The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself? The Hell of It February 25, 2015 The Hell of It Peter Orullian What will he wager? Schrödinger’s Gun February 18, 2015 Schrödinger’s Gun Ray Wood Maybe in some other timeline it would have gone smooth. Acrobatic Duality February 11, 2015 Acrobatic Duality Tamara Vardomskaya The two of her are perfectly synchronized.
From The Blog
March 4, 2015
Writing Women Characters as Human Beings
Kate Elliott
March 2, 2015
A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!
Leah Schnelbach
February 27, 2015
Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy — What Spock Meant to One Geeky 12-Year-Old Girl
Emily Asher-Perrin
February 26, 2015
Introducing the Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch
Keith DeCandido
February 23, 2015
Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
Ilana C. Myer
Mar 6 2015 9:00am

On Iain M. Banks and the Video Game that Inspired Excession

Ian Banks Excession

Sid Meier’s Civilization was one of the most addicting games of my life. I feel like I could have learned several new programming languages in the weeks and months I spent building pixelated empires, warring with foreign nations, pursuing brand new technology, and losing everything in an inferno of digital destruction. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Iain M. Banks shared the addiction and that his Culture novel Excession was in part inspired by it. In an interview with SFX Magazines, Banks said:

“Inventing a world where you have different laws of physics, that would be about the ultimate version of Civilization. That’s part of where the idea of Outside Context Problems came from, you’re getting along really well and then this great battleship comes steaming in and you think, well my wooden sailing ships are never going to be able to deal with that. But when I started Excession I deleted Civilization off my hard drive.”

Excession is one of my favorite Culture books and I loved the way it focused on the Minds and the mystery behind the excession itself. The humans, though, seemed like they were tacked on, unnecessary accessories that distracted from the main attraction (I especially struggled with Ulver Seich, who threw a fit for not being able to bring her furry pets on a mission for Special Circumstance). It was only when I viewed them from the context of Civilization that the book took on an entirely different meaning.

[Read more...]

Mar 6 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: All Hail Spock!

Star Trek Comics

BoingBoing shared a gallery of Star Trek comics covers, which were posted by Tumblr-user AstroDevil as a memorial to Leonard Nimoy. They’re all pretty fabulous, but after a bit of debate, we voted for the civilization that had the sense to carve Spock into a mountain.

Morning Roundup brings you a new direction for Star Trek, the ongoing war between DC and Marvel (when will the carnage end???), and David Bowie travels to a magical land of fantasy!

[Plus, we take to the skies with Grumpy Cat!]

Mar 5 2015 4:00pm

A New-New Hope: Star Wars: Rebels Had a Pretty Great First Season

Undoubtedly, for a lot of contemporary younglings, Star Wars is something they first experience as a cartoon show, rather than a series of movies. And can we really blame them? Since 2008, there’s been hundreds hours of cartoon-Star Wars permeating the ether in the form of The Clone Wars, and now, Rebels. Years ago, this really bugged me, and occasionally, I still have a hard time taking cartoon-Star Wars seriously. But with the season finale of Rebels having just concluded, even a scoundrel like me has to admit that—like The Clone Wars before it—Rebels shaped up to be more powerful (and respectable) than we could have possibly imagined.

[Read more]

Mar 5 2015 3:00pm

A Spoiled Princess in an Unspoiled Desert: Sandwriter

Monica Hughes SandwriterFor the most part, Monica Hughes’ work for young adults had focused on science fiction. In 1985, however, she tried something different: Sandwriter, a fantasy partly inspired by her early life in Egypt, partly inspired by her ongoing concerns about the environment.

As a princess and heir to two kingdoms, each of which spans a continent, Antia has grown up in luxury, ignorance, isolation and above all, boredom. She is not quite bored enough, however, to jump at the chance to spend several months on the desert island of Roshan, something she regards as a punishment since, as she immediately tells her aunt—and, more regrettably, Lady Sofi, the woman extending the invitation—that Roshan is nothing but desert and dirt and flies. And that’s the nicer part.

