A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

SF Signal welcomes back A.C. Wise and her continuing series of essays on Women To Read!
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MIND MELD: The New Future For Star Wars

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
The big news from last week was the acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney, giving the Mouse control of Star Wars and many other properties. While fans everywhere cheer the idea of no more Lucas mucking about with the films, another bit of news dropped that doesn’t seem to be getting as much play. Several decades after Lucas first floated the idea, Disney will be making three more episodes in the Star Wars saga, with episode 7 slated to land in 2015. Since this is apparently going to happen, our question is:

Q: What do you want to see from the new Star Wars movies in terms of stories? Do you have anyone you’d like to direct the movies or star in them?

Here’s what they said…
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Jennifer Pelland lives outside Boston with an Andy, three cats, an impractical amount of books, and an ever-growing collection of belly dance gear and radio theater scripts. She’s garnered two Nebula nominations, and many of her short stories were collected in Unwelcome Bodies, put out by Apex in 2008. Her debut novel, Machine has just been published.

Google on your Glasses

Back in 2004, I started work on a novel that I jokingly pitched as my “Google on your glasses” novel. After years of rewriting and shopping it around, Machine finally came out earlier this year. Now I hear that Google is talking about doing just that — putting your browser right in front of your face. Damn, I should have patented the idea back when I had the chance.

Seriously, though, this is an idea that we should have all seen coming. I already walk around every day with a hand-sized device that makes phone calls, takes pictures and video, plays games, and lets me connect to the internet to look up any damned thing I please. Long gone are the days of drawn-out arguments in the car over who’s right about some obnoxious fact. All the passenger needs to do is whip out her phone, look the obnoxious fact up, and crow over her victory (why yes, I’m the passenger in this scenario). Of course the next step is to turn this same device into something more wearable and omnipresent. And, of course, it’ll bring about some interesting societal changes along with it.

Did I say “interesting”? I probably meant to say “disturbing.” Or maybe I meant equal parts of both. Because while it will be awfully cool to have instant access to a literal world of data, it also means the death of privacy.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Every reader holds out for a hero, but be it movies or novels, its the antagonists, the villains, that often bring the heat, spice and power to a piece of work and make it sing.

So we asked this week’s panelists…

Q:Who are the most memorable villains and antagonists you’ve encountered in fantasy and science fiction? What make them stand out?

Here’s what they said…

Scott Lynch
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1978, Scott Lynch is the author of the Gentleman Bastard sequence of fantasy crime novels, which began with The Lies of Locke Lamora and continues with Red Seas Under Red Skies and the forthcoming The Republic of Thieves. His work has been published in more than fifteen languages and twenty countries, and he was a World Fantasy Award finalist in the Best Novel category in 2007. Scott currently lives in Wisconsin and has been a volunteer firefighter since 2005.

.I’ve always had a great admiration for the Lady, from Glen Cook’s Black Company series, with an honorable mention for all of the Ten Who Were Taken that serve her. She’s ruthless but multifaceted, a romantic and tragic figure as well as a provisioner of all the dark arts and fell deeds a reader could desire. As for the Ten, they’re just so fun and iconic, sort of more extroverted Nazgul.

If you’ll allow historical fiction as a cousin to fantasy, I’d also vote for Livia, from Robert Graves’ I, Claudius. Subtle, pitiless, and patient, the deadliest woman (hell, the deadliest person) in a deadly milieu.

Last but not least I’d bring up O’Brien, from George Orwell’s 1984, the chillingly contented ordinary man who patiently explains to Winston what it’s all about… that all the chanting and ideology is a fog, that the politics of Oceania are meaningless, the nature of its wars completely unimportant. The whole point of the crushing pyramid of human misery is to keep a tiny elite with their boots on the throats of the rest of humanity, forever and ever, amen. To conceive that sort of thing, to accept it, to rise and sleep as a happy part of such a brutal mechanism… now that’s villainy.

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In episode 106 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with author Jennifer Pelland!
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