Category Archives: Interviews

MIND MELD: Best Books of 2014

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

Can you believe 2014 is almost over? I’m sure you’ve seen your share of “Best of 2014″ lists, so I thought I’d add to the fun and ask a few folks what really revved their literary engines during 2014.

Q: What have been a few of your favorite genre reads of 2014, and why? Although it’s a plus if they were published in 2014, they don’t have to be!

Here’s what they had to say…

Continue reading

MIND MELD: Best SF/F Movies of 2014

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

This week, we asked our esteemed panelists the following question:

Q: What was the best SF/F movie of 2014?

Continue reading

Special Needs in Strange Worlds: An Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley

Mercedes Murdock Yardley is a friend of mine. We talk frequently, and commiserate about health issues neither of us can control, just deal with as best as we can. She’s an up-and-coming author with several books under her belt, and more on the way. She’s creative, and passionate, and an absolute joy to talk to.

One of the things that always gets me about her writing, especially now that I know her on a personal level, is how certain aspects of her life fuel her books. Her books are dark and delicious, with a shocking (and quite refreshing) innocence, and an undertone of deep, profound loss, all of which is reflective of the life she has lived, and the challenges she faces daily.

I asked her if she’d be willing to open up with me about her life, her son with Williams Syndrome, and how it has all impacted her writing. This conversation is the result of that. Huge thanks to Mercedes for being willing to talk about these tender topics.

Continue reading

VIDEO: Watch Joe Haldeman Talk About the Genesis of THE FOREVER WAR

In this video, Joe Haldeman discuses the story behind his Hugo- and Nebula-, Loucus-, and World Fantasy Award-winning science fiction classic, The Forever War
Continue reading

Watching the Future: An Interview with “Other Worlds Austin” Organizer Bears Fonte

One of the pleasures of being a media journalist can be the sheer variety of movies you get to see. This is especially true of film festivals, which allows critics to glimpse movies that others might not normally hear about. Most movie fans know Sundance, and may have a passing familiarity with two festivals that run in Austin, South by Southwest and Fantastic Fest. Usually I have to miss those events; life, for whatever reason, seems to intrude each time I think I might be able to collect my notebook, sharpen my critical eye, and give my impressions of newer, unknown fare.

However, this December I have the honor of attending Other Worlds Austin, a film festival devoted to science fiction movies. It’s the first venue of its kind to run in the Austin area, and an overdue one, given the tightly knit science fiction community here. I got the chance to talk about the upcoming festival with Bears Fonte, its organizer, over Chicago-style hot dogs at Lucky Dogs just north of the Austin area. Bears is a writer and director, and a great science fiction enthusiast whose passion for cinema, especially science fiction cinema, spilled over during our discussion. His enthusiasm was contagious; I’m looking forward to the lineup, which you can see at http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/2014-film-line-up.


Derek Austin Johnson: We’re meeting after a somewhat auspicious event, because the entire Internet seems to be nerding out about this follow-up to a very obscure 1970s science fiction movie, the trailer of which has just been released. (The interview took place the day Disney the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.) Have you seen it yet, or have you seen the Internet slow to a crawl?

Bears Fonte: I haven’t seen it yet because I want to see it in front of a movie on the screen. I want to first experience it like that, so we’re going to a film specifically this weekend so that we can see it. But it is interesting to see how crazy people get about it. Fortunately, Jurassic World had the audacity to get theirs out two days earlier, so they could still get a little buzz.
Continue reading

Did You Hear Gail Carriger on The Functional Nerds Podcast?

Gail Carriger, author of Wasitcoats & Weaponry, 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.

Continue reading

MIND MELD: What Are Your Annual Holiday Genre Traditions?

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

This week, we asked our esteemed panelists the following question:

Q: What Genre Holiday traditions to you partake in every year? What favorite films do you like to re-watch? What favorite books or stories you like to re-read? What are your favorite Holiday-themed episodes of genre shows (beyond the classic Rankin-Bass stop motion specials)?

