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Humans with funny foreheads are easy; truly alien aliens are hard. With that in mind, here’s what we asked our panel of experts:

Q: What successfully makes an alien character, well, really alien?

Here’s what they said!

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Steven Gould is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, 7th Sigma, Impulse, and Exo as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, and Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been a Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus, and Compton Crook finalist, but his favorite distinction was being on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned Books 1990-1999 for Jumper before the Harry Potter books came along and bumped it off the bottom of the list. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. In 2013 he was hired to help develop the three movie sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar, as well as write four novels based on the films. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (M.J. Locke) and their two daughters, two dogs, and three chickens. He has practiced aikido and Japanese sword for the last two decades, and is the currently serving president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He can be found on twitter as @StevenGould and on Facebook as Steven Gould.

On Reality, Verisimilitude, Imagination, and Exclusion

by Steven Gould

The year is 1974 and I’m sitting in a room with Bruce Sterling, Lisa Tuttle, Joseph Pumilia, Steven Utley, Howard Waldrop, Harlan Ellison, and Keith Laumer.
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Steven Gould, author of Jumper, 7th Sigma and EXO, 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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Cover & Synopsis: EXO (Jumper) by Steven Gould

Here’s the cover and synopsis for Steven Gould’s upcoming Jumper novel, Exo, the fourth book in the Jumper series, coming in September 2014.

Here’s the synopsis:
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Steven Gould is the New York Times bestselling author of Jumper. His other works include Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, and 7th Sigma as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies.  He is the recipient of the Hal Clement YA Award for SF and has been on the Hugo ballot twice and Nebula ballot once for his short fiction, but his favorite distinction was being on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Banned Books list 1990-1999.  Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (a.k.a. Morgan J. Locke), and their two daughters. He’s also a current candidate for SFWA President. Jumper was adapted into the 2008 movie of the same name staring Hayden Christensen, Samuel L Jackson, Rachel Bilson and Jamie Bell.  He can be found on Facebook: as Steven Gould, on Twitter as @StevenGould, and at his website eatourbrains.com/steve/.


SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in speculative fiction come from?  And who are some of your favorite authors and books that inspire you?

Steven Gould: I was bit by the SF bug early, a book called The Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey. Zelazny, early Heinlein, Blish. I’ve always liked Bujold but I’ve been especially pleased with the Chalion fantasies.
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Steven Gould is the author of the frequently banned book Jumper, as well as, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, 7th Sigma, and the upcoming Impulse as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, and Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (M. J. Locke) and their two daughters, where he keeps chickens and falls down a great deal.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Steven! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

STEVEN GOULD: I personally think we owe Dystopian lit to Utopian lit, cause, really, Utopian Societies have to be a nightmare. What possible “perfect” society is going to be good for everybody?  Most Dystopian lit is really about a society that those in power think is a utopian or they are striving for a utopian and this is the problem. There are an awful lot of us square pegs out there who don’t fit in round holes but you hit us hard enough with a hammer or a boot, and we’ll jam in that hole. This is 1984. This is Brave New World. This is Uglies.

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The cover art and synopsis to Impulse, the latest novel in Steven Gould’s Jumper series, are available.

Here’s the synopsis (from GoodReads):

Cent is the teenaged daughter of two very special people, Davy and Millie, the world’s only teleports, but her life is far from ideal. Kept in isolation to protect her from her parents’ enemies, she wants a normal life, a life with friends and, perhaps, romance. She wants to go to school like any other normal child.

If only she were normal…

Book info as per Amazon US:
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MIND MELD: The Apple iPad: Sizzle or Fizzle?

Science fiction fans love new gadgets. The most recently hyped gadget is the Apple iPad. Sure, it’s sexy, but like any gadget, it has its pros and cons.

We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Do you own an Apple iPad? If so, what are the things you like and dislike about it? If not, are you thinking of getting one? Why or why not?

Here’s what they said.

Marie Brennan
Marie Brennan is the author of the Onyx Court series of historical fantasy novels: Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and the upcoming A Star Shall Fall. She has also published nearly thirty short stories. More information at www.swantower.com.

Full disclosure: my brother works on the iPad. Which doesn’t give me any special insights or advantages — I spent a year and a half not knowing what his job was, just that he’d been moved to a new team at Apple, before they announced the thing publicly — but if you want to read bias into this, go ahead.

I don’t own an iPad, and am not likely to buy one any time soon, for a variety of reasons: cost paired with lack of immediate pressing need, caution regarding the first generation of *anything*, etc. Having said that, when I saw the specs of the iPad, I admit it looked attractive, for two reasons.

Weight/size and battery life…

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