Friday, August 23, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 23, 2019

It's time for another somewhat truncated weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with WorldCon 77, the 2019 Hugo Awards and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:


Reports about WorldCon 77:

Other con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Twisting Fates Book 1: The Screening Routine by S M A

Release date: July 8, 2019
Sub-genre: LGBT Science Fiction

About Twisting Fates, Book One:

It knows your joy.
It knows your fear.
It knows your desire.

After decades of war, a battered Earth begged the Routine—our most powerful artificial intelligence—to take control of the solar system and unite humanity.

Now, forbidden lovers must help the AI solve the mystery of a rising threat:



Weeks away from graduating into blissful civilian anonymity, Owen discovers that his fate has been hijacked by the Routine. Trapped within the Screening Complex, training school for the Routine's chosen leaders, Owen is determined to resist the influence of his all-seeing artificial taskmaster.

...If only he could stop dreaming of the man with dark eyes.

Who is that stranger, and why has his presence stirred a new hunger in Owen—one more desperate than he'd ever imagined? Questions lurk around every corner, but there’s one truth Owen will never forget:

The Routine is lying to us all.


[Tell me the secret you keep from yourself.]
No response.
He hung silently
for an
amount of time.
Frozen ...
[Tell me the secret you keep from yourself.]
“I don’t—”
Owen abruptly stopped talking as he realized he wasn’t talking.
In point of fact, he was having trouble figuring out if he even had a mouth anymore—or ears to hear it with.
Or a body.
Were they even in the same room?
Was this a room?
He tried to open his eyes (please still have eyes), but couldn’t seem to figure out where they were in his body (please still have body).
He perceived nothing but a vast, impenetrable grayness, surrounding him like … like … what?
[You shouldn’t speak.]
“I’m sorry.”
[You shouldn’t be able to speak.]
“I’m … super sorry?”
Had he sensed irritation in the voice?
Was it even a voice?
Then a tug of astounding force, like the feeling of falling in a dream but amplified to an unbelievable degree, so
he didn’t think
he could bear
even a


Owen’s eyes fluttered open, staring up at the curved ceiling of the chamber.
He breathed once, long, his whole body shuddering while a tingling shiver ran up his legs to his forehead. He was murkily aware of the other students doing the same thing, the whole group gasping as if the oxygen had only just been switched back on.
He had confirmation about what this all meant, somehow, the knowledge instantly asserting itself in his mind—a bright narrative of explanation. Planted there, he understood, just now. Either by the slabs or through them.
Whatever the mechanism, he finally comprehended something about the broad parameters of what was happening here.
They were indeed Selected. They would serve as leaders, functionaries, or representatives of the Routine in pursuit of the administration of civil and military society. This whole installation was the Screening Complex, in which they would receive education from the Routine and its subordinates, focused on their likely role in society, and eventually (dim) to complete their training.
He blinked and shook his head slightly. Wait, what?
They would receive education and … eventually … (dim).
He couldn’t seem to hold onto the second half of that idea. The words he was reaching for slipped away as soon as he tried. He hated the sensation, like he was extending his arm out to touch a hot stove just before reflexes kicked in to make him recoil—but in his thoughts.
Okay. Fine. They would receive education and eventually something to conclude their training. The nudge would direct them as necessary, and they were to obey it completely whenever it asserted itself.
They were to leave the chamber now and transfer to the initiate dormitories where they would familiarize themselves with the facilities and await the start of their first day of instruction tomorrow morning.
Even as he had the thought he was raising himself off the slab, joined by the rest of the initiates.
In contrast to the muffled atmosphere he remembered initially, the air in the chamber now felt crisp and resonant, so the rustle of the group’s clothing filled his ears as they all moved in unison. It felt like sweet relief after the endless seconds of stifled stuffiness.

About SMA:

SMA writes LGBT-themed scifi from his home base in the United States. Book One of his debut series “Twisting Fates” is available now, with Book Two releasing on September 9, 2019. His untitled Four Seasons quartet will begin releasing Autumn 2019.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 16, 2019

It's time for a soewhat truncated weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with WorldCon 77, an incident at ArmadilloCon, the 1944 Retro Hugos and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:


Writing, publishing and promotion:


Classics reviews:


Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Before The Sequel Sale - All Genres

Brought to you courtesy of the fine folks at StoryOrigin and organised by E. Darkwood, author of the G.A.M.E.Z. Duology, the sale features all genres: Thriller, Romance, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense, Horror – and so much more!

"Let's celebrate the next instalment with a discount!"

