Here’s another Book Cover Smackdown! No particular theme this time around…just a few covers “artistic” covers of varying styles that caught my eye.

Your mission should you decide to accept it: play art critic! Tell us what you like and dislike about these covers…what are the pros and cons of each? Which one is best? Do any of them spark your interest?

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Table of Contents: COFFEE Edited by Alex Shvartsman

UFO Publishing has posted the table of contents for the new anthology Coffee, edited by Alex Shvartsman:
Here’s the book description:

Coffee plays a major role in each of the stories collected in this book. Brewed from such fine ingredients as magic, wonder, humor, and romance, Coffee serves up a unique blend of the fantastic you won’t be able to put down.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 11/30/2013

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-11-30

Interviews & Profiles

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Short Fiction Black Friday: What Would Your Gift Be?

Here in the United States it is Black Friday, a day that actually began in the early evening hours of Thanksgiving Day, where, satiated with turkey and the fixins and done with football, the consumerism of Christmas began in earnest.  Drawn by irresistible temptations of deals too good to pass up, people are out all over the place navigating the mine field of the holiday shopping season.

Not me. I’m at home, reading, and thinking of what gift giving means to those of us who are readers.  Over the course of this past year I have been able to present a variety of short stories to the readers of SF Signal, an opportunity that I appreciate as the medium is one I feel very passionate about. A recent Mind Meld approached the idea of anthologies and if they are important and why, which got me to thinking: if I could play editor and put together my own anthology of previously released works, beautifully bound with a stunning cover, what stories would I pick.  Keeping in mind that the gift giving season is upon us, I would want to put together an anthology with stories that I want people to read, be they classic, modern or a mix of the two.

And of course the curious side of me wonders just what the Table of Contents would be if you were able to create such an anthology as a Christmas gift for the readers in your life.  And so today, instead of reviewing short fiction, let us simply talk about short fiction.

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Kristin of My Bookish Ways Wins Team Robot Blogger Award!

Congratulations to Kristin Centorcelli, proprietor of My Bookish Ways (and SF Signal contributor), for winning Angry Robot’s Team Robot Blogger Award!

Kristin is one of the hardest-working bloggers in our community and this award is truly well-deserved.

Congrats, Kristin!

Death Walks Among Us in Jonathon Hickman’s East of West

Over on Kirkus today, I take a look at another fantastic book from Image Comics – Jonathon Hickman’s East of West.

From the post:

Alternate histories have been a staple of science fiction for a very long time.  Some look so much like ours you can’t see the differences until they’re right up on you, while others feature drastic, sweeping changes – East of West is one of these.  The American Civil War continued on far longer than it should have.  The Indian Nations became one and threw their hats into the ring.  By the end, the continent of North America was split into the Seven Nations of America.  Fast forward hundreds of years and thee of the Four Horseman of the apocalypse, are working to bring about that end.  The fourth, Death?  Well, he’s on a more personal quest.  And the other three want him dead.

Click over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog for the rest of the post.

Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 11/29/2013

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-11-29

Interviews & Profiles

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[GUEST POST] A Tribute to Ray Bradbury

Jason Sturgis is a freelance writer and an avid Sci-Fi and comic book fan. Ray Bradbury is his favorite writer.

Ray Bradbury May Have Passed Away, but His Stories Remain Forever

by Jason Strangis

I thought Ray Bradbury was going live forever. I really did!

So imagine my surprise when I heard that one of the all-time greats of the literary field died on June 5, 2012, at a mere 91 years of age. Well, if the incomparable Ray Bradbury wasn’t going to live forever, I thought he would at least make it to 100.

Alas, no person can escape death, not even the legends.
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Catching Up on SciFi Movies (Part 26): Star Trek Into Darkness / Monsters University / Iron Man 3

Continuing a trend tailor-made for the Twitter generation, here are my quick takes on a few recently-watched genre-related films.

My brief thoughts follow…
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Have Some SciFi Turkey!

Heads up: Posting is gonna be a little light today because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking of turkey, enjoy this trailer from the 2000 film Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta and a whole lot of lame.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-11-28

Interviews & Profiles

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BOOK REVIEW: Dying Is My Business by Nicholas Kaufmann

REVIEW SUMMARY: Explosive first book in a brand new urban fantasy series about an amnesiac hitman who can’t die.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Dying Is My Business is the story of Trent, underling to a Brooklyn crime boss, who just can’t stay dead. His invulnerability to death makes him an asset in the New York underworld until a job gone wrong lands him in the middle of a secret, magical war.

