Tag Archives: Science-fiction

Losing Ursula

LOST: a formidable, witty, science fiction and fantasy writer.

IF FOUND: please send her back to Portland, Oregon.

REWARD: millions of readers expecting her next stories!


A quick 2007 ink sketch I made in her presence, and that she approved and signed!

In person, I had the chance to met Ursula at the 30th Wiscon convention. We had approached her as a monument, a conception that her good humor shattered. I remember, after we had complained about the difficulty of getting published, that she told us “You know, it has always been difficult“.

Reading The Dispossessed, I felt like coming home. A sense of peace, rightness arose from the pages as I discovered how people lacking comfort and material possessions could live and achieve a reasonable happiness (with the small imperfections of life, because Ursula was a no non-sense writer).

Changing Planes is a beautiful collections of short-stories, a perfect introduction to paradoxal societies, like Those who walked away from Omela who turns on its head the maxim (the needs of the many prevail on the needs of an individual); here the happiness of a whole city hinges upon a price so horrible that some chose to walk away.

She transformed the landscape in SF by writing from a woman’s point of view; her heroes and heroines achieve their goals by more creative means than outright violence. And if they don’t achieve their goals, they discover that even an imperfect way of life can give them happiness as in The Dispossessed, The Lathe of Heaven, Four Ways to Forgiveness. I recommend the latter to show how a positive social evolution can come unexpectedly, getting there by side roads.

This citation, as she had to battle for her words in a mostly male literary environment.

“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”

Her writing had compassion and wits, lots of wits. I still have many books from her to discover, to get a better understanding of humanity (both halves of it, and more than the halves with the Left Hand of Darkness!)

Her blog gave visitors funny anecdotes about her cat Pard, reflections, poems and more. Some recent books available at the Bookview Café.

I leave the rest of this post to her voice. Here: a link to her extraordinary discourse at the national Book Award, where she denounces the expulsion of science fiction from the island of Literature.

The Guardian article reporting Ursula’s passing
The bookview café blog article, that she contributed to found. A group of authors that publish their ebooks independantly.

Margaret Atwood, an author who sometimes disagreed with UKL about science fiction, wrote this eulogy in the Guardian.


October in Oregon


Back from an intense Master Business workshop geared for independant SF&F and genre authors, in Lincoln City, Oregon. The class was held near the ocean, that was all except Pacific!

Michèle à la plage

None of us even thought about swimming on this smotth beach. The waves are 15-foot tall, and crashed in a loud BROOOOM! The area has to deplore one-two dead annually from the « sneaky waves ».

IMG_20171028_200037MerRochesHumans, to the scale of the waves…

A lot of subjects were discussed, but if I can find one advice now for my writer friends, it is to plan ahead for your intellectual patrimony (IP – intellectual property), not only to keep it in your hands, but to eventually transfer it to your heirs.


A few pictures taken on the beach and in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Les vagues dans toute leur puissanceThe waves in all their power. Photo taken from the 4th story.

Comment l'hôtel épouse la falaiseAt this hotel hugging the cliff, you enter on the 9th and go down to your room. The beach is all the way down. The high tide can reach over the concrete steps.

Pour une auteure de SF, quelle aubaine que ces algues emmêlées!For a SF writer, those big algeas are a nice find!

IMG_20171027_173037bois800Detail on the driftwood.

Fleurs de plage. non identifiées.Unidentified flowers, at the salted and moist sand near the Inn at Spanish Head. Try to find the name for the Sunday artist!

L'avenue principale = l'autoroute 101Running on the 101 sidewalk : Lincoln City.

Don’t forget the tsunami possibilities.

Les trois "soeurs" de la baie.

Siletz Bay, where the water is calm. A natural park has been settled, because seals visit this beach. Didn’t see one in my morning runs, but some author friends did.

My dream, a bookshelf with the RIGHT proportions for pocket-sized novels! North by Northwest bookstore.


After a good run in my LC 2016 race shirt, at the Inn…

L'entrée de l'Anchor Historical Inn
The Anchor Historical Inn entrance. The sailor seated on the canoe on the left is a mannequin.


For the end : a pumpkin disguised in a Westfalia…
Happy Halloween!

September Surprise!


On the first of this month, I got a email from WMG Publishing. My first published SF story in Fiction River 21, (Tavern Tales, not so far back) Closing the Big Bang, has been re-published (hurray for the reprints!) in Fiction River presents: Writers without Borders.

Then I looked at the cover… Houla!

What a wonderful surprise to have such wonderful writers as Jane Yolen and Mark Leslie as cover neighbors!

Each contributor from outside the USA got their first published story in this special edition. To find more about the book and all the contributors, go here.  Kudos to the fine crew of WMG Publishing, especially Allyson, Dean and Kris!

Go grab the ebook on this universal link to all platforms!

Thinking Inside the Box…

CompellingSF7_375 Copy

My hard-SF short-story has just been published in Issue 7 of Compelling Science Fiction, edited by Joe Stech. I am grateful for the occasion as this is my third publication in the English SF market.

