ERIN M. EVANS got a degree in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis—and promptly stuck it in a box. Nowadays she uses that knowledge of bones, mythology, and social constructions to flesh out fantasy worlds. She is the author of several Forgotten Realms novels, including the Brimstone Angels Saga. She lives in Washington State with her husband and son.
Charles Tan: Hi Erin! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview.
Erin M. Evans: My pleasure!
CT: Without reading your previous novels, I was able to catch up on what was happening in Fire in the Blood. Are the novels being stand-alone intentional? How do you juggle bringing new readers up to speed, while still addressing the concerns of previous fans?
EME: This question cracks me up, because honestly I gave up trying to be new reader-friendly with this book. It seemed impossible! But apparently I can’t help myself.
I think the key is that the books in the series are both sequential and episodic—structurally it’s sort of similar to a drama you might watch on television. What’s the plot of the week, and how does it fit into the plot of the season, and how does that fit into the plot of the series? If you’re coming in cold, you might not fully understand those larger arcs, but if the “episode plot” is engaging enough, then you can pick up a lot as you go (and hopefully go back to read the earlier titles!). Continue reading →
Jaym Gates is an author, editor, and public relations specialist. She’s the Communications Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and an SF Signal Irregular. You can find her at JaymGates.com, or on Twitter as @JaymGates.
Andrew Liptak is a freelance writer and historian from Vermont. He is a 2014 graduate of the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, and has written for such places as Armchair General, io9, Kirkus Reviews, Lightspeed Magazine, and others. He can be found over at AndrewLiptak.com and at @AndrewLiptak on Twitter. His next book, The Future Machine: The Writers, Editors and Readers who Build Science Fiction, is forthcoming from Jurassic London in 2015.
Charles Tan: What was the genesis of the War Stories anthology?
Andrew Liptak: Jaym and I both attended ReaderCon in 2012, and while talking about a bunch of topics, Jaym spouted: “You know, I really want to do another anthology.” I said something along the lines of wanting to do something with military science fiction, and after that, we spent quite a bit of time talking very fast at one another. Shortly thereafter, we drew up a wish list of authors, started contacting them, and came up with the idea of War Stories.
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.
Lavie Tidhar‘s most recent novels are The Violent Century (published in the US next year by Thomas Dunne Books) and A Man Lies Dreaming (published in October in the UK from Hodder & Stoughton). He won the World Fantasy, British Fantasy and BSFA Awards. Lavie ran the World SF Blog for four years and is the editor of The Apex Book of World SF series of international speculative short fiction, of which Volume 3 just came out. Originally from Israel, he currently lives in London.
Lavie Tidhar: It’s a good question – to me, in a way, the three volumes present one continuous project, a single work – a snapshot of international speculative fiction in the last decade or so. That is, my goal was and remains to read widely, to select stories that I liked and that I wanted to share, without any story standing for some half-mythical “representation” of an entire culture or language. They’re individual stories by individual writers from all around the world, and some engage directly with specific cultural questions and some don’t feel the need to do that. If they do constitute an argument at all, it is exactly that, that you can’t narrow down fiction – genre or otherwise – you can’t reduce it to generalities.
Saying all that, it’s been a lot easier since I started editing the series in 2008 or so. One obvious difference in Volume 3 is that the stories are predominantly by women writers – who I think are very much leading the field in short fiction now. The other is that I had more access to more sources, and I’d single out the anthology Afro SF as filling a particularly important niche in that regard. In fact there’s a great range of sources included here.
Other than that, Volume 2 had a lot of shorter stories – here I wanted the freedom to reprint longer works, such as Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s “Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods”, which opens the book, and is a remarkable debut.
Carrie Cuinn is an author, editor, bibliophile, modernist, and geek. She writes speculative fiction – including science fiction and apocalypse stories and magic realism and fucked up fairy tales – and non-fiction on a range of academic and technical subjects. FISH is her third published anthology as an editor.
CHARLES TAN: Hi Carrie, thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, Fish is a peculiar speculative anthology. How did you conceptualize it, decided to dedicate it to your son, and to have a children’s book atmosphere for the book?
CARRIE CUINN:Fish is meant to be the first in a four-part series. I wanted to do a set of anthologies that included a mix of genres but that all together would cover a huge range of stories. I thought that if I could choose themes that were wide enough, I could encompass the kind of variety I like in my own reading. Science fiction, magical realism, interstitial fiction, fantasy… you can find it all in Fish. Continue reading →
One of the tabletop games I discovered late last year was Mage Wars. It’s a two-player game where each player takes on the role of a powerful Mage, using their Mana to summon creatures and cast spells, in an attempt to reduce the opposing Mage to zero life. That initial pitch might sound like Magic: The Gathering, and the influence of that game is evident. But there are a lot of innovations in the rules (which I’ll discuss below) which distinguish it from the famous Collectible Card Game (CCG) and other tabletop games.
Here’s one game mechanic that fits with the theme and is ripe for deep strategy: during the Planning Phase of every turn, players pick two spells from their spellbook. The spellbook is a four-card binder (a pair comes with the game) composed of cards you chose to comprise your deck. Every round, it feels like roleplaying when you rifle through your spellbook, looking for the appropriate spell to cast later in the game. Because you’re choosing which two spells to cast, there’s no randomness when it comes to determining what your options are. On the other hand, because you’re selecting only two spells, you’re limited when it comes to reacting to the cards your opponent plays this turn: if you want to reverse or foil your opponent’s plans, you need to pick in advance the spell you think you’ll need. Continue reading →
Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama, of The Bookman Histories trilogy and many other works. He also won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, for “Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God”, and was nominated variously for a BSFA, Campbell, Sturgeon and Sidewise awards. He grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and in South Africa but currently resides in London.
For this interview, Lavie Tidhar talks about the second World SF Travel Fund, the recipients of which are Csilla Kleinheincz and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz.
CHARLES TAN: Hi Lavie! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For those unfamiliar with the World SF Travel Fund, could you tell us what it is about?
LAVIE TIDHAR: It’s a small initiative, to help people involved in genre fiction – writers, editors, translators, bloggers – from outside of the main Anglophone world travel to a major convention. Predominantly, we have been associated with the World Fantasy Convention, which is a more professionally-aimed convention, and can offer the most benefit.