Tag Archives: Jeff Patterson

MIND MELD: Comic Book Characters Who Deserve Reboots

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The recent announcement of the Falcon taking over Captain America, the announcement of a female Thor, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, the new Ms. Marvel, the various incarnations of Green Lantern…there is opportunity in rebooting comic book characters to reflect our diverse society, or to cast new light and new angles on old characters.

Q: What are the perils and challenges and opportunities of doing such a reboot? Pick a comic book character that you’d like to reboot. How would you do it, and to what end?

Here’s what they said…

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MIND MELD: The SF/F Characters We Most Want to Share a Drink With

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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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MIND MELD: The Successors of Orwell’s 1984

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This week, we decided to transcend Orwell by asking panelists to go beyond 1984.

Q: Recent events have caused the resurgence of George Orwell’s classic 1984. Ever since its original publication, however, genre has tackled and wrestled with the themes of dictatorship, totalitarianism, total war, and more. What works of genre since are worthy of exploring these themes?

Here’s what they said.

Nick Namatas
Nick Mamatas is an American horror, science fiction and fantasy author and editor for the Haikasoru line of translated Japanese science fiction novels for Viz Media.

Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s recent surge of popularity — Bookscan tells me that sales of the mass market paperback edition increased by 35 percent during the week ending June 9th, and a further 60 percent the week after, and other editions saw spikes as well — is a great sign. Both tyranny and collapse are as likely to sneak up on a populace as anything else, so I am pleased to see that people are wary of these horrific intrusions into their privacy by the state. The vision of waking up one morning to swastikas flying from every flagpole is a fanciful one. First we’ll be told, “Now now, Nazism is just a political view some intelligent, college-educated people have…”
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MIND MELD: The Best Aliens in Science Fiction

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This week, we sent our distinguished panlists this question:

Q: With the upcoming movie Prometheus, Aliens are on our minds here. What makes for a good depiction of aliens in Science Fiction? What are some examples of that in practice?

Here is how they responded…

Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is the author of the award-winning novel GOD’S WAR and the sequel, INFIDEL. Her third book, RAPTURE is due out in November. Find out more at godswarbook.com

My preference for great aliens is for the really unknowable ones. I like the ones with totally crazy physiology and motives so alien that we find them utterly unknowable. Just giving a human some head ridges and having them practice a form of Buddhism with a funny name doesn’t do it for me. That’s not alien. It’s deeply human. With head ridges.

Right now, I’m partial to the aliens in Octavia’s Butler’s Adulthood Rights, which is part of her Xenogenesis series. The book is about these tentacled, telepathic aliens who reproduce by merging themselves with other species. There are four or five parents involved, and the way they interact with the world – touch it and taste it and understand it – is very different from our own. Writing from a purely alien POV is hard, and not a lot of writers can pull it off. But Butler brings us into the POV of one of the alien hybrids – a mix of human and alien genes – to help make the aliens more accessible. The merging of the two ways of seeing the world, and how that character negotiates these different impulses, go a long way toward helping us understand his “other” half.

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Now on Kindle: ‘Solstice Chronicles’ by Jeff Patterson


We interrupt your SF/F chatter for some shameless shilling!

Now that the weather is warm and the pollen level is rising, Jeff Patterson thought it would be the perfect time to launch his book Solstice Chronicles on the Kindle platform.

Solstice Chronicles is a collection of all the Bad Day Studio Holiday Cards released so far. Seventeen (count ‘em) illustrated stories about aliens, lost warriors and strange visitations…all for a measly $2.99!

Here’s the description:

Witness the strange birth of Baby New Year. Follow a pulp adventurer who’s never home for the holidays. Discover a lone snowman on one of Jupiter’s moons. Attend a family gathering under the watchful gaze of an automated house. Embark on an interdimensional search for a world without holidays.

Since 1995 Bad Day Studio has been producing illustrated Holiday Cards. This volume collects Jeff Patterson’s seasonal science fiction and fantasy stories.