PROS: Fast paced story; solid world building; interesting utilization of underused magical creatures; an atmospheric, violent and all-out-fun time.
CONS: Felt a touch too short and ended without resolution to some plot points.
BOTTOM LINE: A frenetic, breakneck paced novel that’s half hardboiled New York City crime story and half spectacularly realized fantasy novel. Both sides mix well together, resulting in a very satisfying story with enough twists and turns to keep even the most jaded of urban fantasy readers on the edge of their seat.

What would you do if you couldn’t die and your memory only went back a year? If your answer is grab a gun and work for a Brooklyn crime boss named Underwood, then you’re most likely Trent, the anti-hero in Dying Is My Business. Blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with the inability to die, Trent uses his odd ability to do small jobs and petty theft for his boss. He’s kept on a short leash with the promise that Underwood is searching for answers into Trent’s past. Everything comes tumbling down when he accidentally gets himself caught up in the middle of an ancient battle between good and evil.
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[GUEST POST] John Helfers on The Brave New World of Publishing

John Helfers is a freelance writer and editor based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at the packaging company Tekno Books, he edited more than fifteen short story anthologies for DAW Books, Inc., and more than one hundred others for publishers in all genres. He also worked with well-known authors and co-editors such as Charlaine Harris, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Jean Rabe, Robert Silverberg, and Kevin J. Anderson. John has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His media tie-in fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He’s written fiction and nonfiction, including a novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers™: Cloak and Dagger, the original fantasy novel Siege of Night and Fire, and a history of the United States Navy. Recent projects including overseeing the second Elemental Masters anthology with Mercedes Lackey, and working with Esther Friesner on the next Chicks in Chainmail anthology. In his spare time, he’s signs on to Kickstarter projects he believes in while trying to write several projects in the middle-grade and adult genres.

The Brave New World of Publishing, or How the Cars, Cards & Carbines anthology and Kickstarter project came about
Or, How the Cars, CARDS & CARBINES Anthology and Kickstarter Project Came About

by John Helfers

This is my first foray into Kickstarter as a co-editor, indeed, as part of any project. For that, I can thank Travis Heermann, whom I’ve known for several years, ever since I acquired his novel Heart of the Ronin for Five Star’s Science Fiction and Fantasy line, and have enjoyed his work ever since.

I’ve also had a front-row seat to the changes that have been happening in publishing over the past several years, from the rise of e-books and self-publishing to the various permutations and machinations large publishers have gone through in response. Unfortunately, there have been casualties in this brave new world, and one of them is anthologies.
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When Real Life Honors Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Writers

What happens when fiction spills over into reality?

This week at the Kirkus Reviews Blog today, I take a look at When Real Life Honors Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Writers.

THE CRAFT: Cat Rambo on Plot

The Craft is a column that explores the writing process, each month focusing on a different aspect of the craft. This month I asked Cat Rambo, the author of Near + Far, Eyes Like Sky And Coal And Moonlight, and Creating an Online Presence (Careerbuilding for Writers), about plot. Here’s what she had to say…

James Aquilone: What is a plot?

Cat Rambo: To me, it’s the way the story is structured. Not just the events that make up the story, but their arrangement as well: the pace and way in which information is parceled out to the reader.
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Apex Publications Announces Sale: 40% Discount on All Books in the Apex Store

Just in time for the holidays, Apex Publications has announced a book sale. From now through December 2nd 2013, you can get 40% off all books in the Apex store.

From a press release:
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-11-27

Interviews & Profiles

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An Interview with Nate Kenyon, Author of of the Techno-Apocalyptic Thriller DAY ONE

Nate Kenyon writes thrillers, suspense and horror for Thomas Dunne Books. He also writes video game novelizations for Blizzard Entertainment in the worlds of StarCraft and Diablo. His novel, Bloodstone, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist and winner of the P&E Horror Novel of the Year. His novel, The Reach, was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist. His latest novel is the techno-thriller Day One (Thomas Dunne/St. Martins Press). Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it “exciting and inventive.” Library Journal called it a “must” and Kenyon’s “scariest to date.” Day One was also recently optioned for a film. Visit him at

Tim Ward: DAY ONE is almost like 24‘s Jack Bauer fights Skynet, except Hawke is a reporter instead of a trained killer. Why is this story better for having Hawke not be as skilled in tactical fighting?
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