SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 11/26/2014

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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Daily Science Fiction has announced its December line-up of free stories.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-11-27

Interviews & Profiles

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WINNERS: Vintage Star Wars T-Shirt

The winners of our giveaway for a Star Wars T-Shirt have been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • Jordan B. from Auburn, IN
  • Wolf B. from Furlong, PA
  • Brianna W. from Mount Vernon, NY

You will be receiving your prize soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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BOOK REVIEW: Endsinger by Jay Kristoff

REVIEW SUMMARY: A stakes-raising finale to the Lotus War Trilogy.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: The theme of the series is rendered in strong lines; a high-octane action draws the reader through the book.
CONS: Questions of cultural appropriation reduce the book’s appeal for readers.
BOTTOM LINE: A strongly themed finale to Kristoff’s unique steampunk trilogy

The civil war, initiated by the death of the Shogun at the hands of Yukiko, the Stormdancer, has come to full fruition in Endsinger, the third and final book in Jay Kristoff’s Lotus War Trilogy. The Great Houses now openly strive against each other. The plan for Hiro, young lordling of the Tiger clan, to marry the late Shogun’s sister and cement a marriage bond claim to the throne has gone to ruin along with his palace. The gaijin, finally getting a reprieve from the war brought to their shores, have put plans in place to revenge themselves on their oppressors on the home front. And amongst it all, a long-standing secret plan by the Guild continues to roll. For the Lotus must bloom, and for a deep, dark reason that is about to be revealed.
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Right now you can get Andy Weir’s excellent New York Times bestselling novel The Martian for only $3!

in case you missed my review, here’s what it’s about:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I’m not sure how long the $3 price will last, so hurry up and grab it now if you want it. And if you’re into the whole compare/contrast adaptation thing, recall that The Martian is being made into a film.

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Angry Robot Books resumes their normal publication in March of next year with the launch of Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz, which features this cool cover photographed and designed by Steven Meyer-Rassow. (See a larger version after the jump for its awesome detail.)

Here’s the tantalizing synopsis of Flex:
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At Kirkus: A 2014 SF/F/H Holiday Gift Guide

Ah, the smell of the holidays approaching. Warm turkey, tasty stuffing…and the fear of matching loved ones with gifts.

Fortunately, for those of us whose loved ones include readerly geeks and nerds, I’ve put together a 2014 Holiday Gift Guide to make your shopping easier.

It’s up now over at the Kirkus Reviews blog…go check it out.

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MIND MELD: The Best Book Openings

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

This week we asked our participants to talk about favorite openings of stories and novels…

Q: Starting a book or a novella on the right foot is a time honored technique for hooking a reader into reading a book and being drawn through the narrative. What are your favorite opening scenes in novels and stories? What made them effective?

Here’s what they said…

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Right now, for less than $2, you can get House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter on the Kindle, Nook, Google and Apple platforms.

Here’s the book description:

Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia’s been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It’s time for revenge — and to take up the mantle of the city’s Guardian.

Then Olivia’s estranged daughter, Harlow, arrives. She hates being fae, but her powers are exactly what Augustine needs to catch the vampires. Can he convince her to help him in time? Or will the sparks between them send her running again?

The $1.99 price is only available for a limited time, so act now if you want it. The sequel, City of Eternal Night, comes out next week!

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Watch Neil Gaiman Read “Bad Neil Gaiman” Stories

I suspect that when the Wits radio station hosted the “Bad Neil Gaiman Challenge”, they knew the hilarity that would ensue. Hundreds of entrants wrote their best bad Neil Gaiman story. Now we can all share in that painful-but-funny goodness by watching Neil himself read the winning entries.
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#BestMashupEver: Batman vs. Darth Vader

Of all the mashups I’ve seen, this is a pretty damn good one. Epic, even. Watch and tell me I’m wrong.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-11-26

Interviews & Profiles

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My friend John has been to a lot of conventions, and I mean a lot. I don’t want to make him feel old, but he attended his first convention the same year I was born. When he mentioned that he’d kept the program books from most if not all of the cons he’d attended, I knew I had to snag him for a Convention Attention interview! He even let me snap photos of a bunch of the program books. Just wait till you see the artwork on these, everything from book cover quality to copyright infringing fan art.

