Coming Soon Enough is the name of Stephen Cass’ new anthology eBook about near-future technologies like drones, wearable computing, implants, 3-D printing, and more. It’s got 6 stories by top-notch authors and it’s only $1.99. And you can read the Nancy Kresss story for free!

Here’s the table of contents and story link…
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Of Noble Family, the final novel in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series.

Here’s the synopsis:
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The final installment of my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time List, is finally here, revealing the top ten. You can find  the individual posts as they were posted #41-50 here,  #31-40 here,  #21-30 here, and #11-20 here.  For those who just want to get to the Top Ten already I’ve listed that first.  For ease of reference, I’ve also included the entire list of fifty at the bottom of the post so if you want to refer people to the list, you can just link here.

These are (my opinion of) what is the best of the best, the most epic of the most epic.  Load them all up and have an awesome road trip, or ration them out over months of liistening.

I would love if other fiction podcast fans would comment here and say what their own favorites are and why.

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This is my second installment of my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time List, covering #31-40. You can find #41-50 here. The list is picked from thousands of episodes of the backlog of seventeen short fiction podcasts. There are many more episodes that I love, but these are the cream of the cream of the cream. All of the stories on this list are ones for which I have epic love, so it was a matter of trying to rank them based on fine gradations of that epic love.

Please comment, follow along, share this list with your friends.
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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.

Women to Read: Where to Start – March 2014

by A.C. Wise

Amal El-Mohtar is a poet, author, and the editor of Goblin Fruit. There are many places one could start with her work, but my recommended starting point is “Hollow Play” from the anthology Glitter & Mayhem (an also available in an audio version from Podcastle). In addition to the positive portrayal of trans* and gender queer characters, El-Mohtar deftly portrays how painful, beautiful, complicated, and messy human relationships can be. “Hollow Play” both is and is not a happy-ending story, with characters finding their own way to peace despite broken hearts and loss. The mythical elements are beautifully woven into the story, allowing both the mundane and the magical worlds to shine. El-Mohtar’s language and imagery are gorgeous as well, making it one of the strongest stories in an overall very strong anthology.

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MIND MELD: Our Favorite SF/F/H Consumed In 2013

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
It’s 2014 and that means it’s time to look back at all the SF/F/H available in 2013. Our panelists were asked this question:

Q: What was the best SF/F/H you “consumed” in 2013?

Consumed being anything read/watched/heard during 2013, but not necessarily new in 2013. Here’s what they said…
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In episode 206 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester welcomes Mary Robinette Kowal, John Joseph Adams, Matt Forbeck and Tobias Buckell to talk about kickstarters in general and the new Help Fund My Robot Army: an anthology of improbable, futuristic, magical & alternate-world crowdfunding projects.

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Christopher J. Garcia, 5Cons and Worldcon Video

One of the many highlights of Worldcon in San Antonio was seeing Christopher J. Garcia, editor of The Drink Tank and co-editor (with James Bacon) of Journey Planet, again. We first met at last year’s Worldcon in Chicago.

As part of his 5Cons Documentary, Chris interviewed several Worldcon attendess, including Michael J. Martinez, Mary Robinette Kowal, Terry Fong, Howard Tayler, Liz, Norman Spinrad, and the top of Mark Oshiro’s head.

Here’s that video.

Bonus: Gary Wolfe on piano!

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and published by TOR, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination features all original, all nefarious, all conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens of Diana Gabaldon, Austin Grossman, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Daniel H. Wilson and 17 OTHER EVIL GENIUSES.

The book description is this:

Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and published by TOR, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination features all original, all nefarious, all conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens of Diana Gabaldon, Austin Grossman, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Daniel H. Wilson and 17 OTHER EVIL GENIUSES.

The book description is this:

Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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In episode 176 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with author Mary Robinette Kowal.

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MIND MELD: How SFF Influences Your Life

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

Books have been one of the greatest influences on my life. I say this not to downplay the lessons and values taught to be my family and friends, but instead to emphasize the importance of reading in my formative years. A lot of what I believe and how I act is driven by the characters I have encountered and the fictional worlds I have explored. Frequently I remind myself that “Fear is the mind-killer,” a message picked up from Frank Herbert’s Dune years ago – a lesson that has carried me through hard times. There are many more personal examples I could state but I’d rather hear from some of the very writers that inspire me.

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: How has SFF influenced your life? Does it make you a better person? What lessons from SFF do you carry with you?

Here’s what they said…

Tobias Buckell
Tobias S. Buckell was born in the Caribbean and lived on a yacht until he moved to the US. He writes science fiction. His latest novel, Arctic Rising, is out from Tor Books. He lives online at www.TobiasBuckell.com.

The greatest impact it had on me was instilling in me a love of science, questing for information, and a deep love of creative and wild imagination. My life-long walk on the path toward passing those gifts on to others now means I make a living continuing to live all that. So I would say it had quite an impact on my life.

As to if it makes me a better person, I would have no idea. I would hope that my family loved and learned from me whether or not I had SF in my life. In fact, I find a sort of cultish devotion to any mantras learned from just SF to be problematic. I flinch from ideological insistence, and just because I adored a book at an impressionable age… well, I’d hate for that define the rest of my life as a thinking creature.

The lessons involve various snippets of things I’ve picked up over a lifetime that I’ve found useful. I’d hate to highlight a particular phrase out of the stew that makes me a human, as I’ve always loved Bruce Lee’s admonition to “Take what is useful, leave what is not, add something uniquely your own.” I didn’t learn that in SF, but it’s how I’ve approached all text.

But I can’t be the only SF fan who has found himself repeating the Bene Gesserit litany against fear after smacking his hand with a hammer… right?

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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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New Author Spotlight: Mary Robinette Kowal

New Author Spotlight is a series designed to introduce authors with 3 books or less in the different SF/F subgenres.

Today’s spotlight shines on Mary Robinette Kowal!

Mary’s debut novel is: Shades of Milk and Honey published by Tor. She also edited The Hugo Award Showcase: 2010 by Prime Books

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MIND MELD: The Best Sword & Sorcery Stories

My recent and long overdue discovery of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories made me wonder about other good sword and sorcery stories, so this week’s panelists were asked:

Q: What are some of the best sword and sorcery stories? What makes them so good?

Check out their excellent suggestions…(and share some of your own!)

Martha Wells
Martha Wells is the author of seven fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer. Her publications also include two Stargate: Atlantis novels and several short stories.

I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of sword and sorcery, including the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series, and Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes stories. One of my earliest favorites was Charles Saunders’ Dossouye stories, which first appeared in the anthologies Amazons! and Sword and Sorceress in the early 80s. When I read the first one, “Agbewe’s Sword,” I was about fifteen years old and desperately looking for strong female protagonists. The setting of an alternate version of Africa, using cultures and myths that I wasn’t familiar with, also really set the stories apart for me. The stories are available now in a collection titled Dossouye, and I highly recommend it.

I also loved Tanith Lee’s sword and sorcery, like The Storm Lord and Vazkor, Son of Vazkor, the sequel to The Birthgrave, and her Cyrion stories, which had the main character solving magical mysteries during his adventures. The settings are so lush and rich and detailed, with the feeling of starting out in a strange place, only to follow the characters somewhere much stranger.

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SF Tidbits for 10/5/09

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SF Tidbits for 9/26/09

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