Free Fiction for 12/31/11 – The Last Free Fiction Post?

[Editor’s note: Sad news…this will be the last free fiction post for the foreseeable future. Many, many thanks to Dave Tackett for providing this very helpful service to the sff community. Alas, he is also closing up Quasar Dragon. If someone else would like to pick up the reigns here at SF Signal, please email John D.

Written

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SHORT FILM: ‘The Gift’

Here’s an excellent short film directed by Carl E. Rinsch to wind down the year…

SF Tidbits for 12/31/11

Here’s a nice batch of sf tidbits to close out 2011. Happy New Year everyone!

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Weekend Playlist: The Best Geek Albums of 2011

2011 has been one fantastic and interesting year for geek music: we’ve seen some great releases over the past couple of months, referencing everything from physics to superheroes to novels to the general geeky livelihood that we all enjoy. Picking out the top notable albums of the year was pretty easy, but picking the best from that list was a bit harder. Here’s what rocked our speakers this year:

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SF Tidbits for 12/30/11

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eBook Deal: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood

Today’s eBok Deal of the Day at Amazon is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale which is available for $1.49 — a $15.46 savings off the ebook retail price.

In a startling departure from her previous novels ( Lady Oracle , Surfacing ), respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist’s nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the “morally fit” Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: “of Fred”), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.

[via Geeks of Doom]

10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books For January 2012

Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Gee, I wonder what science fiction and fantasy books being published in January 2012 might be worth a look…”

Being the fortune teller that I am (inasmuch as wearing a glittery cape and theatrically waving my hands over a cheap crystal ball can be interpreted so) I have put together a handy list of 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books For January 2012.

As usual, I cheat and list a few more because, hey, there are more than 10 SF/F books being published in January, y’know?

SF Signal 4.0

You’re looking at the new and improved SF Signal!

OK, maybe not much has been improved, besides having a new look. Yet.

After several failed attempts over the past couple of years, we’ve finally migrated away from Movable Type to WordPress.  The short-term goal is get to get things working at least to where they were before. In the longer term, we’ll be looking at adding new features. Consider this a work of progress. (In spaaaaace!)

You may now go about your business.

Anarchy Books’ Free Book Promotion

A note from Andy Remic of Anarchy Books

Anarchy Books have a very special New Year gift for all you lucky shiny new Kindle owners.

During the next 4/5 days over the New Year period, a selection of Anarchy Books titles will be offered completely FREE! So if you fancy any of the following novels, get yo ass over to Amazon and stock up your Kindle with Anarchy for the New Year….

Participating titles:

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SF Tidbits for 12/29/11

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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘EVE: Templar One’ vs. ‘A Million Suns’ vs. ‘The Chalice of Death’

Calling all armchair art critics! It’s time once again for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are today’s contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Books shown here:

  1. EVE: Templar One by Tony Gonzales (Tor Books; Artist: Unknown)
  2. A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Razorbill; Artist: Unknown)
  3. The Chalice of Death: Three Novels of Mystery in Space by Robert Silverberg (Paizo Publishing; Artist: Unknown)

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

Sitting in with The Functional Nerds

Regular listeners to the SF Signal podcast know that the smooth, sultry voice of our host belongs to Patrick Hester and that he has his own podcast with John Anealio called The Functional Nerds. Last week, I was invited on the show and that episode is now up.

So head on over to The Functional Nerds to listen to Patrick, John, special guest Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and myself geek out about stuff!

(I’m still annoyed at myself for neglecting to mention Spotify’s biggest dealbreaker – the requirement that all new accounts register via Facebook. I’m happy I got in before all that nonsense…)

Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for January 2012

Daily Science Fiction has announced its January 2012 line-up of free stories:

Plus, a special bonus:

We are pleased to announce The Numbers Quartet, a series of 12 stories based on important concepts of mathematics, written by Aliette de Bodard, Nancy Fulda, Stephen Gaskell, and Benjamin Rosenbaum. The first story launches on Wednesday, January 4th. The series will continue for the following 11 Wednesdays, culminating on March 22nd. The following stories are scheduled for email distribution in January of 2012. Each story will be posted at www.dailysciencefiction.com one week after its exclusive email distribution. The stories from January 2012 will appear in a Kindle edition available on Amazon.

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SF Tidbits for 12/28/11

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The Golden Age Isn’t Always Golden

I sometimes think that the term “Golden Age” leads to the idea that all stories from that era are light or optimistic tales with valiant heroes and happy endings. When we think of Golden Age stories, we tend to think of the most famous stories, many of which came from technological optimists like Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. The Golden Age bridges a time leading into the Second World War and the boom that followed and the stories reflect the changing mood, just as stories written today reflect the mood of our times. Yet for every Kimball Kinnison, there is a story with a hero more grounded in the realities of the time. And while there are many stories from the Golden Age that convey a sense of optimism, there are a fair number that give us a more realistic view of the world in which they were written.

All of this has been on my mind recently because I’d seen a number of discussions online where the question was asked why there aren’t more positively slanted stories in science fiction today? It is a valid question, but one that often seems to be followed by “…like stories from the Golden Age.” The type of story a reader desires is a matter of personal taste. But as one who has spent the entire year reading every single issue of Astounding from July 1939 through 1941 as part of my Vacation in the Golden Age, I feel obliged to point out that this perception of the Golden Age is inaccurate. There are plenty of dark stories with nasty characters, anti-heroes and bleak outlooks. Some of these stories are probably ones that you’ve even heard of.

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GIVEAWAY: ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness

Courtesy of Penguin Books, SF Signal has a paperback copy of Deborah Harkness’ debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, to give away to 1 lucky reader!

Here is what the book is about:

In a sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches became the “it” book of early 2011, bringing Deborah Harkness into the spotlight and galvanizing fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense.

And here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:

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SF Tidbits for 12/27/11

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SHORT FILM: ‘Seed’ by Ben Richardson & Daniel Bird

Directed & Animated by Ben Richardson & Daniel Bird, Seed is about “an egg and an apple build competing broadcast towers that vie for the attention of a transistor radio. With its complex characterization and narrative of animal evolution, competition and reproduction, SEED is a beautiful and sinister stop-motion story about the struggle to survive.”

[via Cartoon Brew]

Books Received: December 26, 2011

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.

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SF Tidbits for 12/26/11

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