In a way, I’ve got John to thank for the existence of this monthly column. He’s the guy who talked me into going to my very first scifi convention a few years ago. I had a fantastic time, and couldn’t wait to go to another one, and then another one, and then another one.

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Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc (the latest of which is Vacant), has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! You can visit her at Twitter at @ahugheswriter or on the web at www.ahugheswriter.com.

We Are the Worlds

by Alex Hughes

A friend came to me about a year ago, and told me that she’d been hearing a lot about this Doctor Who thing. She and I had been roommates years ago, and she respected my opinion on TV shows. Now, even though she didn’t like “the whole aliens thing” she wanted me to show her a few Doctor Who episodes so she could understand what it was all about. I said sure, and we watched the first weeping angel episode, the Pompeii episode, and one set in Victorian England. She had a very skeptical look on her face when we finished, and I assumed that was that.

Two months later, she came back, and she told me that she’d been binge watching Doctor Who on Netflix for weeks. I was surprised, and asked why. She told me that while she still wasn’t crazy about “the alien thing” that the show wasn’t really about the aliens. It was about us, about humanity. And that it gave her hope at the end of the day that we might yet work things out. I smiled. I had just converted one more poor unsuspecting soul into the world of geekdom.

What my friend realized on her own was something us geeks have known for a very long time. Science fiction and fantasy aren’t about the aliens, or at least not often. Most of the time the stories we tell are stories about us, about our hopes and our fears, and our choices to embrace the very best of humanity, the very worst, or anything else in between.
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Cover Reveal: THE VOID by Timothy S. Johnston

The Void is coming from Timothy S. Johnston and Carina Press on March 30, 2015. This is the third book in The Tanner Sequence, a series of standalone murder mysteries set in unique and claustrophobic environments. The first two are The Furnace (2013) and The Freezer (2014).

Here’s the cover and synopsis (larger cover appears after the jump!
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Anne Leonard! – Sarah Chorn

Anne Leonard has been writing fantasy and other fiction since she was fourteen and finally, after a career with as many detours as Odysseus, published her first novel, Moth and Spark, in February. She has a lot of letters after her name that are useful when trying to impress someone. She has worked in libraries, academia, and the legal field, and before becoming a full-time writer was a practicing attorney. She lives in Northern California with her husband, teenage son, and two black cats.

THE DANCERS OF ARUN by Elizabeth A. Lynn

by Anne Leonard
Most of the sci-fi and fantasy books that I read over and over as a teenager have long since vanished from my bookshelves. One set which has not, however, is a trilogy collectively called The Chronicles of Tornor, by Elizabeth A. Lynn. The first two books, Watchtower and The Dancers of Arun were published in 1979; the third, The Northern Girl, was published in 1980. All three of the paperbacks that I have are blurbed with a quotation from Joanna Russ, “An adventure story for humanists and feminists.”
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Beginning next month, Open Road Media will be publishing ebook editions of classic and beloved works from several science fiction and fantasy authors including Joe Haldeman, Poul Anderson, Nancy Springer, Todd McCaffrey, Bruce Sterling, Philip Wylie, and John Jakes.

Check below to see several dozen of the upcoming titles…

  1. Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling (Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy)
  2. Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling (Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy)
  3. Involution Ocean by Bruce Sterling (Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy)

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Courtesy of the publisher, we have 2 copies of the book Sustenance: A Saint-Germain novel by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro to give away to 2 lucky SF Signal readers!

Here’s more about what the book is about:

The vampire Count Saint-Germain protects Americans fleeing persecution—and becomes trapped in a web of betrayal, deceit, and murder in post-WWII Europe in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s SUSTENANCE

The powerful House Un-American Activities Committee hunted communists both at home and abroad. In the late 1940s, the vampire Count Saint-Germain is caught up in intrigue surrounding a group of Americans who have fled to postwar Paris. Some speak out against HUAC and battle the authorities.

Saint-Germain swears to do his best to protect his friends, but even his skills may not be able to stand against agents of the OSS and the brand-new CIA. And he has an unexpected weakness: his lover, Charis, who has returned to Paris under mysterious circumstances.

And here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:
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Tuesday Tune: The “Star Trek” Fight Music Remix

One of the most iconic scenes of the original Star Trek series appeared in the Ted Sturgeon-written episode “Amok Time“, in which Kirk and Spock fought to the death to a music soundtrack that haunts me to this day.

Less haunting is this modern remix of that music…

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