Category Archives: Mind Meld

MIND MELD: Best Books of 2014

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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…

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MIND MELD: Best SF/F Movies of 2014

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

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

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MIND MELD: What Are Your Annual Holiday Genre Traditions?

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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…

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

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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…

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MIND MELD: The Best Book Openings

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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…

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MIND MELD: The Evolution of the Author/Fan Relationship

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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…!

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MIND MELD: Literary Gems from Outside the Genre

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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…

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MIND MELD: What We’re Thankful for in the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Genres

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With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, we thought it was the perfect time to ask our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: What are you thankful for in the speculative genres this year?

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MIND MELD: Which Non-Horror Novel/Writer/Movie Spooked You the Most?

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This is a double-edged question about a writer/book who/that evoked that emotion of fear in you. Not a horror writer/novel (for example not Stephen King), but perhaps an Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Urban Fantasy novel where you found parts of it scary/creepy. To the point you might think to yourself, “I’d love to see a straight-out horror novel from this writer!” (Which some participants answered)

Q: Which novel/writer/movie, that wasn’t specifically a horror novel/writer/movie, spooked you the most?

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MIND MELD: The Books That Should Be Films & Fancasting Who Should Star in Them

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We all have fave books that we’d love to see on the big (or little) screen, so I asked this week’s panelists this question:

Q: Got a favorite book (or books) that you’d like to see on the big screen? Tell me which one and fancast it with ANYONE you want, past and present

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: The Best Alien Characters in Science Fiction (and What Makes Them so Successful)

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Humans with funny foreheads are easy; truly alien aliens are hard. With that in mind, here’s what we asked our panel of experts:

Q: What successfully makes an alien character, well, really alien?

Here’s what they said!

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Mind Meld Make-Up with Gillian Pollack: Words We Learned from Genre Fiction

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This week we asked our participants to talk about Words they first encountered in genre.

Q: What interesting, new-to-you words have you first learned or come across in your genre reading?

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MIND MELD: Words We Learned from Genre Fiction

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This week we asked our participants to talk about Words they first encountered in genre

Q: What interesting, new-to-you words have you first learned or come across in your genre reading?

Here’s what they said…

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MIND MELD: Horrified by Horror – The Books, Films and Shows That Messed Us Up

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Why do we check under the bed for monsters or dread swimming in the ocean or sleep with the lights on? Most likely it’s because of a horror movie or novel. Maybe you watched or read it as a kid or even as an adult; maybe it was temporary or continues to this day. Nonetheless, the horror genre is responsible for many of our fears. And with that in mind we asked our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: What horror tale or tales (novel, short story, movie, TV show, comic book) have messed you up?

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MIND MELD: Books That Make Us Shake Our Heads at Other Readers

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An inevitability of reading many books (and subsequently reviewing books) is feeling disconnected when reading a book which has been well-received by a great number of people. In other words, you begin to wonder who is missing something: you as the reader for not “getting” what is so great about the book, or the other readers for helping to raise the book to its hallowed status. This idea was inspired, in large part, by the blog post The Reviewer’s Dilemma: Did I Miss Something? by Ria Bridges. That’s the long way of asking this week’s panelists the following question:

Q: Which Books Made You Shake Your Head at Other Readers?

Here’s what they said…

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MIND MELD: Books That Carried Us Outside Our Comfort Zone

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This week we asked our participants to talk about reading out of their comfort zone…

The right kind of author, and the right kind of book, can lure readers to try subgenres of fiction and genre fiction that they wouldn’t normally think to try. These authors and books lure unwitting readers into trying and embracing a new subgenre by virtue of being well-written, subverting genre expectations, and sometimes being a case of a favored author trying a new subgenre and following her into it.

Q: What authors and books have gotten you to try new subgenres of fiction and genre fiction?

Here’s what they said…

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MIND MELD MAKE-UP: Vylar Kaftan on Disabilities in Speculative Fiction

We have an additional entry on our Mind Meld on Disabilities in Speculative Fiction, from Nebula Award winning author Vylar Kaftan!

Q: What are some examples of speculative fiction titles where disabilities and disabled characters have been handled the right way? Are there specific disabilities that you’ve yet to see written into a speculative fiction story in a positive way?

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MIND MELD: Disabilities in Speculative Fiction

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Sarah Chorn’s highly successful Special Needs in Strange Worlds column…the recent Kaleidoscope anthology…the upcoming Accessing The Future anthology… Fiction focusing on discussions of disabilities, different abilities, special needs and different needs are increasingly important in the speculative fiction community.

With that in mind, here’s what I asked our panelists:

Q: What are some examples of speculative fiction titles where disabilities and disabled characters have been handled the right way? Are there specific disabilities that you’ve yet to see written into a speculative fiction story in a positive way?

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MIND MELD: Publishing Lessons From 2014 Debut Authors (Part 1)

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There were so many wonderful debut authors in 2013, and the last post was so much fun, I thought it might be high time we give 2014 debut authors their turn:

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

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: Underappreciated Genre Authors

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Even great writers can get lost among the ever-growing stacks and stacks of genre literature or fade from memory in the course of time. Sometimes a writer’s talent far outweighs his or hers status among the reading public. With that in mind we asked our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: Which genre author, living or dead, do you think deserves more recognition? Why?

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