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A couple of years ago, Patty Jansen was told by a very large publisher: "This book is well-written and well-plotted, but no one will publish this". The manuscript in question was book 1 in the Ambassador series, and to say that Patty was a little taken aback and shaken is an understatement.
But, against conventional wisdom, she kept writing similar stories, and had some success in the short story market. She won the Writers of the Future contest and took part in the amazing workshop in LA, hobnobbing with big-name writers like Kevin Anderson, Larry Niven and Greg Benford. She sold some stories to Analog. But she prefers to write novels.
She was getting good industry responses to the Icefire trilogy when the GFC hit, and the publishing industry crawled into a hole. She would like to tell the agents who still have the manuscript from back then that it has been published, so they can remove it from their desks.
Patty didn't set out to become a vocal supporter for self-publishing. In real life, she is not a very controversial person, trained as scientist. She loves writing science bits into novels, whether the genre is science fiction or fantasy.
When she was told by yet another publisher not to bother submitting hard science fiction because she is a woman, she finally decided that maybe the publishing industry was not for her.
She might be stubborn, but she believes that people should allowed to be themselves:
- Women should be able to write science fiction (high-tech and space opera, no naked torsos), even though 95% of the bestseller lists in those genres are male.
- They should do so under their own name.
- Writers should write in their local type of English, and not be "required" to make all their spelling and idioms US-centric.
- Writers have the right not to be held to ransom by publishers who take their manuscripts and then take years to make a decision, or grabbing rights (like movie rights, creative rights) which they are not going to use.
With this in mind, Patty, who lives in Australia, writes science fiction and fantasy about people who also believe in those things, or fight for those things.
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on May 01, 2013 :
Charlotte's Army is a novella by Patty Jansen set in the same universe as several of her other works but which stands alone. I've previously reviewed her novel Shifting Reality and short story "The Rebelliousness of Trassi Udang" from the same universe.
Since I first heard about it, I've found the premise of Charlotte's Army interesting: an army of artificial (clone-like) soldiers were all created with the same flaw. All of them are in love with Charlotte, one of the army's senior medical staff. I was interested to see how it would all play out and what caused the flaw. The fact that it wasn't Charlotte's fault was kind of gratifying since she was quite a likeable character.
Other issues explored in this novella were how human the constructed soldiers really were. The human soldiers in the story generally treated them as second class and highly expendable citizens. Where the top brass see erasing one of their minds as nothing more than recalibrating a piece of machinery, Charlotte sees it as deleting a real person. It was an interesting dynamic.
Charlotte's Army was a quick, enjoyable read. It rounds out the world I've read about in Shifting Reality nicely (although I want to stress again that it completely stands alone). I highly recommend it to science fiction fans and anyone interested in giving the genre a go.
4.5 / 5 stars
You can read more of my reviews on my blog.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 23, 2012 :
I downloaded this from Smashwords for free. I have read books by Patty Jansen that I really liked so I took a chance. This is probably a book guys who like sci-fi would like. I suppose the word Army in the title should have been a give-away. I don't like my sci-fi to involve politics or war. I did like that the main character didn't want to erase the memories of war from her patients. The mind control was an interesting if not controversial plot element. Sorry I couldn't be more into it. Maybe it was just the frame of mind I was in. Maybe I need to be wired in to join in Charlotte's Army? :)
(review of free book)