Archive for October, 2013

Halloween is one of the best holidays out there. It’s a perfect excuse to curl up with a hot beverage of your choice and read a spooky novel. Perhaps you break out some H.P. Lovecraft to get your yearly quota of monsters or maybe you grab a classic like Dracula or The Hound of the Baskervilles. What if I told you there was the perfect Halloween book out there that combined all these things and more?

Let me introduce you to the best Halloween book you’ve never read.

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Today’s Kindle deal: Gail Z. Martin’s ICE FORGED, the first book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, for only $1.99!

Here’s the description:

Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, as the world’s magic runs wild, McFadden and the people of Velant must fight to survive and decide their fate …

From Gail Z. Martin, author of the beloved series THE CHRONICLES OF THE NECROMANCER and THE FALLEN KINGS CYCLE, comes a new fantasy adventure for the ages.

Welcome to the end of the world.

Welcome to the beginning of THE ASCENDANT KINGDOMS SAGA.

This price is good for today only, so act fast.

There is much about Jacqueline Koyanagi’s Ascension that has attracted the attention of a lot of people. It’s a science fiction book featuring a woman of color with an impoverished background, some homosexual relationships and — most importantly for this column — disabilities. Before I continue, I should mention that I have an interview in progress with the author that I am incredibly excited about, so stay tuned to Special Needs in Strange Worlds for more on that sometime in the near future.

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Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor

Thor: The Dark World opens on November 8th. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of Thor’s more recent adventures for the Kirkus Reviews blog.

From the Post:

I was more than a little skeptical of the first movie. Thor was never one of my favorite characters growing up. First, he talked funny. All ‘thou’, ‘thee’, ‘verily’, and whatnot. Second, well, he just wasn’t accessible to me as a reader. I couldn’t identify with him – he was a god, after all. Truth told, I enjoyed the alternate Thor versions Beta Ray Bill and Eric Masterson (Thunderstrike) in the comics more than I did Thor himself. But the movie converted me. They stripped away all the things about Thor I didn’t care for or identify with. They brought his humanity to the forefront and made the character likable, and accessible, without losing the core of who he is and what drives him. Yes, they changed up his backstory (Don Blake became a one-liner joke), but in this situation, I was actually for those changes. With that in mind, I offer up 5 graphic novels featuring Marvel’s God of Thunder, Thor to get you ready for The Dark World.

Click on over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the post.

Why I Needed Weirdness


“Fiction helps me to reconnect with the true, deep weirdness inherent in everyday reality, in our dealings with one another, in just being alive.”
- Karen Russell

I am currently working on two projects that have the side effect of encouraging me to look at my personal history of reading and literary engagement. One question that comes up over and over is that of why I gravitated towards fantastika and weird fiction and various strange and challenging writings. Last week I talked about one aspect of that, of how I engaged fantastic literature to deal with my fears of death and grasp my mortality. But I realized as I talked about Samuel Delany’s Nova on the Three Hoarsemen podcast this week that I had only dealt with part of the question. It wasn’t just the inevitable end that concerned me, but the conduct of life itself, the apprehension of reality and the living of it, what the nature of history and the potential paths from the present to the future were.

As I articulated what the novel meant to me, I realized that it was part of a transitional moment in my life, when I abandoned a defensive, passive position for a more active one. Up until the time my family was ejected from the Christian fundamentalist church we had served, I had adapted to the world around me, one that, without going into details, was not a pleasant one. I bent with changes, shielded myself, and reduced all possibilities to either doing what I was told or retreating. The one place where this was not true was in my reading, which was a significant factor in my becoming the most stereotypical of bookworms. I retreated into books, and they told me of lives and situations so unlike mine that I could forget (but definitely not escape) the life that I was mired in. Perhaps it was inevitable that, as I needed to fall back farther and farther from the world, I started looking for new places to go, for elsewheres more unlike what the larger world offered.
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We have a treat for you today, dear readers! Here’s a free short story from Edward Lazellari set in the world of his Guardians of Aandor series (currently comprised of Awakenings and The Lost Prince.

Enjoy.

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In episode 212 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester records a live interview from WorldCon with author Trina Marie Phillips.

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Aamzon has the table of contents for the new anthology Whispers from the Abyss: An Anthology of of H.P. Lovecraft-Inspired Fiction:

Here’s the book description:

On the subway, during lunch, or even under the fluorescent glow of your cubical—there is no escape! Now your slow descent into madness can follow you through the day, as well as the night. The WHISPERS FROM THE ABYSS ANTHOLOGY is the first ever H.P. Lovecraft inspired collection created specifically for readers on the go. All 33 spine-chilling tales are concentrated bites of terror which include works by Greg Stolze (Delta Green), Nick Mamatas (Shotguns v. Cthulhu), Tim Pratt (Marla Mason), Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green), Greg Van Eekhout (The Boy at the End of the World), A.C. Wise (Future Lovecraft), David Tallerman (Giant Thief), Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Future Lovecraft), John R. Fultz (Seven Princes), Chad Fifer (The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast).

