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Preview: SF Signal

SF Signal

A Hugo Award-winning science fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, interviews, reviews, points of view and fun stuff.

Updated: 2018-02-15T21:15:24Z


All Good Things…


So long, and thanks for all the fish... “I regret to announce that — though, as I said, 12 years and 10 months is far too short a time to spend among you — this is the END! I am going. I am leaving NOW! GOODBYE!” [Slips ring on] – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (paraphrased) When we started SF Signal in 2003, it was because we loved speculative fiction. Having a blog allowed us to share that love with other fans. We never dreamed it would have grown like it has. In these past 12 years and 10 months, we’ve shared our love of genre, we’ve provided a forum for other fans to come on board as contributors to also share their genre love, we gave authors a place to tell us about the exciting new worlds they’re creating, and I like to think we’ve made a ton of new friends. We even picked up a few Hugo Awards along the way. It’s been quite a ride. But all good things come to an end. It was a very hard decision to make, but we have decided to close down SF Signal. The reason is boringly simple: time. As the blog has grown, so has its demands for our attention. That is time we would rather spend with our families. We considered scaling back posts, but it felt like SF Signal would only be a shadow of its former self. So yes, it feels sudden, but a “cold turkey” exit seems like the right thing to do. We’d like to thank our readers for stopping by and making SF Signal a fun place to be every single day. We’d like to thank our tireless and selfless contributors for providing insightful and entertaining articles purely for the joy of sharing their mutual love of geekdom with like-minded fans. We’d like to thank our hundreds of guest contributors for allowing us to peek inside their creative processes. Thanks to you all! Without you, this fun ride would have been much shorter. The speculative fiction community continues to be a strong and vibrant one. We may pop up on social media at times, so we’re only partly “slipping the ring on”. For now, we’ll just say… See you later. In spaaaace! John DeNardo JP Frantz P.S. We believe SF Signal’s archives are a valuable community resource. We’d love to keep it around for a while, even as a static website. We have paid for web hosting through the first week of June. By then we will have to either find a new home for it or say goodbye to it forever. If anyone knows of any free/super-cheap hosting solutions that can hold about 100GB worth of data (and an easy way to migrate it), let us know. UPDATE: We now have several hosting solutions to review since the announcement. Many of them quite promising. Thanks, folks! width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> [...]

Helen Lowe says “Haere Ra, SF Signal”


Helen Lowe says Goodbye to SF SignalHelen Lowe, is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013 and Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night Series, Book Three) is recently published. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we. Haere Ra, SF Signal – A SFF Genre Site That Has Rocked My World by Helen Lowe I live not only on the far side of the world, but somewhere close to the bottom (or the top depending on your point of view!) A locale far, far away, in any event…So in 2010, when The Heir of Night, the first novel in my epic The Wall Of Night series was published, I was thrilled when a genre site called SF Signal linked to the event. (I’m going to really miss those link posts, aren’t you?) Thrilled – and sufficiently encouraged by subsequent friendly conversations with John DeNardo to pitch a mini post series on epic fantasy the following year: first Looking at the Stars: Why Epic Fantasy Keeps ‘Speaking’ To Us, to three lighthearted posts on Having Fun With Epic Fantasy. In 2012 I commenced a new and longer series, Fun With Friends, where I interviewed fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand. This series ran from June 2012 until October 2013, during which time I featured thirteen antipodean authors, courtesy of John and da Signal. I also launched The Gathering Of The Lost, the second book in The Wall of Night series, right here on SF Signal on March 27, 2012 – not least because by that stage I considered myself a Signal Irregular, so there was nowhere else I going to launch it! Aside from the occasional Mind Meld appearance, a hiatus did ensue between October 2013 and March 2015, to enable me to finish Daughter of Blood (The Wall Of Night #3) – but John and Kristin welcomed me back with the series I’ve been penning from then until now: Fantasy Heroines That Rock My World. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Most of all, though, I’ve loved being part of the SF Signal community. I would like to thank all the regulars, including Paul, Patrick, JP, and Kristin, to name just a few, for supporting my more irregular contributions throughout that time. Most of all, though, I’d like to thank John, for his unfailing friendliness and openness to my ideas for posts on a fantastic theme – but also for his support for a SFF newcomer from the far side of the world. Thank you, John, for SF Signal, a SFF site that has rocked my world for the past six years. As we say where I come from: haere ra – farewell. [...]

