Friday, December 18, 2015
Speculative Fiction Picks:
Ep#7: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Ep #6: The Three Body Problem by Lui Cixin.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Speculative Fiction Picks:
Ep#5: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Pinned to Speculative Fiction Picks on Pinterest.
Originally seen here.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Sunday, September 27, 2015
I'm amazed by banned #Speculative #Fiction in my indie bookstore http://ow.ly/SGy6i. Some are my favorites. Any #banned books in your favs? http://ow.ly/SGybE
Originally seen here.
Originally seen here.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Originally seen here.
Friday, September 18, 2015
The post Ep#4: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison appeared first on Speculative Fiction Picks.
Rumors and Reports:
Speculative Fiction Awards Watch:
Guardians of the Galaxy took best Long Form Dramatic presentation and Orphan Black beat out Dr. Who, Game of Thrones, Grimm and The Flash for best Short Form presentation. Interestingly, several of the categories received no winner because attendees voted for the “no winner” over any of the nominees.
George R. R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones, held his own awards ceremony after midnight at the Glover mansion where he awarded the Alfies, named in honor of Alfred Bester, who won the first ever Hugo Award with his novel, The Demolished Man. The awards were made out of ’50s hood ornaments and given to authors who would have been nominated if works from the Sad Puppy / Rapid Puppy slates hadn’t filled the ballot. Among the winners of the Alfie were John Joseph Adams, Liz Gorinsky, Patrick Rothfuss, Ursula Vernon and Jo Walton.
Martin presented special Alfie awards to Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet, who were nominated due to the slates but withdrew their works from consideration; to Eric Flint for his “eloquence and rationality” in writing about the controversy; and to Robert Silverberg, who has attended every Hugo Awards ceremony.–Locus Magazine“This year all of us were losers,” Martin said.
Next year, WorldCon will be in Kansas City, and Helsinki will host WorldCon in 2017.
On August 17 Sidewise awarded The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch best alternative history novel and Kiss from a Queen by Jeff Provine won the Baen Fantasy Award.
On September 9, Dragon Con took place in Atlanta, where the best speculative fiction podcasting awards, The Parsecs Awards, were announced. No, we didn’t even rate. There were a lot of categories, so please link to the site for further details.
Author News:President Obama presented Stephen King with a National Medal of Arts on September 10. The medal is “the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.”
Some sad news. On Aug 30, director and writer Wes Craven died at age 76 of brain cancer, at his home in Los Angeles.
Wesley Earl Craven was born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland OH. He studied English and psychology at Wheaton College in Illinois, and earned a master’s in philosophy and writing at Johns Hopkins. He briefly taught college before turning to cinema, and he worked on more than 50 features as a writer, director, or producer. With writer Steve Niles he created comic book mini-series Coming of Rage (2014).–Locus Magazine
Best known for horror films, including The Last House on the Left (1972), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Scream (1996), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), The People Under the Stairs (1991), and many others.
He published one novel, the SciFi thriller Fountain Society (1999), about a scientist who has his brain transplanted into a cloned body.
Margaret Atwood has a new novel coming out this month, The Heart Goes Last.
Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.
Stephen Baxter is coming out with Xeelee Endurance. Jim Butcher is putting out The Aeronaut’s Windlass. Nancy Kress has The Best of Nancy Kress coming out. Queen of Steampunk Cherie Priest‘s new novel is Chapelwood.
And weirder than weird Salman Rushdie of The Satanic Verses has a new book in the genre, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, where beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.
In Reality Based News:Ever try telling a computer you were late to work due to traffic. Hitachi has introduced an Artificial Intelligence to manage their workers.
Forty years after the Apollo Moon Mission ended, scientists are still parsing the data. For example, they recently discovered over 200 moonquakes on the our nearest neighbor.
UC Berkley recently started a free, web-based, 8 week course to teach positive psychology and the research based methods for living a happy and meaningful life.
TV and Film:
Really exciting stuff this month. One of my all time favorite books got optioned by WGN America. WGN will be developing Cold War-era novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky for Sony Pictures Television. In 1979, Andrei Tarkovsky adapted the novel into the film Stalker which wasn’t quite a success. In 2012, the novel received a new translation from Olena Bormashenko which piqued new interest in the book. The TV series adaptation will be written by Jack Paglan (Transcendence), and will be directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones).
Deliciously tense and brilliantly plotted, Roadside Picnic takes place after our first encounter with aliens. The aliens briefly inhabited several areas of Earth, but made no effort to engage or even notice humans. The vacated areas they inhabited, called zones, are strew with alien garbage. The things left behind have mysterious, unpredictable and very dangerous properties, causing governments to cordon off the zones, while poachers are irresistibly drawn to the areas despite the danger.
The first book of Octavia Butler’s trilogy Lilith’s Brood, entitled Dawn, was optioned for TV by Allen Bain’s production company. Some of you may know the book by its previous name, the Xenogenesis series.
