got me a gen-u-wine series now, i guess.

This is the color version of the current Amazon Kindle screensaver ad for the Frontlines series. I’m biased, of course, but I think it looks massively cool. Can’t be long now before I have enough books out for a boxed Frontlines set…

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Yes, there are indeed a million ways to die in the Frontlines universe. And I have listed them all alphabetically and then again by embarrassment factor in the appendices of Angles of Attack!

(The cover art is done by Marc Simonetti, by the way.)

“angles of attack” release day.

“Angles of Attack”, the third novel in the Frontlines series, is officially out and available for purchase. Those of you who pre-ordered the book should either get it delivered today (if you ordered the physical print or audio copies), or have it on your Kindelmaschines already.

“Angles of Attack” is available via Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audio formats here:

http://www.amazon.com/Angles-Attack-Frontlines-Book-3-ebook/dp/B00OIBPIZO/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1

Go buy! Go read! And leave a review if you are so inclined. In the meantime, I am going to try and get some more work done on Frontlines #4, “Chains of Command”, instead of obsessively checking the Amazon sales ranking every five seconds while stress-binging on Nutella straight from the jar. NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT.

 

gladness.

I am relieved beyond measure to see that “The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu) has been added to the Best Novel Hugo shortlist in place of “Lines of Departure”. 

I honestly can’t think of a novel I would have rather seen on the ballot this year than this one. It’s precisely the kind of science fiction the genre needs—hard and entertaining SF with great depth and scope. It’s truly deserving of an award, and I urge you to read it and consider voting for it if you haven’t already.

(Mind you that I am not trying to debase myself by saying that “Lines of Departure” wasn’t worthy of a Hugo. I just think that “The Three-Body Problem” is equally worthy of one, and in my own opinion far more so.)

The inclusion of  “The Three-Body Problem” on the Hugo shortlist reaffirms to me without any remaining doubt that withdrawing “Lines of Departure” from the shortlist was 1000% the right call to make. 

a statement on my hugo nomination.

Dear friends and readers:

I have officially withdrawn my acceptance of the Best Novel nomination for “Lines of Departure” at this year’s Hugo Awards. 

It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.

I also wish to disassociate myself from the originator of the “Rabid Puppies” campaign. To put it bluntly: if this nomination gives even the appearance that Vox Day or anyone else had a hand in giving it to me because of my perceived political leanings, I don’t want it. I want to be nominated for awards because of the work, not because of the “right” or “wrong” politics.

Thank you to everyone who voted for “Lines of Departure” because you read the novel and genuinely thought it worthy of award recognition. Please be assured that I did not reach this decision lightly, and that I don’t want to nullify or minimize your opinion. But keeping the nomination is not a moral option at this point, and I hope you will understand.

This is my choice alone, and I am making it without pressure from any side in the current Hugo debate. Please respect it as such. 

Marko Kloos

April 15, 2015

home.

  

He’s home among his family again, where he belongs. I feel a little better now. 

personal effects.

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Henry’s collection of bandanas. He got one every time he had to make a trip to the emergency vet. There are three of them in that picture, but I think there was at least one more I did not keep for some reason. As you can see, he was a little mischief magnet.

I am still heartbroken. I have barely eaten since Sunday and have had no desire to eat. (Henry would think this foolishness.) Things have gotten a tiny bit easier, and sorting through his things and looking at his pictures has helped a little. I won’t truly start to get back to real life until his ashes come home and I have some sort of closure.

I don’t want to keep depressing people with posts about my dog, but writing about him and sharing it has helped me to process the whole thing. When it happened, it was just too fast and traumatic to let me feel anything but numbness for a while. Still, everything in the house reminds me of the fact that he’s no longer there, and it will take time before it doesn’t feel like a fresh wound anymore.

Dogs. To think we opened our home and our hearts to these creatures that can wound us so very much when they take their leave. People have suggested we go and get another dog once we feel the time is right, but we have other dogs. Just having another dog is not the point, and never was. Henry was that once-in-a-lifetime dog for me, the one you bond with above and beyond all the others, the one that has your heart in a way the other dogs don’t quite manage. Before Henry, you could have asked me “Has there been a special dog in your life?”, and I would have answered, “What are you talking about? They have all been special.”

Now I can say, “Yes, and his name was Henry, and there will never be another one like him.”

And I don’t want to try and look for the thing we had in another dog. It happened on its own, not because I sought it out, and trying to duplicate it would be a disservice to him and diminish our bond, and it wouldn’t be fair to the new dog because this is a pair of shoes no other dog can ever hope to fill. (Or tear to shreds, as the case may be.)

No, I think I’ll leave it be, and rest in the knowledge that I had my time with him, and that I was lucky to have had it.

losing one’s heart.

Henry’s death is hitting me hard.

We’ve lost dogs before, and I grieved for them every time, but this one is a deeper hurt that any of the others. The ones we lost before Henry had been barely born, or they were old and had long and happy lives behind them. Even Sam, my Golden Retriever who died accidentally back in 2002, was nine years old and had lived almost a full life. Henry hadn’t even come into his own as an adult dog yet—he was barely three, and still infused with the vigor and hotheadedness of youth.

I can’t really pinpoint what hurts the most about his untimely death. It’s the sum of all the contributing factors, I suppose. Part of it is the speed of his decline. There was no time for me to even prepare for the possibility that he might not come back.

