Magical Words Link Roundup 5-23-2017

Sometimes called the “fourth format,” mass market paperbacks have been considered headed for extinction for a long time. First they were going to be killed by trade paperbacks. When that format didn’t do the job, e-books emerged as the likely candidate to finish them off. Although the reports of mass market’s death have been greatly exaggerated, the format has been struggling.

1973 was a very good year. Income inequality was at its historical lowest in America, union density was at its highest, major victories were happening in civil rights. But in the world of science fiction, it was the year that one of the worst novels ever to win the top Hugo award was honoured for all the wrong reasons.

Choosing to sit down and put words on the page is occasionally easy, but mostly it’s an arduous slog; certainly not the kind of thing you do if you’re not […]

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Magical Words Link Roundup 5-22-2017

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. has announced the recipients of the Nebula Awards.

A very long, long time ago when times were different there existed people who called themselves writers. They were a pleasant bunch of daydreamers, incessant travellers and occasionally, scallywags.

Blogger Austin Hodgens said, “I concluded that if I didn’t speak at all, my words could not be used against me.”

The five uncomplimentary adjectives discussed in this post have in common their origin in references to diseases and other conditions affecting humans and/or other species.

No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change.

Think about the questions that are haunting you. Can you ever know the one you love? Can an outsider ever belong to a community that doesn’t want her? Are there really some things in […]

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Magical Words Link Roundup 5-18-2017

Philip Athans said, “Last week I posted a short story that I wrote twenty-three years ago and had published in the now-defunct magazine Aberrations. I asked a big question: What have I learned in the last twenty-three years?”

Billions of years ago, rain on Mars was heavy enough to shape the planet’s surface, carving channels into the red dirt and washing away parts of impact craters, new research suggests.

No literary genre is an island. Even if there is one genre you usually read, odds are, it has more in common with other kinds of stories than you might think.

This is the alternate universe where legendary science-fiction writer William Gibson’s Alien III (that’s “III,” not “3”) screenplay was realized. It is, perhaps, a better world than ours…And yet, not only was the script never produced, it’s largely been forgotten.

What do people use to get stuff done?

A […]

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Magical Words Link Roundup 5-17-2017

Unfortunately… Amazon is a jealous, vindictive god.

What is a book snob and how do you know if you are one?

Is it the trappings of space opera’s setting — starships, space stations, aliens, peculiarly advanced technologies and faster than light travel—that make something feel like space opera, even when the opera part is domestic, constrained, brought within bounded space, where the emotional arcs that the stories focus on are quietly intimate ones?

Putting the tantalizing mixture of scifi and fantasy with stylish, gritty crime and intrigue on movie screens is nothing new. In fact, it’s been a tradition practically since film noir came into fashion, and the combination has resulted in some truly great films.

Some writers are afraid of poverty, others of obscurity; some are afraid of writing a dull book, others of writing a shallow one; some are afraid their writing is too literary, while others fear […]

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Magical Words Link Roundup 5-16-2017

Libraries often feel like magical places, the numerous books on every shelf holding the ability to transport their reader to new and wonderful worlds.

The term steely-eyed missile man is a complementary term rooted in NASA’s Apollo history when flight controller John Aaron’s quick thinking saved the Apollo 12 mission from disaster…Why exactly have script writers chosen to refer to this particular event in NASA’s history and what makes the characters in these stories “steely-eyed men?”

Today, noir stands as the slightly smug older brother of the crime genre. He’s smart, philosophical, literary, engaging, and incredibly unpleasant. He’s not much fun at parties. But he can teach you a thing or two.

“Wait… what? You want me to ignore advice from Hemingway and other great writers?” Yep.

Libraries are under attack and not just from this thing they used to call austerity but also from readers.

Horses in space? […]

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Magical Words Link Roundup 5-15-2017

Are you coming to ConCarolinas? We’d be tickled to see you! The schedule is ready to peruse, and we still have a badge just waiting for you!

Speaking of ConCarolinas, we’re thrilled to have the full cast of Authors & Dragons as our guests this year. Their latest episode just dropped, so give it a listen.

If geekdom was never coded as hyper-white, why then is there such a loud resistance to the inclusion of non-white, non-male, non-binary, and non-heterosexual stories and characters?

A common bit of advice given to writers is that story comes first; everything else comes second. With respect to fantasy, this advice is often employed to warn against the dangers of falling down the rabbit hole of world building.

Star Trek: The Original Series presented an entirely unique world to dazzled audiences in the 1960s. Each week, we discovered new aliens, distant green planets, […]

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Party Talk!

Welcome back to the Party! Pour yourself a drink and join the conversation. The writers are all answering the question, “What’s one way you’ve always wanted to kill off a character, but haven’t been able to use in a story yet?”

Faith Hunter I’ve killed off characters in every way except dropping them out of a plane or shooting them out of the space station. I’ll likely never do the space station one, but watch for the bouncer…. It’s coming.

Diana Pharaoh Francis Attacked and killed by were-pigs. Actually, I tend to find ways to kill people creatively as I desire to kill them, so I don’t usually come up with ways to kill in advance. In a just finished book, I killed someone by dropping gargoyles with giant penises on her. Yes. I did that.

Gail Martin I’ve pretty much indulged all my fantasies—have you noticed the body count […]

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