Women in Spaaace! (Part 2)

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I look a second science fiction books that put women in space — this one focusing on military sf

Check out Women in Space (Part 2) over at the Kirkus Reviews blog.

[GUEST POST] Ari Marmell on How to Successfully Create Suspension of Disbelief

Ari Marmell is a fantasy author whose novels include
The Goblin Corps, The Conqueror’s Shadow, The Iron Kingdoms Chronicles: In Thunder Forged, as well as the
Widdershins novels (Lost Covenant, Thief’s Covenant, and False Covenant). His latest novel, Hot Lead, Cold Iron, begins a new urban fantasy series. Follow Ari on Twitter using the best handle ever: @mouseferatu.

How to Successfully Create Suspension of Disbelief

by Ari Marmell

“Suspension of disbelief” is absolutely essential to any fantasy tale. If you can’t get the reader to accept the impossibilities of whatever magic or monsters you’re throwing at them, you’re never going to get them invested in the story. Everyone knows that.

What many people do not realize, though, is that, to suspend a reader’s disbelief, you have to start them from a shared baseline of what IS believable. A foundation of realism, some might call it–except that reality gets in the way of believability surprisingly often.
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MIND MELD: Publishing Lessons From Debut Authors (Part 2)

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

There were so many wonderful debut authors in 2013, and the last post was so much fun, I asked a few more of them this:

Q: What was the most fun/unusual/interesting/etc thing you’ve learned since becoming a published author?

Here’s what they had to say…

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Now Playing on The Functional Nerds Podcast: An Interview with Storium’s Stephen Hood

Storium creator, Stephen Hood 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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Cover & Synopsis: ORIGINATOR (A Cassandra Kresnov Novel) by Joel Shepherd

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the Joel Shepherd’s upcoming Cassandra Kresnov novel Originator. The series recounts the adventures of the ultimate synthetic soldier who was made by the League, but defected to her former enemy, the Federation. The cover designer is Jacqueline Nasso Cooke and the cover features art by Stephan Martiniere.

Here’s the book synopsis:
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VIDEO: For a Fee, George R.R. Martin Will Come to Your Home and Explain ‘Game of Thrones’

When George R.R. Martin stopped by the Conan show, they put him to work…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-05-21

Interviews & Profiles

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BOOK REVIEW: Binary (Revolution #2) by Stephanie Saulter

REVIEW SUMMARY: The second book in Stephanie Saulter’s ®evolution series answers many (but not all) of the questions readers were left with at the end of the first book, Gemsigns, gives us a lot of background information Aryel and Zavcka, and opens a new plotline that will get readers excited for the next book in the series.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Gems are now legally equal to the norms, but society has a long way to go. Aryel’s foster family visits the city for medical advice for her brother’s crippling disease, and Sharon Varsi is investigating a strange theft involving out of date genestock. Meanwhile, Zavcka Klist is rebranding her company in an attempt to start a partnership with the Gems she is responsible for creating and then nearly destroying.

PROS: Touches on important political issues; a great balance between good pacing and a well-developed ensemble cast; plot is emotionally gripping.
CONS: Handling of one of character’s special ability is heavy-handed; sometimes it’s hard to tell who the characters in the flashbacks are.
BOTTOM LINE: Some books are good, some books are even great. This one is important.

In a recent guest post here at SF Signal entitled We Need Fiction to Tell The Truth, author Stephanie Saulter more so uses the column to talk about how too many people allow their discomfort, fear, or ignorance to color their interactions with others who have physical, mental, or cognitive disabilities, but the column’s title itself is a perfect summary of so much of what she touched on in Gemsigns, and now in Binary. Gems (genetically modified people) may not look like us, but they are just like us. Does this sound familiar? This is the same line we raise (or should be raising) our children with: that person may not look like you (different skin color, or different culture, or is in a wheelchair, or is deaf, etc.), but they are just like you. Needing fiction to tell the truth, indeed. Before you start worrying about a “message” novel, Saulter isn’t trying to make readers feel guilty or feel bad. She’s showing us what can happen when we do finally remember that we are all in this together, that it’s not “us vs them”, because we are all “us”.

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[GUEST POST] L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Reflects on More Than 40 Years of F&SF Publication

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is the bestselling author of over sixty novels encompassing two science fiction series and four fantasy series, as well as several other novels in the science fiction genre. His latest novel is Cyador’s Heirs, part of his extensive Saga of Recluce.

