Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I take a look at the latest body-swapping science fiction and fantasy books in an article titled Science Fiction Lets You to Slip Into Something More Comfortable.

Check it out, won’t you?

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Lost in Animeland: Sword Art Online

Last time I mentioned that I was watching Sword Art Online II, and enjoying it quite a bit. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to talk about part three of a series without spoilers, so I figured I’d save the discussion for next time. So today, let’s talk about it!

This column contains spoilers for Sword Art Online. I won’t talk about any of the big reveals or twists, but information of the “which characters don’t die” sort is impossible to avoid. I personally think you’d be fine reading this and then watching it, but you can make your own decision!
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MIND MELD: Books That Carried Us Outside Our Comfort Zone

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This week we asked our participants to talk about reading out of their comfort zone…

The right kind of author, and the right kind of book, can lure readers to try subgenres of fiction and genre fiction that they wouldn’t normally think to try. These authors and books lure unwitting readers into trying and embracing a new subgenre by virtue of being well-written, subverting genre expectations, and sometimes being a case of a favored author trying a new subgenre and following her into it.

Q: What authors and books have gotten you to try new subgenres of fiction and genre fiction?

Here’s what they said…

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SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 9/17/2014

Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.

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Chuck Wendig, author of Blightborn, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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As part of a $1.99 and Up” promotion for some of their “cops and robbers” sf/f books, Open Road Media has produced the following video in which “William Shatner, Liz Williams, Walter Mosley, and Simon R. Green talk about the popularity of the detective-style story set in a fantastical world—cops and robbers, science fiction style.”

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-09-17

Interviews & Profiles

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Book Review: SNUFF by Terry Pratchett

Snuff is one of the newest of the many books in Terry Pratchett’s excellent Discworld series. Within the larger series there are subseries which follow particular characters. In general, you can pick any Discworld book off the shelf and expect to be able to follow it, but some can be better appreciated if you know the character history from the previous books.

Snuff is the newest book following Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch Sam Vimes. In Sam Vimes’s first books he began as a poor beat cop walking the streets in his cardboard-soled boots as one of the three city watchmen. Over the other books he became Commander of the ever-growing City Watch, has become a trusted advisor of the Patrician (the semi-benevolent tyrant) and a diplomat, and started a family when he married Lady Sybil Ramkin and had a son whom they call Young Sam.
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Starting now, SF Signal readers can get 2 of Henry Kuttner’s sf classics in eBook format for one low price! Read on to see how you can get Robots Have No Tails and The Best of Henry Kuttner (collecting 17 of his short fiction stories) for only $2.99!

Here are the individual book descriptions:

ROBOTS HAVE NO TAILS by Henry Kuttner

“[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas.” —Ray Bradbury

A complete collection of his Galloway Gallegher stories from the Hugo nominated master of science fiction.

In this complete collection, Kuttner is back with Galloway Gallegher, his most beloved character in the stories that helped make him famous. Gallegher is a binge-drinking scientist who’s a genius when drunk and totally clueless sober. Hounded by creditors and government officials, he wakes from each bender to discover a new invention designed to solve all his problems—if only he knew how it worked…

Add in a vain and uncooperative robot assistant, a heckling grandfather, and a host of uninvited guests—from rabbit-like aliens to time-traveling mafia lawyers to his own future corpse—and Gallegher has more on his hands than even he can handle. Time for a drink!

 
 
THE BEST OF HENRY KUTTNER by Henry Kuttner

“[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas.” —Ray Bradbury

From the renowned, Hugo-nominated titan of science fiction comes a collection of his best short stories.

In seventeen classic stories, Henry Kuttner creates a unique galaxy of vain, protective, and murderous robots; devilish angels; and warm and angry aliens. These stories include
“Mimsy Were the Borogoves” — the inspiration for New Line Cinema’s major motion picture The Last Mimzy — as well as “Two-Handed Engine”, “The Proud Robot”, “The Misguided Halo”, “The Voice of the Lobster”, “Exit the Professor”, “The Twonky”, “A Gnome There Was”, “The Big Night”, “Nothing But Gingerbread Left”, “The Iron Standard”, “Cold War”, “Or Else”, “Endowment Policy”, “Housing Problem”, “What You Need”, and “Absalom”.

