the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Julie Czerneda’ Category

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cover art by Matt Stawicki

As part of Julie Czerneda‘s blog tour for her new Clan Chronicles novel, The Gulf of Time and Stars, I’m thrilled to be hosting Julie for an AMA (Ask Me Anything).   Click here for blogtour updates on facebook, or follow #timeandstarstour.

Best known for her biology based science fiction, Julie Czerneda has been editing and writing speculative fiction since the late 1990s.  Her first novel, A Thousand Words For Stranger, would eventually lead to novels that tackle the biological needs and requirements of alien species and humans alike, garnering Czerneda numerous Prix Aurora Awards (most recently for her first fantasy novel A Turn of Light).  She’s also involved with science education, anthology editing, and giving her fans more of what they want: namely more of Sira de Sarc!

Today we’re celebrating her newest novel This Gulf of Time and Stars (available Nov 3), which is also the start of a new Clan Chronicles trilogy, The Reunification series. You can read my spoilery review here, and there’s more info near the bottom of this post.   Julie is joining us all day today, Sunday Nov 1st, to answer your questions!  And since this is an Ask Me Anything, you really can ask her anything. Ask a question about her books or characters, or about her writing methods, or her pets, or what she likes to eat, or editing or anthologies, or Canada, or biology, or teaching, or her panel schedule at World Fantasy Con, or well, you get the idea!

photo credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

photo credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

Some starter questions that came in before this post went live:

 

Which do you prefer? coffee or tea?

Are the Dhryn based on any animals from Earth?

You write a lot of trilogies. Do you outline the entire series before finishing the first book?

Any cures for writer’s block?

 

If you’re just joining us, and want to get in on the fun, here’s what the Clan Chronicles is all about:

 

The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan. Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.

Give away details: DAW  has kindly provided a hardback and Audible has provided an audiobook of This Gulf of Time and Stars to two lucky winners.  If you live in Canada or the US, you are eligible to win the hardback, and the audiobook is an international giveaway. (listen to a sample of the audio here) To enter the giveaways, participate in the AMA by asking a question, or just comment below that you’re interested in being entered into the giveaway. Although the AMA is only happening today, Nov 1st, you can enter for the giveaways until Saturday Nov 7th. I’ll choose a winner shortly after the 7th, so be sure to give me a way to reach you (e-mail, twitter, etc).

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What are you doing Sunday November 1st?   You’re hanging out right here for the AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Julie Czerneda, that’s what!  She’ll be answering questions live in the comments, and i’ll be approving comments as fast as I can.  We’ll be celebrating her forthcoming novel, This Gulf of Time and Stars which hits bookstore shelves on Nov 3rd,  and picking her brain on all sorts of other fun things.

(Links! My review of This Gulf of Time and Stars,  Amazon pre-order link, Julie Czerneda’s website, facebook fan page, Julie Czerneda’s twitter)

I don’t know about you, but I want to know how she came up with the idea for the Dhryn, how she gets schoolkids excited about science and biology, how writing fantasy is different than writing SF, how she keeps such a huge cast of characters straight, what’s her favorite food, and about a million more questions.

Wanna submit a question early? E-mail them to me at redhead5318 at that gmail period com place.  I’ll get them pre-loaded for the big event.

What’s this you say about a give away?  why yes, yes there will be  give aways as part of the AMA! Ask a question on Nov 1st or comment that you’re interested in being entered, and you’ll be eligible to win an audiobook (international) or a Hardback (US or Canada) of This Gulf of Time and Stars. Stay tuned for more details!

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The AMA is part of the Blog Tour for This Gulf of Time and Stars.

51FDYgEMAsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie Czerneda (Reunification #1)

publishes Nov 3rd, 2015

where I got it: received review copy from the publisher (thanks DAW!)

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If you’ve been following Julie Czerneda’s writing career, the phrase “a new Clan Chronicles novel!” is music to your ears. I discovered Czerneda through her Species Imperative trilogy, and quickly fell in love with her invitingly conversational  writing style, her characterization, and the way she writes alien species. Seriously, this woman is the ultimate master of writing convincing alien species. Formally trained as a biologist, Czerneda’s plots touch on evolution,  biology, ecology, and how it’s all related.  She’ll introduce you to an alien civilization and then prove their population isn’t living on their planet of origin, she’ll give a species a strong evolutionary process and then prove that it doesn’t quite work as planned. It’s true, physics and math will get us to the stars, but it’s biology that will give us the answers to whatever and whoever we find living out there.

