Richard Fox’s The Ember War: Comic Adaptation!

Yesterday, Castalia House made a big announcement,  which is going to make a much bigger splash in the entertainment world than a lot of people might realize. I’ve signed with their new comic imprint to adapt Richard Fox’s bestselling military science fiction novel The Ember War into a graphic novel. Fox is one of the biggest science fiction authors in the field right now, including having won the Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction last year.

The Ember War itself is a masterpiece of military science fiction. When I first read the book I immediately messaged Fox with, “Wow, this reads just like a movie.” And it does. It’s fast paced sci-fi action with an incredibly epic plot and memorable characters. If I were in Hollywood, I’d be optioning this for a film immediately. It’s really that good.

I’m not in Hollywood, but I am in comics.

Vox Day and I have been talking about Alt-Hero, brainstorming for our co-written work in the universe for the last couple of months, and as he’s ramped up his new comic publishing house Arkhaven Comics, he was looking for additional content to keep the ball rolling while they’re building up the brand. Both being huge military science fiction fans, we started talking what genre books would be the best to adapt over several conversations. Between Vox and I, we have access to a lot of the greats, and you’d be very surprised as to some of the books we could get the license to and were in our discussions. But The Ember War kept coming up in those conversations as one of the best, and being so hot in the modern market, it made a lot of sense to pursue adapting this book in comic form.

We both contacted Richard Fox independently, and he was about as gracious as possible with the idea of his world being turned into comics. We’ve had several great conversations about a lot of things he’d like to see, and questions I’ve had to make sure we create the most faithful adaptation possible.

I’ve actually had the news for a couple of weeks, all the while I’ve been working on diligently on rereading the novel and starting on the script. You might have seen my social media posts about my “super secret comic project”. This is it. My paper copy of the Ember War is dog-eared in more than a hundred places, highlighted all over the place, I’ve pulled direct lines and descriptions from it. We’ve also got all the descriptions for the physical appearances of the main characters done, which Richard Fox worked on with me. It’s been a lot of work so far but it will be well worth it!

Right now issue 1 is on track to be written script-wise this week. We have a phenomenal artist who’s one of the best in the industry lined up for this, who has also worked on a lot of books you’ll probably recognize. I can’t wait for that to be announced. And it will be soon. His work is absolutely beautiful and will be great on this series.

As Castalia House mentioned in their announcement, this book will break down into 5 issues, about perfect for graphic novel form. We expect to have the first issue ready to go by summer, and barring any timing issues on the art front, the full graphic novel complete by the end of the year.

For now, you canhttps://www.amazon.com/Ember-War-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B010PSY6YW/delarroz-20 if you want to get in depth with the universe. Or if you’re new to me, check out my book, For Steam And Country. 

I’m In Good Company

It turns out I was wrong in saying WorldCon  made an unprecedented  move in banning someone over politics. It has happened — one time before. Today on the blog we’re going to take you all the way back to 1939, where WorldCon was, like in this year, all too proud of blackballing someone over their dangerous visionary ideas for science fiction. A reader wrote to me:

The Futurians were kicked out of the first Worldcon because organizers feared that they would distribute communist propaganda. The group included a number of luminaries including Asimov and Pohl.

Because  of their fear of not Asimov hurting anyone  (no one fears me hurting anyone by the evidence of how I’ve conducted myself at dozens of conventions in the past) — but spreading political ideas that they found too dangerous for the times  — WorldCon banned Isaac Asimov.

The implication is clear. The elites in science fiction believe I have the potential to be the next Asimov. They want to ensure I’m deplatformed as much as possible because they fear the influence I’ll have politically to change their stodgy, outdated culture, which would change science fiction into something that’s thriving and fun. In the process, they’d lose their control over the kinds of stories that are published.

Am I  the Isaac Asimov of modern science fiction?  I’ll be churning out books as fast as I can, and more and more people will read me not only because my book are great — but because of the science fiction elite’s  blacklisting, McCarthy-style actions. But pro-tip: if it  didn’t work in 1939, it won’t work in the internet age where I can speak freely. You might not see it because your echo chamber gets smaller, but my influence only grows. They should just treat me with basic human dignity, it’s all I ever asked.

