At a convention last year, Jim Cummings — who does the voice for Winnie the Pooh — read a scene from Star Wars reading the voice of everybody’s favorite honey-loving bear for lines meant for Darth Vader. Also reading is another voice actor, Lauren Landa.

The result is hilarious.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher…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 2014-04-11

Interviews & Profiles

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The winners of our giveaway for Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove have been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • Ben P. (USA)
  • Catherine S. (USA)
  • Antonino I. (Italy)

You will be receiving your prizes soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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With my bagel overlords here at SF Signal doing a some Military SF podcasts over the past few weeks, as well  an interview with Joe Haldeman, I figured now would be a great time to highlight a very recent example of the sub-genre, and a superb example at that. T.C. McCarthy’s SUBTERRENE WAR trilogy is a fascinating trilogy for many reasons.  For starters, T.C. takes a smart step back. That is, much of Military SF is set in space in the far and distant future (Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet, David Weber’s Honor Harrington, even Heinlein’s Starship Troopers for that matter).  While McCarthy’s series is indeed set in the future, the future might be best described as Twenty Minutes into the Future, and is firmly entrenched here on Earth.

While I haven’t read every Military SF novel out on the shelves, I’ve read my fair share and nothing I’ve read in the subgenre feels so filthy, dirty and uncomfortable as do these books by McCarthy.  McCarthy is, after all, telling a story of war and nothing is spared – the death, the blood, the sickness, even the pure discomfort of having what is essentially power armor which includes a system to get rid of personal waste – there’s the rawness, and that is merely one fraction of it.  Some people may consider disjointed a negative comment, but here, the disjointed feeling of the narrative is, I gather, completely intentional on McCarthy’s part.

On to the three books which comprise this brilliant, intense and grimy trilogy…
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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.

[Editor's Note: I would like to apologize that this post first went up without the entire third response and an outdated biography.  The post has been edited to show the complete answer and the author's biography has been updated. -JS]

Today’s recommendations are by Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet’s first novel, Above, was nominated for the 2012 Andre Norton Award and the 2013 Aurora Award, and her short fiction has appeared in several Year’s Best anthologies and as part of online serial Shadow Unit.  She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she edits Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, picks urban apple trees, does civic engagement activism, and works as a bookseller at Bakka-Phoenix Books, Canada’s oldest science fiction bookstore.  Leah’s second novel, On Roadstead Farm—a literary dustbowl fantasy where stuff blows up—will appear from Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015.

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Roaming the Borderlands of Fantasy

Not long ago there was an acrimonious discussion online of what constituted “being a fan” of Science Fiction that focused in great measure on what one did or did not read. I started to write a response to that debate but after I read the first part of it I felt. . . sad. I was a bit angry at myself too, annoyed that I was writing some kind of defense for my taste in reading. So I put it aside and went back to reading stories from my staggering pile of books to-be-read. Part of the stack contained several works by the late SF writer Charles Sheffield, who primarily wrote a fusion of hard SF and space opera. He was going to be the focus of a Three Hoarsemen podcast (and you can hear the results of that here) so I dug in and read. While I was able to get through The Compleat McAndrew collection of short stories, I could not finish either The Mind Pool or Between the Strokes of Night. I kept putting them down and picking up other books to read (or even re-read), such as Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (discussed in the podcast), Nick Mamatas’ Love is the Law and Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria. I found myself much more engaged by them, to the point where I realized that, in a way, I was no longer a “fan” of Science Fiction (or SFF), but a literary wanderer roaming widely to find new moments of fantasy to savor and ponder. But I wasn’t just looking for “fantasy” the genre, either as an inversion of SF or an encompassing category, but for writing that challenged the idea of what was real and how we make things real.
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Right now you can get The Blade Itself, the first book of Joe Abercrombie’s series The First Law, for only $1.99!

Here’s the book description:

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body – not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers. Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all – ideally by running away from it. But as he’s discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed. . . especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult…

get it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you purchase your ebooks. (As of this writing, the iTunes prioce is $12.99.)

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In episode 241 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with Michael J. Sullivan, author of The Riyria Revelations, The Riyria Chronicles, and his latest novel, Hollow World.

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John Anealio and Patrick Hester discuss Patreon 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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In this epsiode of Action Bill, William Shatner’s time traveling robot attempts to destroy William Shakespeare but underestimates the fighting prowess of Action Bill.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-04-10

Interviews & Profiles

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Jon Sprunk is the author of the fantasy epic Blood and Iron as well as the Shadow Saga trilogy (Shadow’s Son, Shadow’s Lure, and Shadow’s Master). He’s also a mentor at the Seton Hill University fiction writing program. For more on his life and writing, check out www.jonsprunk.com.

Inspirations for BLOOD AND IRON

by Jon Sprunk

The first book in my new epic fantasy series, Blood and Iron, came out in early March. Briefly, it’s about a war for freedom in an ancient land ruled by sorcery and powerful cults.

Today I’d like to tell you about what inspired me to tackle this series. Sources of inspiration are a tricky thing to track down. There are lots of reason why I why like to write, but why did I write this story specifically?
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Venturing out of the soaking rain and bitter cold of March in which they spent more time hibernating than podcasting, John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson add a fourth saddle to their April episode. Paul Weimer, who has commented at every genre blog possible and who has appeared in more podcasts than you can listen to comfortably in one sitting, joins the Three Hoarsemen for this episode.

While hibernating, we spent much time reading, and now gather around the communal fire pit to discuss the works of the late Charles Sheffield, their reactions to Ann Leckie’s Nebula-nominated novel Ancillary Justice, as well as the bits and pieces of the genre that we consumed since last time.

Approx. 1 Hour 25 Minutes

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Watching the Future: Worlds of Whimsy and Despair

Thanks to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (and its follow-up trilogy The Hobbit), the Harry Potter series, and HBO’s own A Game of Thrones, audiences think they have a good understanding of fantasy, or what they think of as fantasy: a setting with a medieval or quasi-medieval feel, with feudal systems and fiefdoms dotting lands plucked from European storybooks; epic battles waged amid the thunder of hoofbeats, the wail of battle cries, and the clang of swords; magics, both subtle and overt, cast by white-haired, robed old men or children brandishing wands (at times with uncomfortable Freudian overtones); and of course a dragon or two—indeed, seldom does an audience member find a fantasy movie lacking enchanted animals.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

“Let me buy you a pint, Elric…”

This week, we posed the following to our panelists:

Q: We’ve all encountered characters in stories and novels that we’ve felt a real connection to, and would love to chat with more. Maybe buy them a drink. What characters have you encountered in Fantasy and SF that you’d like to buy a pint for?

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SF Signal has 5 advance reader copies of Stephanie Saulter’s Gemsigns to give away to 5 lucky readers!

Here’s what the book is about:

Starburst magazine raved that Gemsigns, the first novel in a series, is “a fascinating and compelling read, exploring the boundaries of human behavior, religious influences, and the morality of the everyday person. It comes highly recommended.”

For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems—the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:
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John Fleskes, president and publisher of Flesk Publications, teams up with renowned portrait photographer Greg Preston to produce a special book created on the showroom floor of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event, held May 9-11th in Kansas City, Missouri. Sessions: Spectrum Fantastic Art Portraits will feature the art, a brief bio, and a portrait created by Greg Preston of at least 50 of the creators behind today’s best contemporary fantastic art. This project is a singular opportunity that YOU can make happen, and as an added bonus you are invited to witness its creation.
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Check out Blake Morrow‘s gargoylish cover art and the synopsis of the novel Incarnate by Anton Strout, the latest in the series A Spellmason Chronicle
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-04-09

Interviews & Profiles

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