Friday, June 22, 2018

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for June 22, 2018


It's time for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars in general, The Handmaid's Tale, Luke Cage, Cloak and Dagger, Hereditary,  Incredibles 2, the future of Star Trek, the rescue of Lucifer, allegations against Chris Hardwick, diversity in publishing as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, con reports, crowdfunding campaigns, science articles, free online fiction and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on season 2 of Luke Cage

Comments on The Handmaid's Tale

Comments on Cloak and Dagger

Comments on Hereditary:

Comments on Incredibles 2

Comments on Solo and Star Wars in general:

The past and future of Star Trek

Allegations against Chris Hardwick:

Comments on the rescue of Lucifer from cancellation:

The debate about diversity in publishing:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hyperspace Radio by James Beach

Release date: May 15, 2018
Subgenre: Short fiction collection

About Hyperspace Radio

 

A young boy comes to terms with his father's undead lifestyle. A caveman faces failure at the world's first art show. A thief runs afoul of a pusher who sells death. God goes to therapy and receives a diagnosis. A tech entrepreneur creates an Internet startup based on a genie's lamp. A secret worldwide society of dudebros meets to consider an entirely new kind of bro.

These tales and more brought to you from dimensions both strange and familiar, at the speed of imagination.

 

Excerpt:

 

My Undead Dad

 

My Dad's undead. But he's still a great Dad. 

We play around in the living room when he comes home from work. Or we'll go out in the yard and play tag. Every now and then, one of his hands starts to fall off. Mom or me’ll pick it up and put it back on with a bit of rubber cement. He’ll smile. He probably thinks we fuss too much.

He died a while ago, right after my sixth birthday. He was a sales consultant for some Internet company. He went out to their Christmas party. He didn’t return that night, or the next. Mom got real mad. She called Grandma and even got out her suitcase.

Three days after the party, a big package showed up on the porch. It was from the Internet company. It was Christmas morning, too. I was real psyched. We dragged it into the living room, and opened it up. 

He was in it. 

“Dad!” I said.

“Just where do you think you’ve been, worrying us half to death?” said my mom.

“Mmmmmmrrrruhhhhhh,” my dad responded. 

Mom looked at him kind of funny, and told me to go to my room. I went up the stairs and tried to listen. I couldn’t hear too much. First she screamed. Then I heard her call Grandma. A couple hours later, she called me back downstairs.

“Why’s Dad smell so funny?” I asked. 

She sighed. “He’s a zombie now.” 

“What’s a zombie, mom?”

“Someone with a dead body and mind, that has enough soul left inside them that they can still follow simple commands…”

“Are you guys gonna get a divorce?” 

She paused for a bit. “I don’t know,” she said. “It’s supposed to be ‘’til death do us part’. But I don’t know if that applies here.” She looked over at the box my dad was still in, and he looked back up at her. She shivered. “ ‘For better or for worse’, though…we’ll just have to make the best of it.”

Later on, Grandma told me what happened.  The Internet company was going under, and they needed more funding. So they traded Dad’s soul to the devil. They scotch-taped him to a boardroom table, and sacrificed him, and everything. But just when they were about to trade his soul, Satan found out my dad was really just temping for them. So Dad wasn't really owned by them; it was more like he was rented. So the devil had to return his soul to his now-dead body.

Dad works in advertising now.

It was bad for me, at first. He was all weird. None of the other kids had undead zombie Dads; why did I have to have one? He was so different. 

I told Mom I didn't want Dad to be undead. Mom said I'd just have to get used to it. I hated it.


 

Amazon | Paperback

 

 About James Beach:

James Beach is a writer, photographer and recovering musician. He was born and raised in New Jersey, and was once told he was a bad Photoshop superimposition on the East Coast. He successfully escaped and now lives in San Francisco, a perfect locale for exploring his emerging super powers.

