Book Review: Cracking the Sky by Brenda Cooper

30 Jul Cracking the Sky cover 4.indd

Quantum searching across timelines with a high powered, sentient computer. A little girl who is being raised by robots, and may be one herself. Danger and adventure on a wondrous construct connecting an icy world and its cold neighbor. Small squad operations against rogue corporations. Long-distance virtual reality riding of a young woman living in Mexico. All this and more are found in Cracking the Sky.

Cracking the Sky, from Fairwood Press, represents the first science fiction-only collection of stories from science fiction, fantasy and futurist author  Brenda Cooper. The stories range throughout her oevure, selected from the last twelve years of her writing career. While Cooper is better known for her novels (see my review of Edge of Dark, for example), Cooper’s pen does take her into shorter forms. Indeed, some of the stories in this collection are short enough to be almost flash-fiction in length.

Continue reading

#37. Ex Machina (2015) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast

27 Jul Ex Machina -- 2015

The Turing test, eccentric billionaires, and the singularity, oh my!  In this special edition of Shoot the WISB, Rachael takes Shaun and Paul on a journey through Alex Garland’s directorial debut, Ex Machina.  We explore the film’s treatment of AI, its themes, its women, and much more!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Spoiler Alert:  the following podcast contains spoilers for the film being reviewed; if you wish to see the film without having it ruined for you, download this podcast and save it for later. Continue reading

Book Review: The Stories of the Raksura Volume Two by Martha Wells

23 Jul storiesvolii250

Through three novels and a previous collection of stories (Stories of the Raksura Volume One: The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud), Martha Wells has built up an ever richer tapestry of tales of the Three Worlds, focusing primarily on her alien, shapeshifting and yet all too human race of the Raksura. Stories of the Raksura Volume Two: The Dead City and The Dark Earth Below continues in that tradition. Within, Martha gives us the two titular novellas as bookends to the book, and three stories in between.

Also like the first volume, Wells gives us a variety of time frames in which the stories are set. Having contented herself with setting up the framework of Moon (our primary POV protagonist) in the three Raksura books (The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths), rather than always progressing the narrative forward in time, she has taken the tack of telling backstories, and side stories about the characters and the world. One of the stories, as detailed shortly, does not involve the Raksura at all. The richness of the peoples and creatures of the Three Worlds allows for amazing diversity in potential protagonists within and without of the Raksura themselves. The Raksura are her primary and overwhelming interest, and with good reason. However, there is nothing to prevent her from exploring other corners of her world. Continue reading

My Superpower: E.C. Ambrose (Elisha Rex)

22 Jul ElishaRex_Front

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome E.C. Ambrose to talk about how the power of hiking in the rain relates to Elisha Rex.


In addition to being a novelist, I am also an adventure guide, and it was this second career which led me to a surprising super-power, one which, as a child, I would never have dreamed of possessing: hiking in the rain.

One of the great joys of being a grown-up, and a self-employed one at that, is, in most cases, I can do whatever I want — or choose not to do it, and most of the time, it works out just fine. As a child, I had a great aversion to rain: I would hide in the toybox to avoid having to go out in the rain. But as an adventure guide, hiding in the toybox, no matter how appealing it sounds, is simply no longer an option. Adventure Camp doesn’t stay inside when it rains.

Writing the third book in an on-going series is a similar situation. Continue reading

277. So You Want to Start a Podcast (Live at CONvergence w/ Clayton Faits, Jeff Adams, Jeffrey Gardner, and Michael Damian Thomas)

17 Jul CONvergence Connie Logo

Mics, audio flukes, and giggly hosts, oh my!  Are you interested in starting a podcast?  Well, a few weeks ago, we recorded a panel on podcasting at CONvergence with a whole bunch of awesome podcasting people!

We didn’t cover everything we could, so feel free to send an email if you have any questions.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 277 — Download (MP3)

Show Notes: Continue reading


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