MIND MELD: Comic Book Characters Who Deserve Reboots

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

The recent announcement of the Falcon taking over Captain America, the announcement of a female Thor, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, the new Ms. Marvel, the various incarnations of Green Lantern…there is opportunity in rebooting comic book characters to reflect our diverse society, or to cast new light and new angles on old characters.

Q: What are the perils and challenges and opportunities of doing such a reboot? Pick a comic book character that you’d like to reboot. How would you do it, and to what end?

Here’s what they said…

Read the rest of this entry


Tansy Rayner Roberts is the author of many award-winning fantasy novels and short stories including the recent Ink Black Magic. She is co-host of two podcasts: Galactic Suburbia and Verity! You can follow her on Twitter at @tansyrr or check out her crazy space opera retelling of The Three Musketeers on her blog. To support Tansy and her space musketeers via Patreon, visit http://www.patreon.com/musketeerspace.

Serials and Spaceships

by Tansy Rayner Roberts

I’ve always been a sucker for a serialised story. I only had to catch an episode of a soap opera on a sick day to be hopelessly following it for months or years afterwards. I stuck with comics I loved long after the creative team had moved on, just because I needed to know what happened to the characters next.

Then there’s the pre-20th century publishing tradition of the serialised novels, which has always fascinated me ever since I read about Jo March writing melodramatic serials for the newspapers she published with and for her sisters. (Little Women itself was published as a serial when it first came out for real.) We might not be able to read these as anything but entire novels now, but the idea of a story written on the fly, so to speak, is quite compelling even if it leads to structural oddities.
Read the rest of this entry

As you likely know, the Hugo Awards were announced yesterday. I was invited to be on the Hugo-nominated Coode Street Podcast for their annual Hugo ballot rundown with hosts Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, as well as guest Tansy Rayner Roberts.

That episode is now live. Listen to The Coode Street Podcast Episode 186: Hugo Awards 2014 with John DeNardo and Tansy Rayner Roberts.


Tansy Rayner Roberts is a fantasy author who lives in Tasmania. She is one of the three voices of the Hugo-nominated Galactic Suburbia podcast. She also writes crime fiction as Livia Day. In 2013, she won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Her latest project is the Cranky Ladies of History anthology. You can follow Tansy on Twitter as @tansyrr.

Let’s Talk About Cranky Ladies

by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Late in 2013, Australian writer and editor Liz Barr blogged about Tsaritsa Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia, dubbing her one of history’s great “cranky ladies”. This inspired Tehani Wessely of FableCroft Publishing to start planning an extravaganza of an anthology about those women who bucked the trends of their time and took on cultural norms to challenge society’s rules and ideas about how women should behave.

This anthology, Cranky Ladies of History, is crowdfunding right now. Check out our Pozible page and prepare to get excited about our book as well as some really cool rewards.
Read the rest of this entry

MIND MELD: Secondary Characters Who Take Center Stage

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

Protagonists and antagonists get lots of spotlight in novels, but sometimes the most intriguing characters are the minor ones, the ones that briefly grace the stage and depart, leaving the main characters to their business.This week, we asked our panel about the most iconic of fantasy creatures:

Q: What minor characters in novels and stories have caught your interest, and want to know more about? What characters in your own work have gathered unexpected interest, and you’d like to write from their point of view?

This is what they said…
Read the rest of this entry

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

From Bilbo traveling to the lonely Mountain and Frodo’s journey to Mordor, to Steven Erikson’s Malazan novels having armies crossing fantasy continent after continent…the road trip, as it were, is a staple of science fiction and fantasy, particularly epic fantasy. See the scenery, meet interesting characters and explore the world! What could go wrong?

Q: What are your favorite “road trips” in science fiction and fantasy? What makes a good road trip in a genre story?

Here’s what they said.

Gail Z Martin
Gail Z Martin‘s latest novel is Ice Forged.

My favorite fictional road trips include Canterbury Tales, David Edding’s Belgariad books, and David Drake’s Lord of the Isles series.

A good road trip reveals hidden truths about the people who are traveling. If you’ve ever gone on a long car trip with friends or family, you know what I mean! You don’t really know someone until you’ve been stuck in a vehicle with them for 12 straight hours—or on a sailing ship on the high seas during a storm. Since things go wrong on long trips, they provide insight into resourcefulness and character. A really good “journey” story reveals the world and the characters simultaneously, while moving the story forward—no small feat!
Read the rest of this entry

MIND MELD: Who are Your Favorite Women in Genre?