 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Terra Nullius, edited by Kate Coe and Ellen Crosháin

Release date: May 31, 2018
Subgenre: Science fiction anthology, Space colonisation

About Terra Nullius:

 

Terra Nullius by Kate Coe and Ellen Crosháin (eds)
 
Land belonging to no-one. An anthology of speculative fiction that explores the colonisation of our Solar System and far beyond, where pioneers carve out a new existence under other stars. New worlds and new challenges bring out rich stories filled with alien races and strange technology, but against this backdrop there’s the many facets of human emotion as colonists struggle to make a new home.
This is human life on the final frontier.

Thomas J. Spargo -- Jessica Rydill -- K.N. Johnson -- Jessica Reisman -- Jonathan Oliver -- Will MacMillan Jones -- E. M. Eastick -- John Bayliss -- Gregor Hartmann -- G. H. Finn -- Matthew Pedersen -- Steven Poore -- Jill Hand

 

Excerpt:

 

Terra Incognita by Jessica Rydill


“Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched, Bill?” said Marian.
“All the time, Ma’am.”
“That’s because something is watching you.” She snorted. “It was bad enough when Mr Darwin went to explore the Galapagos Islands. There’s always something watching you. Or someone. When Columbus found the New World, he encountered the Taino Indians. Where are they now, Bill? Hm?”
“I don’t know, Ma’am. I didn’t know Columbus met any Indians.”
“Gone. Massacred. Or died of European diseases. There are traces of them in the local population. But no Taino Indians any more. Gone like the poor old Dodo.”
“What are you saying, Ma’am?”
“It’s terra incognita, Bill; but that doesn’t mean it’s uninhabited. When our illustrious forebears arrived somewhere with good, or bad, intentions, they brought with them the benefits of civilisation, like disease, slavery and religion. So though I am a representative of Her Majesty, I try to tread lightly.”
“I wish I could go home, Ma’am.”
“So do I. A cup of tea would be splendid,” said Marian.
They had found their way into a ravine, one with a waterfall. Spirals of steam escaped from the ground, suggesting the presence of geysers and probably more volcanic activity. Marian wiped her brow on her sleeve. It was like walking through a cup of tea, never mind drinking one. She wondered why on earth (ha!) she had volunteered for this mission beyond the bounds of her home planet. Perhaps because the other alternatives, such as nursing during the Crimean war, or going to work as a missionary in Darkest Africa, had not appealed to her spirit.
Women were supposed to marry, like her sister Laura, or if they didn’t to devote themselves to a life of good works. Or to stay at home with their aging parents. Well, Florence Nightingale herself had done none of those things! But Marian had developed a taste for adventure during the affair of The Woman in White, so ably chronicled by Walter Hartright and herself, though she could not claim credit for the whole work. And not long after she had become embroiled in a less well-known matter, and Laura and Mr Hartright had married and retired to the country.
Perhaps that was the moment when things had changed. The existence of other worlds had been demonstrated, and a way of travelling to them discovered, never suspected in the days of Isaac Newton, or even by astronomer William Herschel and his sister, Caroline. One did not travel to the stars in a balloon or dirigible; or fired to the moon in a space cannon, as imagined by Monsieur Jules Verne. Instead, one sailed on inner seas, travelling between dimensions to reach other planets; and a world like Cressula, halfway across the universe, could turn out to be closer than the Moon or Mars.

 

Amazon.com | Amazon UK | B&N

 

About Kate Coe:



Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. In real life she's a typesetter and fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

 

About Ellen Crosháin:



Ellen Crosháin grew up in Northern Ireland but despite the fact she has a proper Irish Mammy hailing from Dublin and a Northern Irish father, her accent is so slight, it can only be caught in snatches. She says it makes her work as a spy much easier as no one actually knows where she’s from.

Her love for story telling was cultivated by both her parents as they would spend hours most days reading to her and her three younger siblings. She would spend hours herself entertaining them on the long trips they had to take when her father joined the army and they moved from place to place. She doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing or telling stories. She always has a notepad on her and takes every opportunity to scribble down an idea or work on a chapter.

