It’s time another Book Cover Smackdown! Your mission (should you choose to accept it): Play armchair art critic!

Tell us:

  • Which of these covers most grabs your attention?
  • What works and what doesn’t work with these covers?
  • Do any of them make you want to learn more about and/or read the book?

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Table of Contents: THE COURT OF LIES by Mark Teppo

Here is the table of contents for Mark Teppo’s upcoming collection The Court of Lies

Here’s the book description:

Welcome to The Court of Lies, the first collection by Mark Teppo. These are stories of liars, heartbreakers, and fabulists; the way they see the world is undoubtedly the way it truly is. The Queen suggests you place your trust in her. The Prince is also your guide, and you should not trust his disarming smile. And, the horned King beckons you to approach his throne. At least one sentence of the previous paragraph is true. There is no escaping The Court of Lies.

Here’s the table of contents…
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2014 Hugo Awards Voter Packet Now Available

The 2014 Hugo Awards Voter Packet has been released.

Details follow…
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Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for June 2014

Daily Science Fiction has announced its June line-up of free stories. All stories will appear on the web one week after their email publication.
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Saturday Morning ‘Toon: Star Wars as an 80’s-style anime

Here’s a look at what Star Wars might have looked like as an 80’s-style anime…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-05-31

Interviews & Profiles

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Here’s another the cover and synopsis of an upcoming book that sounds interesting. It’s for the novel Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King.

Here’s the synopsis:
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[GUEST POST] Robert Treskillard on How To Make Your Own Fantasy Sword

Robert Treskillard is a Celtic enthusiast who holds a B.A. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Bethel University, Minnesota. He has been crafting stories from his early youth, is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometime bladesmith. When Robert’s son wanted to learn blacksmithing and sword-making, the two set out to learn the crafts. This lit the fire of Robert’s imagination, and so welding his Celtic research to his love of the legends of King Arthur, a book was forged: Merlin’s Blade, the first book of The Merlin Spiral. This wa followed by Merlin’s Shadow and the just-released 3rd book, Merlin’s Nightmare. To join the battle, visit the author’s website dedicated to the series:

How To Make Your Own Fantasy Sword – Author Style!

by Robert Treskillard

My son said it-and it changed my world: “I want to make a sword!”

“Well”, pop thought, “a real sword is a bit ambitious!” So being a hobbyist woodworker, I made a wooden one. Did that satisfy him for long? Not a bit.

Metal? What did I know about metalworking? Nothing! So after buying a few bladesmithing books, an anvil was mail-ordered, a forge was built, and vague knife-like shapes were being drawn on some flat O2 steel. We learned the process by making knives, and it wasn’t easy.
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Short Fiction Friday: Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint

REVIEW SUMMARY: A revenge fantasy that misses its potential to reinvent the Robin Hood mythos and examine real problems.


PROS: Interesting use of the Robin Hood mythos; novella length allows for the fleshing out of some elements of the story; great cover and interior illustrations by Charles Vess, the book itself is a beautiful edition, typical of Subterranean Press’ standards.
CONS: Appears to espouse an overly simplistic and destructive redistribution of wealth ideology; plot line of destined lovers is jarring against a background of violence; shines a light on real problems without offering any real solutions; the fairy-tale wish-fulfillment ending is hard to stomach against the plight of mundane world characters.
BOTTOM LINE: Given my familiarity with Charles de Lint’s work and his long history of tackling difficult subjects like poverty and abuse and inequality with honesty, creativity and a sense of hope amidst despair, I was wholly unprepared for a story that exposed real issues in a cliched fashion while offering nothing in the way of hope, with the exception of characters who were not worthy of the hope they receive. In the end this felt like little more than a revenge fantasy built on a very thin mythical foundation. If it is meant to be an indictment on the Robin Hood mythos, it is incredibly successful. If it has another purpose, it falls well short of its aim.

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Linda Nagata on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Linda Nagata, author of The Red: First Light, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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Table of Contents: UNIDENTIFIED FUNNY OBJECTS 3 Edited by Alex Shvartsman

Alex Shvartsman’s upcoming anthology Unidentified Funny Objects 3 will contain over 82,000 words of fiction, and feature cover art by Tomasz Maronski and interior illustrations by Barry Munden. The book will be released in October 2014.

Here’s the table of contents:
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Friday YouTube: If Archer Voiced HAL 9000

This is what happens when H. Jon Benjamin (voice actor from Archer and Bob’s Burgers) lends his talents to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-05-30

Interviews & Profiles

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GAME REVIEW: Hack ‘n’ Slash (Early Access)

I don’t usually have a lot of time for gaming, but when I saw a link to an early access version of Hack ‘n’ Slash by Double Fine Productions on Steam, I impulse-bought it.

