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Life on the Fringe

Fringe finished it’s five year run the ot her night and I am grieving it’s loss. At the same time though, as I watched the two hour finale, I was left with a deep sense of closure and satisfaction which you seldom find when shows finish. These days, most good TV shows seem to be canceled before they reach their natural conclusion, Fringe though, it endured and ended on its own terms. I was at SDCC... Read More »

What Is All This Then?

EXTREMELY SHORT SUMMARY Lots of fans sign up for free memberships to read cool, fannish, free stuff: Advertisers pay to advertise: Ad revenue is used to fund a magazine:  The magazine purchases content from authors and artists:  The content is published on the site (and in print).  Member fans read it and see it all for free!  (Mundanes pay the bill.) SHORT AND SWEET SUMMARY In order to survive an... Read More »

To Be Continued . . .

Back in the old days you could read a novel in a series and pretty much enjoy that one novel as a stand-alone. The Asimov’s Foundation novels work this way, so do the novels in James Blish’s Cities in Flight. Both E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen and his Skylark series work as stand-alones. In fact, when I read those way back in the Neolithic era (in high school) I read them in a scattershot manner, jum... Read More »

No. 3 – Jules Verne, From The Earth To The Moon, and Space Opera.

Jules Verne hovers between number two and number three on the list of the most translated books worldwide and I think it’s deserved. He became one of the earliest science fiction writers to make it financially from book sales. He is frequently referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction,” a distinction he shares with H. G. Wells and Amazing Stories founder and publisher, Hugo Gernsback. Also not... Read More »

Digital Only Publishing – Think Twice Before You Sign

Digital Only Publishing – Think Twice Before You Sign

Not long ago, my publisher (Orbit) released a new work by Lilith Saintcrow, The Hedgewitch Queen and they released it ONLY in ebook format priced at $2.99. This was the first time I had seen a major publishing house do a digital-only release, but predicted there would be a lot more in the future.  And I was right. Harper Voyager (the fantasy/science fiction imprint of Harper Collins) had an open c... Read More »

A Defining Moment for Science Fiction

A Defining Moment for Science Fiction

The word Science Fiction is recognizable to the average fan, but the definition can be indistinguishable from other genre and cause confusion. Perhaps from the standpoint of the fandom, this vague categorization is by design and allows readers to broaden their focus. Read More »

I Like Science Fiction, It’s Got Like Giant Robots and Stuff, Right?” Science Fiction’s Self-Esteem Problem Part II: You Actually Read That Crap?

“I Like Science Fiction, It’s Got Like Giant Robots and Stuff, Right?” Science Fiction’s Self-Esteem Problem Part II: You Actually Read That Crap? Science Fiction has never had an easy time with the literary establishment. The academics tend to view it as puerile escapism while fans see it as the-little-genre-that-could. The origin of both these views, paradoxically, is same: the Pulp Era. Serious... Read More »

Scientists and Stereotypes

Scientists and Stereotypes

Older male (check), glasses (check), white lab coat (check).  A scientist!  Even without the funny hat or breaker full of red liquid, everyone recognizes the stereotype. Stereotypes can be based on a nugget of truth and can be useful in situations when there isn’t much time to figure out what’s happening, but they can also be misleading, unnecessary, or even offensive.  Moreover, it... Read More »

Dress For the Occasion: The Scantily Clad Female

So, here’s a question: Say you’re a beautiful woman (I assume some of you reading this actually are women. Please believe me when I say that in my eyes all women are beautiful. If you’re a man reading this, then use your imagination) and you need to leave the relative safety of your spacecraft to go out into the vacuum of space or maybe planetside where there is a strong possibil... Read More »

Why Doesn’t Fantasy Sell in Japan?

Epic fantasy is a hard sell in Japan. Why? A country so saturated in the fantastic seemingly ought to have an affinity for our beloved genre. But shared passions often get lost in translation. Read More »

Amazing News: Thursday, Jan. 17

UPDATE: 08:31 EST Several of the Amazing Stories Blog Team have begun to hang out on the Facebook FanHistory Group. FANTASTIC FICTION at KGB reading series, hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel   present:  Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including The Year of the Beasts and First Day on Earth.  She lives in Los Angeles and is the YA editor of the... Read More »

Doctor Who and the Strange Victorians

Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction can exist in the real world, or create hermetic worlds of their own. Which is to say genre fiction can follow the rules of the real world, or make its own rules up, ignoring reality completely. Most genre fiction falls somewhere in-between. At one extreme is Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel so realistic much of the reading world doesn’t conside... Read More »

Amazing News

UPDATE: 18:10  Congrats to Bigelow Aerospace for their contract with NASA. Gary Dalkin highlighted this press release from Ann & Jeff Vandermeer: Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, coeditors of the World Fantasy Award and British Fantasy Award winning anthology The Weird, are pleased to announce a call for submissions for a new mega-reprint anthology. The Time Traveler’s Almanac will function as its o... Read More »

Knock, knock…Who’s There? Doctor. Doctor Who?

