Tag Archives: YA

9781760080624_Troll Mountain 1_cover

Interview with Matthew Reilly, Author of TROLL MOUNTAIN

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of twelve novels: Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, Hover Car Racer, Hell Island, Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors, Scarecrow, Army of Thieves and The Tournament.

Matthew’s books are published in over 20 languages and he has sold approximately 5 million books worldwide: 3 million in Australia; over a million in the US; and over a million in the UK.

In 2011, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves was the biggest selling fiction title released in Australia for that year. Three more of Matthew’s books have been the biggest-selling Australian fiction titles of their year of release: The Tournament (2013), Seven Ancient Wonders (2005), The Five Greatest Warriors (2009).

Matthew has also written two novellas: in 2005, he wrote Hell Island for the Australian Government’s Books Alive project and in 2014 he released the epic fantasy-quest ebook Troll Mountain.

Tim Ward: I first discovered your work through a Creative Writing course at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Gary Crew is also an Australian author and assigned for us to read Temple. I loved the jungle adventure you told in that story. When you think back to that book, what do you love about that story?

Matthew Reilly: Temple, for me, was about writing a story that was part modern techno-thriller and part swashbuckling adventure. It is the only novel I have written with a dual storyline — that was a challenge I set myself: to see if I could hold the reader’s interest while switching between two stories which are ultimately on a collision course.

I love the pacing of the novel — it is a difficult thing to do, stopping and restarting different storylines, and I like to think Temple succeeds at this.
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BOOK REVIEW: Control by Lydia Kang

REVIEW SUMMARY: A light, fun, young adult medical thriller that serves as a good gateway book for YA fans looking for something SFnal.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: After the death of their father, sisters Zelia and Dylia are separated. In this dystopian future, genetic mutations (be them natural or not) are illegal, and it’s believed Dylia has a secret genetic trait that can be exploited. Zelia needs to rescue her sister from a dangerous organization and come to terms with their father’s secrets.

PROS: Excellent scientific explanations of genetics and biology without infodumping; empowered teenaged characters; interesting world.
CONS: Many plot points felt rushed; over-the-top villains; story never quite reached that “Wow” moment.
BOTTOM LINE: A light, fast SFnal thriller with some fun hard science aspects and a satisfying (if somewhat telegraphed) twist at the end.

After the car accident that killed their father, teenage sisters Dylia and Zelia are quickly processed through social services. Hopefully they will be placed with a foster family soon, and won’t have to spend too long at the New Horizons Center. Older by four years, Zel is very protective of her thirteen year old sister, Dylia. When their father was alive, his medical practice kept him working long hours and moving around the country, so it often fell to Zelia to raise her little sister.

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Convention Attention: Bring The Kids!

You and your family are making plans for the weekend.  What should you do? Camping? Tye-dying in the garage?  Indoor Waterpark? Cider Mill followed by pumpkin carving? Playground followed by a movie?

Why not take the whole family to a Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention?

Many Conventions have entire programming tracks designed just for kids and teens.  To learn more, I interviewed Larc Bogdan and Lisa Ragsdale, who oversee and organize the youth programming for ConFusion (January 17-19 in Dearborn, MI), and volunteer for youth programming at other conventions as well.  If you’ve ever worried that your children wouldn’t have anything to do at a Con, allow Lisa and Larc to put your worries to rest.

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[GUEST POST] Julia Rios on The Origins of a Diverse YA SF and Fantasy Anthology

Julia Rios writes all sorts of things, hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction), and is one of the three fiction editors at Strange Horizons. Her fiction, articles, interviews, and poetry have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Stone Telling, Jabberwocky, and several other places. She’s half-Mexican, but her (fairly dreadful) French is better than her Spanish.

Kaleidoscope: A Diverse YA SF and Fantasy Anthology

by Julia Rios

I’ve always been interested in promoting diversity in the SF field. I’m a bisexual woman of color, so in some ways, that’s a purely selfish drive. I want to see myself reflected in the stories I read. But it’s not limited to that; I also want everyone else to have the chance to see themselves, and I want to see stories about people who aren’t like me. This is why I am so excited about the book I am co-editing with Alisa Krasnostein.
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MIND MELD: Rebranding Fiction as Young Adult

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

This week we asked about rebranding adult novels as YA:

Q: What genre novels would benefit from a re-branding as Young Adult? Which YA novels should not be branded as such?
This is what they had to say…
Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger is a New York Times Bestselling author writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She survived her early years by reading most of her local library and memorizing Greek battles. Her YA book Etiquette & Espionage, the first in the Finishing School series, releases Feb. 5, 2013.