A Few Reflections (on more than 40 years of F&SF publication)

by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

When John DeNardo approached me about doing a genre-related guest post with some reflections for SF Signal, I didn’t realize how many recollections I’d have to sift through and how few it took to fill up the allotted space, but the three that follow may shed a little light on some aspects of being a SF&F author.
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[GUEST POST] Special Needs in Strange Worlds: Jim C. Hines on Writing with Depression

NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Jim C. Hines! – Sarah Chorn

Jim C. Hines is best known as a fantasy novelist and the guy who did those gender-flipped SF/F cover poses. His first novel was Goblin Quest, the tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Actor and author Wil Wheaton described the book as “too f***ing cool for words,” which is pretty much the Best Blurb Ever. After completing the goblin trilogy, Jim went on to write the princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. He’s currently working on the Magic ex Libris books, which follow the adventures of a magic-wielding librarian from northern Michigan.

He’s also the author of more than forty published short stories. His first professional story sale was the award-winning “Blade of the Bunny,” which took first place in the 1998 Writers of the Future competition and was published in Writers of the Future XV.

Jim is an active blogger about topics ranging from sexism and harassment to zombie-themed Christmas carols, and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2012.

He has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Masters in English, and works for the State of Michigan. He lives with his wife and two children, who have always shown remarkable tolerance for his bizarre and obsessive writing habits. (The cats, on the other hand, have no tolerance whatsoever, and routinely walk across his desk when he’s trying to work.)

Writing with Depression

by Jim C. Hines

I get anxious every time one of my books comes out. Will this one sell as well as the last? Will people like it? Will Spielberg finally call me up and offer me an obscene amount of money to turn my books into blockbusters? Will this be the book that tanks and destroys my career, forcing me to live on the streets and hunt rats for food?
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[TRAILER PARK] Guardians of the Galaxy / Earth to Echo / The Flash / Interstellar

Two big films released new trailers this week and we have an interesting looking film for you as well as a TV show. Mount your double-wide on blocks and check out this installment of the Trailer Park!
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The Harley Quinn Fan Film You Didn’t Know You Were Dying To See

Red Queen will make you re-think the phrase “just a fan film”…

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Cover & Synopsis: THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-05-20

Interviews & Profiles

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A chat with David Ramirez, Author of THE FOREVER WATCH

David Ramirez is an ex-scientist who divides his time between Oakland, CA, and Manila, Philippines. Once a molecular biologist who worked on the Human Genome Project, Ramirez returned to the Philippines to get married. He currently dabbles in computer science and programmed part of the information system for the chronobiologists of EUCLOCK, a cooperative project between European research groups on the study of circadian rhythms in model organisms and humans.

David was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his debut novel, The Forever Watch!

Kristin Centorcelli: Congratulations on your new book, THE FOREVER WATCH! You have a science background, but have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and that progression?

David Ramirez: I grew up the youngest of five kids, surrounded by the books they and our parents kept buying. My childhood interest in science started with TV: a documentary about Einstein’s theories, and nature features narrated by David Attenborough. Reading and thinking about stories became a habit, while I saw science as a career.

I did not think about being a writer until I grew indifferent to my classes in college. As my attendance diminished, I spent more hours each day reading stories and writing for fun. By the time I was one of the many researchers on the Human Genome Project—well, my love of science remains, but writing became a compulsion, while working in a lab was just a job.
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[GUEST POST] Jeff Carlson’s The E-Report (Part 4)

Jeff Carlson is the international bestselling author of Plague Year, Interrupt, and The Frozen Sky. To date, his work has been translated into sixteen languages worldwide. His new novel is Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed, available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords. Readers can find free excerpts, videos, contests, and more on his website at www.jverse.com

The E-Report (Part 4)
…or: A Gorgeous Swan Dive into a Big Can Of Worms

by Jeff Carlson

Adding to my weird saga, I swerved sideways from self-publishing at the height of The Frozen Sky‘s popularity.

Through a joint effort, my agent and I placed epic disaster novel Interrupt with 47North, the e-devils themselves, who released the book in July 2013. Amazon’s new publishing wing cannot accurately be described as a traditional publisher, but they have all the best elements of New York in professional editors, marketing teams, publicists, artists, accountants, and, yes, even a good lawyer or three.
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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 248): Comics, Games, Bad Book Habits, Historical Accuracy in Fantasy and A Book That Turned Out To Be Unexpected

In episode 248 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester, Sarah Chorn, Paul Weimer, Fred Kiesche, Django Wexler, and Jeff Patterson, discuss a grab-bag of topics.

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FINALISTS: 2014 John W. Campbell Memorial Award

The finalists for this year’s John W. Campbell Memorial Award (honoring the best science fiction novel of 2013) have been announced.
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Can You Name This Story? (Part 35)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?
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Books Received: May 19, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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