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Posts tagged Science fiction

Infodumps, POV, and sensibility: Can you avoid them and write better?
November 11, 2014 | 4:25 pm

This is a piece of early morning caffeine-fueled speculation, stemming from the superb Academic Exercises by K.J. Parker, which varies its richly detailed invented-world fantasy stories with actual (scholarly?) digressions on the history of arms and armor, etc. To my mind, this takes the principle of the infodump as far as it logically can go - i.e. instead of weaving the information into the story, you actually have it siloed as a separate scholarly exposition. Peter Watts takes a similar approach in his long and fascinating "Notes and References" appendices to his science fiction masterpieces Blindsight and Echopraxia - and face...

The Top Ten best Lovecraftian comics – plus one or two that should be there, and maybe minus one that shouldn’t be?
November 4, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Paste Magazine has just kindly run a list of "Tentacles & Madness: 10 Comics That Continue H.P. Lovecraft's Horror Legacy," detailing some of the best representations of Lovecraftian horror in the graphic arts - or at least, those graphic arts that are a bit more narrative-focused than, for instance, H.R. Giger, the master of Lovecraftian body horror kitsch. And there's no doubt that Lovecraft's influence is (almost) as extensive in horror and dark fiction comics as it is horror literature in general. As always, with lists of this kind, there are going to be some arguments over what should or shouldn't be in,...

The New Weird is the new New Wave?
October 30, 2014 | 12:12 pm

fanficReaders like me who cut their teeth on the New Wave of science fiction of the late 1960s and 1970s will remember the intellectual and imaginative energy of that period, the freewheeling mash-up of genres, the political and social awareness, the maturity and sophistication of much of the writing compared to most of what comprised the genre before. An adolescent genre - or rather, one stuck in a permanent delayed adolescence - suddenly grew up. In the UK, it was all about authors like Brian W. Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Michael Moorcock, and Christopher Priest; in the U.S.,...

Could Japan’s next big science fiction author be Godzilla?
October 29, 2014 | 4:25 pm

A slightly unorthodox take on the thesis of living your art comes in the shape of Japan's Hoshi Award, a top science fiction prize, which is to be opened to aliens and AIs as well as humans. The Award was launched in 2013 in honor of Shinichi Hoshi (1926-97), "recognized as one of Japan's most influential science fiction writers of all time," who "published more than 1,000 of his signature 'short-short' stories, sometimes dubbed "the 'Haiku of Science Fiction'." Potential winners might not in fact be far away. Computer-generated literature and generative art have been around for over a decade, and it's...

Is transrealism still a thing? The Guardian thinks so
October 25, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Damien Walter, writing in The Guardian, has resurrected Rudy Rucker's 1983 essay "The Transrealist Manifesto" to tag transrealism as "the first major literary movement of the 21st century?" As the question mark suggests, though, here's only one problem: Is it so? Rudy Rucker's original essay defines transrealism as "not so much a type of SF as it is a type of avant-garde literature," and, incidentally, "the only valid approach to literature at this point in history." According to Rucker, "the Transrealist writes about immediate perceptions in a fantastic way," because "the genre of straight realism is all burnt out. Who needs more straight...

Book review: Occultation and Other Stories, by Laird Barron, Night Shade Books
October 12, 2014 | 10:46 am

Laird Barron is approaching iconic status in the horror and dark fiction community with almost frightening speed. How many other living authors get a tribute anthology paying homage to their aesthetic when they're only just into their fourth book? Anyone who is waiting for the bubble to burst, however, is probably going to have to sit around for quite a while longer. At least if Occultation and Other Stories is anything to go by. This volume of nine stories, with an introduction by the much-missed Michael Shea, won the 2010 Shirley Jackson Award for a Single-Author Collection, just as his first...

The Lovecraft eZine hits the print big time
October 7, 2014 | 10:37 am

The Lovecraft eZine is one of the best-known and most esteemed destinations on the internet for all things H.P. Lovecraft, with a reputation, under the guiding hand of Mike Davis, as a venue for seriously strong Lovecraftian and dark/weird fiction. Each issue is available as a Kindle/Nook and a print edition, an audio version, and as a free-to-read online copy. And now it's branching out into actual book production. "I’m now publishing Lovecraftian and Weird Fiction books, in addition to the magazine," Mike Davis explains. "If you’re a Weird Fiction, Lovecraftian, and/or cosmic horror writer, and you’re working on a novel, novella,...

R.I.P. Eugie Foster
September 29, 2014 | 2:41 pm

Nebula Award-winning writer and editor Eugie Foster died on September 27th of respiratory failure after a long and hard-fought battle against aggressive cancer of the sinuses. Full details can be found on her blog, with a short obituary from her husband Matthew M. Foster, here. Eugie won the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for her novelette "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast," and a whole series of other awards for her work as writer and editor. She was also a regular participant in conventions and science fiction/fantasy events. In the course of her struggle and treatment, Eugie...

Interview with Peter Watts
September 19, 2014 | 4:08 pm

Style: "Neutral"I asked Peter Watts, author of the brilliant and genre-redefining science fiction novels Blindsight and Echopraxia, a few questions about his own working methods and the genre (or genres) he works in. Here are his responses. TeleRead: Do you see any ingrown shortcomings in the genre/subgenre you work in, and do you try to correct those? Peter Watts: I don't think I'm competent to answer this question; I'm not sufficiently familiar with the genre to make valid generalizations about its shortcomings. One of the few things that really bugs me about my life at this point is that I don't get much...

Mobile game Ingress has implications straight out of science-fiction
August 26, 2014 | 7:11 pm

braceletSo, this past weekend I took part in my first ever “Anomaly,” a big local event for players of the Ingress game (which I wrote about for Answers here) by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary of Google. In these events, players in certain towns gather together and fight over specific virtual bits of real territory, needing to hold as much of it as they can at specific time points when the score is counted. It was a great deal of fun, and very involved. The Resistance (the faction I play) is very well-organized around these parts. We met at 10:30...

A conversation with Jeff VanderMeer, on writers’ roles and modern publishing
August 22, 2014 | 10:25 am

IMG_20140820_152413At the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014, I was lucky to be able to catch up with Jeff VanderMeer, multiple award-winning and hugely productive speculative fiction and fantasy writer, editor and anthologist, whose latest literary outing is the Southern Reach trilogy. These are a few excerpts from our conversation, with more to follow. TeleRead: Do you think that modern speculative writers tend towards a Victorian level of industriousness? Jeff VanderMeer: When I started out I just had this idea in my head that a writer did all these things. It didn't become a strategy until later: it was just that I was writing,...

Book review: Echopraxia, by Peter Watts, Tor Books
August 20, 2014 | 12:25 pm

downloadBlindsight, the immediate predecessor to this novel, was one of the most original, inspiring, disturbing works of science fiction in recent memory - a First Contact story that practically rewrote the entire sub-genre, and ensured that no other attempt at that theme could ever be the same again - not least because of the questions it raised about what contact with an alien intelligence might imply about ours. Peter Watts has doubled down with [easyazon-link asin="076532802X" locale="us"]Echopraxia[/easyazon-link], which picks up from the same timeline and follows to even more disquieting destinations. Readers who haven't encountered Blindsight already will miss a lot of the tropes in Echopraxia,...