Showing posts with label Izanami's Choice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Izanami's Choice. Show all posts

Current Status

For a long time, not a lot had changed, hence the lack of updates. But here's what's going on in my life right now that you may (or may not) be interested in:

1) Torment is out. You probably already know this, but if you don't let me say it again: TORMENT IS OUT FOR PS4, XBOX, PC, MAC, AND LINUX. It's also getting some pretty great reviews, with a metascore of 83 on Metacritic. I don't think I could be happier with all of our work.

2) I have a new game design gig. I am not (currently) working for inXile and instead am doing narrative design for Nexon. I do very much hope I get to work with the fine folks at inXile again in the future, but I'm also pretty excited about what we're doing at Nexon. Such is the life of a freelancer.

3) I'm currently drafting "Secret Middle Grade Fantasy Project." I want to tell you more, but I can't. Suffice to say I'm excited about this project.

4) I'm also writing another Middle Grade novel. This one tentatively called Sea of Souls. It's very different from anything I've written, which makes me both scared and excited. I think it could be pretty great, but we'll see!

5) I'm considering starting a Twitch stream. Because obviously I have all this free time. If you don't know what Twitch is, don't worry about it yet (I'll explain more if/when I do). Right now, I'm just trying things out and deciding what I want to do with it (and why). Any thoughts you have on the topic are welcome.

6) I'm finishing up Rurouni Kenshin. Thinking about what to watch next. Probably Iron Fist (since I'm fully invested in the Netflix Marvel universe), but there are so. Many. Shows.

7) I'm (finally) playing Banner Saga 2. And discovering I really suck at it, but also discovering how not to suck at it, which is fun.


As for other things you might be interested in -- like Izanami's Choice, some kind of sequel to Izanami's Choice, Post-Apoc Ninjas, etc -- I have no new news on these things (hence the long periods of silence). But that doesn't mean they have disappered. As always, I'll let you know when I have something to share!

So that's what's going on with me. What have you been doing lately?




Giveaway winners and the future

The Izanami's Choice signed giveaway is over, and our two winners have been selected. Congratulations to Jeanna M. and Jackie! I've e-mailed the winners and will send out your copies as soon as I can.

For the rest of you, I know. I'm sad, too. I wish I had signed copies for everybody! But you can still buy your own copy at any of these fine places: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Broken Eye Books. I can't sign them for you, but maybe some day. Yeah... some day.

So what's up next? Several things:

1) Torment. We're pushing toward our release (early Q1, 2017), so expect to hear more about that as we get closer.

2) I'm working on my own stuff (specifically, I'm plotting the project listed as "Secret Fantasy Project" on the Works in Progress page).

3) I hope to write more in the world of Izanami's Choice, but that's not up to me yet. (In a way, it's kind of up to you. BUY MY BOOK!)

4) I'm obsessively watching my Amazon sales rank, because I heard you're not really an author until you do that.

5) I'm coming up with the next No Thank You, Evil! campaign for my kids.

6) I'm trying to finish Stranger Things before somebody spoils it for me. I mean spoils it more.

All of which means I'm... still doing more than one human should be capable of in 24 hours. Yeah, I don't know how it works either (most of the time it doesn't, I think).

As always, watch this space (or this one, or this one) for what I'm doing, whether any future giveaways surface, or whatever the latest ridiculous thing my kids' said is. And stick with the newsletter to make sure you don't miss any new fiction I have coming out.

Izanami's Choice Giveaway, less than 2 days left!

Right, folks, if you haven't already entered to win a signed copy of Izanami's Choice well... I'm sure you have a good reason.

If you don't have a good reason, best sign up right now, sirs and madams!


And I'll tell you what. As I write this, there are 200-some entries in the contest (an "entry" being the number in the form there -- it goes up not only when a new person enters but also whenever somebody uses the form to share the contest on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere). If you guys can get that number up to 400, I will give away an extra signed copy.

So for those of you who look at these contests with a cynical eye (like me), you know that every time you share it, you risk lowering your own chances to win. This will help balance that out: share the contest, get more entries, get other people to enter, and it will increase your chances again by throwing another prize in the pot.


How has the release been going, you say? I'm glad you asked, imaginary straw person. In my experience, having never launched an actual book before, it's been great. And I am in no way unqualified to say that!

(Really, I have a very limited view. Those who have read the book and told me about it have loved it. The book's Amazon sales rank has been a nice, nigh-horizontal line instead of the jagged mountain range it was in pre-order. And John Scalzi even let me borrow his blog for a day. So... good? I guess? This is probably why authors don't talk about this stuff....)

