Tag Archives: Michael J. Martinez

MIND MELD: Books That Carried Us Outside Our Comfort Zone

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

This week we asked our participants to talk about reading out of their comfort zone…

The right kind of author, and the right kind of book, can lure readers to try subgenres of fiction and genre fiction that they wouldn’t normally think to try. These authors and books lure unwitting readers into trying and embracing a new subgenre by virtue of being well-written, subverting genre expectations, and sometimes being a case of a favored author trying a new subgenre and following her into it.

Q: What authors and books have gotten you to try new subgenres of fiction and genre fiction?

Here’s what they said…

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Convention Attention: How Was Your First Time?

One of the reasons I enjoy writing this column is that I hope someone who is reading it, who has never been to a convention before will decide to go to one, be it a fan run scifi and fantasy convention, a writers conference, a large scale trade show (like BEA), a ComicCon, or any other kind of genre and/or fandom convention.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and with that in mind I e-mailed a few friends and put a call out on twitter to get in touch with people who had attended their first convention within the last year.

Here’s the questions I asked:

Q: Tell us a little about the first convention you attended. Why did you choose this one to be your very first con? Did it meet your expectations, and if not, what changes would you like to see at future events? is this a convention you’d attend again?

And here’s the first batch of responses!

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[GUEST POST] What Michael J. Martinez Learned from “The Empire Strikes Back”

Michael J. Martinez is the author of the newly released historical fantasy/space opera mashup The Enceladus Crisis, sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident. When not writing fiction, Mike has a day job writing about stocks and bonds. He brews his own beer and travels a lot thanks to his travel-writer wife; their daughter is awesome. Mike lives on the Jersey side of the greater New York City. He’s on Twitter and Untappd.

What I learned from The Empire Strikes Back

by Michael J. Martinez

I wrote a book that came out last year – barely, I might add. There was some question as to whether Night Shade Books would be a going concern if it wasn’t successful in selling off its assets to Skyhorse Publishing, and my pending debut novel, The Daedalus Incident, was one of those assets. But hey, the sale went through, and my book came out.

And then the new Skyhorse/Night Shade folks agreed to let me write two more.

Of course, having just learned to write a novel, I really hadn’t tried my hand at a sequel, so I had no idea how to go about it. Tapping into my intensive journalism training (which most often consisted of, “Hey, there’s a fire, go cover it” or “Find out everything you can about Microsoft NT in the next 20 minutes”), I dove into the research.
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MIND MELD: Books We’ve Worn Out Re-Reading

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

There are books we read once. There are books we re-read. And then there are the books that we wear out because we devour it again and again. These are the books for which we have to buy ourselves another copy immediately upon lending out because we’re sure we will never see it again — or just want to make sure we have it on hand.

Q: What are some of these genre books for you? Why do you go back to them again and again?

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Michael J. Martinez on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.
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BOOK REVIEW: The Enceladus Crisis by Michael J. Martinez

REVIEW SUMMARY: The followup to Martinez’s debut novel The Daedalus Incident builds on the strengths of the first novel and shores up its weaknesses.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: The two worlds, alchemical and corporate future, meet again, as an ancient Martian plot draws them both to Saturn…and Siwa, Egypt, for an attempt to reopen the doorway between them, and beyond.

PROS: High Concept remains interesting. More character focus given a deemphasis on the fast and furious worldbuilding of the first.
CONS: The splitting of the parties in both worlds is only partially effective, some plotlines are frankly more interesting than others, the two halves feel less connected.
BOTTOM LINE: A followup that manages to improve on the first in significant ways but doesn’t quite leap to the next quantum level.
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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 223): Live From Worldcon with Michael J. Martinez

In episode 223 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with Michael J. Martinez author of The Daedalus Incident.

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[GUEST POST] Michael J. Martinez on Building Out Worlds, One Piece at a Time

Michael J. Martinez is a novelist, a title which still takes him by surprise now and then. He’s the author of The Daedalus Incident (one of Library Journal‘s best of SF/Fantasy for 2013) and the novella The Gravity of the Affair, now available in ebook and Audible audio. The next novel in the Daedalus series, The Enceladus Crisis, is due this spring, and there’s a third book in the trilogy that he should really finish soon. He lives in the greater New York City area with his incredible wife and amazing daughter. He blogs at http://michaeljmartinez.net and Tweets at @mikemartinez72.

Building Out Worlds, One Piece At A Time

by Michael J. Martinez

One of the things, I think, that make science fiction and fantasy so popular is the immense possibility of the settings authors create. Done right, the reader knows that they’re reading a snapshot of time within an immensely complicated, rich world. George R.R. Martin gives hints as to the massive history of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire, and the Star Wars Expanded Universe keeps, well…expanding. J.K. Rowling is going back to the well for more stories set in her Harry Potter universe.