Interestingly enough, a LOT of people are t asking about nominating my “Gravity Of The Game” novella for the Hugo Award this year, because it is great classic-style sci-fi that you may have seen when Asimov and Heinlein were at their primes. You should check it out and support the cause on your ballot! 

An Open Letter to Worldcon GoH Spider Robinson

Dear Spider,

My name is Jon Del Arroz. I’ve been a big fan of yours since I was in high school (which is about 20 years ago now) and one of the reasons I was so excited to go to worldcon was that you were going to be attending. I made a video about how excited I was to see you and how your work has been a big influence on me.

I’m the type of fan that collects everything once I find something I love — I’ve got a leatherbound version of Stardance and everything else you’ve ever released. More than once or twice I’ve dreamt of having my own Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon where I could go hang with people in love and peace, work through our worries and come out stronger together as humans.

Unfortunately WorldCon 76 will not be that place.  

In an unprecedented move, Worldcon pre-banned me, an action they haven’t taken since 1964 with Walter Breen, a convicted pedophile. Unlike Walter, I’m no criminal, just a family man and professional in the field. I’m an outspoken conservative and Christian, which sets me in the “other, not human” category for some people in science fiction writing, and I’ve been a target of a hate campaign because of my worldviews since coming on the scene. It’s about the opposite of what I imagined a loving, tolerant group would be.

I’ve been given no information to why I’m banned other than I “intend to violate the code of conduct” which I’ve stated several times I don’t. As a popular writer in the field, it seems a move solely based on hate and discrimination of people like me. I wish we could all get along despite differences like in Callahan’s, but it appears some in our world aren’t ready for that.

I don’t want to put you in a tough place. I’m not asking you to boycott the con or do anything to them. But as such a long time fan, and as a professional writer inspired by you, I am hoping to meet you and shake your hand while you’re here in my hometown. I know you don’t get out here all that often and I want to thank you for every way you’ve inspired me.

I propose grabbing a coffee, or perhaps a meal outside the con just to chat. Heck, we could even do a little street busking and play some of the Running, Jumping, Standing Still album I know you’re fond of (and because of you I’m fond of it too!). Whatever sounds good by you, but I don’t want to lose the chance to meet my hero because some people are afraid of someone who has different ideas than them.

Please let me know. I’m fairly easy to contact, and a lot of people have my email.

If you know Spider Robinson — please make sure he sees this! The chance to meet him is extremely important to me personally and professionally. Thanks everyone, and Spider– thank you for your positive influence on the field. I’ve learned so much from you and enjoyed so many beautiful stories. I hope others can too.

Sincerely,

Jon Del Arroz

I don’t know that I’ll ever be as good a writer as Spider Robinson, but most people are really enjoying my book For Steam And Country. Check it out, you might like it too

Music Is Mindset

Something I’ve wanted to post about for a bit in terms of general “successful mindset”, is about music. It’s no secret that I’m quite into bubbly pop music, especially that of the legendary Taylor Swift. I take a bit of flack about it from my fans and readers, most of whom seem to listen to harder rock or heavy metal from what I’ve seen, which is totally fine. But there’s actually a method to the music I listen to, and I’ve made a change, very intentionally, on what music I play on a regular basis.

There’s a lot of studies done about music and how it impacts your moods and mental faculties. I was big into darker, artistic rock like Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins and the like in the 90s and early 2000s, and over time, I noticed that I’d find myself in sluggish, unproductive moods far more often than I am today.

It’s because music impacts your mindset.

I’d been aware of the moods that music can put me into — and the entertainment industry is aware of this too, it’s why music is so prevalent in every film and TV show. Those dramatic moments, a lot of the time, instill the emotions they do in you because of the music. But I loved the art. These guys produced crazy good music, despite it being dark, angry, depressed or bitter. It took a lot for me to want to change to something I saw as more sophomoric and trite.

My mindset on this changed in September, when I read a study that came out that showed that listening to HAPPY music in particular, stimulates the area of the brain for creativity. Now I’m in a creative profession in writing science fiction. It’s my job to be creative and have my brain working at full creative output, and to be able to produce it on command. I don’t have time to be tired, to be depressed, or to let anything else get in the way of that.