I’d like to hope they already have been rebranded, but two of my favorites are part of larger series. Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen trilogy is possibly the most YA of her early Valdemar books. And Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong trilogy is a great introduction to the Pern universe. I’d like to see both reissued with updated cover art, in hardback, for a YA audience.

I’d also add two books that are the first in their respective series but stand well enough alone as YA. Mary H. Herbert’s Dark Horse, and Cherry Wilder’s A Princess of the Chameln both include one of my favorite plot points: a girl disguising herself as a boy.

Last, I think The Forgotten Beasts of Eld would make a great rebranded YA book. Although the protagonist isn’t technically young enough, she has an isolated innocence that makes her seem young. Also Patricia McKillip’s writing style is so atmospheric, like a fairy tale, I think younger readers would really appreciate her style.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

REVIEW SUMMARY: The third book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series joins Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), Jason Grace (son of Jupiter) and other Greek and Roman demigods in a quest to save the world from the destructive awakening of Gaia, goddess of the Earth.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Seven teenage demigods of prophecy race to Rome to save one of their own and to thwart Gaia, one of the most powerful gods in mythology. Gaia sends giants and other mythological creatures against them. And the Roman demigods are threatening the Greek demigods camp. All while the teenage demigods act like…well…teenagers.

PROS: Full of Greek and Roman mythology; fast paced; suitable for kids, young adults and adults. And flying ships! And Riordan is from San Antonio!
CONS: Gotta wait for at least one more and maybe two in the series.
BOTTOM LINE: Rick Riordan gets my vote (and my family’s vote) to fill the void left by the end of the Harry Potter series. The books include well-researched Greek and Roman mythology, very ‘human’ demigods and gods, lots of humor and ‘save-the-world’ action.

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Fun with Friends—Helen Lowe Talks with Fellow Authors from Australia and New Zealand: Today’s Guest Is Juliet Marillier

About the Series:

Last month I kicked off a new series for SF Signal, interviewing and in some cases introducing fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand. The format is one interview per month, with no more than five questions per interview, focusing on “who the author is” and “what she/he does” in writing terms. Although with well-known SFF friends such as today’s guest, Juliet Marillier, the focus may tilt slightly more toward what the author is currently doing.

Juliet seemed like a great person to have as my guest, not just because she is well known outside Australia-New Zealand, but because she is both a New Zealander and an Australian – but onward to the interview to find out just how that works!

Allow me to introduce Juliet Marillier:

Juliet Marillier’s historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, including the popular Sevenwaters series, have been translated into many languages and have won a number of awards including the Aurealis, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Prix Imaginales. Her lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. Juliet is currently working on the Shadowfell series, a story of tyranny and rebellion set in a magical version of ancient Scotland. When not busy writing, she tends to a small pack of waifs and strays. In addition to this interview, you may find out more on Juliet’s website http://www.julietmarillier.com; she also blogs monthly on http://www.writerunboxed.com.

An Interview With Juliet Marillier

Helen: Juliet, you’re a New Zealander by birth and upbringing, but have lived in Australia for a long time, and your writing draws deeply on Celtic mythology and legend – are these three distinct traditions or do you find they overlap?

Juliet: The overlap, for me, is that I was born and brought up in Dunedin, which is one of the most Scottish places outside Scotland itself. Scots settlers brought their traditions with them. As a child I was surrounded by Celtic music, stories and culture, from the Burns Club to the pipe band competitions to the shop where you could have kilts made in your clan tartan – mine is Scott. I think Scots immigrants must have loved Dunedin for its physical similarity to their homeland – hills, forests, sea and islands. And freezing winters!

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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 137): An Interview with YA Author Courtney Summers

In episode 137 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with Courtney Summers, author of the new YA / Zombie Apocalypse novel: This Is Not A Test

About Courtney: Courtney Summers has been writing edgy, contemporary YA novels on scrap pieces of paper since the tender age of one. Maybe. Her novels CRACKED UP TO BE, SOME GIRLS ARE, FALL FOR ANYTHING and THIS IS NOT A TEST are available now wherever books are sold. Her next novel, ALL THE RAGE will be out in 2013.