[Film Review] CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Reinvigorates the Marvel Franchise


Despite routine action and occasional lapses in plotting, the latest Marvel film provides a genuine sense of funREVIEW SUMMARY: With a strong cast and genuine sense of fun, the latest entry in Marvel Studios’s superhero story engages and entertains, even if it never offers its audience anything new. MY RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS: When an operation in Lagos results in the deaths of civilians, Iron Man and Captain America must decide their place in a world that has become increasingly dangerous as a result of their actions. MY REVIEW: PROS: Strong turn by each of the series regulars, with Paul Rudd and Tom Holland stealing the entire movie; engaging dialogue and character interaction. CONS: Efficient but otherwise routine action; occasional lapses in plotting. What, really, is the price a superhero pays for his remarkable powers? Regardless of how he or she acquired incredible strength, brilliant insight, or remarkable perception, the actions never exist in a vacuum. Yes, by all means don the costume and fight the evil…but also understand that you remain accountable for your actions. Whether you do battle with gods from Asgard or monsters Frankensteined from your own lab, you must realize that it comes at a cost, and human lives must be included in the tally.   “You have operated with unlimited power and no supervision,” General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) observes in Captain America: Civil War during the Avengers’ debriefing after an operation in Lagos results in the deaths of 12 civilians. “That’s something the world can no longer tolerate.” Other superhero movies have addressed this topic, including last month’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But that picture never evinced more than a passing interest in this core theme; when it bothered to ask the question at all, it answered with not only explosions but also an even higher body count. Perhaps it’s because directors Anthony and Joe Russo understand their need to tell a compelling story (rather than strike the pose of a geek Orson Welles in short pants) that they bother to show the emotional consequences of this steroids-induced Homeric derring-do. When a woman who lost her son during the climax of Avengers: Age of Ultron confronts Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) with her grief, he realizes yet again how dangerous his world can be, and arrives at the Avengers’ headquarters in ideological lockstep with Ross. “If we can’t accept limitations,” he tells Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), “then we’re no better than the bad guys.” For Rogers, however, limitations suggest a lack of unilateral action. “If we sign accords,” he muses as he and other Avengers receive a request for oversight, “it takes away our right to choose.” Regardless, they possess little choice; when a bomber disrupts the United Nations’s Sakovia Accords in Vienna (I must have missed the move; the last I heard they called New York City headquarters), killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda, oversight seems all but certain…that is, until someone names Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Sean) as the bomber, and Captain America and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) find need to protect him not only from Iron Man and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) but also T’Chaka’s son T’Chilla (Chadwick Boseman), who, as Black Panther, intends to avenge his father’s death. Though the Russo brothers have two-and-a-half hours to tell their story, it occasionally feels as if they need much more time, especially as the screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely bring in other characters—some to side with Cap for unilateralism, some with Tony and the common good. Indeed, with so much occurring, the added element of a villain (Daniel Brühl and Helmut Zemo) orchestrating a bombing and events leading up to a mano-a-mano between the grand old soldier and the snarky Stark suggests a character and motivation too many. Nor does it help that the Russos, who told [...]

