Linda Nagata, A Star of MilSF

By Carl Slaughter: Linda Nagata writes hard science fiction. Her novel First Light, first in her Red series, was nominated for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.  Her novella “Goddesses” was the first online publication to receive a Nebula award.  Her novelette “Nahiku West” was runner-up for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. “The Bohr Maker,” first in her Nanotech Succession series, won the Locus Award for best first novel.  Her latest novel, “The Last Good Man,” is scheduled for release on June 20.

THE LAST GOOD MAN
by Linda Nagata
Mythic Island Press

Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.

Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.  The Last Good Man is a powerful, complex, and very human tale.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE LAST GOOD MAN

  • The Last Good Man is a compelling and subversive novel, told by unique characters, especially True Brighton: sympathetic, prickly, determined, all too human. Linda Nagata has impressive insights into technological advances and their potential effects. Not to mention some very cool invented AI critters…. It was a privilege to read TLGM before its publication.” —Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Vonda N. McIntyre, author of Dreamsnake, Starfarers, and The Moon and the Sun.
  • I asked to see an advanced copy of The Last Good Man: with the caveat that I was very busy and might not get to it. I was just going to glance at the first few pages but looked up to find myself halfway through the book in the wee hours of the morning. Only an early morning appointment kept me from reading on but I finished it the following evening.  Welcome to the future of war. Soldiers on the ground depend more on their augmented reality visors, net connections, and hosts of robotic allies, than their rifles, but as long as they tread in harm’s way, certain things do not change, including collateral damage, ethical challenges, and the grief of a mother, a warrior herself, when her son dies in action.  Set where war’s bleeding edge of technology slams into people’s lives, this is a very human story, brilliantly told. —Steven Gould, author of Jumper.

THE RED SERIES
by Linda Nagata
Publisher:  Saga

THE RED [originally published as The Red: First Light]

Reality TV and advanced technology make for high drama in this political thriller that combines the military action of Zero Dark Thirty with the classic science fiction of The Forever War.

Lieutenant James Shelley, who has an uncanny knack for premeditating danger, leads a squad of advanced US Army military tasked with enforcing the peace around a conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. The squad members are linked wirelessly 24/7 to themselves and a central intelligence that guides them via drone relay—and unbeknownst to Shelley and his team, they are being recorded for a reality TV show.

When an airstrike almost destroys their outpost, a plot begins to unravel that’s worthy of Crichton and Clancy’s best. The conflict soon involves rogue defense contractors, corrupt US politicians, and homegrown terrorists who possess nuclear bombs. Soon Shelley must accept that the helpful warnings in his head could be AI. But what is the cost of serving its agenda?

Read a sample of The Red: First Light.

