In episode 238 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester, Jack Campbell, Karen Lord, Jay Posey, Kameron Hurley, Charles E. Gannon, and Jaym Gates, discuss Military Science Fiction.

Read the rest of this entry

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

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What are some of the most overdone tropes and stereotypes in SF/F? What are some of the most useful? What are some of the most damaging?

Here’s what they said…

Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is an award-winning, Nebula nominated author. Her personal and professional exploits have taken her all around the world. Visit kameronhurley.com for details on upcoming projects, short fiction, and meditations on the writing life.

Tropes are a funny thing. To some extent, knowing and expecting what’s going to happen next in a story – anticipating a particular structure and story elements – is why we’re drawn to specific genres and sub-genres. Many romance readers are looking for boy meets girl, boy loses girl (or girl loses boy) but they happily (and sexily) get together at the end. Hard SF readers may be reading for a Big Idea and exploring how it changes our society, but be less interested in the characters moving that big idea around on the stage. Urban Fantasy readers may be looking for tough – but vulnerable! – heroines put into paranormal situations that may seem harrowing, but all work out at the end. And in Epic Fantasy, many still expect the White Hats (Stark white!) to Save the World.
Read the rest of this entry

SFFWRTCHT: A Chat With Author/Professor Doctor Charles E. Gannon

Doctor Charles E. Gannon is a Distinguished Professor of English at St. Bonaventure University. A Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Literature and Culture 2004-2009, his most recent non-fiction book won the 2006 ALA Award for Outstanding Book and was discussed on NPR’s Morning Edition when he was interviewed. He’s also appeared on Discovery Channel and is a member of SIGMA, a Science Fiction think tank of which clients include the Air Force, the Pentagon, and NATO. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Gannon worked eight years as a scriptwriter and producer in New York City. His latest novel is Fire With Fire, others are Extremis with Steve White and 1635: The Papal Stakes with Eric Flint, all from Baen Books. A happily married father of five, he lives north of Annapolis and can be found on twitter as @cegannon1, on Facebook and via his website at CharleseGannon.com.


SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in speculative fiction come from?

Charles E. Gannon: Where? Dunno. When? The cradle, I think. When I was three, I loved dinosaurs. So I wanted to be a paleontologist and write about it. When I was seven, it was zoology, and I wanted to write about it. At about nine, it was astronomy, then being an astronaut. But then I learned that space travel was still dangerous, so it was back to astronomy. And of course, write about it. You spent long, preparatory years doing immense amounts of number crunching, often living a dull existence, all so you’d get to do something uberkewl for a few days. That was not satisfying to me. But writing about it? I got to virtually liveĀ  all those lives, whenever I wanted. And dive into the topix. Now that was kewl!

Read the rest of this entry

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

As a critic, aspiring author, and a fan of fiction I always keep an eye out for what could be the next big thing. This could range anywhere from authors to series, from genres to themes. But who better to provide an opinion on the matter of The Next Big Thing than authors themselves?

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What do you think will be the next Big Thing in SF/F? What authors do you see leading the way? What genres or trends?

Here’s what they said…

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam writes speculative short stories. Her first professional publication, “The Wanderers” came out in this February’s Clarkesworld. Her second will be published in Strange Horizons this April. She reviews short fiction on her blog, Short Story Review.

I’ve always been bad at predicting the future, despite my claims as a kid that my dreams were prophetic; I tend to worry over the worst possible scenarios. But in terms of the future trends in speculative fiction, I’m optimistic. I’ve been noticing a strong focus on diversity in speculative short fiction. I mainly read short stories, so I will speak in terms of the next big thing in short story writers. As a bisexual woman, I was thrilled last month to read “Inventory” by Carmen Maria Machado in Strange Horizons, in which the main character’s relationships with women and men are depicted as equally important to her. I think in the future we will certainly see more of an emphasis on diversity in sexual orientations and gender identifications.

Some other writers I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future: I keep running into Damien Walters Grintalis’ work. Brooke Wonders’ “Everything Must Go” in Clarkesworld 74 blew me away, and I think Wonders will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Helena Bell’s work has been popping up a lot lately; her Clarkesworld stories “Variations on Bluebeard and Dalton’s Law Along the Event Horizon” and “Robot” are worth checking out. I’ll be keeping an eye on Brooke Bolander as well. It’s great to see so many up-and-coming female short story writers in the speculative fiction field, and I think that this trend will continue as well.
Read the rest of this entry