Oh yes, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the one and only Doctor. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction TV show in the world, and being that successful, clearly there is a lot for the BBC to look back on and celebrate to bring us a really special birthday episode later this year. The official birthday isn’t until 23 November 2013, so we have a lot of time for lots of speculatio... Read More »

Five Signs You Should Self Publish

With all the changes going on in publishing these days, new writers are often left wondering if they should just publish their work themselves. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the following five situations will help you know whether or not you should self publish. When you have the rights to your backlist. Ironically, probably the people who are in the best position to take advantage o... Read More »

Amazing News

I was recently pointed to a new show on Geek & Sundry – but I ended up checking out the first episode of Space Janitors.  Very clever, very funny. David Brin mentioned this site – Creative Barcodes. It looks very interesting if you are a creative type.       Read More »

The Horror of the Asylum

American Horror Story is an odd show. I missed it’s first run but got hooking on the anthology-format and various timelines. Being British, I often find it quite hard to conceive of America as having had enough time to cultivate good horror stories. This is coming from someone who grew up a stone’s throw from one of the various places where Anne Boleyn, the notorious queen of Henry VIII, is suppos... Read More »

Guide to Alternate History Literature

I’m often asked to recommend a good alternate history book, but you might as well ask me to name my favorite film.  My mind rebels at the thought of picking just one.  For the sake of all the current and future alternate historians I will do my best to come up with a good list. Let’s start with Harry Turtledove.  You just can’t go wrong with the “master of alternate history”.  If you enjoy a speci... Read More »

Amazing News

The first installment of John Scalzi’s serialized novel – The Human Division – goes on sale tomorrow.  The Human Division is being distributed by Tor on a weekly basis, prior to release as a print book.  The Human Division takes place in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe.  Tor has put a lot into this experiment and tells you where you can get copies for yourself here. Read More »

A Conversation about Cheating with My Time Traveling Future Self by Pornsak Pichetshote

A Conversation about Cheating with My Time Traveling Future Self by Pornsak Pichetshote

There are things that titles tell you. A title like “A Conversation with My Time Traveling Future Self” says “Expect science fiction comedy played against a hilarious relationship situation.” That’s what I had in my mind, and in the opening moments of this slickly-made eight minute shorts, it seems that’s the direction we’re being taken. And then it’... Read More »

It’s Getting Crowded In Here

Who decides what makes a good book? How does an editor know what readers will want? A writer’s friends and family might thrill at every new story but it still has to impress an agent, editor, publisher, reviewer and reader before it’s considered successful. Popular genres can fluctuate and morph, so that by the time you get a good draft of that vampire story and start flogging the manuscript to pu... Read More »

Crossroads: What is Noir, Anyway?

Before we get into a discussion of how speculative fiction approaches noir, let's start by discussing just what the noir aesthetic really is. Read More »

What I Mean When I Say…

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed something when I’ve conversed with people (in person or through email), posted things on my blog, or left comments on someone else’s blog.  We may be using the same words, but what we mean by those words isn’t always the same.  This is especially true when discussing the changes in the publishing world. So in the interest of clear communication, I’m going to ... Read More »

The Dangers of Ignoring the Ebook Revolution

The Dangers of Ignoring the Ebook Revolution

On January 8th, the long awaited final edition in the Wheel of Times series was released in hardcover.  The ebook, however, was no where to be found, and won’t be available until April 9th. Hardcover only releases have existed for years, but where people were once willing to wait six-months or a year for the “cheaper version” paperback, ebook readers are not so inclined, and book... Read More »

Lost In Space! Reviews of Unknown or Underappreciated Books – Black Sun by Robert Leininger

Hello and welcome to what will be an occasional feature on my blog! So – what, exactly, do I mean by ‘unknown or underappreciated’? To put it simply – not everyone is a Kevin J. Anderson or David Weber or Eric Flint or Robert Heinlein. Some authors – I would venture to say, MOST authors – produce perfectly fine books: readable, enjoyable, well-structured, skillfully plotted and with fu... Read More »

No. 2 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars

Any SF library without Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter of Mars is hardly complete. Burroughs’ John Carter series captured the imagination of many noted SF writers, like Ray Bradbury, early in their youth. As a teenager, I noted that Burroughs works were a multimedia experience with mass-marketing appeal: comic books, comic strips, novels, and occasionally you could find some cover art sold as... Read More »

Talk

Talk Somewhere around the mid-1980s, science fiction novels (less so short fiction) became filled with talk. I think this has to do with the appearance of word processing, but it also has something to do with the perceived desire of the reading public by publishers for longer, thicker novels–more for your money and all that. Perhaps this is due to the commercial success of Stephen King and Tom Cha... Read More »

How SFX Can Ruin a Horror Film

It recently struck me how most of the films that, IMHO, were truly scary were the ones that had little or no digital special effects. The reason is simple: what makes something scary is mostly what you don’t see rather than what you do see. Compare, for example, Alien (1979) with it’s putative prequel, Prometheus (2012). While Alien won an Oscar for special effects, by today’s st... Read More »

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 2)

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 2)

Why Are You Writing?: Deciding on the writing career that you want Welcome back. This is the second in my weekly series of posts on how to market and sell short fiction. In my initial post, I explained who I’m aiming this series at, why I think I can help you sell your short fiction, and what I’ll cover in the series (and what I won’t cover). This week, before I jump into giving ... Read More »

Attention Grabber

Attention Grabber

The single most important step for a reader is the initial act of choosing what to read. After that, everything else is just a formality of literary cultivation. You read, you absorb and you grow. But it’s that first step that determines who you are as a reader. So, what books grab “your” attention? Read More »

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