Thought of the Day: Friendship

Thought of the DaySometimes
the most difficult friendships
are the most rewarding
because they help you
to become a better person.


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Futuredaze 2: High School Library Giveaway x 10

Underwords Press is giving away Futuredaze 2: Reprise to 10 different high school libraries anywhere in the U.S.

FD2RepriseWhen I was a teenager, my high school library was a refuge, filled with books that contained doorways to thousands of worlds. However, with all of the budget cuts that schools have suffered lately, their libraries are now struggling to make ends meet. So, in honor of the mysterious high school librarian at my former high school (Kelseyville High School), Underwords Press is holding a contest to give away a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise to 10 high school libraries within the U.S. The instructions for entering the contest are written below. The contest is open until Saturday, September 20, 2014 at midnight in Hawaii.

Futuredaze 2: Reprise: Fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

Includes Stories by:
Paolo Bacigalupi * Libba Bray * Cassandra Clare * Neil Gaiman
Kat Howard * Hugh Howey * N. K. Jemisin * James Patrick Kelly
Ken Liu * Malinda Lo * Beth Revis * Will Shetterly
Scott Westerfeld * Connie Willis * Jane Yolen

ENTER THE CONTEST
Futuredaze 2: Reprise, edited by Erin Underwood and Nancy Holder

TO ENTER: Enter for your high school library’s chance to win a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise by posting your high school’s name and city in the comments area below by midnight on Saturday, September 20th. One entry per person.

MAKE YOUR ENTRY COUNT TWICE: **You can get a double entry by posting the link for this contest on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter, or somewhere else. Be sure to mention in your contest entry  below that you “boosted the signal” to have your entry counts as two entries – doubling your chances to win.**

RULES: The contest is open to all high school libraries located within the United States. Each person is only allowed to enter once, but a high school’s name may be submitted by multiple people. The 10 winning schools will be randomly chosen from all entries received. The person who entered on behalf of the school will be contacted via email for mailing instructions. To enter, you must be at least 14 years old. If you are under 18, please get your parent’s permission to enter.

~

“Thoughtfully organized to maximize enjoyment, this sci-fi collection introduces YA readers to exciting subgenres and authors.” —Carolyn Bailey, Foreword Reviews, Fall 2014
“Drawing on a diverse selection of the short science fiction of the last 30 years, the authors have created a solid work through which younger readers can explore the world of SF.” —James Davis Nicoll, RT Book Reviews
Posted in Contest, Futuredaze, Uncategorized, Young Adult Literature | 2 Comments

“For YA,” a Response to Slate’s Article “Against YA”

The 1980s were my teen years, and I read like a voracious book maniac. However, there wasn’t much of a YA category at that time so I was left with going to the adult shelves or to the children’s section in the bookstore. That’s it. It was embarrassing to read “children’s” fiction back then (almost as embarrassing as revealing my love of science fiction and fantasy), and I often had to hide the fact that I was reading “adult” books. This frustrated me to no end.

Since then, a robust selection of young adult SF/F literature has been written by a  talented group of authors, most of whom would have been shelved in the adult section 20 years earlier. The exciting thing about young adult (YA) literature is that it can do what no other category can can easily accomplish. It brings together children, teens, and adults into a shared reading experience.  When you think about how arbitrary these categories are and how easily publishers shift titles from adult to YA to middle grade and back to adult, you realize that good fiction is good fiction despite the age category, and we all get something out of it…and that something should not be embarrassment.

Just ReadWhy should anyone feel embarrassed by reading a good book? I realize that the term “good” is fairly subjective. So, let me define “good” as being a book you enjoy or a book that gets you to pick it up, sit down, and READ. Reading is a mentally active pasttime that engages the reader’s intellect, it stimulates emotion, it generates empathy, and it builds the imagination…not to mention it keeps a person’s vocabulary, reading skills, and writing skills fresh. I don’t see anything embarrassing there.

So, I get annoyed when I read an article like Slate’s “Against YA,” which claims that adults should be embarrassed to read YA fiction and that they should stop reading it. Yeah, I get REALLY annoyed. Statements like this are the statements of bullies who shame others into acting in a manner they think is more appropriate. “Adults should be embarrassed to read YA fiction.” This roughly translates to “there is something wrong with an adult who reads YA because they would otherwise be reading adult fiction.”

Even worse, this ridiculous shaming of adults who read YA establishes the presumption that young adult books are not on the same literary level as adult books. It also ignores the fact that publishers and bookstores use the YA category as a marketing tool to reach readers, not as a litmus test for the quality of the writing, concepts, language, and issues that comprise the book.

As a reader, I am offended by anyone shaming another person for his or her reading choices. As a small press publisher of young adult science fiction, I am equally offended that Slate would publish an article that shames adults for reading books they enjoy. Humans are complex creatures. We do not fit in a finite literary box or category. Our reading lists are diverse and varied. They challenge us, and that challenge comes from the content within the book not the bookshelf title.

