“The End of the Silk Road” will be reprinted in The Year’s Best Military Science Fiction and Space Opera, coming in June from Baen.
Archive for January, 2015
Just heard from David Afsharirad, editor of the forthcoming Baen Books anthology The Year’s Best Military Science Fiction and Space Opera. “I’d very much like to include your story ‘The End of the Silk Road’ in the book. I can’t say how much I enjoyed the story. As a fan of early 20th century detective and science fiction, it was a real treat.”
“The End of the Silk Road” is “Venus noir,” in the mold of C. L. Moore’s “Northwest Smith” stories, with froggy Venusians, a damaged protagonist, love, guns, and betrayal. It’s set in the same universe as my forthcoming novel Arabella of Mars, but where that book takes place on Mars in 1813, this story is set on Venus in 1936. It isn’t “military” in the least, so I assume the title of the anthology is to be read as “Year’s Best (Military SF) and (Space Opera)” rather than “Year’s Best Military (SF and Space Opera).”
The Year’s Best Military Science Fiction and Space Opera, the first in what Baen hopes will be an annual series, will be published as an ebook on May 16, 2015 and in paperback on June 2, 2015. It already has a cover and preorder pages at Amazon and Powell’s.
Baen will also be using the book as a ballot for a new readers’ choice award, to be presented at DragonCon. Voting will be done via online poll. More details as I have them!
The passage of time has become very strange for me. The days seem to drag by, but the weeks just zip past. I really can’t believe that two weeks have passed since my last update, and that only one more week of radiation and chemotherapy remains.
We have already finished up the main course of radiation, which irradiates a softball-sized area around the (removed) tumor, and entered the final “boost” phase which focuses on the area of the tumor. The last treatment is on February 2 — Groundhog Day! — and after that there will be no more radiation. Daily chemo ends on January 31, then after a month off will resume with a one-week-on, three-weeks-off cycle for about 6 months. That second round of chemo is supposed to be more tolerable than this initial, aggressive round of chemo and radiation, and we hope to be able to travel and otherwise resume something resembling normal life. If nothing else, the absence of daily radiation appointments will be a great relief.
Medically speaking, for Kate the last two weeks have been similar to the previous three. Her speech and motor issues are very much improved, to the extent that she now seems to have few problems speaking most of the time (though she says it’s harder than it looks). We have begun scaling the steroid dose back down, with a target of getting it down to zero for the coming month off of treatment. Side effects are somewhat worse, though — she is quite fatigued now, taking several naps per day and not able to walk more than a few blocks at a time. We are trying to get up and out every day, though, and the fatigue is not nearly as bad as what we’ve seen in friends taking intravenous chemo.
For myself, it’s been increasingly difficult. With our friends’ help I’m keeping up with everything that has to be done, but I’m tired and achy and often very sad. I’m also having some gut issues, about which the less said the better. I am working with a counselor and doing everything I can to relax, including yoga, guided visualization, and as much walking as I can manage. I have asked for, and am receiving, help from friends to get out of the house when I can. I believe that my stress levels will improve once we are done with this round of treatment, with its daily hospital visits and many pills which must be carefully managed.
We have had house guests nearly every day in the last two weeks. Janna cooked us a brisket, Mary Robinette made three pies, Allan helped us buy a recliner, Sue made sure I got to the gym, Brenda washed the kitchen floor, and all of them did much else besides. Each of them brings a special set of skills and energy and all are very much appreciated. This is in addition to the many local and non-local friends who provided transportation; helped me get out of the house to write, do yoga, or see a movie; sent or brought food; or just came by to hang out. We are so grateful to you all.
We had hoped to be able to attend Potlatch, but at this point this seems unwise due to the fact that some of the drugs make Kate more vulnerable to infections. Alas. On the brighter side, my story “Damage” was published at tor.com and is getting a lot of buzz and rave reviews. You can read it here: http://www.tor.com/damage-david-levine
Thank you very much for your love and support. With your help, we will get through this.
I am extremely pleased to announce the publication of my story “Damage” at tor.com. In addition to being free to read at http://www.tor.com/stories/2015/01/damage-david-levine, the story is also available as an ebook for 99¢ at all the major ebook stores.
I am also pleased to announce the podcast at Escape Pod of “Homegrown Tomatoes” by Lara Elena Donnelly, which I narrated. You can hear it, or download it as an MP3, for free here: http://escapepod.org/2015/01/10/ep475-homegrown-tomatoes/.
About “Homegrown Tomatoes,” reviewer K. Tempest Bradford at io9 said: “Not only do I dig this story, David Levine is an excellent narrator. If you haven’t heard him read his own stuff you’re really missing out — he’s amazing. And he’s just as good with someone else’s fiction.”
We’ve just finished the third week of Kate’s radiation and chemotherapy — halfway done with this round of treatment. In some ways this is like Clarion: six weeks long, really intense, and transformative in ways that can’t be predicted.
