228. Tobias Buckell (a.k.a. Captain Planet) — Hurricane Fever (An Interview)

25 Oct

Space cannons, Caribbean spies, and hurricanes, oh my!  Tobias Buckell returns to the show to discuss his new novel, Hurricane Fever.  We discuss the history of space exploration in the Caribbean, writing spy thrillers, the nitty gritty of Buckell’s characters, and 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 228 — Download (MP3)

Hurrican Fever by Tobias S. Buckell

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).  Additional music from “Black Vortex” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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

Guns, Stock, and Tael: Sword of the Bright Lady by M.C. Planck

23 Oct sword-of-the-bright-lady-mc-planck

Jared Diamond’s seminal work, Guns, Germs and Steel, posited that those three advantages are what allowed the Europeans to come out on top of the 15th century world and go on to dominate the globe in the next several centuries. European diseases decimated the New World, and European steel and guns gave them sway over Africa, Asia and the Americas. The reasons why Europe had those advantages and were able to leverage them is the heart of that book.

The idea of introducing gunpowder to worlds that don’t have it is one that crops up now and again in genre. Gunpowder is an invention that is a game changer, and yet, it is not one that requires a lot of technology to manage. It’s really a historical accident that it was invented in China and only when it came to Europe became seriously used for warfare. With the technology and materials available to them, there is nothing that wouldn’t allow gunpowder to be used as far back as the Roman Empire or even earlier. The roleplaying game Fvlminata provides a RPG world where gunpowder was invented by Rome in the first century AD. The Island in the Sea of Time series by S.M. Stirling has the time-stranded Nantucketers introduce gunpowder to the late Bronze Age, with civilizations everywhere wanting a piece of that action — and being able to use it, however primitively. Continue reading

My Superpower: KJ Kabza

20 Oct Celestial

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 KJ Kabza to talk about how the power of Neurotic Attention to Detail relates to Under Stars.


For many hours a day, I look through dense scientific papers and find where all the Oxford commas aren’t.

I’m a copyeditor. This has developed in me a super-powered, refined, neurotic attention to detail. If you have misplaced your keys somewhere in your house, I will find them. I will also notice your dusty surfaces, crooked pictures, and the zit you’re self-conscious about (sorry).

I’m also a fiction writer. My ability to zero in keeps my writing clean, my prosody present, and my stories… short. Before I’ve even started writing, I’ve seen where the tingly nerve center of a narrative lies, and you can’t unsee a thing like that. Novels, to this day, I can’t yet write, but if you want a world in 7,000 words? Aye aye.

My second collection of short fiction, Under Stars, showcases my hummingbird-like zoom-in abilities and my albatross-like ability to cover a hell of a lot of ground. My tightly-written stories are far-ranging and unlike each other (or so I’m told), leaving reviewers to stutter, “Fascinating, unique, imaginative” and “Does not end as you’d expect.Continue reading

Indy Genre: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

18 Oct Dead Snow 2 -- Red vs Dead (2014)

Nazi zombies.

If those two words don’t make you perk up your ears like a great dane that just heard the treat bag rattle, then this movie is not going to be for you. But if you feel as if your life could be immeasurably improved by the application of the aforementioned Nazi zombies plus copious amounts of gore and a not inconsiderable amount of vomit? Welcome home, my friends. (Warning, this review will contain spoilers for the original Dead Snow.)

Continue reading

#25. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast (w/ fixed audio file)

18 Oct

Space rodents, emo fanatics, and dancing Groots, oh my!  In her first episode as an official member of the crew, Rachael Acks joins Shaun, Paul, and David to discuss the smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

We hope you enjoy the episode!

(Note:  a previous version of this post contained two different mp3 files:  one for Sherlock and one for Guardians of the Galaxy.  That has been corrected.)

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.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Download the episode here.

Show notes (info about our contributors can be found on the about page):

Comment away!

Z Nation and “A Chick Thing”

17 Oct Z Nation

While I was counting down the hours before the return of The Walking Dead, I took the opportunity to write down some thoughts about Z Nation. Sure, it’s no Walking Dead, but it does have its moments.


Last weekend, my sister visited, and, among other activities, she took a break from her TV-less lifestyle. After I got to show her the wonderful “Manhattan,” she found that SyFy was starting a four-episode marathon of “Z Nation.”

I had previously caught the last 20 minutes of that show’s premiere, been annoyed by a stupid decision to needlessly pursue a zombie into a clutter-filled deathtrap, and decided just to wait a few weeks for TWD. But my sister wanted to try Z Nation, so we watched for a couple of episodes, and I kept it on after she went to bed. Continue reading

Book Review: Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction edited by Isiah Lavender III

16 Oct Black and Brown Planets edited by Isiah Lavender

In his introduction to this collection of essays, Isiah Lavender III explains that Black and Brown Planets continues a conversation started in the science fiction community with Elisabeth Leonard’s 1997 anthology, Into Darkness Peering: Race and Color in the Fantastic. The cultural and literary criticism found here in looking at works of the recent past become particularly significant as we comprehend a future where, as Lavender III puts it, “the Western world ceases to be dominated by the white majority”:

SF has charted a few of the alternatives for this unknown territory, and the change presents both opportunities and challenges for society to establish new values. In short, skin color matters in our visions of the future…[To] transcend various repetitions of the color line – black, red, and brown – we must be conscious of these repetitions. Continue reading


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