When you build a setting – and you’re doing it right – the reader gets a mere taste of all the work that went into making a living, breathing world. You can’t fake that sense of depth. It’s either there or it’s not. That often means simply alluding to details, rather than spelling things out. And that leaves a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor.
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Today Only! The Kindle edition of THE DAEDALUS INCIDENT by Michael J. Martinez is only $1.99

Amazon’s sf/f Kindle daily deal is Michael J Martinez’s The Daedalus Incident which you can scoop up for only $1.99:

Mars is supposed to be dead…
a fact Lt. Shaila Jain of the Joint Space Command is beginning to doubt in a bad way.

Freak quakes are rumbling over the long-dormant tectonic plates of the planet, disrupting its trillion-dollar mining operations and driving scientists past the edges of theory and reason. However, when rocks shake off their ancient dust and begin to roll—seemingly of their own volition—carving canals as they converge to form a towering structure amid the ruddy terrain, Lt. Jain and her JSC team realize that their realize that their routine geological survey of a Martian cave system is anything but. The only clues they have stem from the emissions of a mysterious blue radiation, and a 300-year-old journal that is writing itself.

Lt. Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s Royal Navy is an honest 18th-century man of modest beginnings, doing his part for King and Country aboard the HMS Daedalus, a frigate sailing the high seas between continents…and the immense Void between the Known Worlds. Across the Solar System and among its colonies—rife with plunder and alien slave trade—through dire battles fraught with strange alchemy, nothing much can shake his resolve. But events are transpiring to change all that.

With the aid of his fierce captain, a drug-addled alchemist, and a servant girl with a remarkable past, Weatherby must track a great and powerful mystic, who has embarked upon a sinister quest to upset the balance of the planets—the consequences of which may reach far beyond the Solar System, threatening the very fabric of space itself.

Set sail among the stars with this uncanny tale, where adventure awaits, and dimensions collide!

This deal is good for today only from Amazon (at least US), so check it out right now.

MIND MELD: How Science Fiction Changed Our Lives

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

This week, we asked our panelists the following:

Q: How has reading science fiction and fantasy changed you as a person or changed your life?

Here’s what they said…

Linda Nagata
Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Her newest science fiction novel is the near-future military thriller The Red: First Light. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately an independent publisher. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui. Find her online at: MythicIsland.com

I’ve been reading science fiction and to a lesser extent fantasy for so long that it’s hard to say how it’s changed my life. I don’t recall a moment of waking up to a sense of wonder or to radical possibilities, because I’ve been reading this stuff since I was a kid. I think it’s more that SFF has shaped my life and my outlook.

Good science fiction tells a gripping story but it’s also a thought experiment that lets us imagine other worlds, or this world, changed. So it offers answers to the question of “How would things be if…?” Ideally, that’s an exercise that should lead to a more flexible, less dogmatic outlook. I don’t know who I would have been otherwise, but I do think I’ve benefitted from being immersed in fictional worlds that are so very different from the real world. I think it’s made me more open minded, more adaptable, and less averse to change—and that’s what I’ve come to think of as the science fictional mindset.

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Cover & Synopsis: THE ENCELADUS CRISIS by Michael J. Martinez

Amazon has the (preliminary) cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel The Enceladus Crisis by Michael J. Martinez, sequel to The Daedalus Incident.

Here’s the synopsis:
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SFFWRTCHT: A Chat with Michael J. Martinez, Author of THE DAEDELUS INCIDENT

Michael J. Martinez is a husband, father and writer living the dream in the Garden State. He spent nearly twenty years as a professional writer and journalist, including stints at The Associated Press and ABC News. After telling other people’s stories, he’s happy that he can now tell a few of his own, starting with The Daedalus Incident,  his debut science fiction genre mashup novel from NSB, now Skyhorse. He enjoys beer and homebrewing, cooking and eating, the outdoors and travel. He can be found on Goodreads, Twitter as @MichaelMartinez72 and via his website at michaeljmartinez.net.

SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in speculative fiction come from?

Michael J. Martinez: I’m a card-carrying member of the Star Wars generation, and Trek besides. From there, it was a gateway to Douglas Adams, Arthur C. Clarke, etc. It’s been a life-long thing.

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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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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 194): Interview with Author Michael J. Martinez

In episode 194 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with Author Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident.

About Michael:

Michael is a husband, father and writer living the dream in the Garden State. He has spent nearly 20 years as a professional writer and journalist, including stints at The Associated Press and ABCNEWS.com. After telling other people’s stories for the bulk of his career, he is happy that he can now be telling a few of his own creations. He is also a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. When not being a husband, parent or writer, Michael enjoys beer and homebrewing, cooking and eating, the outdoors and travel. If you’re curious about their travels, his wife does a far better job of describing their adventures, so check out her blog at katrinawoznicki.com.

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[GUEST POST] Michael J. Martinez on The Joys And Perils Of Writing Historical Fantasy

Michael J. Martinez is the author of The Daedalus Incident, out now in ebook and due out in trade paperback in July. He spent 20 years in journalism and communications, writing other people’s stories, until he finally got up the nerve to try writing one of his own. In addition to Daedalus, he’s also serializing a novella, The Gravity of the Affair, on his website, www.michaeljmartinez.net. And he tweets now and then: @mikemartinez72. He lives in northern New Jersey with his amazing wife, wonderful daughter, and The Best Cat in the World.