In her non-writing life, she is a teacher of English, a job she absolutely adores. She lives in Wales, land of dragons, with her husband and her hoard of loyal guinea pig minions.



 

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora Buhlert

Release date: June 8, 2018
Subgenre: Dystopian crime thriller, Cyberpunk

About The Shantytown Robin Hoods

 

 Latisha, Moses and Tim are three street kids eking out a living in a dystopian future. Together, they are the Shantytown Robin Hoods, a street gang that steals from the rich and gives to – well, themselves.

"The Hole" is the hottest night club in Shantytown, where the rich and the famous can party among the less fortunate. But "The Hole" is also a favourite hangout for Latisha, Moses and Tim to find marks they can rob.

But then their latest job is derailed by a mobster with sticky fingers and a prize on his head, a teen pop sensation, a trigger-happy bodyguard and a red-haired assassin.

Soon bullets are flying in Shantytown and Latisha, Moses and Tim must keep their heads down to survive and steal another day…

This is a short dystopian crime story of 2800 words or approximately 10 print pages.

 

Excerpt:

 

The Hole was the hottest nightclub in Shantytown, the place where the rich and the beautiful went to slum among the common people. Not that they ever saw the common people, unless they chanced to look sideward, while crossing the three metres between the entrance to The Hole and their waiting armoured groundcars.
However, if one of the patrons of The Hole had chanced to glance to the left, they might have noticed a transformer box, covered over and over in graffiti and posters for gigs in venues far less exclusive than The Hole. And if they’d looked very closely, they might have noticed a shadow behind the transformer box, a shadow that looked distinctly human.
Moses, the owner of said shadow, was currently crouching behind the transformer box, together with Tim, his very best friend in the whole wide world. Both of them were clutching weapons, automatic rifles left over from the last slum war. The rifles no longer worked properly, at least not when you needed them to, but they still looked damn scary and that was enough for Tim and Moses.
Because people — at least the sort of people who patronised The Hole — usually handed over their wallets, their com-units and their bling willingly, when faced with an automatic rifle, even one that no longer worked.
Tim and Moses were twelve years old and two thirds of a street gang that called themselves the Shantytown Robin Hoods. The name had been Tim’s idea. He’d heard a story once about a man named Robin Hood. He lived a long time ago, fought the coppers and stole from the rich to give to the poor. This Robin Hood sounded like a really cool guy and so Tim, Moses and Latisha, the third member of the gang and Moses’ older sister, had decided to name themselves after him. Okay, so they mostly stole for themselves, but then they were poor, damn it.
Latisha was currently sitting on a blanket on the other side of the street opposite The Hole. In front of her, there was a tin can with a few coins and a piece of cardboard with “Homeless — No parents — Need Help” scribbled in a scratchy hand. To everybody who chanced to notice her, Latisha was just another panhandler, one of hundreds that lined the streets of Shantytown. But in truth, she kept watch on those who entered or exited The Hole and pointed out lucrative targets to Moses and Tim.
“Groundcar rolling up to the entrance,” Latisha reported through a mini-com they’d stolen two months ago, “Luxury model. Looks like a good mark.”
Moses crept forward to peer around the corner of the transformer box, clutching his rifle.
“What do you see?” Tim whispered behind him.
“Big groundcar,” Moses whispered back, “The driver gets out, looks tough.”
“Careful,” Latisha whispered through the com, “He’s got a gun.”
“You sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. It’s under his coat. He tries to hide it, but I can see it.”
From their respective hiding places, the three kids watched as the driver walked around the car and opened the rear door. A second later, three figures emerged from the neon-drenched entrance of The Hole.
A man in a long black coat came first, hood pulled up against the rain.
“Bodyguard,” Moses remarked.
“Careful,” Latisha whispered through the com, “He’s armed, too. Pulse rifle and handgun.”
Moses scowled. Latisha always worried too much. Big sisters were like that, he guessed.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple iTunes | Google Play | Smashwords | Scribd | Playster | DriveThru | 24symbols

 

About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey.

