Tag Archives: Julie Czerneda

Book Review: SPECIES IMPERATIVE by Julie Czerneda

Julie Czerneda has been churning out Hard Science Fiction novels for the better part of the last decade-and-a-half for DAW books. One thing I’ve always thought and said about DAW books is how fine a job they do to ensure a writer’s books remain available for readers, especially through issuance of omnibus editions. These two points bring me to Species Imperative, an omnibus of Czerneda’s trilogy of the same name comprising Survival, Migration, and Regeneration. Two of the books in this series/omnibus made the final ballot for the Prix Aurora Award. Set a few hundred (?) years into the future, Czerneda places humanity as part of an interstellar organization where many alien civilizations coexist. Our point person over the course of the three novels is Mac, a biologist initially only interested in life on our planet.
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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Gadgets from SF

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

In part 2 of our Mind Meld duo featuring fictional gadgetry (Part 1 featured magical items from fantasy), we asked our panelists this:

Q: Where’s my holo-deck, and aren’t we supposed to have flying cars?? What gadget (or gadgets) from SF(from Golden Age to the present), would you like to see go from Science Fiction to Science Fact? Are there any oldies that you were sure would be reality by now?

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: The Non-Genre Influences of Genre Authors

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

Usually when ask genre authors about the influences on their work we are expecting, and usually get, responses that name other genre authors. This week’s question, as suggested by an SF Signal reader, explicitly asks about non-genre influences. We asked our panelists this question:

Q: Which non-genre writers have influenced your work? How?
Kay Kenyon
Kay Kenyon’s latest work from Pyr is a science fiction quartet with a fantasy feel: The Entire and The Rose. The lead title, Bright of the Sky, was in Publishers Weekly’s top 150 books of 2007. At her website, she holds forth on writing, the industry and other curious pursuits.

This question is almost impossible to answer; I wonder if we ever know, or whether literary critics with a little bit of distance from the subject could best intuit how admiration for certain works inevitably leads to unconscious imitation. I doubt anyone writes novels thinking they will write like someone else. But you’re asking for influences, which is more subtle, and all the harder. This is especially a tough task since fantasy and sf books have always been my focus. However, here goes:

I remember reading Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing and feeling a sharp ache for what she had accomplished with language. The novel remains seared in my mind, but this was well before I thought that I would be a novelist. Still, I admire her work so thoroughly that I would be surprised if she were not an influence. I value wordsmithing. She is a master at this. Her environmental motifs went straight to my heart. Also: Early on Marge Piercy was a favorite of mine. Gone to Soldiers. Woman on the Edge of Time–although that last one must be considered science fiction; still, she is primarily a literary writer. Her feminism appealed to me, and the woman’s point of view presented with such stark emotion. The emotional dimension is a focus of my work. Writers like these likely showed me the depth that was possible. I’m always aiming for that depth.

I’ve been equally impressed with the big storytellers, especially James Clavell. Some of his books I wished would never end: Tai-Pan and Shogun, especially. The exotic locales of these books tied in to my love of strange worlds in science fiction. As it happens, worldbuilding is the feature most critics mention about my work. I always wonder at that, because I thought I did characters best. It’s a goal of mine to do both, like Clavell, but of course you always fall shy of your heroes.
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