Tag Archives: Genre Fiction

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

#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

Custom Houses and Magical Secrets: The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

16 Oct The-Cipher

Port cities are nothing new in fantasy. In point of fact, port cities are one of the archetypal types of places you will find on a Diana Wynne Jones-esque tour of a fantasy world. Port cities are where cultures meet, where ships from near and far provide opportunities for escape and travel and for the unknown to come to the characters. Anything might be found lurking at the docks, or anyone might be sitting in the dark corner of a wharfside tavern. The markets can have anything for sale, providing further roads to adventure.

Port cities might hold wonderful potential for story, but that perspective is usually from an outsider, or a lower class perspective. The fantasy hero reaching the port after a trip overland. The street-rat who has always haunted the dockside haunts, scraping a living. The pirate who enters a hive of scum and villainy looking for more men for her ship, or to sell off the booty from her last score.  You don’t normally have as your hero a government bureaucrat. Like, say…a customs inspector. Continue reading

Diversity in SF Film: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

15 Oct The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading

226. Anne Lyle (a.k.a. Skraelabite) — The Night’s Masque Trilogy (An Interview at CONvergence)

13 Oct

Swords, weird London, and humanoid critters, oh my!  Anne Lyle, author of the Night’s Masque trilogy from Angry Robot Books, joined Paul and Shaun at CONvergence to talk about her work.  A few laughs were shared!

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 225 — Download (MP3)


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.

My Superpower: David Colby

13 Oct Debris Dreams by David Colby

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 David Colby to talk about how the power of Realism relates to Debris Dreams.


So, I once tried to read Game of Thrones, and I got fifty pages in before I threw my Kindle across the room. The first thing that came to mind was:  Oh god, that was a hundred bucks and my Mom’s, I’m so screwed. The second thing that came to mind was:  Man! Everyone in that book was a gigantic A-hole.

But it is realistic. Feudalism, by and large, was a social system that did little more than create self-entitled jerks by separating the ruling class from the ruled and telling them from birth that they were chosen by God to run everything forever, which (as we can see from today’s spate of “affluenza” news stories) is a great way raise sociopaths like Joffrey. Continue reading


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