Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’
While you are waiting with baited breath for the two book reviews I’m working on, check out these give aways. Because we all need more books, right?
My Shelf Confessions is giving away a copy of The Book of Apex, Vol 4
And speaking of Apex Books, they are giving away a copy of Midnight, by Mari Adkins
In celebration of World Book Day, Over the Effing Rainbow is giving away a limited edition, signed copy of Sebastien de Castell’s debut Traitor’s Blade. an autographed, numbered copy? holy crap!
like Tad Williams? Tachyon Publications is giving away an ARC of The Very Best of Tad Williams
Win a copy of James. S.A. Corey’s Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Over at She Wolf Reads, you can win a copy of Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong!
intrigued by A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias? I am. Let’s go win a copy over at Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
a copy of Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut novel Delia’s Shadow is being given away at Rainy Day Ramblings
no book reviews or interviews ready.
So you get photos instead. Here be book pr0n.
oh hell yeah! As a tease I had it sitting on my desk at work. SO wanted to start reading it, but had to, like, work. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the only Jemisin I’ve read so far, and thanks to that book I will forever buy anything with her name on it.
Will McIntosh has a new book coming out
soon in May from Orbit! Creative cover design of Love Minus Eighty and the unusual binding of this ARC leads me to wonder what incredible cover design is in store for the finished copy of Defenders? And speaking of Defenders, I also have
Which features McIntosh’s short story Scout, which is connected to Defenders. Also? I fucking love Robert Reed. I have an e-arc of The Memory of Sky which I can’t wait to start reading! And by the way, Scout made me cry at the end.
I’ve never read any Michael Sullivan, what does every one think of him writing scifi? This baby comes out from Tachyon in April.
This interview is part of the Book of Apex Blog tour. Want to win a copy of the book for yourself? Click here for some give aways!
What a great experience to get to interview Tim Susman, author of Erzulie Dantor (read the story here, read my review here). I knew that Tim was involved with small press publishing, but until now I had no idea it was his press that published Ursula Vernon’s Hugo Award winning Digger! How cool is that? You can learn more about Tim at his website, but before you click on that, let’s do the interview, ok?
LRR: Your story “Erzulie Dantor” takes place in a disaster ravaged Haiti. Can you tell us what inspired this story?
T.S.: My sister-in-law organized a relief effort from the hospital in Denver where she worked and went with them to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake. We followed the pictures and stories she sent back, which painted a vivid picture of the devastation and desperation there. That was in the back of my mind when I was researching werewolves of different cultures and found the Haitian je-rouge. It was a mysterious creature in legend and also on the Internet; I could find very little about it. So it occurred to me that where there is disaster and tragedy, there are also people willing to take advantage of the disorientation of others. From there, a story about jealousy and voodoo took place, and when I found Erzulie Dantor in the pantheon of Haitian gods, I had the last piece of the story.
LRR: What is your favorite type of fiction to write? Are there certain ideas or themes you enjoy writing about?
T.S.: I have in the past couple years written science fiction, fantasy, contemporary fiction, mystery, and horror…but if you pin me down to one, I like writing contemporary fantasy. A lot of my longer fiction is written with anthropomorphic animal characters (“furry” stories, about which more below); no matter what the setting, it’s always the characters that push me to finish stories. My works often involve questions of self-discovery or self-actualization, especially in the areas of sexuality or creative inspiration. I don’t like “message” stories, but I think that the best works do contain something that the reader can take away to make his or her life better, and that’s something I try to include in all my work.
Read the rest of this entry »
As the Book of Apex Book 4 tour continues, I find myself interacting with more and more of the authors, be it on twitter, or reading their guest posts and interview on other blogs, or interviewing them here. I’ll let you in on a little secret about how I come up with interview questions: I check out the author’s website. I read their recent blog posts, I look at different projects they are involved in, I wanna know what their deal is. After a quick glance through Cecil Castellucci’s website, I e-mailed a friend of mine and said “have you looked at her website? this woman is awesome!”. The more I looked at Cecil’s site and everything she’s involved with, the more often I found myself picking my jaw up off the floor. This woman is involved with everything, she does everything, she’s passionate about literature and storytelling and youth literacy programs. She does everything. It’s inspirational, is what it is.
Wanna know more about Cecil Castellucci? Of course you do! let’s get to the interview!
LRR: I’m not usually a fan of zombie stories, but I really enjoyed your Apex story, “Always The Same. Until It Is Not”. Did I interpret it right? Is the guy a zombie? And what inspired this story?
