REVIEW SUMMARY: A diverse and well-balanced anthology that delivers on its promises.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology of 24 military science fiction stories.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Excellent stories with highlights by Karin Lowachee, Linda Nagata, and Yoon Ha lee; beautiful Galen Dara Cover art.
CONS: As always with an anthology, some stories stronger than others; story order imperfect.
BOTTOM LINE: An essential set of stories for readers interested in military science fiction.

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Here is the table of contents for the new issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, the online/downloadable magazine edited by Mike Resnick.

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Almost ten years ago now, I picked up a copy of Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris and was struck at how different it was compared to a number of the other books I was reading at the time. It was an interesting and probing novel, one that I don’t think I fully understood at the time. (I still don’t).

Lem is an author who is truly uninhibited by genre convention. Last column, I looked a Ursula K. Le Guin, and have been thinking quite a bit about how science fiction authors began to put themselves into a box midway through the century when it came to ‘hard’ science fiction. Limiting a story in some regards requires one to limit one’s own imagination: after all, we’re talking about fiction, where authors can make up whatever they choose. Lem was one of the authors who could make up a considerable story and then deliver it.

Go read Stanislaw Lem and His Push For Deeper Thinking over at the Kirkus Reviews blog.

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Here’s another fantastic analysis from the good folks at Thug Notes, this time focusing on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for The Freezer by Timothy S. Johnston…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-29

Interviews & Profiles

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GAME REVIEW: FTL

FTL is a game by Subset Games published in 2012 (with all-new game expansions published in April 2014). It’s a space exploration and combat game with much of the challenge coming from resource allocation problems.

You are the captain of a Federation ship that has vital information about the war against the Rebels. You have to race ahead of the Rebel fleet to reach a Federation base that can make use of the information.
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Kameron Hurley is the author of The Mirror Empire, as well as the award-winning God’s War Trilogy, comprising the books God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture. She has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. Hurley has also been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award, BFS Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Year’s Best SF, EscapePod, The Lowest Heaven, and the upcoming Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

Thundercats Ho! 5 Things I Learned When I Stopped Worrying About Genre

by Kameron Hurley

I get a lot of questions about what genre my books are. I mean, what do you call a book with space ships and magicians and shape shifters and aliens? (oh my!) How about a book with organic energy swords, satellites, empresses, orphaned scullery girls, blood magic and parallel worlds, like my latest book, The Mirror Empire?

In truth, I didn’t think too much about the genre of these books while I was writing them. With my God’s War Trilogy I chose to market it as the thing it was most like – science fiction. Maybe science fiction noir, like Blade Runner. And with The Mirror Empire, I did the same – it’s most like epic fantasy.

But for all intents and purposes, the genre of my work doesn’t really matter, especially while I’m writing it. If you asked me, honestly, what genre I wrote, I’d say it’s science-fantasy. It’s Thundercats. It’s Wonder Woman riding a kangaroo through space. I mean, what genre is that, really?

Here’s five things I learned when I stopped worrying about genre and just wrote the fricking stuff I love to write.
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“Daddy, What’s Dungeons & Dragons?”

A week ago I noted that a new version of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook made its debut. Though it has been about 30 years since I last played D&D, I immediately ordered a copy, and was surprised and delighted when it arrived today. I hadn’t expected to get it for a few more days.

It is a beautiful book, its thick, glossy cover and heavy color pages reminiscent of a textbook. And in a way it is a textbook. If anything in my childhood that me how to exercise my imagination in a fun and unique way, it was Dungeons & Dragons.

As I sat on the couch running my hands across the pages, my son, who turned five earlier this summer, saw Tyler Jacobson’s wonderful cover art asked what the book was about.

“It’s a Dungeons & Dragons book,” I told him. Being a five, he was familiar with both dungeons and dragons. But possibly not together in a book. So while his next question was inevitable, he asked it with sincere curiosity.

