TRAILER: Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special

The holidays are approaching…and that can only mean one thing! Well, actually, it means several things, but one of the most enjoyable is the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Here’s a trailer for this year’s special…

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FILM REVIEW: Interstellar

REVIEW SYNOPSIS: While gorgeously shot, Christopher Nolan’s bid for entry into the canon of artistic science fiction movies drips with cliché and plods through its galactic vistas with little that is new or interesting.

MY REVIEW:

SYNOPSIS: A former-NASA-test-pilot-turned-farmer is recruited to pilot an interstellar spaceship in the hopes of helping humanity escape from an earth ravaged by environmental degradation.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Incredible outer space sequences; alien worlds vividly realized; amazing renderings of a wormhole and a black hole.
CONS: Clichéd, sentimental characters; unconvincing future.

Matthew McConaughey is out to save the world, a line this critic never thought he would write without guffawing himself into a catatonic state. Perhaps I would not laugh if he were doing so in a television adaptation of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, where his meager talents might actually serve the material, but in a movie as ambitious as Interstellar, with director Christopher Nolan vying for space among such great science fiction movies as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (and, perhaps, Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life), the idea of this dazed and confused Texas good-old-boy as Campbellian Competent Man offers too much cognitive dissonance, and certainly requires vast suspension of disbelief, to keep the titters away.
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The Slow Unveiling of James Tiptree Jr.

Science Fiction publishing is full of strange characters, but there’s one story that seems to really capture people’s attention consistently: James Tiptree Jr., a brilliant figure who seemed to appear out of nowhere, earn a number of awards, and maintained a fairly elusive personality in science fiction circles. It wasn’t until a decade of writing that it was revealed that Tiptree wasn’t actually a guy: it was a woman named Alice Sheldon, with an utterly fascinating background: she had traveled the world, participated in the Second World War, worked for the CIA and had a PhD.

Sheldon proves to be an interesting figure, challenging a number of preconceptions for gender in science fiction (not just with her alter ego). What’s interesting about Sheldon is that she endured and wrote about a number of the same issues that we seem to face in science fiction right now: how are women represented in fiction and how are female authors treated differently than their male counterparts? Sheldon’s story is illuminating when it comes to this.

Go read The Slow Unveiling of James Tiptree Jr. over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog.

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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. A little late on my part, but: Fantasy Scroll Magazine #3 – September 2014

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-11-08

Interviews & Profiles

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Cover & Synopsis: CROOKED by Austin Grossman

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Crooked by Austin Grossman, an alternate secret history featuring Richard Nixon leading the fight in a supernatural war.

Here’s the synopsis:
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[GUEST POST] Guy Hasson’s Impressions from the Con


Guy Hasson is the CEO and head writer of New Worlds Comics. His sci-fi series, Wynter, was called by many reviewers “The best science fiction series on the shelves today.” He is also the author of The Emoticon Generation and Secret Thoughts. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Impressions from the Con

by Guy Hasson

We just got back from our first convention, in which we had a booth and sold our first trade paperback ever, the Goof TBP.

Here are some of the thoughts and experiences we had at the con.
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One of the UK’s most acclaimed sci-fi artists, Jim Burns is the winner of the prestigious Hugo award for art and has more British Science Fiction Awards than any other writer or artist. His erotically charged work is lauded across the universe.

Jim was very gracious in answering a few of my questions about his new collection, Hyperluminal (Titan), his influences, and much more!


Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about your new collection, Hyperluminal?

Jim Burns: I seem to produce a collection of one sort or another about once a decade…so the time was ripe! My agent, Alison Eldred felt one was overdue also – and proposed the book – along with ‘companion volumes’ by Ian Miller, John Harris and Fred Gambino to Titan – who eventually decided to go with the idea. Thank you Titan!

The book is essentially an overview of my 42 years in the business of producing science fiction and fantasy art, mostly for the book jacket market – but also some small ventures into the movies – which I touch on briefly – and also the world of private commissions – something that has become much more important to me in the last few years and is slowly replacing my commercial work. There are a number of personal pieces represented also…again something I’m finding more time for these days.

I also wrote all the text for the book (apart from the foreword graciously contributed by Joe Haldeman) – aiming at a sort of anecdotal style which I hope shines a light on the kind of life a science fiction artist lives!
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Several months ago, Tansy Rayner Roberts told us about the Cranky Ladies Kickstarter project, an anthology she is co-editing with Tehani Wessely. Now, Fablecroft has posted the table of contents for Cranky Ladies of History.

Check out this fantastic lineup!
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Table of Contents: Clarkesworld, November 2014

The new issue of Clarkesworld is now posted:
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Keir Dullea and Douglas Trumbull worked together on the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey as actor and Special Photographic Effects Supervisors, respectively. They would come together again 5 years later on a television show called The Starlost, which was created by Harlan Ellison. Ellison distanced himself from the production before the first episode even aired on Canadian TV…but there were 16 episodes anyway. Ben Bova served as science advisor.