Medically this week has been not unlike the previous two. Side effects are more noticeable, but still generally manageable — though there have been a few unpleasant surprises. We are continuing with the increased steroid dosage and Kate’s speech and motor issues are much improved from early last week. We had our six-week followup visit with the neurosurgeon and everything is fine there: the incision is healing nicely, and the bruising is almost completely gone except for one patch on the arm, which is fading. We won’t see him again unless there is recurrence (which is, unfortunately, a strong possibility with this type of tumor — that’s what the radiation and chemo are trying to prevent). We met again with the speech therapist, who gave us some interesting associational techniques to find a missing word — and suggested playing Password as a form of practice!
Emotionally, it’s been… well, it’s been kind of rough for me, especially in the latter part of the week. But after a Saturday reading comic books, ten hours of sleep, and a long nap I feel much better both physically and emotionally. I will try to take better care of myself going forward. I’m also trying to live in the moment and appreciate the good things in life (and there are good things, even now) rather than dwelling on the unknown future.
Our friends continue very generous. I was fortunate to have people in the house at some of my worst times to provide hugs and practical support. Janna spent the weekend here, Mary Robinette is coming tomorrow for an extended visit, and Allan will arrive just as she is departing, with more to come later in January and February. Having people in the house is incredibly helpful for both practical and emotional support and I am more thankful to them than I can express. I am also very grateful to Brian and Page who are providing Kate rides to radiation treatments.
The new freezer is already nearly full of delicious foods — “a freezer full of love” — though there is still room for more. We have already received a lot of soups, especially chili, so if you would like to bring or send something we’d appreciate food we can chew. :-) We need foods that are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins and low in salt.
If you would like to stop in for a visit you’d be welcome; just email or text in advance to find out when we are home. Also, if you are in a position to do shopping, dishes, laundry, or other chores, please do mention it! These trivial little tasks make a great deal of difference.
Thank you so much for all of your cards, letters, emails, comments, and packages of love and support. They are very much appreciated. We’ll get by with a little help from our friends.
Prompted by John Scalzi’s annual awards awareness post, here are my award-eligible publications in 2014:
- “The End of the Silk Road” (SF novelette) in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, magazine edited by Gordon Van Gelder, May/June 2014
- “A Practical Mechanism for Overcoming the Directionality of Temporal Flow” (SF short story) in HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects, anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, July 2014
- “Goat Eyes” (fantasy short story) in Black Static #42, magazine edited by Andy Cox, October 2014
- “Cry Wolf” (SF novelette) in Lowball, mosaic novel edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass, November 2014
- “Mammals” (SF short story) in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, magazine edited by Trevor Quachri, December 2014
Thanks for your consideration!
We are coming to the end of the second week of Kate’s daily radiation and chemo treatments. Side effects continue to be slight, though the fatigue we’ve been warned about is, I think, beginnning to make its presence felt. Aphasia and other problems, including some right-side weakness, continue with varying severity, but we’ve raised the steroid dosage again and it is helping a lot.
I think I need to clarify what exactly I mean by “aphasia.” Kate can still speak, and can hold up her end of a conversation reasonably well (with some amusing lapses). But certain words are difficult for her to find; they come out wrong or don’t come out at all. Recent problem words: spell check, traffic cone, snow peas. The thing the problem words seem have in common is that they are the ones that carry the most information in the sentence, the ones that are the least predictable from previous information. “What time is it?” or “Please pass the salt,” no problem. But “I’m having trouble with the –” or “Have you seen my –?” Linguistically speaking, Kate needs a cane, or a walker, not a wheelchair.
We had a good New Year celebration. New Year’s Eve was very quiet — we watched TV and went to sleep early — but on New Year’s Day we attended the traditional party at Marc and Patty’s. It was at Marc and Patty’s New Year’s party that we met, exactly thirty years ago. We like to say that we found each other under their Christmas tree, and they throw us an anniversary party every year. We stayed at the party for about an hour, then went home and had a nap. She sleeps in 20-minute chunks.
New Year’s Day also marks one month since the surgery, and the last radiation treatment is scheduled for February 2, so in some ways we are at the halfway point. There may be some side effects coming down the pike, but I doubt any of them will be worse than brain surgery and we got through that. Kate has been a complete champ, dealing with the immobilization mask and blood draws and hundreds of pills without complaint. We try to eat right and to get out and walk a couple of times a day.
I have changed the title of my LiveJournal blog from “The Days Are Just Packed” to “We Are Still Laughing.” Because even though the days still are packed, there are still moments of joy and shared humor in every day and I want to acknowledge that.
Our friends continue to be incredibly supportive. Beginning next week we will have out-of-town friends staying with us for most of January and chunks of February, which will be very helpful. People come to visit nearly every day, often bringing food, and cards and emails continue to come in. These are all really appreciated, and I hope they will continue in the new year. (One note: please don’t visit if you are sick.)
We now have a freezer in the basement and can accept deliveries of food at pretty much any time. We need healthy dinners with lots of protein, lots of vegetables and beans for vitamins and fiber, and little salt (it increases brain swelling). If there’s any other assistance you can offer, please do contact me; sometimes I need a reminder of the help that is available.
This is really hard, but with your help and support we will get through it. Thank you all so much.