From Robby to Roomba: Article up at Tor.com!

Hello, all! Happy Earth Day! Do not fear the singularity, meaty Earth inhabitants!

In honor of Earth Day, Nicky Drayden (Author of THE PREY OF GODS) and I teamed up to do a roundtable interview with futurists and AI specialists to bring you a science-based look at our favorite sci-fi staple: artificial intelligence.

Our amazing participants include Felix Yuan (twitter), an AI engineer and sci-fi author; Ross Goodwin (twitter), an artist and technologist; and Martin Ford ( twitter), a futurist and non-fiction author.

Here’s a taste:

What are some common misconceptions about the current state of Artificial Intelligence?

ROSS: That AI should and will be human shaped, and that it will destroy us all. These are both wonderful fictional elements that have made many stories about AI the ones we know and love today, but they’re not healthy slices of reality. Real design requires real thought and consideration. (For example, ask yourself the following question: which robot makes more sense in real life: C3PO or R2D2? The answer should be obvious.)

MARTIN: Many people both under- and overestimate where we are regarding AI. They tend to underestimate the potential for specialized AI to have enormous impacts on society—in terms of white-collar jobs being automated, as well as in areas like privacy and so forth. On the other hand, many people overestimate how close we are to the true human-level AI you see in science fiction movies.

FELIX: I think the biggest misconception of AI is what AI actually is. I think there’s a grand expectation that AI is going to manifest itself as some sort of high level intelligence that is, if not human-like, will compete at the level of humanity or surpass it. The reality is that AI is already among us in way more mundane ways from playing ancient board games all the way to driving cars. It’s much more limited than the public perception of it, which makes it all the more fascinating.

Read the rest here!

You can look for more Earth Day science brought to you by Harper Voyager authors by following the #HVsciencefair hashtag on twitter.

As always, happy reading!

~Marina (author of NOUMENON…  😉 )

 

 

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Happy Busting Out of Your Unwitting Host Day!

Bug hunt

 

Since Xenomorphs don’t have birthdays, it seems wrong to wish Aliens: Bug Hunt a happy book birthday.  So, happy Chest-Bursting day, book!

I am so excited to have a story (co-written with Mike Resnick) in this anthology!  In case you didn’t know, I’m in love with the ALIENS franchise.  Like, really.  I have a Xenomorph Queen hanging in my office.  See:

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Oh, and I own a Xenophone:

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If you’re like me, and the idea of a space station overrun with hundreds and hundreds of facehuggers fills you with glee, then our story is for you!

You can get Aliens: Bug Hunt at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever terrifying books are sold.

Happy Reading…Mwahahaha!

~Marina

 

 

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Spark VIII is out!

It’s been a long time coming, but my story, The Stem, is out in Spark VIII.  Look at that awesome cover, guys (not to mention all those great names)!

 

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Here’s an excerpt from The Stem, which is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk:

The Hoarders were a generation of intellectual censors. Gran’s grandparents had been amongst them. They turned off the lights, and shut down the transports, and cut their colony off from the others. They hoarded all knowledge. Everything they knew about science, industry, history–they took it all to their graves.

Graves Jacqueline spit on every chance she got.

With Rose and Snow–the two largest moons–dipping below the horizon, Jacquie slipped out her bedroom window and into the chilly pre-dawn air. She tied her short, black hair under a work-scarf, double checked that the power module and bento box were safe in her oversized pockets, then headed down the road.

As she walked, the sun’s rays slowly crept over the mountains, then down the Stem’s shaft as though they were using it to reach the planet’s surface.

The Stem’s petals–up at its top–were invisible now. Only at night could they be seen, as a dark set of blots blocking out the stars. The single exception was when the sun slipped directly over head and they caught the city in a small eclipse–a possessive shadow that always gave Jacquie the willies.

 

If you like badass, female electrical engineers, generational mysteries, and creepy space monsters, I hope you’ll take a look!

Happy reading!