Also, I've received another review, this one from author S.J. Paponas. Here's an excerpt for those of you who are still undecided as to whether or not this book is for you:
I’ve always wanted to write a Japan alternate history book and now I don’t have to because Adam Heine did a wonderful job with IZANAMI’S CHOICE! Rich with culture and tradition, he wove androids into early 1900s Japan and IT MADE SENSE....

The pace of the novella kept me reading furiously all the way to the end. I even read it while I WAS IN JAPAN! And that was such a treat. Itaru’s own demons about a mission gone wrong and his estranged daughter came to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion, and I especially loved the final scene which was a great nod to the samurai way of life.

This was the first book I’ve read by Adam Heine, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I know it sounds like I'm only showing you the good reviews, but the truth is I haven't seen a bad review yet. Seriously.

And for three bucks? There's really no reason not to try it out.



Izanami's Choice Launch Day and Giveaway!

It's here! It's here! Today is launch day for my little samurai sci-fi story Izanami's Choice. E-books have been making their way to people's inboxes, and I've even heard news of paperbacks in the wild. You've bought one, right? Why haven't you bought it yet?!

Here are some of the nice things people have been saying about it so far:
"Choice is a ferocious little genre blender in book form: part Hammett novel, part Kurosawa Samurai epic, part Blade Runner, and entirely obsessed with keeping the reader’s eyes moving from one page to the next." ~ Seattle Weekly

"Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Heine does a great job of building a world replete with rules and history and uses both to construct a mystery with an awful lot of intrigue and surprise." ~ Nerds on Earth

"So if Science Fiction action and exploring cultures through different phases in time is something you enjoy, this is worth a read." ~ SF Reader

"The writing is spectacular, there's fantastic use of period-fantasy-language, and the story is tight, enthralling, and leaves you wondering what's *really* going on right up until the end." ~ Susan Kaye Quinn

"Mr. Heine did an admirable job of making his robots (Jinzou) both sympathetic and terrifying." ~ Victoria Dixon (with interview)

"If you want a really fun, fast-paced robot vs. samurai story then I really think you'll enjoy this." ~ Elena Robertson

And if you can't get enough info (and I'd like to think you can't, because I'm unrealistically optimistic), here are a couple more interviews from the fabulous Natalie Whipple and Authoress. (For you writerly types, Authoress is also running a contest in which you can win a 30-page critique from me, so check that out, too).

But wait! I promised to give away signed copies! To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter and fill out the form below. I'm very nice to my subscribers -- I give them free excerpts, advanced notice of fiction and giveaways, and I've hardly killed any of them at all!

If you're really ambitious, you can earn additional entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter -- every day, if you want!

This contest is open worldwide. I'll sign 'em and ship 'em anywhere.




I'm offering two signed copies at the moment, but if enough people enter, I'll give away more. So don't hesitate to tell everyone!




Robots in 1901 Japan?

Izanami's Choice comes out in three days. So for the next 72 hours or so, this is me:


Interviews and reviews are trickling in, with more due to appear around the release date. Seattle Weekly loved it, calling it "a ferocious little genre blender in book form: part Hammett novel, part Kurosawa Samurai epic, part Blade Runner, and entirely obsessed with keeping the reader’s eyes moving from one page to the next."

Nerds on Earth said, "Heine does a great job of building a world replete with rules and history and uses both to construct a mystery with an awful lot of intrigue and surprise."

I'm not even kidding! They actually said those things!


On release day, I'll be giving away two signed copies of the book. There may be other giveaways going on around that time too, so watch this space for more info. (Watching Twitter space or Facebook space will also get you what you want). UPDATE: Oh, look! Here's one of them now: a chance at a 30-page critique.



So in Izanami's Choice, Japan has functioning robots and machine intelligence as early as the 19th century. I was recently asked how the heck that's even possible. After all, in our 1901 computers didn't exist then, and things like simple radio technology were still very primitive.

First of all, it should be noted that Japan has had actual automata as early as the 17th century. Karakuri puppets are relatively simplistic  compared to the creations in Izanami's Choice, but it shows the idea of Japanese robots is very old -- much older than the timeline of my novella.

As for machine intelligence, well that's where science fiction comes in. It's primarily a combination of two what-ifs:
  1. What if Charles Babbage had successfully completed his difference engine and analytical engine designs? (This is essentially the same what-if behind The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling).
  2. What if evolutionary programming were discovered around the same time?
The latter would require a variety of factors, like Babbage chatting with Charles Darwin and coming away with programmatic ideas, and 19th-century logicians figuring out how to codify reasoning as mathematic deduction -- not probable, but plausible.

