With so many books that I already want to read, I’m not quite sure why I get so excited to learn about even more books that I want to read coming on the horizon. It’s like someone offering you a glass of water when you’re already drinking from a fire hose. Nevertheless, I still get a bit giddy when I learn of tasty, new tomes.

Here’s a slew of forthcoming books on my radar…

Read the rest of this entry

Thanks, Amazon. You just reminded me that I’m behind on my reading. I just found a listing for the upcoming novel Damnation by Jean Johnson, the fourth book in her military sf series Theirs Not to Reason Why, the first two of which I enjoyed.

See a larger version of the cover below.

Here’s the synopsis:
Read the rest of this entry

In episode 204 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sneaks into an unused programming room to chat with the editor, publisher, and several contributing authors of the Beyond the Sun anthology, out from Fairwood Press.
Read the rest of this entry

Jean Johnson is a multiple bestselling author in military science fiction and in fantasy romance, with nominations for awards in both genres. She lives in the greater Seattle area, loves chatting with her readers, and is currently buried under a rather large number of plot-bunnies and their deadlines. If you see a flag waving at any point from somewhere in the pile, please send chocolate chip cookies and non-fat milk. Otherwise, she’ll be at WorldCon at the end of August 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, and will be one of the Guest Writers at Chattacon in January 2014 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Heroic Influences

by Jean Johnson

People love asking authors “Where do you get your inspiration?” Sometimes it’s about where they get an actual story idea, but sometimes it’s about where they get the idea for a character.

Now, my characters do not represent any one individual person. I cannot even point to a physical archetype for Ia. But I can tell you a few of the many influences that went into my creating her as a character.
Read the rest of this entry

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

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!
Read the rest of this entry

Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Hellfire by Jean Johnson, the next book in her Theirs Not to Reason Why series, which I’ve been enjoying.

And hey look! This version has a cover quote from me! Oh, Ace, you do not know the damage to others you inflict by way of my ego… :)

Here’s the synopsis:
Read the rest of this entry

BOOK REVIEW: An Officer’s Duty by Jean Johnson

REVIEW SUMMARY: An engrossing military sf series that mixes in paranormal abilities and interesting world building.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A military officer named Ia, who possesses precognitive abilities, tries to shape the course of events to prevent countless deaths.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: A likable protagonist; story moves quickly; doesn’t feel padded; interesting world building.
CONS: There are fewer actions sequences than military sf readers might expect.
BOTTOM LINE: Surpasses the previous novel.

Read the rest of this entry

In episode 146 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with Jean Johnson, author of the new Military SciFi Novel An Officer’s Duty out from Ace.

Read the rest of this entry

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

In the Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle novel Footfall, as it is clear that the aliens are coming, the U.S. Government whisks away a bunch of fantasy and SF writers to an undisclosed location to wargame and plot out strategies and ideas about what the aliens are like, what they want and how the Earth should deal with them.

I’ve always thought that was a brilliant conceit, and so my question for this week’s panelists is this:

Q: The Aliens are coming, and the Secretary-General of the UN, taking a page from Footfall, has decided to gather a group of F/SF writers and genre types together to form a brain trust to deal with the First Contact. Who should the Secretary-General invite? What skills do they bring to the table?
David Louis Edelman
David Louis Edelman is the John W Campbell nominated author of Infoquake, MultiReal and Geosynchron.

Clearly we need to have China Miéville on the first contact team, because he has shown a knack for imagining strange and improbable monsters and aliens. If the aliens intend to graft us onto household machinery as fascistic punishment for expressing our innate political freedoms, China’s got us covered.

We need Harrison Ford, because the aliens will recognize that he will shoot first. (You hear me, George Lucas? Even aliens from another galaxy know that HAN SHOT FIRST.)

We need Christopher Priest, since his recent rants have demonstrated that he will be immune to any rectal probes that the aliens will attempt to deploy on us.

We need Tom Cruise, because he already knows all about the Emperor Xenu and his plans for intergalactic conquest. You can’t get anything past those Scientologists.

We need Joss Whedon, because aliens will need to be put at ease with snappy human dialogue.

We need Nick Sagan, because the aliens will have already heard his voice from the Voyager spacecraft.

We need Cory Doctorow, in case the aliens have come to impose their draconian copyright laws and restrictive DRM software on us.

We need Sigourney Weaver in one of those walking cargo loader things, because the aliens will clearly recognize that you do not fuck with Sigourney Weaver in a walking cargo loader thing.

We need Stan Lee. because he is Stan Lee.

We need Ursula le Guin, because in addition to being a brilliant SF/F novelist with an unparalleled imagination and empathy for the human condition, she is actually an android/wizard/vampire/ninja capable of firing laser beams from her eyeballs, shooting acid from her fingertips and decapitating aliens at thirty paces by throwing pencils, which are not actually pencils but special CIA-designed precision-guided exploding ninja stars.

And we need Newt Gingrich, because the aliens will instantly recognize him as one of their own. And hopefully they’ll want him back.

Read the rest of this entry

Recent Philip K. Dick Award nominee Jean Johnson co-headlined a new anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt called Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, writing in her Theirs Not To Reason Why military science fiction universe from which a series of novels are being released by Ace. A Soldier’s Duty came out last year and An Officer’s Duty will be out in July. “It’s Not A Game” from the Space Grunts: Full-Throttle Space Tales #3 anthology was also set in this universe. She’s also the author of The Sword, The Wolf, The Cat and The Mage, amongst other bestselling fantasy romances. To check out more of her works, visit her at www.jeanjohnson.net.

Jean wishes to acknowledge everyone who has given support to their loved ones in the military, as well as to the soldiers themselves for serving.


BTS: How did you find out about the Space Battles anthology and what made you decide to submit?

Jean Johnson: I was invited back to submit again, which was an honor. I’d originally been published before by Flying Pen Press in #3, Space Grunts, with a story set in the same universe as this one. As for how I got into Space Grunts… You know, I can’t remember? I think it was through a friend of a friend.
Read the rest of this entry

In episode 113 of the SF Signal Podcast, Andrew Liptak takes the helm to chat with Myke Cole, Jean Johnson and T.C. McCarthy about military science fiction.
Read the rest of this entry

In episode 113 of the SF Signal Podcast, Andrew Liptak takes the helm to chat with authors about military science fiction.

This week’s panel:

© 2011 SFSignal.com
Featuring original music by John Anealio
Read the rest of this entry

REVIEW: A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson

REVIEW SUMMARY: Standard military sf layered with interesting sf-nal elements.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A woman named Ia enlists in the military with the ultimate (and secret) goal of preventing the destruction of humanity that she has foreseen through her precognitive ability.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fast-paced; precog element ups level of interest; sympathetic and realistic protagonist.
CONS: Cookie-cutter plot; archetypical supporting characters; writing occasionally clunky and unclear.
BOTTOM LINE: A good read, with the precog story line making up for the predictable elements.

Read the rest of this entry