Saturday, December 05, 2020

For your gift list, cool scifi items… and more coming soon!

Let’s take a break from heady matters of civilization, science & politics, turning to bold science fiction adventures of the mind!  A dozen projects - both new and some long-awaited re-issues - are coming together all at once… some available now and others in the near future. For example:

- All the Uplift novels! 

- Re-issues of The Postman and The Practice Effect!

- Both of my long-lost series of Young Adult novels.

- A hilarious comedy pastiche of Star Trek and monster flicks!

- A stage play about sci fi vs. the devil! And screenplays.

… and much more. See details below. And how to order!

== You’ll love these right away, I hope ==

My sci fi comedy novel “The Ancient Ones.”  Need cheering up, after this crazy year? Sample free chapters. Your best value in yuks and fun per penny!  

* Re-issued classics! — All three carefully re-edited and two of them with Patrick Farley covers! New intros!

    - Sundiver  

    - The Practice Effect  

    - The Postman  

* And soon, more restored classics. These long awaited (and edited) re-issues have been cleaned-up with new covers and introductions by the author! Coming from Open Road in May! 

    - Startide Rising, 

    - The Uplift War, 

    - Brightness Reef, 

    - Infinity’s Shore and 

    - Heaven’s Reach

* The ESCAPE - my new stage play - is a way-too-clever-for-its-own-good bit of theater about an insufferable smartass arguing with the devil. Yeah, that old trope… done with entirely new concepts and flair. (Table-reading troupes are welcome! Do let me know.) Order now! 

* “David Brin’s Out of Time” series of YA novels about teens from across history uniting to save a future utopia. First in the series - Yanked! - by sci fi legend Nancy Kress, is available to pre-order now.  Soon volumes by the mighty Sheila Finch and Roger McBride Allen… followed by more in 2021!


* And soon: The Colony High series!  Aliens kidnap a California high school and live to deeply regret it. You’ll love it. Volume 1 - a shorter version - won the Hal Clement Young Adult Award. Soon from Ring of Fire Press.

* Is that enough? No way!  In 2021 Subterranean Press will issue the long awaited compilation of my top short fiction in The Best of David Brin.

* And available right now for free! Some of my past sci fi has been more pertinent than I’d want! My Hugo-nominated story “The Giving Plague” explores our complex relationships with viruses. Get it free.   

== Nonfiction food for the serious-minded ==

* Vivid Tomorrows: Perspectives on Science Fiction and Hollywood, collects my very best criticism and deep analysis of how sci fi - especially in film - has often elevated … or messed with… our values, expectations and minds. Coming soon from MacFarland Press. Two decades of deep insights and shallow rants about everything from Star Wars to Avatar to Dune, to Buffy, to Tolkien and those darned “300” Spartans!

* And yes, I am still touting Polemical Judo - my ‘political book’ - which offers 100+ original and effective tactics that no pundit or politician seems yet to grasp. Some would have turned this vital election into the predicted rout! And yes, most of the fresh tactical suggestions and concepts are (alas) still relevant. Download free chapters.

So, for those of you asking "What's Brin been doing?" Now you know part of it. The part not involving science and NASA and all that. Clearing decks on some of these things, at last. So I can write again.

== And finally, for any movie-maker people out there ==

* Screenplays and Teleplays and TV series treatments! Most recent is “The Tumbledowns” - my exciting adventure set in a sort of Steam-punk future under the oceans of Venus! The acclaimed novella was in my 3rd collection Insistence of Vision... and soon in the Best of Brin compilation!  But now there's a dynamite screenplay and TV arc treatment, as well.

Others include excellent scripts and treatments of stories like

“The Giving Plague” 

“The Loom of Thessaly” 

“Detritus Affected” 

“A Stage of Memory” and 

“Doctor Pak’s Preschool.” 

And yes there are excellent scripts for Kiln People and The Practice Effect and Glory Season. Plus whole TV series arcs for the Out of Time and for Colony High series. Plus a couple of manic romps almost no one has ever seen.

Producers - with some cred - are invited to get in touch!

== Stay safe out there… ==

…and believe in civilization. There’s a galaxy of species out there waiting for one - perhaps us - to become good and smart enough to head forth and rescue the rest!

Start by buying books.


