Magical Words Link Roundup 3-16-2017

Horror is related to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yes, it’s its own entity, but it’s related via Surrealism. Sometimes they’re so closely related that it’s difficult to separate one from the other.

Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror? Would you like special access to e-galleys, author interactions, and swag? If so, the Harper Voyager US team invites you to apply to become a “Harper Voyager” super reader!

Nebula Award-winning science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor wrote a book in 2007 called The Shadow Speaker. The story followed its protagonist ― a Muslim girl named Ejii, who the author described as “black skinned” ― through Niger in 2070. So Okorafor was understandably unhappy when her publisher suggested putting a white woman on the book’s cover.

There’s a scene near the middle of The Emperor’s Blades in which a class of Kettral cadets, ultra-elite warriors who fly massive hawks into battle, are undergoing their final test: Hull’s Trial. People who have read the book ask about this scene a lot, and about Kettral training more generally. They want to know if I’ve served in the military – I haven’t – and then they want to know where in the hell all the training material comes from. The answer (aside from lots and lots of reading about military training) is adventure racing.

Ann Leckie said, “So, the other day–nearly a week ago–I was in one of those situations where I was asked a question that really needed a long answer, but I didn’t have unlimited time in which to do so.”

Here’s an activity I highly recommend for science fiction writers (or anyone, really): watch your favorite funny YouTube video with someone from another country. It’s got to be your very favorite, the one that rendered you into a weeping, stomach-aching mess. And you can’t share it by sending a link along into the ether. You’ve got to be with the person. You’ve got to be close enough to catch every muscle twitch, every batted lash. One of two things will happen.

As part of the promotion for the upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell, a new “I am Major” website was launched that allowed folks to upload their own photos and enter their own text. It’s damn perfect troll fodder.

Every once in a blood moon, we come across questions so utterly bleak that (for the benefit of our psyche) they should probably be left alone. Questions that don’t simply shatter your image of beloved characters, but possibly also your mind. Questions no sane website would dare to publish.

She woke up like she did every day: slowly pulling her motorcycle helmet off, then shaking her head slowly back and forth to reveal a long, blonde ponytail. Everyone gasped. “That’s right,” she said, kicking the winning football goal before sliding into a sheer, sexy camisole under a blazer and playing as hard as she worked, “I’ve been a girl this whole time.”

Another day, another article supposedly assessing the cutting edge of Science Fiction written over the decades. Citing twenty five authors. All men.

It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone about books when that someone is sticking a large needle into the muscle that surrounds your left eye. But each time I see my neurologist, he wants to talk literature.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-15-2017

You’ve got a month left before National I’m-Freaking-Out-What-Time-Does-The-Post-Office-Close Day. Just figured I’d remind you.

Michi Trota talks about finding yourself in fandom.

Hey, Internet, Joe Biden has chosen his favorite Obama bromance meme.

Why are shy people such as E.B. White, J.K. Rowling, and Joan Didion drawn to writing as a career? Are shy authors more likely to grasp ‘the nature and beauty of brevity’?

Back in 2012, astronomers spotted a perplexing isolated object in our galactic neighbourhood – an object more massive than Jupiter, that looked very much like one of the closest rogue planets we’d ever found. The only problem was, it wasn’t like any rogue planet we’d previously seen.

The horse in song and story, not to mention in film, sometimes bears only a tangential resemblance to the animal on the hoof.

All writers are asked where their ideas come from. For William Meikle, it starts with the drift.

One of the reasons why Hidden Figures is so interesting is because of power. It’s a film about racism (and sexism) in science, and how hierarchies of power are constructed (and maintained) that act in ways both explicit and subtle to deny people access to information, credit for their achievements, and equal dignity as humans.

If you don’t know how to use grammar, or if you can’t spell or punctuate properly…if you don’t know how to use the basic tools, then I’m sorry but you have no business claiming to be a writer.

Jami Attenburg talks about how working in a bookstore changed her writing career.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-14-2017

To help promote its dystopian thriller The Man in the High Castle, Amazon is touting a new radio stream called Resistance Radio on Twitter and at South by Southwest. The stream is full of melancholy ‘60s-era music and political monologues condemning Nazis and fascism.

Writing a series is a balancing act between giving your readers what they want, and giving them something new. We’ve all read those series that have gone on too long, and we can tell the authors are just going through the motions.

Dystopias have recently achieved full-spectrum dominance. Kids are drawn to such stories ― The Giver, Hunger Games ― like Goths to piercings. TV shows about zombie apocalypses, pandemics, and technology run amok inspire binge watching.

Released 30 years ago today, Evil Dead II is still the funniest horror movie ever made…and it has influenced countless splat-stick films that matched gore an laughs in equal measure.

Matt Hepburn thinks about global pandemics a lot. As the program manager behind DARPA’s new Pandemic Prevention Platform, when he looks at the way the world responded to Zika, the H1N1 flu, and the recent Ebola outbreak, he sees room for improvement.

Disaster films can be good fun, and Geostorm looks like it might be a decent one.

Fantasy Firsts is offering the chance to win several fantastic titles on Goodreads!

If few people give much thought to dictionaries themselves, then they give almost no thought to how those dictionaries came to be, or who created them.

The Odyssey Residential Writing Workshop for fantasy, science fiction and horror writers is now taking applications.

Whether humanity is finally felled by a zombie apocalypse, a nuclear disaster, or a
Day-After-Tomorrow-type situation, we’re all going to need some hard-core survival skills to weather society’s collapse.

