ARACHNE, an ebook adaptation of the first novel by Lisa Mason. Deemed “a cyberpunk classic” by The Boston Globe, ARACHNE debuted in the top ten on the Locus Hardcover List.
ARACHNE began as a short story, my first. Through a series of miraculous connections with writer Barry Malzberg, writer and editor Robert Silverberg, and editor Ellen Datlow, I sold the story to OMNI. The magazine had a worldwide circulation of five million subscribers at the time. Here’s the cover:
H. R. Giger did the illustration accompanying “Arachne”. Giger designed the alien in the Ridley Scott film, “Alien,” as well as the alien’s creepily organic space craft. Here’s Giger’s “Arachne” illustration:
Peggy Park, a Bay area photographer, took this picture of me. You’ll recognize the black widow earrings and red-and-black necklace as bespoke Tom Robinson handmade jewelry.
And here I am, on the Omnibus Contributors page! “Arachne” is now republished by Bast Books in My Charlotte, Patty’s Story.
I had so much material compressed into the story, I realized this was my jumping-off point to a first novel. I was working fulltime as an executive editor at Matthew Bender, a national law book publisher. The project was quite a challenge for me—and my family! It took me nearly two years to complete.
The late editor David G. Hartwell was a colleague of Ellen Datlow. One thing led to another, and I sold ARACHNE to David for hardcover publication with William Morrow. The book went on to a trade paperback with Eos Books and a mass market paperback with AvoNova. It was published in Japan by Hayakawa.
Deemed “a cyberpunk classic” by The Boston Globe, ARACHNE debuted in the top ten books on the Locus Hardcover List. I appreciated the additional comment Locus made after the list, “where first novels rarely appear.” Thanks to the late Charlie Brown!
Here’s more about the writing of the novel: https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2016/09/02/on-writing-arachne-my-first-novel-lisa-mason-sfwapro/
And here’s how ARACHNE has been described:
Lisa Mason’s classic cyberpunk about an ambitious young mediator who must confront a terrifying presence haunting her telelink. From the author of Summer of Love and The Gilded Age.
High above the dangerous streets of post-quake San Francisco Island, mechanically modified professionals link minds in a cybernetic telespace to push through big deals and decisions at lightning speed. But unexplained telelink blackouts and bizarre hallucinations have marred mediator Carly Quester’s debut appearance before a computer-generated Venue—forcing her to consider delicate psychic surgery at the hands of a robot therapist, Prober Spinner. And suddenly the ambitious young mediator is at risk in a deadly Artificial Intelligence scheme to steal human souls—because the ghosts of Carly’s unconscious may be a prize well worth killing for.
What reviewers and my fellow authors had to say:
“Powerful . . . Entertaining . . . Imaginative.”
“In humanity’s daring to enter the cybernetic heaven (and hell) of telespace, Lisa Mason reveals the lineaments of all that is tragic and transcendent in our evolution. Once the journey into this vivid and terrifying future has begun, there is no returning until the infinite has been faced and the last word read.”
--David Zindell, Author of Neverness
“Cybernetics, robotics, the aftermath of San Francisco’s Big Quake II, urban tribalism—Lisa Mason combines them all with such deftness and grace, they form a living world. Mason spins an entertaining tale . . . She allows Carly’s robotic allies a measure of personality and sophistication beyond the stock role of a chirping R2D2 or a blandly sinister Hal . . . Her characters and their world will stay with you long after you’ve finished this fine book.”
--Locus, The Trade Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy
“Lisa Mason stakes out, within the cyberpunk sub-genre, a territory all her own.”
--The San Francisco Chronicle
“Mason’s endearing characters and their absorbing adventures will hook even the most jaded SF fan.”
“Arachne is an impressive debut by a writer gifted with inventiveness, wit, and insight. The characters face choices well worth reading about. This is cyberpunk with a heart.”
--Nancy Kress, Author of Brain Rose
“There is a refreshing amount of energy associated with Lisa Mason’s writing. The good old values are there: fun, excitement, drama—but served up with new and original twists. Lisa Mason is definitely a writer to watch—and to read.”
--Paul Preuss, Author of Venus Prime
“Lisa Mason must be counted among science fiction’s most distinctive voices as we rush toward the new millennium.”
Whether you read ARACHNE in print years ago or are new to the book, I hope you’ll give the ebook a try.
A lot of science fiction writers have observed that it is more difficult than ever to write about the future because the present keeps catching up! But from my recent reading of the state of A.I., it looks to me like ARACHNE is still just a little bit ahead of the curve. Let me know what you think!
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