Guest Post: “Our Fascination with Genre Distinctions” by Christopher Ruocchio

RuocchioC-AuthorPicI don’t know what it is about genre distinctions that so fascinates writers and readers alike. We enjoy them perhaps for the same reason we obsess about character classes and skill trees and so on in games like Dungeons and Dragons and why so many of us obsess (wrongly) about “magic systems” (as if anything which supercedes and violates natural law should be systematic, ha)! We like complexity, perhaps too much, we like categories (heavens, so much trouble in fan culture of late is the result of trying to categorize fans and creators alike: for their immutable traits, for the beliefs, for their politics, and so on). Complex categories give the world a texture that we nerds find pleasing, for they bespeak a deep sense not merely of order, but of ordered chaos.

The best of both worlds. Continue reading

Interview with ADA HOFFMANN

HoffmanA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Ada Hoffmann?

I’m an autistic computer scientist from Canada and a speculative fiction author. I’ve been publishing short stories since 2010, and I’ve been longlisted for the BSFA and Rhysling awards for my short work. I recently received my PhD from the University of Waterloo and now I’m adjuncting while living with a happy polyamorous family and a very good black cat. When I’m not writing or working, I like music, LARP, and autism self-advocacy.

Your debut novel, The Outside, was published this month by Angry Robot. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Outside is a space opera with AI Gods, cyborg angels, cosmic horrors, multiple factions of compelling villains, and an autistic scientist named Yasira who’s caught in the middle of it all. It stands on its own with a complete plot, but I’d love to expand it into a series if the publisher permits. Continue reading

Interview with TJ BERRY

BerryTJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is TJ Berry?

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror from Seattle. I’m originally from the New York City area, so I have a lot of opinions on the subject of pizza. I’m a survivor of the 2016 six-week Clarion West Writer’s Workshop — also known as sci-fi summer camp. In a previous life, I owned a bakery, and one of my enduring skills is whipping up a batch of cookie dough from scratch in under three minutes. That comes in handy more often than you’d imagine.

Your next novel, Five Unicorn Flush, will be published by Angry Robot in May. The sequel to Space Unicorn Blues, how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Five Unicorn Flush picks up after the magical Bala have disappeared from the universe and the authoritarian Reason regime has devolved into chaos. All of the cheap labor and magical faster-than-light fuel that humans exploited to fuel their intergalactic expansion are gone. One angry man, Cowboy Jim Bryant, has decided to take the last remaining faster-than-light warship and hunt down the Bala and return them to captivity. His former partner and current nemesis, Captain Jenny Perata, is hot on his tail, keen on stopping him. Continue reading

Excerpt: FLEET OF KNIVES by Gareth L. Powell (Titan)

PowellGL-EoW2-FleetOfKnivesToday, we have a short excerpt from Gareth L. Powell’s Fleet of Knives. The sequel to Embers of War, it is out now, published by Titan Books. Here’s the synopsis:

The former warship Trouble Dog and her crew of misfits is called upon by the House of Reclamation to investigate a distress call from the human starship the Lucy’s Ghost. Her crew abandon their crippled ship and seek refuge abroad an abandoned, slower-than-light generation ship launched ten thousand years before by an alien race. However, the enormous ship contains deadly secrets of its own.

Recovered war criminal, Ona Sudak, faces a firing squad for her actions in the Archipelago War. But, at the last moment, she is smuggled out of her high security prison. The Marble Armada has called for her to accompany its ships as observer and liaison, as it spreads itself across the human Generality, enforcing the peace at all costs. The alien ships will not tolerate resistance, and all dissenters are met with overwhelming and implacable force. Then her vessel intercepts messages from the House of Reclamation and decides the Trouble Dog has a capacity for violence which cannot be allowed to endure.

As the Trouble Dog and her crew fight to save the crew of the Lucy’s Ghost, the ship finds herself caught between chaotic alien monsters on one side, and on the other, destruction at the hands of the Marble Armada.

Read on for the excerpt…

Continue reading

Upcoming: FINDER by Suzanne Palmer (DAW)

PalmerS-1-FinderUSDescribed as an “action-packed sci-fi caper” starring an “interstellar repo man and professional finder”, this debut space opera looks like a lot of fun! Suzanne Palmer‘s Finder (maybe the first in a series?) is due to be published by DAW Books in North America, on April 2nd, 2019. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK edition. Here’s the synopsis:

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly — and inconveniently — invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he’s called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.

Looking forward to this one!

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Guest Post: “On Worldbuilding” by Rhonda Mason

masonr-authorpicIn the beginning, there was the protagonist, and the author saw that it was good.

My worldbuilding process starts after the creation of the protagonist, never before. I write novels to tell the story of a person, not the story of a world, and all of my novels have sprung from a first impression of the main character. For The Empress Game trilogy it was an image of Kayla holding a kris dagger in each hand, fighting another woman in a pit while criminals cheered her on.

Once I have that first impression of a character, the worldbuilding begins. Who is she? (The exiled princess from a rival planet) Where is she? (Hidden on the slum side of her hated enemy’s border planet) Why is she there? (Trying to raise credits to buy passage back to her homeworld) And, most importantly, why is she special? Why are we telling her story, and not someone else’s? Continue reading

Interview with YOON HA LEE

LeeYH-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Yoon Ha Lee?

I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with my family and a cat with the personality of an unusually submissive marshmallow. My twelve-year-old daughter would like you to know that I have a twelve-year-old daughter.

She also wants to let you know that I write genocidal science fiction. Her term, not mine. Maybe I had better set her up with some computer games or a book and get her away from me…

Solaris are publishing your new novel, Ninefox Gambit, in June. It looks rather fascinating: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Ninefox Gambit is about a disgraced captain, Kel Cheris, who allies with a brilliant undead tactician, Shuos Jedao, to defend one of her nation’s star fortresses. The good news: Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one capable of cracking the fortress’s defenses. Continue reading