The sci-fi tale tells of humanity’s last survivors who are saved by an ancient alien race just before the destruction of the earth. They are given the choice of either mating with the aliens to create a new mixed species, or die as the last humans.–Deadline HollywoodLike all Butler’s work, Lilith’s Brood is thoughtful and very creepy. It will be fascinating to see how they recreate the scenes for television, because much of the novel only happens in the minds of the characters.
The Martian opens Oct 2:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Having finished The Martian, Ridley Scott is moving on to work on Prometheus 2. Rumor has it that after the Aliens prequel-sequel he will work on a sequel to Blade Runner. Blade Runner was adapted from Philipe K. Dick’s novel,
Spielberg has signed Olivia Cooke to play Art3mis, in Ready Player One, novel by Ernest Cline.
Set in a dreary, quasi-dystopian world in which its inhabitants spend as often as they can logged into a virtual world called Oasis, Ready Player One follows young gamer Wade, who is one of many embarking on a quest within the game’s world to find the fortune that has been hidden with its virtual confines by its deceased creator. Cooke will be playing Canadian blogger Sam – or ‘Art3mis’, as she goes by in Oasis – who ends up joining forces with Sam.–SciFiNowThe movie is expected to premiere in December 2017.
Also in 2017, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is expected to air on Starz. The series is currently in preproduction with director David Slade and producer Bryan Fuller from Hannibal.
Paramount Pictures picked up on option Cory Doctorow’s dystopian future, Little Brother. The story is about a seventeen year old, who is interrogated by Homeland Security. When the teen is finally released he becomes instrumental in a techno-geek rebellion against the new US police state. The second book in the series, Homeland, was released in 2013 and more are on the way.
The first season of The Man in the High Castle, adapted from a Philip K. Dick novel, will be available on Amazon November 20. The pilot was excellent and is already available at Amazon. Man in the High Castle is an alternate history in which the Axis countries win WWII and divide the US among themselves.
Netflix is picking up the abandoned British series Black Mirror and they will produce a Season 4 in the franchise.
The BBC is adapting a four-part series of The City and The City by China Mieville. This unusual novel tells the story of Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. Assigned to investigate the mutilated body of a foreign student dumped in a wasteland, he uncovers evidence that the deceased girl was involved in the political turmoil between the twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma. The two cities occupy the same physical space. Citizens of each city are forbidden from seeing each other and have a duty to wipe any accidental contact from their memories. The rule is enforced by a department known as “Breach.”
And finally, fans of the game Risk can now play a Star Wars version that allows them to conquer an entire galaxy.
Showcase Novel: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine AddisonAbsolute Power Corrupts Absolutely–Or Not.
If you were suddenly appointed dictator, would it change you? Would you rule with an iron fist? Or have you been the victim of power enough times that your internal compass would not allow you to be unjust?
Emperor Varenechibel can’t stand the sight of his fourth wife. Everything about her, from her dark goblin skin, to her peculiar religious practice grates against him. But, being the emperor of all the Elflands, he had to marry the woman for political reasons. Shortly after she bares him a son, the emperor banishes her and the boy to some remote corner of the empire, where she eventually dies. The boy, now eight, is placed in the care of a distant cousin, also banished from court.
The youngest and least loved of the Emperor’s sons, Maia Drazhar knows life with his sadistic cousin is the only one he will ever lead. Born with dark gray skin and all but forgotten, he will never be welcome at court.
Until a horrible accident leaves the emperor and all his sons dead, except Maia.
Unschooled in the complexities of court life, Maia is thrust into the world of power and intrigue. Everyone wants something. Everyone has an ulterior motive. No one is his friend. He must decide quickly who he can trust, and who he can rely upon. Should he rule with aloof indifference to protect his own emotional wellbeing, as other emperors have done, or forge a new path? Will he even be allowed to become a knowledgeable and just leader for the people of this vast and diverse empire?
Beautiful prose and extraordinary world building, complete with several invented languages and cultures, make The Goblin Emperor a joy to read. The backdrop is sort of like mixing Paul Atreides of Dune with Octavia Butler’s Kindered in a Steampunk Downton Abby and throwing in Elves and Goblins. The novel is filled with wonderful, funny characters, each brought to life by Addison’s loving hand. The protagonist, Maia, is instantly likable and carries much of the success of this novel. You can’t help but root for him. Although some criticize the novel as being plotless, the story is heavily character driven and so the movements of the book are mostly about internal struggle. For me, the plot is very present.
The reading is light and hopeful but Addison touches on many of the darker issues of our time. She includes racism, sexist, homophobia, economic justice and class struggle, but she does not dwell on any of them. She is a little heavy handed with the theme but the nature of power is a theme worth considering.