[Photo by Anna Martinez]
The Joys And Perils Of Writing Historical Fantasy

By Michael J. Martinez

When I first approached writing The Daedalus Incident, I had yet to actually try my hand at any type of fiction, and I found the notion of historical fantasy oddly comforting. World-building can be very daunting, and I thought basing the book on the historical Age of Sail would make things easier.

And you know…it was. I had actual history to draw character and plot ideas from. I didn’t have to come up with a heap of odd fantasy-sounding names. I didn’t have to create my world from whole cloth.

But writing good historical fantasy has its own set of problems unique to the subgenre, and as I wrote and revised Daedalus, I came across a few things that I wrote down and kept in mind for future efforts – because, if all goes well, I’m hopeful The Daedalus Incident is just the first entry into this particular world.
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MIND MELD: What is the Literary Appeal of Gods, Goddesses and Myths?

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

This week on The SF Signal Mind Meld, the Melders got mythical:

Q: Gods, Goddesses and Myths: From Rick Riordan to Dan Simmons, the popularity of Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, especially but not limited to Classical Greco-Roman and Norse mythology seems as fresh as ever. What is the appeal and power of mythological figures, in and out of their normal time? What do they bring to genre fiction?

Here’s what they said:

Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He is the author of such novels as Blackbirds, Mockingbird, The Blue Blazes, and Under The Empyrean Sky. He is an alumni of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. He is the co-author of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus and developer of the game Hunter: The Vigil. He lives in Pennsyltucky with wife, son, and two dopey dogs. You can find him on Twitter @ChuckWendig and at his website, terribleminds.com, where he frequently dispenses dubious and very-NSFW advice on writing, publishing, and life in general.

Here’s why gods and goddesses and spirits and elves and all the creatures of all the mythologies matter:

Because they’re the original stories.

Right? We’re going to take as accepted the idea that stories have the power to change the world. That stories are how we communicate and share ideas – in that sense, storytelling is a powerful memetics delivery system by which we push enlightenment (and increasingly, entertainment) onto one another.

The original stories were the stories of us trying to explain our world. It’s mythology to us, now, but to the people telling those stories, the tales delivered a kind of enlightenment (and I’m sure given some of the hilariously sordid melodrama of mythology, they were also entertainment). Mythology explained everything from why the sun rose and fell to why mankind did all the curious and seemingly inexplicable things that it did.

All we’re really trying to do as storytellers is explain ourselves and say things about the world. (This is, of course, an expression of the literary theme – the theme being the argument we’re trying to make with our narrative.) That’s what connects us to the myths of the past and more importantly, the myth-tellers. It’s no surprise then that sometimes our fiction – say, Gaiman’s American Gods – re-explores those ideas and those characters in fresh, fascinating ways.

Though it’s also no surprise that we seek to make our own mythologies, either — mythologies either cobbled together from what has already come (repurposing the myths and divinities of the past is by no means unique to this age!) or pulled fresh out of the ether. Though there you’ll find a troubling idea – future humans digging up a copy of our fantasy fiction (the best or the worst of it) and thinking, This must be the mythology of the 21st century barbarians. A religion based on Tolkien or Rowling? Or a religion based on Twilight? Hmm…

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MIND MELD: Do You Like To Re-Read?

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

Q: What are your thoughts on re-reading favorite books and what are some books and/or series you re-read or plan on re-reading?

Here’s what they said…

Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

This seems like an awfully long way to go to find a controversy. There is no moral aspect to re-reading over reading something new; both are perfectly valid uses of one’s leisure time.

For writers, of course, keeping up with an at least cursory overview of what’s new in one’s field is a professional obligation, and its good to have a founding in the classics. And research often requires reading an awful lot of nonfiction–but reading for pleasure or comfort? I’d say read whatever makes you happy. You’ll get different things out of a book each time you read it–and rereading is certainly a primal human drive. Otherwise, kids wouldn’t want The Little Engine That Could twice a night every night until it becomes engraved on their DNA.

We learn and internalize via repetition, after all–and narrative are the mechanism our minds use to organize information in a crowded, chaotic, and unknowable universe.

Also, sometimes we just don’t want to be surprised. Although the best books are unavoidably surprising; they surprise us every time.
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MIND MELD: Current SF/F TV Shows We Are Watching

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

This week we asked our panelists the following questions:

Q: What SF/F shows are you currently watching? Is there a show, or shows, that you think more people should watch and why?

Several people bowed out citing the fact they don’t watch TV, or even have a TV (which is laudable yet amazing). I think that’s an indictment on the current state of SF/F on TV…

Here is what they said:

Terry Weyna
Terry Weyna blogs for Fantasy Literature, and is particularly engaged with her Magazine Monday column there, in which she reviews short fiction.

I’m enjoying Once Upon a Time. I do wish ABC weren’t using so much of the Disneyfied characters, though; when Mulan showed up recently, I groaned. I’ve also been known to watch Grimm, though I still have a bunch of episodes from last season on my DVR, waiting for me to get to them. I’m tempted to give 666 Park Avenue a try as well.
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