Evolutionary programming is the idea of pitting competing parameters or programs against each other to achieve a certain goal (like getting a computer to handle facial recognition). Those parameters that perform best are then modified further and tested against each other again. This process is repeated until you have a programmatic solution to otherwise difficult problems.

The key idea behind Izanami's Choice, then, is that this method was used with the analytical engines to rapidly improve the design of the engine's programs and even the engine itself. The engine was improved to the point where it could evaluate the results automatically, and then it was improved further to where it could revise the programs itself as well. When that loop was closed, the engine would become capable of revising and improving upon itself at a rapid rate -- a robotic singularity.

Of course the novella doesn't have a big old infodump like this in it, but I do love talking about world-building!





Izanami's Choice release date and pre-order info

Here we go, guys. Izanami's Choice has a release date! It will be available for purchase on September 1st, 2016.

Or -- because you want to support an author, or you don't want to forget, or you just like clicking links -- you can pre-order it RIGHT NOW:


And now for answers to some common questions.

Q: Why am I only finding out about this now?!
Clearly you haven't subscribed to my awesome newsletter. If you had, you'd have known this over a week ago AND gotten an exclusive excerpt from the novella AND gotten the free short story that everyone gets on subscribing.

But don't worry -- that won't be the last exclusive my subscribers get. Obviously, the only reason you aren't already signed up is because you didn't know about it, so you can remedy that by subscribing to the newsletter right now.


Q: I want samurai sci-fi today! Why so long?
Because publishing.

Seriously, the awesome people at Broken Eye Books have good reasons for how they set the date, including but not limited to:
  1. The anguished howls of the deprived fuel machines buried deep beneath their offices, which in turn get them 20% off their electricity bills.
  2. An old woman told them September 1st would be the first time in 500 years that the moon would be in conjunction with both Mars and with Voyager 1. They believed her.
  3. September is my birth month and they wanted an excuse gift in case they forgot to get me a real one.

Q: I want to interview you and/or review your book for my followers/blog readers before it comes out.
Awesome! I would love to talk to you about that.


Q: But I don't want my paperback from Amazon.
Great! You can get the paperback directly from the publisher if you want.

Also, if you give your local bookstore the ISBN, you can buy it through them:
  • ISBN-10: 1940372216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940372211



Q: Why paperback so expensive, man?
Yeah, so, here's how part of publishing works. There's the Big Guys -- the publishing houses like Penguin and Random and Penguin Random -- that do these enormous print runs and ship them to all the bookstores in the world. They can do this because printing thousands of books is way cheaper than printing a few, and because they know they'll sell thousands of books (or close enough) so why the heck not print that many?

Everybody else -- small presses, indie authors, and even Amazon -- has no guarantee of how many will sell and can't afford to print thousands of books only to be stuck with them later. So everybody else has to print paper books on demand which, as you might imagine, is more expensive.

But at least that way they don't get stuck with lots of books and debt. Because as cool as it is to make a hobbit-hole of books, it's cheaper (and more structurally sound) to not be stuck with them and to build your hobbit-hole out of dirt and bricks like a regular person.

Hobbit.

Whatever.


Q: I have a question that you neither answered nor anticipated.
To the comments, good madam or sir!


Izanami's Choice cover reveal

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen this, but it's important that it's here. So behold! The cover for my upcoming samurai sci-fi novella IZANAMI'S CHOICE! CLICK TO EMBIGGEN!


And here's proof that I'm not just making this up (that's not my hand, though -- so I guess my editor could be making it up):


I love what they've done here -- the droid legs, the sword, the bloody kanji characters, the part where my name's on the cover. It's all just great.

I don't have a date for release yet, but I'll let you know when I do. It should be soon. If you want to make sure you don't miss it, sign up for my newsletter here. I haven't actually sent out a newsletter (because I promised only useful information), but as soon as there's a date or a pre-order link or something, you'll get it there.

There may also be another pretty picture I get to show you later. We'll see!

For those of you unable (or too lazy) to embiggen, here's the back cover copy:

Samurai vs. Robots

Progress. Murder. Choice.

In 1901, the Meiji Restoration has abolished the old ways and ushered in a cybernetic revolution. Androids integrate into society at all levels, following their programming for the betterment of every citizen, as servants, bodyguards, and bureaucrats. Jinzou are the future. Japan is at the threshold of a new tomorrow!

