Free SF/F/H Fiction for 3/31/2012

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FINAL TOC: ‘Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6′ Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt has posted the final table of contents for his upcoming anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, which will be published on April 18, 2012:

  1. “Between the Rocks” by Anna Paradox
  2. “The Thirteens” by Gene Mederos
  3. “Like So Much Refuse” by Simon C. Larter
  4. “Jump Point Blockade” by David Lee Summers
  5. “First Contact” by Patrick Hester
  6. “Isis” by Dana Bell
  7. “The Book of Enoch” by Matthew Cook
  8. “The Joystick War” by Jean Johnson
  9. “Never Look Back” by Grace Bridges
  10. “The Gammi Experiment” by Sarah Hendrix
  11. “Space Battle of the Bands” by C.J. Henderson
  12. “A Battle for Parantwer” by Anthony Cardno
  13. “With All Due Respect” by Johne Cook
  14. “Final Defense” by Selene O’Rourke
  15. “Bait and Switch” by Jaleta Clegg
  16. “The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii Story)” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  17. “Guard Dog” by Mike Resnick and Brad R. Torgersen

Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for April 2012

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

  • April 2: “What Jerry Knows” by Shane D. Rhinewald
  • April 3: “This Rough Magic” by Christie Yant
  • April 4: “After” by C.L. Holland
  • April 5: “Back in My Day” by Stacey Danielle Lepper
  • April 6: “Nameless” by Mari Ness
  • April 9: “Older, Wiser, Time Traveler” by M. Bennardo
  • April 10: “Rust” by Steven Saus
  • April 11: “A Case of Curiosities” by Von Savant
  • April 12: “Fallen Through Time” by Amy Gaertner
  • April 13: “A Slice of 3.141592653589793238462643″ by Oliver Buckram
  • April 16: “Objects in Space” by Alex Livingston
  • April 17: “Infested” by Stephen V. Ramey
  • April 18: “A Special Day” by Shannon Fay
  • April 19: “Undone” by Greg Porter
  • April 20: “Mad Cats and Englishmen” by Laura Anne Gilman
  • April 23: “Ella and the Man” by K.S. Clay
  • April 24: “You’ve Ruined This for Me” by Ewan C. Forbes
  • April 25: “Dolly at the End of the World” by Amanda C. Davis
  • April 26: “You Can’t Come Here Any More” by Luc Reid
  • April 27: “The Bittersweet Here and After” by Margaret Leanne Clark
  • April 30: “Diatra” by Kevin Pickett

SF Tidbits for 3/31/12

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MOVIE REVIEW: Wrath of the Titans (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY:  Witless sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans that plays fast and loose with Greek mythology and internal logic.

RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:  Hades bleeds power from Zeus to bring about the reign of the Titan Kronos, causing Perseus to once again do battle.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: I’m thinking…well-done special effects, I suppose…
CONS: Messy script; frantic, pointless direction; dull performances…need I go on?

Somebody gravely insulted Zeus.  How else to explain the existence of Wrath of the Titans, sequel to the 2010 remake of the 1981 pseudoclassic Clash of the Titans?  That was a huge hit, so of course the studio gods would demand and greenlight a sequel.   And, upon hearing of its existence, again I held my breath.  My review of the previous movie was, shall we say, somewhat less than enthusiastic, but I raised my hopes upon hearing that Titans II boasted a new director and writers.  Okay, we’d still have to sit through another movie starring Sam Worthington—an actor so devoid of charisma or presence that he makes Kevin Costner look like Sir Laurence Olivier—but if the studio replaced Louis Leterrier as director and Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi as screen scenarists, then how bad could it be?  (Note to self: I must, must learn when I ask, “How bad could it be?” the answer will be, “Worse than I can possibly expect.”)

Then I learned who the studio brought in to replace them.
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[GUEST POST] Laura Tisdall on “The In-Between” – A Musical About Parallel Worlds

Here’s a synopsis of The In-Between, Laura Tisdall’s new musical about parallel worlds:

Sarcastic nineteen-year-old dropout and perpetual under-achiever, Flick Wimple, has always lived in the shadow of her caring but neurotic elder sister, Alice. Since their parents died in a car crash, Alice has had to become more of a mother to Flick – a responsibility that traps them both and heightens their love-hate relationship. Resigned to the way things are, Flick determines to expect nothing exceptional from life and give little in return.

She is forced to re-evaluate, however, when one day she steps through the wrong doorway and finds herself trapped in the space between parallel worlds; the place known as The In-Between. There she is met by the mysterious, if slightly nerdy, Guide Calicus; a young man who has spent his entire life leading people between worlds. He offers Flick the chance to leave her problems behind and journey to another world and, as he leads her through the In-Between, the two begin to form a close bond, causing him to wonder what it would be like to live a life of his own.