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Book Review: False Covenant by Ari Marmell

Widdershins next adventure has the rags to riches to rags thief face off against a strange supernatural foe that threatens an already stressed and threatened city of Davillon

PROS: Widdershins remains an interesting and engaging heroine. Good use of consequences of first novel in developing events in this one.
CONS: The writing isn’t quite as crisp and bright as the first novel.
VERDICT: A solid followup to Thief’s Covenant and second YA novel from Marmell.

In Thief’s Covenant (My SF Signal Review here) we were introduced to Adrienne Satti, aka Widdershins. Thief. Last worshiper of the small God Olgun. Rags to Riches to Rags story. The first novel was very much an origin story, as the jumping timelines gave us a sense of who she was, and how she obtained her unusual background and abilities.

Now, in False Covenant, Ari Marmell moves forward with Widdershins.  Six months have passed since the events of the first novel. Davillon has not been doing well, and neither has our heroine. In a case of kick-them-when-they’re-down, a new threat looms over Davillon, and given her abilities and connection to Olgun, Widdershins may be the only person able to combat it. But even as this occurs, Widdershins has her own personal struggles to deal with as well. Widdershins is finding out that growing up is NOT easy.

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EXCLUSIVE: A.S. King Interviews Paolo Bacigalupi About His Latest Book ‘The Drowned Cities’

Paolo Bacigalupi‘s new novel The Drowned Cities (a companion to Ship Breaker) comes out next week. Here is the book description:

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man–a bioengineered war beast named Tool–who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi’s highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

Author A.S. King had the chance to talk with Paolo about The Drowned Cities

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Panel: Young Adult Speculative Fiction

Charles Tan: Hi everyone! Thanks for agreeing to do this panel.

In case people don’t know each other, let me introduce you to one another. I’m Charles, your blogger from the Philippines. Today we have:

  • Malinda Lo from the US, author of Ash and Huntress.
  • Tehani Wessely from Australia, who is a publisher, editor, and librarian.
  • Cheryl Morgan from the UK, who is very active in the genre nonfiction and awards scene.
  • Gwenda Bond from the US, who dabbles in a little bit of everything.
  • Tarie Sabido from the Philippines as well, who is a blogger and a teacher.

I’m a bit new at this so we don’t have to be very formal. Feel free to steer the conversation in a direction you think is relevant, but I was hoping to start with the speculative fiction YA books (whether novels or anthologies) published this past year that interested you.

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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 092): Panel Discussion of YA Fiction

In episode 92 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars to weigh in on: Young Adult Fiction!

YA Fiction is taking the publishing world by storm but it’s not just for Young Adults – people of all ages are enjoying what YA has to offer. Are you one of them?

  • What are some examples of genre YA you’ve enjoyed reading?
  • Is YA getting too dark?
  • Is YA not dominated by dark stories?
  • Is YA a bubble waiting to burst as some new thing takes the publishing world by storm?

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[GUEST POST] K.D. McEntire on Why There Are So Few Superheroes in Young Adult Literature

KD McEntire is the author of the debut novel, Lightbringer. She currently lives in the Kansas City area and spends what little free time she has gaming and reading. There are far too many amazing books for her to pick a favorite, but Stephen King gets her money every time. You can find her at kdmcentire.com or on Facebook; she has a Twitter account but rarely updates it as KD believes that a hashtag is something you fry up for breakfast.

Where Are All The Superheroes in Young Adult Literature?

It occurs to me that Young Adult literature – while quite wide in many respects – is bereft of a genre very dear to my heart… comic books. I’m not sure why that is, but I have theories and yes, I do intend on sharing them.

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[GUEST POST] Stina Leicht on The Prevalence of Dark YA Fiction

Stina Leicht‘s debut novel Of Blood and Honey, a historical Fantasy with an Irish Crime edge set in 1970s Northern Ireland, was released by Night Shade books in February 2011. She also has a flash fiction piece in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s surreal anthology Last Drink Bird Head.

The Prevalence of Dark YA Fiction

During the last panic over the dark trends in YA fiction, a few questions cropped up over and over: “Why are our kids are so attracted to dark literature? Why do they seem to think the older generation are out to get them? Or is this attitude merely being projected onto them?” I believe this trend in dark fiction for young adults happens for a reason, and yes, they do sense hostility from older generations. They’ve good reason for it. It exists.