Part of it is the bond I had with him. He was truly my dog, and I was his favorite human, and he loved me deeply. Sitting in this chair, I won’t ever see him rounding the kitchen corner again and then just taking a quick sprint and an effortless leap into my lap (whether I was working or not), for the customary expression of love where he tried to merge his face with mine and nip at my nose.

Part of it is the way in which we went. I was there at the end, but I will always hate the fact that he got to spend the last two days of his short life in a place he didn’t like, with people he didn’t love. I should have been with him then.

Part of it is the knowledge of all the time that was taken from him. After having suffered through this winter with the rest of us, he won’t get to experience spring again, won’t get to lie on the warm patio stones with the other dogs and joyfully bark at passing bicyclists and joggers. We won’t get to walk out in the autumn air again, just him in his chest harness and me holding the leash and letting him map the world with his nose.

The house is much too quiet now. All the activity that used to annoy me a little when I was trying to work—the scurrying, the probing of cabinet doors for an unlatched one, the patrolling of the kitchen for dropped food—all of it has ceased. The three remaining dogs are snuggled up in front of the pellet stove and quietly napping. Little Ygraine keeps looking for her playmate and protector on occasion, and it breaks my heart all over again because we got her as a companion for him, and he’s gone, and she will be all alone when the two old dogs are gone too.

I have a deadline, so I have to go back to work and write, and maybe it will take my mind off thinking about my little buddy, who will never sit on my lap and look out of the window for squirrels again. But I go back to work with a broken heart. It will come back together in time, as it usually does, but a piece of it will be gone for good, and it will have the shape of a stout, happy, smart, and loving black-and-red dachshund.

henry, february 2012-march 2015.

Henry is gone.

He vomited up his water and refused his food Friday morning, so Robin took him to the emergency vet, where they diagnosed an intestinal blockage. He went in for surgery, and they removed the blockage. We were hoping to bring him home on Saturday. But then he took a turn for the worse after the surgery. He came down with a severe case of peritonitis (abdominal infection), and rapidly declined on Saturday night even after they went in again to try to find what was wrong. The infection did not respond to antibiotics.

This morning, I went in to see him and maybe make the final decision with the vet whether we should end his suffering. Turns out it wasn’t necessary. They brought him into the treatment room, and he died in my arms a minute or two later. I held him and kissed him and told him that we love him. I told him I was sorry–that we couldn’t do more for him, and for all the times I didn’t treat him as kindly as I could have. I’m very glad that I was the last thing he saw, felt, and heard, because he was my dog first and foremost. He loved everyone, but he loved me best. He would not let Robin tuck him in at night without coming to the bottom of the bedroom stairs and wait for me to come down and give the OK.

It’s easier when they are old and in declining health, and you have time to expect it and prepare. I was not ready to say good-bye to Henry yet–he was barely three years old–and I am not taking it well. He was a beautiful, smart, and loving dog, and he should have had ten more good years at least. My heart is quite shattered right now because we will not have those years with him.

Farewell, Henry. If there’s a dachshund heaven, your grandmother is waiting for you, and she’ll pay you much respect when she hears that you killed yourself eating at only three years of age. It took her fourteen years to get the same achievement, and I suspect she will be duly impressed. You were a Typical Dachshund.

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“angles of attack” giveaway.

There’s an Angles of Attack giveaway at Goodreads right now. If you’d like to put in your name for a free copy, you should head on over there and do the thing with the click and the stuff. The giveaway runs until April 21st, which is the official release day of Angles of Attack:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/131610-angles-of-attack

I get a box of author copies as is customary with most book contracts, and the one for Angles of Attack arrived yesterday:

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I don’t care how many books I’ll write in the future—opening that box and looking at the printed version for the first time is never going to get old. I feel like nerdy George McFly at the end of Back to the Future every time. You know, that scene where he gets his author copies of “A Match Made In Space”?

Mmisrpf

I’m still extremely busy writing “Chains of Command”, Frontlines #4, so you can all get it on your Kindles and eye-pods and eight-tracks and what-not before Christmas. It’s shaping up to be a really fun ride, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It is my personal opinion that Angles of Attack is the best Frontlines yet, and that Chains of Command may turn out even better. But I am, of course, heavily biased.

Bitchwinter.

I know it’s kind of gauche to bitch about the winter in New England when one chose to move and live here voluntarily lo these many years ago, but this winter is bitchworthy without further qualification.

We have never had as much snow as we’ve had this year, not even close. It has never been this cold for so long without any thaw days in the mix. We have never had three major winter storms on three consecutive weekends. Even here in the country, we are running out of space to push the snow, and down in Boston it just piles up because they don’t have any room left. Among my local friends, there’s widespread extreme winter fatigue. Spring can’t come soon enough, even if that means mud and blackflies, but at this rate I’m afraid it’ll take until July for all the snow to melt.

This is what the front of our house looks like right now:



The dogs have cabin fever. The humans definitely have cabin fever. And I’ve paid the plow guy so much money this year that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pushing snow with one of those new Bentley SUVs next winter.

There are locals who have lived here half a century who say that they’ve never seen anything like it before. When you have seasoned New Englanders crying “uncle”, it’s a complete Bitchwinter.

FREE: FIFTY THOUSAND CUBIC FEET OF SNOW. MUST PICK UP.