Mind Meld Archives

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Brandon Sanderson famously finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time while writers like Roger Zelazny (“Amber”) and George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire”) have said nobody will finish their series or continue their work. Would you want another writer to pick up an unfinished series by an author?

We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Should unfinished series remain unfinished?

Here’s what they said…

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MIND MELD: Comic Book Characters Who Deserve Reboots

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The recent announcement of the Falcon taking over Captain America, the announcement of a female Thor, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, the new Ms. Marvel, the various incarnations of Green Lantern…there is opportunity in rebooting comic book characters to reflect our diverse society, or to cast new light and new angles on old characters.

Q: What are the perils and challenges and opportunities of doing such a reboot? Pick a comic book character that you’d like to reboot. How would you do it, and to what end?

Here’s what they said…

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These summer days have me feeling nostalgic for the summers of my youth, when I’d ride my bike to the local library for another stack of paperbacks. It was experiences like that that helped make me a reader for life.

With that in mind, I asked our panelists this question:

Q: What is your favorite childhood memory of a library or bookstore?

Here is how they responded…
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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Gadgets from SF

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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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