Archive for February, 2013

Edited by John Joseph Adams and published by TOR, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination features all original, all nefarious, all conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens of Diana Gabaldon, Austin Grossman, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Daniel H. Wilson and 17 OTHER EVIL GENIUSES.

The book description is this:

Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Dead Space by Martin Robinson

REVIEW SUMMARY: A beautiful, haunting compilation of art from the bestselling video game horror franchise Dead Space.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Over 300 iconic, full color images and sketches, with commentary from artists.

MY REVIEW

PROS: Absolutely stunning images that latch onto the mind in an icy death grip, annotations from artists deliver a glimpse into the twisted creative cycle that spawned such striking and grotesque visuals.
CONS: Some may consider the price steep.
BOTTOM LINE: An collection of art from all three Dead Space games, recommended for fans of the series, concept artists, and aspiring authors/horror film directors looking to add a serrated edge of inspiration to their work.

So how is this for something different – I’m going to review an art book! Bear with me, as this is a first, but I feel as though my love of video games and my limited stint at an art school provide me just enough knowledge to get the job done. As a disclaimer I must warn you, I haven’t played Dead Space 3 yet. Nor have I beaten Dead Space or Dead Space 2, though I have owned each at one point in time. One thing that always has impressed me with the series has been the unique art direction. Dead Space is a series that is visibly influenced by the titans of space horror that came before it. The Alien franchise is an obvious source, as is Event Horizon. Still, Dead Space has developed an identity all of its own. As the introduction of the book states, “It has sci-fi that’s never fantastical, horror that’s always personal, and action that’s delivered like a punch to the gut…” I couldn’t agree more. All of the science fiction elements of Dead Space are utilitarian. The future isn’t a bright, gleaming beacon of hope – it’s worn and functional and grimy. The horror is isolating and atrocious, and the action is limb-dismembering-visceral. All of this becomes evident as you open The Art of Dead Space and begin to flip through the pages.

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The Notion of Epic Fantasy And The Dreams It Offers


“Dreaming is impossible without myths. If we don’t have enough myths of our own, we’ll latch onto those of others — even if those myths make us believe terrible or false things about ourselves. Tolkien understood this, I think because it’s human nature. Call it the superego, call it common sense, call it pragmatism, call it learned helplessness, but the mind craves boundaries. Depending on the myths we believe in, those boundaries can be magnificently vast, or crushingly tight.” – N. K. Jemisin

“[I]t is a quintessential if not defining characteristic of epic to refer back to and revise what went before. . . .” – Catherine Bates, The Cambridge Companion to the Epic

I’ve been following the discussion that arose at the end of last week when someone at Gollancz tweeted a serious, if somewhat loaded, question:

A lengthy debate spread across the Vales of Tweet with many responses, including my own:
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In episode 180 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with author Emma Newman about Worldcon, her new book Between Two Thorns, a slew of short stories and an ingenious bit of marketing.
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TOC: Lightspeed Magazine, March 2013

Lightspeed Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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TOC: Nightmare Magazine, March 2013

Nightmare Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 2/28/2013

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. Tor has “The Memory Coder” by Jessica Brody
  2. Every Day Fiction has a short fantasy flash: “Drawn to the Glow” by K.C. Ball
  3. 19 Nocturne Boulevard wraps up the third and final season of Afterlives with #3.3 – Laid to Rest / Final Faith
  4. The next excerpt in my Cast of Characters from After The Fires Went Out: Coyote.

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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Tidbits for 2/28/13

Interviews & Profiles

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While there may be plenty of fantasy heroes who try the lone-wolf route during much of their adventures, it’s rare that they end up alone forever. Every hero, no matter how powerful they are or how much they try to avoid dragging others into the thick of it…sooner or later, they’re going to need allies. That band of friends (or temporarily aligned enemies) that provides critical support, be it physical, moral, or otherwise. The right allies can make-or-break a quest, being both assets and liabilities. Some protagonists try to avoid relying on offered allies because they can become vulnerable points antagonists can take advantage of. Other allies freely offer their support because they see something within the protagonist that is worth following…or protecting…or loving.

Allies can also provide a significant way to measure the impact of the protagonist’s actions. After all, no one adventures in a vacuum, and if one’s allies near-unanimously suggest that a certain course of action is about as wise as trying to stop a blender by sticking your hand in it…then maybe it’s time to reconsider. And in the aftermath of the crisis, one can perhaps weigh the success of the hero’s efforts by how those same allies react to the fallout. Is their faith in the protagonist stronger than ever, or have they been irrevocably alienated? Time to tally up three fantasy tales and see which allies you might prefer to have at your side through thick or thin.

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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.

Introducing Karen Healey:

Karen Healey is the award-winning author of young adult urban fantasies Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering, and the forthcoming cryonic Sleeping Beauty tale, When We Wake. She technically lives in New Zealand, but actually lives on the Internet. You can find her there at www.karenhealey.com


Interview With Karen Healey

Helen: In the time I’ve known you, you’ve lived in Australia and New Zealand—as well as on the internet—but your new novel When We Wake is set in Australia, whereas Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering have New Zealand locales. Was there something about an Australian setting you felt particularly suited this story?

Karen: For the purposes of my story, I needed the setting of a future world superpower. Now, I think New Zealand certainly ought to be a world superpower, because it is the best country in the world, bar none. But alas, I don’t think it’s going to reach the status that it deserves in a mere hundred years.