[GUEST POST] Ada Palmer on Middle Future Science Fiction


Ada Palmer is taking care of sf set between "near future" and "far future" Ada Palmer is a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. Her personal site is at, and she writes about history for a popular audience at and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Her new novel, Too Like the Lightning, is the first book in the Terra Ignota series. Middle Future Science Fiction by Ada Palmer I think of my Terra Ignota series as “middle future” science fiction, since there isn’t really an established term for the part of the future which is later than near future-past stories that examine the consequences of current global trends-but isn’t as far as grand space-faring empires. A future well past this century, but not yet past this planet, or at least not farther than baby steps to the Moon and Mars. I see “middle future” as a period that is opening up more now as a space for speculative fiction, for a very specific reason. In golden age and silver age science fiction-the periods that still largely set the tone for the genre-there was no lengthy period between the immediate future and deep space. By the year 2000 we were all supposed to have flying cars, and robot butlers, and asteroid resorts, and the option to live on Mars or Venus. The decades of glittering expos that celebrated the World of Tomorrow, the age that saw the Moon landing come so fast, did not imagine a long stretch of cultural and social change on Earth before Earth became just one of many homes for space-bound humanity. With a future among the stars assumed to be so close, “middle future” fiction, depicting a recognizable humanity still on Earth in five or ten generations, felt unrealistic. Works in this space, like Heinlein’s Door Into Summer, are rare anomalies. Dystopia, invasion and apocalypse were exceptions, great disruptions which might plausibly set humanity off-track, or require slow recovery (as in Vinge’s The Peace War), but readers and creators alike required some sinister interference to throw humanity off the Space Age track that even mainstream fashion and architecture celebrated with such certainty. Now that we have passed the year 2000 without setting a human foot on Mars, we are starting to recognize that humanity is leaving Earth more slowly than we imagined. We hope and expect that the next decades will see Mars missions, space tourism, more space stations, and progress toward asteroid mining, space elevators, and many other ambitious projects, but these are coming incrementally, not instantly, achievements of a lifetime, not a decade. Many works-from 2312 to The Expanse-are still exploring default expectation that humanity will be far out into the Solar System in a century or two, but it is now becoming easier to imagine that the bulk of human culture will still be on Earth in a hundred years, or two, perhaps even three. This opens up a space for a new kind of imagined future: an Earth several centuries beyond our own yet still contiguous with ours as ours is with past centuries, farther along our current trajectory but without the geographic disjunction of a space-bound exodus, or the cultural disjunction of dystopia or apocalypse. Middle future Earth. More recently, the popularity of the idea of the Singularity has been another reason speculative fiction rarely works in this middle future period. For those who imagine or believe that humanity is only a few decades from a moment at which self-propelled technology will begin multiplying beyond human control or understanding, the future is cut off by another kind of absolute disjunction[...]

Congratulations to the Finalists of the 2016 Locus Awards!


Congrats to all the nominees!The finalists for the 2016 Locus Awards have been announced! SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (Borzoi; Orbit UK) Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK) Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK) Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (Morrow) A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Tor) FANTASY NOVEL Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Tor) The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (Roc; Gollancz) Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road) The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK) Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey) YOUNG ADULT BOOK Half a War, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey; Harper Voyager UK) Half the World, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey) Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Tor) Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine) The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK) FIRST NOVEL Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (Ace; Macmillan UK) The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga) Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris) The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury US; Bloomsbury UK) The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson ( NOVELLA Penric’s Demon, Lois McMaster Bujold (self-published) “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 10-11/15) “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s 12/15) Binti, Nnedi Okorafor ( Slow Bullets, Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon) NOVELETTE “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson”, Elizabeth Bear (Old Venus) “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”, Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15) “Black Dog”, Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning) “Folding Beijing”, Hao Jingfang (Uncanny 1-2/15) “Another Word for World”, Ann Leckie (Future Visions) SHORT STORY “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 1/15) “Madeleine”, Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15) “Cat Pictures Please”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15) “The Dowager of Bees”, China Miéville (Three Moments of an Explosion) “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15) ANTHOLOGY The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-second Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s Griffin) Old Venus, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam) Hanzai Japan: Fantastical, Futuristic Stories of Crime From and About Japan, Nick Mamatas & Masumi Washington, eds. (Haikasoru) Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, Nisi Shawl & Bill Campbell, eds. (Rosarium) Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris US; Solaris UK) COLLECTION The Best of Gregory Benford, Gregory Benford (Subterranean) Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, Neil Gaiman (Morrow) The Best of Nancy Kress, Nancy Kress (Subterranean) Dancing Through the Fire, Tanith Lee (Fantastic Books) Three Moments of an Explosion, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey 2016) MAGAZINE Asimov’s Clarkesworld F&SF File 770 PUBLISHER Baen Gollancz Orbit Tor Subterranean EDITOR John Joseph Adams Ellen Datlow Gardner Dozois David G. Hartwell Jonathan Strahan ARTIST Galen Dara Julie Dillon Bob Eggleton John Picacio Michael Whelan NON-FICTION The Culture Series of Iain M. Banks, Simone Caroti (McFarland) Lois McMaster Bujold, Edward James (University of Illinois Press) Letters to Tiptree, Alisa Krasnostein & Alexandra Pierce, eds. (Twelfth Planet) Frederik Pohl, Michael R. Page (University of Illinois Press) Ray Bradbury, David Seed (University of Illinois Press) ART BOOK Julie Dillon’s Imagined Realms, Book 2: Earth and Sky, Julie Dillon (self-published) Women of Wonder: Celebrating Women Creators of Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner, ed. (Underwood) Spectrum 22: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, John Fleskes, ed. (Flesk) Edward Gorey: His Book Cover Art & Design, Steven Heller, ed.[...]