Here’s the video of Dullea/Trumbull pitching the series…followed by all 16 episodes.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-11-07

Interviews & Profiles

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These titles are at the top of my reading list for the New Year. Behold the awesome.

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Podcast Spotlight: Drabblecast

In the first few Podcast Spotlights, I covered the Escape Artists podcasts: Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle.  If those three are sister podcasts, Drabblecast is kind of the weird uncle of the family–sharing many of the fans and even some of the same staff as the EA casts, but not part of the same company.
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BOOK REVIEW: Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

REVIEW SUMMARY: McDevitt encourages hope for humanity’s future in this far-future adventure.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: When an ancient FTL transmitter is unearthed, Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath go hot in pursuit of the missing Apollo artifacts buried in the mists of nine thousand years of history. Meanwhile, the once-lost ship Capella will soon return from a space/time warp with Alex’s uncle and mentor aboard.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Relatable characters; easygoing storyline; breezy read; interesting concepts; Apollo!
CONS: The Capella subplot may require having read Firebird.
BOTTOM LINE: Reading Coming Home revitalizes proper pride in humanity – what it has accomplished today and what it will design, do, and discover tomorrow.

Nine thousand years into the future, Alex Benedict operates a successful antiquarian firm. Acting as a broker, Alex and his assistant Chase Kolpath seek out new artifacts for clients. Their for-profit motive often angers traditional archaeologists but their love of history and the thrill of discovery always spurs their pursuit of new and alluring artifacts.
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Wanna see the cover and synopsis for Austin Aslan’s upcoming novel The Girl at the Center of the World, sequel to The Islands at the End of the World?

Read on!
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Scarlett Amaris likes playing devil’s advocate on the dark side of the moon. She spends a large amount of time tracking through ancient ruins and decoding old texts in the Pyrenees. Her more esoteric work can be found at www.shadowtheatre13.com and www.terraumbra13.blogspot.com. She’s also co-written scripts for the infamous horror anthology, The Theatre Bizarre (2011), the award winning, critically acclaimed documentary The Otherworld (2013) and the upcoming feature films, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space (director: Richard Stanley), and Replace (director: Norbert Keil). Saurimonde is her first novel and she’s currently finishing up Saurimonde II before getting started on Demon Priest – The Misadventures of Abbe Sauniere, her next erotic horror endeavor.

Melissa St. Hilaire likes to bask in the center of chaos watching supernova explosions. She spends most of her time daydreaming, researching, and scribbling. She wrote film and music reviews for The Heights Inc. Her poetry has appeared in the periodicals Shards, The Outer Fringe, and The Laughing Medusa. She co-authored several scripts for Tone-East Productions. Her debut book, a memoir titled In The Now, was released in 2012. In 2013 she released Saurimonde, a dark fantasy novel, with co-author Scarlett Amaris. After finishing up Saurimonde II, her next projects will include a follow-up to In the Now called Medicated and a sci-fi epic called Xodus.

The Pros and Cons of Co-Writing

by Scarlett Amaris and Melissa St. Hilaire

The Pros

Scarlett: Collaborating is a tricky beast. Especially on a writing project.
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Variety is reporting that Netflix has acquired rights to produce an original series based on best-selling 13-book franchise A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (the pseudonym of Daniel Handler).

The dark comedy series follows the exploits of three children after the mysterious death of their parents and the bad fortune that often befalls them, usually at the hands of evil Count Olaf. The Lemony Snicket books have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide.

There are not many details knows about the production att his point, other than that the series will be produced in association with Paramount Television, who also produced the 2004 Jim Carrey film Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. No expected start date was given.

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ATTENTION eBOOK READERS! We are not responsible for the glut of eBooks that will inevitably fill up your eBook readers when you see this month’s line-up of inexpensive SF/F/H eBooks. :)

Here’s our monthly roundup of some inexpensive science fiction, fantasy and horror Kindle eBooks for you to check out on your favorite reading device. All of these titles are priced under $4 at the time of writing this post. But prices are subject to change, so check the price before clicking “buy”. If Amazon is not your eBook ecosystem, please do look up the titles wherever you buy your eBooks; discounts are often applied at other outlets, so check there.

  1. Glory Planet (Prologue Science Fiction) by A. Bertram Chandler (Prologue Books)
  2. Zombie Botnet Bundle: Books 1 – 3: #zombie, Zombie 2.0, Alpha Zombie by Al K. Line
  3. Acorna’s People by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth A. Scarborough (HarperCollins e-books)

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Every month I take a look at the vast array of new releases…and I name my top picks at the Kirkus Review Blog.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to see the The Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Books You’ll Want to Check Out in November

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