Star Wars Propaganda Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy, available now from Harper Design!

A Star Wars authority deepens and extends our appreciation of the Star Wars galaxy with this imaginative “history” featuring striking full-color artwork—created exclusively for this entertaining volume—that examines the persuasive messages used to intimidate and inspire the citizenry of the galaxy far, far away. . . .

A Star Destroyer hovering over a planet, symbolizing Imperial domination.

An X-wing delivering a message of resistance and hope on behalf of the Rebellion.

A line of armed, faceless First Order stormtroopers promoting unity.

These are all examples of propaganda used by the Empire to advocate strength and maintain fear, and by the Rebel Alliance to inspire hope and win support for the fight. Star Wars Propaganda takes fans into the beloved epic story as never before, bringing the battle between these two sides to life in a fresh and brilliant way.

Star Wars Propaganda includes fifty dazzling pieces of art representing all seven episodes—including material related to Star Wars: The Force Awakens—specially produced for this companion volume. Each page combines an original image and a short description detailing its “history:” the in-world “artist” who created it (either willingly or through coercion), where in the Star Wars galaxy it appeared, and why that particular location was targeted.

Packaged in a beautifully designed case and written by a franchise expert and insider, Star Wars Propaganda also includes ten removable art prints, and is sure to become a keepsake for every fan and graphic artist as well.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 4:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 26th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 30th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Captain Kirk Has a Man-Cave: Brad Ferguson’s Crisis on Centaurus

Crisis on Centaurus opens in a busy spaceport. This is not the sanitized, utopian Federation we are used to; it is crammed with brand names, and with frustrated travelers. One of them, an angry Tellarite businessman, attacks an ATM that has swallowed his American Express card, and we are suddenly immersed in the ugly underside of our imagined future. Not because someone has taken a sword to a machine that even the local cops admit deserved it, although that’s a grittier underbelly than Star Trek imagines most of the time, but because of Holtzman, the terrorist, sitting just a few feet away. This is not only a highly commercial Federation, it is, Ferguson subtly reminds us, a place where a genocidal dictator once hid for years by traveling the galaxy. And suddenly, it’s a Federation where we see the forces of evil do much worse than performing in a touring production of Hamlet.

Ferguson’s humor is a stealth move that makes the moment of destruction shocking. A simple antimatter bomb transforms the New Athens spaceport into a fourth sun rising over the Centauran horizon. James T. Kirk is going to have to save this brand new day.

[It’s a Man’s Job]

Comics Artist Continues the Avatar Cycle With Fan Art For “The Legend of Abioye”

If you’ve never seen the work of Marcus Williams, get ready for a real treat. As a comics artist and fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Williams took it upon himself to imagine the next Avatar after Korra–a young Earthbender named Abioye. The cast of characters and background he has built for the story is wonderful, a crew of friends and allies that are right at home in the Avatar universe.

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NOT THE BEES! Black Mirror, “Hated in the Nation”

Even though Black Mirror is an anthology and you could conceivably watch season 3 in any order, “Hated in the Nation” still feels like a season finale. Not just because of its supersized runtime (90 minutes), but also because it collects many of the ideas and motifs explored in the previous five episodes: raising each other up with retweets and tearing each other down with hashtags (instead of stars); online vigilantes goading us to display our worst selves and then striking; drones used for nefarious purposes. While it’s not as flashily dystopian as other Black Mirror installments, it resembles last year’s holiday special “White Christmas” in that its technology—and the human application of it—feels uncomfortably close to our present.
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My Not-So-Excellent Lucid Dreaming Adventure

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

I started writing fiction because of a dream. I was in my mid-30s, and the last fiction I’d written was in English Comp class in college, but when I had this cool dream of a guy parachuting off a chip of Manhattan hanging in an otherwise empty sky, and landing days later on another small piece of the world, I couldn’t resist trying to write it as a short story. Just recently, I turned that first story into a novel, titled Faller.

Meanwhile, until four years ago I made my living as a psychology professor, and one of my favorite lecture topics in Intro Psych was sleep and dreams. My students were especially fascinated by the idea of lucid dreaming—being consciously aware that you’re dreaming while you’re still in the dream. The thinking is, if you learn to become aware in your dreams, you can take control of them, and when you face your unconscious fears while dreaming, you can more easily face them in the waking world. I decided to give lucid dreaming a try. I figured if I had more control over them, I might be able to boost my creative firepower. Plus I was just curious to see what would happen.

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The Warren Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Brian Evenson’s The Warren, available now from Publishing!

X doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one—or many—but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X.

He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be.

But when he discovers the existence of another—above ground, outside the protection of the Warren—X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 26th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 30th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

A Shaggy Frog Story: Neil Gaiman’s “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Neil Gaiman’s “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar,” first published in Mike Ashley’s 1998 anthology, The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy. Spoilers ahead.

[“Well, it’s not exactly a common name, is it? Nyarlathotep.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

9 Horrifying Books That Aren’t Shelved as Horror

October is the perfect month for horror! But what if you’ve grown tired of everything the horror shelves have to offer?

To satisfy even the most jaded of appetites, we’ve rounded up a list of 9 sci-fi, literary fiction, and even non-fiction titles that will still leave you chilled. Let us know if we forgot any of your favorite non-horror horror in the comments!

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Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Assail Chapter Four

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda, and finally comments from readers. Today we’re continuing Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Assail, covering chapter four.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

When the Minister of Magic Narrates Your Audiobook

On November 8, Audible will be releasing A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack in audiobook form, with Noma Dumezweni narrating. Hartley’s YA debut set in a 19th century South African fantasy world, centers on 17-year-old Anglet Sutonga, who works as a steeplejack (repairing chimneys and spires throughout the city) in Bar-Selehm. Caught up in a web of unexplained deaths and the sudden theft of one of the city’s most valued historic icons, Ang must discover what links these events together before chaos breaks out.

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Get Inspired for NaNoWriMo with Advice from Your Favorite SFF Authors!

Less than a week from today, on November 1, National Novel Writing Month begins! You have 30 days to write 50,000 (or more!) words without fear of outside readers or your own second-guessing. You get to throw all the writing rules out the window, except for the one where you sit down every day to write. Which is not to say that NaNoWriMo lacks structure—in fact, it’s all about support systems, from the forums to the pep talks from dozens of published authors, some of whom have attempted NaNoWriMo themselves. (And, in the case of some like Patrick Rothfuss, lost.) Because if you’re staring at the blank page on Day 1, or desperately sobbing your way through what seems like an irreparable plot mistake on Day 20, you’re going to need the moral support.

[You might enjoy these pep talks from…]