So I made a commitment at that point to listen to happy music. I changed what I listen to to be almost exclusively symphonic music, Christian music, certain TV/Film background music (like My Hero Academia’s music… wow talk about epic and high energy!), rave and dance music, stuff designed to get you happy and pumped up.

It’s made a difference in my life. I don’t spend many days in the doldrums unless I have a cold or the flu anymore. Happy music has made me happy, and it’s made me more able to produce. It’s part of why I’m so productive.

Try it for yourself, and see how it goes.

And in the meantime, if you like happiness, read my book, For Steam And Country. It’s a great coming of age story that will leave you thrilled and full of wonder for a beautiful steampunk fantasy world.

What A Great Way To End 2017!

I’m actually sick in bed. Which means I’m spending the day reading manga, sci-fi books, watching anime, and of course a little bit of shitposting, but I didn’t bring you to the blog today dear readers to complain.

I’m elated.

2017 has been such a great year for me, probably the best of my life. I’ve kicked off my dream of becoming a professional author and finally made it. And I made it under the Science Fiction Writers of America’s qualifications of professional authordom too! I’m sure they’re hard at work being totally fair on my application.

But the reason I’m so elated is the success of For Steam And Country. It took to the end of  the year, but this epic YA Steampunk Fantasy has finally surpassed my debut, multi-award nominated novel with its 81st and 82nd positive reviews on Amazon. It keeps selling and more people keep loving it!

I’ll be honest. When I first started getting For Steam And Country  ready for publication, I was extremely nervous. I had conversations with my first publisher who wasn’t certain whether the success of my first book was due to it being tied into a very popular game property, or if it was due to my writing. It was a really valid concern, and something that had me on edge about this second release.

Worse for the fear in my mind, I’d taken a couple of big risks: 1. My readership is vastly comprised of Military SF readers, and Steampunk both is a semi-dead genre with a limited market appeal, and most Military SF readers don’t actually like the genre.  2. I wrote it from a perspective of a first person 16 year old girl, which was difficult artistically AND made tougher as a sell because most of my audience are men.

It turns out I didn’t need to fear it at all. Though there are certainly a couple of folk who didn’t like the YA Steampunk or perspective elements and told me they avoided it as such (which I don’t fault you for, and you’ll enjoy my next book, The Stars Entwined MUCH more as it’s geared more toward you), the vast majority of my readers read it — and loved it more than my first.

And then more readers kept coming.

I’m truly humbled, having been so nervous about this book. And I thank you so much for giving it a shot. I love For Steam And Country  – and the sequel, The Blood Of Giants won’t leave you disappointed next year. I’ve dialed up the action and adventure in it to 11.

But for now, I’m enjoying the fact in these last days of 2017, that my own property and world was able to surpass that of something very popular already. It means a lot to me, and it fuels me to keep writing super fun adventures for you all now and in the future!

2018 is going to a be a great ride. I’ve got my Patreon, in which I’m cranking out new short stories every month (some of which will tie into my novels, so look out!)  along with other cool content like draft chapters, deleted scenes, etc. I have a few comics I wrote that are  in production with artists, and I’ll be releasing a full SIX novels next year to keep you guys going. We’re just at the beginning of all the winning in science fiction!

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list too. As I’ll be doing giveaways, sending out free stories and the like in promotion of my next books.

I’ll leave you with my Twitter new years message:

https://twitter.com/jondelarroz/status/947593585288929280

 

What Are You Outraged About Today, My Dear SJW Friends?

