Archive for April, 2008

Free Stuff: Win an autographed book

April 23, 2008

Which best floats your boat:  Young Elvis or Mature Elvis?  New Coke or Coke Classic?  Baby Jesus or Bearded Jesus?  Jason Wander Classic or Jason Wander photo-real?

Orphanage was released in 2004 with a deliberately “Buck Rogers retro” hand-painted-portrait style cover depicting Jason Wander in crimson armor, created by English artist Fred Gambino.  To see that cover, click under Blogroll at right, on Robert Buettner’s Official Site, then click on the top tab Art of OrphanageOrphanage made Barnes & Noble’s Paperback Top 50 in its first weeks of release, and Fred’s cover illustration was on prominent display at the World Science Fiction Convention Art Show in Glasgow in 2005.

But, in conjunction with the April 1, 2008, release of Jason Wander book 3, Orphan’s Journey, Orbit reissued Orphanage with a new, “photo real” cover illustration depicting a back-lit Jason in desert-tan camo.  The reissued version, and it’s also-reissued 2005 sequel, Orphan’s Destiny, have each sold so well in their new covers that Orbit has had to reprint them both, three weeks after their release.

So we have competing blockbuster formulae.  But which do you prefer?

Post your vote in the form of a comment to this post, below, or just email me at for either the “classic red” or “nouveau tan” covers between now and midnight, May 1, 2008. 

I’ll announce the results here on May 2, 2008, and also draw a winner at random from among all posted votes.  The winner will receive a free, autographed copy of his or her choice among Classic Orphanage, Classic Orphan’s Destiny or “nouveau green” Orphan’s Journey.  I reserve the right to award additional prizes to posts I think are funny, insightful or suitably sycophantic.


The week that was

April 19, 2008

The second most frequent question that writers yet to publish ask is “what’s your day like?”  The most frequent is, “where do you get your ideas?”  (Answer: If I knew, I would open a charge account there)     

Usually, my day is like the day of any contemporary office worker.  Commute.  Sit down at the desk, check email, respond to the ones that need a response, then try to catch up with what you are behind on.

The differences?  My commute is fifty feet.  I don’t have to process emails from corporate, or from HR, or from angry clients, or from stressed supervisees, mostly just from happy fans.  What I am behind on is invariably the next book, and being behind is a necessity for me, because what I write when I’m not under time pressure sucks.

This past week, however, a number of items, ah, assisted in providing me additional time pressure.

Monday:  Because Orphan’s Journey just came out, drive to most of the bookstores in metro Atlanta to say hello, and to autograph books in stock.  A full-day job, even with a nav system.  Enjoy when a store CRM (Community Relations Manager) is so excited to see me that she calls her husband, who is a huge Jason Wander fan, at work and asks him to guess who is standing across from her helping her unload books.  (Guess:  The UPS guy?)  Enjoy less when another store’s employee asks whether Little Brown is a local vanity press.  (Answer:  Mostly.  But I think they may have paid advances to Poe, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and James Patterson.)

Tuesday:  Touch base with Alex Lencicki, Orbit’s marketing and publicity wizard about the favorable Orphan’s Journey review featured in Science Fiction Weekly, and my interview piece to run later in the week on SciFi Wire, and about ideas to flesh out my future appearances calendar.

Wednesday:  Realize that I have totally screwed up my future appearances calendar, and write mea culpa  to resolve conflict.  Prepare Q&A for a “Guest ‘Blog” with fellow Orbit author Jennifer Rardin, who writes Urban Fantasy about vampires and women in tight leather pants.

Thursday:  ‘Blog with Jennifer.  Realize that her ‘Blog graphics are sexier than mine, and so is her writing.  Receive from my Agent, and review, contracts from my Czech publisher to sell Czech language rights to Orphan’s Journey.    Pat myself on back for, as a former corporate lawyer, reviewing my own contract.  Realize that I have a fool for a client.

Friday a.m.:  Receive from Orbit, and begin to turn around, the copy-edited manuscript of the brilliant next book in the Jason Wander series, Orphan’s Alliance.  Realize as I read that I am even less brilliant than I thought I was when I turned in the rewrite.

Friday night, late:  Realize that not only am I unbrilliant, I am farther behind on Book 5 than I was on Monday.  Commute fifty feet and call it a week.

