Avatars Dance:

My Feminist Cyberpunk Trilogy, Back in Print

This is a mirror of my post at my other blog, laurajmixon.com, for fans of my work who don’t follow me there. A bit of fun news. 🙂


Cybernetic proxy-jocks! Space stations and gas giants! Women—queers—people on the margins—build tech, steal starships, drive mechs!

Readers can now buy copies of my feminist cyberpunk trilogy. Glass Houses, Proxies, and Burning the Ice—Books I-III of AVATARS DANCE—are out in electronic and audiobook formats. These exciting stories, peopled with diverse characters, are mystery-thrillers set in a high-tech, broken-down, climate-altered future.

Links and descriptions follow. An omnibus edition of all three books is available at a deep discount, for $9.99.


Avatars Dance (Omnibus edition: all three books)

Kindle   |   iBook   |   Nook

AvatarsDance2In the 22nd century, the world is beset by savage storms, unbearable heat, rising oceans, and environmental devastation as climate change inexorably overwhelms humanity’s ability to adapt. Sophisticated robotics and other technology have enabled some people—those with the means—to avoid the worst impacts.

Three women living in the margins coopt that technology to adapt and survive. An impoverished waldo-jock attempts a good deed that gets her into trouble with the law and the wealthy elite—a brilliant scientist whose world-altering technology was stolen by a major corporation is hunted by a secret group trying to steal a starship—a clone socially isolated from her peers in a struggling off-world settlement makes a huge discovery deep beneath the icy moon’s ocean. They each find their place and leave their mark on the world, in unique and surprising ways.


Glass Houses

Kindle   |   iBook   |   Nook   |   Audiobook

AD1Ruby Kubick runs her own waldo business from her living room. She bean-jacks into her big machines to roam the dirty, heat-drenched, water-soaked streets of New York City and look for work. Construction, security, no job too big or too small. But when she tries and fails to save a wealthy Egyptian in a collapsing skyscraper during a hurricane, she attracts unwanted attention. You want justice on tomorrow’s mean streets; it’s going to cost you. Particularly if you’re guilty.

The 1992 feminist cyberpunk classic is back in print with an introduction by two-time Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Pat Cadigan and an afterword by Lydia LeBlanc on genre and gender in cyberpunk fiction.

“One of the strongest debuts I’ve read in ages. READ THIS BOOK. And watch Laura Mixon. She’s going to be one of the stars.”

–George R.R. Martin



Kindle     |     iBook     |     Nook     |     Audiobook

AD2The new millennium has been born in fire. Warring factions strive for supremacy. And a secret cadre has unleashed a powerful new weapon—proxies: remotely operated humanoid bodies—to seize control of humanity’s first mission to the stars.

Can Carli D’Auber, the scientist whose instantaneous communication tech made it possible, avoid capture and stop them in time?

“Proxies is as fast and wicked as cyberpunk, but it has characters who are more than fashion statements and outlaws. This one will keep you up reading past your bedtime.” —Maureen McHugh, author of China Mountain Zhang


Burning the Ice

Kindle     |     iBook     |     Nook     |     Audiobook

AD3Over a century after the starship Exodus left Earth, their cloned descendants have settled on an icy moon of a gas giant and must work together to survive in extremely harsh conditions. Isolated and traumatized when her clone twin died at birth, Manda isn’t cut out to get along well with others, and makes herself and everyone around her miserable.

But her self-imposed semi-exile leads her to make a world-shattering discovery that will change everything—if she can get out with the news alive. For it turns out there are political plots and counter-plots tracing back to Earth itself—and outward to the stars.

“In the midst of what is quite a ride, Mixon places vital and intense characters. Splendidly realized.”   —Booklist (starred review)

“Tense, complex, and spellbinding.”   —Kirkus (starred review)

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Posted in Science Fiction, Selfie | 2 Comments

Thrilling Stevie Tales! Extended Version, Part 1: The Enhanced Intro

Friends! Bubonicon 46ers! Gentlefen! Lend me your eyes! (Eeeew!)

As I mentioned in Steve Gould’s Toastmaster introduction for this year’s BuboniCon, I sent out a request for anecdotes of teh Stevester from his many friends, frenemies, enemies, minions, body-snatchers, evil clones, etc. I was swamped—swamped, I tell you—with far more GREAT material than I could use in the intro.

