Tag Archives: Jennifer Brozek

MIND MELD: The Best Book Openings

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

This week we asked our participants to talk about favorite openings of stories and novels…

Q: Starting a book or a novella on the right foot is a time honored technique for hooking a reader into reading a book and being drawn through the narrative. What are your favorite opening scenes in novels and stories? What made them effective?

Here’s what they said…

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BOOK REVIEW: Chicks Dig Gaming, Edited by Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith and Lars Pearson

REVIEW SUMMARY: A multifacted set of essays that has proven unexpectedly topical.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: The Mad Norwegian Chicks dig… series continues with three dozen essays by women on gaming from video games to Dungeons and Dragons.

PROS: High profile contributors on a variety of types and aspects of games; strong personal stories; many “I didn’t know that!” moments to be had reading essays.
CONS: Some of the essays feel like filler.
BOTTOM LINE: A set of essays made more timely by recent events than when the anthology was first conceived and essays written.

Stereotypes of women and their relation (or lack of relation) to games, particularly videogames and roleplaying games, have abounded since the dawn of both. From the old anti-D&D movie Mazes and Monsters to Felicia Day’s The Guild and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, depictions of games and videogames as a male-only activity rarely touched by women have been stereotyped, parodied and deconstructed. And on the face of it, the idea that half of the human population neither plays “real” videogames (whatever that means) or roleplaying games is ludicrous. And yet this misperception persists.

Even the idea that the gaming industry is exclusively male and therefore targeted to males is completely at sea with reality. Fantasy authors like Carrie Patel and Erin Hoffman write fantasy novels and work in the videogaming industry. Authors and publishers like Shanna Germain write and publish high-profile roleplaying games.

For answers — and real essays and thoughts by women on their relationship to games — one can come to Chicks Dig Gaming, the latest in the Chicks Dig… series put out by small press publisher Mad Norwegian Press. This latest volume is edited by Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith and Lars Pearson. Brozek, like the aforementioned Shanna Germain, works both in roleplaying games and as an author and anthologist herself.

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[GUEST POST] MIND MELD: Jason Andrew Interviews the Authors of THE FUTURE EMBODIED, a Speculative Fiction Anthology That Explores What it Means to be Human

Jason Andrew is the co-Editor (with Mae Empson) of the new anthology The Future Embodied, an anthology of speculative stories exploring how science and technology might change our bodies and what it means to be human. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

The Future Embodied is an anthology of speculative stories exploring how science and technology might change our bodies and what it means to be human. Imagine what our ancestors a mere hundred years ago would have thought of the modern world. Think of the medical marvels we experience on a daily basis that would have seemed impossible. Recent medical advances have dramatically extended the human life-span to unthinkable lengths. Science has changed how we live in this world. Technology has allowed humanity to dramatically alter our environment, how we communicate, and how we experience life.

Imagine now what our descendants might experience. What new trials or tribulations will the future of humanity suffer, or overcome?

The final frontier won’t be out in space but inside our own bodies. Experience the future as imagined via nineteen powerful voices envisioning what we might become. Including stories from: William F. Nolan, David Gerrold, Ree Soesbee, Jennifer Brozek, Katrina Nicholson, Nghi Vo, Jennifer R. Povey, Sarah Pinsker, Thomas Brennan, Miles Britton, Megan Lee Beals, Lauren C. Teffeau, Shane Robinson, John Skylar, Preston Dennett, Alexandra Grunberg, Wayne Helge, and Holly Schofield.

I asked several of the antholgy’s authors the following question:

Q: The Future Embodied is a science fiction anthology about how science and technology might change our bodies in the future. What do you think the next big change will be for humanity and how will it alter the way we live?

Here’s what they said…
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Table of Contents: BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART Edited by Jennifer Brozek

Here’s the book description and table of contents for Jennifer Brozek’s new anthology Bless Your Mechanical Heart

“Bless your mechanical heart…”

Since its earliest days, science fiction has explored the notion of a walking, talking, thinking machine, reflecting back our own humanity through their glass eyes, exploring their own humanity framed in the symmetry of programming and gears, trapped in a cage of synthetic flesh and metal bone. What happens when what we’ve made in our own image becomes more like us than we ever imagined? Robots in love. Robots at war. Robots who weep and dream. Robots who aspire to be on equal footing with their makers…or even possibly exceed us.

In Bless Your Mechanical Heart, Award-winning editor Jennifer Brozek brings together a team of writers, both new and established, to explore one of the most enduring archetypes in the science fiction genre with a tip of the hat to one of the most endearing and versatile phrases in Southern culture. Featuring stories by Peter Clines, Jody Lynn Nye, Seanan McGuire, Fiona Patton, Jean Rabe, Ken Scholes, and Lucy A. Snyder.

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Table of Contents: SHATTERED SHIELDS Edited by Jennifer Brozek & Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Here’s the book description and table of contents for the upcoming anthology Shattered Shields edited by Jennifer Brozek & Bryan Thomas Schmidt, releasing November 4, 2014 in trade paperback from Baen Books:

Swords and Shields. Faith and Magic.

Grab yours and get ready, for the enemy is on the move.

High fantasy and mighty conflicts go hand-in-hand. In great wars, armies rise to fight evil hordes and heroes struggle to push beyond their imperfections and save the day. These stories include more than just epic landscapes and characters…but also epic battles.

Imagine a doctor struggling to identify the spy who has infiltrated his company’s ranks and poisoned his colleagues or a boy suspected of murder by a king yet protected by a princess as he helps her father against his own people. Imagine a butcher discovering that he’s called to lead an uprising, or a First Born knowing that she must betray her own in order to save humanity.

The possibilities are endless, but at the heart they have this in common: soldiers—ordinary and otherwise–struggling against extraordinary odds to survive the day. They must withstand dark magic, dodge enemy blades, and defy the odds to survive SHATTERED SHIELDS.

Here’s the table of contents…
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MIND MELD: SF/F Reading And Buying Habits In A Digital World

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

This week we asked out panelists the following question:

Q: With the prevalence of ebooks and audiobooks, how has your sf/f reading and buying habits changed, if at all?

Here’s what they said…

Laura Lam

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

I don’t listen to many audiobooks, but ebooks have definitely changed my reading habits. As a combination of being a poor university student and living in tiny quarters, I avoided buying most books I read because there would be nowhere to store 100 books a year. I limited myself to the occasional splurge but mainly relied on libraries, friends, etc. Now, I still live in tiny quarters but I’m not as poor as I was as a student. I buy a lot more of my books as ebooks, and I’m a lot more diverse in my reading. I also read more books and read them quicker because I don’t have to lug myself to the library or bookstore or wait for the book to arrive. If I read a great review of an SFF book, 5 minutes later I can be curled up on my sofa reading it with a nice cup of tea. I’m able to support authors I admire without running out of room to turn around in my tiny flat. At first, I found reading on the Kindle distracting, but now I’m used to it, and I could never go back to not having an e-reader.
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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 155): Interview with Author, Editor and Small Press Publisher Jennifer Brozek

In episode 155 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats at WorldCon with author, editor and small press publisher Jennifer Brozek.

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