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geoffrey h goodwin

Catching Up With Steampunk Artist Dan Hillier

By combining Victorian sensibilities with a fascination for animal attributes, Dan Hillier has become well-known for black line engravings that embody the steampunk aesthetic. He often depicts realistic poses of late-1800s people who have been altered by having animal elements added. Or perhaps the fantastical hybrids are the exact opposite, animals with the human elements added. 

His subjects range from reclining women to skulls resting on plates, but the archetypal and iconic effect of the black lines blurs the distinctions that are normally implied by reality. His art looks like diagrams from ancient textbooks but reveal a world that doesn’t exist yet…

[Please keep reading for more of Dan Hillier’s artwork and an interview.]

Series: Steampunk Month

Review: You Might Sleep… by Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas returned to California in August of last year to become an editor at Viz Media, founding its Haikasoru imprint of Japanese novels in translation. When friends asked him why he was taking a day job after fifteen years of freelance writing, he told them that health insurance would help him pursue his true goal…becoming a cage fighter. Mamatas studies tai chi, but the better analogy for his writing, as showcased in his new short story collection, You Might Sleep…, is actually that cage fighting joke itself.

Mamatas’s stories employ an unpredictable array of viewpoints and perspectives, from the wry and bemused to the heartless and bleak. Maybe it is his belief in socialism or a communal love for human beings, maybe it is even because he ended up in speculative fiction even though much of his work is grounded in real world concerns—but the stories are often about people with crazy ideas, some of which turn out well and some of which turn out badly. Reading outside of the confines of the speculative genres allows You Might Sleep… to have a wonderful balance of day-to-day concerns (like having to get a day job because the economy is rough) and pulpier concerns (like a cult novelist shucking writing to fight for money).

[Please read more…]

Catching Up With Amber Benson

Amber Benson is, of course, better known for her acting, especially as Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she has also paid her dues and entertained fans as a writer. Her first solo novel, Death’s Daughter (Ace), was released as a paperback earlier this year. As Benson puts it, “Having spent three years of my life living in Sunnydale, CA as a member of the Scooby Gang on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I guess it wasn’t a very far leap for me to start writing urban fantasy, with a strong female protagonist who has (I hope) a sense of humor.”

Even before writing fiction for publication, Amber Benson has always been a reader, even in between takes on sets. Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Susan Cooper and Marion Zimmer Bradley are among her favorites. She started getting published while collaborating with Christopher Golden, an award-winning and prolific author who writes in many different styles but whose work is most often compared to Peter Straub or Stephen King.

[Please keep reading for an interview with Amber Benson about her writing…]

Remembering Stan Winston

On July 15th of last year, the Academy Award-winning visual special effects artist Stan Winston died at age 62 from multiple myeloma. For over forty years, he had been one of the best alive at makeup and prosthetic special effects. In that time, Winston garnered five Emmy nominations when he started out in television and then, in film, was eventually nominated for ten Oscars, winning four total for Aliens (visual effects), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (visual effects and makeup) and Jurassic Park (visual effects). Stan Winston even received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2001.

And some of the final films he worked on were the big action hits of last summer and this one: Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Terminator Salvation and G.I. Joe all feature his work. Perhaps the most awaited is Avatar, his long-time collaborator James Cameron’s return to science fiction and Cameron’s first full-length non-documentary film since 1997’s Titanic. Even in the CGI-driven later work, Stan Winston knew that “what digital can’t do is help the performance of an actor or the visual understanding of a director.”

[Please keep reading, he even directed Pumpkinhead in 1988…]