Roll Perception Plus Awareness: Mindjammer

Welcome back to Roll Perception Plus Awareness, a column about roleplaying games and their place in a genre reader’s and writer’s world.

It’s the Second Age of Space, 200 years after the invention of a faster-than-light drive has arrested the seemingly inevitable senescence of humanity and brought about the possibilities of a true galactic culture. In the 10,000 years since the first Age of Space and that slow decline, humanity spread to the stars in vast waves of sublight colonization. Now, with planing, a faster than light travel drive, the Commonality has spread out from Old Earth, with a new strength, a new drive and new purpose.

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This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Writer, artist, freelance journalist. Published my first SF-stories over 25 years ago. Two years ago I’ve started my own eBook publishing house and I’m publishing work from other writers as well as my own material.
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William Ritter lives and teaches in Springfield, Oregon. The Sherlock Holmes–style adventure Jackaby is his first novel. He began writing Jackaby in the middle of the night when his son was still an infant. After getting up to care for him, Will would lie awake, his mind creating rich worlds and fantasies—such as the one in New Fiddleham. Follow William at his website and on Twitter as @Willothewords.

Doctor Who Distilled

by William Ritter

Your fervent, occasionally unhealthy enthusiasm for Doctor Who has finally piqued the interest of your last non-Whovian friends. You’ve been scribbling “Bad Wolf” in the margins of their history books for years, freaking them out by staring unblinkingly at every stone angel you see, and answering their legitimate questions, such as “What have you done with all of my left shoes?” with a cheeky “Spoilers!” Well, congratulations, all of your hard work has finally paid off—they’ve reached out an arm and given you the chance to pull them aboard the TARDIS!

One problem—that big Peter Capaldi party you’ve been planning is right around the corner! Your Whovian hold-out doesn’t have time to sit down and start from the beginning! You need to cherry-pick the best of the best. (Trust me, don’t leave them to their own devices. My brother-in-law tried “giving it a go” three times on network television. By pure chance he got “The Girl in the Fireplace” EVERY time. He is a fan now, but he’s developed a Pavlovian response and weeps uncontrollable whenever he hears the opening credits.) I don’t recommend starting a newbie with the classic series either—not because it isn’t worthy, but because fine wine is wasted on an unrefined palate. So where to begin?

Without further ado, because I know you’ve got darling little Dalek cupcakes and Cybermuffins to bake before the big day, here is Doctor Who Distilled. In just 5 hours of screen time, these episodes showcase the breadth of Doctor Who. They feature Eccleston, Tennant, Smith, and Hurt’s incarnations of The Doctor, and introduce viewers to Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory, Jack, River, and Clara.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Ria Bridges! – Sarah Chorn

Ria Bridges is an ex-pat Brit currently living on the east coast of Canada, along with 5 cats and a glorified budgie named Albert. When not reading and reviewing books on bibliotropic.net, Ria can often be found obsessively playing video games, being an amateur photographer, or experimenting with various fibre arts. Ria dreams of someday writing something of publishable quality, and then finding the courage to actually follow through and try to get it published.

Meep Girl

by Ria Bridges

MEEP!

The sound is loud enough to travel beyond the closed door of the training room, to reach the ears of the employees siting in the lounge, startling one. “What was that?”

“Some girl in the new-hire class,” is the reply.

A third person pipes up. “Meep Girl. Yeah, she’s got some medical thing that makes her do that, I guess.”

The first person laughs. “Seriously? There’s no such thing, right?” She pauses, considering. “Is there? That’s just so weird!”

I’m sitting nearby, quiet, half afraid to speak up because I don’t want the focus of the conversation to shift to me, cowardly in the way that I won’t say, “It’s called Tourette’s syndrome, guys, and I’ve got it too.”
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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Nina Allan was born in Whitechapel, London, grew up in the Midlands and West Sussex, and studied Russian literature at the University of Exeter and Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

“I wrote my first short story at the age of six. Recurring obsessions include old clocks and rare insects, forgotten manuscripts and abandoned houses. Writers who have inspired and continue to inspire me include among many others Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster, J. G Ballard, Roberto Bolano, M. John Harrison, Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link, and of course Christopher Priest, my partner and first reader. We live and work in the historic seaside town of Hastings, East Sussex.

My stories have appeared regularly in premier British speculative fiction magazines Interzone, Black Static and Crimewave, and have featured in the anthologies Best Horror of the Year #2, The Year’s Best SF #28 and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 and 2013. My story ‘Angelus’ won the Aeon Award in 2007, and short fiction of mine has shown up on BFS and BSFA shortlists on several occasions.

A first collection of my short fiction, A Thread of Truth, was published by Eibonvale Press in 2007, followed by my story cycle The Silver Wind in 2011. My most recent books are the story collection Microcosmos (NewCon Press March 2013) the novella Spin (TTA Press 2013) and Stardust: The Ruby Castle Stories (PS Publishing April 2013). My first novel, The Race, set in an alternate and near-future version of southeast England, will be published in summer 2014 by NewCon Press.”

