[NOTE: This is the first of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees -- and soon-to-be winners, as they'll be announced this weekend!]

Robert Jackson Bennett‘s 2010 debut Mr. Shivers won the Shirley Jackson award as well as the Sydney J. Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, won a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K Dick Award, as well as an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. His third novel, The Troupe, has topped many “Best of 2012” lists, including that of Publishers Weekly. His fourth novel, American Elsewhere, is now nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel. His fifth, City of Stairs, will be released in September of 2015.

He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett.

Robert kindly answered a few of my questions…

UPDATE 7/13: AMERICAN ELSEWHERE won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel!


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your novel and what inspired you to write it?
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If you know a middle-grade reader, you’ve already turned them on to Django Wexler’s book The Forbidden Library, right? Right?

Now Bibliosanctum has revelaed the cover for the upcoming second book in Django’s Forbidden Library series, The Mad Apprentice!

Here’s the book synopsis (larger cover appears below):
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Hey, eBook readers! Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond is part of Amazon’s “Kindle Summer Reading Deals” and is on sale for only $1.99 through August 9!
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Here are the contents of the new highly-illustrated issue of Black Static, which features cover art by Richard Wagner…
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The source of this video is not known, but I suspect it came from Aweseomeland.

My favorite part: When the Dalek calls Doctor Who a bastard.

“Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho”

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Here are the contents of Interzone #253 (with cover art by Wayne Haag):
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-11

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 Sara Megibow. Sara has been with Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading query letters, sample pages, and full manuscripts, and she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent in 2009. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Sara earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She loves to ski, hike, kayak, and hang out with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son, and fuzzy cat.

You can read about Sara’s submissions, clients, and sales at http://publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/, follow Sara on Twitter, and find out more about the Nelson Agency here: www.nelsonagency.com

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A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

SF Signal welcomes back A.C. Wise and her continuing series of essays on Women To Read!

Women to Read: Where to Start – July 2014

by A.C. Wise

Welcome to another installment of Women to Read: Where to Start. I missed the anniversary mark for these posts last month, so happy anniversary plus one month to celebrating fiction by women! This time around I’m recommending circuses, time travel, living toys, and genetic modification against the backdrop of human-extraterrestrial relations.
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FINALISTS: 2014 World Fantasy Awards

The finalists for the World Fantasy Awards have been announced!

Novel
  • Dust Devil on a Quiet Street by Richard Bowes (Lethe)
  • A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan (Tor)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Harper)
  • The Land Across by Gene Wolfe (Tor)

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Lavie Tidhar

photo by Kevin Nixon (c) 2013 Future Publishing

Lavie Tidhar‘s most recent novels are The Violent Century (published in the US next year by Thomas Dunne Books) and A Man Lies Dreaming (published in October in the UK from Hodder & Stoughton). He won the World Fantasy, British Fantasy and BSFA Awards. Lavie ran the World SF Blog for four years and is the editor of The Apex Book of World SF series of international speculative short fiction, of which Volume 3 just came out. Originally from Israel, he currently lives in London.


Charles Tan: Hi Lavie! This will be the third Apex Book of World SF anthology. How is it different from the previous volumes? Is there a specific region or regions you wanted to focus on in this volume?

Lavie Tidhar: It’s a good question – to me, in a way, the three volumes present one continuous project, a single work – a snapshot of international speculative fiction in the last decade or so. That is, my goal was and remains to read widely, to select stories that I liked and that I wanted to share, without any story standing for some half-mythical “representation” of an entire culture or language. They’re individual stories by individual writers from all around the world, and some engage directly with specific cultural questions and some don’t feel the need to do that. If they do constitute an argument at all, it is exactly that, that you can’t narrow down fiction – genre or otherwise – you can’t reduce it to generalities.

Saying all that, it’s been a lot easier since I started editing the series in 2008 or so. One obvious difference in Volume 3 is that the stories are predominantly by women writers – who I think are very much leading the field in short fiction now. The other is that I had more access to more sources, and I’d single out the anthology Afro SF as filling a particularly important niche in that regard. In fact there’s a great range of sources included here.

Other than that, Volume 2 had a lot of shorter stories – here I wanted the freedom to reprint longer works, such as Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s “Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods”, which opens the book, and is a remarkable debut.

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Subterranean has posted the table of contents for the upcoming collection The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume Five: We Can Remember it for You Wholesale which features a dust jacket by Bill Sienkewicz:

But first, the book description:

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was one of the seminal figures of 20th century science fiction. His many stories and novels, which include such classics as Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, reflect a deeply personal world view, exploring the fragile, multifarious nature of reality itself and examining those elements that make us—or fail to make us—fully human. He did as much as anyone to demolish the artificial barrier between genre fiction and “literature,” and the best of his work has earned a permanent place in American popular culture.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is the final installment of a uniform, five-volume edition of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. This expansive collection contains 27 stories and novellas written between 1963 and 1981, years in which Dick produced some of his most mature work, including such novels as Ubik, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, and A Scanner Darkly. Among the many pleasures included here are the classic title story (filmed twice as Total Recall), in which an ordinary clerk, awash in resurrected memories, discovers the truth about his past and about the astonishing role he has played in human history; the Hugo-nominated “Faith of Our Fathers,” with its bleak and controversial vision of a predatory deity; and “The Electric Ant,” a brilliant embodiment of a classic Dick theme: the elusive—and changeable—nature of what we believe to be “real.” Like its predecessors, this generous volume offers wit, ingenuity, and intellectual excitement on virtually every page. The best of these stories, like the best of Dick’s novels, are richly imagined, deeply personal visions that no one else could have written. They’re going to be around for a very long time to come.