Stop by for a bite

April 16, 2008

Tomorrow, I will boldly go where no man has gone before.  Well, not this man.  I’ll be having a ‘blog as the guest of Jennifer Rardin, budding paranormal diva and creator of the fast, funny Jaz Parks urban fantasies.  “Urban fantasy,” if you’ve been meditating in Katmandu for the last decades, isn’t finding a parking space in front of your building.  It’s Robert Ludlum with more vampires, or Michael Crichton with less science.  Jennifer may persuade me that undead isn’t unalive, and it’s certainly more fun when she writes it.  You’re invited, tomorrow, April 17, 2008 at  RSVP unnecessary.

SciFi Weekly reviews Orphan’s Journey

April 14, 2008

A lead item on SciFi Channel’s SciFi Weekly, out today, is its review of Orphan’s Journey.  I’ve never before been billed above reviews of the DVD for Swamp Thing the Series and the Heroes Soundtrack, but then, who has?  I always look forward to SciFi Weekly’s reviews of my books, because they’re written by the always-insightful Paul DiFilippo, whose encyclopedic knowledge of SF, and of literature in general, teaches me more about where my stories came from than I ever realized.  My favorite parts of Paul’s review:

“[The Jason Wander Series] faced at its climax a crisis in its own success. It had replicated (through a unique Buettner filter) the virtues and modalities of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers…to perfection. But…what could possibly come next?
The answer, in…this third installment…bears more than a little resemblance to first-generation Star Trek, a blend of Andre Norton, H. Beam Piper and L. Sprague de Camp. It’s a yeasty and attractive mix.
Buettner maintains his previous record of excellent action sequences. Jason continues his arc of maturation…the new…characters are zesty…Readers of the first two volumes will find plenty of rewards here, and they can rest assured that the fourth book will expand into even stranger territory.”

Read the whole review at

Jason will bite your kneecaps off

April 12, 2008

The Jason Wander books have been compared favorably to many works of popular fiction, but the Helium review of Orphan’s Journey, by writer G.N. Jacobs, takes the comparisons to a new – not to say unexpected – level.

I’ll paste the full review in below, or you can click  to read it.  Beware, it contains spoilers, but just kind-of mini spoilers.

Book Reviews: Orphan’s Journey, by Robert Buettner

by G.N. Jacobs

At first blush, I think I’ll do this review in the style of my 13-year-old nephew.

There’s this guy and, like, his name is Jason Wander. He’s a General and he, like, gets in trouble in Tibet so the Pentagon sends him to an orbiting station, where there’s this alien ship left over from the last attack. The ship starts up and takes Jason and his team to a distant planet with dinosaurs and, like, the bad guys’ fuel source. And Jason, like, frees the planet and beats the aliens in a big campaign.

I will stop now, because I forgot to mention that this particular nephew needs a public speaking class the way I need a masseuse that…oh, never mind. My nephew is fun to tease, though.

The words came to me because this book is a teenaged boy’s wet dream: a war story set on a planet where the cavalry rides duckbilled dinosaurs and the heavy chariot corps harnesses T-Rex. However, “Orphan’s Journey” is no juvenile effort by some kid with more imagination than ability to speak.

Robert Buettner’s third entry in his Jason Wander series could only come from a writer whose bio blurb proudly proclaims he is 1) a former Army spook and 2) a respected paleontologist. This story was as inevitable for Mr. Buettner to write as my own books about reporters surviving the Home Office are for me.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all three books in the series, but especially this one. Jason Wander feels real to me much like the guys that made up my ROTC cadre back in college. He makes mistakes (albeit in the beginning where the script immunity is less) and recovers to win the big fight that matters at the end.

I am concerned that Jason Wander is written as a cross between General George S. Patton Jr. and the more humorous Black Knight from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” (I’ll bite your kneecaps off!). General Wander, poor guy, through each of the books seems to be developing into the guy with nothing to live for but the next pitched fight with the giant space-faring garden slugs that populate the series. He loses body parts and loved ones to the war. Clearly, there will be no oars upon his shoulder nor a farm to retire to. I wouldn’t care if I didn’t like him so much. Oh well, I didn’t write the book.

The cool part, beyond the visual spectacle of dinosaur cavalry, is that Mr. Buettner crossed a Special Forces advisory mission with Operation Overlord (the Normandy landings). Jason has to convince three disparate tribes of humans once abducted from Earth to fight together now that it is clear that the Slugs’ are going to kill most of the people on Bren, except for a few slaves to mine fuel. And then he must make an impossible amphibious landing.

