The Great Serialization Experiment: Don’t Kill Your Reader – Eat a Cookie Instead

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by mariebilodeau

Write on your own tombstone. Is there anything the Internet won't do? What a world we live in, people. What a world.

Write on your own tombstone. Is there anything the Internet won’t do? What a world we live in, people. What a world.

Remember, Kids: A Dead Reader Is A Non-Purchasing Reader

Here we are, last post of this series. Thanks for sticking around! Check out the first two parts if you haven’t yet: The Lay of the Land and Attack on Multiple Fronts.

The Mad Science

Ah, the eternal question: To plot ahead, or to write by the seat of your pants? I like to strike a healthy balance between planning and OMG WHY DID I THINK THAT CAPTURING MY NEIGHBOR’S PETUNIA GARDEN WOULD BE SIMPLE AND WHY DIDN’T I STUDY THEIR SQUIRREL DEFENSE GRID MORE THOROUGHLY FIRST??? I seriously still wonder about that one, as do my scars. I enjoy a combo of planning and flying by the seat of my squirrel-shredded pants is what I’m saying, in case that was a bit much on the cap locks.

This is what I did for Nigh, but I already had two published trilogies by the time I wrote it, so I had some idea of how I draft best (hint: very caffeinated). I didn’t have book 5 written when book 1 came out, but I had my plan. A thin little plan full of hunger and pain, but a plan nonetheless. I focused on arcs (skeleton) and promises (muscles and organs), and then tacked on the skin as I wrote.

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Fantasia Diary 2015, Day 22: Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, Assassination, and Attack on Titan: Part 1

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

Rurouni KenshinTuesday, August 4, was my last day at the Fantasia Festival. It was the official closing day of Fantasia; they’d added a few screenings on Wednesday, but nothing that looked compelling to me. I have some more films to write about after this, thanks to the festival’s screening room. But since I’ll be writing here about the last three movies I saw in a theatre at the 2015 Fantasia Festival, in this post I want to make a point of acknowledging the crowds.

All three movies I saw that Tuesday played in the big Hall Theatre, to packed houses. All of them were more-or-less designed to be big crowd-pleasers, though in different ways. In two cases, they succeeded admirably, even spectacularly. And the third case failed utterly. Given the kinds of movies these were, the audience reactions are worth noting; especially in the case of these audiences. Fantasia crowds are the best I’ve ever found, wildly enthusiastic when a good movie pays off, but critical and even mocking when a bad one implodes. So I’m happy to use their responses in discussing these three movies.

The first film I saw that Tuesday was a late addition to the Fantasia line-up. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends was the third film in a series, a live-action adaptation of a popular manga that had already been adapted into several anime. Assassination was a Korean movie set during the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, a mix of intrigue and action. Then came the festival’s official closing movie, the first film in the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan.

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Cixin Liu the Superstar: How Taking a Risk on a Chinese Author Paid Off Big For Tor

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Three-Body Problem-smallOne of the great things about science fiction conventions is getting to rub shoulders with your heroes.

Some years ago I received an advance proof of an upcoming fantasy from Bantam Spectra, just before heading to Archon in St. Louis. I threw it in my luggage, and brought it to the author’s reading. There were only seven people in the audience, so afterwards I got to have a nice chat with the author, and he graciously signed my book for me. The writer was George R.R. Martin, and the book was A Game of Thrones.

In fact, writers who will draw huge crowds in public can often be vastly more approachable at small conventions. Perhaps this is because seeing Neil Gaiman at your local library is a big deal, but hanging out with him at the bar at World Fantasy is just a lot more casual.

Of course, there are rare exceptions. There are a few writers treated like superstars, even among fellow professionals. I saw it happen when Stephen King came to my home town of Ottawa for the World Fantasy Convention in 1984, and autograph lines spontaneously formed whenever he sat down. I got in line an hour early just so I could be in the front row during his reading from The Talisman (and ended up giving up my seat anyway, just so Tabitha King wouldn’t have to stand in the back.)

And I saw it happen again in June of this year, when the hottest new writer in science fiction, Cixin Liu, author of the Three-Body trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End), arrived in Chicago for the Nebula Awards weekend.

Mr. Liu was in making his first trip to the United States as a published author to be on hand for the presentation of the awards. His first novel in English, The Three-Body Problem, published by Tor in November of last year, was up for Best Novel.