Galadriel is, in many ways, an iconic Lord of the Rings character. Even in movies and books filled with memorable moments, hers really stand out, in part because they hint at a rich history and secret strength that we only ever glimpse.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is presented annually at WorldCon to an outstanding author whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the previous two years. This year’s eligible winners are all collected in the Event Horizon anthology, and you can download it for free until July 15, 2017.

Want to attend ConCarolinas for free? Be a volunteer!

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-13-2017

Smashwords offers a few 2017 book industry predictions.

While even diligent research can’t ensure you’ll avoid every possible problem, here are some questions to ask before you accept a traditional publishing deal.

When Neil Gaiman’s American Gods comes to television next month, it’s going to look a little different than fans of the book remember — and its creators hope they’ll take away a subtle political message alongside the myths and magic.

Lots of novels…deal with fairies. The first stories we hear are usually fairy tales of some sort, whether involving actual fairies or merely set in a world where they’re possible. But fairies aren’t just relegated to fiction; in many places their reality is accepted just like guitars and the internet.

Writing is a business. Once we actually get paid more than $400 for our work, we are considered self-employed (or as the IRS likes to say, a Sole Proprietor). Wonder what that means to you?

South by Southwest, the Austin-based tech and entertainment expo, is known for hosting some experimental TV promos. But none of those compare to the uncanny valley insanity that is whatever’s going on for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Speaking of that, Margaret Atwood talks about what ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ means in the age of Trump.

Round 2 of the Unbound Worlds Cage Match is live! Go vote!

Party Talk!

Spring is springing, and deadlines are…well, alive and kicking, thanks. But our writers took a moment to sip mimosas and answer the question, “What is your writing kryptonite?”

Diana Pharaoh Francis
Uuuummmm. I am. No getting around it, which is obviously an interesting problem for me to have.

Misty Massey
Household chores like dishes or laundry. If there is a chore that will take a short amount of time to do, I will almost always tell myself that I should do that before sitting down to write. I don’t even like doing laundry!

Tamsin Silver
Migraines. Even a mild one removes the ability for me to write words in coherent sentences. I can do artistic stuff, just not with words.

Melissa McArthur
Software. Really. I know I am procrastinating if I start debating the merits and flaws between Word and Pages and Scrivener and Google Docs.

Faith Hunter
Deadlines. Used to love them. Now they just stress me out.

Gail Z Martin
Being too tired. After a certain point, words don’t string together well.

John Hartness
I dunno. For productivity, Borderlands is my latest kryptonite. The thing I have the worst time with is descriptions. I tend to write in a white box and have to go back in and fill out the setting later.

Edmund Schubert
Tuna fish. But I don’t like to talk about it; it’s very embarrassing.The pizza always ends up soggy.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-9-2017

SUE the Tyrannosaurus, the oldest female apex predator ever unearthed and sold at auction, has begun leading her own Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Using her surprisingly popular Twitter account, SUE is taking willing adventurers on an epic quest to free the land from brigands, evil mages and the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Daniel Radcliffe says he is really keen to be in a Shakespeare play – although he admits he’s no expert on the Bard.

Two groups of scientists report that they’ve observed exotic time crystals, systems of atoms whose properties arrange themselves, or “crystallize” in time like the way solids can crystallize in space.

Maurice Broaddus says, “Issues of faith matter a lot to me and I’m always fascinated by how they are explored in fiction. It’s something that’s been a theme in some of my writing, but when I was starting out, it was something I shied away from. It took Stephen King’s Desperation to show me the light.”

Let’s consider 9 great sci-fi novels that flip that script to tell a story in which it is the men who are oppressed, enslaved, or otherwise made miserable—after all, life is all about balance, and turnabout is fair play.

As March approaches, it doesn’t only bring unpredictable weather and a tentative hope for spring — it also brings a fresh new crop of fantasy novels.

Writing is akin to being naked in the street baring yourself to the world.

James Marsters’ Spike made an indelible impression on Buffy The Vampire Slayer the minute his DeSoto ran over the Sunnydale sign in season two. But his arc extended far beyond the compelling bad boy he played when he was first introduced.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-8-2017

“Nevertheless She Persisted” has become a galvanizing cry for people of all genders in recognition of the struggles that women have faced throughout history. This sci-fi/fantasy flash fiction collection features sharing unique visions of women inventing, playing, loving, surviving, and – of course – dreaming of themselves beyond their circumstances.

Thirsty for a sci-fi or fantasy vampire tale? These books are sure to quench your craving. (And guess which Magical Words pal is on the list?)

If the path walked by the Acceptable Woman is, by design, a narrow one, then the path walked by the Badass Woman is a tightrope.

I realize the world of publishing is a bit of a mystery to those not immersed in it, but honestly, folks, authors have very little say in what happens once they type “The End.”

Almost ten years after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theaters and after years of promises and rumors and dead-ends, it’s official: Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, the two-fisted archaeologist with a thing for punching Nazis and recovering ancient artifacts, is returning for a fifth film due out in a little over two years.

It turns out President Trump is good for business — and not just those companies sending the Dow Jones into record-busting territory. He’s also been an unlikely boon for a liberal bookstore in one of the most liberal neighborhoods in one of the most liberal cities in the country.

Theodora Goss shares the way a lot of us feel about social media these days – it isn’t quite as fun when you worry that you’re staring into a possible dystopian abyss.

Want to get into RPG games? Here are six suggestions for beginners. And I’ve been an RPGer for decades, but I want to play all of these, so call me when you want to play.

Speaking of playing, do not fall asleep during a game.