(Oh, for those of you who don’t know, I’m Laura J. Mixon, a/k/a/ M. J. Locke, a/k/a/ @MorganJLocke, and Steve and I have been spousal units since WeddingCon in 1989 [Ed Bryant officiated! Woot!]. Welcome to my blog.)

The original Stevie Chuck bio is below. Check back twice daily during the con; I plan to post additional tales of his adventures and misadventures in the morning and at night each day, Saturday and Sunday. You’ll come to know him as the fun-loving, anti-gravitational berserkazoid his long-time friends and family have come to know and tolerate…er, love. And if you have Stevie Chuck anecdotes (or even antidotes; Ghu knows we need ’em), share in the comments. His antics must be recorded for posterity! Or at least extortion purposes…

(Do scroll down to the end, even if you’ve already read the dead-trees version of the intro; there’s a little Easter egg for you.)


Thrilling Stevie Tales

by Laura J. Mixon (M. J. Locke)

 Many know Steven Gould as the writer of the wildly popular Jumper science fiction series (including Exo, out in September), made into a major motion picture a while back; or as the guy that James Cameron recently tagged to write the AVATAR novels; or as the current president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Some know him as a fourth-dan Aikido black belt. But only a privileged few know his origin story[1].

As his wife, I’ve known him for 26 years, but even that isn’t far back enough to grok the fullness of Stevie. So I reached out to his Cepheid Variable/ AggieCon buddies, who knew him back when he was just getting started in SFF, at Texas A&M University in the early 70s.

I got so many great stories that there is no way I can fit them all into this brief bio[2],[3]. As their anecdotes trickled in, though, a series of themes emerged—along with a growing sense of wonder that he survived long enough to breed. I mean, holy crap! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Steve is King of the Nerds[4]. His primary superpower is Deadly 3D Tech Attack! This power manifests in the ability (and willingness) to get into spaces no one else would go near, and “fix” things that weren’t even broken. When we lived in New York in the early 90s, we had a tiny apartment: 350 ft2 for him, me, and our baby daughter. He had it done up with so many levels, pulleys, and levers, it was like living in a space station. Apparently, he had been honing this skill for years.

Back at A&M, he lived on campus as a student, but later he and his buddy Bill Page went in together to buy a house near campus. Et voilà, the Monkey House came to be[5]. Bill Page dishes dirt:

There was the time Steve bought a sword. A really neat old sword.

And while playing with it—um, putting on a skilled exhibition of its use—in the Monkey House back yard, he watched in horror as the sword flew into pieces.

The grass was tall.

Steve found all but one of the missing pieces.

After much searching, he devised a plan.

He got string—lots of string—and pegs, and laid off the entire backyard in a series of grids and methodically began sweeping the yard with a metal detector.

Time passed. Mountains rose and fell.

John Tim showed up and asked Steve what he was doing.

Steve explained about the missing piece.

John Tim looked down, bent over and picked up a piece of metal, saying, “You mean this?”

Robin Bailey tells of Stevie and him at ConQuest:

 In case you weren’t aware, he was once a male fashion model. David Hartwell was one of the major guests. David, in those days, was known for wearing really loud ties and clothes. Steve and I staged a “David Hartwell Memorial Fashion Show” at opening ceremonies. He came up early and we spent the better part of a day hopping around thrift shops for the worst outfits we could put together. We drafted a few other people, too, and strutted the stage like pros.

And I’ll finish with one from Brad Denton:

 Oh, I know! How about the time he tried to kill Robin Bailey? That in itself might not be worth mentioning—since who among us has not tried to kill Robin Bailey? But Stevie attempted to do so by dropping M&Ms from several floors up in a hotel atrium. Bailey tried to catch them in his mouth…but as we know, F=ma, and even the m of an M&M can impart considerable F under the a due to gravity when dropped from a great height. So although Bailey succeeded in orally catching at least one of the plunging M&Ms, it penetrated the roof of his mouth and entered his brain, which later resulted in his decision to run for President of SFWA.

So many more good stories, but I’m out of room! But you get the idea. Stevie Chuck is above all a badass storyteller, a mensch, and a fun guy to hang around. But if he picks up a tool or bag of M&Ms, run!