At Kirkus: The Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books You’ll Want to Read in May


John names his picks for the best SF/F/H reads in May

Who’s got time to go through all the monthly SF/F releases and pick the cream of the crop?

I do!

This week for the Kirkus Reviews blog, I look at The Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books You’ll Want to Read in May.

Check it out, won’t you?


Cosmos Laundromat


Poor Franck the sheep!

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MIND MELD Make-Up: Our Favorite Weapons in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Part 2)


Tiemen Zwaan and Sissy Pantellis weigh in on our latest Mind Meld Favorite Weapons: Be it Excalibur or the Point of View Gun, Stormbringer or the BFG, weapons in Fantasy and Science Fiction often have a personality and charm all their own, and sometimes are even characters in their own right. Q: What are your favorite weapon, or weapons, in fantasy and science fiction. Here are a couple of additional late correspondents from yesterday’s Mind Meld, who have also weighed in… Tiemen Zwaan Tiemen Zwaan is the scifi & fantasy buyer at the American Book Center in Amsterdam. He turned his hobby of reading scifi & fantasy into his job. When not reading he thinks about which book he will transform next into a Blind Book Date. If you want a recommendation or just chat you can say hi to him @tiemenzwaan. One of my favorite dialogues in A Game of Thrones is the conversation Tyrion has with Jon Snow about why he reads books. “My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much Jon Snow.” Over the years a lot of cool and destructive weapons have appeared in books and movies, but still the most dangerous one is that of the mind of cunning commander. Think about it, the most potent weapon is worthless if you face an opponent who can outsmart you at every turn. It’s also a lot more fun to read how a character overcomes an obstacle and defeat his or her opponents by outwitting them instead of just swinging a big stick around and smashing heads. For example one of the joys of reading the Shadow Campaigns series by Django Wexler is discovering the strategy behind the battle orders of the brilliant but eccentric Colonel Janus. Commands that at first glance seem just weird or even suicidal turn out to exploit key weakness es of the oppossing army and secure an overwhelming victory. It’s not just the genius stroke that makes the mind a formidable weapon. It’s also the intelligence to cooperate and coordinate that can give the edge to defeat a larger, stronger or more numerous opponent. In The Thousand Names, the first book of the Shadow Campaigns, it’s the soldier Winter Ihernglass who manages to prevent the massacre of her fellow soldiers during a patrol. How? Because she was smart enough to manuever them in a formation that was able to fend of an attack by mounted ambushers. Alone each soldier would have been cut down, but together they were able to form a tight formation and shoot en masse to defend against the attack. All because Winter was smart enough to realize how they needed to work together and her fellow soldiers were smart enough to follow her orders. Reading how a brilliant strategy unfolds or a group of people learn to work together makes for a great story. To quote the strategist Hannibal, I love it when a plan comes together. Sissy Pantelis Sissy Pantelis is a fantasy writer of prose and comics. Her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies in French, Greek, Spanish and English in various magazines and anthologies.Her two graphic novels Red Nightmare and Blue Sparkles are just completed and will come out by British comic publisher Markosia in the coming months. – Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, the Norse god associated with thunder. Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of levelling mountains. The story of the creation of the hammer is interesting: Loki bets his head with Sindri and his brother Brokkr, two dwarfs who accept Loki’s bet; they start working, but Loki turns into a fly, bites Bokkr’s eye and tries to prevent him from doing a correct job. The third bite of Loki is so deep that blood runs into Brokkr’s eyes and forces him stop working the be[...]