Before The Sequel Sale - All Genres: Promotion ends August 20th

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Robin Hood of the Couches by Aaron Frale

Release date: August 14, 2019
Subgenre: Dystopian, humorous science fiction

About The Robin Hood of Couches:


Reese investigates corporate fraud and discovers some joker has been giving away free couches to the needy, because when a person can no longer afford the subscription service fees, all their furniture disappears. The bearer of sofas ends up in a ditch when blunt force trauma snuffs out the poor’s best chance of not living in an empty room their whole life. Reese rolls up his sleeves. Time to get to work.




The Academy never prepared Reese for the smell of a body. It was a putrid, foul odor that was worse than the time he had found week-old leftovers from a steakhouse underneath the seat of his car. Since he hadn’t known what was inside the foil, he had unwrapped it and puked. The body of the man today festered in a drainage pool. The victim’s beard was matted and infested with bugs. According to the display hovering in the air in front of him, the DNA match was for Derrick Yusuf, a delivery handler for MotoCom. According to his supervisors, the man took a week off without giving a reason why before he died.
The local detective walked right into the display. Typically, it was rude to step into other people’s screens, but Reese had set it to private so no one could see what he was seeing. The cop poked at Reese and said, “Do you need to puke?”
“No, I’m fine.” Reese’s stomach had come a long way since the tinfoil surprise, but that didn’t stop the smell from making him lose his appetite for the rest of the day. Which was unfortunate because for lunch later on, his girlfriend treated him to this new Russian place with the best perogies in the city, and he didn’t eat a bite, claiming illness rather than recounting the memory of the smell with her.
“I’m surprised. All you corporate types puke your first time on the scene,” the detective said.
“Most of my colleagues are here to expose fraud and get big paychecks when they find the CFO skimming off the top. I’m here to find the truth,” Reese said.
“What? You didn’t get into Corporate Investigations for the finder’s fees and the big payday? If you want to make a difference in the world, you should come to collect the city paycheck with us.”
“Then I wouldn’t have access to the best equipment, and I couldn’t afford those subscriptions on a cop’s salary.”
“It’s the equipment, he says. Yeah, yeah, you’ll be driving your Maserati at the track on weekends. We appreciate the funding CI gives us but try to remember this is a crime scene. That body’s a real person, and don’t touch anything.” The cop walked out of the screen view, and Derrick’s information came back up. His crawler was now downloading social media info. Mr. Yusuf apparently liked to cure his own meats and made his own cheeses. It was an esoteric hobby when everyone’s entire house was a giant 3D printer these days.




About Aaron Frale:

Aaron Frale writes Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy usually with a comedic twist. Time Burrito is the audience favorite. He also hosts the podcast Aaron’s Horror Show and screams and plays guitar for the prog/metal band Spiral. He lives with his wife, his son, and two cats in the hills of Oregon.  


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Patreon


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Claiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon

Release date: August 13, 2019
Subgenre: Feminist science fiction, Literary science fiction

About Claiming T-Mo:


 In this lush interplanetary tale Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy’s lifetime—from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence. 





T-Mo happened exactly one week after the puzzle-piece woman with fifty-cent eyes.
One night, black as misery, Salem Drew stood, arms wrapped about herself, at the bus depot three streets from the IGA where she worked late shifts. A bunch of commuters had just clambered onto a number 146 for Carnegie, and Salem found herself alone at the depot.
She waited for a night express bus to take her back to a cheerless home that housed equally cheerless parents. An easy wind around her was just as dreary, foggy as lunacy. There, just then, the shadow of a woman’s face jumped into her vision.
Salem blinked. Was the woman real or a figment of thought? Singular parts of her were easy to file, were possibly real: maroon hair, rugged skin the color of coffee beans. And the scar . . . But all put together, cohesion was lost.
The puzzle-piece woman stood head lowered, quiet in the mist. When she raised her face, silver shimmered from one good eye, petite and round as a fifty-cent coin. The other eye was broken, feasibly some bygone injury. Even though it was as smooth and flawlessly round as the right eye, it held no sight. The coin perfection of its shape was embedded in scar tissue, disfigurement that needed nothing but a single glance to seal the hideousness of it.
If Salem thought to speak, to ask, “Who are you? How long have you been standing there, watching me, and why?” the mighty keenness of the woman’s good telescopic eye, the one that filtered, turned inward, then came back at her without translation, threw it right out of Salem’s mind.
Thunder like the hammering of a thousand hooves did it. Salem ran without a scream, all the way through all that night, never minding the night bus when it whooshed past. All she minded was the gobbling eye, and the unwarned sound of deep belly laughter that chased behind.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads


About Eugen Bacon:

Eugen M. Bacon, MA, MSc, PhD, studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes' walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian. A Computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing, Eugen has published over 100 short stories and articles and multiple anthologies. Shortlisted Bridport Prize 2018. Honorable Mention L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest 2017. Her articles were nominated for the 2017 Aurealis Convenors Award for Excellence. Out soon: Creative non-fiction book with Macmillan International (2019). Literary speculative novel with Meerkat Press (2019). Chapter, multi-authored book: Creative Writing with Critical Theory: Inhabitation, Gylphi (2018). Eugen's work is published in literary and speculative journals, magazines & anthologies worldwide. She is also a professional editor, check out Writerly - editing services.

