Category Archives: Web Sites

The Culture of Iain M. Banks

Last year, I was shocked to read that Iain M. Banks announced that he had cancer and was going to die within months. I had first come across him when I picked up Consider Phlebas, and several of its sequels when my Waldenbooks shut down and liquidated its stock: his books were among the first that I grabbed and stuck in the backroom to hold while we waited for the store to close. I really enjoyed the novel, although I’ve yet to really pick up any of the others. I was fascinated by the depth and breadth of the Culture.

Banks plays a critical role in the resurgence of space opera in England, leading a number of other well-known authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Stephen Baxter and others around the 1990s. Space opera is a type of story that’s not been well received, and Banks sort of bridges the gap between authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and C.J. Cherryh and those such as James S.A. Corey.

Go read The Culture of Iain M. Banks over on Kirkus Reviews.

PODCAST REVIEW: To the Manor Borne by Robots

I’d like to draw your attention to a new sf fiction podcast, To The Manor Borne By Robots. This is an interesting new entry in the field of fully-produced science fiction audio dramas. Let me shamelessly crib from the press release for a description:

Only stories will feed the Beast! In the new podcast, To The Manor Borne By Robots, a monstrous entity invades 25th century Earth, wreaking havoc, destroying cities, killing millions. The only thing that will pacify it is stories, stories read to it by the Master, the leader of the future Earth. In an effort to destroy the Beast, the Master transports his 21st century ancestor, a cube-worker named Bob, to the future, where his DNA signature allows him to be a stand-in with the Beast, while the Master travels to the past, to unravel the origin of the Beast, and destroy it. Each episode features the serialized story of the Master, Bob, and the Beast, as well as a stand-alone story, all voiced by an extensive and talented cast of actors, lavishly produced, with sound effects and music. A sci-fi Scherherezade, To The Manor Borne By Robots is available on iTunes, and via web-player on its own site. Journey to the Manor, where the future is past.

They’re two episodes in, and I’m hooked. Every episode is split just about evenly between the frame narrative, where Bob and the Master must keep the Beast quiescent while seeking to destroy it, and the story that Bob reads to the Beast. Bob introduces the story, but it isn’t simply read; like the rest of the show the story is fully dramatized, with different actors, foley sound effects, and music.

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Superhero Stories That Will Leap to the Top of Your Reading Pile in a Single Bound

Look! Up in the sky! It’s…another article at Kirkus Reviews!

Check out my this roundup of superhero fiction over on Kirkus Reviews: Superhero Stories That Will Leap to the Top of Your Reading Pile in a Single Bound

Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: More Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Adaptations

Films and television shows based on speculative fiction books are the new norm. Want proof? Check out my latest roundup over on Kirkus Reviews: Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Adaptation Watch – December 2014

Table of Contents: FANTASTIC STORIES OF THE IMAGINATION, December 2014

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination has posted the table of contents for their new issue:
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The Worlds of C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh is an author that I’ve come across quite a lot, but was never one that I really ever got into. Recently, I’ve become more interested in her books, particularly Downbelow Station, which prompted me to take a look at her career. It’s a fascinating one that pulls in some of the legacies of her predecessors (such as Robert Heinlein and similar), and newer innovations that made her career different than that of her predecessors: she was primarily a novelist, rather than someone who started in the pulp magazines.

Go read The Worlds of C.J. Cherryh over on Kirkus Reviews.

Captivating Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Reads for December

This month’s roundup of top picks for speculative fiction reads includes several series conclusions, a retelling of Robin Hood, wizards, assassins, mercenaries, time traveling detectives and gun-toting monkeys!

Hop on over to the Kirkus Reviews blog to check out Captivating Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Reads for December.

Table of Contents: Apex Magazine #67 (December 2014)

Here’s the table of contents for the new issue of Apex Magazine, a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field, edited by Sigrid Ellis.
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Table of Contents: Nightmare Magazine, December 2014

Nightmare Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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Table of Contents: Lightspeed Magazine, December 2014

Lightspeed Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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Captain Marvel – Higher, Further, Faster, More

Today at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I talk about Captain Marvel.

