Archive for September, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Half of the Sky Edited by Athena Andreadis

REVIEW SUMMARY: A very strong anthology with a excellent mission, and some really striking stories with top-notch authors.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology of genre stories with the purpose and mission of highlighting women as fully rounded characters and protagonists with agency.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Strong stories that both entertain and illuminate the book’s theme and mission.
CONS: Some stories not as good as others in the book.
BOTTOM LINE: An excellent marriage of theme and mission with a well-cultivated collection of authors and stories.

Science Fiction has gotten a not-undeserved reputation for giving both women writers and women characters short shrift. Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Gully Foyle, Beowulf Schafer, and many more go to the stars and beyond. Sadly, the Wilma Deerings and Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Drapers are far rarer, and it’s even rarer is when the female characters are the protagonists, plot-drivers and central characters. If men are going into space and to the stars or dealing with science fictional elements right here on earth, why can’t members of the other gender do so as well? And while we’re at it, what about relationships beyond the straight and narrow, so to speak. Human history and the modern day is full of relationships of all kinds. Why shouldn’t our science fiction future have the same? The Other Half of the Sky, edited by Athena Andreadis, sets out to try and rectify these imbalances.
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Indie Author Spotlight: An Interview with POST-HUMAN Author David Simpson

Welcome to the latest addition of the Indie Author Spotlight! This month we’ll be digging deep into the Post-Human series by science fiction and horror author, David Simpson. In this entry, your brain will overload with artificial intelligence and your mind will be transplanted with future technology the likes of which you’ve never dreamed. Prepare to be upgraded.

I actually purchased the first three books in the Post-Human series (Sub-Human, Post-Human, Trans-Human) about six months ago as David Simpson was offering the Kindle omnibus for just $.99. At the time, I already had a long list of books I wanted to read, but I couldn’t pass up the great deal; so, I bought them with the intention of reading them at some other point in time. Well, this month, instead of reading just one book for the spotlight as I have in the past, I set aside the time to read three of David’s novels! Let me tell you: I found myself wishing I had placed my reading list on the back burner and read his books months ago. Check out the premise of the series below to get glimpse of what I mean:

It’s the story of humanity’s future, both the possible bliss, the possible torment, and all of the in between. It might expand your view of what “human” really means, it might make you consider the pleasures and pains of immortality, and reflect on the extraordinary benefits and profound danger of strong A.I. All of this delivered in an epic series, paced faster than most novels, with twists and turns around almost every page, and a set of characters with whom you’ll fall in love.

Sounds good to me! I read through the books, feeling a strong connection to the characters, wishing at times some of the tech were real, and at others being very thankful that humanity is not quite there. While making my way through his stories, I contacted David — who happens to be an extremely friendly and personable guy — and set up an interview with him to discuss his projects and what’s in store for his writing career. Check it out!

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In episode 204 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sneaks into an unused programming room to chat with the editor, publisher, and several contributing authors of the Beyond the Sun anthology, out from Fairwood Press.
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SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 09/30/2013

Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.

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Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for October 2013

Daily Science Fiction has announced its October 2013 line-up of free stories. All stories will appear on the web one week after their email publication.
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Books Received: September 30, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-09-30

Interviews & Profiles

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Short Film: Beyond

Beyond is the story of Arya, the last member of a family with the genetic ability to teleport beyond the known galaxies. Stay past the credits for a little extra world building.

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Just for you: a new round of book covers heading to bookstores next month. This time the theme is October Horror titles.

Your mission should you decide to accept it, is to tell us what you like and dislike about these covers. Which one is best?

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The Untimely Death of Robert E. Howard

Back in April, I had been doing some reading on the Lovecraft Circle, and came across an interesting fact about one of the authors, Robert Howard. At the age of 30, he killed himself upon learning that his mother was in a coma and would never wake up again. It was interesting, because before that time, he had created a couple of well known characters, namely, Conan the Conqueror one of the pulp era’s defining heroes. A couple of weeks ago, I came across one of his more Lovecraftian stories, The Black Stone, and was reminded of his short life and influence. Beyond just Conan, he helped to influence an entire subgenre of fantasy, Sword and Sorcery.

Go read The Untimely Death of Robert E. Howard over on Kirkus Reviews.

Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 9/28/2013

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WINNERS: NOD by Adrian Barnes

The winners of our giveaway for Nod by Adrian Barnes have been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • Lise A. (Denmark)
  • Ian S. (UK)
  • James S. (UK)
  • Cynthia C. (Canada)
  • Sanna M. (Finland )

You will be receiving your prizes soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-09-28

Interviews & Profiles

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Short Fiction Friday: Lightspeed September 2013 Original Science Fiction

REVIEW SUMMARY: This week’s Short Fiction Friday looks at a subset of the September 2013 issue of Lightspeed: two works of original science fiction.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SUMMARY: These two original science fiction stories each look at alien invasion in vastly different ways, offering entertaining, yet frightening, images of the future.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Imaginative sfnal concepts;  thoughtful pacing; satisfying story structure; one story highlights actual scientific concepts.
CONS: Fans of character-driven science fiction over idea-driven science fiction may be disappointed.
BOTTOM LINE: The original works of science fiction in the latest issue of Lightspeed are very entertaining stories focused on science fictional ideas that spark the imagination.  One story looks at a threat to an as-yet-unpopulated Earth while the other examines humanity in the wake of a devastating alien invasion.  Both stories are work checking out and are available for your reading (or listening) pleasure. Additionally there are original works of fantasy, along with reprints and more, available in this issue.

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INTERVIEW: Dan Krokos, author of False Memory and False Sight

After pumping gas for nine years to put himself through college, Dan Krokos, now twenty-seven, dropped out to write full-time. He is currently hard at work on three separate projects: the final stop for Miranda North in the False Memory series, the next adventure for thirteen-year-old Mason Stark in The Planet Thieves series, and his first adult thriller.

All of Dan’s books have been optioned for film or television, and False Memory recently won the International Thriller Writer’s Award for best Young Adult book. He enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee.

You can contact him via Twitter as @DanKrokos, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr, or carrier pigeon, or scrying.

FALSE SIGHT, the 2nd book in the False series (after FALSE MEMORY), just came out in August, and Dan was kind enough to answer a few of my questions!


Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about your new book, FALSE SIGHT?

Dan Krokos: False Sight picks up a few months after False Memory. Miranda and her team are trying, and failing, to live normal lives. After Miranda gets in trouble at school, the team plans to move on. Until one of them suddenly goes rogue, killing another member of the team. Now Miranda has to figure out why, and stop what’s coming next.

It’s definitely bigger and crazier than the first book. With monsters.
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Tiny Commando

There’s only one thing better than a commando: a tiny commando. He’s skilled. He’s dangerous. He’s small.

The Tiny Commando web series is pretty self-explanatory. The web series stars some familiar faces, including Zachary Levi, Kerri Kenney, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Hardwick, and Ed Helms.

Watch the first 10 episodes right here:
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Table of Contents: MINDING THE STARS by Jack Vance

Subterranean Press has posted the table of contents for the upcoming collection to be published in March 2014: Minding the Stars by Jack Vance. It’s edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan and has a dust jacket illustration by Tom Kidd.

Here’s the book description:

Strange things happen…

Throughout his long and impressive career as a celebrated professional storyteller, Jack Vance showed a fascination not only with having characters solve mysteries in all sorts of dramatic and wondrous situations using their powers of observation, deduction and common sense, but also with the possibility of higher states of mind in play, other realms of existence, even spirit worlds.

Vance approached such things with a healthy, properly wary, scientific curiosity, even while embracing the liberties allowed any popular entertainer, and so made the exploration of such higher states part of his stock in trade.

Whether richly displayed in his Dying Earth stories with their wizardly spellcasting, eldritch beings and strange dimensions, or in his science fiction tales with the incredible mental powers afforded races like the Green Chasch, the Fwai-chi, the Meks of Etamin 9 besieging the final human strongholds in “The Last Castle,” even given to divergent human peoples on Koryphon, Maske and countless other worlds, or to the likes of his most extraordinary Demon Prince, Howard Alan Treesong, Vance was forever drawn to what else might comprise human (and other) natures in all their myriad forms.

Minding the Stars: The Early Jack Vance Volume 4 reflects this beguiling blend of the practical and the otherworldly, combining tales that explore the workings of such mental powers with other stories selected from the earlier days of the Grandmaster’s illustrious career.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Friday YouTube: Logan’s Run – Ass on Fire

I recently watched the 1976 film Logan’s Run on television. The special effects are cheesy by today’s standards, but it won an academy award for those special effects the following year….no doubt prompted by the following sequence.

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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 9/27/2013

My post-apocalyptic novel, After The Fires Went Out: Coyote, is not free. Sorry. But I’ve put it down to $0.99 for a few days.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-09-27

Interviews & Profiles

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