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Talia Merritt, protagonist of Monalisa Foster’s Threading the Needle, is a badass woman by any standard. As such, she joins a long line of Baen female characters who kick butt and take names. To welcome Talia (and her creator Monalisa Foster) to the Baen family, we’re offering discounts on Baen back catalog titles featuring strong women.

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Monalisa Foster's writing career really began when she taught herself English by reading and translating Heinlein juveniles at the public library. She's self-published works in her Ravages of Honor space opera series. Her short stories have been published in Fantastic Hope, The Founder Effect, World Breakers, Robosoldiers, and The Ross 248 Project.

Monalisa graduated with dreams of becoming an astrophysicist. Instead she ended up in engineering and medicine.

“Relics” is set in the world of her Baen Books debut novel Threading the Needle.


Monalisa Foster

AIs don’t go rogue. Everybody knows it. Especially SAIs. Which never really made sense to me. They’re supposed to be people just like you and me, and people—flesh and blood humans such as yours truly—are sapient and we go rogue all the time.

But you never know.

Digital citizens were one of the first truly sapient AIs. Who knows what happens after a couple of centuries of rattling around, especially when you’ve been designed and built as an anachronism to begin with. Maybe they can’t handle change. If there’s one thing that the last three centuries have proven it’s that some people just can’t handle the world as it is, so why wouldn’t “digital citizens” lose it and go rogue?

To be honest, I was surprised to find out that these digital fossils were still around, although with the rise of Nostalgism, maybe I shouldn’t have been. The Commonwealth tolerated the movement because it helped move the, shall we say less-than-desirable, off-world. That much I knew.

A leggy brunette with doe eyes, ruby-red lips, and an hourglass figure—some things remain classics even in this screwed-up century—led me into a wood-paneled office and “He’ll be right with you Mr. Elliott,” rolled off her tongue with a distinctive twentieth-century lilt.

Given that this was a museum, her accent and the throwback design of the office shouldn’t have surprised me, although I’d figured the front—a replica of the historical Grumman Theatre—had been strictly for show and expected the back to be, well, a little bit more twenty-fourth century.

The desk was wood, the chair leather, and what had to be a mid-twentieth century television set complete with antennae was tucked neatly into a corner. No computers, no tablets, no holographic interfaces of any kind, at least not that I could see. Two couches fronted the desk, facing each other across a low table—also wood. A couple of books, huge ones, held it down, their covers sporting images from a cinematic golden age almost five centuries gone.

I picked up the top volume only to find that while indeed it was made of paper, the pages were blank.

“You’ll find us in compliance with the law.”

Setting the book back down, I turned toward the commanding voice. Like the human who’d shown me in, the SAI in the doorway wore twentieth-century attire—in his case, a suit and tie. It looked a bit odd on his tall and broad but clearly synthetic frame.

The pixelated membrane that covered the android skeleton mimicked human skin to an uncanny degree, one that immediately gave me chills. The face too did a remarkable job of emulating skin and coloring, placed as it was over a bone structure that must have been true to the original human—strong but not overpowering jaw, slightly curved nose, steely blue eyes. I’d seen images of SAIs of course, but never met one. It was the eyes that gave them away. They weren’t orbs inside sockets and didn’t move as such.

“I’m not a cop anymore,” I said a bit defensively, I don’t know why.

“But you are still required to report violations, are you not?”

A smirk found its way onto my face before I could stop it. “I don’t make it a practice to inform on my clients. Tarnished I might be, but not that much.”

He gave me a skeptical look and extended his hand. “Call me Chuck. I insist.”

What a throw-back custom.

Awkwardly, I shook his hand. Room-temperature like a corpse. While it emulated skin right down to the veins and calluses on his hand, there was no accompanying texture. Images of hairs were overlaid over images of veins. The calluses were as smooth as you’d expect a pixelated surface to be. Ironic, no? He was an image on a screen, just as he must have been when his original had been alive.

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Jim Beall (BS-Math, MBA, PE) has been a nuclear engineer for over forty years, a war gamer for over fifty, and an avid reader of science fiction for even longer. His experience in nuclear engineering and power systems began as a naval officer. Experience after the USN includes design, construction, inspection, enforcement, and assessment with a nuclear utility, an architect engineering firm, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC).

The term “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) was coined by mathematician and computer scientist John McCarthy at a 1956 Dartmouth conference now deemed to be the birthplace of AI as a field of science, but the idea goes back nearly three millennia!

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Finalists exemplify the best of near-future, forward-thinking science fiction. Annual contest marks 16 years of highlighting bright futures and rising talent.

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Baen Books has signed a contract with author Christopher Ruocchio to publish the final two books in his internationally award-winning Sun Eater series, as well as for a first look deal for Ruocchio’s next series.

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We’re happy to announce an easier way to deliver our Ebooks directly from to your favorite Ereader. You can now email EPUB files directly to your device from our site—no download necessary!

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Baen to publish new science fiction novels from authors Monalisa Foster and Marisa Wolf

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Lucille Robbins, Eric Flint’s widow and heir, in conjunction with Baen Books would like to announce the forthcoming titles from Eric Flint.

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Baen to publish sword and sorcery series The Chronicles of Hanuvar, with first book in August 2023

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Baen Books formally announced this year’s finalists for the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award earlier this month.

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It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Eric Flint has passed away. We were proud to publish Eric’s first novel, Mother of Demons, in 1997, and to continue publishing his many worlds, including the best-selling Ring of Fire series that started with 1632.

There are several of Eric’s works already delivered and on the schedule. Eric was a tireless collaborator, and readers can also expect more of his works to be released with Eric’s designated collaborators in the future.

We will be celebrating Eric and his works on the Baen Free Radio Hour this week and the following week and encourage all to tune in.

—Toni Weisskopf
Publisher, Baen Books

Lakewood, Colorado author Wil McCarthy has been named the winner of the 2022 Prometheus Award for Best Novel, for his novel Rich Man’s Sky.

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To all of those who expressed interest and support for Baen's Bar in recent weeks, we are happy to announce it is back on-line, though with some changes. Baen is handing the Bar over to its users, and will henceforth be run by SFF Forums, LLC, and may be found at Returning users will be able to use the Bar as usual, but new members will have to make a purchase at before they can log in. (Note: New users will not have to buy a book; there is a Bar tipjar option so they may contribute to the maintenance of the forum).

—Toni Weisskopf for SFF Forums

Innovative Independent Publisher to Bring Author Readings, Q&As, and Convention-Style Programming to Facebook LIVE

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Over 170 titles from Baen Books to be published as audiobooks over the next three years

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