At a glance, it looks a lot like a SNES-era Legend of Zelda game. Green-tuniced, sword-wielding adventurer wandering around and fighting wizards and etc. The similarities are big enough that it has to be an intentional tribute — boomerangs and bombs, a little flying companion who gives you advice, and lost woods. That’s fine, I don’t mind a tribute to Zelda.

But what really makes the game interesting is the twist added to it. Instead of a good old-fashioned sharp-edged sword, you have a hacking sword that looks rather like a USB thumb drive that you can use to alter the internal variables of creatures and objects in the world. You can change an enemy to be friendly or to move in a different pattern when idle. You can unlock a door, or change how far a rock will move when you push it.

Programming and adventure game combined–count me interested!

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[GUEST POST] Catherine Asaro on Kickstarting AURORA IN FOUR VOICES

Catherine Asaro is the author of more then twenty-five books, including thrillers, SF, and fantasy. Her novel The Quantum Rose and novella “The Spacetime Pool” both won the Nebula Award. Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the Readers Choice Award from Analog magazine and a three time recipient of the RT BOOKClub Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Her most recent books are the anthology she edited, The Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 (Pyr), the novel Carnelians (Baen/ Simon & Schuster), and the anthology of her short fiction titled Aurora in Four Voices, available from ISFiC Press. Her novel Undercity is due out from Baen in 2014. Catherine is an accomplished musician who also also teaches math, physics, and chemistry. Visit Catherine on her website, on Facebook and on Twitter as @Catherine_Asaro.


by Catherine Asaro

It’s an exciting time to be an author. We have so many options: traditional publishing, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, ebooks. Now, Audible has made it easier for authors to create an audiobook. Audible’s ACX exchange connects authors with audiobook producers and narrators, and provides distribution for the finished audiobook through

I’ve been curious to see how doing an audiobook on my own would compare with my experiences in selling audiobooks to publishers for an advance. It is certainly more work to do it yourself, and most of us don’t have built-in distribution, production, and promotion available through traditional publishers. However, the royalties are significantly higher when you do it on your own and you have control over the process. After some thought, I decided to give it a try, specifically to create an audiobook of my Aurora in Four Voices anthology. The anthology is a collector’s edition published by ISFic Press to accompany my 2011 appearance as Guest of Honor at Windycon. It includes the Hugo and Nebula nominated novella “Aurora in Four Voices” as well as the Nebula-award winning story “The Spacetime Pool.”
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[GUEST POST] Jill Archer Asks: What Is It With The Devil And Violins?

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels about a post grad magic user and her off-campus adventures. DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, the first two books in the series are available now from Ace. The third book, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, will be released May 27, 2014. Jill lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She can be found online at

What Is It With The Devil And Violins?

by Jill Archer

Originally, the titles for my books were riffs on common sayings associated with the devil. Dark Light of Day was “The Demon’s Advocate.” Fiery Edge of Steel was “The Demon You Know.” And White Heart of Justice was “The Demon Went Down to Jorja.” Yeah, I know. I’m pretty sure my editor groaned the loudest about that last one. In any case, its original working title isn’t the only violin or fiddle reference that White Heart of Justice has and there’s a reason for it. Being a former fiddler myself, I’ve always been fascinated by the association between the devil and the violin.
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Mythgard Institute is Offering a 12-Week Course on Science Fiction

This Summer, Mythgard Institute is offering a course on Science Fiction (Part I), taught by Dr. Amy H. Sturgis. The 12 week online course covers science fiction from Proto-Science Fiction through to the Golden Age and will run from August to November.

From the course page:

What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?” This course will consider the development of the genre from “proto-SF” writings through the Golden Age, with an eye toward how the great works and movements within science fiction both reflect the concerns and attitudes of their time and imagine beyond them. Discover why author Ray Bradbury called science fiction “the most important literature in the history of the world.”

Here’s a video explaining more…
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Short Film: Dead No More

Dead No More is the introduction to a sci-fi crime, action, mystery drama about a wealthy disagreeable woman, 40s, who is “killed” by husband and frozen in cryonics suspension. Twenty years later she returns, and he tries to kill her again.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-05-29

Interviews & Profiles

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INTERVIEW: Tessa Gratton Talks About the United States of Asgard

Tessa Gratton didn’t grow up to be a necromantic wizard resurrecting dinosaur bones into animated skeletons as she expected, but she has become a fantasy author, and after a childhood spent around the world, settled in the midwest. She’s the author of four novels, including the forthcoming The Strange Maid, second in her United States of Asgard series. Tessa was kind enough to answer some questions about her and her work.

PW: Tell me about Tessa Gratton.

TG: I’m a quadruple Scorpio, Navy brat, prairie girl, feminist (or as my dad used to say before I got a degree in it, a Pinko Liberal). Does that about cover it? My fourth novel comes out this June, and all my books so far have been YA fantasies from Random House Children’s Books. I love tumblr and twitter but am extremely glad they didn’t exist when I was in high school.
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