Editor Peter Young just released issue #3 and #4 of his excellent Big Sky fanzine. Both issues are part of a special project released specifically for Loncon 3. They both shine the light entirely on Gollancz’s excellent SF Masterworks list. These special issues of Big Sky feature reviews and commentary for each title in the Masterworks series, all listed in order of appearance.

Peter contacted me a while back about including three of my own reviews that I’ve published right here at SF Signal (for Ursual K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, Robert Silverberg’s The Book of Skulls, and Algys Budrys’ Rogue Moon). Those are included, along with tons of other reviews and articles by folks like Karen Burnham (also and SF Signal contributor!), Farah Mendlesohn, Kate Sherrod, David Langford, Rhys Hughes, Nicholas Whyte, Bruce Gillespie, Christopher J. Garcia, Amy H, Sturgis, Niall Alexander, Rich Horton, Neal Asher, Tim Powers, Cheryl Morgan, Mark Chitty, Alma Alexander, Eric Brown, Scott Lynch, Ross E. Lockhart, Annalee Newitz, Abigail Nussbaum, Mark Yon, Lee Battersby, Ian Sales, Karen Hueler, Jo Walton, Joachim Boaz, and so many others.

Click on through to grab both issues of both issues of Big Sky!

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This looks interesting. Check out the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel The Genome by Sergei Lukyanenko.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-14

Interviews & Profiles

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Austin Basis plays JT on the hit CW show, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, and I was thrilled to be able to ask him about the show, acting, and more!

A complete bio for Austin can be found at his website.


Kristin Centorcelli: You play JT Forbes, a scientist and childhood friend of Vincent Keller (the “Beast”) on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Will you tell us more about the show and your character? What kind of prep have you had to do for the role?
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Hollywood loves to bet on a sure thing. And what’s more of a sure thing than basing a film or a television series on a classic book or short story?

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog, I take a look at Upcoming Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptations (Classics Edition) – Part 2.

Check it out!

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M. Sean Coleman began his writing career working for Douglas Adams as one of the original writers on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Online, and has since written and produced original, award-winning shows for MSN, O2, Sony Pictures International, Fox, the BBC and Channel 4. He has a BA in Scriptwriting from Bournemouth University and an MA in Screenwriting from UAL. He continues to write novels, graphic novels and film and television scripts from his home in West London, UK. He wrote the first two episodes of a series of three graphic novels for the huge cross-platform project: Netwars. His first novel is The Code, which is linked to the Netwars storyworld.

The Line Between Fiction, Science Fiction and Reality

by M. Sean Coleman

When the movie WarGames came out in 1983, it was hailed as a work of science fiction. Yet, if the same film was released today, it would simply be called a thriller. Back then, the notion of a computer becoming sentient and threatening to wage war was pure science fiction, and a warning to us all to fear the rise of the machines.

Back then, computers were the size of whole rooms and everything was green screens and beige plastic. Today, we have a computer that has just passed the Turing Test – the test of a machine’s capability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from that of a human.

Sure, that computer isn’t in charge of any warheads, and neither does it have any decision making power about whether an attack could be launched, but its not too wild an extrapolation to see a future in which that is the case. After all, machines are neither inhibited nor encouraged by the complex emotions that control today’s warmongers, so perhaps that future already seems safer.
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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…

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Thug Notes takes on Lois Lowry’s The Giver, winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.

Astute as usual.

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Here’s cool the cover (designed by Claudia Noble) and intriguing synopsis for the upcoming novel Heraclix and Pomp: A Novel of the Fabricated and the Fey by Forrest Aguirre.
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I love a good time travel story, and if it’s funny, all the better. Future Hero presses all the right buttons.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-13

Interviews & Profiles

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We’re pleased to once again bring you an excerpt, this time from Chris Wooding’s new steampunk adventure novel, The Ace of Skulls: A Tale of the Ketty Jay (available this week from Titan Books)!

Here’s what the book is about:

The intrepid crew of the Ketty Jay have been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They’ve stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a 10,000-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blown up the son of the Archduke. Now they’ve gone and
started a civil war. This time, they’re really in trouble.

As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Darian Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He’s got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they’re going to have to pick a side. It’s a choice they’ll be staking their lives on.

Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed. When the smoke clears, who will be left standing

Read on for an excerpt!

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Join the Space Unicorn Rangers Corps!

by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

We want you to join the Space Unicorn Rangers Corps!

Okay, we should probably explain that a bit.
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Daryl Gregory‘s latest books are We Are All Completely Fine (Tachyon Publications) and the near-future SF novel Afterparty (Tor Books). The YA Lovecraftian adventure Harrison Squared is forthcoming from Tor. He lives in State College, PA, in a rapidly emptying house, and is looking for a good dog. If you know of one, you can contact him at darylgregory.com.

How to Write a Completely Inadequate Horror Movie

by Daryl Gregory

I grew up during the golden age of slasher flicks. Jason, Freddy, Michael, and Chucky were my teenage companions. I remember being in the theatre for the original Friday the 13th, watching the face of that “final girl” as the credits rolled. She knew the nightmare would never be over. The monster would be coming back, though for a new set of victims and cheaper actors.

It was only years later that I began musing about what happened to those sole survivors after the movie was over. How were they not dysfunctional wrecks for the rest of their lives? Serious therapy-and serious meds-had to be in their future. Even when a hero or heroine returned for a sequel, the years of recovery (or attempted recovery) were barely touched on, or skipped altogether, before the new batch of bodies began piling up. But what was life like for them between the movies?

