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

“Let me buy you a pint, Elric…”

This week, we posed the following to our panelists:

Q: We’ve all encountered characters in stories and novels that we’ve felt a real connection to, and would love to chat with more. Maybe buy them a drink. What characters have you encountered in Fantasy and SF that you’d like to buy a pint for?

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[GUEST POST] A.C. Wise on Women to Read: Where to Start: Superhero Edition


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: Superhero Edition

by A.C. Wise

Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for comic books and superhero fiction. The traditional perception that comic books are for boys is slowly shifting, but the emphasis is on slow. Male superheroes dominate the box office, women who cosplay their favorite heroes are called fake geek girls, and we still have comic book creators today who say if women don’t like how they are portrayed (if they’re portrayed at all) in comic book pages well it’s too damned bad because comics aren’t for them anyway. So, in this installment of Women to Read: Where to Start, I’m going to shine a spotlight on women writing superheroes and proving there’s no sign on the genre door proclaiming ‘Boys Only’.

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MIND MELD: Books You Eat Like Candy & Books You Savor

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

Many readers have different gears when reading books. Some books are ones in which you luxuriate and spend time with, others are such a ride that you turn the pages rapidly, carried along through them at warp speed.

We asked this week’s panelists about this phenomenon:

Q: What books do you savor? What books do you eat like candy? What makes for you a book that you savor, or speed through?

Here’s what they said…

Sandra Wickham
Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two cats. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training. Sandra’s short stories have appeared in Evolve: Vampires of the New Undead, Evolve: Vampires of the Future Undead, Chronicles of the Order, Crossed Genres magazine and coming up in The Urban Green Man. She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds and slush reads for Lightspeed Magazine.

As a fitness professional, I have a hard time comparing books to popcorn and candy. I’m sorry. It goes against my nature. Is it all right if I call them fruits versus vegetables? Fruit is yummy, quick to eat and always fun. Vegetables can be yummy, are a bit more work to eat but you know they’re extremely good for you.

I always read because I want to be entertained and I admit I don’t always read because I want to learn something, or broaden my mind. Sometimes, I really just want to have fun and read an entertaining book. That’s when I turn to the fruit.

The fruit books I grab for a quick, fun read are urban fantasy. Give me a Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Diana Rowland, Kat Richardson, Kevin Hearne (the list goes on and on) and I’ll disappear. I’m not saying that urban fantasy can’t be mind expanding or explore important issues, when they’re well done they certainly do that, but I don’t need to rethink my entire life to read them.

I’d also list horror books under this category, though it depends on the author. Some of those are a mix of fruits and vegetables with a side of bloody dip.

My vegetable books tend to be fantasy that take after the Tolkien mold. These are the stories I want to dive fully into, to be immersed in the world the author has created and linger there, enjoying every aspect of the characters, the setting and the story.

I’m interested to see other people’s responses on the books they savor, because I know I need more vegetables in my reading diet.

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SFFWRTCHT: A Chat With Sabrina Vourvoulias

Born in Bangkok, Thailand the daughter of a Mexican-Guatemalan artist and an American businessman, Sabrina Vourvoulias grew up in Guatemala. She was 15 when she moved to the U.S., later studying filmmaking and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence. She’s worked as everything from an art gallery assistant to an opera house director then started a career in newspapers in New York and Pennsylvania. She’s currently Managing Editor of Philadelphia’s largest Spanish language newspaper, Al Dia, also a #sffwrtcht #latism regular on Twitter and a social media fan. In addition to news, her poetry has appeared in Dappled Things, Graham House Review, We’Moon, and another is forthcoming in Bull Spec.  Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres in the Fat Girl in a Strange Land and Crossed Genres Year Two anthologies and more are forthcoming in GUD and Strange Horizons. Her debut science fiction novel, Ink, is out from Crossed Genres, a futuristic tale about a U.S. where tattoos mark immigration status for population control. She lives in a charming, dilapidated old farmhouse outside Philadelphia with her husband and brilliant, cantankerous teen daughter. She can be found via her website/blog as well as on Twitter as @followthelede.


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

Sabrina Vourvoulias: I’ve always been a voracious reader. I started w fairy tales and mythology and was quickly drawn to literature with similar qualities. So, as a kid I read Tolkien and Bradbury; Homer and Miguel Angel Asturias; Arthurian legend and the Popol Vuh.

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