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“Let me buy you a pint, Elric…”

This week, we posed the following to our panelists:

Q: We’ve all encountered characters in stories and novels that we’ve felt a real connection to, and would love to chat with more. Maybe buy them a drink. What characters have you encountered in Fantasy and SF that you’d like to buy a pint for?

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Hey all! I’m wearing two hats at the moment — one as the co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters from Ragnarok Publications and one as SF Signal contributor. As co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters I’m proud to announce that the anthology is now available on the Amazon Kindle store for immediate purchase! As an SF Signal contributor I have to stress how awesome this book is — you really need to read it! For just $4.99 you can get 25 thrilling stories, accompanied by 25 awesome pieces of interior art. By funding the project through Kickstarter (achieving 185% of our initial goal) Ragnarok Publications was able to assemble a one-of-a-kind anthology featuring authors such as Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes), Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International), James Lovegrove (Age of Zeus), Gini Koch as J.C. Koch (Touched by an Alien) and more. The interior art was provided by the superb Robert Elrod and the imaginative Chuck Lukacs. To top it all off comes a tie-in story with Colossal Kaiju Combat from Sunstone Games, written by New York Times bestselling author James Swallow. All this comes wrapped in a beautiful cover provided by the legendary Bob Eggleton. That’s a lot of awesome for just $4.99 but if you’re not yet convinced here’s an exclusive excerpt from “The Banner of the Bent Cross” by Peter Clines…
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This week we asked our participants about 2013 genre movies:

Q: 2013 in Genre Cinema: Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2, Oblivion, Ender’s Game…a plethora of genre movies are up to bat this year. What movies have caught your attention already? What movies are you going to avoid like the plague?

Here’s what they had to say:

Laura Resnick
Laura Resnick is the author of the popular Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, whose releases include Disappearing Nightly, Doppelgangster, Unsympathetic Magic, Vamparazzi, Polterheist, and coming soon, The Misfortune Cookie (November 2013). She has also written traditional fantasy novels such as In Legend Born, The Destroyer Goddess, and The White Dragon, which made multiple “Year’s Best” lists. An opinion columnist, frequent public speaker, and the Campbell Award-winning author of many short stories, she is on the Web at LauraResnick.com.

Although I was so bored I nearly fell asleep in the previous Star Trek movie, I’ll probably see Star Trek 2, which I’d normally skip, simply because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. He’s among the actors for whom I’ll try watching a film I’d otherwise skip. (The list also includes Shah Rukh Khan, Alan Rickman, Kajol, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Aamir Khan, Sean Bean, Colin Firth, Tilda Swinton, etc.) He could make the film watchable, so I’m willing to try.

Otherwise, I don’t plan to see any sf/f feature films in 2013, simply because, in general, I avoid Hollywood sf/f movies like the plague. The majority of them focus on two things that don’t interest me at all: special effects and action porn. (“Action porn” is director Nicholas Meyer’s phrase for a movie that exists to convey a lot of action scenes, rather than a movie in which action scenes help tell a story.) Since I’m not a fan of either of those things, Hollywood sf/f movies tend to be boring for me. (See above: nearly fell asleep watching Star Trek.)

However, I do look forward to watching Season 2 of Game Of Thrones on Netflix (I don’t have HBO). I really enjoyed the characters and story in S1 (compelling characters and interesting story being high on the list of things that I -am- a fan of), and the S2 DVDs are in my queue. A GoT marathon will be my treat to myself after I deliver my next book!
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[GUEST POST] David Annandale on Why the Messiness of Genres is a Good Thing


David Annandale‘s horror novel, Gethsemane Hall, was released in 2012 by Dundurn Press and (in the UK) by Snowbooks. He is also the author of Crown Fire, Kornukopia and The Valedictorians, thrillers featuring rogue warrior Jen Blaylock, and he writes Warhammer 40,000 fiction for the Black Library. His Space Marine Battles novel, The Death of Antagonis, comes out in February 2013. He teaches film, literature, video games and creative writing at the University of Manitoba. Follow David at his website, www.davidannandale.com, and on Twitter as @David_Annandale.

Horror, Hybrids and Contagion: Why the Messiness of Genres is a Good Thing

We all know the easy distinctions that people tend to make, when reaching for the quick-and-dirty, between science fiction, fantasy and horror. The latter two deploy the supernatural and the impossible. The former makes use of, if not the possible, at least the plausible. Put another way, science fiction is the literature (and cinema) of the rational, while fantasy and horror are the art of the irrational.

But I am more than a tad guilty of setting up a straw man here, for it is just as true that we all know the exceptions and the complexities that render this distinction dubious at best. For example, in Danse Macabre, Stephen King writes that “Alien…is a horror movie even though it is more firmly grounded in scientific projection than Star Wars.” Now, this is true, but it is also guilty of some of the same kind of error as the initial assertion. The problem is this: to claim Alien as either science fiction or horror is a mistake. It is both. The two forms are not incompatible, and this is the point I want to make about the easy distinction in the previous paragraph: not that there are so many exceptions as to make this distinction untenable, but rather that we should be careful about how and whether we make the distinction at all, at least as far as the standing of horror is concerned. We are not dealing with overlapping genres, because, as I have stated elsewhere (most recently in the Urban Fantasy Mind Meld), horror is not a genre. It can make use of the conventions of any number of actual genres, including science fiction, and we recognize it, I would argue, when we confront a work whose primary purpose is to cause fear in its audience.
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MIND MELD: The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy

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This week, just in time for Halloween, we asked our distinguished panelists about Gothic and Urban Fantasy…

The theme of this year’s World Fantasy Convention is “Northern Gothic and Urban Fantasy”. The thesis is that Urban Fantasy represents the new Gothic; castles and haunted locations have been replaced by the Modern City.

Q: How do you see the intersection between Gothic Horror and modern Urban Fantasy? How connected are these two genres in your mind?

This is what they had to say…

Lyda Morehouse
Lyda Morehouseis the author of the Archangel Protocol novels, most recently Resurrection Code, out from Mad Norwegian Press. She also writes novels as Tate Halloway. Check out LydaMorehouse.com to find out more about her and her work.

I suppose if you go back far enough, this is a valid theory. It doesn’t, however, happen to be mine. Probably because I’m not literate enough. I’m not sure I’ve read a single book that Michael Ashley or John Clute references in their essays.
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REVIEW SUMMARY: Another batch of short stories from the Black Library, ranging from mediocre to fantastic.

MY RATING: 

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A collection of short stories focused on the dastardly deeds of the Chaos Space Marines, with contributions from promising new talent.

MY REVIEW
PROS:
Sarah Cawkwell and Andy Smillie’s short stories are the best to be found in this anthology.
CONS:
“Throne of Lies” by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is largely pointless and “The Long War” by Andy Hoare lacks purpose.
BOTTOM LINE:
Treacheries of the Space Marines is a mixed bag but worth paperback price for sure.

The Black Library has a surplus of talent at the moment. There is of course the old guard, names like Abnett, McNeill, Counter, Swallow, and King that have put Warhammer 40,000 fiction on the map. Then there is a new crop of skillful authors that are just now testing the waters. I have high hopes for these writers, names like Dembski-Bowden, Cawkwell, Smillie, French, Zou, and Sanders. The Black Library needs such new perspective if it is to remain fresh and appealing. I’m happy to say that there is little risk of the Black Library stagnating and Treacheries of the Space Marines is proof.

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