simondlr #24 - My Debut Novel Is Out!

I was supposed to write this newsletter 3 weeks ago, but a few unexpected things came my way. So, without further ado, I wanted to share that my novel has finally been released!

Get it here: https://blog.simondlr.com/posts/hope-runners-of-gridlock

As 3 weeks have elapsed, I have some thoughts to share.

First off: I’m happy to see that many of you reading it! I hope it gives you as much as joy to inhabit the world and characters as I enjoyed writing it.

A post shared by @fanny.lakoubay
October 28, 2020

I had no idea what the quality of Amazon’s print-to-order would be, but I’m quite happy to see the results!

Secondly, finishing a project that took 2 years from first seeds to final completion is an interesting feeling. Any creative knows that gut knot of vulnerability before you hit publish: like the moment of weightlessness before the drop in a rollercoaster. Both a feeling of excitement and nervousness. You are supposed to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times, but I can’t help but wave my arms about. I’m happy and proud of what I achieved and hope to write more stories!

That being said, I had not put a lot of energy into distribution and although the book had sold roughly 100 pre-orders, I don’t know what you guys think! Share with me.

If you want to write a review, please do! Goodreads is a great spot to aggregate early reviews if you are so inclined.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55152480-hope-runners-of-gridlock

Otherwise, reply to this e-mail with your thoughts.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to start publishing parts of the companion guide (from the Gumroad bundle) on my blog. You’ll hear about it here. It details the three parts to why I wrote the novel: 1) creating a novel economic system in a city, 2) evoking metamodernism and optimistic nihilism in sci-fi, and 3) learning to write a novel.

For this newsletter, I want to share some recent stories I’ve read that I really enjoyed.

Book & Story Recommendations:

As you might notice. I’ve been on a short story binge recently.

Ted Chiang - Stories Of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang - Exhalation: Stories

Ken Liu - The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Both Ted Chiang and Ken Liu are excellent speculative fiction writers, weaving sci-fi/fantasy through deeply human stories. They’ve undoubtedly mastered the art of telling stories that peel apart the human condition, using sci-fi to ask and explore ourselves. I’m not generally a fan of sci-fi that’s about sci-fi itself (if that makes sense). Using sci-fi to understand ourselves is what I love. For example, in a Ted Chiang story called “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom”, the questions is asked: “If we could build a prism to connect to parallel universes that diverged from a small quantum collapse, what would society look like?”

In The Space of Twelve Minutes by James Yu.

A short story detailing an interesting side to building relationships between Earth and Mars. It particularly resonated with me as the pandemic has caused me and my girlfriend to be separated since March.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis Taylor

An IT nerd wakes up from cryogenics to discover he is a simulated mind tasked to control Von Neumann probes and help humans colonize the galaxy, what happens? Still busy reading this, but thoroughly enjoying it.

Any cool novels and stories you read recently? Let me know.