Top 25 SF Signal Posts for April 2016


In case you missed them...In case you missed them, here are The Top SF Signal Posts for April 2016 (excluding the daily link posts and housekeeping posts): See the Ancient Horror of the Lovecraftian Short Film “The Mountains of Madness” How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction? Here’s a Cover Gallery of the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Books Out in April 200+ SF/F/H eBooks for $5 Each or Less (Elizabeth Bear, Laura Bickle, Wesley Chu, C.S. Friedman, Charlaine Harris, Guy Gavriel Kay, Helen Lowe, Michael Swanwick, Jeff Vandermeer) Book Sale! Free and Inexpensive Books by Bradley P. Beaulieu, Gwenda Bond, Jeff Carlson, Matt Forbeck, Brian McClellan, Michael J. Sullivan, Martha Wells, Chuck Wendig 196 SF/F/H eBooks for $5 Each or Less (PKD, Goldstein, Harris, Hobb, Kosmatka, McCaffrey, Mixon, Moorcock, Taylor, VanderMeer & More!) FINALISTS: 2016 Hugo Award FINALISTS: 2016 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (with Free Fiction Links!) FINALISTS: 2016 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (with Free Fiction Links!) [BOOK REVIEW] Matt Hill’s GRAFT is British SF That’s Magnetic and Intricate MIND MELD: SF/F TV Character Deaths That Had Us Shaking Our Heads MIND MELD: Books We Want to Re-Read Like it Was the First Time [GUEST POST] Gavin Scott on Wrestling with Ursula Le Guin MIND MELD: What’s The Best Writing Advice You Ever Received? The Biographies of Philip K. Dick The Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin Finally Collected in THE FOUND AND THE LOST FINALISTS: 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award A Cover Gallery of the Comics and Graphic Novels Out in April Table of Contents: THE YEAR’S BEST MILITARY & ADVENTURE SF 2015 Edited by David Afsharirad WINNERS: 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Award (+ Honor List) Badass Women & The Nerdy Men Who Love Them Harrison Ford Was the One Responsible for Finn & Rey’s Chemistry Read an Excerpt from the Military SF Novel CHAINS OF COMMAND by Marko Kloos Watch the Short Animated Film Version of Charles Stross’ “Rogue Farm” FINALISTS: 2016 Aurora Awards STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Secrets the Novel Revealed (Part 2) [...]