A lot of what I do is point out that so much of these little cliques of Science Fiction writers focus their entire lives on (they certainly don’t focus on selling books) is how they make FAKE OUTRAGE stories out of something that shouldn’t be a story at all. The last week exemplified this as, incredibly, the community of internet science fiction writers collectively lost their minds when:

  1.  A professional Science Fiction writer with the qualifications joined SFWA.  This is a writer’s guild. I am a professional writer. It’s that simple. Not liking me doesn’t have anything to do with it. The entire point of  the club in theory is to protect writers like me from suffering undue hate or illegal discrimination from the industry. Yet that didn’t stop File 770’s nasty hate brigade from going off the rails over my joining. A lot of the anger must have been because it very uncomfortable about themselves, as it really points to a LOT of ugly truths about them with some of the nasty things they said.
  2. A professional Science Fiction writer is attending a Science Fiction convention.  Like with Diversity & Comics earlier this year, I  was immediately targeted by low-level professionals to try to preemptively get me kicked out of the con for my mere presence. This is exactly why I have  to wear a body cam to go to the con to begin with, some of these folk will almost certainly try to frame me for a crime, and I will have evidence to the contrary. Worldcon needs to step it up and make sure I’m protected from these crazies so my friends and fans can have fun.

But look at the first sentences of these points before the commentary about the bizarre behavior of these people who I’ve never talked to in my life. They are proud to try to threaten and hate a Hispanic author out of being in a professional guild and attending a convention. It’s that absurd. Sad part is, if most of these folk just talked to me, they’d find I’m a very nice fellow who just likes to have fun. Instead, they make two very mundane, normal professional matters that should never even be on anyone’s radar, into the outrage of the day. Because everything is outrage.

Let’s see how outraged they get about my next thing that is completely normal: submitting a short story to an anthology. I fit all the qualifications for their submissions (especially being a “Writer from under-represented communities and groups” on multiple levels), and so does the story. I’m sure I’ll get some people saying ridiculous things like I “shouldn’t be  allowed to submit a story”, or writing a very good genre fiction story is somehow “harassment”. They’re predictable in the way they out themselves as complete crazies. Readers see this, and they keep flocking to me.

No one is outraged about For Steam And Country. Even the people who hate me with the very fiber of their beings say my writing is “average” or “adequate”. They can’t even bring themselves to lie and say it’s bad, which says a lot about how strong of a book it is. Meanwhile the vast legion of readers who don’t have political agendas all say it’s great. You’ll probably enjoy it  too. Check it out here. 

The Awful Truth About Forgetting

Yeah I may have clikcbaited you a little bit with the title. But it worked. You’re reading. I’m not going to do a blog about forgetting (of which I really do have a terrible long-term memory),  but about a book titled The Awful Truth About Forgetting. I mentioned it briefly in the links in the blog yesterday, but it’s out today, by L. Jagi Lamplighter.

Jagi is really one of the kindest, coolest people in the entire industry. When I first came on the scene and I was outing the problems i was having, Jagi was the person who spoke to me, who helped me edit a couple of my posts so they were quality, who ensured her husband John promoted my novels on his excellent blog. She’s been there every step of the way for me in friendship, and is a true treasure of a person. I refer to her as the Patron Saint of Science Fiiction. She works hard on behalf of the genre and so selflessly, and that’s a large part of the reason i’ve pushed the Unexpected Enlightenment series.

The other part is that this is a YA wizard school series, but done a lot better than other books in the genre. It follows a girl named Rachel Griffin who is attending the Roanoke Academy for Sorcerous Arts. Rachel is all about her smarts and wits, which makes for a more compelling character than most.

The title of book four harkens back to the very first chapter of book one, which was titled The Unexpected Benefits of Remembering. Rachel prides herself on remembering everything, and so this volume should be filled with unexpected twists and turns like none other.

Check out the book, or the whole series if you haven’t. It’s out today.

https://www.amazon.com/Awful-Truth-Forgetting-Unexpected-Enlightenment-ebook/dp/B076J2MZPX/

And we’re doing a Facebook party this afternoon, where I’ll be participating and hanging out. It’ll be a lot of fun and there’s a ton of giveaways including books by me. Check it out if you’re on the platform.

It’s Okay To Be Male

Tor.com, a site that so egregiously banned from commenting one of the most popular minority authors in the field today (yours truly) for posting about actual on topic space opera during their #SpaceOperaWeek instead of playing their identity politics garbage, is back at it again. 

Today their writer urges a QUOTA on what you read based on demographic breakdowns.

