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If you are of a certain age and inclination, you have fond memories of Gerry Anderson’s numerous Supermarionation shows like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, Fireball XL5, and Terrahawks.

His son Jaime Anderson is the Director of Anderson Entertainment, the film production company set up by Gerry Anderson MBE and his wife Mary. Today the company continues to develop projects from Gerry Anderson’s personal archive as well as managing his estate and existing work.

The Kickstarter for Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm recently met its funding goals in four days, and a pilot for the show is heading into production.

We got to talk with Jamie about the project…


JEFF PATTERSON: Firestorm looks like an ambitious project. Can you give us a little history behind it?
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I’m a huge fan of Alastair Reynolds and look forward to anything he writes.

Here’s the cover and synopsis for his upcoming book Slow Bullets.

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Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. It exists in list format for the first time in a while. I’d say that’s pretty special.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-25

Interviews & Profiles

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Check out the cover for the 3rd book in E.C. Blake‘s The Masks of Aygrima series, Faces!

Like the previous 2 books, this one features some cool artwork from Paul Young. As you can see from the cover gallery below, it tracks the progression of change in a society where masks represent status and profession.

The hardcover version of Faces will hit bookstore shelves on July 7, 2015 and is published by DAW.
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FIRST-LOOK GAME REVIEW: Don’t Starve

Last week Steam had a free game weekend where they opened up ten games for a free-play weekend. Don’t Starve, published by Klei Entertainment in 2013. You could install the game without buying it and play as much as you want for those few days. I’d had my eyes on Don’t Starve already before that, so I took a shot at the game and got a couple of hours of gameplay in.
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Forty years ago this month a promising horror writer checked into Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. The place crept him out so much it inspired his third published novel. You might have heard of it. It’s called The Shining. Story goes that Stephen King picked the hotel after opening a U.S. atlas and randomly pointing at a location, which turned out to be Boulder, Colorado. He wanted to get away from Maine so his next novel would have a “different sort of background.” It certainly worked.

Now on the anniversary of that trip, editor R.J. Cavender has organized a writers retreat at the haunted hotel in the Rockies for a group of authors looking for similar inspiration. It may be a brilliant idea or — if things turn out as well as they did for Jack Torrance — the worst idea of all time.

Before leaving on his trip this week, the intrepid Cavender answered a few questions for SF Signal. So, without further ado, heeeeeere’s R.J.!


JAMES AQUILONE: Why have a writers retreat at the Stanley Hotel? After all, Jack Torrance didn’t get much writing done during his stay in the Rockies.

R.J. CAVENDER: On the contrary! Jack was prolific, just very repetitive. To answer the question, though…why not? I’ve always dreamed of staying in the hotel from The Shining, so why not stay at the version that actually inspired the book? And with 40 of my author friends! It’s such a gorgeous, stately old place. Almost time to find out if Room 217 is haunted or not…
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Author Ann Leckie announced on her blog that her first novel, Ancillary Justice, has been optioned for television!

Ancillary Justice is a story about Justice of Toren, who used to be a starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers under service to the Radch empire, but who now appears on a remote, icy planet as a human soldier on a mission of revenge against the Lord of the Radch. The book explored themes of gender and swept the awards in recent months, winning the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The sequel, Ancillary Sword, was released earlier this month.

The option for Ancillary Justice was purchased by the Fabrik production company and Fox Television Studios, who together produced Burn Notice and The Killing. Leckie says she worked closely with the production company to make sure that the show would remain true to its exploration of gender, to which she was assured it would not be “whitewashed”.

As Leckie notes, an option doesn’t necessarily mean the show will make it to production, but it’s an important first step. And not only is this good news for this specific title, but also for the genre at large because it means that Hollywood still sees speculative fiction as a viable source of good stories. But then again, when have they stopped?

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For a limited time (less than a week left!) you can get the excellent anthology War Stories: New Military Science Fiction edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak for a low, low price through vodo.net.

