth has become untenable. Only as they move backward in time does the reader discover the true nature of their relationship and, at the end, the shocking secret at its core. That story is still looking for a home.

Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books and stories, interviews and blogs, cute pet pictures, and forthcoming projects. Thank you for your readership!

Looking for something to read over the Thanksgiving holiday? Be intrigued, entertained, provoked, and amused? Try the November-December 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Single copy of the issue: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1511.htm

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