EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Cecil Castellucci on After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth and The Year of the Beasts. Her picture book, Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN, Tor.com, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2. She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus and a two time Macdowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Cecil! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

CECIL CASTELLUCCI: Hello, Charles!  Well, I would say that the essential characteristics of Dyslit would be a catastrophe, an apocalypse, or a definite sense of a before and an after.  Another thing that I find is that often there is a small tribe of people.  You know, like a reduction in population.  Or a sense of unlike people being thrown together.  A ragged rabble group.  Obviously this depends on the story and where / how far the surviving civilization is after the incident.

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TOC: Midnight Echo #8

Midnight Echo has posted the table of contents for issue #8:

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Karin Tidbeck’s Short Story “Who is Arvid Pekon?” Brought to Film

Swedish Author Karin Tidbeck has a new collection out called Jagannath. Comprised of thirteen stories, an introduction by Elizabeth Hand, and the author’s afterword, Jagannath has been receiving some impressive endorsements and promises to be a rewarding read.

Now comes word that one of the stories in the collection (“Who is Arvid Pekon?”) had been made into a short film by Patrik Eriksson.

Press release and movie stills after the jump.
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The Best SF/F Reads in November

Another month, another batch of science fiction and fantasy stories hitting the bookstore shelves.

Today at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I give my my picks for The Best SF/F Reads in November.

Fun with Friends—Helen Lowe Talks with Fellow Authors from Australia and New Zealand: Today’s Guest Is Adam Christopher

About the Series:

“Fun with Friends” is an SF Signal interview series in which I feature fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand. The format is one interview per month, with no more than five questions per interview, focusing on “who the author is” and “what she/he does” in writing terms.

This month’s guest is Adam Christopher, a New Zealand author now based in the UK,whose first novel, Empire State (Angry Robot, 2011), received a very positive reception. His second novel, Seven Wonders (Angry Robot, 2012), is new out.

Allow me to introduce Adam Christopher:
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Happy Halloween – Here are 64 Clips From the Best Horror Films Ever

What do you get when you stuff clips from 64 horror movies into a five-minute montage?

This.

Happy Halloween.

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Star Wars and Disney: What’s Your Take?

By now, you’ve heard the news that LucasFilm, producers of the Star Wars franchise, was purchased by Disney. The bigger news is that George Lucas’ treatments for the legendary third Stars Wars trilogy will likely be coming to theaters within a few years. That’s right, Star Wars: Episode VII is coming.

This sounds like great news for fans (besides the mashup crowd), but is it? It seems everyone has their own opinion, so tell us:

Do you think the Disney/LucasFilm merge is a good one for science fiction fans?

To help you decide, here’s Lucas himself talking about the deal:
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MIND MELD: The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy

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

This week, just in time for Halloween, we asked our distinguished panelists about Gothic and Urban Fantasy…

The theme of this year’s World Fantasy Convention is “Northern Gothic and Urban Fantasy”. The thesis is that Urban Fantasy represents the new Gothic; castles and haunted locations have been replaced by the Modern City.

Q: How do you see the intersection between Gothic Horror and modern Urban Fantasy? How connected are these two genres in your mind?

This is what they had to say…

Lyda Morehouse
Lyda Morehouseis the author of the Archangel Protocol novels, most recently Resurrection Code, out from Mad Norwegian Press. She also writes novels as Tate Halloway. Check out LydaMorehouse.com to find out more about her and her work.

I suppose if you go back far enough, this is a valid theory. It doesn’t, however, happen to be mine. Probably because I’m not literate enough. I’m not sure I’ve read a single book that Michael Ashley or John Clute references in their essays.
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TOC: Nightmare Magazine, November 2012

Nightmare Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 10/31/2012

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a horror story for all of you: Dread Unlocks
  2. Protecting Project Pulp has “Raiders of the Spaceways” by Henry Kuttner
  3. New-to-the-scene writer Stephen King (he’s going places!) has episode one of a comic on his website: Little Green God of Agony

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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Tidbits for 10/30/12

Interviews and Profiles

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[GUEST POST] Geoff Nelder Offers A Glimpse at the Director’s Cut of ARIA: Left Luggage

Geoff Nelder escaped from his roots in the south of England and now lives in the north. He would do most things for a laugh but had to pay the mortgage so he taught I.T. and Geography in the local High school. After thirty years in the education business, he nearly became good at it. A post-war baby boomer, he has post-grad researched and written about climatic change, ran computer clubs and was editor of a Computer User Group magazine for eleven years. Geoff lives in Chester with his long-suffering wife and has two grown-up children whose sense and high intelligence persist in being a mystery to him. Visit Geoff’s website or his blog to learn more about him.

A Glimpse at the Director’s Cut of ARIA: Left Luggage

A power surge epiphany hit me while cycling up a steep Welsh hill five years ago. An original idea: infectious amnesia. Not mass amnesia but one you catch from being near someone else who also has it. Infectious amnesia doesn’t exist. Thank goodness, but imagine the ramifications if it did. You are on a bus when a man gets on with a new virus, one that loses memory backwards at the rate of a year per week. By the time the bus stops, all the passengers, including you, have ARIA (Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia). The driver has it too, and all her passengers until the end of her shift. You go shopping on the way home. Your spouse works in the power plant, your kids go to school. How long before industry stops, society breaks down, and your kids forget how to read, write and talk?