Solstice Chronicles takes you from an ominous fortress at the world’s end to a diner on a distant space habitat in search of the spirit of the season.

MIND MELD: Which SF/F Series Are Too Good To End?

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Recently I was talking to a friend who had just finished reading Patrick Lee’s Deep Sky. He commented that the series was so good, it was a shame it had to end. That’s an intriguing statement, which I totally stold and repackaged for this Mind Meld! Here’s what we asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Which SF&F books/series do you think are so good that it’s a shame they had to end?

Here’s what they said:

Jeremiah Tolbert
Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer and web designer living in Northern Colorado. His stories have appeared in magazines such as Interzone and Fantasy Magazine, and in anthologies such as Way of the Wizard and Seeds of Change. Zelazny’s stories have led to a life long fascination with the idea of multiverses. He’s thinking of naming his next computer “Ghostwheel.”


I’m most often happy to finish a series or book; there are so many wonderful authors I want to read, it’s a blessing that good books actually do end so I can move on to the next one. Thank you, great, established authors, for giving newer authors a chance to captivate an audience by not dragging your series out to thirty-plus titles.

That said, if perhaps some lucky soul, while digging through an old and mysterious steam trunk, found the manuscripts to six more Chronicles of Amber books by Roger Zelazny — well, no earthly force could stop me from acquiring them and devouring their contents. As it is, I battle constant temptation to reread the existing 10 books in the giant omnibus collection I picked up in college as a graduation present to myself.

(Heading into spoilers territory here!), I always felt like the second Amber series ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. As a young teen in the 90s reading the books for the first time, the biggest question remaining for me was, what lies on the other side of Corwin’s Pattern? As a writer, this series has influenced me more than anything else, at least in terms of what I want to accomplish. If I can have the effect on some 13 year old kid the way Zelazny did me, then I’ll consider my work a success.

As much as I wish Zelazny had written another sub-series of titles before his death, I have never been tempted to read the prequels. It’s clear from accounts by authors such as George R.R. Martin that Zelazny intended Amber to end with him. But, perhaps, in another Shadow…alas, I have not walked the Pattern, and the way is closed to me.
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MIND MELD: Our Favorite SF/F Movie and TV Soundtracks

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We’ve covered a lot of topics in our Mind Meld series, from books, to cover art and lots of stuff in between. But we haven’t touched on the topic of music. We attempt to fix that oversight with this week’s question. We asked our panelists:

Q: What are some of your favorite SF/F movie and TV soundtracks/scores?

Here’s what they said…

Andrew Liptak
Andrew Liptak is a freelance writer and science fiction fan, and writes regularly at Words in a Grain of Sand on speculative fiction and history, and has written for sites such as SF Signal, io9 and Tor.com. He currently holds a degree in History and a master’s degree in Military History from Norwich University, and resides in the green mountains of Vermont with a growing library of books.

There’s a couple of science fiction soundtracks that I listen to constantly, and they’ve held up well over the years:

Battlestar Galactica: Seasons 1-4 (Original Television Soundtrack), Bear McCreary: When the show first came out, I loved the unconventional nature of how everything was set up, from the ship all the way to the music used. The soundtrack is a stunning one, and very different from what’s typical in science fiction.

Contagion: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Cliff Martinez: This borders on the line between science fiction and thriller, but I’ll include it. I love Cliff’s music, and this entire soundtrack has an excellent opening theme, with a great sound throughout the rest of the album.
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MIND MELD: The Best Genre-Related Books/Films/Shows Consumed in 2009 (Part 1)

“Best of the Year” lists start appearing as early as November, so we are perhaps a little late in asking folks around the community:

Q: What were the best genre-related books, movies and/or shows you consumed in 2009?

[Also added was this note: They don’t have to have been released in 2009. Feel free to choose any combination of genres (science fiction/fantasy/horror) and media (books/movies/shows) you wish to include.]

Read on to see their sometimes-surprising favorites…

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