As a ronin steeped in the old ways, Itaru wants nothing more to do with the artificial creations posing as human. But when a jinzou is suspected of murder, he's pulled into a mystery that could tear the nation apart.

Malfunction or free will? When is a machine more than just a machine?



Izanami's Choice excerpt and update

The fine folks at Broken Eye are working on the last edits for Izanami's Choice. Next steps after that are me addressing the edits and then all the fun stuff they get to do to finalize the whole thing and make it a For Real Book.

There's also a cover coming. Watch for that.

Izanami's Choice is my samurai, sci-fi novella set in a Meiji-era Japan that has adopted androids and other ridiculously advanced technology. Here's an excerpt:
The droid was a newer model. It did not wear a wooden mask, nor was its face made of metal widgets that moved to imitate emotions. This thing's skull was covered in a molded synthetic material. The corners of its lips moved up and down in a remarkable caricature of a human hoping to make a good impression. If Itaru were not standing so close, he would've taken it for a human in the darkness. Up close, however, the synthetic features looked fake and unnerving. "What the hell are you?"
The droid bowed deeply. "I am called Gojusan. My full designation is Service Droid I-Ka 53."
"I-Ka?" Itaru had heard of that model, but he'd never seen one up close. The first droids had been western imports using English letters as designators. When Japan constructed their own master machine intelligence—the fourth in the world and the only one in Asia—they used katakana characters for the designs it produced. I-Ka was approximately the eightieth designator in only thirty years.
They're evolving too fast.
"Hai, Shimada-sama." The droid's oversized eyes flicked behind Shimada into his house and back again.
Itaru stood up straight, anxious to get rid of the machine. "What is your message?"
It looked down, seemingly embarrassed. "With great apologies, Shimada-sama, my message must be delivered privately." It gestured inside and bowed once more.
Itaru shivered uneasily. The jinzou's behavior bothered him more than he'd like to admit. He decided that it was simply too new, that he'd never met one like it before. "Fine," he said, grabbing his tamiken from the shelf as he stepped aside. "But make it quick."
The droid bowed again, removed its sandals—it wore socks underneath—and stepped politely inside. "I apologize for bothering you at this hour."
"You said that," Itaru snarled.
The droid clasped its hands at its waist, looking at the door and back, as though it wanted to flee but had decided against it.
Ridiculous. Droids didn't act like this. They followed their orders and programming. If a droid pretended to have feelings, it was because of a human’s order. Either Count Kuroda-sama had given this droid very specific—and strange—instructions or Gojusan's programming was remarkably advanced.
But what purpose would it serve to have a droid act nervous? To set Itaru at ease? It was failing at that. Everything about this meeting made his skin quiver. "State your message. What does Kuroda-sama want?"
It looked directly into Itaru's eyes. "My master is dead."
The full novella is coming soon! If you want to know the moment it comes out, subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog.



Izanami's Choice -- a story about samurai, robots, and AI singularities

I've been head down writing Torment conversations, but I have an important announcement to make: my new novella, Izanami's Choice, is coming soon from Broken Eye Books.

It's a book. That you can buy. About samurai and robots in a cybernetic Meiji-era Japan.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, I recommend you sign up for my newsletter so you'll know when it comes out.

Not sure? Read on!

Tokyo, at the dawn of the 20th century. The Empire has gone through an industrial and political revolution. The samurai are a thing of the past, railroads connect every major city, and the artificial jinzou serve in every aspect of Japanese life, from servants to soldiers to assassins.

Shimada Itaru is an aging ronin, a survivor of samurai rebellions from the early days of the Meiji Restoration. He hates the jinzou, but he knows quite a lot about fighting them -- or he did, before the Emperor made it illegal for humans to carry weapons.

Gojusan is a jinzou framed for her master's assassination. Hunted by her own kind, and unable to turn to the police, she runs to Itaru for help. Before Itaru can throw the jinzou out, assassin droids storm his home, trying to kill them both. Now Itaru's on the run with the thing he hates most, and the only way he's going to get his life back (such as it was) is to figure out what really happened to Gojusan's master.

Of course, the truth is something neither of them suspect.


I'd love to say more, but Torment! Conversations! (Seriously, I need to get back to work if I'm going to make my deadline). Sign up for the newsletter or subscribe to the blog for more information in the near future.

You can also ask me questions, if you like. I'll get to them when I can. (Yes, I'm busy, but sometimes answering questions serves as a nice break. So don't be shy.)