If adults become embarrassed of reading YA fiction, the next group to be embarrassed of it are the young adults themselves because they are too smart to hold themselves to a separate standard. Sadly, the author of Slate’s “Against YA” article is so busy shaming adults, that she never once thinks about the affect of her words on young adults. Teens are smart.

Ultimately, both teens and adults deserve a lot more credit than this article affords them. While the author of “Against YA” acknowledges that some YA fiction is well-written, her argument that adults should be embarrassed to read YA fiction only succeeds in rebuilding old walls that divided categories, genres, and readers. I say, stop the shaming and start the reading. Pick up a good book and read. Just Read.

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Guest Post and Futuredaze 2: Reprise Giveaway at Reading Teen

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise, Reading Teen is giving away two copies. So, this is your chance, but remember … you have to enter to win. Here’s the link to my guest post and to the contest: http://www.readingteen.net/2014/09/giveaway-paying-it-forward-with.html

Futuredaze is Featured at Reading Teen! -- Plus a contest!

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The Reading Guide for Futuredaze 2: Reprise is Available for Free

Futuredaze 2: Reprise now has a Reading Guide for educators. The Reading Guide adapts to the Common Core Curriculum that schools in 43 states are now using. We invite teachers, schools, librarians, students, parents, and reading groups to download the reading guide for free.

FD2 Front Image

About the Book:
Futuredaze 2: Reprise: Fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

“Thoughtfully organized to maximize enjoyment, this sci-fi collection introduces YA readers to exciting subgenres and authors.” —Carolyn Bailey, Foreword Reviews, Fall 2014

“Drawing on a diverse selection of the short science fiction of the last 30 years, the authors have created a solid work through which younger readers can explore the world of SF.” —James Davis Nicoll, RT Book Reviews

Featuring stories from Paolo Bacigalupi, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Neil Gaiman, Hugh Howey, Kat Howard, N. K. Jemisin, James Patrick Kelly, Ken Liu, Malinda Lo, Beth Revis, Will Shetterly, Scott Westerfeld, Connie Willis, and Jane Yolen.

Futuredaze: 2 Reprise is now available for purchase online at:

Title: Futuredaze 2: Reprise
Editor: Erin Underwood and Nancy Hodler
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Underwords (August 12, 2014)
Language: English
Price: $15.95
ISBN-13: 978-0985893422

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Science Fiction that Pulls New People Into the Genre

I have always believed that science fiction is for everyone. After all, it’s truly the most “forward” facing genre and you would think this should obligate it to be more diverse and open than it has been in the past. Still, for a long time, it was challenging to find stories about people or stories written by a person who wasn’t white, male, and heterosexual. A genre like science fiction, which  is for everyone, really ought to be about everyone, and diversity should be represented in the fiction and in the authors who are in the industry.

So, when Nancy Holder and I were working on Futuredaze 2: Reprise, these were all things that were on our mind. However, while we were in the reading stage (and when you’re putting together a reprint anthology, that is one huge stage of the process!), we picked the best of what we found. We figured we would look at diversity issues after we selected the stories that we most wanted in the anthology. At the end of our reading stage, we ended up with 16 stories–15 of which are in the book. When we looked at that group of stories, which really were all of our favorite stories, we were pretty shocked that the selection was naturally diverse. If they weren’t great, they weren’t for us. The fact that diversity happened naturally was incredibly gratifying since it touched on my early belief that science fiction is for everyone.

The reason I bring this up is that I just read a review on Goodreads that said this about Futuredaze 2: Reprise:

“…it’s aimed at a younger audience who probably shouldn’t start chronologically. I think that anyone who believes that people need to approach science fiction starting with the older stuff, even from the “Greats” will find that modern readers demand a bit more, and a bit less crap. While many people might be willing to overlook offensive crap in older science fiction as “just part of the times,” there is something to be said for not having to deal with that. And here is a set of stories that are great and original and show real diversity and a view of the world that isn’t just white and male. It’s refreshing, and it is how science fiction is going to end up pulling more and newer people into the genre, which is what it needs.”FD2 on Goodreads

Yes! This is exactly how I feel about science fiction, and seeing someone write that in a review of my book was like winning the lottery. Thank you Charles Payseur. I don’t know you, but I hope that someday we get to meet because I have a feeling we’d have a fantastic discussion about the history and future of science fiction.

For those of you who don’t review books that you’ve read, I can guarantee you that the authors and publishers read them. To those of you, like Charles, who take the time to write down your thoughts, thank you!

Sometimes writing and publishing feels like throwing words into a vacuum. It’s so nice to see what people think, no matter what they have to say. Seeing those reviews is rewarding because it’s an acknowledgement that someone cared enough to share their thoughts about your work. That’s what it’s all about. So, again, thank you!

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Excellent Review for Futuredaze 2: Reprise from Foreword Reviews

FD-postcard.indd

Click here to buy now

We just received a really great review from Foreword Reviews, which is included in their Fall 2014 issue. Thank you Foreword Reviews!