Australia it was! The setting, of course, influenced the concerns of the story in its turn as I considered the likely landscape and resources of Australia in the future, and what kind of historical events would lead to an Australian superpower (like the collapse of the USA during a series of secessionist Fundamentalist Wars. Sorry, American readers!)

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C. Robert Cargill has written for Ain’t it Cool News for nearly a decade under the pseudonym Massawyrm, served as a staff writer for Film.com and Hollywood.com, and appeared as the animated character Carlyle on spill.com. He is the screenwriter of the forthcoming film Sinister (cowritten and directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Ethan Hawke). He lives and works in Austin, Texas.

Folklore and Mythology are the polite, though backhanded, words we use to describe religion we don’t believe in; Mythology being the word we ascribe to officially recognized beliefs, Folklore to those that didn’t borrow from the establishment, but people believed anyway. When you think about it, it’s strange that so much of what we put in our fantasy books, movies and video games actually, once upon a time, was believed somewhere, by someone, as (their) God’s honest truth. After all, Tolkien didn’t invent elves and dwarves – he borrowed them from the religions of northern Europe – and The Arabian Nights weren’t all just bedtime stories, they were lessons of Islam and tales about the things people once thought really might lurk in the desert sands.

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HENRi is a crowdfunded film by Eli Sasich about a derelict spaceship that becomes self-aware and builds itself a mechanical body in order to feel alive. A cool premise that’s been done before, sure, but the director openly cites “his love for the sci-fi films of the ’70s and ’80s, as well as the classic novels of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov” for inspiration.

of meta-interest to SciFi fans is that it stars Supermans Margot Kidder and, as the voice of the AI, Keir Dullea, who played Dr. David Bowman in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Watch the trailer below…

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Another month, another slew of speculative fiction titles vying for your book-buying dollar…

Today at the Kirkus Reviews blog I make an attempt to whittle down your choices by offering My Picks for the Best SF/F for March 2013.

Check it out and be sure to offer up your own picks.

MIND MELD: Food in Science Fiction versus Fantasy

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

This week we asked about Food and Drink in SF.

Food and Drink in science fiction sometimes seems limited to replicator requests for Earl Grey tea and Soylent green discs. Why doesn’t do as much food as Fantasy? Does Fantasy lend itself more to food than Science fiction? Why?
This is what they had to say…
Laura Anne Gilman
Author and Freelance Editor Laura Anne Gilman is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus novels, the award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy, as well as the story collection Dragon Virus. She also has written the mystery Collared under the pen name L.A. Kornetsky.

This will, I will admit, be a purely foodie view: I enjoy cooking, I enjoy eating, I enjoy reading about cooking and eating. And for a long time, it seemed as though we foodies were, if not the minority in genre, then certainly underserved.

There were the banquets in fantasy, of course, and the trail rations, and sometimes even a discussion of where the food came from, but – like bathroom breaks and sleeping – it often seemed tossed into the pile of “boring, don’t write about it.”

And science fiction? Mainly, science fiction mentioned food in context of technology: food-pills, space-age packets, vat-grown meat, etcetera. I suspect that many writers of the time had been heavily influenced by the early space program, and extrapolated their SF on the actual science. Surely, science fiction was saying, we had more important things to do than cook – or eat!

Even when they were dealing with an important, food-related issue (overcrowding, famine, etc), MAKE ROOM, MAKE ROOM made it a (very serious) punchline. So did “To Serve Man.” But scenes of characters preparing their food, or even enjoying it, were notably, if not entirely, absent.

(even CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY made the “too busy to eat” point with the 3-course-meal-gum…)
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Win Scott Eckert has posted the table of contents for the upcoming collection Tales of the Wold Newton Universe

Here’s the book description:

A collection of Wold Newton-inspired short stories by Farmerphiles, experts, and the Grand Master of SF himself.

The book collects, for the first time ever in one volume, Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton short stories, and also includes tales by other writers.

The Introduction by Win Scott Eckert (coauthor with Farmer of the Wold Newton novel The Evil in Pemberley House) and Christopher Paul Carey (coauthor with Farmer of the Khokarsa novel The Song of Kwasin) will provide an overview of Farmer’s Wold Newton Family and Mythos. In addition, Eckert and Carey will provide brief introductions to the stories themselves, explaining why each entry is a Wold Newton tale.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Trailer: “In The Flesh” – The New BBC Zombie Series

In The Flesh is a new BBC3 series set after a zombie uprising, where treated zombies are rehabilitated back into society:

In The Flesh is an exciting new three-part drama for BBC Three that tells the story of zombie teenager Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) and his reintegration back into both the local community and the heart of his family.

Watch the trailer after the jump.
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 2/27/2013

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. Another installment (the last, I guess) from Tim Pratt’s Month of Marla: “A Cloak of Many Worlds”
  2. “A Helping Hand” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  3. A short and sweet excerpt from my novel, After The Fires Went Out: Coyote, from the journal of Antoine Lagace.

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Cover & Synopsis: “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl” by David Barnett

Author David Barnett has posted the cover art and synopsis for his upcoming novel Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl.

Here’s the synopsis:
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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Tidbits for 2/27/13

Interviews & Profiles

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and published by TOR, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination features all original, all nefarious, all conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens of Diana Gabaldon, Austin Grossman, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Daniel H. Wilson and 17 OTHER EVIL GENIUSES.

The book description is this:

Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

Read the rest of this entry

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