C.C. Yes! You got it right. He is a zombie. To be honest, I’m a little freaked out by zombies. They really are creepy. Writing this story was a way for me to try to confront my fear of zombies. I tried to think of it as a way to own my fear. The idea came after I’d talked with an acquaintance who writes for The Walking Dead. I swore I’d never watch the show. Then she sort of challenged me on that because she knows I like a good story. I started thinking about how it’s always an infection that takes over like wildfire and then descends the world into a nightmare. I thought, what if I switch what “infection” and “descent” means? So in this story the infection is humanity and the descent is the rise of it. It’s sort of the after of the after.
LRR: I’m also a huge fan of your short story “We Have Always Lived on Mars” (Tor.com May 2013). What inspired this story, and without spoiling the ending, can you tell us how you hit on that twist?
CC: Oh, I’m so glad that you like that story! I think it’s safe to say that Mars has always been a place where we humans have longed to settle. It’s close enough to us that we could actually go there, but far away enough that if something happened there or here it’d be hard to get to or get off of. Right now, there is a lot of Mars love and attention with things like that Mars One and us landing Curiousity on Mars and the Mock Mars missions that they have on Earth in Antarctica, Northern Canada and Utah. It was a combination of these things that inspired the story. I wondered what it would be like to be a girl born on Mars who had been cut off from Earth, living in a colony that had no room to grow because it had no supplies with which to expand. I can’t say more than that or I’ll spoil it!
LRR: Congratulations on your soon to be released Tin Star! What’s the quick elevator pitch for Tin Star?
CC: Tin Star is the story of a girl named Tula Bane, a colonist from Earth who gets abandoned on an alien space station by the charismatic cult leader of her ship at the brink of a Galactic war. She’s the only human there and human’s are not well liked.
LRR: You’re incredibly active in your local community, hosting teen writing workshops at the library, being continually active in the local arts scene, even reading at local elementary schools. Can you tell us a little about your passion for the local arts scene and especially youth fiction and reading?
CC: Yes it is true that I am super active in the LA literary scene. I am very passionate about reading and literacy because I love stories and I really believe that books and stories allow us to see past the boundaries of our day to day life. It allows us to dream and stretch and grow and travel and see possibilities for different ways of living. That is especially important when you are in low economic circumstances. I work at a Title One elementary school doing read aloud to first and second graders. I’ve been doing it for 12 years now, working with the same two teachers and it is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I read books, this year it’s The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo to the first graders and A Wrinkle in Time with the second graders. We take forever reading the book because I stop and talk about every little detail and we use the book to talk about how stories are told, style, history, science, everything! As for the LAPL Teen Author Reading series that I run, there is one in NY and I know a lot of authors here, so I work with Mary McCoy at LAPL and we coordinate the series together. I thought LA needed one! Also, I co edit the LA Review of Books YA / Children’s section. Mostly we run essays and thought pieces about young people’s literature. I do these things because I am passionate about young people’s literature and these are ways that I can get our field to be sitting at the big kids table in the larger literary world. Also, because I think that we fall in love with reading when we are young and that is when we become life long readers.
LRR: You manage the fascinating “Letters for Kids”, where kids get a letter in the mail from an author. What a fantastic idea! What other authors are involved in this, and what’s the most creative letter that has been sent?
CC: It is a great idea! Stephen Elliot who runs the Rumpus asked me to coordinate the Rumpus Letters for Kids, after the wildly succesful Letters in the Mail for adults. It’s kind of a perfect thing, because I think our sweet spot is about 6 -10 and that’s a perfect age to be getting letters in the mail. By they way, you don’t have to be a kid to subscribe, anyone can subscribe! Even classrooms! You get a letter from middle grade author twice a month. It’s great fun! Some of the authors who have written letters are Rebecca Stead, Susan Patron, Natalie Standiford, Lisa Yee, Janet Tashijian, Arthur Slade, Bobbledy Books. They are so good! I have a few favorites, but of course, it’s hard because they are all so different! But Adam Rex did an original comic story. (you can see it here http://therumpus.net/2012/12/letters-for-kids/ ) Sherri L Smith wrote an original short story and this guy Nolan O’Brien did an amazing thing with circles. It’s truly a brilliant thing, and I would have totally subscribed to Letters for Kids when I was young.
LRR: Your graphic novel Plain Janes was a kick-off publication for the D.C. Comics Minx imprint. The imprint didn’t last, but Plain Janes did very well. Would you consider doing graphic novels again?