The Sea of Hunters is a narrow channel infested with every sailors nightmare, including the squid-like kraken and something bigger and a whole lot worse. The plan is to do a little harpooning and grenade fishing to chum the water so the predators will kill each other and not the boats rowing across. At least, Wander’s army will make the crossing under two full moons so they may outflank the Slugs’ land defenses.

Telling you more would be like ruining the end of a good movie, but the 13-year-old already gave it away if you paid attention above. I loved this book and if I were a really cool uncle I would give my nephew my copy. However, I wouldn’t get it back, he’ll want to read it twice.


Adventures in SciFi Publishing

April 8, 2008

I recently enjoyed an interview with Shaun Farrell, co-host of Adventures in SciFi Publishing.  We talked about the business of writing genre fiction, the dearth of old-fashioned heroes in current SF/Fantasy, and, of course, the Jason Wander books.  As of today, you can hear the whole interview, and more, at “Episode 47”, here:

The site and the program are devoted to the news of SF/Fantasy/Horror publishing, from Borders’ financial woes to media reviews to interviews with the likes of me.  Sort of NPR for literate Klingons.  

The Big Fat Booklist

April 4, 2008

I’ve begun getting inquiries about which of the five Jason Wander books mentioned on the new edition’s flyleaves are now available.  So here follows My Big Fat Comprehensive Book List of all books and editions now in print and to come, so far as I know:

Available in book stores and via online retailers since April 1, 2008:

Book 3, Orphan’s Journey, Little Brown Orbit Mass Market Paperback*-includes a chapter from upcoming Book 4, Orphan’s Alliance.

Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, Little Brown Orbit Mass Market Paperback*-this reprinted edition includes an afterword about the genesis of the Jason Wander series and a chapter from Book 3, Orphan’s Journey.

Book 1, Orphanage, Little Brown Orbit Mass Market Paperback*-this reprinted edition includes an author interview and a chapter from Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny.

To be released November, 2008:

Book 4, Orphan’s Alliance, Little Brown Orbit Mass Market Paperback*-this edition will include a chapter from upcoming Book 5, Orphan’s Triumph.

To be released Spring, 2009:

Book 5, Orphan’s Triumph, Little Brown Orbit Mass Market Paperback*

* Each of the 5 books in this edition of the series has or will have a star on the book spine (Like a General’s shoulder brass, get it?) containing a number identifying the book’s place in the series sequence.  All the books in this edition are/will also be available for purchase as electronic downloads for the Amazon Kindle, as well as in other e-book formats like Adobe, MobiPocket and Palm.

Also available in book stores and from online retailers since 2004-2005:

Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, Time-Warner Aspect (the publisher’s former name) Mass Market Paperback.

Book 2, Orphanage, Time-Warner Aspect Mass Market Paperback.

These editions are identifiable by the “Buck Rogers Retro” cover art by Fred Gambino, showing Jason in red armor.  Both were reprinted several times.

Available from Science Fiction Book Club, and from a few book resellers, since about 2005:

Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, SFBC Hardcover.

Book 1, Orphanage, SFBC Hardcover.  

These editions share the “Buck Rogers Retro” cover art of the first-edition paperbacks, and also, I believe, went back for reprint.

Foreign Language Editions

Chinese:  Book 1, Orphanage, and Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny; from Science Fiction World; Trade Paperbacks, both released in 2007.  Orphanage was also, I believe, serialized in SFW’s monthly magazine, which is the largest-circulation SF/Fantasy magazine in the world.  The covers are bold blue-gray, black, and blood-red, although in the translation the Slugs have apparently morphed into mega spiders.

Czechoslovakian:  Book 1, Orphanage (“Sirotcinec“) was released in 2006 by Fantom Print in mass market paperback.  The cover soldier wears rust-colored Warsaw-Pact-style armor, with AK-47 blazing.  Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, is due out from Fantom Print later in 2008.

Spanish:  Book 1, Orphanage (“Orfanato“), was released in Spring, 2007, by Factoria de Ideas in Trade Paperback, with the Buck Rogers cover.  Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, will be released in Trade Paperback by Factoria de Ideas in June, 2008.

Russian:  Book 1, Orphanage, was released in 2006 by AST in Hardcover, with a buzz-cut two-gun soldier on its cover.  Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, was released in 2007, also by AST in Hardcover, I believe as a two-book compendium also incorporating Book 1.  The cover gunfighter has grown his hair out and wears a headband, au facon de Rambo.