The entire review is so complementary that I couldn’t just pick one thing to share here. So, I’m including a few different snippets for you to enjoy:

“Thoughtfully organized to maximize enjoyment, this sci-fi collection introduces YA readers to exciting subgenres and authors….Underwood and Holder follow up Futuredaze, their collection of original science-fiction stories and poetry, with this sequel featuring fifteen previously published stories by well-known YA authors like Scott Westerfeld and Cassandra Clare….The editors’ respect for their teen audience is apparent and adds to the appeal of the collection. The previously mentioned stories, like all of the others chosen for this book, incorporate issues of identity, independence, and relationships that are hallmarks of YA literature….At just under 300 pages, the length provides a nice taste of some of the best science-fiction writing for teens without being overwhelmingly long.” — Carolyn Bailey

Futuredaze 2: Reprise is available for purchase in storesonline, and from Underwords Press. Feel free to share with the YA readers in your life.

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List of Young Adult Science Fiction Anthologies

Reading short science fiction is a great way to introduce young adult readers to the genre. However, finding a “SF” only anthology for young adults isn’t quite as easy as you might think. For the dedicated searcher, there are some great books out there–many of which include stories by the top authors in the field. Here’s a quick list of YA science fiction anthologies that you might enjoy:

FD2Reprise After
ShardsandAshes DiverseEnergies
FirebirdsRising Futuredaze
Timewarp DarlingsofSF
Firebirds ChildrenofInfinity

If you know of any other science fiction only YA anthologies, feel free to post the titles in the comments since they are a bit more difficult to find than mixed genre YA, fantasy YA, or paranormal YA anthologies.

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YA Literature Panels at Loncon3

Yesterday, I attended the panel “From the Horse’s Mouth: What Teens are Reading” and I was on the “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” and “YA on the Big Screen” panels.

Teens Reading PanelMy absolute favorite panel of the convention has been the “What Teens are Reading” panel that featured teen and middle grade readers. The panel was moderated by YA author Laure Eve and included Leo Adams, Sophie Strahan, Princess Scientist, and Iris Wilde. It was amazing to see kids who are so passionate about books…. PAPER books! This group of panelists did a fabulous job representing YA and MG readers and really drove home the point that what they want is smart, interesting, diverse, and original fiction. I think more conventions should include young adult panelists who enjoy talking about what they are reading since they are truly the experts on the subject.

“YA on the Big Screen” was a really fun panel that could have gone on a lot longer. It was moderated by Carrie Vaughn and the panelists included Thea James, Martin Lewis, Amy Sturgis, and me. There was general agreement between the panelists and the audience that dystopian films are really starting to look the same, and that is heightened by the fact that we’re seeing many of the same supporting actors and actresses in multiple films, which tend to give the impression that you really could take characters from one film set and drop them into one of the other film sets and you would have the same movie. A little more visual variety would help a lot. Another theme that came up multiple times was that while action films are great, we would love to see a few more thoughtful and introspective films that really take the time needed to develop the story, the characters, and the worlds within the books. We’re all holding our breath to see what The Giver will deliver as a film. That said, the recent YA film boom has been great and being able to experience our favorite stories in a variety of media is a wonderful thing.

rithmatist

The “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” panel was great. It was moderated by Ann VanderMeer and the panelists included Christopher Gibbs, Klaus Mogensen, and me. Ann brought in a powerpoint presentation, which featured a bunch of interesting book covers, including some done by Christopher and the covers for Futuredaze and Futuredaze 2: Reprise. I have to say that it was pretty cool to see my own covers up on the big screen. The discussion went really well and covered everything from creating art to marketing, to what type of direction publishers provide and more. It was also really interesting to see the how trends in style and color changed over time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this panel, but was really pleased by it, especially since the audience was so participative. It felt like everyone was engaged in the discussion, which was great.

So far, Loncon 3 has been terrific. This has been my first Worldcon and will definitely not be my last. In fact, it’s making me even more excited about BOSKONE (Boston’s SF/F convention) in February 2015!

 

 

 

 

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Futuredaze 2: Reprise is Now Available!

This is it! It’s book day for Futuredaze 2: Reprise! My coeditor  Nancy Holder and I are very excited about this anthology of short science fiction for young adults. Futuredaze 2: Reprise pulls together a stellar selection of reprint stories that range from SF classics to recent YA publications, which features fiction from some of our favorite authors!

Table of contents in alphabetical order by title:

  • “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” by Libba Bray
  • “I Never” by Cassandra Clare
  • “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Deep Blood Kettle” by Hugh Howey
  • “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard
  • “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin
  • “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly
  • “The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu
  • “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
  • “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  • “Secret Identity” by Will Shetterly
  • “Stupid Perfect World” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “A Letter from the Clearys” by Connie Willis
  • “Wilding” by Jane Yolen

We’ll have copies of Futuredaze: 2 Reprise for sale at Loncon3 this year. However, for those of you who are unable to make it to London this weekend, here are a few links where you can purchase a copy of Futuredaze: 2 Reprise.

I am about to board a plane for London where I will be joining 10,000 of the coolest people on the planet at Loncon 3 (the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention). I’ll be handing out glow-in-the-dark Futuredaze 2: Reprise writstbands. So, if you are at the convention, come look me up and say hello.

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