But all is not right in the In-Between; other Guides are starting to go missing and tears are appearing in the walls… Ultimately, Flick must make a choice; to hold on to her past, her sister and the world she knows, or risk everything to try and save much more…

We invited Laura to talk more about how this interesting story came to be…
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The Book Trailer for Scott Sigler’s “Nocturnal” is Not For The Squeamish


This book Trailer for Scott Sigler’s upcoming novel Nocturnal (being launched today) is definitely not for the squeamish.

But first, the book description:

Scott Sigler reinvented the alien-invasion story in his bestselling novels Infected and Contagious… rebooted the biotech thriller in Ancestor…now, in his most ambitious, sweeping novel to date, he works his magic on the paranormal thriller, taking us inside a terrifying underworld of subterranean predators that only his twisted mind could invent.

Homicide detective Bryan Clauser is losing his mind.

How else to explain the dreams he keeps having—dreams that mirror, with impossible accuracy, the gruesome serial murders taking place all over San Francisco? How else to explain the feelings these dreams provoke in him—not disgust, not horror, but excitement?

As Bryan and his longtime partner, Lawrence “Pookie” Chang, investigate the murders, they learn that things are even stranger than they at first seem. For the victims are all enemies of a seemingly ordinary young boy—a boy who is gripped by the same dreams that haunt Bryan. Meanwhile, a shadowy vigilante, seemingly armed with superhuman powers, is out there killing the killers. And Bryan and Pookie’s superiors—from the mayor on down—seem strangely eager to keep the detectives from discovering the truth.

Doubting his own sanity and stripped of his badge, Bryan begins to suspect that he’s stumbled into the crosshairs of a shadow war that has gripped his city for more than a century—a war waged by a race of killers living in San Francisco’s unknown, underground ruins, emerging at night to feed on those who will not be missed.

And as Bryan learns the truth about his own intimate connections to the killings, he discovers that those who matter most to him are in mortal danger…and that he may be the only man gifted—or cursed—with the power to do battle with the nocturnals.

Featuring a dazzlingly plotted mystery and a terrifying descent into a nightmarish underworld—along with some of the most incredible action scenes ever put to paper, and an explosive, gut-wrenching conclusion you won’t soon forget—Nocturnal is the most spectacular outing to date from one of the genre’s brightest stars.

And here’s the trailer…
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GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Win a Copy of ‘The Gathering of the Lost’ by Helen Lowe

There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for a copy of Helen Lowe’s The Gathering of the Lost…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

SF Tidbits for 3/30/12

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New Author Spotlight: Brett Patton

New Author Spotlight is a series designed to introduce authors with 3 books or less in the different SF/F subgenres.

Today’s spotlight shines on Brett Patton!

Brett’s debut novel is Mecha Corps published by Roc.

Here’s the cover copy…

Matt Lowell is in hell-and there’s no place he’d rather be. At a training camp on the backwater planet of Earth, he and his fellow cadets are learning to ride Mechas: biomechanicals sporting both incredible grace and devastating firepower. Their ultimate aim is to combat the pirates of the Corsair Confederacy, but before they survive a battle, they have to survive their training.

Because every time Lowell and his comrades “plug in” to their Mechas, their minds are slowly being twisted and broken by an unseen power that is neither man…nor machine.

If you like military SF that uses mechanized armor, check out these other books:
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VIDEO: An Interview with George R.R. Martin

Here is the full interview with George R.R. Martin from at TIFF Bell Lightbox Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In it, he reveals a new chapter from the next in the series, Winds of Winter.

From the YouTube description: The #1 New York Times bestselling author discusses his epic saga A Song of Ice and Fire and its adaptation to the small screen as HBO Canada’s hit series Game of Throne.

[via Tor.com]

De-Parochializing SF Criticism: Is it Really Necessary? Or Even Possible?


“Science fiction criticism, of course, is still very much in the Formalist stage. It is often obsessed with “good” and “bad” – it is a mode of review rather than of criticism. Its effectiveness, in the majority of cases, is questionable.” – Lavie Tidhar

“[S]ince it is in the nature of SF’s oxymoronic fusion of the rational and the marvelous to challenge received notions of reality – sometimes seriously, sometimes playfully – critical provocation is part of SF’s generic identity.” – Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.