He doesn’t look at the industry overall, which I did the legwork for him and it shows that in science fiction and fantasy, publishers are preferring women to publish  already, despite being only genre that’s even remotely got males working or reading in it (the others skew so far to women it’s absurd), it marks the only place men can read something geared toward them. But instead, he speaks of his own reading habits, in which he, as a man, preferred reading male authors.

The rest of the article goes on about how shameful he felt about it. Self-flagellating for a congratulations from the predominately female-controlled industry. Maybe it’ll get his books published. I guess that’s a marketing strategy.

I posit that he could do something shocking: read what he likes and not care what the demographic breakdown is. 

It’s totally normal for men to like books by men and actually this type of nonsense is why men are shamed into not reading at all, and as we know the real problem in literacy is men on average stop reading at an early age in our society. It’s because there’s so little content geared toward them and it’s been that way for decades.

Here’s the hard truth:

Men and women are different and therefore write differently.

I know. It’s shocking. We’re told we’re not allowed to say this. That men can be women, women can be men. There’s no difference. But that’s a lie. There is a huge difference in or biologies and therefore psychologies. The books written by women will on average end up different than  men as a result.

And it makes sense that every other genre, which is mostly filled with women readers and has mostly women writers. But Sci-Fi implementing that same quota base, as an action-adventure oriented genre, has caused sales to tank as, like many other industries taken over by SJWs, they told their own readers to buzz off — and continue to do so.

Male writers don’t get big publishers looking at them at all anymore. The odds are terrifying as I proved earlier this year. And so the sales have gone to self-publishing and indie. In some ways i shouldn’t warn a bigoted company like Tor about this by posting on it, lest they actually catch on and start to do something about their decline, but it’s sad to watch a man fall into this trap of apologizing to women he’s never wronged.

It’s okay to be male.

A sport that’s always been male-oriented is baseball. Check out my male-written Gravity Of The Game novella, which was compared by a reader to early Heinlein and is being talked about for Hugo nominations. You can read it here.

Can Gamma Male Protagonists Evoke Classical Pathos?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend last night as we were digging far too deeply into anime. Almost every anime show (especially those set in a high school environment, which is the majority of them), have male protagonists that are your classic gamma male archetype. They are socially awkward, especially around women. When encountered with women they go into a crazed frenzy, female worship, nosebleeds, slapstick failings. We’re supposed to root for them to get the girl in spite of their failures. And sometimes we do, but we can’t help but wince every time they enter the scene with their female counterparts, who are usually far more composed and cooler than they are.

The result is a different kind of emotion than we receive from a more heroic character. When an alpha or beta protagonist confronts problems, we get the feeling of the basic human instinct overcoming dilemmas, whether they be spiritual or physical, and it fills us with a sense that uplifts us emotionally to a place where we strive to be something better than ourselves, or at least our thoughts are provoked in a direction to where we discuss the merits of certain values. Whatever that may be, that is the true sense of pathos that gets evoked from a good story with such a protagonist.

But with the gamma, we are still in the wince mode, hoping that he can get through the situation unscathed. If he does, we don’t exactly feel fulfilled after watching or reading the work. I believe this is part of the reason so many animes or mangas give us a feeling of let down with the ending, making a cool concept imminently forgettable when they don’t need to be.

My friend brought up another classic example of the gamma: The Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom is very non-confrontational, hiding, stalking, unable to interact at the basic human level. We feel pity for him, but we feel no true sense of pathos to where we as an audience are uplifted by it. It’s tragic to watch, and horrific, and though the musical is quite well done, we walk away from it as an audience as unfulfilled as when we watch anime. Our sense is that we wish things were different, but in an undefined way, or that we wish the phantom was simply a different person. We’re not moved in our emotional response to any sort of thought or action beyond a wish.

And so it’s my conclusion that a gamma protagonist does and cannot evoke a true sense of pathos in a general audience, as we aren’t stirred to a cause, a thought, or any sort of action. We’re only stirred toward pity.

What do you think?

My character Zaira Von Monocle is unrefined and untrained, but she’s certainly not a gamma. She’s driven by loyalty to King and loyalty to family, some of the most important things we can have as people. For Steam And Country has stirred a lot of emotions in people, but you should see for yourself if I evoked any sense of pathos. You can read it here.