I like to think I’m a good judge of character and Matthew Sanborn Smith is one of the oddest characters I know. But in a good way. When he’s not making me laugh my proverbial @$$ off in his Beware the Hairy Mango podcast, well, he’s sleeping I guess. How would I know? I don’t stalk the guy. But if I did stalk someone, it’d be Matt, because I love to laugh and his humorous (usually absurdist) fiction always puts a smile on my misshapen head.

Matt has a new eBook collection out. It’s titled The Dritty Doesen: Some of the Least Reasonable Stories of Matthew Sanborn Smith and you can get it right now for only $2.99. That’s less than a cup of laugh juice, if you know what I mean. (I sure don’t.)

Here’s the book description — and look after that for a larger version of the bee-yoo-ti-ful cover for the Hugo Award-winning artist Galen Dara!
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

“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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TOC: ‘FISH’ Edited by Carrie Cuinn & KV Taylor


table of contents for the new anthology FISH, featuring a cool cover by Galen Dara, has been announced.
Here’s the book description:

What secrets belong only to a fish? Dive in and find out! Explore this genre-bending anthology of 33 delightfully fishy tales. Fantasy, science fiction, retold folklore, new myths, and more await you.

Here’s the table of contents…
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MIND MELD: Great Books to Read During Winter

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

This week, in time for the change of season, we asked about Winter:

In the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is turning colder, and the season of Winter is upon us. What are your favorite genre stories and novels that revolve around the coldest season. How do they make use of the season, and how do they evoke it?
This is what they had to say…
Gwenda Bond
Gwenda Bond’s debut novel, Blackwood, was a September 2012 launch title for Strange Chemistry, the new YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. Her next novel, The Woken Gods, will be released in July 2013. She is also a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, regularly reviews for Locus, guest-edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online, and has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie. Visit her online at her website (www.gwendabond.com) or on twitter (@gwenda).

The first novel that leaps to mind is Geraldine McCaughrean’s The White Darkness. It’s a wonderfully bizarre tour de force about a girl, Sym, who is obsessed with all things Antarctic, including her imaginary boyfriend, the deceased Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates. Her mad “uncle” takes her on a once in a lifetime trip there, which turns out to be a nightmare. He believes in the hollow Earth theory and that they will prove it’s true. Along the way, McCaughrean masterfully reveals more and more about Sym’s own past and her phony uncle. Sym’s voice is arresting despite how very in her own head she is—and it’s perhaps because of how that works with a backdrop that is spectacularly isolated and physically challenging. Some people may argue this isn’t a true fantasy, but I would debate them (citing spoilers), and regardless of which of us won I maintain it’d still be of interest to many genre readers because of the hollow Earth fringe science driving the plot.

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

Where and how people (fans, reviewers and authors alike) were first introduced to genre often gives insight into how they think and write about genre. With that in mind, we asked this week’s panelists…

Q: Where, when and how were you introduced to Fantasy and Science Fiction?

Here’s what they said…

James MacDonald
James D. Macdonald is an author of over 35 fantasy and science fiction novels, often in collaboration with his wife Debra Doyle.

My dad introduced me to genre. He’d been what I guess you’d call a fan since the 1920s. The specific incident I recall was when he took me to the White Plains (New York) Public Library, back when I was in first or second grade, and we checked out Have Space Suit Will Travel and Sea Siege.

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