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Steven Gould on After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

Steven Gould is the author of the frequently banned book Jumper, as well as, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, 7th Sigma, and the upcoming Impulse as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, and Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (M. J. Locke) and their two daughters, where he keeps chickens and falls down a great deal.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Steven! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

STEVEN GOULD: I personally think we owe Dystopian lit to Utopian lit, cause, really, Utopian Societies have to be a nightmare. What possible “perfect” society is going to be good for everybody?  Most Dystopian lit is really about a society that those in power think is a utopian or they are striving for a utopian and this is the problem. There are an awful lot of us square pegs out there who don’t fit in round holes but you hit us hard enough with a hammer or a boot, and we’ll jam in that hole. This is 1984. This is Brave New World. This is Uglies.

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[Outside the Frame] The Other Side of Comics

Deciding to write a bi-weekly column about alternative, small press, and creator-owned comics was easy. I love independent comics. Every week I enjoy new work from the bigger-but-not-mainstream houses like Fantagraphics, Oni PressRed 5 Comics, plus web-only comics such as XKCD, A Softer World, Secret Asian Man, and Hark! A Vagrant. I adore comics anthologies, like the annual Best of American Comics and Secret Identities, The Asian American Superhero Anthology. I go to comics conventions, read the blogs of other comics critics and historians, and get excellent recommendations from my comics-reading friends.

Finding enough material to talk about wouldn’t be a problem.

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SF Signal Welcomes Carrie Cuinn!

If there’s one thing you count on at SF Signal, it’s a plethora of editorial gaffes and misspellings. But the one thing we do get right is adding stellar members to our blog army. Case in point: our newest member Carrie Cuinn!

We asked Carrie to describe herself using 260 characters, punctuation included. We think she succeeded quite nicely:

Carrie Cuinn is an author, editor, bibliophile, modernist, and geek. In her spare time she reads, draws, makes things, takes other things apart, and sometimes gets a new tattoo. You can find her on twitter as @CarrieCuinn and online at http://carriecuinn.com.

Now that she has mastered the task of character-counting, it’s time to present her with an even greater, more important challenge: buying bagels for the entire team! Or, barring that, just me..because the team is getting pretty big (if you know what I mean).

Anywho, welcome aboard, Carrie! We’re thrilled to add you to our team!

While Carrie does some sleuthing to find out that my favorite bagel flavor is blueberry (hint, hint), please take a gander at the first installment of her new column about comics, Outside the Frame.

And please join me in welcoming Carrie to the team!

Tuesday Tune: “I Do (Come True)” by Swimming

Here’s a science fictional music video from the band Swimming for their song “I Do (Come True)”. (There’s also a short film that’s an alternative edit of the music video.) The narrative is based on the last living human and their mission to seed new life in the universe.

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[GUEST POST] Sharon Lynn Fisher on The Ghost Planet / Solaris Connection

Sharon Lynn Fisher is the author of Ghost Planet, coming from Tor Books on Oct. 30. The book — a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist — is a sci-fi/romance blend that offers a “fresh and fascinating take on the human-alien problem” (says author Linnea Sinclair). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next novel and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.

The Ghost Planet / Solaris Connection

One question that interviewers always ask is how you came up with the premise for your book. While this seems fairly straightforward, and I have managed to work out a fairly straightforward answer so it doesn’t run on for a thousand words, it’s really a multifaceted question.

Because there is the idea trigger — which for Ghost Planet came when I thought of the title, and then noodled on what the story behind that title might be — and then there is the actual idea, which comes out of this crazy stew that’s been simmering for years in the creative crockpot, where your subconscious has been happily tossing in ingredients with little to no direct involvement from you.

So one thing that goes into writers’ crockpots is other stories that have impacted them in some way. Many people note the similarity between the premise of Ghost Planet and the premise of Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem — basically, the fact that my ghost-aliens are reincarnated beings generated by the colonists’ connection to dead family and friends. I thought it might be fun to take a closer look at how that sci-fi classic influenced Ghost Planet.

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of “Ghost Planet” by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Courtesy of Tor, SF Signal has 3 copies of Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Ghost Planet to give away to 3 lucky SF Signal readers!

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world—a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.

As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy—creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone—oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love—Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.

But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:
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The Cutest Ads for Zombie Chocolate You’ll Ever See

Cadbury pushes their creme egg product annually around Halloween. I usually pay no never mind, but this series of ads for Cadbury’s “Screme Eggs” is inspired.

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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 10/30/2012

Just for a change of pace, I’m going to see if I can get a free fiction listing without a broken link. Don’t get used to it. I can’t deliver perfection; it’s not like I’m Dave Tackett (I do, however, steal his links).

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. Red Penny Papers releases its Fall issue
  2. The Mango is back!
  3. Broken Sea returns to our listing with a new series: 2109: Black Sun Rising

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