Here is what they said…

Continue reading

BONUS MIND MELD! Short Story and Anthology Recommendations From the Authors of SIX BY SIX

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

This week, we invited participants from the Six by Six Kickstarter collection of shorts stories to contribute their suggestions about what short stories people should be sure to catch. We asked them:

Q: What short stories do you recommend that people read? Can you name a favorite anthology or collection, and call out at least one short story in it?

Here’s what they said…

Continue reading

An Interview with Graphic Novelist Frederik Peeters

Frederik Peeters has received five nominations in the Best Book category at Angoulême (the so-called “Cannes of comics”) and in 2013 won the Best Series prize for the first two volumes of Aâma. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.

Frederik was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about Aâma, artists and authors who have influenced him, the very personal graphic novel called Blue Pills that launched his career, and more!


Andrea Johnson: Congratulations on the recent publication of your newest graphic novel Aâma: The Invisible Throng. This is the second volume in the Aâma series, a futuristic science fiction story with high-tech body augmentations, a robot monkey, and a mysterious biorobotic experiment called “AAMA”. What else can you tell us about this story, and where it is going?

Frederik Peeters: I can’t tell you where the story is going like this, in an interview – otherwise there’s no point in spending years creating books. All I can tell you is that I had two main directions in mind when doing it: first, try to think about the relationship humanity has with the technology it’s creating, and second, the love story between a father and his daughter. All this wrapped within a big adventure story full of strange, intimate poetry.
Continue reading

Did You Hear Alex Hughes on The Functional Nerds Podcast?

Alex Hughes, author of Vacant, 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.

Continue reading

MIND MELD: The Best Book Openings

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

This week we asked our participants to talk about favorite openings of stories and novels…

Q: Starting a book or a novella on the right foot is a time honored technique for hooking a reader into reading a book and being drawn through the narrative. What are your favorite opening scenes in novels and stories? What made them effective?

Here’s what they said…

Continue reading

Convention Attention: John Wenger on 35 Years of Attending Conventions

My friend John has been to a lot of conventions, and I mean a lot. I don’t want to make him feel old, but he attended his first convention the same year I was born. When he mentioned that he’d kept the program books from most if not all of the cons he’d attended, I knew I had to snag him for a Convention Attention interview! He even let me snap photos of a bunch of the program books. Just wait till you see the artwork on these, everything from book cover quality to copyright infringing fan art.

In a way, I’ve got John to thank for the existence of this monthly column. He’s the guy who talked me into going to my very first scifi convention a few years ago. I had a fantastic time, and couldn’t wait to go to another one, and then another one, and then another one.

Continue reading

An Interview with Tobias S. Buckell About the XENOWEALTH Collection Kickstarter

Tobias Buckell
Tobias Buckell
Tobias S. Buckell is the author most recently of the Arctic Rain sequence of novels (Arctic Rain and Hurricane Fever). Before turning his attention to near-future Climate change wracked Earth, however, Buckell wrote a series of futuristic science fiction novels in what is called the Xenowealth universe. Buckell is kickstarting a collection gathering the short stories he has written in and around the main novels in the sequence.

Buckell kindly answered a few questions about the Xenowealth and the kickstarter.

Continue reading

James Luceno on The Functional Nerds Podcast

James Luceno, author of Tarkin, 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.

Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Oliver Sudden, Scriptwriting Intern for Far Cry 4, on Scriptwriting for Videogames

Nick Sharps had the opportunity to chat with Ubisoft Scriptwriter Oliver Sudden about the new living-world game Far Cry 4.

Join them, won’t you?


Nick Sharps: Hello Oliver, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your position at Ubisoft Montreal.

Oliver Sudden: Well, I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and I first came to Montreal to do a degree in Filmmaking at Concordia University.

I moved away and then moved back and after applying two or three times to Ubisoft Montreal, I was hired on as a scriptwriting intern and hope to become a full-time scriptwriter soon.

NS: It is my understanding that you worked on the action-adventure first-person shooter video game Far Cry 4. As a long time fan of the Far Cry franchise I have to say, this must have been an exciting opportunity. Can you tell us a little about your contribution to the game and what it’s like to work with a team of writers?
Continue reading

MIND MELD: The Evolution of the Author/Fan Relationship

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

Twitter, facebook and blogging are more popular than ever, and every year the attendance at speculative fiction-focused conventions seems to increase. With that in mind, I asked our panelists the following question:

Q: With the growing popularity of social media and face to face events, how has the relationship between writing professions (writers, editors, artists, etc.) and fans changed over the years?

