Friday, September 18, 2020

6 Books with Kimberly Unger

Kimberly created her first videogame back when the 80-column card was the new hot thing. This turned a literary love of science fiction into a full blown obsession with the intersection of technology and humanity.

Today she spends her day-job time in VR, lectures on the intersection of art and code for UCSC’s master’s degree program and writes science fiction about how all these app-driven superpowers are going to change the human race. You can find her on Twitter at @Ing3nu or on her blog at www.ungerink.comKimberly’s debut science-fiction novel Nucleation will be released in November 2020,

Today, she shares her 6 books with us:

1. What book are you currently reading? 

I just got my hands on Glorious by Benford and Niven.  I haven’t read the first two yet, so I’ve gone back and picked up Bowl of Heaven, the first book in that trilogy. That’s my current “top of the stack”.  There’s been quite a long span between the first book and the last, so I am hugely curious to see how the writing and the characterization has evolved (or if it’s evolved) over that period of time. Writers' styles tend to change as their craft improves or their deadlines get shorter or they gain life experience. I rather enjoy observing that as part of my reading.  I do the same thing with comic book artists, there are a few I’ve been following for years and it’s been fantastic to watch them grow.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

I actually had to go back and look through my pre-orders to see what’s in there.  I’m one of those people who, I see a book, get really excited, then go pre-order it and forget all about it until it hits my Kindle like an un-birthday present.

3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to read again? 

I’ve been thinking about digging back into the Laundry Files, It’s been a little while since the last book came out, the new one should be dropping shortly and I do deeply enjoy the way Stross’ characters do their best in the face of a future that is stunningly bleak when you really think about it (which is part and parcel to playing in that mythos, right?).  It’s unlikely this series will have a good ending and I am hugely curious to see how it all plays out.

4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about – either positively or negatively?

I… erm… That’s a hard one. I have authors who I have changed my mind about, in fact most authors I’ve met have been very different than I imagined them to be from their work. Books for me are different, I hold them when I read them in my timeline because people can change for better or worse, but books cannot. When I read them now I have a different reaction.  But that’s not really changing my mind, that’s just the evolution of my experiences crashing up against it.  An example of this might be Butcher’s Dresden Files books.  I enjoy the latest books in the series, but the first few books are written with a much younger lens. Current-version me is not a fan of some of the cringeable moments in those books, but if you sit down and do a binge read, you can watch the author’s style and world-choices maturing right alongside the characters through the course of the series, which is absolutely fabulous.  I’d be more careful about recommending them than I once was.  But, I also wouldn’t want the author to do a “revised edition” to bring it in line with who I am now.  I’d rather they keep all those moments so the characters can grow out of them. So you could say that I’ve revised my opinion about the first few books in the series a little towards the negative, but the series as a whole as a positive.

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

Patricia K. McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea is one, it was one of the shortest books I’d run across on a shelf full of epic-length high fantasy texts, but it still managed to be complete and whole and satisfying.  I started reading science fiction with shorter, faster pulpier works like Ron Goulart’s because some kind soul had sold off tons of them to the local used bookstore, so seeing that length of book emerge on modern shelves changed the way that I think about publishing.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome? 

Nucleation is a story about what happens when a woman at the top of her game gets her legs kicked out from under her. It’s about working in an environment that values one’s expertise, and how when you climb back up again, you may find your view has changed.  Throw in a healthy mix of remote-space travel, nano-robotics and an alien race that’s a mirror, not of us, but the things we create, and I think, I hope, you’re going to find Nucleation worth your time.

Thank you, Kimberly!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.