[In which everyone and everything except for the useful oil ends up getting exploited. Also, an annoyingly realistic princess. Spoilers.]

Mar 5 2015 2:10pm

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 28 and 29

The Harry Potter Reread is going to swaddle itself in glitter and go out dancing. But to what kind of music? That, dear reader, is up to you.

This week we’re going to find out what happens when a house-elf gets drunk and then get lectured by a criminal on the run. It’s chapters 28 and 29 of The Goblet of Fire—The Madness of Mr. Crouch and The Dream.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Mar 5 2015 2:45pm

Women SFF Artists Redesign Female Characters and the Results Are Fantastic

women SFF artists redesign female characters Red Sonja Melissa Gay

Orbit Books Creative Director Lauren Panepinto regularly blogs about art on the Muddy Colors blog, but in her latest post, “What Women Want in Women Characters,” she’s given us a special treat. Panepinto called upon members of the hundreds-strong Women in Fantasy Illustration group to redesign famous sci-fi/fantasy, comic book, and video game characters in ways that honor their narratives and keep them properly clothed.

[Read more]

Mar 5 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: The Captain Planet You Deserve, But Not the One You Need

Batman pollution comic Daniel Irizarri

What if Batman’s parents died not by a gun outside of the opera, but in other ways? Artist Daniel Irizarri explores how drunk driving, pollution, and high cholesterol would mold Bruce Wayne into a different Dark Knight than the one we know.

Afternoon Roundup brings you Beauty and the Beast casting news, the cover of Chuck Wendig’s new book, and Star Wars wax figures!

[Read more]

Mar 5 2015 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons, Part 13

A Dance with DragonsWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 13 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 21 (“Jon”) and Chapter 22 (“Tyrion”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[Hey Torquemada, whaddaya say?]

Mar 5 2015 12:50pm

The Master Wants You to Read on World Book Day

The Master World Book Day Michelle Gomez video

Today is World Book Day for the UK and Ireland! To celebrate, the BBC released a new behind-the-scenes video from Doctor Who, again starring Michelle Gomez.

[Watch the video]

Mar 5 2015 12:30pm

What You Can Do Without Limits: The Magic of Weta Workshop

The Weta Cave

I got to go on a tour of the Weta Workshop—the special effects and prop company made famous for their work on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy—because I was in New Zealand and it seemed like a good way to spend half a day. I’m not sorry.

Founded in 1987, Weta has worked on television and film projects from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys to the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road. You can’t take pictures inside the Weta Cave—since the projects that they work on are owned by film companies, and also because you might get a picture of something upcoming—but I learned some pretty incredible things, mostly about what you can achieve when depicting the impossible is your job.

[Guess I should teach myself robotics, huh?]

Mar 5 2015 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 31

Words of Radiance rereadWelcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on! Last week, Carl look at the pretty eels and flowers, and the progressive aspects of Shallan’s artistic skills. This week, we get to hang with both Kaladin and Shallan as the next highstorm approaches, and I get to snarl fruitlessly at Tyn. Again.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.

[They say it was the Assassin in White.]

Mar 5 2015 11:30am

To Catch a Cop: Gotham, “Everyone Has a Cobblepot”

Gotham Everyone Has a Cobblepot

Two weeks in a row where an episode of Gotham features a mostly-logical sequence of events, and real consequences (well, maybe) for the actions of its characters? What is happening? For the most of the series so far, Gotham has tended to dote on its central conflicts, rather than progressing the story (whatever that story may be). “Everyone Has a Cobblepot” contained just about every interesting aspect of the police corruption plotline that we’ve been waiting to see, but which the show has thus far denied us, opting instead to spin its wheels and remind us every now and then that Gotham’s corrupt ’cause police n’ corruption n’ stuff.

[Read More]

Mar 5 2015 11:00am

We Want Mecha Wombats! Our Pop Quiz Interview with Catherynne M. Valente

Cat ValenteWelcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Catherynne M.  Valente, the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making. The fourth book in the Fairyland series, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, is available now from Feiwel & Friends.