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New Treasures: Gotham by Midnight by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

gotham by midnight-small Gotham By Midnight-back-small

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

I admit I haven’t paid much attention to DC Comics popular The New 52 line (though I probably should). But I have been playing the superb Batman: Arkham Knight on the Xbox, and it’s sharpened my interest in all things Gotham-related. The tortured city of Gotham, birthplace of so much madness and obsession, is one of the great fictional cities in all of literature, and the perfect locale for a creepy supernatural series.

DC seems to think so too. The new Gotham by Midnight comic, collected in trade paperback for the first time last week, features Detective Jim Corrigan (aka The Spectre) in his own series, tackling the unusual cases that land on the Gotham City PD desk during the night shift. Spinning out of Ray Fawkes’ Batman Eternal comic, Gotham By Midnight sees Corrigan prowling the streets of Gotham, solving the unsolvable supernatural crimes that arise when monsters, ghosts and worse things leave their mark on the city. When two kidnapped girls return home unable to speak English, and changed, Corrigan and his team of supernatural sleuths follow the clues to an ancient school with a very strange curriculum. Volume One: We Do Not Sleep collects the first six issues of the comic.

Gotham by Midnight, Volume One: We Do Not Sleep was written by Ray Fawkes and drawn by Ben Templesmith, and published by DC Comics on August 25, 2015. It is 144 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Ben Templesmith.

Short Speculative Fiction: An August Round-Up

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by Learned Foote

Fantasy-and-Science-Fiction-July-August-2015-rack Asimov's Science Fiction August 2015-rack Lightspeed-August-2015-rack
Analog-July-August-2015-rack Clarkesworld-107-rack

In this column, find recommendations for short speculative fiction from Fantasy and Science Fiction (July/August 2015), Asimov’s (August 2015), Lightspeed (August 2015), Analog (July/August 2015), and Clarkesworld (107). The Clarkesworld & Lightspeed stories are linked; the rest require a subscription.

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Like Osprey But Corsets and Khaki with a Whiff of Steampunk: Great War Fashion by Lucy Adlington

Friday, September 4th, 2015 | Posted by M Harold Page


In a warzone and yet she’s smiling. Why?

First, take a look at the young woman on the cover, “A despatch rider in the Women’s Royal Airforce enjoying a tea break while seated on her motorcycle, 1918.”

She’s most likely in a warzone. She’s probably not had a bath for a while. Might have lice. Any men in her life have a good chance of not making it to Christmas with all their body parts, or at all. She’s living under military discipline. And, as she rides around, she might herself get blown up or strafed.

And yet, she’s smiling.

You really have to read expert fashion historian Lucy Adlington’s Great War Fashion: Tales from the History Wardrobe to truly understand why she’s smiling.

And fashion in the book’s title is an understatement. This is more the kind of thing Osprey would publish — kit, context, consequences and case study. It’s certainly less about the minutiae of stitching and fabric, and more about the clothes women wore, why, how, and what the experience was.

As promised by the subtitle, “Tales from the History Wardrobe,” it’s packed with stories from women’s original letters, diaries and reminiscences, so it takes us beyond fashion and into the evolving role of women from about 1910 through to 1920.

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Goth Chick News: Leonardo DiCaprio as Unrepentant Serial Killer… Finally

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Devil in the White City-smallNearly two years have passed since I first reported Warner Bros. continued to slog through script development on a movie version of Erik Larson’s tale of murder in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, The Devil in the White City.

Larson’s book, which tells the twin narratives of serial killer H.H. Holmes and Daniel H. Burnham the architect behind the World Fair, was first put in development by Tom Cruise’s production company, but the option lapsed in 2004.

What then ensued was a series of various studio options, all which lapsed before the movie could get out of development hell. White City finally came to rest with Warner Bros. where it has languished for the last several years until their option also expired, resulting in an aggressive bidding war which was ultimately won this summer by Paramount.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been attached to the White City project for nearly ten years, doggedly pursuing the film since shortly after Cruise’s company lost out. DiCaprio is specifically keen to play Holmes rather than the far more likable character of Burnham, because DiCaprio wants to portray an entirely unsympathetic “bad guy.”

Holmes most certainly fits the bill.

H.H. Holmes murdered between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, against the backdrop of the Chicago World’s Fair. The reason the spread on the quantity of victims is so large is, due to his insidious corpse disposal methods, the exact body count was impossible to pin down. Even Holmes himself couldn’t recall the precise number, when he was finally caught, tried, and hung in 1896.

