Archive for July, 2014

Podcast Spotlight: Escape Pod

Now that my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list is out in the public, it’s time to kick off my next series of podcast fiction features: The Podcast Spotlight. Each month I’ll focus on a single podcast, talking a bit about the origins and history of the podcast, the editor(s) and host(s) the podcast has had, and will give a list of my favorite episodes of that podcast since it began to give you a good place to start listening.

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INTERVIEW: Karin Tidbeck and Athena Andreadis on THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 3

This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Malmö, Sweden, where I work as a creative writing pedagogue and text consultant (which means I do all sorts of stuff related to fiction, from translations to writing to order). In my spare time I’m a massive geek, mostly about gaming and Forteana. I started writing in English back in 2010 because it was extremely difficult to publish fantastic fiction in Sweden, short stories especially. These days I’ve kind of passed the point of no return and write almost exclusively in English.
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I’m a sucker for graphic novels with great protagonists. A good case in point is Ben Hatke’s recently completed Zita the Spacegirl comic series—comprised of Zita the Spacegirl, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl—published earlier this summer. Framed with Hatke’s outstanding artwork, the series is an earnest, adorable and kick-ass story following Zita’s adventures far out in space.

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Neil Clarke is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Clarkesworld Magazine. His work at Clarkesworld has resulted in countless hours of enjoyment, three Hugo Awards for Best Semiprozine and four World Fantasy Award nominations. He’s a current and three-time Hugo Nominee for Best Editor (Short Form). In 2012, Neil suffered a near-fatal “widow-maker” heart attack which led to the installation of a defibrillator and a new life as a cyborg. Inspired by these events, he took on his first non-Clarkesworld editing project, Upgraded, an all-original anthology of cyborg stories scheduled for publication this summer. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Neil! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how are you? How about Clarkesworld Magazine?

NEIL CLARKE: My pleasure. Thanks for asking.

Doing well. I’m almost recovered from back-to-back convention weekends (Readercon and Detcon) and happy to be back at home with my family. Clarkesworld is healthier than ever and moving in the right direction, so I have no complaints there either.

CT: If you don’t mind me asking, I wanted to ask how your heart attack influenced your current view of the field, how it affects Clarkesworld, and how it generated an anthology like Upgraded.

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FINALISTS: 2014 Parsec Awards

The finalists for this year’s Parsec Awards, presented for excellence in science fiction podcasting, have been announced.
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Your Best Bets for SF/F/H Reads in August

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog, I name my picks for The Best Speculative Fiction Reads in August.

Check it out!

Django Wexler on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Django Wexler, author of The Shadow Throne, 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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Here’s the cover and synopsis for Suzanne Johnson’s upcoming novel Pirate’s Alley, the fourth in her Sentinels of New Orleans series.

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Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for August 2014

Daily Science Fiction has announced its monthly line-up of free stories.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-31

Interviews & Profiles

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Ben Blattberg is a freelance writer currently living in Texas. He blogs about movies and story structure at incremental-catastrophe.blogspot.com and makes jokes on Twitter @inCatastrophe.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In a magical LA ruthlessly run by a cannibal magician, a thief with a magical talent gets caught up in a heist.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fun world-building with some darkly vivid imagery, and a fast-moving caper plot that pulls readers along.
CONS: Some jarring plot shifts and murky character motivations.
BOTTOM LINE: I wouldn’t want to live in van Eekhout’s grim, magical LA, but it’s a fantastic place to visit; and despite a few hiccups, the book is a fun thrill-ride.

If you’ve ever been to sunny Los Angeles, you know that it’s a dread-laden city of madness, where the palm trees merely bide their time till they wake and push us all into the unforgiving Pacific. Or maybe that’s just me; maybe Los Angeles strikes you more as a city of pretty people cavorting in endless sunshine. Greg van Eekhout channels both versions of LA into his new novel, California Bones, an expansion of his earlier short fiction story “The Osteomancer’s Son“. Looked at one way, California Bones is a light-hearted epic heist story in a magical, alternate California; looked at another way, it’s a dystopian Grand Guignol about a decaying bureaucracy ruthlessly ruled by the biggest cannibal in town. Either way, it’s a fast-moving adventure with some heavy stakes, and only a few bumps along the way.
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This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. I live in beautiful British Columbia with my family and two cats. I write speculative fiction (from magic realism to horror). My short stories have appeared in places such as The Book of Cthulhu and Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. My first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was released in 2013. My debut novel, Signal to Noise, will be released in 2015 by Solaris.

I edited the anthologies Dead North and Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Apocalypse. I own Innsmouth Free Press and through it I published the anthologies Sword & Mythos, Fungi, Future Lovecraft, and many more books.
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As John E. O. Stevens endures the recovery phase of his surgery, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson leave the comfort of their domains to traverse wild and unknown lands for the first meeting of the Three Hoarsemen in meatspace! The heavens tremble as they sit in the lobby of the rehabilitation facility to update listeners on culture consumed and plans for the future.