David Martin said...

Thank you for this. In a time of, well,'s nice to remember that sanity, optimism, and the spirit of the Enlightenment Project is still thriving. Think of how much time and (pleasant) effort it would take for someone to familiarize themselves with just your output, fiction and nonfiction. I haven't gotten to all of it myself--I still haven't read the Uplift books, though that's on my short list for 2021. Then think of the others, so many...Le Guin, Tiptree, Kuttner/Moore, Anderson, Spider Robinson, Leiber, Sturgeon, Russ, not to mention Heinlein and Asimov. And many others. A lifetime's worth. FIAWOL.

Keith Halperin said...

Hello Dr. Brin and Everyone,

I'm too slow-I want to talk about politics from the last posting.
A few points:
I'm puzzled about your remarks from the previous column and before-

IMSM, the late Jerry Pournelle (whose writing I liked but whose politics I didn't) had the ears of the odious Newt Gingrich and Dana Rohrbacher.
Your proposals are sensible and well-written, yet you say that prominent politicians and pundits do not listen to you- what did Pournelle have that you don't?
Furthermore, you believe strongly in the validity and rightness of your ideas (so do I), yet I don't see (at least here) a strong effort to determine the cause of this refusal to be listened to and how best to overcome it. (At the same time, I don't know you and your circumstances, and there may be personal and private reasons for your decisions.)

I've suggested a couple of ways to get out the word-
1) Start with your local San Diego County Democratic party (with an intro from someone of significance) and
2) Reach out to the billionaire who answers your email.

I have two more (one of which you may already be doing, but I haven't seen mention of it here):
1) Do a podcast of "Contrary Brin" and have political folks whose ideas coincide with yours on. Effective and enjoyable examples of this include Lovett of Leave It ( and Pod Save America (
2) Use your "Wager Thing" not on people who don't believe what you say, but on people who DO: Find (or have your assistant/publicist/etc. find) an easily accessible person connected to a more-influential person you'd like to act as your advocate, and you say “Here's something I think is valuable to our nation and I'd like to have you get me in front of 'so-and-so'. If a neutral, objective judge we both agree upon decides that it's wrong, unfeasible, etc. then I'll give X$ to the charity of your choice. OTOH, if the judge says that it IS right, feasible, etc. then you connect me with a recommendation to 'so-and- so.'"... Rinse and repeat...

Finally, as to recent political events:
On today's "Lovett or Leave It," Jon Lovett, made a very profound statement-
We should take Republicans at their word; they will not accept the validity of elections which they do not win.

We have 74.2 million Americans who showed they are willing to vote for someone who does not believe in democracy and does not recognize the validity of alternative points of view. As you have said, these are "Neo-Confederates" and unfortunately, the "Cold Civil War" (2008-?) did not end with an Appomattox Courthouse. Rather, our current situation resembles that of present-day Afghanistan, where the opponents of the government have been beaten but not defeated and still maintain considerable power. As Len Deighton said: "Eternal paranoia is the price of liberty. Vigilance is not enough." We must regretfully assume that ~1/3 of voting-age Americans (and a higher proportion of white Americans outside of Blue areas) are willing to sacrifice the noble democratic traditions and institutions of our Republic upon the altar of Power, and until such time (May it be soon!) as we institute a "De-trumpification" or "Reconstruction 2.0" Campaign, then we we may need to follow the old Moorish adage: "Kiss the hand you cannot sever." We should not say: “That was then, this is now. Let's move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and healing." Consequently, while it may not be today or soon, it needs to be shown that there is a heavy price to pay for those who would corrupt and subvert our nation.

David Brin said...

KH thanks for your kind words. Alas, I have tried much of what you propose. My local Congressman whom I supported to take my long Repub district just got re-elected. I hosted gatherings for him and he knows who I am... and seems utterly uninterested. It's the same story everywhere I've tried and maybe it's my approach or personality, which out-rules content, every day and any day.

My billionaires... same thing. If I keep totally abstract, I can maintain a distant, tennuous contact. At the slightest sign of asking anything of them, I get demoted to Jr. Assistant answers.