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Fantasia Diary 2015, Day 21: Crumbs, Marshland, The Invitation, and Cosmodrama

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

CrumbsFantasia was beginning to wind down. After seeing five movies on Sunday, August 2, I only saw four on Monday the 3rd: an Ethiopian post-apocalypse quest called Crumbs; a Spanish crime movie called Marshland; an American suspense movie called The Invitation; and a French science fiction comedy called Cosmodrama. I’d heard good things about each of these movies, and I had cautiously high hopes. Which were mostly fulfilled.

Crumbs was preceded by a Canadian short film called “Fish Out of Water.” Written and directed by Kirsten Carthew, it’s a post-apocalyptic horror story shot near Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories. A fisherwoman tries to catch a fish in an iced-over lake, but is herself caught by a lure she didn’t expect. It’s a solid story, at ten minutes perhaps a little long for something so simple, but then agan you can argue it consciously aims for a slow pace. Certainly the natural photography is stunning.

Crumbs was written and directed by Miguel Llansó, a Spaniard based in Ethiopia. It follows Birdy (Daniel Tadesse), a malformed man — in an interesting interview, Llansó describes him as having “an irregular body and a fascinating look” — who lives in an abandoned bowling alley with a woman named Candy (Selam Tesfaye). A spaceship hangs in the sky, and may be coming to life, powering the bowling alley with electricity. Birdy embarks on a quest to find out the truth, about the ship and about his own past. He’s inspired by the image of Superman, but may be taking that inspiration too far. As he makes his way across a desolate but beautiful land, Candy has some strange encounters of her own in the bowling alley. Meanwhile a peculiar antiquities dealer intersects with the story in odd moments.

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July – September 2015 Mythic Delirium Now on Sale

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Mythic Delirium 2.1-smallMythic Delirium 2.1, the July-September 2015 issue, is now on sale.

Mythic Delirium is an online magazine of fiction and poetry edited by Mike Allen (The Black Fire Concerto), who’s also the editor of the popular Clockwork Phoenix anthologies. Here’s Mike’s report on the issue from his editorial, with some great news on the latest installment of Clockwork Phoenix:

Welcome, readers, to the third year of Mythic Delirium’s second life.

We have fantastic fantastical fictions awaiting you in this issue, in which vampires and otherworldly beings consort in the circles of high fashion, witches swoop in from the sea to right ancient wrongs and fates hang on the outcome of a game of chess between opponents a century apart.

Our verses for this issue expand the otherworldliness, adding new chapters to the tales of Oz and The Tempest, granting new coats to villains and secret lives to cabinets, discovering new senses and working hearts.

It’s a wonderful way to celebrate, and boy, are we celebrating here at Mythic Delirium Books!

In May, Anita and I launched a Kickstarter campaign to reignite our flagship anthology series, and thanks to a moving show of support from the speculative fiction community and the incredible generosity of our backers, Clockwork Phoenix 5 is alive!

Here’s the complete table of contents for Mythic Delirium 2.1.

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Future Treasures: Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Marberry

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Deadlands Ghostwalkers-smallI’m a big fan of weird westerns, and I think at least part of that stems from my early interest in Deadlands, the classic Weird Western RPG first published by Pinnacle in 1996. It’s one of the most original and inventive games of my acquaintance, and a terrific adventure setting.

So I was excited to see Pinnacle partner with bestselling author Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin, Dead of Night), to launch a line of Deadlands novels. The first, Ghostwalkers, goes on sale later this month from Tor.

Welcome to the Deadlands, where steely-eyed gunfighters rub shoulders with mad scientists and dark, unnatural forces in the Weirdest West of all. Where the Great Quake of 1868 has shattered California into a lawless labyrinth of sea-flooded caverns… and a mysterious superfuel called “ghost rock” sparks as much greed and bloodshed as it does miraculous new machines and weapons of destruction.

Grey Torrance is a hired gun literally haunted by the bloody specters of his past. Heading west with no particular destination in mind, he joins forces with a brilliant Sioux scientist to defend the struggling town of Paradise Falls from a diabolical madman out to take over the entire territory… and build an army of the living dead!

It’s about time the market realized the potential of this great setting. Anything that gleefully mixes steampunk, zombies, RPGS, and the Weird West is A-OK in my book.

Deadlands: Ghostwalkers will be published by Tor Books on September 22, 2015. It is 480 pages, priced at $15 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover art is by Aaron Riley.

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