According to publisher Apex: “For next 7 days, you can pay what you want for our newest anthology by placing a bid. VODO will review your bid and let you know whether it is accepted or not. Or if you want to ensure that you get a fantastic deal immediately, buy War Stories through VODO for the low price of $3.35. Twenty-three amazing speculative fiction stories about the impacts of war for less than the cost of pumpkin spice latte! How can you pass that up?”

Here’s the official book description:

War is everywhere. Not only among the firefights, in the sweat dripping from heavy armor and the clenching grip on your weapon, but also wedging itself deep into families, infiltrating our love letters, hovering in the air above our heads. It’s in our dreams and our text messages. At times it roars with adrenaline. While at others it slips in silently so it can sit beside you until you forget it’s there.

Join Joe Haldeman, Linda Nagata, Karin Lowachee, Ken Liu, Jay Posey, and more as they take you on a tour of the battlefields. From those hurtling through space in spaceships and winding along trails deep in the jungle with bullets whizzing overhead, to the ones hiding behind calm smiles, waiting patiently to reveal itself in those quiet moments when we feel safest. War Stories brings us 23 stories of the impacts of war, showcasing the systems, combat, armor, and aftermath without condemnation or glorification.

Instead, War Stories reveals the truth.

War is what we are.

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If you’re in the New York City area on Monday October 27, so stop by Strand Books between 7:00PM and 8:00PM for the Everything Is Terrifying event.

You’ll get to see:

  • Laird Barron – author (The Croning, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All) and three-time winner of the Shirley Jackson award.
  • Ellen Datlow – winner of four Hugo awards, three Bram Stoker awards, nine World Fantasy awards, two Shirley Jackson awards, and five Locus awards for her work as an editor.
  • Grady Hendrix – has won zero awards. But he did write a book (Horrorstör) about a haunted Ikea.
  • John Langan – author (House of Windows, “A Season in Carcosa”) who, along with Laird Barron, was cited by Nic Pizzolatto as one of the literary influences on HBO’s True Detective.
  • Sarah Langan – author (Audrey’s Door, The Lost) who has won the Bram Stoker award three times for her novels.
  • JT Petty – director whose films such as S&Man, The Burrowers, and Hellbenders have played around the world.

EVENT DETAILS

  • NAME: EVERYTHING IS TERRIFYING!
  • WHEN: Monday, October 27 @ 7pm
  • WHERE: Strand Bookstore (828 Broadway, corner of Broadway and 12th Street)
  • ADMISSION: All you need to do is buy a book!

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Here’s a television commercial for Cthulhu’s Pizza Kitchen…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-24

Interviews & Profiles

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Air New Zealand seems to have a fantastic PR campaign going. Their latest Middle Earth-themed safety video is nicely done and features a few apropos cameos…

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Continuing a trend tailor-made for the Twitter generation, here are my quick takes on a few recently-watched genre-related films.

My brief thoughts follow…
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Nicholas Kaufmann has had his work nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the International Thriller Writers Award. He is the critically acclaimed author of Walk in Shadows, General Slocum’s Gold, Chasing the Dragon, Still Life: Nine Stories, Dying Is My Business, and the latest, Die and Stay Dead. His short fiction has appeared in Cemetery Dance, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 3, City Slab, The Best American Erotica 2007, Zombies vs. Robots: This Means War!, Dark Fusions: Where Monsters Lurk, and others. He used to write the “Dead Air” column for The Internet Review of Science Fiction. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, but you can visit him at NnicholasKaufmann.com and follow him on Twitter as @TheKaufmann.