POodcast, yes, I used to and indeed, it is very likely that some of my rants would have gone much farther. I hope to do one soon re Kamala at the Lincoln Memorial... It's just that this month is wretched busy... especially answering blog comments! ;-)

the old Moorish adage: "Kiss the hand you cannot sever." -- huh. Good one.

Biden needs to say (though he won't) to the GOP; "As grownups, we will listen when you complain about real things, actual policies and facts, no matter how bad your record is, on those things. And despite your party's relentless efforts, since 1995, to end negotiated politics in America, we will negotiate, when someone sincere comes to the table...

"But you may not lecture us, especially about truth or decency or morality. You have trashed all of those. You may pounce on some faults in our administration - we're human and imperfect, and some appointee or another may disappoint us all - but those faults will never, ever approach 1% of 1% of the tsunami of lies and crimes and treasons and perversions you have abetted.

"Come and negotiate? Sure, you represent millions of Americans and we'll respect that, even though you never, ever gave respect to the MAJORITY of Americans who voted against you, in 8 out of the last 9 elections. We'll respect those who were foolish enough to vote for you, ignoring what you became, under Trump, and before. For their sake, we'll negotiate.

"But don't you dare wage a finger of moralizing at us. We have facts and truth and professionalism, and science and maturity and sincerity and decency on our side. And we'll bite that damn finger, if you hypocritically chide us over things you did vastly, vastly more horribly. So keep that finger to yourself."

gerold said...

Regarding our fractured politics: if we can get those seats in Georgia then it'll be possible to undo a lot of the damage of the last four years pretty quickly. We can jump on environmental policy and renewable energy, healthcare and police reform. We're finally ready to end cannabis prohibition, and maybe even make some progress on immigration - though that's a more complex issue. The other ones have pretty clear paths to resolution.

If we don't get the Senate then everything will depend on the sane-ish Republicans, Romney and Collins, maybe one or two others will surprise us. But progress will be slower.

I do think we have a good chance of winning in Georgia though. By the time of the election Trump will have devolved a few steps more and that will not be a good look for his bootlickers.

gerold said...

Getting back to lit: I'm about halfway through Infinity's Shore (midway through the second uplift trilogy) and loving it. It's the most complex and interesting presentation of a multi-species galactic civilization that I've encountered, and the ethic of sapience-potential as the most treasured resource in the galaxy is a good one.

The contrast between an ethic of biological conservation/intelligence uplift and a ruthlessly brutal anarchy of violent interstellar conflict is a bit jarring, but it does make for interesting plot lines. One thing I was wondering: why are there no transcendent AI's in the Five Galaxies? I can see why they're difficult entities in our normal story conventions, but they do offer a lot of interesting possibilities too.

David Martin said...

Especially your P.J.
don't remember, was it for pure junk or puke justice

Tony Fisk said...

Hmm! Science fiction tales as a sort of inducement to get us out into space and invest other planet bound species with our science fiction tales to get them out and...

Could be the makings of a science fiction tale in there.

Meanwhile, we have Hayabusa dropping a sample back to Earth on the way to another rendezvous, and the Chang'e 5 payload docking with the orbiter and transferring a lunar sample prior to its return to Earth. Yes, it's been done before, but not on automatic.

Tony Fisk said...

... Silly thought but, given the current political brouhaha, it will be mildly ironic if China also has to return Chang'e 5 samples via Woomera.

Anonymous said...

Truth... its raw diamond.
It can lay in the ground for millions years without notice.
Indistinguishable from dirt.
It can be found, but again, while being that pointy rock in a shoe
one would throw away and feel only relief and pleasure.
One need to be caitious and diligent to understand its value
and patient and stubborn to polish it to its perfet form.
So then anywho could diegest it

Chew my pearls slowly... em, davy.

David Brin said...

Gerold, are you reading the new version I have at at pre-readers right now? If not, you can read the book AND do me a favor. Email me.

Jon S. said...

"IMSM, the late Jerry Pournelle (whose writing I liked but whose politics I didn't) had the ears of the odious Newt Gingrich and Dana Rohrbacher.
Your proposals are sensible and well-written, yet you say that prominent politicians and pundits do not listen to you- what did Pournelle have that you don't?"

Well, the first thing that leaps to my mind is the two bolded portions above...

Larry Hart said...


I'm about halfway through Infinity's Shore (midway through the second uplift trilogy) ...