“Daddy, what’s Dungeons & Dragons?”
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Crystal Koo‘s short stories have been published widely, including venues such as The Apex Book of World SF 3, Maximum Volume: Best New Filipino Fiction 2014, Abyss & Apex, and Shanghai Steam. Her latest publication will be forthcoming in Philippine Speculative Fiction 9. She recently won in the 2013 Hong Kong Top Story Competition and was a Carlos Palanca awardee in 2009. Crystal was born and raised in Manila and currently works in Hong Kong, where she has been involved in the local music and theatre scenes. She blogs at http://cgskoo.wordpress.com and tweets @CrystalKoo.

Spaces for Speculative Fiction in Hong Kong

by Crystal Koo

A lot of people expect speculative fiction in Hong Kong to be a little hard to distinguish from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That retinue of berobed, be-sworded warriors with noble hearts is the Chinese water chestnut for all things speculative and it’s part of a very old genre called wuxia. Wuxia‘s imagery and principles can be found in popular Hong Kong fantasy films like Clarence Fok’s The Iceman Cometh and Tsui Hark’s steampunk Detective Dee series, both set in Imperial China. This imagery gets repeated time and time again, and for good reason – it’s familiar. It’s easy to do your world-building when people already know the lore, so it’s understandable why the tropes get reused (though sometimes very creatively). Spoiler alert, though: there are a lot more possibilities to Hong Kong speculative fiction than just finding out that the eunuch did it.
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Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen, 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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Here’s Animation Domination High-Def’s amusing musical tribute to Studio Ghibli, who recently announced that they may stop making films.
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for Gwenda Bond’s upcoming young adult novel Fallout, a book about the early days of Lois Lane in Metropolis.

Here’s the synopsis:
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-28

Interviews & Profiles

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GAME REVIEW: The Maw

The Maw is a 3D puzzle/adventure game released by Twisted Pixel in 2009. The game starts as your player character — a rather cutesy alien of childish proportions — is taken into custody by a military force and put into a force field cell on a transport ship with other captured species of various varieties. Before long, the ship crashes and the player escapes. The player soon makes friends with a tiny but ever-hungry purple blob, the title character known as the Maw. The blob is held in a collar and the player character soon finds an electric leash that can latch to the collar and direct it.

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Looking for the perfect gift for the special nerdy someone?

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I serve up a tasty helping of End-of-Summer Gift Ideas for SciFi Fans and Comic Nerds.

Kirkus,

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Patrick Swenson began Talebones magazine in 1995, and in 2000 started Fairwood Press, a small SF book press. Ultra Thin Man is his first novel.

The Marriage of Sci-Fi and Noir

by Patrick Swenson

My novel The Ultra Thin Man has readers likening it to Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man, and in truth, Hammett’s novel is a definite influence, as is the film of the same name. I’ve also seen a number of comments along the lines of: “I hope Nick and Nora at least have a cameo!” They do not, I’m afraid. In fact, only one character makes a cameo, and it was quite by accident. Dorothy, the daughter of the prime suspect in The Thin Man, is often called by a shorter name. In the first chapter of The Ultra Thin Man, I introduce “Dorie,” a supposed terrorist movement sympathizer. The spelling of her name is different, however. I’d forgotten about her name in Hammett’s book until a year after I finished writing my own. I reread Hammett’s novel after that, and then I remembered.
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MIND MELD: Underappreciated Genre Authors

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

Even great writers can get lost among the ever-growing stacks and stacks of genre literature or fade from memory in the course of time. Sometimes a writer’s talent far outweighs his or hers status among the reading public. With that in mind we asked our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: Which genre author, living or dead, do you think deserves more recognition? Why?

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In my slowly progressing travels into the Warhammer 40K books, the Space Marine stories are, I suspect, my next stop. (I’m looking at you, Space Marine Omnibus by Christian Dunn!) Not far behind is this upcoming book, Angels of Death, an omnibus which contains the previously-released Space Marine books Architect of Fate (an anthology edited by Christian Dunn) and The Siege of Castellax (a novel by C.L. Werner). Man, how I love the feel of a big fat WH40K omnibus in my greedy little hands…

Ahem.

Here’s the synopsis for the upcoming Angels of Death omnibus. (And see covers for the omnibus and the two original books — and what the heck, the Space Marine Omnibus — after the jump…)
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