“All about that moment I love, the moment where something approaches. The moment where you close your eyes and hope it goes away. It will. But there’ll be another story right behind it. And another. And another.” -Alasdair Stuart, host of the PSEUDOPOD podcast.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel The Return of the Discontinued Man, the upcoming Burton & Swinburne Adventure by Mark Hodder. Jon Sullivan is the cover artist. The designer is Jacqueline Nasso Cooke.

Here’s the synopsis:
(A larger version of this cover plus a series cover gallery posted below.)
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 10/31/2013

Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

Want these delicious links emailed to you once a week? Sign up for the Free SF/F/H Fiction Newsletter

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. Tor has a fantasy story from Aaron Corwin and a mummy horror story from Paul Cornell
  2. Weird Fiction Review has a weird short story from Leonid Andreyev, in English as well as the original Russian
  3. Beware the Hairy Mango #193 – “Swinging Shingles”

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-10-31

Interviews & Profiles

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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. This month’s guest is Freya Robertson.

Freya Robertson is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots.

She has published over twenty romance novels under other pseudonyms and won prizes in fifteen short story and poetry competitions. Freya lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world.

To find out more about Freya, you can find her on her website or her blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (as @EpicFreya).


Helen: Freya, Heartwood is your debut Fantasy novel, which you’ve described to me as a traditional, quest-based epic fantasy. What do you feel makes it fresh for readers?
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The Three Hoarsemen Discuss NOVA by Samuel R. Delany

It is an allegorical tale of interstellar adventure, a quest that is part Moby Dick and part revolutionary act. It is about confluence, archetypes, obsession, seeking the future, and the creative process itself. It is the story that marked the transition from Delany’s more straightforward genre explorations to the maturation of his career when he returned to the field with Dhalgren. It is the book that critic Algis Budrys said “…right now, as of this book…not as of some future book or some accumulated body of work, [Delany] is the best science-fiction writer in the world, at a time when competition for that status is intense.”
In this installment of The Three Hoarsemen John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson discuss Nova by Samuel R. Delany, including their first encounter with the book, how subsequent readings have altered their views, and the continuing strength of the story after four and a half decades.

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[GUEST POST] Libby McGugan on Scientists, Philosophers and Going Fishing


Libby McGugan‘s first novel, The Eidolon calls into question the very nature of reality in a contemporary SF adventure that explores deep ideas but with an edge-of-the-seat story line featuring dark matter, the CERN laboratory, and the barrier between the living and the dead.

Today she offers up something a bit more down to earth…

Scientists, Philosophers and Going Fishing

by Libby McGugan

In October 2012, an unusual meeting took place in Geneva, when CERN’s Director General, Rolf Heuer, brought together physicists, theologians and philosophers to discuss the origins of the universe. At first glance, it’s as odd as inviting a group of vegetarians on a fishing trip.
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Best Bets for Science Fiction & Fantasy Books – November 2013

Looking for some good reads in November? In my latest Kirkus Reviews article, Best Bets for Science Fiction & Fantasy Books – November 2013, I name my picks for best-of-the-month.

MIND MELD: The Scary Stories That Made Us Lose Sleep

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

It’s Halloween time and what better way to celebrate than with a terrifying tale? So we asked our panelists the following question:

Q: What was the last horror novel that kept you awake at night?

Here’s what they said…
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[EXCERPT] Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead by George Mann

Settle in, dear reader. We have for you today an excerpt from George Mann’s new novel, Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead.

Here’s the book description:

A young man named Peter Maugram appears at the front door of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson’s Baker Street lodgings. Maugram’s uncle is dead and his will has disappeared, leaving the man afraid that he will be left penniless. Holmes agrees to take the case and he and Watson dig deep into the murky past of this complex family.

A brand-new Sherlock Holmes novel from the acclaimed author of the Newbury & Hobbes series.

Read on for an excerpt…
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EVENT: A Night at the Space Opera: Science Fiction Writers on Our Future in Space

Wanna hang out with Orbit authors Daniel Abraham, Ann Leckie and Rachel Bach? Orbit is hosting a Google Hangout called A Night at the Space Opera: Science Fiction Writers on Our Future in Space on Thursday November 7 allowing you to do just that.

Here are the deets (because I am apparently in too much of a rush to type out the word “details”, but not overly long parenthetical sentences that include the word I was trying to avoid anyway…)
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Cover & Synopsis: ROBOGENESIS by Daniel H. Wilson


Is it just me that trawls Amazon for new releases? I noticed they have the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson, sequel to Robopocalypse.

Here’s the synopsis (larger image after the jump):
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 10/30/2013

Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

Want these delicious links emailed to you once a week? Sign up for the Free SF/F/H Fiction Newsletter

What’s special about today’s free fiction?

  1. The Colored Lens has an urban fantasy short story from Jamie Lackey
  2. Daily Science Fiction has a science fiction flash story from Gio Clairval & Cat Rambo
  3. PodCastle has an audio fantasy story with a halloweeny theme from Francesca Forrest

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