James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)

In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.

I was lucky enough to interview James about the Maze Runner book series, the (huge!!) new movie based on it, and much more!


Kristin Centorcelli: I’m very, very excited for The Maze Runner movie, and really enjoy the books as well! What inspired you to write the series?

James Dashner: Lots of different things, accumulated over the years. I think the first spark came when I watched The Shining as a kid. I was scarred for life by the scene at the end where Jack chases his kid through the garden maze with an axe. Books like Lord of the Flies and Ender’s Game. The TV show Lost. I think you can see all those influences.
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Friday YouTube: Alien Imposters

Similar in theme to Suburban Zombies, this promo video from Key & Peele is just as humorous…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-09-19

Interviews & Profiles

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In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Sarah Knight. Sarah Knight is a senior editor at Simon & Schuster, where, in addition to her regular S&S list, she also oversees the new speculative fiction imprint Simon451, which launches its first set of titles in October 2014 (among them Gillian Anderson’s debut SF thriller, A Vision of Fire). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their ill-behaved cat, Doug, and goes by @mcsnugz on Twitter.

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In episode 257 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester sits down with author/editor James L. Sutter.

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Amazon has the cover and synopsis for the upcoming omnibus Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, comprised of Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance.

Check this beauty out after the jump.
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SHORT FILM: L3.0

Here’s an excellent short SciFi film that packs an emotional punch.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-09-18

Interviews & Profiles

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You can follow Rachel S. Cordasco on her bookish adventures at Bookishlywitty.blogspot.com and Bookriot.com.

Haunting, mesmerizing, moving: these are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. Each novel is under 400 pages, and each packs into it so much psychological, emotional, philosophical, and ecological inquiry that you start to think that they must be huge, hulking volumes that should make your bookshelves cave in.

Now, you’ve probably seen a million reviews of this trilogy, and rightly so, for it deserves recognition and invites fascinating discussions. Therefore, instead of recapping the story or outlining the plot, I’m going to focus on three major mysteries/questions/problems in these novels and why they’re so compelling.

Oh, and by the way, there may be spoilers here. I’m not guaranteeing anything.
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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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