Here’s how you can get these two great titles for one low price — but act fast! This offer expires in two weeks…
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Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure. Her debut novel is The Clockwork Dagger.

Beyond Historical Fiction: Fear, Fantasy, and How I Came to Steampunk

by Beth Cato

I was eight years old when I fell for historical fiction. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my gateway drug to endless hours of medieval romps and pioneer adventures. I hungrily sought out all the Rosemary Sutcliff and Patricia Beatty books to be found.

Beatty’s books–in particular, her Hannalee books–pulled me into a stint of fascination with the American Civil War. In 5th grade, I won the school district’s annual library essay contest, writing that I wanted to grow up and write books about the Civil War, maybe even from a horse’s viewpoint.

In my teens, my interest turned towards fantasy, but my desire to write historical never went away. For years, I entertained the idea of writing an epic fantasy based heavily on the Inquisition. I would write a page or two and browse books on the subject matter, but I never made a serious effort.

The reason: fear.
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John Scalzi is on fire!

Not too long ago, news broke that his novel Redshirts was getting a limited run tv series, as well as his Old Man’s War novels. Now comes word from Variety that Legendary TV has acquired the rights to adapt Scalzi’s new novel Lock In into a television pilot for a potential series .Not much else is known at this point — this is still in the very early stages.

The plot of the near-future thriller Lock In revolves around a disease that renders people in a mannequin-like state of immobility, but otherwise aware of their surroundings. Technology is developed that allows those who are infected to inhabit the bodies of others and live through them, a situation that sets the stage for a police procedural.

Here’s the book description:
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Sarah Hendrix! – Sarah Chorn


Sarah Hendrix spends a lot of time reveling in chaos. Not only does she crush a heaping slush pile but she manages several minion duties. She is a PR for Apocalypse Ink Productions. She loves the developmental stages of a project and likes weaving seemingly unrelated things into a beauteous whole. To complete her love of all things unorganized, she has 2 cats, 2 teenage boys and a fiancé and she makes wearable art with small beads. Her stories can be found in the Space Battles #6 from Flying Pen Press, the In Situ, and the FISH anthologies both from Dagan Books, “Ordinary Hero” from Lakeside Circus and “The Coin Whisperer” in Abyss and Apex. You can follow her on her blog, Twitter or Facebook.

Portraying Disability in Short Stories

by Sarah Hendrix

When I wrote the first few words of “The Coin Whisperer” I didn’t know much about the main character, Paul. All I knew is he was relating a story to me about a friend who could tap into the stories that resided in the change in her pocket. Overall, what I wrote was pretty bland so, like a lot of short stories that I start, I set it aside. It wasn’t until a year later that the story and Paul matured into something I felt had a chance at being published.

Although I love the story, I was very apprehensive while writing it. Paul first revealed he was transgender, which wasn’t an issue at all, but then he revealed something that made me pause-Paul was mute. While writing I wanted his disability to be an element of the story but knew that wasn’t the focus. I wanted to portray Paul as an individual who happens to be mute, and has to find a creative way to tell someone something very important.
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Right now, you can get Paul Di Filippo‘s new eBook, Chasing the Queen of Sassi, for the low, low price of free!

Here’s what it’s about:

A science fiction story set in one of the oldest cities in the world.

After his wife’s death, Rupert decides to change his life and start your journey: he wants to see Matera again, and ends up loving it so much that he decides to move there. But the city is mysterious: who is the beautiful Daeria Bruno that appears and disappears without a trace? And how will the cucibocca’s curse affect his life? In a dizzying series of time travels, Rupert will reveal legendary secrets, being at the center of a timeless story.