 

Website | Mailing list | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | Mastodon

 

 

 

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Dragon's Egg (Dark Streets, Book 2) by B.R. Kingsolver

Release date: June 18, 2018
Subgenre: Urban Fantasy

About Dragon's Egg:

 

When did I become everyone’s paranormal Miss Fixit?

When the Lords of the Icelandic Elves summon me to use my talents to find a lost Dragon's egg, I find it hard to say no. I've seen what a Dragon can do, and a young, just-hatched Dragon is a being of pure destruction.

But word of the egg gets out, and the race to find it begins. Mages from many realms are in the hunt—including a Dragon—and they don’t always play well together. Unless I want to join the casualties, I need to find that egg and return it to where it belongs. Luckily, I have help, but I wish that damned golden-haired, golden-winged Nephilim would keep his shirt on.

 

Excerpt:

 

Whether she was acknowledging my statement, or giving a signal, servants appeared and served our meal. The food was simple, a roast leg of lamb with root vegetables covered with a sauce, seasoned with herbs I hadn’t tasted since Midgard. I wondered if I could buy some of the seeds. The wine was French.

As was the custom, our dinner conversation avoided business. They asked about my flight, about Washington, and about my life in Midgard. I asked about their crops and entertainments. After dinner, we were served fruit tarts and aperitif glasses of agavirna, a potent Elven liqueur.

“I’m sure that you are curious as to why we invited you,” Lady Erinir eventually said. “I think that discussion should wait until tomorrow. What I will say tonight, is that the ability to feel magic, and interpret those feelings, is very rare. We have been informed that you might have that ability.”

“I’m not a mage, my lady, only a witch. An alchemist by training, but with no special abilities that other Elves do not have.”

She regarded me, then said, “So you aren’t able to tell that Altinir is a weather mage?”

“But he’s not. He’s a battle mage and portal mage. You’re the weather mage.”

“And Lady Minirin?”

“She’s a healer, and also a diviner.” I shook my head. “I don’t understand. Such things are plain for anyone to see.”

Minirin held out her hand, holding a polished and carved stick about two feet long. “And what is this?”

“A vincintor. For use on plants, not for people or animals.” Vincintors were magical devices used to diagnose illnesses. Such artifacts were created by alchemists, and I had manufactured my share. I had never seen the need for those to be used on plants. Surely anyone could tell why a plant was sick.

“And this?” Erinir asked, holding up a round red crystal the size of a golf ball.

“I believe that is a ruby,” I said, trying to keep my eyes from popping out of my head. I had never seen a gemstone that large in my life. It had to be worth at least two fortunes.

“Yes, but what kind of magic does it hold?” she asked.

“None,” I answered.

She held up her other hand with what looked like a twin to the first ruby. “And this one?”

I stared in astonishment and my mouth went dry. “Danu merde. That holds enough energy to blow this house to the moon.”

The three of them exchanged looks.

“Despite what you may think,” Altinir said, “Not a one of us at this table can do what you’ve just done. Nor have I ever met anyone who could. Not here, not in Alfheim. Most mages would need to cast a spell to divine the nature of these objects. You have a very special gift.”

“And that is why we have asked you to come,” Elinir said. “We received reports of your abilities in tracking down a statue, and we need to find an object.”

“What kind of object?”

“Someone has brought a Dragon’s egg to Earth.”

 

Amazon

 

About B.R. Kingsolver:

BR Kingsolver, author of the Telepathic Clans and Chameleon Assassin series, grew up surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment.

After living all over the US and exploring the world--from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains--Kingsolver trades time between Baltimore and Albuquerque. With an education in nursing and biology and a Master's degree in business, Kingsolver has done everything from construction to newspaper editor and jewelry to computers.

Kingsolver, a passionate lifetime skier, currently spends time writing and working with computers while living nine blocks from the harbor in Baltimore as servant in residence to a very demanding cat.

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