My Favorite SF/F Epidemic Literature

The fine folks at Goodreads asked me to offer up a list on my favorite SF/F books which feature epidemics (because, you know, Lock In features one), and I was happy to oblige. If you follow this link, you will find five books about epidemics that I enjoy and recommend. Happy reading, and don’t get paranoid the next time you cough.


Oh, shit.

Reminder: Get Your Order For Signed Copies of Lock In By 8/8

Yes, if my tour to support Lock In is not coming to your town this August and September, you can still get signed copies of that book — signed by me even! — by ordering it from Subterranean Press at this link. But you need to do it in the next couple of days (specifically, by 11:59 on Friday) so we can guarantee we can get it to you in time for the book release date. And also, we’re down to the last few dozen copies available. So if you want one — better hurry.

The link again, in case you missed it the first time and don’t like to live in the past.

OMW TV Series Announcement Followup

Because there are a few things out there that people have asked me and are worth answering. What follows are paraphrased questions and my responses:

1. So when will the show be on? Dunno. We (and by we I mean Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig) still have to write the pilot script. Then we (and this we is Scott Stuber and Wolfgang Petersen and their people) have to get it approved, shoot a pilot and then get that approved. If everything aligns perfectly, maybe you’ll see it in 2016. If everything does not align perfectly, you might not see it at all. Also, be aware that even when a series is greenlit and in production that it can still be yanked. So nothing is 100% guaranteed. You’ll see the show (indeed, any show) when it is actually on the TV screen.

With that said, this much I know: I’m excited, the producers are excited and UCP and Syfy are excited. The team putting the show together is smart and committed. I feel pretty good about the idea you’ll see this sooner than later.

2. Noooooooo Syfy is terrible and runs wrestling and Sharknado whyyyyyyy? Speaking as someone whose previous television show got cancelled in part because Syfy bumped it for wrestling, you don’t have to tell me that the channel has some fairly egregious sins in its past. However, the execs who yanked it in the direction of wrestling are gone, and the execs who are there now seem to have this crazy idea that a channel devoted to science fiction ought to have science fiction on it. This, I assume, is why it bought OMW and is taking James S.A. Corey’s Expanse books straight to series, and otherwise doing a lot of shopping for good science fiction to turn into shows. I kind of think we should encourage this shocking turn of events. Maybe that’s just me.

I got nothing for you about the Sharknado films. Hey, something like five million people watched Sharknado 2 when it debuted. Don’t blame Syfy for that. Blame society. Or at least recognize that some of Syfy’s sweet, sweet Sharknado money is being poured into the development of the OMW series.

3. Who is going to be in the series? You should totally hire [X]! And maybe [Y]! Too early for casting yet. We’ll get there. I know it frustrates people when I say this, but aside from Jane Sagan, who I clearly modeled after my wife (and who, to be clear, is unlikely to play Jane in the series), I have never thought of who I would want to play any of the OMW characters. I understand that’s a little weird, but even so. Part of that is rooted in the fact that the characters in the book are all supposed to look very young (they look like they’re all 21 or so), so unless we cast a bunch of Nickelodeon/Disney Channel stars, it’s unlikely those actors would be well known anyway.

4. How much is going to change from the books? Based on the the discussions I had with the screenwriters: some. Some things in the book will be impractical to show onscreen, some things would be very expensive, and some things that work in  novel form won’t work on TV (and vice versa). Some changes are coming.

I’ve always tried to be clear to folks that any screen version of OMW is going to be an adaptation and not the books exactly. A TV series will be no different. What we want to do is make sure the changes a) are not arbitrary, b) serve the overall story of the series. But, yeah. The books are the books and will always be the books. The TV series will be based on the books, but will not be the books. It will still be, as far as can be managed, a very good story, worth your time.

5. Are you worried the TV show will overshadow the books? I assume it will, since it will (hopefully) be seen by millions of people weekly, so, no. One, I have smart agents who have gotten me a good deal on the series, so if the TV series does well I will profit handsomely. Two, if the show does well then the books in the series will likely sell like hotcakes — see George RR Martin’s book sales recently — so the books will do just fine. Plus then my profile as an author raises and it’s easier for me to sell my newer books, too. Three, a successful show will make it easier for me to sell other work to film/TV, which is also good for me.

So, yeah: Go, show. Fly and be successful.