Website | Blog


About Meerkat Press

 Meerkat Press is an independent publisher committed to finding and publishing exceptional, irresistible, unforgettable fiction. And despite the previous sentence, we frown on overuse of adjectives and adverbs in submissions. *smile*

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest



Monday, August 12, 2019

Cora goes to WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, and TitanCon in Berfast, Northern Ireland

Related image 

Next week, Cora is off to Ireland for WorldCon 77 in Dublin and then for TitanCon, the 2019 EuroCon in Belfast..

Meanwhile, Jessica is holding the fort and there will be new posts here at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, including a (somewhat truncated) link round-up. And once Cora gets back, there will be photos and a con report.

But should you find yourself in Dublin for WorldCon 77 or in Belfast for TitanCon, say hello to Cora. You can also find her on the following panels:

Non-English language SFF television

Format: Panel
15 Aug 2019, Thursday 13:00 - 13:50, Wicklow Room-2 (CCD)
Interest in TV from different countries is increasing. There are many good SFF TV shows produced in non-English speaking countries, and they are getting easier to find. The panel discusses their favourites and what makes them worthwhile to watch.
Harun Šiljak (Trinity College Dublin, CONNECT SFI Centre for Future Networks and Communications), Cora Buhlert, Lionel Davoust, J. Sharpe (Zilverspoor), Claudia Fusco (M)


Example of shows: Ad Vitam (France), (Ijon Tichy, Raumpilot (Germany), Dark (Germany), The Rain (Denmark), Äkta människor (Sweden), Goblin (Korea), but there are a lot more.

Speed crafting – session 1

Format: Workshop
15 Aug 2019, Thursday 15:30 - 17:20, Warehouse Art Demo Area (Point Square Dublin)
It’s like speed dating for handicrafts. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at something new, but haven’t managed to take the ‘plunge’? We will provide the materials and instructors. Each session will have different handicrafts, and you will try each one. You won’t end up with something you can take away, but maybe you’ll be inspired. Sign-ups in advance will be required for this workshop (limited to 15 people).

Session 1: knitting, crochet, lucet.
Rebecca Hewett (M), David Demchuk, Nina Niskanen, Cora Buhlert

Introduction to SFF romance

Format: Panel
16 Aug 2019, Friday 15:00 - 15:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)
SFF romance is as varied and creative as the speculative genre as a whole but, along with other romantic sub-genres, has often been dismissed and undervalued. From shapeshifting billionaires to far future secret agents, vampire brides to Highland flings, this panel will provide a broad introduction to SFF romance in all its glory as well as providing a range of reading recommendations.
Darlene Marshall, Cora Buhlert (M), D.A Lascelles (Zig Zag Education), Jeffe Kennedy (SFWA)

The global multiverse: the comics scene worldwide

Format: Panel
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:30 - 14:20, Odeon 3 (Point Square Dublin)
Darna! Storm Riders! The Metabarons! These are just some of the comic book titles found outside the dominant US comics or manga industries. Whether it’s bande dessinée from France, manhua from China, or self-published ’zines from the Philippines, come and discover not just one new world, but a multitude!
Christopher Hwang (Dublin 2019) (M), Cora Buhlert, Fulvio Gatti, Geoff Ryman (African Speculative Fiction Society)

TitanCon presents EuroCon 2019 

At TitanCon, you can find Cora on the following panel:

Food. glorious food

24 Aug 2019, Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)
A look at the nature and significance of Food in SFF
Cora Buhlert, Dr Gillian Polack

Friday, August 9, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 9, 2019

It's time for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with tributes to Toni Morrison, the 2019 Dragon Award finalists, The Boys, Another Life, season 3 of The Handmaid's Tale, season 3 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, season 3 of Stranger Things, the season 6 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, The Iron Giant at twenty and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Tributes to Toni Morrison:

Film and TV:

Comments on season 3 of The Handmaid's Tale:

Comments on Another Life

Comments on The Boys

Comments on season 3 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:

Comments on season 3 of Stranger Things

Comments on the season 6 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 

Comments on Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

Comments on The Iron Giant at twenty:


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:

Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: