It’s time another Book Cover Smackdown! This time around, covers featuring illustrations and designs from books forthcoming in January 2015.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Pass artistic judgment!

Tell us:

  • Which of these covers do you like the most?
  • What works and what doesn’t work with these covers?
  • Do any of them make you want to learn more about and/or read the book?

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-18

Interviews & Profiles

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for Kate Elliott’s upcoming novel Court of Fives.

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Short Film: Crash Course

As usual, Geek Art Gallery found a cool video — this one a fun one about a driving test in the future.

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Alma Alexander‘s life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma on her website (www.AlmaAlexander.org), her Facebook page or her blog.”

High Science and High Fantasy Walk Into a Bar…

by Alma Alexander

I have a science degree. Well, I have three, actually. I got my basic undergraduate BSc back in 1984, and then followed that up with what in South Africa at the time was a stepping-stone half-undergraduate and half-postgrad degree known as BSc (Hons.) In my Honours year, there were five of us – three young women, two young men, all eager-beaver young scientists all dewy fresh and enthusiastic. At our post-graduation-ceremony celebration, gathered together at the worst-kept secret at my University (a watering hole called Spanish Gardens…you might have heard about it…I used it as a setting for a novel I wrote back before the Mayans said the world would end…), the five of us were joined by one of our lecturers, himself a young postgrad, probably closer in age to us than he was to the elder echelon of the other academic staff at our department. On this occasion, he prophesied for us – he looked at each of the five of us and told us what our scientific futures would be. This one would go on to earn a PhD and end their lives in the halls of academe…this one would probably go into industry…this one this…this one that…and then he came to me.

He looked at me for a long time, and then said, “You…you are just misguided.”
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Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I’m taking a look at a new graphic novel adaptation of Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows.

From the post:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is the first book in The Night Angel Trilogy. Yen Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group has just released a graphic novel adaptation by Ivan Brandon and Andy MacDonald. I first learned about the graphic novel when Weeks visited Denver as part of his book tour for The Broken Eye, book three in his Lightbringer series. Having enjoyed the Yen Pres adaptations of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate books, I was excited to see how Shadows transferred to the comics medium. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.

Click over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the review.

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Friday YouTube: Chia Zombies

I fear for human society…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-17

Interviews & Profiles

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In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Teresa Frohock. T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. T is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and has a short story, “Naked the Night Sings,” in the urban fantasy anthology Manifesto: UF. Another short story, “Love, Crystal and Stone” appears in The Neverland’s Library Fantasy Anthology.

Her newest work is the novella, The Broken Road, which is a dark fantasy similar to the Dark Tower series.

T lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

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Sean Russell was a fairly prolific Canadian fantasy writer who, over the course of eight years (1991 through 1998) churned out unique fantasies which blended fantasy together with the history of 19th Century science before turning his pen to something in the Tolkien “traditional” Epic fantasy vein with The Swan’s War trilogy. Since then; however, Russell stepped out of the SFF genre and has been crafting historical naval fiction under the name Sean T. Russell. But back to The Swan’s War, the subject of this column which begins with The One Kingdom published in 2001 under EOS, HarperCollins’s then SF imprint. Prior to reading The One Kingdom, I read and enjoyed Russell’s linked duologies Moontide and Magic Rise and River into Darkness so my expectations for an engaging fantasy read were relatively high. Those expectations were met, which I’ll expand upon below in this installment of “The Completist.”

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Adrian Cole was born in 1949 (Plymouth, UK) and his first published work was a trilogy of sword-and-planet novels, THE DREAM LORDS (Zebra, 1975-77) written in his early twenties. He has since gone on to have 27 books published, including the acclaimed OMARAN SAGA, a four volume fantasy and the STAR REQUIEM books, another fantasy quartet. Some of his early short stories were nominated for the British Fantasy Award and the Balrog Award and he has been published in the Year’s Best Fantasy (Daw)and also the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin’s Press) More recently he has edited YOUNG THONGOR (Wildside Press) and has two new books released in September 2014, these being the science fiction THE SHADOW ACADEMY (EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing, Canada) and also the pulp hero collection of shorts, NICK NIGHTMARE INVESTIGATES (Alchemy Press, UK), featuring the hard-boiled occult private eye, Nick Nightmare. Victor Gollancz have recently released the OMARAN SAGA and the STAR REQUIEM as ebooks and they are also to be released as audio books from Audible, who have already released THE SHADOW ACADEMY.

A Perspective on Writing: Then and Now

by Adrian Cole

As a kid I was a voracious reader and I’d always had an ambition to be a writer: even then I started scribbling down (longhand) various books, none of which ever got completed – horror, crime, westerns, science fiction. When I first started writing seriously, in the 1960s, I had at least graduated to a manual typewriter and set about a magnum opus called THE BARBARIANS, inspired by Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs and, for variety, Dennis Wheatley’s occult books. My zest and enthusiasm paid off and the work was picked up by Zebra Books (New York) and the final revisions turned out as THE DREAM LORD trilogy. Convinced that a glittering career was ahead of me, I threw in my day job and rattled off novels and short stories at a good rate of knots. I did sell stuff, but none of my work reached best seller status and certainly didn’t earn me enough to make a living for me and my family.
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Hands up: Who likes fantasy?

If your hand is up, then you might want to check out Robert Evert’s Riddle in Stone which — for a limited time — is a mere 99 cents for SF Signal readers!

Read on to see how to jump on this deal…

But hurry! This deal expires on October 31st!
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Robert Jackson Bennett, author of City of Stairs, 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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The “Blink” episode of Doctor Who is one of my favorites, not only because it was well-written and engaging, but also because the Weeping Angels were truly scary.

Here’s a fan film that captures the essence of their creepiness…

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Here’s an audio treat: it’s an excerpt from the audiobook version of The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp, narrated by Steve West.

Here’s what the book is about:

The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

Listen below…
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-10-16

Interviews & Profiles

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The winner of our giveaway for the audiobook of We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory has been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to: Eirik U.!

You will be receiving your prize soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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Tina Connolly lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Her first fantasy novel, Ironskin, was a Nebula finalist, and the sequels Copperhead and Silverblind are now out from Tor. Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She narrates for Podcastle and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake, and her website is tinaconnolly.com.

Friendship in SILVERBLIND

by Tina Connolly

There’s a trope, it seems to me, of the friendless woman. The one who soldiers on through her story with no support, no network. There’s a valid writing reason to this-make your character alone and friendless and they are in a more dire position. Sometimes it comes out of the Smurfette problem (if there’s only one girl in a story, she’s not going to have the opportunity to form a relationship with any other girls.) Sometimes, I think, it’s an exceptionalism problem. This girl, this girl we’re writing about, is different from all those other girls. (The mean girls, the makeup girls, the whatever girls.) Of course she couldn’t possibly be friends with those sorts of ordinary girls! She’s as good as a man! (Something my grandfather on my dad’s side once said to my feminist grandmother on my mom’s side. She was not amused.)
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SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 10/15/2014

Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.

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October is my favorite month for reading horror stories. For this month’s Adaptation Watch at Kirkus Reviews, I take a look at horror stories that are being adapted for television and film.

Go check out ‘Tis the Season to Be Frightened! Check Out These Scary Stories Before You See Them on TV and Film.

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