CC: Of course! And I still have! For the record, Vertigo reprinted The Plain Janes, so it’s still available. And you can still get the sequel Janes in Love. I have actually written many other comics! I did a hybrid novel called The Year of the Beasts with Nate Powell. It’s alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel. I also had a ghost story in Vertigo’s ghost anthology, a comet story in the SPACE anthology over at IDW, an Aquaman/ Mera love story in the Young Romance issue #1, I wrote Green Lantern: The Animated Series issue #11 and most recently I had a comic book for little kids called Odd Duck illustrated by Sara Varon on First Second. Upcoming in early 2015 I have a graphic novel called Pearl in the Rough illustrated by Joe Infurnari out on Dark Horse. It’s about a girl who rides the rails in 1932 with an old hobo. So I’d say that at this point I consider myself a YA author and a comic book writer!
well, that’s what I get for not researching Cecil enough on her website. Otherwise I would have known about Odd Duck, Year of the Beasts, and her other graphic novels. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Learn more about Cecil on her website, or by following her on twitter.
published December 2013
where I got it: received copy from the author
A 1500 kilometer race the dangers of Mars. Failure means injury, embarrassment, and possibly death.
You had me at “Mars”. but racing? sports? Wait, what?
okay, let’s start at the beginning.
The Grand Martian Traverse is a 1500 km race, pushing competitors to their physical and mental limits. Much of the race is run, but the huge cliffs, canyons and craters on Mars allow for unprecedented thermal air currents, encouraging competitors to leap off cliffs and glide on foldable hang-gliders as far as possible. For long distance and endurance runners, this is what they’ve been preparing for their entire life. Martian colonists, Terrans, spectators, sponsors and the media flock to the event to see history being made. Besides accolades and sponsorship awards, the winner receives the Big Red Buckle.
What all that really means is that wealthy competitors have the best equipment and huge entourage support teams, and regular folks like you and me would typically have used equipment and are forced rely on our families and friends to be our support teams. Terrans also have an unfair advantage, that of living in higher gravity. Running and leaping in lower gravity is easy for the Terrans. But only a Martian colonist would know the secrets of the Red Planet.
It was just about a month ago that I met author Matthew Thyer at Confusion. We hit it off, he sent me home with a copy of his new novella The Big Red Buckle (review will be posted later this week), and we’ve been emailing and tweeting back and forth a bit since them. After some initial confusion on my part, we ended up trading interviews. You can learn more about Matt by following him on twitter, or checking out his blog, Feet For Brains, where he talks about writing, publishing, technology, traveling the world, parenting, and more. He’s a pretty cool guy, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again at ConText later this year.
In our extensive interview, we talk publishing, sports, influential authors, NaNoWriMo, getting into science fiction, and more!
LRR: The Big Red Buckle is a novella in the scifi subgenre of “sports in space”. How did you come to the decision to make sports a large part of the story?
MT: It was not so much a decision as a happy circumstance. The Big Red Buckle was a short story I took to a critique group for fun. I am a huge fan of endurance sports, and I had written this piece because I could not shake the idea. The critique group liked it, way more than I had expected anyone would, they gave me some feedback and I went home and let it mature. Soon it had doubled, then tripled in size and the concept, “sports in space”, seemed like more and more like a series.
In the days before NaNoWriMo I was doing a great deal of preparation work for a novel idea and in tandem with that I finished the first one and outlined three more stories in the “sports in space” series. All the stories are based on sports I enjoy, but they were also world building exercises.
Why sports? Well, think about all the hubbub that we just lived through. Another Super Bowl is done and gone. High enough anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere it’s hockey and the Stanley Cup that are celebrated with equal vigor. Europe and South America have soccer. Sport is a huge part of any contemporary human society.
If fiction is supposed to be a mirror for self observation than this particular sub-genre seems underrepresented. With the series, I hoped to address a couple of issues. With The Big Red Buckle, in particular, what happens to sports that have a money problem (see Professional Bicycle Racing). I wanted to juxtapose athletes with elite levels of funding next to the people who compete because they love the activity. Book two, Up Slope, is more about a sport that is used as a utility, how it affects us mentally and physically, and becomes a part of our lives which can bridge functional gaps. How a sport, especially in a non-professional setting, makes better people.
Books three and four, will have similar thought experiments going within them.
published in 2012
where I got it: purchased new
Science fiction adventure? A strange bowl shaped structure in space? Bird-like aliens that “adopt” species they come across? An alien planet that sends out confusing information? Shut up and take my money! Right? Not so much, as it turns out.
