Book Review: Wilders, by Brenda Cooper

19 May

Author Brenda Cooper describes herself as a futurist and as being passionate about the environment, and you’d better believe she’s dead serious about it. Which is to say that, unlike most of the books I’ve gotten to review for Skiffy and Fanty this month, Wilders is many things, but fun isn’t one of them. Like so much ecological science fiction (or ecopunk, if that’s a thing? I’m pretty sure it’s a thing), Wilders is written in deadly earnest. Look elsewhere for lighthearted escapism.

Refreshingly, though, unlike a lot of books I’ve stumbled across in this genre, Wilders manages not to get too preachy. Herein, Cooper works under the assumption that her readers are proficient singers in the choir, and proceeds to focus on telling us a story rather than trying to persuade us that wilderness matters, that the environment matters, that extinction hurts us, etc., etc. Continue reading

Guest Post: Switching Between Lanes, by Stephanie Burgis

17 May

I think that every writer who’s ever read publishing advice online has probably come across at least one article on the importance of “branding.” Apparently, to be really smart, writers ought to be figuring out the one thing that they’re best at — or the one thing that connects the most with potential readers — and then sticking to it no matter what, so that fans will know exactly what they’ll get from every new novel by that author.

I know I sound a little snarky in that description, but I’m actually not arguing with it as a strategy. I’m sure that it is a smart, practical way to build a successful career.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been much good at sticking to my own lane. There are too many wonderful genres that I love as a reader, and I get frustrated whenever I try to shut out all but one of them in my writing life. Before I sold my first books, I published dozens of adult f/sf short stories, and I drafted full-length novels for both adults and kids. Then my first agent, back in 2005, took me on with an adult historical fantasy manuscript, and it felt like my first big step onto the publishing ladder. Aha! I’m almost there! Continue reading

Signal Boost #5: A Conversation about CoGeeko Ergo Sum

16 May

In today’s episode of Signal Boost, Shaun and Jen have a conversation about their earliest memories of geekdom and how they came into their love of SFF from very different directions. In addition, they both have their mini-boosts for the week! Shaun cheats and boosts THREE things. That rapscallion.

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): Continue reading

#58. Night Watch (2004) w/ Juan Sanmiguel — A Shoot the WISB Subcast

15 May

Gloom travels, Shadowrun, and post-soviet-collapse Russia, oh my! Shaun, Jen, and Paul, discuss the Russian urban fantasy blockbuster film, Night Watch, with special guest, Juan Sanmiguel! The group discuss American audience prejudice against foreign genre films, the fact that they’re probably missing a lot of cultural clues, and how Night Watch does a better job portraying female characters than most US urban fantasy.

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): Continue reading

Book Review: Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn

12 May

Stories dealing with those often-painful transitions of adolescence dominate mainstream young adult fiction. On the genre side of the fiction divide, post-apocalyptic settings contain characters constantly beset by external dangers, characters that simultaneously must struggle to adapt themselves to their civilization’s collapse. In both cases these tales combine peripheral threats with internal struggles, shaping varying degrees of character growth and/or plot development.

Thus, it’s fitting that S.C. Flynn combined aspects from both sides of young adult fiction’s spectrum in his debut novel Children of the Different. Though comprised of many familiar elements, the novel is aptly named. Flynn’s story feels fresh and intriguingly different. With inspirations from analytical philosophy and biological metamorphosis, Children of the Different explores the transformation of his young characters into adulthood within post-apocalyptic settings that merge science fiction and mythical fantasy. Continue reading

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