Addison said during an interview on the Sword and Laser Podcast that The Goblin Emperor will not have a sequel, but I hope she reconsiders. I would be more than happy to revisit the Unthelenase court and see how my favorite characters faired.
Katherine Addison is the pseudonym for Sarah Monette. As Sarah Monette she published her first novel, Mélusine in 2005, but she was publishing short stories long before that. This novel was picked up by Tor and published last April. It was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Rumors and Reports:
Awards Watch for Speculative Fiction:
Mythopoeic Awards were announced at MythCon 46 in Colorado Springs on Aug 2. Tales of Rugosa Coven by Sarah Avery won the adult novel category and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd won the children’s category.
John Scalzi, Hugh Howey and Andy Weir have helped to fuel a comeback of serialized speculative fiction. Now a new start-up company, Serial Box, is trying to capitalize on the comeback of the serial. Unlike most of these start-ups, they are concentrating on a few very good series instead of high volume.
Each story is timed to take about 40 minutes to read or listen to, and will drop each week. Each episode will cost $1.99 for either the text or audio versions ($2.99 for both). A subscription will net you the text and audio $1.59 per episodes.
Episodes are written by collaborating authors in a style similar to TV. Their first offering is Bookburner.
Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Her brother wasn’t so lucky. Freshly awake to just what dangerous are lurking, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—but the demons she’s hunting may be hunting her in turn.
TV and Film:
The Expanse will kick off with a two-night premiere event starting Monday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET and continuing on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 10 p.m. ET, before moving to its regular Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET timeslot for the remainder of its 10-episode first season.
Set 200 years in the future after mankind colonized the solar system, The Expanse tells the story of a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait) who come together for what starts as the case of a missing young woman and evolves into a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.
The six-hour television event Childhood’s End will air over three consecutive nights starting Monday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET, running two hours each night through Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Childhood’s End follows the peaceful invasion of Earth by the alien Overlords, who promise to eliminate poverty, war and sickness, ushering in an age of peace. But the Overlords insist on hiding their appearance, making some on earth question where there’s a price to pay. As the truth about the Overlords’ intentions are revealed, humanity will discover its destiny may actually be a nightmare, instead of a dream.
In Gateway, humanity discovers an asteroid teeming with the long abandoned spaceships of an advanced alien race — the Heechee – setting in motion a gold rush for alien artifacts and technology. The ships are preprogrammed, transporting their voyagers to distant worlds of riches — or certain death. Undaunted by the peril or the odds, prospector Robinette Broadhead gambles everything on a journey to Gateway. After one nightmare mission, he returns to extraordinary wealth and luxury, but is haunted by the loss of his crewmates, including the love of his life.
Said Bill McGoldrick, Executive Vice President, Original Content, Syfy: “Gateway is thought-provoking and unsettling, raising profound questions about mankind’s possible relationship with alien life.”
Disney is adding two 14 acres of parks themed after Star Wars where kids can learn to be a Jedi at the Jedi Academy. Rides?
One will let fans fly the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission, the other will place them in between a fight with the First Order and the Resistance.
Steven Spielberg plans to have Ernest Cline’s geeky fantasy Ready Player One for release in December 2017. Cline published a sequel to the popular novel this year, Armada. He was recently given a 7 figure advance from Crown Publishing for a third novel.
Meanwhile in the Real World:
England is developing a way to charge your electric or hybrid car while you drive.
Showcase Novel: Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Close your eyes. Okay, not if you’re driving. Now find the nearest bathroom. That was hard, right? Now find the nearest bathroom with your eyes closed and people waiting in ambush to kill you. Oh, and did I mention that just a glance in the wrong direction at the wrong moment could kill you too? Welcome to life in Josh Malerman’s Bird Box.
Malorie has just discovered that the one night stand she had a few weeks ago has made her pregnant. In the background of her immediate pregnancy crisis are vague reports from the Soviet Union about people becoming murderously insane after exposure to something outside. Unfortunately, no one’s sanity survives long enough to tell the press what they saw immediately before loosing their minds. As Malorie’s pregnancy progresses, the world devolves into isolated handfuls of people barracked in the dark. She finds herself locked in a house with seven strangers trying to survive this new and terrifying world.
Like most speculative fiction, the plot asks the reader to believe the impossible, but that never stopped Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock from telling a good story. And this story locks you in the attic with a bunch of birds about to peck your eyes out. Malerman has the ability to put you inside his character’s mind, with all the overwhelming fear and uncertainty of a sighted person suddenly deprived of their most valued sense while fending off a murderous foe. The tension had me shielding my eyes and reading between my fingers, right up to the end. An ending which is just right–resonant and perfectly matched to the pitch and tone of the story. Great first novel. I plan to keep my eyes open for anything else Malerman writes.
What was that noise? Did you hear something? Outside. Or maybe it was the attic.
from Episode #3: Bird Box by Josh Malerman