The Bowl of Heaven starts out as you’d expect a science fiction adventure story to start: we’ve found a planet that could be another Earth, a new home for a humanity that’s quickly outgrowing Earth. Nicknamed Glory, a large expedition is put together to sleep most of the way, and assess the situation when they reach Glory. And they wouldn’t have awoken biologist Cliff Kammesh if it wasn’t an emergency. The ship’s computers have found something, something they can’t explain: a star that just winked into existence. They couldn’t see the star before, because it was hidden behind a structure nearly the size of our solar system.
Captain Redwing is awakened as well, along with biologist Beth Marble (she and Cliff have a relationship), and a handful of other crewmembers. They need to understand this giant structure, but they also need to reserve the dwindling food and air stores they have on the ship.
The structure is a gigantic bowl like structure, the “bottom” is mirrors aimed at a star, and the “sides” are all biome. There’s a magnetized hole in the bottom, and the mirrors cause ripples and disturbances in the star’s surface, and the magnetized hole pulls a jet of agitated plasma away from the star, propelling the huge machine forward through the cosmos. The scene where Beth pilots the ramscoop ship through the plasma jet absolutely blew me away, and I will forever remember it as one of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever come from across in a hard science fiction novel. Once through, and into the inside of the bowl, it would be a crime not to explore further.
I’m a terrible blog tour host. I didn’t even *read* the entire book before the tour started. But there’s a silver lining here! It means as the month goes by I’ll be posting additional reviews of different stories in the book! My terrible reading habits is a win for you! I might even be a completist about the whole thing. Yes, yes I shall. my goal for 2014 is to be a completist.
Today’s reviews include short stories by Ian Nichols, Cecil Castellucci, Sarah Dalton, A.C. Wise, Alethea Kontis, Katharine Duckett, Cat Rambo, Tim Susman, Mari Ness, Brit Mandelo, and David J. Schwartz. Think that’s a great combination of authors? it is, but it barely covers one third of the awesomesauce that is this volume of fiction from Apex Magazine.
interested in reading these stories for yourself? of course you are! Head over to Dab of Darkness and enter to win a copy!
In the Dark, by Ian Nichols – In the mining town, the men sing on their way home from the mines. Songs about the sunlight, about beautiful women, about farming, songs about nothing at all. You don’t ever sing about the darkness of the mines, and you don’t ever sing alone. These are easy rules to live by, rules that keep everyone alive. Until the gypsy boy came. He flashed his dark eyelashes and caught the eyes of the officially unbetrothed. His nimble fingers graze the strings of his guitar and his voice is a caress on the air. But he sings alone, and he sings of the sad and the tragic and the lonesome and the dark. He hasn’t grown up around the dream-stealing darkness of mines, he has no way of knowing the danger he’s in. Morgan should really warn the boy about the dangers of singing about the dark, so near to the Dark. So he takes the gypsy boy over the mines, to show him, to warn him, to get him to shut the hell up already. This is a story that sneaks up on you, like a growing evening shadow that leaves a chill on your shoulders.
Always the Same. Till it is Not, by Cecil Castellucci – I am not a fan of zombie stories. This is a zombie story, and I loved the shit out of it. My enjoyment came from how the story was presented, from the style of the prose. I’m not being told “a story”, but watching a metamorphosis take place. Our nameless narrator is some type of zombie. Words are useless, vocabulary unecessary. Days consist of sleeping, night consists of feeding. The sky is yelled at, flesh is consumed, the horde moves on, often consuming its fallen members. They find themselves in a cemetery, and eat the flesh of the bodies that are presumably in shallow graves. Our narrator seems to realize this is a different place, a special place. When the horde moves on, he hides and stays. As is his lifestyle,he continues to consume the flesh found within the cemetery. And begins changing. As the protagonist’s mentality changes, the prose changes. Sentences that were fragments a few pages ago now have nuance and structure, thoughts that once consisted of “eat. sleep.” now involve complexity and forethought. He comes to understand that eating the flesh of those buried in the cemetery is what allowed him to change. If everyone in the horde ate of that flesh, perhaps this shambling shuffling disease could come to an end. When the horde returns, he knows what he has to do.