~Marina

 

 

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Bye Bye 2016

Like sand through the hour glass, so are the days of 2016.  But this year, I’d say it doesn’t serve us to simply turn the glass over and start again.  We need new ingredients.  New sands.  New Magics.  More science.

Here’s wishing everyone a wondrous 2017.  Keep fighting, keep growing, keep achieving, keep dreaming, and keep reading.  We can all be better people tomorrow than we were yesterday.

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So long, 2016.

And if you’re looking for one more hit of feels out of this year, consider reading my story You are Not a Metaphor, published in Flash Fiction Online this year.  (That’s my subtle way of saying it’s award-eligible.)

~Marina

 

Places to Give Love and Support

Back when I failed the ALS ice-bucket challenge (because ice-cold water + head = crippling migraine), I donated to the ALS Association (http://www.alsa.org/) and spent a little while drawing your attention to other worthy establishments.

If you are in the giving mood right now, for whatever reason–needing to spread joy, needing to help ensure safety, needing to effect change, what have you–please consider the following.

 

RAINN (https://rainn.org/): This is the nation’s largest anit-sexual violence organization.

From their ‘about’ page: “RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”

 

The National Suicide Prevention Life Line (http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/): This is run by The Mental Health Association of New York City, with support from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and others.

From their ‘about’ page: “The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 160 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.”

 

NWA Women’s Shelter (http://nwaws.org/ ): This is my local women’s shelter, serving all of Northwest Arkansas.

From their ‘about’ page: “The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter provides free emergency shelter, food, and clothing to victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. We provide a free 24-hour crisis phone line and services to clients. We also offer court advocacy, Spanish bilingual services, children’s advocacy and programming, community education, support groups, counseling, and a volunteer program.

“Domestic violence does not discriminate; therefore, our clients are from across all demographics in terms of age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and educational background. We assist any person who meets the criteria for emergency intervention and assistance due to domestic violence or sexual assault.”

 

The NWA Food Bank (http://www.nwafoodbank.org/): This is my local food bank.

From their ‘about’ page:

“The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank was founded in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization to serve four Northwest Arkansas counties by providing an affordable and credible food source to our partner agencies serving the hungry.

The NWA Food Bank currently has about 180 partner agencies ranging from food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and many more. Since 1988, the NWA Food Bank has grown to serve 180 partner agencies and distributed 8.2 million pounds of food in 2016.”

 

If you’d like to help shelters and food banks in your own community, a simple google search should heed results, or you can take a look at a handy dandy in-network map like the one provided by Feeding America: http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/.

 

Thank you.

<3Marina

 

Sign up for the:

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Introducing the…

Dhun

Dhun

DHUN!

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Yes, yes, scream, shout, jump for joy.  Whatever is an appropriate level of celebration where you come from is fine by me.

If you sign up you’ll belong to one of the most exclusive clubs on the internet (and you all know how hard it is to find an exclusive club on the internet).  And, as an added bonus, you shall receive:

 

*Gifs! Yes, gifs. Probably mostly Supernatural related, but definitely of the not-boring variety.

*Cat pictures! I’m told adorable family pets do well in newsletters. Mine might not be adorable so much as…weird. I’ve got weird cats. One of them occasionally forgets which species she is and tries to be a snake…or a meerkat…or a golden retriever.

*Itty Bitty Beasties! You thought I’d forgotten about these, huh? Nope, I’ve just been saving ’em.

*Recommendations for other cool stuff–books, movies, brands of novelty toilet paper (just making sure you’re paying attention)!

*Important announcements regarding worthy causes.

*Exclusive content and contests for newsletter subscribers only! Where you can win super cool stuff.

*And yes, factual facts about when and where you can factually find my new publications.

 

I know that sounds like a lot, but it will be broken out in reasonable chunks. You aren’t going to have to sift through a bagillion lines in a bagillion newsletters, don’t worry. You’ll be hearing from me about once a month, and most letters will probably be about the length of this post.

Are you in?  Awesome.  Click either HERE or the sparkly Lostetter Newsletter button above to sign up!

~Marina

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Long Time No Post

Hello all!