I think the biggest question surrounding This Gulf of Time and Stars is can readers new to this series jump in here? The answer is it depends on the reader. If you don’t mind feeling a little in the deep end (some of my favorite authors have thrown me into the deep end, to fantastic results – looking at you China Mieville and Iain M. Banks!), or you’re willing to take 5 minutes to do a little research by reading Czerneda’s informative and entertaining Big Idea post over at Scalzi’s Whatever, you’ll do fine. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers to have everything explained right off the bat, you may prefer to start earlier in the series. Generally speaking, Czerneda is the kind of author who simply doesn’t explain things right away – part of her character’s journeys involves discovering for themselves what’s going on, and how, and why. and when I say “discovering for themselves”, I don’t mean coming of age (although some of her novels would qualify as coming of age), I mean discovering genetic secrets and information that  could tear apart an entire society and species. We’re talking big picture here.

This review does have SPOILERS for the first books in the series, and some SPOILERS for This Gulf of Time and Stars.

Here’s the very quick and dirty background of the series, the characters, and the world, in which I have grossly simplified everything in the name of brevity:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks to Julie Czerneda’s publishers, I’ve got a copy of the Species Imperative Omnibus to give away to one lucky reader!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for more information on the give away.

RegenerationRegeneration (Species Imperative #3) by Julie Czerneda

published in 2006

where I got it: purchased used

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It’s hard to get into the plot of Regeneration without spoiling things that happened in the previous books, so I’m going to try to keep  the plot-talk very light. The super quick oversimplified plot introduction is that in the not too distant future we have become part of the Interspecies Union, which is exactly what it sounds like. Thanks to no-space transit technology provided by the multi-dimensional Ro, and the Sinzi who administrate it, hundreds of galactic species can travel all over the place.    Brymn, a Dhryn researcher, seeks out the Earthbound salmon researcher Dr. Mackenzie Connor (Mac to her friends), for help with how to save his species.

 

In Regeneration, the final book of the Species Imperative trilogy, while most governments are trying to figure out a weapon of mass destruction (or extinction) that can be used against the Dhryn, Mac and her team are asking questions that are more along the lines of *why*?  Why do the Dhryn have this biological urge? What is their biology anyways? Have they always been like this? How and where did they evolve? Can we trust our sources of information? I wish all scifi books had this much science in their fiction.  Give this series to a high school kid, and watch them fall in love with biology.

 

Underneath the superb characters and the smart dialog, and the hella fun aliens (whose biology makes sense!), and the political intrigue and the race against time are some heavy questions:

 

How do we handle an invasive species, especially if that species is intelligent and space-faring?

 

How do you study a species that most people (human and alien) have been taught to shoot on sight?

 

How do you get a panicked population to calm down? How do you get someone to work against their biological urges (or what they’ve been lead to believe are their biological urges?)

Read the rest of this entry »

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This interview is part of SciFi November, hosted by Rinn Reads and Oh The Books!

A friend of mine had been recommending Julie Czerneda’s science fiction to me for a while, and last year I finally picked up the first book in her Species Imperative series, Survival.  In a word, that novel was phenomenal.  Strong characters, fascinating and freaky aliens, politics, intrigue, and even better, it was a scifi book based on biology (instead of physics, which seems to be a standard. Nothing against physics, but biology is damn cool!). The main character of Survival, Dr. Mackenzie Connor, leaps of the page and pulls you right back in with her.  She’s a biologist, what could she possibly have to do with saving trillions of lives so far away from planet Earth?  Here’s a link to my review of Survival, and a link to my review of the second book in the series, Migration. Stay tuned for a review later this month of the third book in the series, Regeneration!

