Book Review: Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

26 Mar Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

The price of humanity’s use of computing technology was high. The Syndrome caused degenerative physiological and neurological problems to an ever increasing amount of humanity. The wired age, as we in the 21st century might know, meant a radical change in humanity. Even as genetic engineering came up with cures for The Syndrome, the sheer amount of labor and effort needed to keep the world going during the transitional period meant that a different sort of genetically engineered being was needed. Beings designed who could lift more, think more, do more, to keep society functioning even as the world came to grips with the fallout from The Syndrome. Called Gems, after a century of propping up the world, these beings are no longer necessary for the functioning of society, but how can humanity keep them in shackles? And what rights does a superhuman being designed in a test tube really have? Or should have?

These issues come to a head in Gemsigns, the debut novel by Stephanie Saulter. Continue reading

262. Brenda Cooper (a.k.a. The Space Farmer) — Edge of Dark (An Interview)

25 Mar

Giant space rings, transhumanists, and space cows, oh my!  Brenda Cooper joins Shaun and Paul to discuss her latest novel, Edge of Dark.  We tackle Brenda’s love of science fiction, the transhumanist themes in her work, character development, and the wonders of space.  Plus 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!

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

Episode 262 — Download (MP3)Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

The Disquieting Guest — Ib Melchior: Tivoli Nights and Rat-Bat-Spider-Crabs

25 Mar angry-red-planet

Ib Melchior passed away on March 13, at the age of 97. His death was rather overshadowed in genre circles by those of two far more famous figures in the field, so I’m going to take a few moments now to remember the contributions of the novelist, screenwriter and director. While his most notable contributions have been more SF than horror, there are enough horrific elements in his work that I think he has a place in this column.

The most high-profile works associated with him are ones where his involvement was in one way or another indirect. He wrote the English-language script for Mario Bava’s SF/horror masterpiece Planet of the Vampires (1965). His concept Space Family Robinson (later a comic book) was, he claims, plagiarized by Irwin Allen as Lost in Space, and indeed, when the film version came along in 1998, Melchior was a paid consultant. And his short story “The Racer” was the basis for Paul Bartel’s brilliant (and ever-more-topical) satire Death Race 2000 (1975).* Continue reading

Geekomancer Under Glass: Recent Media – March 2015

23 Mar The Walking Dead Season 5

Hello, Skiffy and Fanty crew! It is I, your resident Geekomancer, back from my travels on the internet through memes and gifs and pilots and digital bundles. And this time, I’ve brought back word of recent goings-on in the geekiverse. A TV pilot for an award-nominated comic, a new story for a beloved geek icon, and the latest developments in a cable TV juggernaut. Enjoy!

Continue reading

261. Carrie Patel (a.k.a. Mayor of Mole City) — The Buried Life (An Interview)

20 Mar

Underground cities, murder-y murders, and snarky detectives, oh my!  Carrie Patel joins us to discuss her new novel, The Buried Life.  We discuss worldbuilding, writing detectives, the nature of power and class, gaming, 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!

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

Episode 261 — Download (MP3)The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Socratic Dialogues and the Nature of Excellence: Jo Walton’s The Just City

19 Mar just-city_375h

Plato’s Republic is a book that has been debated and studied since its composition nearly 2400 years ago. It delves into some of the deepest questions of society. How do we design a city, a world, a political entity to benefit the most people? How should people be ordered? What is Justice? What is the practical upshot of creating a society, a city, ordered on the lines of The Republic?

And what happens when the Goddess Pallas Athena decides that the thing to do in order to respond to Plato is to create a city based on The Republic, and populate it with people drawn through time and space, and several thousand children to be raised in the ways of the Republic, to carry the experiment truly forward? To create an experiment in a time and place where it cannot affect history but the pursuit of its excellence can be sought free of entanglements? Continue reading

260. Silvia Moreno-Garcia (a.k.a. The Music Wizard) — Signal to Noise (An Interview)

18 Mar

Music magic, sinking cities, and covens, oh my!  Silvia Moreno-Garcia joins Shaun and Julia to talk about her latest novel, Signal to Noise.  We discuss the novel’s obsession with music, Mexico City’s sinking problem, the “magical realism” label, 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!

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

Episode 260 — Download (MP3)Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

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