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

In celebration of Women in Genre Month we ask some of our favorites about some of their favorites!

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: Who are your favorite women authors in genre? What are your favorite books written by them?

Here’s what they said…

Nancy Kress
Nancy Kress is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy titles, including Beggars in Spain, Nothing Human, Probability Space, Stinger, and her bestselling Write Great Fiction series. She is a recipient of the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and John W. Campbell Memorial awards, and her work has been translated into 16 languages. She lives in Rochester, New York.

My favorite female author is Ursula K. LeGuin. I started reading her in the late sixties and have never stopped. Her best work combines genuine, multi-dimensional characters with “thought experiments” about how societies are organized, and with what consequences. My favorite of her works are The Dispossessed and the collection of related novellas, Four Ways Into Forgiveness. Brilliant, compassionate, believable, these books truly eplore what it means to be human, in human societies, striving for the things human beings care about.

Read the rest of this entry

MIND MELD: The Books We Didn’t Love

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

This week we asked about books you don’t love.

What books do people expect you to love or read, but you don’t?  Why?

This is what they had to say…

Jamie Todd Rubin
Jamie Todd Rubin is a science fiction writer, blogger, and Evernote Ambassador for paperless living. His stories and articles have appeared in Analog, Daily Science Fiction, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Apex Magazine, and 40K Books. Jamie lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and two children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In a Strange Land was not the first Heinlein book I read. I started with what is still, in my mind, one of his best, Double Star. Nor was Stranger the second Heinlein book I read. Or the third. Or the fourth.

Indeed, back in the days when my interests in science fiction were broadening and I would occasionally talk to people about them, Heinlein would inevitably come up. “You should read Stranger In A Strange Land.” I must have been told this a dozen times by a dozen different people. I even tried reading the book, but on two occasions, spaced years apart, I simply couldn’t get very far into it. I felt terribly guilty about this. Something must be wrong me. It seemed everyone who ever read a book had read and loved Stranger. But not me. I couldn’t even get through it.

It wasn’t Heinlein. Couldn’t be, right? I went on to read and enjoy Heinlein’s future history in The Past Through Tomorrow. I read and loved Podkayne of Mars. I read Puppet Masters and Starship Troopers and found those entertaining. (Although both movies were appallingly bad.) I adored Friday and The Door Into Summer.

It finally took jury duty for me to get through Stranger. In the fall of 2000, in a cavernous room within a Hollywood courthouse, I battled my way through Heinlein’s tour de force. And before my jury service was up, I’d managed to finally finish the book.

And hated it. Just plain didn’t like it. To this day, when asked if I’ve read Stranger, I reply with a world-weary, “Of course. I read it while suffering through jury duty in the fall of 2000.”

“And what did you think of it?”

And without skipping a beat, reply, “I couldn’t be picked for a jury soon enough. My how I suffered through that book!”

Read the rest of this entry

REVIEW SUMMARY: An excellent quartet of stories with strong female characters, and Rome. Romanpunk!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Classics expert Tansy Rayner Roberts brings four Roman themed stories with strong women, and monsters across 2 millennia of time.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Rome themed fiction! Dry wit, clever writing, excellent linking across the four stories.
CONS: The size of the collection works against it.
BOTTOM LINE: Ave, Augusta!

Read the rest of this entry

TANSY RAYNER ROBERTS is the award-winning author of the Creature Court trilogy, consisting of Power and Majesty, The Shattered City and Reign of Beasts.  Her short story collection Love and Romanpunk was published by Twelfth Planet Press in 2011. You can find her at her blog, on Twitter as @tansyrr, and on the Hugo-nominated podcast Galactic Suburbia.  Tansy lives in Tasmania, Australia with a Silent Producer and two superhero daughters.


Charles Tan: Hi Tansy! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did you first get involved with speculative fiction?

Tansy Rayner Roberts: Hi Charles!  I’ve always loved SF and fantasy since I was a small child being indoctrinated into Doctor Who fandom at my mother’s knee.  I spent most of my teens writing novels and occasionally submitting half-hearted queries to publishers, and then struck it lucky with Splashdance Silver, which won the inaugural George Turner Prize in 1998 and was duly published by Bantam/Transworld.  So I’ve been at this a while now…
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