Compelling SF has a very accommodating subscription system, as you can give what you want to sustain the mag. All five stories are available, and you can purchase the back issus on the Kindle Store.



Fiction River 21

Couverture du Fiction River no 21 Avec mon nom sur la couverture!

Cover of the Fiction River 21, this issue edited by Kerrie L. Hugues, with my funny SF story  Closing the Big Bang.  The Fiction River collection is directed by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Still basking in the thrill of reading my name on the cover and the warm and glowing introduction that Kristine wrote for the story.

Get your copy on Amazon.com, Amazon Canada or Kobo!


Occupied October

This October is such a busy month that I am lagging behing my posts.

So here is a placeholder post while I organize the mailing of my SF novels overseas, make frenetic preparations for my  depart for the Utopiales festival, and put up new e-books, tinker with websites, recuperate from my Oakville half marathon­ race… and run to a scout camp this week-end!

More dealines piling on

So the next Signing table comics will have to wait a little!

A Cousin Named Entropy

The latest issue of Galaxies includes my SF short-story, La Cousine Entropie (A Cousin named Entropy).

This is my third publication in this French SF magazine, occurring shortly after my publication in Géante Rouge 23. La cousine Entropie  is a long-winded, galaxy-spanning hard SF story, with some bits of humor. And there is more than one cousin…

IMG_0420 Galaxies40EnveloppeW

The text was commissioned by Jean-Pierre Laigle, who sent me an extensive article on the topic of cosmanthropy (that you’ll find in this issue).


Imagine humans colonizing the entire volume of space, not only planet surfaces, without environmental suits. That trope is less often exploited in science fiction, because of the challenges. Three authors who addressed this topic are interviewed: Jorge Luiz Caliph (Contact diagrams), Laurent Genefort (Thick-skins) and Linda Nagata (The tides of Saturn, which is published in French in this issue).

I remember reading with pleasure Les Peaux Epaisses (Thick Skins) by Laurent Genefort, featuring gen-modified workers in order to survive in the vacuum (and shamefully exploited). I am reading Memory by Linda Nagata, a planet-opera.

Spider and Jeanne Robinson had created Star Dance, a title also mentioned in the article by Jean-Pierre. Star Dance chronicle the birth of Homo caelestis. Jeanne was an accomplished dancer and very Zen. She left us, regretfully in 2010, but the Star Dance project page is still there to make us dream.

What Tears Us Down




Reactions to the Brussels attacks on social media have devolved into an ugly blame game that solves nothing.  And a fierce joy explodes when some assumptions reinforces our established prejudices!

Unfortunately, Facebook is an easy outlet. Compared to what one can express safely in the lounge with friends, the audience is the entire planet.

During my meeting in Oregon with pros writers, an important directive (given along with  the earthquake and tsunami warnings) was “Do not talk about politics!” Many of my professional colleagues chose not to intervene on heated Internet debates  (and in the USA, they are in elections!) as they have lost too many friends .

I could talk in length about the origins of the scourge, and the mental conditioning that is now called “radicalization”. Mental cages grow everywhere, sects or radicals recruit even the young educated or the rich (Patty Hearst, anyone?)

It only takes a small seed of frustration, fueled by the fertilizer of prejudice. Over time, the mental cage produces its evil flowers, sweet fruits of hatred providing a “hit” of pleasure, inflating the ego with the steroids of a “good” cause.

I could also talk about polluters of sources, spreading seeds of anger in the medias. Those professionnals emits a thinly veiled call to the lynching of a religious community or ethnic group, deemed guilty  by association because some of the assassins may have been recruited among them.

I could talk about heavy weapons manufacturers who make fruitful business with the States that need to protect themselves, and covert business with shady groups.

I heard the worst insults this week; several of my Facebook friends have left their reserve to the locker room. Those issues that tear us down concern all authors.

We, the creators of comics, magicians of words, regardless of the size of our audience, have a responsibility not to inflame the debate with simplistic hate calls.

To write is to weave a dream, to offer a glimpse into a future different from a brand of capitalism focused on fear. As a science fiction writer, I want to feed the imagination to build, through education and respect, a more convivial world.


Running Hills, Writing Series



When I began my first science fiction series, the first novel of the space-opera was a self-contained story, quite straightforward to write. The second felt more difficult, and I thought the third would be the last, but the story arc spilled out and I wrote a fourth (and last!) of the Jules-Verne saga series.

It felt like my training running hills. The first time is easy, but by the fourth time, my legs were almost quitting under me! That fourth and last novel of the series was the most difficult to write, since I had to wrap up the leads to complete the neat story arc.

Books as Boats




Books are like boats.

Readers swim from one reading to the next, and some boats are more easy to access than others.

(I hear it often: How come my  genius novel cannot find any readers? ) For my science fiction novels, I often add lexicons! But there are other ways to lower the bar for your readers, by shorter chapters, for instance, or not crowding too many characters in a scene, etc.

Your writer’s task is paradoxically to help your readers to get on board!