[SF/F/H Link Post] Captain America: Civil War Analysis; Interviews, and Reviews


Inside: A roundup of Captain America: Civil War links! Interviews & Profiles Black Gate interviews James Stoddard, author of Evenmere. The Guardian interviews Martin Stewart, author of Riverkeep. LightSpeed interviews Tim Pratt, author of “North Over Empty Space” LightSpeed interviews An Owomoyela, author of “Three Points Masculine” The Qwillery interviews Anna Smaill, author of The Chimes. Reading And Writing Podcast interviews Myke Cole, author of Javelin Rain. S.E. Smith interviews Evelyn Lederman, author of The Chameleon Soul Mate. Captain America: Civil War Interviews & Profiles Captain America: Civil War Writers Reveal If The Infinity Stones Will Appear Captain America: Civil War – Chris Evans and Paul Rudd on the ending Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reveal If The Infinity Stones Will Appear Director Joe Russo admits Captain America: Civil War Was Only Made Because Of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Directors Joe and Anthony Russo explore the morality of the Star-Spangled Avenger Emily VanCamp on her kiss with Chris Evans and her Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige admits that Ryan Coogler had the opportunity to contribute to the Civil War creative process. Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus explains to Uproxx Why Writing Winter Soldier Was Easier, According To Captain America: Civil War’s Writers Tom Holland explains the Hardest Part About Being Spider-Man In Civil War Captain America: Civil War News Captain America: Civil War Crosses $200 Million At International Box Office Captain America: Civil War Comes Out Swinging With $84 Million Overseas Elizabeth Olsen who plays Scarlet Witch tells ET Online that her character, and that of Paul Bettany, will find a connection between each other. Japan Box Office: Captain America: Civil War Opens at No. 3 With $7.1M News 2015 Shirley Jackson Award Nominees Announced Study Suggests People Are Dangerously Trusting Of Robots In An Emergency. “Take shelter in that Kill-U-Tron? Well, if you say so, tiny murderous robot.” Events & Event News Artist Ben Jelter signs at Mission: Comics & Art in San Francisco, CA on Friday, May 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM to celebrate the release of HELIOSPHERE! RSVP on Facebook Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill will talk about and sign copies of his new book, The Fireman, at the Coralville Public Library in Iowa on Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. JOE HILL (Locke & Key, Horns) will appear at Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL on Friday, May 20th at 8:00 PM! Join Magers & Quinn Booksellers and Uptown Church in Minneapolis, MN for a special evening with bestselling author Joe Hill, reading from his new novel The Fireman, on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM. This is a ticketed event. Tickets via Eventbrite JOE HILL (Locke & Key, Horns) will appear at the Strand Book Store in NYC on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00 PM! RSVP on Facebook Crowd Funding Aggro8Legends – Graphic Novel Series – A troubled young adult has his world turned upside down when destiny is thrust upon him. Is he strong enough? Anonde Character Card & New Electromagnate Graphic Novel – The graphic novel Electromagnate, funded on Kickstarter, is done. Celebrate by grabbing the book and the latest character card, Anonde. Dreamwars – Steampunk Horror Board Game – a 1-to-8 players cooperative board game set in an original steampunk horror world. Girrion Book 1 The Chrysalis & the Stone Issues 4 & 5 – GIRRION is a sweeping sci-fi fantasy story of a hero’s journey in a distant world in a distant time. METTLE: 2-player fast-paced Space Combat Game – a 2-player space combat game, for ages 8 to adult. Plays in 45 – 60 minutes. Direct your fa[...]

Table of Contents: Clarkesworld #116, May 2016


Fiction by Cat Rambo, Robert Reed, Cassandra Khaw, Rich Larson, Luo Longxiang, Joe Abercrombie, Sunny Moraine & more!The new issue of Clarkesworld is now posted. FICTION “Left Behind” by Cat Rambo “The Universal Museum of Sagacity” by Robert Reed “Breathe” by Cassandra Khaw “Jonas and the Fox” by Rich Larson “Away from Home” by Luo Longxiang “Tough Times All Over” by Joe Abercrombie “A Heap of Broken Images” by Sunny Moraine NON-FICTION Destination: Venus by Andrew Liptak Transcendent Transformation: A Conversation with James Gunn by Chris Urie Another Word: Strange Stars by Jason Heller Editor’s Desk: Stress Relief by Neil Clarke PODCASTS “Left Behind” by Cat Rambo read by Kate Baker ART “Ananiel, Angel of Storms” by Peter Mohrbacher [...]