Beyond The Exorcist: Demons of a Different Type

by Nicholas Kaufmann

Of all the monsters from mythology and imagination that have found their way into popular culture, it is perhaps only the demon that has the distinction of still being seriously believed in by large numbers within certain religions. Recently, these malevolent, supernatural beings have shown up in several horror films with explicit Christian overtones, films that tried to cash in simultaneously on the enormous horror and Christian evangelical markets, such The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Rite (2011), The Devil Inside (2012), and The Last Exorcism (2010), whose advertising tagline was, tellingly, “If you believe in God, you must believe in the Devil.” Even The Conjuring, 2013’s most popular horror film, featured an evil, possessing spirit undone by Catholic ritual and brandished crucifixes.

The Exorcist has a lot to answer for. The tropes William Peter Blatty employed in that seminal work have remained strong in the pop culture consciousness ever since the novel hit the bestseller lists in 1971 and the film ruled the box office two years later. But must all demons be incorporeal, possessing forces of darkness that can only be defeated by the power of God and religious faith?
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Next month sees the release of The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (and translated by Ken Liu), a writer writer heralded as “China’s bestselling and most beloved science fiction writer”. And already 2nd book in the trilogy is lined up: The Dark Forest (translated by Joel Martinsen), coming July of next year.

Here’s the cover and synopsis for The Dark Forest
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Teaser Trailer: Avengers: Age of Ultron

I got a text from a friend yesterday that the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was leaked online. I was already on the computer and browsed immediately only to find it was already taken down. But, the Internet being what it is — beyond a repository for cat videos, I mean — the low-quality video has leaked to a bajillion other sites. So Marvel did the only thing it could do…it officially released the trailer video, which we bring to you now in all it’s special effects glory and plot line vagueness.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-23

Interviews & Profiles

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REVIEW SUMMARY: A strong set of stories that joyfully show new and extended aspects of a fascinating fantasy world.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: Explores the present and past of the Indigo Cloud Court with stories that look into the past history of characters.

MY REVIEW:
PROS:: Detailed and vivid worldbuilding; intriguing non-human politics and character interactions; welcome return of favorite characters.
CONS: Worldbuilding and explanation inserted to allow new readers to catch up sometimes drags a bit on story flow.
BOTTOM LINE: A set of novellas that introduce and extend the Three Worlds to new and returning readers.

Martha Wells’ The Cloud Roads introduced a new fantasy universe to her readers. Set in the “Three Worlds”, The Cloud Roads started the story of Moon, an orphaned humanoid with a secret (and terrifying) ability to shapechange into a monstrous flying form. Discovered by a tribe of creatures similar to himself, Moon learned who and what he really is, even as the court of Raksura was under threat by their mortal enemies, the Fell. The subsequent novels (The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths) continued the story of Moon and Indigo Cloud as they return to their ancestral homeland, only to be immersed into adventure and old rivalries with other Raksura as they seek to reestablish themselves in the Reaches.
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Maria Alexander is a fiction writer who lives in Los Angeles with two ungrateful cats and a purse named Trog. Her debut urban fantasy novel, Mr. Wicker, was just released in September 2014 by Raw Dog Screaming Press. Publishers Weekly calls it, “(a) splendid, bittersweet ode to the ghosts of childhood.” Follow Maria on her webiste or on Twitter as @LaMaupin.

Four of the Dumbest Things Done with Swords in Film and Fiction

by Maria Alexander

Everybody loves swords. Writers and readers alike enjoy a bladed tale because of the mystique this ancient weapon wields. I’m a big sword lover myself. Last year, I wrote a blog post that went viral called, “Why I Hate (Most) Photos and Drawings of Women with Swords.” In the post, I outline my qualifications to speak on the subject, which include many years of studying stage combat with top Hollywood fight masters and four years in the art of Shinkendo. I’m also a veteran author and screenwriter, so I understand the challenge of balancing fantasy and fact when creating an entertaining story both for both fiction and film.

But too many writers and filmmakers are unaware of the realities surrounding bladed weapons. Most of what they know about swords they learned from the movie Highlander and in turn they propagate those fallacies in their work. That’s like learning about planes from the movie Flight. Here are a few facts about swords that, if heeded, could actually create better stories.
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