Join us!

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Mar 5 2015 10:50am

The Thorn of Emberlain at Last

Scott Lynch Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora enlivened a whole lot of lives upon its publication in 2006, such that the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, was held to a hella high standard when it sailed into bookstores a matter of months later. The mixed feelings it met with then may well have played a part in the circumstances surrounding the six-year delay fans of the Gentleman Bastards were made to bear, but since the eventual release of The Republic of Thieves in late 2013, every indication has been given that the wait for the next volume of Scott Lynch’s fantasy saga would be rather more reasonable.

And readers.... it appears it will be. Gollancz plan to publish The Thorn of Emberlain before 2015 is over.

[I can hear the sighs of relief from here!]

Mar 5 2015 10:30am

Cover Reveal for Laura Anne Gilman’s Silver on the Road is pleased to reveal John Jude Palencar’s cover art for Silver on the Road. The first novel in Nebula award finalist Laura Anne Gilman’s new epic fantasy series, Silver in the Road publishes this October from Saga Press. Check out the full cover image and learn more about the series below!

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Mar 5 2015 10:00am

Girl Monsters: A Conversation With Nova Ren Suma

Nova Ren Suma The Walls Around Us

Critical darling Nova Ren Suma is already well-known for her gorgeous, genre-hopping, and distinctly sinister body of work. We talked about memory, ghosts, and unreliable and monstrous girls in advance of the March 23rd publication of her newest novel, The Walls Around Us, which is already garnering rave reviews.

[Read more...]

Mar 5 2015 9:00am

Amicae Aeternum

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 9 Jonathan Strahan is honored to reprint “Amicae Aeternum” by Ellen Klages, as featured in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 9—publishing May 12th from Solaris.

Distant worlds, time travel, epic adventure, unseen wonders, and much more! The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume nine, and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents.

[Read “Amicae Aeternum”]

Mar 5 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Jim Henson’s Age of Ultron Babies!

Chibi Avengers

So has everyone had a chance to watch the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer? Pretty good, right? During the Twittersplosion of fans clamoring to unlock the trailer, @jenniferfassey posted this picture (which was included with this wonderful Tumblr-pile of sleeping Avengers) and we love it so much! Can this be the after-credits-scene scene? Look at the detail! Baby Tony is stretched out so he can reach his Science Bro without leaving Baby Steve! Li’l Hulk is holding Mini-Loki’s ankle, as if to pummel him again! But it’s ok, cause THOR IS HUGGING HIS BROTHER IN HIS SLEEP. Gaaah. Oh, and please note that, even in Chibi form, Nick Fury sleeps with one eye open.

Morning Roundup brings you a remembrance of Douglas Adams, a sneak peek at Netflix’s Luke Cage series, and pearls of truth falling from the lips of Michael Bay!

[Plus, for all your film nerd needs, a tribute to Saul Bass.]

Mar 4 2015 4:00pm

Razorhurst (Excerpt)

Justine Larbalestier

Razorhurst Justine Larbalestier Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce.

Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.

The notoriously bloody history of a mob-run Sydney, Australia neighborhood is fertile ground for Justine Larbalestier’s Razorhurst, a historical thriller with a paranormal twist—available now from Soho Press.

[Read an Excerpt]

Mar 4 2015 4:52pm

Announcing The Kitschies’ 2014 Winners!

The Kitschies 2014 shortlists PornokitschThe Kitschies, the annual tentacle-themed prize for works containing elements of the “speculative and fantastic,” have announced the winners for the most “progressive, intelligent, and entertaining” fiction of 2014.

The prizes were awarded by judges Adam Roberts and Frances Hardinge at a ceremony held at London’s Seven Dials Club. The winners included a truly mind-blowing young adult novel and an episodic point-and-click adventure game; The Kitschies also honored an illustrator urging for more diversity in her peers’ work.

[Read more]