Here’s the table of contents…
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John Mierau on The Functional Nerds Podcast

John Mierau, author and editor of The Flames Anthology, 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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Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

Want these delicious links emailed to you once a week? Sign up for the Free SF/F/H Fiction Newsletter

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-10

Interviews & Profiles

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Malcolm Cross is the author of Orbital Decay which is available now as part of the Journal of the Plague Year post-apocalypse omnibus from Abaddon Books. He lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistent landmarks, Malcolm is likely to be writing science fiction and fantasy. A member of the furry fandom, he won the 2012 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction. Malcolm’s blood-type is O-positive, and he has a cough. Not long, now…

Kerbal Space Program and Orbital Mechanics
How Playing A Video Game Helped Me Learn And Write About The Wonders Of Life Without Gravity

by Malcolm Cross

This is easy, I think, as I begin to prepare to attach the latest addition to my long-running (and suffering) space station in my current game of Kerbal Space Program. All I need to do is eject the engines, then separate the command module from the fuel pod, then open the command module’s shielded docking port so I can redock on the fuel storage pod’s rear docking port (exposed now that I’ve gotten rid of the engines) and finally guide the pod to my station’s upper docking port.

In shorter, layman’s terms, I’m taking the nose of my rocket — where the little green alien astronauts sit — and sticking it on the back end, so I can plug it into my space station facing the right way around.
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Humble Bundle and digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media have partnered up to launch the Humble Sci-Fi eBook Bundle, offering 11 DRM-free science-fiction titles available in multiple formats including PDF, MOBI and ePub. Valued at a total of up to $86, customers can name their price while supporting the authors and charity. This classic collection of science-fiction overlaps with the 45th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing and includes the Buzz Aldrin title, Encounter with Tiber.

As with all Humble Bundles, customers can choose how their purchase dollars are allocated, between the authors, charity and a Humble tip. The Humble Sci-Fi eBook Bundle supports First Book, dedicated to putting new books in the hands of the children who need them most, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund.

The basic Humble Sci-Fi eBook Bundle package includes the following eBooks:

  • The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
  • The Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan
  • Freehold by William Dietz
  • The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly
  • Wingman by Mack Maloney

But wait! There’s more!
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Due to various people being absent at cons, I haven’t really dug into the new season yet, and in any event it only just started. So I’ll save the first episodes for next time, and instead do something suggested by reader Platypus — look back at the past seasons I’d previewed and see what show actually panned out. Opinions are tricky, of course, and this is only a partial list. It’s fun to look at what I wrote about from just seeing the first episodes, though!

I should note that any of the series I mention, I watched all the way to the end, so I at least enjoyed them that much. I’m not saying the ones I mentioned negatively are bad, or that you necessarily shouldn’t watch them, just that they failed to ascend to the heights where I’d actively pick them out to talk about in the future.
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Hollywood Still Loves Stephen King

It’s probably obvious that prolific bestselling authors have a greater chance of seeing their work adapted for television and film. And you probably know that prolific author Stephen King has already had a large handful of his novels and stories adapted. What you might not guess is that that particular well has not yet run dry and even when it does, Hollywood is perfectly content with producing second adaptations of the horror-masters work. This is evidenced by this latest roundup of speculative fiction adaptations, which focuses on upcoming films based on the works of Stephen King.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to read Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptation Watch – The Stephen King Edition!

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Fourteen years ago, Robert Zemeckis defended his decision to divulge major spoilers in the trailer of What Lies Beneath, arguing that audiences prefer attending a movie when they know going in precisely what they will see. “It’s just one of those things,” he told David Poland, an excuse of such disingenuousness that one might presume his statement belied a possible run for political office. (Indeed, when I first read that line several years ago, I envisioned Zemeckis cowering behind it with the same hunch of a candidate waving his hands to a dissenting crowd during a stump speech after letting slip a flog of lore and shouting, “Statistics don’t lie!” over its incredulous din. No, statistics don’t lie, but statisticians often do.) Regardless of his claim’s dubious veracity, the resulting mindset permeated a medium already denigrated by inept craftsmen and second-rate artisans to the point where its most readily available trifles resembled the ramshackle cuisine rolling from the never-ending assembly line between McDonald’s golden arches. Even those celluloid confections crafted with the utmost care by auteurs demonstrating a love of both form and content nonetheless face audiences fully aware of both text and subtext before the theater lights dim. Gone forever are the days of arriving at a theater on a whim and casually perusing the posters before asking the pimply adolescent working in the box office for a summary of one or two features. We can blame Internet culture for their demise—it certainly didn’t help—but the rise of focus groups placed them in the crosshairs long before.
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