Table of Contents: Apex Magazine #84 (May 2016)


Fiction by Stephen Cox, David K. Yeh, Maggie Slater, Lavie Tidhar & more! Here’s the table of contents for the new issue of Apex Magazine, a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. Editorial Words from the Editor-in-Chief by Jason Sizemore Fiction “1957” by Stephen Cox “Cottage Country” by David K. Yeh “The Behemoth Beaches” by Maggie Slater “The Drowned Celestial” by Lavie Tidhar Freeze/Thaw (Novel Excerpt) by Chris Bucholz Nonfiction Interview with Author Stephen Cox by Andrea Johnson Interview with Robert Carter, Cover Artist by Russell Dickerson Gender Equality in Apex Magazine by Lesley Conner Poetry “Jubilee” by F.J. Bergmann “Before the Empire Goes Inter-Galactic” by Ken Poyner “Mammon’s Cave” by Janna Layton “The Perfect Planet” by Christina Sng (Cover art by Robert Carter) Apex Magazine is free for all to read at, and also available as a paid subscription on various electronic devices. [...]



Marc Turner is the author of the Chronicles of the Exiles series from Tor. The first novel in the series, When The Heavens Fall has now been followed by the second novel in the series, The Dragon Hunters. Marc kindly sat down with me to talk about his series and epic fantasy in general. PW: Briefly, could you tell us who you are and what you do. MT: Hi, I am Marc Turner. I live in Durham in the UK with my wife and six-year-old son, and I enjoy reading, playing computer games and escaping into the countryside. As to what I do, that’s a question my wife asks me frequently. Alongside bouts of staring out of the window, and hours spent on social media, I occasionally find time to write the Chronicles of the Exile series. It is published by Tor in the US and Titan in the UK, and I would describe it as epic fantasy with a dark edge and a healthy dose of humour. PW: The Chronicles of the Exile (COTE) series is what I glibly call Malazan Fantasy. Its Epic Fantasy, but notably with a strong note and emphasis on deep time events, gods, ancient [...] Marc Turner is the author of the Chronicles of the Exiles series from Tor. The first novel in the series, When The Heavens Fall has now been followed by the second novel in the series, The Dragon Hunters. Marc kindly sat down with me to talk about his series and epic fantasy in general. PW: Briefly, could you tell us who you are and what you do. MT: Hi, I am Marc Turner. I live in Durham in the UK with my wife and six-year-old son, and I enjoy reading, playing computer games and escaping into the countryside. As to what I do, that’s a question my wife asks me frequently. Alongside bouts of staring out of the window, and hours spent on social media, I occasionally find time to write the Chronicles of the Exile series. It is published by Tor in the US and Titan in the UK, and I would describe it as epic fantasy with a dark edge and a healthy dose of humour. PW: The Chronicles of the Exile (COTE) series is what I glibly call Malazan Fantasy. Its Epic Fantasy, but notably with a strong note and emphasis on deep time events, gods, ancient elder races, parallel dimensions, strange powers, and a sense of events that influence things for millennia to come. What drew you work in this fantastic space rather than more traditional epic fantasy or other forms of secondary world fantasy? MT: The Malazan reference is interesting, because Steven Erikson is the author whose work I would say has most influenced me, and to whom I am most often compared. No one puts the “epic” into epic fantasy like Erikson does. He reminds me of the reason I started reading fantasy all those years ago: for the chance to lose myself in a secondary world, and encounter wondrous new cultures, creatures, and magic systems. I love those elements in the books I read. Of course, character and story must always come before world-building, but if you can set those same characters and that same story against a backdrop of dragon hunts and undead armies, why wouldn’t you? In terms of “deep time events”, I hope that the inclusion of an element of history in my world-building contributes depth to the book. I like to give readers the sense of a world that exists beyond the four corners of the story. When the characters enter stage right, the story-world shouldn’t just spring up out of the ground like one of those pop-up books. It will have existed long before this story began, and will continue to exist long after. Also, history can add mystery and drama to a setting. The COTE World is littered with the ruins of ancient civilisations. Very few people know how or why those ruins came to be, so anyone setting foot in them is going to be in for a surprise. And when I say “surprise”, I don’t [...]

