Archive for SF/F News

Mur on Becoming Escape Pod’s editor


Cross posted from Murverse.com:

I’ve been hinting at a seekrit project for a while now, and it’s finally public: Steve Eley, the brilliant mind behind the first podcast fiction magazine, is stepping down from Escape Pod, and I’ll be taking his place.

I’ve been involved with Escape Artists in one way or another several times in the past five years. Steve has published several of my short stories, and asked me and Ben Phillips to helm Pseudopod when it launched. I had to step down in 2007 because i had a day job and simply had to let some outside things go.

I’ve been working behind the scenes on the EP thing for a couple of weeks now, sifting through slush with some truly dedicated volunteers. We re-launch after our hiatus next week on Escape Pod’s fifth anniversary with Steve’s last podcast. Then I will take over hosting for three weeks, then we will run our traditional Hugo short story offering. July is when I’ll settle into the job fully with hosting and editing. We’ve got some new things coming up for the podcast this summer.

But never fear! The podcast is awesome because of Steve’s vision: fun SF, and I’ll never turn away from that.

I’ve got a great team helping me, and I’m very excited to see where we can steer this ship. Thanks for all the congrats that came through Twitter and email so far, it really means a lot to me that people have confidence in my ability to take this amazing podcast and keep it strong.

(Endorsement) Personal Effects: Dark Art


NOTE FROM STEVE: This is not this week’s Escape Pod story. This is me talking about something I like. Feel free to skip this post if it isn’t fun for you.

There are a number of good writers now breaking into the big leagues through podcasting. My friend J.C. Hutchins is one of them. I loved his 7th Son trilogy, and I jumped at the chance when he asked me to read an advance copy of his horror novel Personal Effects: Dark Art and record a reaction for him.

Here’s my initial reaction (Hutch liked it enough that he added the background music and bumper titling and such):

J.C. Hutchins’s “Personal Effects: Dark Art” – Expert Testimony from Stephen Eley on Vimeo.

And here’s the big group “vlurb” project that my piece was a part of:

J.C. Hutchins’s “Personal Effects: Dark Art” – SuperVlurb from Stephen Eley on Vimeo.

(The folks in that vlurb are all awesome and you should check out their sites: Philippa Ballantine, Scott Sigler, Seth Harwood, Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, Christiana Ellis, Matt Wallace, James Melzer, Mark Jeffrey, Mur Lafferty, Phil Rossi and Matt Selznick.)

I read the book in PDF form. And then I pre-ordered it on Amazon, because it’s just that good. (Also because the little goodies that come with the physical copy sound like fun.) This is an unusual horror novel: it brings in a lot of conventional settings and tropes, but the characters break from formula in some surprising ways. And it’s a smart horror novel. Silliness in hats aside, I highly recommend it.

EP BONUS: Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty


The Escape Pod episode is still coming up later today. But by special permission of Mur Lafferty, here’s a special bonus for you: the complete text of her novel, Playing for Keeps, in PDF format. It’s officially launching August 25th, so be sure to buy it from Amazon then!

Playing for Keeps

EP BONUS: J.C. Hutchins OBSIDIAN Poster


If you’re as much a fan as I am of J.C. Hutchins’s SF thriller trilogy 7th Son, you’ll be jazzed to hear about 7th Son: OBSIDIAN, the new short fiction audio anthology set in the 7th Son universe. The anthology has stories from some of the top names in podcasting, including Mur Lafferty, Scott Sigler, Matt Wallace, Christiana Ellis and Evo Terra.

J.C. has an innovative promotional strategy to spread the word: he’s distributing a series of collectible posters across some of the top podcasts in the ‘verse. These are high-quality printable 8″x10″ images suitable for your cubicle, campus bulletin board, or fallout shelter. I was honored to be approached to host one of those posters. You can download ours here, or get it on our feed:

7th Son: OBSIDIAN Poster #5

If you want to collect the entire set of posters, you’ll have to visit each of these fine podcasts and Web sites. They’re all worth taking at least a couple of minutes to check out:

Good hunting!

EP BONUS: Ecru – The Butcher of Balis


Ecru

Here’s a special prerelease of a new podcasting first: a full comic book distributed exclusively via podcast!

Ecru debuts today from Particle 9 Productions, distributed by Outcast Multimedia. The first issue features art by Chasen Grieshop and an original story by Earl Newton (of Stranger Things). We’re pleased to deliver this special preview edition of the comic on the Escape Pod feed.