Nina was kind enough to chat with me about her Shirley Jackson Award nominated novella, THE GATEWAY.


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your story and what inspired you to write it?
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Judd Trichter.

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Here is the table of contents for the new issue of Analog:

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Here’s the table of contents for the new issue of Asimov’s.
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Award winning Composer & Pianist Sonya Belousova and Director Tom Grey bring the classic Japanese anime, Akira, to life

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-29

Interviews & Profiles

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GAME REVIEW: Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is an unforgiving fast-paced platform-jumper game published by Team Meat in 2010.

Meat Boy is the name of our protagonist. No, it’ s not a lewd stage name. Meat Boy is literally a cube of raw red meat with arms, legs, and a face. The love of his life is Bandage Girl who, as you might guess, is an anthropomorphic Band-Aid. If you’re confused, so am I. I feel like I’m missing a joke. Are these two paired because Meat Boy is literally dripping blood and Bandage Girl is an item meant to absorb blood? I don’t know.
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This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I will always be a city boy. I won’t tell you I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I can tell you I’ve always loved to read. Not so with academic books, though I seem to be stuck with them even until now. When I wanted to take up English (Creative English in particular) in university, my mother insisted that I do…more. So Medicine it was, and now I’m doing both, and I’m grateful for that.

Finding a balance, now that’s another story.
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REVIEW SUMMARY: In Bald New World, Tieryas Liu explores social complications, structure and
culture of a world in which everyone loses their hair.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The story follows Nick Guan as he moves between a Dystopian future set in L.A. and parts of Asia with a twisted plot revealing shocking truths about hair loss on a global scale beneath a seedy underworld filled with spies and murder.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Descriptive, engaging narrative that is smart in its observations of popular culture; deep, personal narrative set against intense, raw scenes.
CONS: Fast paced ending gave illusion of being a tad rushed.
BOTTOM LINE: A wonderful, clever narrative that builds an intriguing look at a plausible yet fantastic future while remaining a personal story of man’s struggles with societal norms and family.
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In episode 254 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester brings together Gail Carriger, Jay Garmon, Derek Austin Johnson, and Michael R. Underwood to discuss:

Does the average book buyer/reader care about the Hachette v Amazon battle? SHOULD they care and why?

The average book buyer probably doesn’t know there’s a battle going on, so WHY should they care? WHY should they not? Is this whole thing contained within the SF&F community and, therefore, a non-issue for most people? Hachette is a multi-billion dollar company being portrayed as the innocent underdog – why? Is that accurate? Is there anyone beyond authors who will truly be hurt by all of this? What does all of this mean for the average reader going forward? What does all of this mean for authors going forward? What about independent publishing? Will people be people an buy their books wherever they want no matter what happens here?

This is also only the first of several battles to come. The publishers have to renegotiate with Amazon one by one… so will we be seeing this every couple months/years forever?

Lastly – what about the new Kindle Unlimited? Do we care? Is it good, bad, indifferent?

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For a limited time Incandescence by Greg Egan will be on sale for $1.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The sale begins today but, at the time of this post, not yet…so check the price before ordering!

Here’s the description:

The long-awaited new novel from Greg Egan! Hugo Award-winning author Egan returns to the field with Incandescence, a new novel of hard SF.

The Amalgam spans nearly the entire galaxy, and is composed of innumerable beings from a wild variety of races, some human or near it, some entirely other. The one place that they cannot go is the bulge, the bright, hot center of the galaxy. There dwell the Aloof, who for millions of years have deflected any and all attempts to communicate with or visit them. So when Rakesh is offered an opportunity to travel within their sphere, in search of a lost race, he cannot turn it down.

Roi is a member of that lost race, which is not only lost to the Amalgam, but lost to itself. In their world, there is but toil, and history and science are luxuries that they can ill afford.

Rakesh’s journey will take him across millennia and light years. Roi’s will take her across vistas of learning and discovery just as vast.

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Check out the table of contents for the new alternate history anthology Wars to End All Wars: Alternate Tales from the Trenches edited by N.E. White, currently available for only $0.99!

Here’s the book description:

Alternate tales set during the first World War, this short story collection takes history and tweaks it.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1. Seven authors, including the award-winning Science Fiction and Fantasy author, Elizabeth Moon, commemorate that event by writing stories set during the great war, adding their own, sometimes speculative, interpretations and answering the question, “What if…?”

Here’s the table of contents…
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Looks like some interesting things are in store for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.

Here’s the Season 5 trailer that premiered at ComicCon…
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel The Machine Awakes by Adam Christopher, follow-on to Burning Dark….

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Books Received: July 28, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-28

Interviews & Profiles

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