This update also acts a thinly veiled excuse to decant their new THEME SONG, provided by the esteemed John Anealio, clearly the more talented half of The Functional Nerds.
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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Gadgets from SF

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

In part 2 of our Mind Meld duo featuring fictional gadgetry (Part 1 featured magical items from fantasy), we asked our panelists this:

Q: Where’s my holo-deck, and aren’t we supposed to have flying cars?? What gadget (or gadgets) from SF(from Golden Age to the present), would you like to see go from Science Fiction to Science Fact? Are there any oldies that you were sure would be reality by now?

Here’s what they had to say…

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Cover & Synopsis: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V. E. Schwab

Here’s the cover and synopsis for V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade ofagic.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-30

Interviews & Profiles

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Roll Perception Plus Awareness: Mindjammer

Welcome back to Roll Perception Plus Awareness, a column about roleplaying games and their place in a genre reader’s and writer’s world.

It’s the Second Age of Space, 200 years after the invention of a faster-than-light drive has arrested the seemingly inevitable senescence of humanity and brought about the possibilities of a true galactic culture. In the 10,000 years since the first Age of Space and that slow decline, humanity spread to the stars in vast waves of sublight colonization. Now, with planing, a faster than light travel drive, the Commonality has spread out from Old Earth, with a new strength, a new drive and new purpose.

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This is part of a series of Q&As with the authors of The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar.

The stories in The Apex Book of World SF 3 run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heard.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Writer, artist, freelance journalist. Published my first SF-stories over 25 years ago. Two years ago I’ve started my own eBook publishing house and I’m publishing work from other writers as well as my own material.
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William Ritter lives and teaches in Springfield, Oregon. The Sherlock Holmes–style adventure Jackaby is his first novel. He began writing Jackaby in the middle of the night when his son was still an infant. After getting up to care for him, Will would lie awake, his mind creating rich worlds and fantasies—such as the one in New Fiddleham. Follow William at his website and on Twitter as @Willothewords.

Doctor Who Distilled

by William Ritter

Your fervent, occasionally unhealthy enthusiasm for Doctor Who has finally piqued the interest of your last non-Whovian friends. You’ve been scribbling “Bad Wolf” in the margins of their history books for years, freaking them out by staring unblinkingly at every stone angel you see, and answering their legitimate questions, such as “What have you done with all of my left shoes?” with a cheeky “Spoilers!” Well, congratulations, all of your hard work has finally paid off—they’ve reached out an arm and given you the chance to pull them aboard the TARDIS!

One problem—that big Peter Capaldi party you’ve been planning is right around the corner! Your Whovian hold-out doesn’t have time to sit down and start from the beginning! You need to cherry-pick the best of the best. (Trust me, don’t leave them to their own devices. My brother-in-law tried “giving it a go” three times on network television. By pure chance he got “The Girl in the Fireplace” EVERY time. He is a fan now, but he’s developed a Pavlovian response and weeps uncontrollable whenever he hears the opening credits.) I don’t recommend starting a newbie with the classic series either—not because it isn’t worthy, but because fine wine is wasted on an unrefined palate. So where to begin?

Without further ado, because I know you’ve got darling little Dalek cupcakes and Cybermuffins to bake before the big day, here is Doctor Who Distilled. In just 5 hours of screen time, these episodes showcase the breadth of Doctor Who. They feature Eccleston, Tennant, Smith, and Hurt’s incarnations of The Doctor, and introduce viewers to Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory, Jack, River, and Clara.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Ria Bridges! – Sarah Chorn

Ria Bridges is an ex-pat Brit currently living on the east coast of Canada, along with 5 cats and a glorified budgie named Albert. When not reading and reviewing books on bibliotropic.net, Ria can often be found obsessively playing video games, being an amateur photographer, or experimenting with various fibre arts. Ria dreams of someday writing something of publishable quality, and then finding the courage to actually follow through and try to get it published.

Meep Girl

by Ria Bridges

MEEP!

The sound is loud enough to travel beyond the closed door of the training room, to reach the ears of the employees siting in the lounge, startling one. “What was that?”

“Some girl in the new-hire class,” is the reply.

A third person pipes up. “Meep Girl. Yeah, she’s got some medical thing that makes her do that, I guess.”

The first person laughs. “Seriously? There’s no such thing, right?” She pauses, considering. “Is there? That’s just so weird!”

I’m sitting nearby, quiet, half afraid to speak up because I don’t want the focus of the conversation to shift to me, cowardly in the way that I won’t say, “It’s called Tourette’s syndrome, guys, and I’ve got it too.”
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