Way back in the 40’s, Fawcett introduced a character named Captain Marvel in the pages of Whiz Comics to cash in on the popularity of Superman and Batman with a superhero of their own. Marvel comics registered a trademark for ‘Captain Marvel’ in the 60’s, forcing DC, who had the character now, to call their book Shazam! Marvel launched their character, Captain Mar-Vell, who was an alien with the Kree Imperium, soon therafter. Since then, there have been a LOT of characters at Marvel given the name ‘Captain Marvel’ (due to their need to keep up the trademark). Carol Danvers is the latest, and perhaps the greatest, of those characters; intelligent, capable and a damned lot of fun.

To read the rest of the story, please click over to my piece about Captain Marvel on Kirkus Reviews.

Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for December 2014

Daily Science Fiction has announced its December line-up of free stories.
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Over at Kirkus Reviews: The Radical Joanna Russ

Joanna Russ wasn’t an author I came across when I first came across science fiction: she was someone who I slowly became aware of more recently, when I started working at this on a more professional and critical level. Part of this came from friends who were interested and researching her, and over the last couple of years, I’ve gained an appreciation for the few works that I have read.

What I find most interesting is her relationship with the genre: many of the arguments she put forward back in the 1960s/70s/80s still hold true today, and if anything, they’re even more relevant. For me, Russ makes a lot of sense, and her arguments not only apply towards better representations of men and women in science fiction, but make an excellent argument for simple innovation in writing science fiction. I can see why she was frustrated, and why she was angry.

Go read The Radical Joanna Russ over on Kirkus Reviews.

At Kirkus: We Are Moving Towards Our Science Fictional Future

Is science catching up with science fiction? It may seem so when you consider a lot of the recent advancements made in science.

At the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I talk about how We Are Moving Towards Our Science Fictional Future.

Head on over an take a look!

Table of Contents: Flash Fiction Online, November 2014

Here is the table of contents for the new issue of Flash Fiction Online:

  • “Monoceros Ptolemy Cluster” by Steven W. Johnson
  • “Black Friday” by Brynn MacNab
  • “The Rules of the Game” by Alexandra Grunberg

This issue, which went live November 1st, was edited by Suzanne Vincent and features a cover image by Dario Bijelac and cover design by Anna Yeatts.

Single ebooks and subscriptions are available via Weightless Books.

Support Flash Fiction Online via Patreon.

The Slow Unveiling of James Tiptree Jr.

Science Fiction publishing is full of strange characters, but there’s one story that seems to really capture people’s attention consistently: James Tiptree Jr., a brilliant figure who seemed to appear out of nowhere, earn a number of awards, and maintained a fairly elusive personality in science fiction circles. It wasn’t until a decade of writing that it was revealed that Tiptree wasn’t actually a guy: it was a woman named Alice Sheldon, with an utterly fascinating background: she had traveled the world, participated in the Second World War, worked for the CIA and had a PhD.

Sheldon proves to be an interesting figure, challenging a number of preconceptions for gender in science fiction (not just with her alter ego). What’s interesting about Sheldon is that she endured and wrote about a number of the same issues that we seem to face in science fiction right now: how are women represented in fiction and how are female authors treated differently than their male counterparts? Sheldon’s story is illuminating when it comes to this.

Go read The Slow Unveiling of James Tiptree Jr. over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog.

Table of Contents: Clarkesworld, November 2014

The new issue of Clarkesworld is now posted:
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My Picks for The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Books Coming Out in November

Every month I take a look at the vast array of new releases…and I name my top picks at the Kirkus Review Blog.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to see the The Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Books You’ll Want to Check Out in November

Table of Contents: Lightspeed Magazine, November 2014

Lightspeed Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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Table of Contents: Nightmare Magazine, November 2014

Nightmare Magazine sent along the table of contents for their new issue:
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