Here’s what they said…!

Continue reading

An interview with STOLEN Authors Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Stolen, the newest installment (after Frozen) of the Heart of Dread series by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston just came out, and the married couple stopped by to chat about the new book, and much more! You can find out more about Melissa and the series at her website.


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the new book in the Heart of Dread series, Stolen! Will you give us the scoop on what we can expect from Nat and Wes in this installment?

Melissa and Mike: Stolen picks up a few months where Frozen left off, Nat is learning to use her power and Wes is reduced to driving in the death races in Vegas. Wes gets a tip about his missing sister and races to her, only to find himself in the same place as Nat. They uncover more terrible secrets of in both the fantastic world of Vallonis and the gritty world of the RSA.
Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Henry V. O’Neil Talks About His Military Science Fiction Novel GLORY MAIN

Henry V. O’Neil is the name under which award-winning mystery novelist Vincent H. O’Neil publishes his science fiction work. A graduate of West Point, he served in the US Army Infantry with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, and in the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the 508th Infantry in Panama. He has worked as a risk manager, a marketing copywriter, and an apprentice librarian.

In 2012 he published his first military science fiction novel Glory Main (written under the name Henry V. O’Neil) which was picked up by HarperCollins in 2014 as a three-book series. The sequel Orphan Briagade is due in January.

Nick Sharps had the chance to chant with “Henry” about his highly-enjoyable series…


Nick Sharps: How did you come to be published by Harper Voyager Impulse?

Henry V. O’Neil: That’s a fantastic story. I’ve been writing for a long time, and was first published in the mystery genre by St. Martin’s Press in 2005. I branched out into horror and military science fiction, and just after I completed Glory Main HarperVoyager announced they were opening a submissions window to help launch the Impulse imprint. I submitted Glory Main, and was thrilled to learn that it had been selected as one of Impulse’s first releases and would be followed by two more books in the series.

NS: Were you able to draw from your own military service in the writing of Glory Main?
Continue reading

MIND MELD: Literary Gems from Outside the Genre

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

Going outside one’s comfort zone can be a benefit to both readers and writers, so I asked this week’s panelists this question (huge thanks to Jason M Hough for the Mind Meld topic!!):

Q: What are a few of your favorites books beyond the realm of speculative fiction? What drew you to them, and what have you learned from them? What do you think SFF authors can learn by venturing outside their comfort zones in their reading?

Here’s what they had to say…

Continue reading

An Interview with Jay Kristoff, Author of the LOTUS WAR Trilogy, About ENDSINGER, Different Endings and Our Ecological Trajectory

Photo by Christopher Tovo - www.christophertovo.com
Photo by Christopher Tovo
6’7” tall Jay Kristoff grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and is a tragic nerd. The first installment of his Lotus War trilogy, STORMDANCER, was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for several SF/F awards, and the Lotus War novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2014 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Fiction. The third book, ENDSINGER, is out in November 2014.

Jay kindly answered some questions about the Lotus War trilogy.


Paul Weimer: Congratulations on finishing the third volume of the Lotus War! How does the end of the novel and series differ from your original conceptions, when you started writing Stormdancer?

Jay Kristoff: Thanks so much!

Well, I originally wrote Stormdancer as a one-shot novel—I didn’t have an agent or book deal at the time, and I figured planning a trilogy would be a little presumptuous of me. Yukiko actually died in the end of the original Stormdancer, but then I landed an agent and he was like “This whole brutally murdering your protagonist thing…how wedded to that idea are you?”

I tend to be something of a pantser when it comes to writing. I don’t plan too far in advance, and prefer to let the story find me. So I really had noooo idea where the series would go or how it would end, especially back in 2012. But I did go into writing the third book knowing the body count would be high. Last book in the series. All bets are off. No one = safe. And that conception turns out to be pretty spot-on.

Continue reading