Paul Di Filippo is a Rhode Island native, resident in Lovecraft’s Providence for the past forty years with his partner of that same period, Deborah Newton. He sold his first story in 1977, and since then has sold over 200 more, as well as several novels, resulting in some thirty books. He hopes he is at the halfway point in his career.

It’s available on Amazon, Amazon UK, Nook and iTunes

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Night Shade Books has posted the table of contents for Rick Wilber’s upcoming baseball-themed anthology Field of Fantasies:

Here’s the book description:

A Fantastic Anthology Combining the Love of Science Fiction with Our National Pastime

Of all the sports played across the globe, none has more curses and superstitions than baseball, America’s national pastime.

Field of Fantasies delves right into that superstition with short stories written by several key authors about baseball and the supernatural. Here you’ll encounter ghostly apparitions in the stands, a strangely charming vampire double-play combination, one fan who can call every shot and another who can see the past, a sad alternate-reality for the game’s most famous player, unlikely appearances on the field by famous personalities from Stephen Crane to Fidel Castro, a hilariously humble teenage phenom, and much more. In this wonderful anthology are stories from such award-winning writers as:

  • Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Karen Joy Fowler
  • Rod Serling
  • W. P. Kinsella
  • And many more!

Never has a book combined the incredible with great baseball fiction like Field of Fantasies. This wide-ranging collection reaches from some of the earliest classics from the pulp era and baseball’s golden age, all the way to material appearing here for the first time in a print edition. Whether you love the game or just great fiction, these stories will appeal to all, as the writers in this anthology bring great storytelling of the strange and supernatural to the plate, inning after inning.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Check out the appealing cover and the synopsis for the upcoming YA novel Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (sequel to Seraphina).
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-09-16

Interviews & Profiles

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We loves us some good eBook deals!

All of these 50 science fiction, fantasy and horror eBook titles are priced at or under $4 at the time of writing this post. Just like last time WARNING: Prices are subject to change, so check the price before clicking “buy”. If Amazon is not your eBook ecosystem, please do look up the titles wherever you buy your eBooks; discounts are often applied at other outlets, so check there.

  1. Escape From Earth by Allen Steele
  2. Matched by Ally Condie (Speak)
  3. Crossed (Matched) by Ally Condie (Speak)

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Timothy C. Ward is the former Executive Producer of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. His newest story, Scavenger: Red Sands (Scavenger #1), is available on Kindle for $.99, and is the first in a serialized, five-part epic. Scavenger: Blue Dawn (Scavenger #2), will be released October 1. His novel in progress, Order After Dark, is a Post-apocalyptic Fantasy set in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases and to become a first 100 reviewer to get future stories for free.

The Problems with Writing Fan Fiction and How To Solve Them

by Timothy C. Ward

A few weeks ago I released Scavenger: Red Sands (Scavenger #1), an authorized fan fiction novelette set in the world of Hugh Howey’s novel, Sand. Hugh has opened up his world of Wool to fan fiction through Kindle Worlds, but Sand is not yet open and thus has only one other writer, Michael Bunker’s Dunes Over Danvar, writing in Sand‘s world. I’ve read all of the Silo Saga (WOOL, Shift, and Dust), but one scene in particular in Sand inspired me to create my own character in his story. Without that inspiration, I don’t know that I would have bothered. There are a lot of Wool fan fiction stories out there, and while the world is full of opportunity, I just never moved any into the top of my queue. Call that a case of running Adventures in SciFi Publishing and having a crazy reading schedule or maybe it’s a preconceived notion that I’ve already read the story of the Silo. The Last Prayer by Lyn Perry put a different spin on Silo life, focusing more on religious persecution, and while it was a good story, it felt very similar to Wool 1.
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In episode 257 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester invites Josh Vogt, Jeff Patterson, Andrea Johnson, Paul Weimer, Larry Ketcherseid, and Jamie Todd Rubin to discuss:

A science fiction, fantasy or horror author whose work you can’t get enough of – and why.

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