It's one of a few times I've found in multi-chapter stories (books or comics) where the exquisite break between Part I and Part II--that period of real time in which the reader imagines what might come next, but has to wait to find out what does come next--is important to the feel of the story. So much so that in the two additional times I have re-read that particular series, I purposely waited from one summer to the next before continuing.

Also, for careful readers of Sundiver, there is reference as to why the Tabernacle was launched so early in the history of human contact with the Galactics--something that bothered me the first time I read Brightness Reef until I re-read Sundiver.

David Brin said...

LarryHart... what was the clue in Sundiver again?

gerold said...

I must admit I bought used paperback copies of all three... what is different about the new version?

The contact interface at your website is kind of weird, I couldn't figure out how to send an email (duh!)

TCB said...

Jon S. makes a good point up there. Why is it that a leftist activist/intellectual can slowly starve to death trying to spread their ideas and strategy recommendations, while a right winger who is no smarter and works no harder can find a cushy sinecure at a think tank, and actually watch their ideas put into policy?

It's because think tanks and other well-paid positions are generously funded by billionaires, who recognize the value of hiring clever people to think up winning strategies to protect and grow their billions. And the oligarchs recognize the value of actually listening to the strategic advice they pay for. If the strategy calls for an oligarch to spend a hundred million dollars in a year, and the strategy was conceived by a minion who has a proven track record, why, that's enough to buy a yacht! A NICE yacht! But so be it. The strategy should pay for itself twenty times over, in a few years. So the oligarch reaches for his checkbook...

Now, there are plenty of underpaid/impoverished thoughtful people looking to curb the oligarchs... but who can afford to pay them to conceive strategy? Who can afford to implement the strategy? Not the people being paid minimum wage at the WalMart.

In between these two poles lie Dr. Brin and the establishment Democrats and one billionaire in his social sphere. Let's face it, that billionaire doesn't seem to be hearing any suggestions from Dr. Brin that might make him another billion or two... not in a hurry, anyway. And the Dem leadership? Well, for one thing, they have paid consultants already. Full timers. And they probably have a bad case of Not Invented Here syndrome. They'd probably try half the stuff in Polemical Judo if it was Barack Obama or Bill Clinton who'd thought of it. For another thing, the people who probably actually would take the Judo advice seriously are the Bernie/Squad division of the Democratic Party, and they are the very people the centrist leadership want to tie down and gag. The leadership wants to maintain the status quo pre-Trump.

But, as Ben Burgis writes in Jacobin, The Last Thing We Need Is To “Go Back To Normal”. Normal is what brought us to the brink of fascism and collapse.

Robert said...

are you reading the new version I have at at pre-readers

New version? Are you just cleaning app types and mistakes, or is there substantial rewriting going on?

I retired this year, so have a lot more time for proofreading if you're looking for proofreaders.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

what was the clue in Sundiver again?

In the final chapter(s) of the book. I'm going from memory here, but it's the part where the Terragens Council makes an explicit reference to Brave New World and the importance of seeding colonies of Earth people somewhere else just in case they were to be needed later.

I don't remember if it was explicitly stated that a ship was being prepared to leave earth at that time, or if it was just implied that something like that might happen. Anyway, I took that conversation to be the narrative justification for there to have been a human colony in Galaxy Four so long before the events of Startide Rising and The Uplift War.

If you didn't do that on purpose, then these things really do write themselves.

David Brin said...

I sprung all Uplift books from Bantam/Penguin and they sent over... stupid PDFs that had to go into Optical Character Recog (OCR) for the new editions. OCR is VASTLY better now. But in sci fi with strange words and names, it can be a bother!

Hence I have farmed out pre-reading tasks for FIVE uplift novels to varied folks and more are welcome. Also my one chance in 30 years to make fixes. So anything that bothered you even in the paperback you just read....

If you can't find the contact link at bottom of you-know-where, then try messaging me on FB.

LH yeah I recall now... musta embedded in deep memory!


David Brin said...

TCB I am officially first name with FOUR billionaires... and none want ideas. Largely because they are the "good" kind who made it through innovation and ironically only want it in their own style and ... idiom.

Alas, Not Invented Here also applies even more to the pundit caste and to dem pols.

David Brin said...