Long time no post, right? Let me update you on the state of this little one-woman nation.

I had a new short story come out in Flash Fiction Online at the beginning of August. It’s about you. No, really, you. I don’t know how to break it to you, but you’re very sick. The story is told in second person, and I dare you to argue with it. It’s totally about you.

You can read You Are Not a Metaphor here.

I also spent a week-ish in Kansas City for this year’s WorldCon (AKA MidAmericon II). For the most part, I had a blast. Got to see lots of friends, make new ones, and had a great meeting with my editor and agent about NOUMENON’s sequel.

I also took part in a group reading for Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, which was my first-ever public reading. All in all, I think it went pretty well (the panel next door even provided mood music).

Got to observe the Alfies once more (where agent-sib Alyssa Wong took home the Alfie for best short story!), and snapped even worse pictures of the ceremony than I did last time (hey, it was really dark in that theater, and the stage was really bright). For comparison:

 

Last Year

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(George R R Martin, Eric Flint, and other lovely people)

This Year

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(George R R Martin and other lovely people I could not identify in a line up with only this picture to go on)

 

In short, I had a great time (again, mostly. Pro tip: do not grab women at parties and then threaten to get into a violent altercation with their agents, okay?), and book two is going to be AWESOME (capitalization for emphasis…Awesome is not the title of book two…but it should be).

If you want a much more thorough recap of the convention, I suggest you take a gander at the write up penned by David Steffen over at Diabolical Plots. He took a lot of great pictures during the week, so pick an author/editor/cool person you love and go play Where’s Waldo.

Recap can be found here.

So now I’m officially in the throes of writing the sequel to NOUMENON. I will keep you in the loop via a newsletter I plan on starting before the end of this month. If there’s anything specific you’d like to see in a newsletter (WIP updates, writerly tips, jokes, cat pictures, grains of wisdom etc.) let me know in the comments!

 

~Marina

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Happy 4th!

Hope everyone celebrating has a safe and fun Independence Day (speaking of, if you haven’t seen Independence Day: Resurgence yet, I recommend it if you are into crazy stupid fun, cuz it’s crazy stupid fun).

Go forth, light things on fire responsibly, eat cheap food, and have a blast.

 

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(Note: above Supernatural gif depicts irresponsible firework usage, please do not hold Roman Candles and the like while lit.  Save your fingers and your face.)

~Marina

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What’s Noumenon? Nothing, what’s Noumenon with you?

confetti parade

 

How is everyone’s Monday?  I hope your Monday is as fantastic as my Monday, because, guess what?  I get to announce some very exciting news.

My novel, NOUMENON, is officially forthcoming from Harper Voyager, Voyager UK, and Heyne in Germany!

NOUMENON is an interstellar adventure, wherein the world comes together to investigate alien megastructures, what it means to be human, and other mysteries of the universe, despite struggles against rogue AIs, failing generation ships, and hidden saboteurs.

From the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:

Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Marina Lostetter’s NOUMENON, an interstellar epic featuring a convoy of starships staffed with clones of Earth’s best and brightest sent to investigate a possible alien megastructure, to David Pomerico at Voyager, in a two-book deal, by DongWon Song at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (NA). Rights to Emma Coode at Voyager UK, by Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein and to Heyne, by Danny Baror at Baror International.

If you have a subscription to Publisher’s Marketplace, you should be able to view the announcement here.

This should be especially exciting for those of you who wanted more after reading my story Balance (second-place winner in the Jim Baen Memorial writing contest).  This novel expands the story of Jamal and Diego’s convoy, following it from inception to mission’s end.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m SUPER EXCITED.

~Marina

P.S. Big THANK YOU to everyone who worked on these deals, and especially my agent DongWon Song, who guided me through the process and got this book in front of the right people.

 

 

 

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Happy Hop-Hop Egg Day

 

Easter Terminator by MJNL

 

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter (not that Easter tends to be the rowdiest of holidays, but you know what I mean)!

Hopefully the bunny that brought you your basket today looks nothing like this Terminator endoskeleton I put ears on…

~Marina

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