MIND MELD: Our Favorite Weapons in Science Fiction and Fantasy


This week's panelists include Martha Wells, Aliette De Bodard, Karina Sumner-Smith, Helen Lowe, Michael J. Martinez & more! [Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!] We asked our respondents about their favorite weapons in genre fiction. Favorite Weapons: Be it Excalibur or the Point of View Gun, Stormbringer or the BFG, weapons in Fantasy and Science Fiction often have a personality and charm all their own, and sometimes are even characters in their own right. Q: What are your favorite weapon, or weapons, in fantasy and science fiction. This is what they said… Karina Sumner-Smith Karina Sumner-Smith is the author of fantasy novels Radiant, Defiant, and Towers Fall. In addition to novel-length work, Karina has published a range of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories that have been nominated for the Nebula Award, reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies, and translated into Spanish and Czech. Visit her online at It’s telling that right now my instinctive response to a question about “favourite weapons” is to describe my preferred weapon load-out in Destiny. Video games have become second only to books in terms of effective escape from the stress of day-to-day life. (For the record, the load-out is: vendor Hawksaw, Binary Dawn with rangefinder, and Thunderlord.) But my next thought was of Gonturan, the titular weapon of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, and which also appeared in The Hero and the Crown. Gonturan (like so many other fantasy weapons) isn’t a normal sword but a magical one, and as referenced in the original question, she has something of a will of her own. I’ve re-read these two books of Robin McKinley’s many times over, often when winter was at its darkest, and I still don’t know that I quite understand Gonturan or the extent of what she can do. Neither, perhaps, do her wielders. Yet that mystery is part of the fun – that and the classic image of a woman holding aloft a flaming blue sword, riding to battle. Alex von der Linden Alex von der Linden is a lifelong reader, who has sailed the seas in a metal tube, traveled the desert wastes in an up-armored vehicle, and was introduced to Fandom by his parents who have been taking him to cons since shortly after he was born. He is on Twitter as @alexvdl0 and has a review/reading blog site at I don’t think that any discussion on the best weapons in genre can be had without discussing one of the best known, Excalibur. Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table were a very large part of the play space of my youth, and Excalibur was the number two thing on my wishlist, (after a dragon. Of course). My least favorite part of Excalibur is that people constantly get it confused with the Sword in the Stone. I blame Disney. It did however, appeal to me the sword wasn’t even the most powerful part, Arthur was told the scabbard was more powerful, and he STILL let himself get tricked out of it by Morgan le Fay. I’m also a large fan of the idea that the Arthurian cycle led to another of my favorite genre weapons, The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (which I really should have made the third weapon I discussed.) The other genre weapon that had a huge impact on my childhood came from the first genre novel that I ever bought for myself, at a garage sale when I was 9, the Elfstones of Shannara. To be fair, I didn’t even really have a good idea what the Elfstones did. Mostly they did whatever the plot needed them to do when Wil concentrated really hard, and acted as the MacGuffin. To be fair, I think Brooks fleshed them out a lot in later books. But all you need is three smooth rocks, and bam, yo[...]

Table of Contents: SEE THE ELEPHANT Issue #2


Fiction by Diane Glancy, Karen Heuler, James Van Pelt, Cassandra Khaw, F. Brett Cox and more

(image) Here is the table of contents for the new issue of See The Elephant Magazine, subtitled “Love and War in the Slipstream”…

  1. “The Bones of the Matter” by Cassandra Khaw
  2. “The Lost Books of the Painter’s Wife” by Diane Glancy
  3. “The Rising Up” by Karen Heuler
  4. “Girl in Satin Watering Rhododendron Bush” by Rose Wednesday
  5. “Summon Up the Blood” by Michael Canfield
  6. “Big Feet” by Leslie What
  7. “The Cat’s House” by Alana I. Capria
  8. “Inspiration 1.2” by Jane Lebak
  9. “They Got Louie” by F. Brett Cox
  10. “Fairview 619” by Rebecca Schwarz
  11. “The Lawn Fairy War” by James Van Pelt
  12. “The Absence of Cows” by Kristen Falso-Capaldi (New Voices Contest 1st prize winner)
  13. “Kaia” by Brian T. Hodges (New Voices Contest, 2nd place winner)
  14. “Crocodile Tale” M. Glyde. (New Voices Contest, honorable mention)