Rumored to have been born from a twitter conversation, the special Women Destroy Science Fiction issue of Lightspeed Magazine is coming this spring. This issue features not only all female authors, but an all female editing staff, all female audio fiction staff, even only ladies get to do the slush reading. Funded through Kickstarter, WDSF was fully funded in less than 24 hours, and is crashing through stretch goals. Editor Christie Yant already has guest editors signed up for Women Destroy Horror and Women Destroy Fantasy.
The Kickstarter runs through Feb 15th, and submissions are open until Feb 14th. Click here for the submissions page, but the quick answer is Lightspeed is accepting fiction up to 7500 words, and flash fiction up to 1500 words for WDSF.
You can imagine I jumped at the chance to have Flash Fiction editor Robyn Lupo write a guest post on science fiction, destroying it, and her flash fiction agenda!
Destroying Science Fiction, by Robyn Lupo
I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but science fiction isn’t going to be the same after this.
We’ve been using the word ‘Destroy’ a lot (along with ‘flense’ and ‘defenestrate’) but I’d like to shift over a little bit, and look at the generative force that destruction brings. After this, the science fiction world must look at women writers as peers, contenders, and Grand Maestras of the genre.
We’ve got Mur Lafferty, for Crom’s sake.
Scattered throughout the month, I’ll be posting reviews of selected stories of The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine. If something you read here or on any of the other blogs participating in the blog tour gets your attention, I encourage you seek the story out on the Apex website. And if you like what you see? Consider purchasing a subscription to the magazine, or one of their anthologies. Consider leaving a comment on their website, or on twitter, or on the blog post. You’ve got an opinion and thoughts? I’d like to hear ‘em.
What I love about the fiction published by Apex is that it’s not straight up scifi, or straight up fantasy, or straight up anything, really. It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It’s true fantastika. Stories that can’t possibly happen in real life, but as you are reading, you so very much *want* it to be happening. The ultimate in suspension of disbelief. Many of your favorite authors have been published in Apex magazine, along with new authors who are soon to become favorites. And that’s what Apex does – they take the cream of the crop of the strangest of the strange, scratching that itch you hadn’t known you had until it was relieved.
This is the stuff you can’t get anywhere else, it’s that flavor that’s part bloody sunset, part crystal constellation, part fever dream. It’s like walking into that weird little bar on the corner (you know, the one with no windows? that one.), and playing it cool. You ask the bartender what they recommend, and they bring you a pint of something dark. You think you know what it is, but that first sip tells you this is something very different. It starts out gentle, even a little sweet, but then ends with an unexpected bite, so sharp you wonder if you’ve bit your lip because you swear you taste blood in your mouth. This is that unlabeled, brewed in the back, only available for people who ask for it by name type of drink.
The 24 Hour Brother, by Christopher Barzak – The first thing you need to know about this story is that you’re not going to get through it without crying. Lewis is excited to finally be an older brother. After the complications of Lewis’s birth, no one expected his mother to be able to carry another child to term. But a miracle happened, and little Joe was born. but Joe didn’t stay little for long. He cut his first tooth shortly after being born. Within the hour they were chasing him around the hospital. He’d nearly grown out of his baby clothes by the time his father caught him for the taxi ride home. Within 12 hours he was fully grown, and leaving his 15 year old older brother behind when he went out drinking. You can see where this is going, can’t you? Joe’s mother knew, the first time she saw him, that she was going to lose him. There’s something especially tragic about stories where you know from the opening paragraph that it’s going to end badly. Like I said, you’re not going to get through this one without crying.
The Leavings of the Wolf, by Elizabeth Bear – Dagmar runs to get away from her divorce. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. She runs to lose weight. If she loses enough weight, she’ll be able to pry that wedding band off her finger, that gleaming golden reminder of everything that went horribly wrong in her life. And interspersed with her running is a floating story line, a dialog between her and an ex. But the thing is, this extra story line? You don’t know when exactly it’s happening. Was it years ago? a few weeks ago? yesterday? The weight of these few extra lines here and there are like the mark a wedding band leaves on your finger after years of wear: you don’t know anymore who you are without the mark. Anyways, on her morning run, Dagmar often sees the same murder of crows, it’s that group she’s been studying, anklebanding, and researching for the University. The crows know her, she knows the them, and she even makes the occasional Thought and Memory joke. One day she meets someone who might be a God, it’s not a joke anymore. And he tells her why she’s still running. We’re all running from something, and sometimes it’s only the fear of losing a mark that tells us who we thought we were supposed to be. I’ve run hot and cold with Bear’s fiction in the past, and this one hit me hard. In a good way.