PRAISE FOR THE RED: FIRST LIGHT

  • “…one of the best pieces of near future Mil-SF ever written. What’s so good about it? The action rocks and the characters are engaging as hell. But this isn’t just adventure fiction, it’s Mil-SF and very well done, straight out of DARPA’s dreambook, not somebody’s fantasy.”  —  Ernest Lilley, SFRevu
  • The Red delivers intense action, leavened by a genuinely sympathetic portrait of soldiers caught up in battles they never chose. Best of all are Nagata’s well-informed representations of future military tech. This is hard science fiction at its finest, full of devices like bionic limbs, exosuits, autonomous drones, and brain implants that are being developed in labs today. But you’ve never seen them like this, at play in a realistic field of battle, controlled by people you actually care about.”  —  Annalee Newitz, io9.com
  • The Red: First Light is a gripping exploration of the human and technological aspects of next-generation warfare. What sets the story apart is its ability to address the human level of what it is like for soldiers to live with the next generation of battlefield technology and to place it within an action-driven story…”  —  August Cole, co-author of Ghost Fleet
  • The Red: First Light is one fantastic speculative fiction novel, from a plotting, characterization, military sci-fi, and thematic standpoint.”   —Thea James, Kirkus
  • “If ever you hear someone say women can’t write military science fiction, please do me a favor and smack them over the head with this book […] Seriously, it doesn’t get more edge-of-your-seat than this near-future thriller, which seamlessly blends advanced technology and military action with political drama.”  —  The BiblioSanctum
  • “A big part of what I, and many people, enjoy about SFF is seeing familiar elements spun in a new way […] In The Red, Nagata manages one of the most seamless, enjoyable, and enthralling meldings in SF of [the] familiar and “new spin.” […] It is an excellent novel and will likely remain near the top of my list of favorite 2015 reads. Highly Recommended”  –  Rob H. Bedford, SFF World
  • “…there is a believably organic texture to the various hardware, software, and weapons. The meshing of humans with technology — leading, inevitably, to dangerous co-dependence — is seamlessly presented. And man oh man, it is exciting.”  —  Rich Rosell, B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
  • “…an amazing novel… The Red: First Light is a dark, intelligent, cynical take on military SF. It’s an excellent novel that deserves a much larger audience.”  —  Stefan Raets, Tor.com
  • “…the same post-Vietnam sense of discontinuity that separates The Forever War from Starship Troopers, updated for the post-9/11 world.”  —  Russell Letson, Locus
  • “Linda Nagata’s The Red: First Light begins like a shot and never lets you go. Well-written, thrilling, and thoughtful, The Red: First Light is science fiction at its best.”  —  Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Hugo-award winner & USA Today bestselling author
  • “Remember the scare times of the Cold War, when President Eisenhower warned us of the power of the military-industrial complex? Don’t you wish we had listened? In The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata gives us an alarming glimpse of the day after tomorrow—on an Earth torn by wars fueled by defense contractors. It’s a thriller; it’s a convincing character novel; it’s a terrifying extrapolation—and it’s a hell of a fine read. But…”Don’t read this book if you don’t want to think squarely about what our world is coming to. Don’t read it if you don’t want to risk some sleepless nights. Don’t say you weren’t warned! Once you start it, you’re not going to stop.”  —  Jeffrey A. Carver, author of The Chaos Chronicles
  • “Military fiction and high-tech speculation, complex and edgy characters, a pinch of Eichmann in the plot, sly bits of Frankenstein in the setting, … make Linda Nagata’s The Red: First Light compulsively readable.”  —  Vonda N. McIntyre, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author of Dreamsnake, Starfarers, and The Moon and the Sun
  • The Red: First Light is a fast-paced, exciting story about soldiering in the near future. The characters are likeable and well-drawn, and the piece is infused with the kind of careful, thought-provoking attention to “how might this work, really?” that has always been one of Nagata’s particular strengths.”  —  Sean Stewart, author of the World Fantasy Award winner Galveston

THE TRIALS

Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad of US Army soldiers were on a quest for justice when they carried out the unauthorized mission known as First Light. They returned home to America to face a court-martial, determined to expose the corruption in the chain of command that compelled their actions. But in a country still reeling from the nuclear terrorism of Coma Day, the courtroom is just one battlefield of many.

A new cycle of violence ignites when rumors of the elusive, rogue AI known as the Red go public—and Shelley is, once again, pulled into the fray. Challenged by his enemies, driven by ideals, Shelley feels compelled to act. But are the harrowing choices he makes really his own, or are they made for him, by the Red? And with millions of lives at stake in a game of nuclear cat-and-mouse, does the answer even matter?

Read a sample of The Trials

GOING DARK

In the third book in The Red Trilogy, former Army Lt. James Shelley becomes a black ops sniper working for the Red—a suspected rogue artificial intelligence that is ripped from today’s headlines.

James Shelley has left his lover, Delphi, and his companion-in-arms, Jayne Vasquez, with a fortune acquired from a fallen oligarch. They believe him to be dead, and he doesn’t try to set the record straight. His long-running question has been answered: There are other soldiers like him who have served the purposes of the Red—and he has accepted his place among them.

As a soldier of the Red he pursues covert missions designed to nudge history away from existential threats—but that doesn’t mean the world is growing more orderly. It’s only in the froth of a “managed chaos” that human potential can grow and thrive. Shelley’s missions eventually take him into orbit—and into conflict with those he loves—Delphi and Jaynie—who are determined to escape the influence of the Red.

Read a sample of Going Dark.

5 thoughts on “Linda Nagata, A Star of MilSF

  1. I really liked the Red trilogy so a new novel is exciting news…but it doesn’t seem to be up for pre-order yet. To mangle a phrase, put it up and take my money!

  2. The Red Trilogy is worth the time folks. MilSF with some interesting world building behind it.

  3. I loved The Red series and Going Dark was on my Hugo ballot (IIRC, the last 2 came out in the same year, and one was slightly better than the other).

    I’m looking forward to the new book, and the Nanotech Succession novels are somewhere on Mount Tsundoku.

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