(And yes, today’s regular Escape Pod episode will be posting shortly.)

EP BONUS: Ancestor by Scott Sigler


Ancestor

As part of Scott’s _”Monday Bloody Monday”_ campaign, we’re giving you the full text of his novel for free.

The paperback will be available on April 1st. Scott wants to hit #1 that day by having everyone order from Amazon at noon Pacific time. So if you like what you’re reading, support him by buying the book!

Return from Balticon 40 and news


Apologies for the silence; many of us spent the weekend at Balticon 40 talking about podcasting, editing, scotch, and “Hey, I saw Neil Gaiman in the hallway!”

Latest news:
Tour Asia in 2007! China is hosting an International SF/Fantasy Conference in Chengdu, August 24-27, 2007. This coincides nicely with WorldCon in Nippon, scheduled for August 30-September 3. There are even direct flights from Chengdu to Tokyo. No site link, but the full press release is at the Emerald City Weblog.

If you didn’t get to see Serenity as many times as you’d hoped in the theater, many cities are screening it again on Joss Whedon’s birthday (June 23 for all of you non-obsessed fans). Learn more here.

Pern Movie!


Anne McCaffrey’s (why is it never “Hugo-winning novelist, Anne McCaffrey”?) rich world of telepathic dragons is finally coming to a movie house near you. SciFi Wire reports that Copperheart Entertainment will be adapting it to the movies.

This makes me want to send a note back in time to my 15 year old self and say, “Just be patient. It will come.”

Writers Beware!


BoingBoing recently broke this story, which is something anyone who is interested in genre fiction needs to take interest in. A University of Florida graduate student wrote a horror story on his LiveJournal which got the interest of the university police. They have been harassing him for his fingerprints and DNA so they can try to match him to other murders. The unstoppable force that is Cory Doctorow got involved, calling and investigating, with the police quite unwilling to discuss the situation, although they chose to use Doctorow’s interest in the situation as more ammo with which to threaten the student. There is no case. There are no charges. And yet they won’t lay off this guy.

Writing is not a crime. Writing about bad things is not a crime. Being an unpublished writer, writing about bad things, is not a crime. (Notice no one going after big time authors.)

**

In other news. SciFi Wire reports that Dabel Brothers Productions will start adapting some popular SFF novels to graphic novels. If they do it half as well as Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry are depicting Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, look to see some good stuff. The first three titles up will be Orson Scott Card’s Red Prophet and Wyrms and Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake book, Guilty Pleasures.

[EDIT- these are not the first titles, these are the first of a new batch. They’ve been doing this with other titles already. Thanks for the comment, John!]

Tiptree Longlist Controversy


Sorry for the radio silence lately.

The blogosphere was on fire yesterday with the news that apparently a piece of fanfiction (“Arcana” by Emily Brunson – the work has since been removed from the web) was on the long list for this year’s Tiptree Award (1). There are, of course, strong opinions on either side. Fanfic has been looked down upon for years – it’s a copyright violation (which is true), it’s not “real writing” (not quite so true), it takes no skill (untrue) and there’s a lot of crap out there (true of any art). The other side, well, they just argue the opposite. I (2) realized that there’s a fine line – if someone hires you to write, it’s no longer fanfic. But what’s the difference between a Star Wars fanfic and a Star Wars novel? Money, licensing, permission, and perhaps skill. I write professional fanfic when I write in established RPG worlds. I’ve written World of Warcraft fanfic and Exalted fanfic, technically.

However, the sticky situation comes up when you realize if the piece had won, then the author would have received things such as chocolate, a trip to the award ceremony at WisCon, and… money. That’s right. The author would have received money, making the “homage” copyright violation (something that’s usually accepted online) into a definite illegal commercial copyright violation.

People are questioning the credibility of the judges, as fanfic isn’t even considered “published”, was the piece good enough, should it be judged on writing or just gender exploration, etc. It’s an interesting situation. I have to admit that my opinion of fanfic has changed in the past years, but I’m still firmly in the camp that it should be seen as a hobby that hones writing skill and is fun to do, not something you can publish, no matter how good it is.

[EDIT- response from Debbie Notkin, chair of the Tiptree motherboard in the comments.]

(1) James Tiptree Jr. Award celebrates scifi that explores gender issues. The 2005 winner was “Air: Or, Have Not Have” by Geoff Ryman

(2)This was written by Mur, not Steve.