6. Why are your books being made into TV series when better books like [X] and/or writers like [Y] are not? I don’t know. Maybe my books are better and you’re just wrong. Maybe my books are more commercially successful, which matters. Maybe my books are easier/cheaper/less confusing to adapt than [X]. Maybe the producer likes my book and not that other one. Maybe that author hates the idea of adapting her books into film/TV and won’t sell an option. Maybe the particular subject of one of my books is hot right now, and the subject of that other book is not. Maybe I have a better agent, who sells the hell out of my work. Maybe I’m more personable and/or not in a pain in the ass to work with. Maybe I’m just lucky. Maybe some combination of any or all of the above and/or some other “maybe” not explored here.

But look, in the end, it’s not complicated: What books/properties get optioned/made in film and television? The ones where a producer and studio says we can totally make money with that. Because that’s their job. Why is OMW being made into a series? Because Scott Stuber, Wolfgang Petersen, Universal Cable Productions and Syfy think they can make money off it. Aside from anything else, that’s the bottom line. We’ll find out whether they’re correct. I hope they are.

Now, this doesn’t speak to whether that other book [X] or author [Y] might not also make them (or whomever) money. But it doesn’t have to. It’s not actually important for what they’re doing with my work.

7. Yes yes yes. Just tell me when the next Old Man’s War book will be, please? I’m writing it now. It’ll be out next year. And it will be pretty good, if I can pull off all the things I’m planning. Stay tuned.

The Big Idea: Alisa Krasnostein


Anthology editors usually come into their projects with a firm idea of what the anthology should be — that’s how they sell the project to a publisher (or on a Kickstarter). But as Alisa Krasnostein learned as she co-edited the Kaleidoscope anthology with Julia Rios, just because you know what you want your anthology to be about, doesn’t mean you always know how the process of building the anthology will work on your point of view.


One of the most fun aspects for me about publishing is going into a project with one perspective and coming out the other side seeing the world completely differently. It can happen through the process of working with a particular writer or in working to make a project like a themed anthology.

The original idea for Kaleidoscope came to me whilst listening to Julia Rios on a episode of The Outer Alliance Podcast about the lack of QUILTBAG characters in YA dystopian novels. The idea that only straight white people would survive an apocalypse angered me. As did thinking about young adult readers with only a few stories that really spoke to them, that reflected who they were, that told their coming of age stories.

I approached Julia about producing a dystopic fiction themed anthology filled with QUILTBAG protagonists. We developed the idea to expand to include a wider variety of diverse protagonists and to include contemporary fantasy as well. We wanted this book to be specifically for young adults reading science fiction and fantasy and looking for heroes that reflected them — we wanted diverse protagonists triumphant in their stories. A book filled with all kinds of people so that everyone might find a story within to relate to.

What I didn’t really expect was quite how much the process of editing Kaleidoscope would affect me as an editor. I don’t relate to the often default characters in science fiction. I’ve spent a long time as an editor looking for and publishing material that specifically advocates for writers and characters outside that “norm”. But I still found this project confronting in terms of what true diversity actually entails; in that not all stories are for me and not all stories will connect with me in ways that they will for others. This really challenged me in assessing what is a “good story”. Working with Julia, who has a different perspective to the world to me in some ways, made the whole process fascinating, engaging and dynamic. We had many discussions about what diversity means, about how stories can still be good even if they don’t reflect your personal coming of age story.

Even now, months after we finished selecting the stories for this collection, I’m still really thinking about what is an important and meaningful story, who decides that and for whom, and what are universal ideas and messages. And why must an idea be universal at all?

We wanted to produce a book that would reach out to readers and explore diversity as beautiful and powerful. We wanted to offer a counter-narrative to a pattern we saw in contemporary young adult fiction where often only straight white characters get to have adventures.

I’m very proud of the book we have produced. This is a collection of stories for young adults about young adult journeys — be they straight, queer, of colour or disabled. Everybody gets to be the hero of their own story. In Kaleidoscope I encountered time traveling ice skaters and disabled superheroes, love spells and fate deals, transgender animal shifters and autistic animal whisperers, urban legends and the myth of true love. All of the stories are wonderful, and each one has shifted my perspective in some way.

Kaleidoscope: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|12th Planet Press

Visit the anthology’s blog. Follow Alisa Krasnostein on Twitter. Follow Julia Rios on Twitter.