Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

I’m feeling really “up” today. An event I’ve been looking forward to for

Hard At Work

 months has finally arrived.

David and Sharon Weber are here in New Mexico for a visit. As I mentioned in an earlier wander, Weber and Sharon are long-time, much-valued friends. (See “Lindskold and Weber to Collaborate: November 10, 2010)

In fact, I should probably explain why I always refer to this dear friend by his surname. It’s really pretty simple. At the time when we met, there were a lot of “Davids” in my life. So this newest one became “Weber.” Over the years, “Weber” has become something of an inside-out pet name. I actually feel weird calling him anything else.

Anyhow, Weber and Sharon had an invitation to attend the Tucson Festival of the Book. They decided that if they were “in the neighborhood” – which out here in the Wild West includes anything in a 500 or so mile stretch – they might as well drop in.

Weber and I had another, somewhat more practical, reason for wanting to get together in person. As I mentioned earlier, Weber and I are working on a project. Now, at long last, I can reveal some details.

For many years, Weber has wanted to do stories about Stephanie Harrington. Those of you who are fans of the Honor Harrington stories may recognize Stephanie as a historical figure – Honor’s multiple “greats” grandmother, the person who, as a girl of eleven was the first human to encounter the sentient native race on the planet Sphinx dubbed “treecats.”

Unlike her granddaughter some six hundred years later, Stephanie is not a spacer. She’s certainly not a soldier. However, this doesn’t mean Stephanie is any sort of wimp. Stephanie loves the wild green reaches and can’t wait to explore them. She’s smart and innovative, but far from perfect.

The first book in the series – scheduled for release in October 2011 – is a solo by Weber entitled A Beautiful Friendship. It’s intended for an audience of twelve and up, much like the classic “Heinlein juveniles” or the novels of Andre Norton that were gateways into SF/F for so many of us.

 The novel A Beautiful Friendship is spun-off from the novella of the same title, but contains tons of new material.  The novel spans several years.  When it starts, Stephanie is eleven (close to twelve).   When it ends, she’s fourteen.

My book – written in rough draft, but not yet titled; that’s one of the things we’re working out this trip – picks up shortly before Stephanie’s fifteenth birthday. I don’t want to put in spoilers, but I don’t think I give away too much when I say that it features forest fires, furious action, first love, and, treecats.

In fact, for those of you who like non-human intelligences (or “other bloods,” as I call them in the Firekeeper series), these books should hold lots of interest. For the first time in any Honorverse novel, a treecat is a main point of view character. Moreover, this isn’t a treecat in the future, when humans are an accepted part of history, but one who is dealing with first contact with an alien species – and with the growing awareness that the universe is a lot larger than the spreading forests of Sphinx.

Weber and I have a lot of ambitious plans for this series. I hope you’ll come and join us for the adventure.

Meanwhile, I’d better go get dinner ready. (Weber likes to cook and has volunteered to help). Joan Saberhagen is filling the final place at our little kitchen table and doubtless the conversation will be lively, cheerful, and probably a bit noisy…

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13 Responses to “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?”

  1. Ann M Nalley Says:

    It just makes my heart fill with happiness imagining the love and positive energy in your home! My best both to you and Weber for a wonderful visit and the overwhelming success of this new venture.

  2. Eric Says:

    Have a great time!

    I look forward to reading these novels. I am unfamiliar with the Honorverse, so I will have to fix that.

  3. Barbara Joan Says:

    I am very much looking forward to the series being a great treecat fan and knowing that cats are very special people.

  4. janelindskold Says:

    One of the nice things about this series is that it’s effectively a prequel to the Honor Harrington novels, so you don’t need to already be familiar with the Honorverse to read and enjoy.

    However, if you are interested in taking a look, the first novel is On Basilisk Station. I really enjoyed it…

  5. Alan Robson Says:

    I’ve never read any of the Honor Harrington books — but I am starting to feel an urge to rememdy that omission. And the environment you describe here for your new project sounds like something to look forward to.

    What’s a treecat? Anything like a dropbear?


    -Alan

    • Tom M. Says:

      Don’t know from dropbears. Like the rest of Sphinxan native life, treecats are hexipedal. Take the smartest cat you’ve ever known, rachet up *several* notches. Oh yeah, did I mention they’re empathic?

  6. Sean Says:

    My wife and I love the Firekeeper books. We also love Honor Harrington books. It will be great to see what the two of you together write.

    Now I will have to go back and reread the short story.

    This is great news.

  7. Patrick Doris Says:

    climbs quickly/Lion heart was definitely a pioneer and so was his sister Sings Truly, I am looking forward to seeing who will be the POV in your novel

  8. heteromeles Says:

    Sounds like fun. I did enjoy that original story. I do hope Weber’s made sure that your story has things falling at the proper speed and force (ouch!) and that the years last the proper length. I’ve really got to admire treecats, going for that arboreal lifestyle where falling out of a tree would hurt a lot more than it does here.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Hey… What makes you think I need to be told to make sure of such things? I am an S.F. writer…

      I don’t think treecats had much choice as to their “lifestyle” anymore than we “chose” to walk upright and have backaches as a result.

      Seriously, one of the things Weber and I have talked a lot about is the biology of treecats. They’re a lot more adapted for their environment than the Honor Harrington stories have an opportunity to show.

      That’s one of the reasons Weber wanted to do these — and I was eager to be part of it — a chance to show treecats where they live, so to speak

  9. CBI Says:

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

    I greatly enjoyed my all-too-short discussions with David and Sharon when they were here for Bubonicon a few years back — and before I’d read any of the Honor Harrington or Firekeeper books (something that has long since been remedied).

    Enjoy your time with friends.

  10. Paul Says:

    Those Heinlein and Norton “juveniles” you mention, I think, are some of the authors’ most memorable works. They’ve all been happily marketed in paperback as regular SF novels, and adults have enjoyed them. I’m sure the appeal of this series will also go well beyond the so-called market demographic. I know I’m going to be hard put to wait until I can read them, and I haven’t been a juvenile for, ahem, quite a while.

  11. janelindskold Says:

    Glad to hear there’s so much interest and enthusiasm. Weber and I have had a great time. One of the nicest things about being able to get together in person is we can talk in tangents — something both of us do naturally, but isn’t easily done either in e-mails or over the phone.

    Another nice thing is having Sharon and Jim available to comment as well. Both of them are familiar with the material and — perhaps more importantly — with the writers and even their chuckles give us information and insight to the process.

    I wish we lived closer…

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