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 couple of thoughts about it. The best way to address it would have been “SpoCon and the hotel itself no longer allows room parties…

The Alien franchise should have stopped at Aliens. One original film, one sequel. (EDIT: Misty could not agree more!)

But despite the vast and wondrous spectrum that is man, Hollywood seems to have extremely specific ideas of what a man is supposed to be. And it’s not super great.

For readers who really dive into a book, it can be difficult to accept that the characters within are mere constructs of ink on paper.

Lots of people say that they love space opera, but can’t even name one space Diva.

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 that theirs is not literary enough.

Science fiction fans are always looking for the next big thing. For new stories with worlds and universes we never knew existed. For cutting edge ideas and places and characters unlike anything we’ve seen or read or contemplated.

Mother’s Day is dedicated to honoring the mothers and mother figures in our lives. These women come in many forms, from the women who raised us to the teachers and role models we’ve found in the world around us—even in fiction.

While many space operas are happy to feature witty banter, few truly take advantage of all the comical end of the scale has to offer. Submitted for your approval, here are six seriously funny space operas.

Authors make stuff up. Let’s not pretend it’s any more magical than that. It’s when we’re called out for populating those made-up worlds in ways that reveal our assumptions about that future that we get uncomfortable admitting that on the page, we rule absolute.

So, if something as crazy as a trip to Mars is happening soon, what happens way after that? That’s what Year Million, a six-part documentary-drama series from National Geographic, is set to explore.

Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, Underground creator Misha Green, Bad Robot and Warner Bros TV are making an anthology series for HBO called Lovecraft Country, based off of the Matt Ruff novel of the same name.

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? It would seem like a nonstarter…Still, there’s something about a horse.

Sometime over a span of a week and a half in mid-April, a burglar (or several) broke into a property in a Birmingham suburb, stealing jewelry and one item that’s even more valuable — certainly to Harry Potter fans, at least: an 800-word, handwritten prequel to the series, scrawled on a postcard by J.K. Rowling herself.

“I was literally running out of space to keep all of my hard copies of books, my shelves were full and it was becoming somewhat perilous to manoeuvre through the floor of the study for fear of tripping and taking out several stacks of books.”

It has been dubbed the most mysterious star in the galaxy. The star, more than 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan, flickers and dims in a way never seen before.

Where is the editor’s hand evident—if at all—in the writer’s work?

Women have always written space opera.

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, future technology and the complex workings of the Federation. Naturally, this meant a ton of props and sets had to be built, for not very much money.

Spock had the ultimate analytical mind. But even a Vulcan can overlook some minor details. Or, to be fair, the Vulcan’s creators can.

Hal Niedviecki, a white editor of a literary magazine, in an edition of the magazine focusing on the indigenous writers of Canada, wrote an editorial in which he encouraged white writers to include characters who weren’t like them. This outraged a bunch of folks.

Power is “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.” Responsibility is “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.” But the concept this great responsibility conveys, the idea that those with power also have an obligation to wield it wisely, has long been in circulation.

With his debut novel The Martian, Andy Weir experienced the kind of success that fuels a million NaNoWriMo fever dreams.

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 in my books?

Misty Massey
By some virulent disease. I’m a big fan of pandemics. Ebola! Ebola! Ebola!

Melissa Gilbert
Being smothered by an overly affectionate cat.

Darin Kennedy
Immolation, but it’s coming…

Alexandra Christian
I’ve always wanted to have a killer use one of those captive bolt guns like they use on cattle. Ever see No Country For Old Men?

Magical Words Link Roundup 5/10/2017

Okay, fine, we weren’t going to do this, but here we go

Countless panels, articles, and even conferences have been dedicated to exploring the causes and effects of this lack of diversity. Yet one key piece of the puzzle remained a question mark: diversity among publishing staff.

Science fiction publishing has a major race problem; new report shows more than half of all science fiction magazines failed to publish fiction from black authors in 2015

Knowing it’s the depression talking doesn’t make it stop. Knowing the self-recriminations are a trap doesn’t stop them from pulling you down.

The desperate, confused mess that was Sleepy Hollow is no more. Fox has officially canceled the show after four seasons.

If you’re looking for more space operas featuring action, adventure, and a compelling cast of characters, these eight books like Guardians of the Galaxy are sure to hook you.

So what can you learn about storytelling through a tabletop game? Lots.

They come from near and far. They come in all shapes and sizes. Heck, they’re some of the best characters on television.

Between murderous vegetation, hyper-literal aliens, and Chris Pratt’s abs, there’s a lot of cool s%$t going on in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. But, as you’re about to find out, we were pretty close to having some unbearably bizarre story lines.

Magical Words Link Roundup 5-9-2017

Orlando Jones has long loved Neil Gaiman’s sci-fi/fantasy classic “American Gods.” So when the “Sleepy Hollow” star heard a daring adaptation would bring its road-trip tale of warring gods to television, he took to Twitter to publicly campaign for the role of the charming but unnerving Mr. Nancy/Anansi.

Why would aliens even bother with Earth?

Every story has characters that we favour and love; the ones we root for throughout. We want them to succeed, we want them to win. Then there are the characters we love to hate.

Albuquerque based Duke City Comic Con is scheduled to take place this weekend, but just over the last few days the con has managed to get itself in hot water.

NASA is reviewing 12 different proposals for an uncrewed mission to explore the solar system sometime in the next decade.

In this week’s episode of American Gods, Starz’s new TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, the show opened with a scene so riveting, so well-acted and so uncomfortably relevant that it’s hard to forget, even once the episode is over.

When we heard about the movie Arrival, we had the same reaction a lot of sci-fi fans did: “Linguistics? They’re going to make a movie about linguistics into a sci-fi blockbuster?” And damn it if that isn’t what they did.

Box office returns suggest Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already has all of your money, so you might as well make those dollars count by making sure you haven’t missed any in-jokes with our thoroughly spoiler-laden guide to the all the easter eggs, references, and deep cuts we found when watching the latest big-screen adventures of Star-Lord, Gamora, Baby Groot (adorbs), Rocket, Drax, and the rest of the gang.