PS- Yes, this is really him, hanging upside down from what appears to be a 3rd story balcony. Hence the “surprised he lived long enough to breed” remark. (h/t Bill Page)

[1] Every superhero needs an origin story.

[2] If I did, the program book editor would kill me.

[3] They’re just tooooo goooood not to share, though, so I invite you join me at my blog, FeralSapient.com, where I will post them and invite others to share their own thrilling Stevie tales. Heh heh heh… [How meta is this thing anyway? -ed.]

[4] I’m serious. Check out his Nerd Tiara.

[5] A popular—dare I say, notorious?—Texan slan shack.

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Posted in Fun, Science Fiction | 1 Comment

Writing in the Margins, or, Patriarch’s Day, Part 4

(Trigger warning: sexual bias, harassment, assault, misogyny.)


This is the fourth in a series of related posts on sexual abuse and harassment, misogyny, and the science fiction and fantasy community. I think it’s the last, for now.

The first post was here (“A Clockwork Clarion”).

The second was here (“My Childhood Sexual Assault”).

The third was here (“My Childhood Emotional Abuse”).

Let’s get straight to the point.

Did I Really Have to Put You Through All That Icky Abuse Stuff?

Yeah; sorry. I did. You can’t detect the larger pattern, nor understand its importance, until you take a close look at the details.

And before we go on, I’d like you to do three more things, if you are game. In order of priority:

Take the Selective Attention Test.

Watch this short TED Talk.

Take a gender- or race-based Implicit Association Test.

They all have relevance to the broader perspective of these posts.

Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism, NSFW, Race, Science Fiction, Society, Technology | 19 Comments

My Childhood Emotional Abuse, or, Patriarch’s Day, Part 3

(Trigger warning: child emotional abuse.)



This is the third in a series of related posts on sexual abuse and harassment, misogyny, and the science fiction and fantasy community.

The first post was here (“A Clockwork Clarion”).

The second was here (“My Childhood Sexual Assault, or, Patriarch’s Day Part 2”).


My Upbringing

The assault I experienced at the age of 12, perpetrated by an older male relative, was repugnant and devastating. I’d felt horribly betrayed. But the deeper damage I took as a child came from the emotional abuse my father heaped on us throughout my childhood.

My father had many good qualities. During his life he was loved by many, including me. What he wasn’t, though, was a good father.

Continue reading

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My Childhood Sexual Assault, or, Patriarch’s Day, Part 2

(Trigger warning, in case the title doesn’t make it clear: child sexual assault.)



This post is in solidarity with Moira Greyland (daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen), Cath Schaff-Stump, and other survivors of childhood abuse and rape.

The SFF community is struggling right now to contend with accusations of sexual harassment, sexism, and abuse against some of its most prominent members. I’m finding I have a lot to say about it. I have a series of posts in progress. This is the second.  The first was here. Watch this space in coming days and weeks for more.


I’ve been thankful for the web-boostage and words of support I received for my recent Clockwork Clarion post. But I need to be crystal clear about something: I didn’t tell my story for the sake of sympathy, and I don’t need your pity.

First of all, the incident had a limited effect on me in the greater scheme of things. It was outrageous and awful, but I had little time to ponder it afterward. My life changed radically a month later, when I left for Washington DC and began my Peace Corps training. I went on to live for two years in Kenya, where I learned how to be a grown-up, made many good friends, had many false assumptions challenged, and learned much about East Africa and its rich and diverse cultures.

Then I returned home to write and publish six SF novels and some shorter works, while managing a demanding and successful engineering career (including, if that sort of thing matters to you, five years as corporate environmental officer for a Fortune 500 firm, and co-founder of a technology start-up). I raised two remarkable daughters. I am happily married for 25+ years to a man who is incredibly supportive and loving, an equal partner and devoted father.

In other words, my life is a success. The rape skit didn’t break me. Far from it. All it did was to give me a sharp reminder that I had to guard myself around men. Even friends. Even men I trusted and loved. (Even in my beloved SFF tribe.) But that was a lesson I had been taught, as a child, by the men in my own family.

Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism, NSFW, Parenting, Science Fiction, Society | 2 Comments