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Carrie Vaughn

Fiction and Excerpts [15]

Fiction and Excerpts [15]

What Carrie Vaughn Is Reading Right Now

I’ve felt fortunate during this summer of Covid that I haven’t lost the focus to read. In fact, I’ve been burning up my local library’s Overdrive e-book lending account, maxing out my holds and then having new books suddenly appear on my tablet with no effort on my part. What will I read next? Whatever shows up! I don’t even have to think about it, I just have to read it before it vanishes off my device on the due date. It’s magic.

I’m also reading a lot of non-fiction, as I hunker down with some new ideas for historical pieces. So my current reading reflects a pattern of bouncing back and forth between comfort reads, exciting new books, and research. It keeps me on my toes. Here’s a selection:

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Long is the Way

For over 25 years, the Wild Cards universe has been entertaining readers with stories of superpowered people in an alternate history. “Long is the Way” by Carrie Vaughn and Sage Walker sheds light on what people will do to escape the sins of their past, and whether anyone can find redemption.

Zoe Harris is a marked woman: in hiding for decades because of her connection to a terrorist attack on Jerusalem almost twenty years ago. One determined reporter, Jonathan Hive, stumbles upon a lead that takes him to the south of France to discover the truth. What he finds out is a lesson in how life can bring about the most unexpected miracles.

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Series: Wild Cards on

Where Would You Be Now?

The world as they know it is ending; a new one is taking its place. Among the doctors and nurses of a clinic-turned-fortress, Kath is coming of age in this new world, and helping define it. But that doesn’t make letting go of the old any easier. “Where Would You Be Now?” is a prequel to the novel Bannerless, a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award.

[Read “Where Would You Be Now?”]

Five Books That Make Living and Working in Space Seem Ordinary

During the height of NASA’s shuttle program, some commentators occasionally asked the question: Is space travel becoming too routine? Had we stopped paying enough attention? I think they were nostalgic for the heady days of the Apollo program when every flight was an event, every mission marked a milestone, and ticker tape parades for astronauts were the norm. We’ve gotten to a point where orbital missions don’t even make the evening news.

Every time I’ve heard this question—Is space flight becoming too routine?—I think: But that’s exactly what we want! We want space travel to become entirely routine, so we don’t even think of it anymore! Aren’t we aiming for a point where we, the ordinary public, don’t pay any more attention to the launch of an interplanetary ship than we do the daily flights leaving our local airport? Why yes, I’m spending a couple of weeks on holiday on the Moon, I’ve always wanted to try low-gravity hang gliding. Excellent, sounds like an amazing time, upload the pictures. Or, “I’m going to study abroad at Ceres Academy, Mom!” “All right dear, have fun!”

[Doesn’t that sound great?]

Series: Five Books About…

Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons and an Extreme Sense of Wonder

Most science fiction and fantasy novels have a breaking point past which they would strain suspension of disbelief past bearing. Too many big ideas that don’t quite fit together, too much weirdness to process. Too many boundaries crossed for the fictional world to seem real. Good novels don’t get to that point. Great ones get close without crossing over.

Iain M. Banks’s novels of the Culture don’t actually seem to have that breaking point to begin with. Banks created a universe where the unbelievable and astonishing are part of the world, and suspension of disbelief isn’t needed because believing a constant stream of unbelievable worldbuilding is, in fact, part of the worldbuilding. From giant self-contained, sentient ships with too-whimsical names (the GSV Congenital Optimist) to characters existing in two places at once because cloned doppelgangers are a matter of course to far-out technology and extreme cultures and … actually, a list can’t contain the weirdness and joy of these books.

Use of Weapons isn’t the first of the Culture books I read. (That would be The Player of Games.) But it’s the one that, in Emily Dickinson’s phrasing, took the top of my head off. It’s the one I learned the most from.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

The Thing About Growing up in Jokertown

The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Carrie Vaughn’s “The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown,” a group of teenage jokers yearn to explore outside the confines of their strange little neighborhood and get a real taste of the Big Apple.

[Read “The Thing About Growing up in Jokertown” by Carrie Vaughn]

Series: Wild Cards on

Martians Abroad

Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the Director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly’s plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth.

Homesick and cut off from her plans for her future, Polly cannot seem to fit into life on Earth. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there’s more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

Carrie Vaughn’s science fiction debut, Martians Abroad, is available January 17th from Tor Books.

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Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza

The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Carrie Vaughn’s “Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza,” ace Ana Cortez discovers that sometimes to be truly healed, you must return to your roots.

This short story was acquired and edited for by George R. R. Martin.

[Read “Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza’ by Carrie Vaughn]

Series: Wild Cards on

Dreams of the Golden Age (Excerpt)

Check out Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn! This sequel to After the Golden Age is available January 7, 2014 from Tor Books.

Like every teen, Anna has secrets. Unlike every teen, Anna has a telepath for a father and Commerce City’s most powerful businessperson for a mother. She’s also the granddaughter of the city’s two most famous superheroes, the former leaders of the legendary Olympiad, and the company car drops her off at the gate of her exclusive high school every morning. Privacy is one luxury she doesn’t have.

Hiding her burgeoning superpowers from her parents is hard enough; how’s she supposed to keep them from finding out that her friends have powers, too? Or that she and the others are meeting late at night, honing their skills and dreaming of becoming Commerce City’s next great team of masked vigilantes?

[Read an Excerpt]

Dangerous Women: “Raisa Stepanova” (Excerpt)

We are very excited to be able to preview Dangerous Women, a new anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, and featuring 21 new stories from some of the biggest authors in the science fiction/fantasy field. The anthology is available on December 3rd from Tor Books!

Every morning until July 30th, we’ll be previewing excerpts from the stories, returning you to the world of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere, and even Westeros itself. Keep an eye on the Dangerous Women index to keep track of them all.

In “Raisa Stepanova,” Carrie Vaughn takes us to the front lines in Russia during the darkest days of World War II for the story of a young woman flying the most dangerous of combat missions, who is de- termined to do her duty as a soldier and keep flying them, even if it kills her—which it very well might.

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Series: Dangerous Women on

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