It’s not the job of movies to answer these questions. In every film (like any work of art) there must be things left unsaid, aspects of those worlds that go unexplained because they would destroy the tone of the movie, dilute its effects, or just plain blow out its running time. But some questions are left unexamined because movies can’t ask them: they’re ill-equipped for certain tasks that prose fiction is built to handle.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Chris Dolley! – Sarah Chorn

New York Times bestselling author, pioneer computer game designer and teenage freedom fighter. That was back in 1974 when Chris was tasked with publicising Plymouth’s Student Rag Week. Some people might have arranged an interview with the local newspaper. Chris invaded the country next door, created the Free Cornish Army and persuaded the UK media that Cornwall had risen up and declared independence. This was later written up in Punch. As he told journalists at the time, ‘it was only a small country and I did give it back.’

In 1981, he created Randomberry Games and wrote Necromancer, one of the first 3D first person perspective D&D computer games. Not to mention writing the most aggressive chess program ever seen and inventing the most dangerous game ever played — the Giant Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum Cliff Top Relay.

He writes SF, fantasy, mystery and humour. His novel, Resonance, was the first book to be chosen from Baen’s electronic slush pile.

Now he lives a self-sufficient lifestyle in deepest France with his wife and a frightening number of animals. They grow their own food and solve their own crimes. The latter out of necessity when Chris’s identity was stolen along with their life savings. Abandoned by the police forces of four countries who all insisted the crime originated in someone else’s jurisdiction, he had to solve the crime himself. Which he did, driving back and forth across the Pyrenees, tracking down bank accounts and faxes and interviewing bar staff. It was a mystery writer’s dream.

The resulting book, French Fried: one man’s move to France with too many animals and an identity thief, is now an international bestseller.

OCD and How to Write a Thriller When Your Protagonist Refuses To Leave His Room

by Chris Dolley

Do you have a ritual – a little superstition that you bring out now and then when you need that extra bit of help? Maybe you play a sport. Maybe you insist on being the last one to leave the dressing room before every match, or put your kit on in exactly the same order, or touch the ground and cross yourself before kick off, or touch both goalposts before attempting to save a penalty…

What if those rituals took over your life? Left you unable to pass a table without feeling compelled to align the cutlery. Forced you to catch the same train to work every morning, to stand in the same spot in the same carriage. To walk the same number of steps each day from the station to your place of work. Every week of your life mapped out to be a twin of the week before – the same meals, the same schedules. And the same terror the moment anything looked like disrupting your perfect, ordered life.

To be trapped in a world just so.
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The Clarion class of 2012 is putting together a fundraiser anthology called The Red Volume that’s available for pre-order now at awkwardrobots.org.

Press release follows…

CLARION 2012 RELEASES FUNDRAISER ANTHO

The Clarion class of 2012—known as the Awkward Robots—want to tell you a story. Or, more precisely, 17 stories. About post-singularity dreamscapes, gentrified haunted houses, and redcaps in the trenches at Verdun.

The Red Volume is a collection of stories largely written and revised during the Clarion Foundation’s fundraising write-a-thon, which runs concurrently with the workshop. The anthology will be available this September on a pay-what-you-can basis. Readers can snag a copy for free, or donate any amount from 99 cents up. All proceeds benefit the Clarion Foundation.

AwkBot Luke R. Pebler, whose fiction most recently appeared in the Sword and Laser anthology, proposed the idea to his cohort following a successful reading at WisCon 38. Awkward Robots Read was so well-received, Pebler wanted to put that momentum to good use. The result is a a collection of stories by writers previously published in Lightspeed, Shimmer, Strange Horizons, The New Yorker, and more. The table of contents includes Carmen Maria Machado, winner of the Richard Yates Short Fiction Prize, and Sam J. Miller, recent recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award.

But it takes more than good writing to build an anthology; AwkBot Emma Cosh holds down a day job in graphic design, and Sarah Mack (whose latest story appears in Gone Lawn 15) is a master of eBook distribution. Together, the ‘Bots have created a slick, stylish anthology packed with arresting prose.

Jeffrey Ford, winner of the Nebula, Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy Awards, will write The Red Volume‘s introduction. Ford taught week one of Clarion 2012, and fondly refers to the AwkBots as “a bunch of chuckleheads.” You couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

The Red Volume is available for pre-order at awkwardrobots.org. Follow @AwkBots2012 on Twitter for updates.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for Echopraxia by Peter Watts…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-12

Interviews & Profiles

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REVIEW SUMMARY: A highly satisfying read, this third (out of four) book in Philip’s Rebel Angels series gets us one step closer to the dissolution of the veil that separates our world from the Sithe world. Meanwhile, Seth is trying to keep his clan safe and his son Rory out of trouble, and not succeeding with either.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Excellent characterization; well paced plot; Philip’s writing is sure to get an emotional reaction out of the reader as she builds on the previous installments in the series.
CONS: Change in character POVs and jumps between 1st person and 3rd person POV can be jarring; readers new to the series are not advised to leap right in at this volume.
BOTTOM LINE: While much Urban Fantasy hasn’t thrilled me, Philip’s Rebel Angels series easily defines everything I want out of an Urban Fantasy novel. If you’re in need of an UF palate cleanser and enjoy adventures into the Fae realm, this might be just the thing.

For those of you new to this multi-generational urban fantasy series, here’s a very quick and simplified recap of the story so far:

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