[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
We asked this week’s panelists…
Q: With American Independence Day near, the topic of Independence and Revolutions in Genre is what SF Signal is interested in. From The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to The Quiet War, political revolutions are a common theme and staple in genre fiction. What are your favorite stories and novels exploring the themes of revolution and Independence? How do those works explore that theme?
Here’s what they said…
is the President of JABberwocky Literary Agency, and has been an agent for prominent sf/fantasy writers for almost 30 years, including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, “Jack Campbell,” Elizabeth Moon, Simon R. Green, Tanya Huff, and many more.
When I think of a great novel about a revolution I think immediately of Harry Harrison’s To the Stars trilogy, which I first read in an SF Book Club omnibus decades ago and which I’ve unhesitatingly recommended over the years to authors who want to write great action SF. Revolutions are a serious business, and they often don’t turn out as planned. We can see that today in looking at what’s happened in Egypt over the past year, as one example where the initial joy and excitement of overthrow gives way to the counterrevolution and the difficulties of switching from a revolutionary mindset to one where compromise might need to be made in taking actual power in society. But there is that joy. There are the people who have to plot a revolution and stay one step ahead of the established tyranny. There are the people who have to be the foot soldiers, perhaps risking all including their lives to fight for what they believe in. That’s what a certain kind of fiction is about, people striving against impossible odds to do what everyone says could never be done. And yes, when you do it, there is a moment of real joy and real elation and real happiness, however short that moment may be. Harrison’s To The Stars trilogy may be heavy on the romance of it all, it is a quick action sf read, but should we object in our fiction to getting to experience the romance of it all without having to worry about the reality, for a few passing hours at least?
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Edward M. Lerner announced the publication of InterstellarNet: Origins, which collects updated and expanded versions of 5 stories (“Dangling Conversations”, “Creative Destruction”, “Hostile Takeover”, “Strange Bedfellows”, “Calculating Minds”) about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and First Contact. It begins in an era much like our own and rapidly expands into an open-ended star-spanning future history:
We are not alone. Now what?
Life changed for physicist Dean Matthews — and everyone else on Earth — the day astronomers heard the radio signal from a neighboring star.
First Contact brought more questions than answers. What were the aliens saying, and what did they want? What could humanity hope to gain — and what did we risk losing — if we replied? Did we dare trust one another? Did we dare not to? And who had any say in the matter?
By sorting out all that, Dean changed lives again. This time across two worlds.
And in the process he set the stage for crises yet more daunting that would bedevil his family — and an expanding number of interstellar civilizations — for generations to come.
We’ve already talked about literary villains, so we asked this week’s panelists about bad guys (and gals) of the big screen:
Q: Who are some of the best villains in science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror film?
Read on to see their responses (and the videos I included, unbeknownst to them)…
is the host of Science of the Movies
on Science Channel. In the show he interviews filmmakers and explores the technology behind making movies. He also hosts, produces, and writes the show Heads Up! with Nar Williams
on CraveOnline, where he previews the best upcoming movies, video games, and comic books. Nar regularly contributes to Current TV’s Rotten Tomatoes Show as a film critic and writes about sci-fi and sci-tech on his blog, www.narwilliams.com
- The Joker (The Dark Knight): The crazy bastard put a phone-triggered bomb in the stomach of one of his own henchman. ‘Nuff said.
- Agent Smith (Matrix Trilogy): He really hates humans – especially our smell. Every time he growls “Mr. Anderson…” I think, “How inconsiderate! His name is Neo! He wants to be called Neo!”
- Gollum (Lord of the Rings Trilogy): Screw Sauron, even simple Samwise Gamgee knows who the real villain is in Tolkien’s epic. Seriously, the split personality once known as Smeagol is so thoroughly made of betrayal he evens betrays himself at one point (“Go away, and never come back!”) …Hate that guy.
Honorable mentions: T-1000 (Terminator 2), HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey), and the obnoxious Scottish guy with dreadlocks (Children of Men).
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By John DeNardo
| Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 at 12:29 am
Everyone loves a good bad guy, so we asked this week’s panelists the following:
Q: Who are the best bad guys in science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror literature?
Read on to see the responses…
Australia author Cecilia Dart-Thornton
was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. She became a schoolteacher before working as an editor, bookseller, illustrator and book designer. She started and ran her own business, but became a full-time writer in 2000 after her work was ‘discovered’ on the Internet and published by Time Warner (New York). Her novels include The Bitterbynde Trilogy
(The Ill-Made Mute
, The Lady of the Sorrows
, and The Battle of Evernight
), and The Crowthistle Chronicles
(The Iron Tree
, The Well of Tears
) among others.
For me the best bad guy (aside from Tolkien’s Morgoth and Sauron) is Tanith Lee’s ‘Azhrarn the Beautiful, Prince of Demons, Master of Night, one of five Lords of Darkness.’ While reading Lee’s Flat Earth series you can’t help loving him and hating him simultaneously. He can be totally despicable, yet frequently you find yourself on his side. Such ambiguity is refreshingly intriguing!
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