MIND MELD: Great Books to Read During Winter

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

This week, in time for the change of season, we asked about Winter:

In the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is turning colder, and the season of Winter is upon us. What are your favorite genre stories and novels that revolve around the coldest season. How do they make use of the season, and how do they evoke it?
This is what they had to say…
Gwenda Bond
Gwenda Bond’s debut novel, Blackwood, was a September 2012 launch title for Strange Chemistry, the new YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. Her next novel, The Woken Gods, will be released in July 2013. She is also a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, regularly reviews for Locus, guest-edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online, and has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie. Visit her online at her website (www.gwendabond.com) or on twitter (@gwenda).

The first novel that leaps to mind is Geraldine McCaughrean’s The White Darkness. It’s a wonderfully bizarre tour de force about a girl, Sym, who is obsessed with all things Antarctic, including her imaginary boyfriend, the deceased Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates. Her mad “uncle” takes her on a once in a lifetime trip there, which turns out to be a nightmare. He believes in the hollow Earth theory and that they will prove it’s true. Along the way, McCaughrean masterfully reveals more and more about Sym’s own past and her phony uncle. Sym’s voice is arresting despite how very in her own head she is—and it’s perhaps because of how that works with a backdrop that is spectacularly isolated and physically challenging. Some people may argue this isn’t a true fantasy, but I would debate them (citing spoilers), and regardless of which of us won I maintain it’d still be of interest to many genre readers because of the hollow Earth fringe science driving the plot.

Read the rest of this entry

MIND MELD: Genre Crossovers We’d Love to See

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

From Jason and the Argonauts to Avengers Assemble, crossovers have brought the best of genres together in unexpected and pleasing ways. Instead of asking this week’s panelists what their favorite crossover is, I wanted them to share some of their own creations. So I asked them:

Q: If you had the liberty to do so, what genre figures would you crossover in a book, show or film?

Here’s what they said…

Tansy Rayner Roberts
Tansy Rayner Roberts is the author of Power and Majesty, The Shattered City and Reign of Beasts, a fantasy series about flappers, shape-changers and bloodthirsty court politics. She recently released a short fiction collection, Love and Romanpunk, from Twelfth Planet Press. She just received her first Hugo nomination for the Galactic Suburbia podcast. You can find Tansy on Twitter as @tansyrr and at her blog.

My first thought was that I want to see the universes of Blake’s 7 and Futurama collide because I think my head would explode with fannish glee.

Then there’s all the delicious possibilities from the Doctor Who universe, though sadly most of the crossovers I would love to see involve actors that are dead, or well past the age to convincingly play the part on screen.

But actually what I most crave is a colossal superhero comics crossover, with She-Hulk, Emma Frost, Black Widow, Spider-Girl and Kitty Pryde teaming up with Black Canary, Batwoman and the Batgirls, Wonder Woman and Power Girl, with Xena and Starbuck thrown in for good measure.

Together, they fight crime.

In space.

And then someone makes a movie about it.

Read the rest of this entry

This week’s question is a simple one, but yielded lots of responses. We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: What are some of your favorite short stories in sf/f/h and what makes them so memorable?

Read on to see some great reading suggestions, then check out Part 1. And be sure to tell us your own favorites!

Paul Melko
Paul Melko‘s first novel, Singularity’s Ring, won the Compton Crook/Stephan Tall Award as well as the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His second novel is The Walls of the Universe.

When I took a creative writing class in college, way back in 1991, we used one of the Norton anthologies. The professor asked us to pick a couple of stories to read and write about, so I of course scoured the table of contents for any science fiction stories at all. I found just a couple among the Cheevers and the Updikes and the Carvers: Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star” and Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”. The former I had read before and found heavy-handed. (The teacher thought it was grand!) The latter story by LeGuin has stuck with me since. I suppose one could argue that it too is a heavy-handed polemic, but I had never seen science fiction deal so strongly with moral questions. It was quite moving to that 23-year-old fellow…

I think I’ll go re-read it now!

Read the rest of this entry