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[GUEST POST] Simon Haynes Asks: Where All The Junior Science Fiction Has Gone?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock series, published by Fremantle Press and distributed by Penguin Australia. He recently put his teen/adult series on hold to write science fiction for younger readers. Hal Junior: The Secret Signal is available in print and ebook. Details can be found at http://www.spacejock.com.au/HalJunior.html.

Over the past few years I’ve attended dozens of schools, libaries and literary events, where I’ve enthused about science fiction to thousands of middle-grade readers. You might be wondering why I speak to this age group when I write for adults and teens, but that’s easily explained: I fell into it by accident. The teachers at my childrens’ school asked me to rev up a year six class, and it snowballed from there.

Thing is, I love talking to middle-graders about science fiction. Start a conversation about teleporters or space travel or robots and their eyes light up, boys and girls alike. They’re fascinated by the possibilities. Robots who take their owners for walkies after school, the security implications of teleporters in the home (what if someone sent a hand-grenade through? What happens to your health if you don’t even have to walk to the bus stop?), teleporters which subtract your excess body fat when you go through … it’s fantastic to throw out crazy ideas and get them thinking about the implications.

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Kids in Space: Is That A Heinlein In Your Backpack?

Is there a young person in your life who you’d like to start on the road to science fiction? What better way to get them hooked on sf than to recommend books about kids in space?

Over at Kirkus Reviews blog, I did just that with the first part of a 2-part series on Kids in Space, in which I focus on the “juvenile novels” of Robert A. Heinlein…

Go forth and be amazed! In spaaaaaace!

MIND MELD: Recommended Genre Books For 9 Year Olds

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

This week’s Mind Meld topic was suggested by Mark Nuhfe. Thanks Mark!

Q: Everyone knows Ender’s Game and Harry Potter as great books to introduce kids to SF/F, what other genre books would you recommend for a 9 year old to help encourage a love of reading and of the genre?
Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She’s the author of the Women of the Otherworld paranormal suspense series and Darkest Powers young adult urban fantasy trilogy. And she’ll be writing some middle-grade fantasy of her own starting in spring 2013, with the Norse-myth-inspired Blackwell Pages, co-written with Melissa Marr.

I have two boys in that age group–a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old. The younger one went through a Harry Potter binge at 9, where he read the whole series…then started right back on book 1 and read them again. During the second read-through, I decided it might be wise to find him some fantasy read-alikes :) I dug through my older daughter’s library (which is where he got the HP books) and pulled out the Artemis Fowl books, which did the trick. Then he read the Percy Jackson series from his brother’s shelves. After that, I went to bookstores to see what was new and recommended in fantasy middle-grade. His favorite two series from those picks were The Ranger’s Apprentice and The Last Apprentice. So, my recommendations then, would be:

  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, starting with Artemis Fowl
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan, starting with The Lightning Thief
  • The Last Apprentice by John Delaney, starting with The Spook’s Apprentice
  • The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan, starting with The Ruins of Gorlan

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[GUEST POST] Courtney Schafer on Voices Not Forgotten (6 Underrated Young Adult Novels You Should Know About)

Courtney Schafer‘s impatience while waiting for new SF books to hit the shelves used to drive her crazy, until she realized she could write her own stories to satisfy her craving for worlds full of wonder and adventure. Her debut fantasy novel The Whitefire Crossing releases August 1 from Night Shade Books. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs 14,000 foot peaks, squeezes through Utah slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in electrical engineering from Caltech and now works in the aerospace industry. Visit her at http://www.courtneyschafer.com.

Voices Not Forgotten

After reading the discussion of the Russ Pledge here on SF Signal back in June, and then Judith Tarr’s fascinating and dismaying follow-up post relating her experiences in the publishing industry (Girl Cooties: A Personal History), I got to thinking about all the excellent YA SF novels written by women that I read as a girl in the 1980s/1990s. Novels that sparked my imagination, broadened my horizons, and helped make me an SF fan for life – and yet aren’t mentioned very often these days.

Sure, some female authors I loved in childhood remain household names amongst SF fans: Madeleine L’Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Yolen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, and Patricia McKillip, for example. But theirs weren’t the only books I read and re-read until they were dogeared and falling apart. So I want to shout out some love to a few more women whose books meant the world to me; to say, hey, ladies: your voices were heard, and made a difference.

And if you know a kid who’s already read more modern middle-grade and YA SF books like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron, or Jeanne DuPrau’s The Books of Ember and is hungry for more – why not suggest they give one of these classics a try?

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SF Tidbits for 9/14/09

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SF Tidbits for 9/11/09

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