the mirage

The Mirage: update

So the reason I haven’t had a blog post for the last month and a half is that I’ve been busy finishing up the manuscript for The Mirage, which I delivered to my editor on Monday. I spent yesterday catching up on my sleep debt and enjoying fresh air for the first time in two weeks. Today I’ve got some other book-related chores to take care of, and then tomorrow I will start rereading the manuscript while I wait for my editorial notes.

I’m tired but excited. I’m really happy with the way the novel has turned out. I don’t have an official pub. date yet, but it looks like it will be out this year. More details soon.

The Mirage: update Read More »

Why do they hate us?

Via James Fallows and today’s New York Times, the latest shocking Wikileaks revelation:

In early 2008, American diplomats stationed in Ottawa turned on their television sets and were aghast: there was an “onslaught” of Canadian shows depicting “nefarious American officials carrying out equally nefarious deeds in Canada,” from planning to bomb Quebec to stealing Canadian water supplies.

In a confidential diplomatic cable sent back to the State Department, the American Embassy warned of increasing mistrust of the United States by its northern neighbor, with which it shares some $500 billion in annual trade, the world’s longest unsecured border and a joint military mission in Afghanistan.

“The degree of comfort with which Canadian broadcast entities, including those financed by Canadian tax dollars, twist current events to feed longstanding negative images of the U.S. — and the extent to which the Canadian public seems willing to indulge in the feast — is noteworthy as an indication of the kind of insidious negative popular stereotyping we are increasingly up against in Canada,” the cable said.

Oh, the humanity. Re: the propaganda “onslaught,” I don’t know which show had the Quebec-bombing plot, but I’m guessing the Canadian water supply theft is a reference to the H2O miniseries and its sequel, The Trojan Horse, in which Canada voluntarily merges with the U.S. and the former Canadian Prime Minister (Paul Gross) schemes with England, France, and Germany to get himself elected to the White House.

Why do they hate us? Read More »

Tariq Aziz sentenced to death

[Via Research Maven] The Guardian has the story.

Talk about your weird synchronicity—just yesterday I was rereading a scene in The Mirage where my fictional version of Aziz narrowly avoids getting killed. I knew the real Aziz was still alive, still in custody, and not looking particularly healthy, but hadn’t heard he was on trial again. I wonder how the Vatican appeal for clemency will go.

Tariq Aziz sentenced to death Read More »

The Mirage: where I’m at

Four months to go until my deadline.

As you know if you’ve been at a reading or a book club and heard me answer The Process Question, when I start working on a novel I generally have a clear idea of what the first several chapters will contain, and I know how the story’s going to end. In between is this much hazier area, with the odd scene or set piece sticking up out of the fog. The fog lifts in stages; by the time I’m done with the first few chapters, I’ll have figured out what’s in the next few, and so on, until finally there comes this magic moment when the front end meets the back end, and I know pretty much everything else that’s going to happen, even though a lot of it may not be written down yet. In the case of The Mirage, I hit the magic moment a few months ago.

The book is divided into four main sections, tentatively titled “The Mirage,” “The Republic of Nebuchadnezzar,” “The Glory and the Kingdom,” and “The Stone.” I’m in the middle of “The Glory and the Kingdom” right now. My protagonists—Mustafa, Samir, and Amal—have just left the relative safety of Washington, D.C. for the Red Zone of Virginia, where some people in funny hats are lying in wait for them. Presently there will be ultraviolence, followed by a conversation with a dead man, and some other stuff I don’t want to spoil, and then it’s back to Baghdad to learn the answer to the question, “If Al Qaeda fought the Republican Guard, who’d win?”

I still have a couple plot problems to work out, and if things go as usual I’m due at least one major crisis of confidence between here and the finish line, but for the moment I’m really happy with the way it’s going.

The Mirage: where I’m at Read More »

Yes, says Wikipedia, dreams do come true

So in the course of researching a plot-point, I discovered that Wikipedia has an entry titled “Reproduction and pregnancy in speculative fiction,” which opens with the following (emphasis added):

Because speculative genres explore variants of reproduction, as well as possible futures, SF writers have often explored the social, political, technological, and biological consequences of pregnancy and reproduction. However many SF writers have used their dreams for their inspiration, and dreams are known to provide prophetic content for everyone that has used them.

I find this noteworthy because I had a dream last night that I was sitting next to Kathryn Bigelow when she won her director’s Oscar for The Hurt Locker, and while I can imagine ways in this dream would prove prophetic, they all involve either time travel, an oscillating universe, or brains in vats.

Yes, says Wikipedia, dreams do come true Read More »

The Mirage

A holiday update on my novel-in-progress: I now have a contract with HarperCollins and a deadline. The finished manuscript is due at the end of next year, which means barring delays (and/or the collapse of the publishing industry) it will be published sometime in late 2011 or early 2012. Sorry to take so long, but as we all know by now, I write slowly. You should still have time to read it before the Mayan calendar runs out.

I’m still not ready to go into detail about the plot, but in essence, The Mirage is my attempt to tell a 9/11 story that isn’t like other 9/11 stories. It’s set in an alternate reality, primarily in Baghdad but with sidetrips to Cairo, Beirut, America, and Texas. The protagonists are a trio of Homeland Security agents who are investigating a bizarre claim made by a captured suicide bomber.

As I’ve mentioned previously, The Mirage started out as a TV-series pitch. Part of the challenge of writing it is taking the multi-season story arc I’d envisioned and fitting it into a single novel. While there are still some major issues I need to work out, at this point I have a pretty good sense of which of the many possible paths I want to take to get from the beginning to the end. I think it’s going to be a great book.

The Mirage Read More »

Today’s alternate universe dispatch

A pop quiz for those of you who haven’t already seen today’s Times editorial page. Can you name the world leader who wrote the following?

“The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.”

Answer here.

Today’s alternate universe dispatch Read More »