CzernedaCPC-001167cAfter discovering Julie’s older science fiction titles, you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn she has a brand new fantasy series out, called the Night’s Edge series. The first book, A Turn of Light (click here to read an excerpt), came out last year and won the Prix Aurora Award for best English novel of the year.  The second book in the series, A Play of Shadow comes out today! (Scroll to the bottom of this article to enter in the give away for a free copy!) Learn more about Julie Czerneda by checking out her website, and by following her on twitter at @julieczerneda

Enough squeeing from me, let’s get to the interview!

 

 

LRR: The same weekend you won the Prix Aurora Award, you were a special guest at Can­Con in Ottawa. Wow, what a weekend! As an author, what’s the most fun part of attending conventions? What’s been your favorite convention that you attended? Any tips for folks who are new to the convention scene?

JC: It was a busy few days, that’s for sure, and happy!

The most fun? Meeting readers. To see eyes light up, to have someone mention a story or character they loved? It’s better than chocolate for the soul, believe me. I store those moments to think of when writing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Migration-186x300Migration by Julie E. Czerneda (Species Imperative #2)

published in 2005

where I got it: purchased used

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Now that the summer is over, I want everyone to tell me how they dealt with all the weeds that popped up in their garden all summer. Did you read up online about invasive species? Did you pull the weeds out one by one? Spray weed poison on them? figure out what their food source was and then deprive them of it? Nuke ‘em from orbit, just to be sure?

 

When I reviewed the first book in the Species Imperative series, Survival, I made reference to the Guggenheim Museum. That I’d felt a little let down that when I got to the top floor of the metaphorical museum, there was a door in the corner that said “roof”, and how unsurprised I was that the door led to the roof.

 

Okay, so now I’m reading Migration, the second book in the series. I’ve opened the door, and I’m on the roof. And damned if the view from up here is far more amazing than I’d expected. I can nearly see my house from here, I can nearly see across the solar system from here, I can see that what’s going on is a hell of a lot bigger than what I’d originally thought. What’s happening here is huge.  If Mac was on this roof with me, she’d be standing at the edge with a huge smile on her face saying “wanna jump?”

 

Mac is trying to get her life back together. She’s getting better at using her prosthetics, getting better at not crying every time she thinks of Emily. She’s trying to forget Nik before she decides how she feels about him. No one she works with knows where she’s been, let alone what she’s witnessed on an alien planet. The Dhryn are the galaxy’s greatest enemies, how can Mac ever tell anyone she’d become friends with one? That she’s spoken to a Dhryn progenitor? that when she sleeps, she talks in Dhryn? She’s trying to stop waking up screaming.   To be sympathetic to the galaxy’s most invasive species is a recipe for arrest.

Read the rest of this entry »

survivalSurvival (Species Imperiative #1), by Julie Czerneda

published in 2004

where I got it: purchased used

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Just because we’ve traveled to the stars and met with aliens doesn’t mean everyone wants to travel to the stars and hang out with aliens. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Mackenzie Connor  is perfectly happy to study salmon at the Norcoast research facility, working with other quirky research scientists and grad students.  Why should she care about aliens, outlying human colonies, or a dead spot in the galaxy, when all her salmon are doing just fine?

Let me save you a lot of reading by simply saying Julie Czerneda’s Survival is damn near perfect. There is no possible way to cram all the awesome of Survival into one review, so I won’t torture us by trying. But by all means, keep reading. Excellently researched and presented hard science fiction, characters in difficult situations, betrayal, aliens, and genocide, it took me a while to write this review because my brain was so Wow’d by the implications of what I’d read.

As there’s a big blue alien on the cover of the book, it’s no spoiler to tell you that an alien, a Dhryn to be specific, visits Norcoast. Instead of being flattered that the first Dhryn to ever visit the Earth has chosen her research facility to visit, Mac is less than thrilled to have her meticulously timed research interrupted by a huge alien name Brymn.  When I first met her, Mac reminded me of Dr. Ellie Arroway from Carl Sagan’s Contact. Both women are so very focused on their fields of research, that they take it as a personal insult whenever someone tries to interrupt their studies.  And it’s not just an alien who visits Norcoast, it’s the entourage of political hanger ons and the media, all stomping all over the place. So much for this season’s salmon spawning research.

Read the rest of this entry »


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.