I had hoped to write more about the subject of reading fantastika this week, but I would rather take my time to absorb the new material I’m reading on the topic. Next week I will return to this subject, with an eye to examining how cultural assumptions about metaphor color how we read different modes of literary discourse. This week I want to discuss a topic that, like the death of science fiction, frequently arises  like a hungry zombie looking for brains to feast upon: the problem of “SF criticism.” This problem is a virtual feature of the field of fantastic literary production, one that seems at once simple and knotty.  The “problem” is that some sense of omission or parochialism is discerned in the critical discussion of the literature by an observer who then critiques the criticism itself.  The quotation above from Lavie Tidhar, in a post on the critical facets of Adam Roberts’ fiction, codifies a common viewpoint on the state of SF criticism, that it is unsophisticated and often doing a poor job of critique. But what is the job of SF criticism, and how does that job relate to how readers perceive the genre and engage it?  There is plenty of criticism in the field that is not reducible to a mere review, but the object of “SF criticism”  is still often critiqued as not being either reverent or constructive enough. And so the tension continues.  The question is, however, what the de-parochializing SF (and, and, to an extent, the broader field of fantastika) criticism (which, to be fair, has been increasingly academicized and elaborated) might accomplish?  Is such a shift necessary?
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TOC: Two New Million Writers Award Anthologies Edited by Jason Sanford

Jason Sanford has posted the table of contents for two (count ‘em) of his upcoming Million Writers Award anthologies anthologies, being publishd on June 14th:

Here are the tables of contents…
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SHORT FILM: “Chameleon” – Based on Short Story by Colin Harvey

Sam Lemberg has created this short film which is based on Colin Harvey’s short story, “Chameleon”. In the film, “A hostile race of aliens has invaded Earth and the government fears that the aliens are modifying their DNA to pose as humans. When a military officer abducted months ago mysteriously reappears, his wife is called in to ask him questions only she would know to find out who or what he really is.” The film stars James C. Burns (Call of Duty: Black Ops).

[via SFScope]

SF Tidbits for 3/29/12

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WINNERS: Signed Copy of ‘Low Town’ by Daniel Polansky

The winners of our Low Town giveaway have been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • J.M. from San Francisco, CA
  • Jim B. from Sunderland, MA
  • Peter S. from Macomb, MI
  • Rob H. from Florence, KY
  • Stephanie K. from Summerville, SC

You will be receiving your signed book soon!

[GUEST REVIEW] Constance Ash-Sublette on Sherwood Smith’s ‘Banner of the Damned’


Constance Ash-Sublette has published three novels and some short fiction; she edited Not of Woman Born, the first original anthology short-listed for the Philip K. Dick Award. Currently her writing focus is history, including the forthcoming The American Slave Coast From the Chesapeake to the Gulf, co-authored with Ned Sublette.

Banner of the Damned is set in the secondary fantasy world of Sartorias-deles; the events take place four centuries after the close of the previous Sartorians-deles epic series: Inda, The Fox, King’s Shield, Treason’s Shore, commonly called the Inda series. It is not necessary to have read these books before reading Banner of the Damned. All these titles are available from DAW.

Armies vs. Melende

Sherwood Smith should rank high on any list of military writers, though her novels are not military fantasy fiction per se. Julius Caesar would have caveats about her cavalry battle scenes. Her naval campaigns and battles, and the hand-to-hand fighting scenes on board ship, are the equal of Patrick O’Brian’s.
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TRAILER PARK: ‘Hotel Transylvania’, ‘Men In Black 3′ and ‘Total Recall’

We have a trio of trailers for you today. Sit back, pull up bag of microwave popcorn (you know you want some) and tell us which ones are must-sees and which ones are rentals.

Hotel Transylvania

Three words: Adam Sandler vehicle.

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10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Worth Checking Out in April 2012

A new reading month is almost upon us, and the choosy reader may wantt o check out my newest Kirkus Reviews blog post: 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Worth Checking Out in April 2012.

As usual, I cheat a little bit because, hey, there’s lots to choose from. Head on over and check out my picks.

REVIEW: The Indifference Engine by Professor Elemental

The Indifference EngineA few weeks back Andrew posted his Weekend Playlist of steampunk music. While there were several artists listed, one notable omission, as noted in the comments is Professor Elemental and his “The Indifference Engine” album (are they still called albums when there is no vinyl or plastic involved?).

Now you may be wondering who the good Professor is. Well, he’s a character devised by British hip hop artist Paul Alborough, though the Professor calls his musical genre chap hop. Not being a fan of hip hop, I can’t say for certain how closely he hews to the genre, but there is heavy dose of steampunk flavor in every song (as you can see from the cover), along with quite a bit of comedy, and, occasionally, some awesome lyrics. Intrigued? Then read on for my take on the album and a stream of the album itself so you can listen too, with some Earl Grey of course.
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