Audiobook Review: Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Ruin of Kings is a terrific debut novel by author Jenn Lyons. The audiobook was produced by Macmillan Audio and read by Soneela Nankani, Vikas Adam, and Feodor Chin. It’s playtime is 27 hours and 15 minutes, and when you are done listening you are going to be wanting more. I promise.

*

Thief, minstrel, and lost son of a powerful lord of Quur, Kihrin finds that his family history (his real family history) is much more complicated than he ever imagined. Unless he wrests the answers from those who love (or hate) him most, he may not last long on this side of the veilthen again life and death aren’t quite what he expected either. His survival is not only a matter of utmost importance to him, but to all of the people who are wrangling to save him, use him, or survive him—including a cagey demon, a father with questionable parenting skills, and a shapeshifter who would love to eat his brains. And then there are the prophecies that seem to be dogging his every move.

The Ruin of Kings audiobook is a fantastic, high-quality production that is read by three actors who take turns telling the story. While I often prefer a single narrator, the three narrator structure of this audiobook worked quite well and was actually very helpful in keeping the story straight due to alternating timelines and the flow of descriptive details of people, places, religions, and cultures that are refreshingly new and distinct. The casting of these narrators was smartly done.

Soneela Nankani (a personal favorite of mine) reads Talon’s story, which covers Kihrin’s life up to the point of his kidnapping. Her tone of voice, the way she plays with words, and the choices she makes for character dialog are all done very well. She lightens the mood quite a lot, which is impressive since Talon is not a terribly nice or kind person. The combination of her vocal choices and her character’s personality work quite well together.

Vikas Adam reads Kihrin’s story after his kidnapping, and he does an excellent job of reflecting Kihrin’s personality from his wit and snark to the sadder moments of his life. He has excellent comedic timing and an intuitive sense of oral storytelling as he always seems so relaxed, yet present in the moment.

Feodor Chin reads Thurvishar D’Lorus’ tale. I hadn’t expected to like the inclusion of Thurvishar’s tale as much as I did because I don’t really like multiple narrators. However, after a little while, I couldn’t imagine the story being told without his steady voice as a buffer between Talon’s and Kihrin’s tales.  Plus, Vikas Adam was a brilliant choice for this part as his voice and interpretations played well between Soneela’s and Feodor’s readings.

Having three storylines told in interwoven patterns provides interesting parallelisms within the plot, structure of the novel, and the characters’ development. It also helped to keep all of the family, historical, geographical, cultural, and theological details straight. While there are a lot of details to remember and piece together, it’s not too overwhelming. Sometimes lots of detail in a novel is difficult to retain when listening to an audiobook. However, Jenn Lyons and her editor did a great job of choosing exactly how to interweave the chapters for Talon’s and Kihrin’s stories (along with Thurvishar’s timely interjections) to provide details and reminders just when you need them.

One of the most interesting things about The Ruin of Kings is that it’s quite possibly one of the most colorful novels I have ever listened to or readand there is some light swearing, which is not what I am referring to here. The characters have such vibrantly colored features and clothing that Jenn Lyons embraces diversity with the inclusion of black and white characters as well as characters with blood red skin or ice blue hair or glittering black eyes. She uses color like an artist uses paint and she doesn’t let traditional human features define the characters of her world. While the use of color may not be new within speculative fiction, she has such a light touch that it feels completely original.

The Ruin of Kings is an exciting new novel, and not just because of the compelling characters, the clever story structure, or the originality that Jenn Lyons brings to speculative fiction. The Ruin of Kings is an exciting new novel because it hits all of the right marks from being intelligently complex to being quite funny as well as being well written. While it never feels rushed, the story also doesn’t grow dust lingering in one place too long. Each chapter does exactly what it’s meant to do, building up to the point when all hell breaks loose and you literally have no idea who is going to live, who is going to die, and who is actually going to stay dead.

I highly recommend this audiobook. You’re going to love it. Jenn Lyons wrote a great novel and the narrators do a fantastic job bringing the story to life.

Happy Listening!


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Audiobook: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Title: The Ruin of Kings (Book 1, Chorus of Dragons)
Author: Jenn Lyons
Amazon: AudiobookKindlePaperbackHardcover

Audiobook Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Narrators: Soneela Nankani, Vikas Adam, and Feodor Chin
Length: 27 Hours, 15 Minutes

Print Publisher: TOR Books
Print Date: February 5, 2019

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Looking Back at 2016: A Few Fun Things

It’s April and well past the time for a “looking back” post, but since a few fun things from 2016 have popped up, I thought it was worth a quick note.

The Grimm Future

In February 2016, my anthology The Grimm Future was published by NESFA Press and featured as the Boskone 53 Book. Since then, The Grimm Future has also had some notable successes:

2016 Locus Recommended Reading List
Anthologies: The Grimm Future, Erin Underwood, ed. (NESFA)

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year (Volume Eleven)
edited by Jonathan Strahan, Apr 6, 2017
Honorable Mentions: 2016
– “Pair of Ugly Sisters, Three of a Kind” by Garth Nix
– “Origins” by Carlos Hernandez

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017
edited by Paula Guran, July 4, 2017
Story Reprinted:
– “The Iron Man” by Max Gladstone

Journey Planet & the 2017 Hugo Nominations

Last year, I guest edited one of the 2016 Journey Planet fanzines. My edition was Journey Planet: Boskone, which featured 54 years of Boskone history, and the layout design was done by the very talented Errick Nunnally.

A few days ago, I found out that Journey Planet made the 2017 Hugo Ballot for Best Fanzine, which means that I am among the Journey Planet editors who are listed on this year’s Hugo Ballot. (My name is on a Hugo Ballot. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around that fact!) It’s an incredible honor to be nominated and to have been a part of Journey Planet last year, especially since my edition allowed me to focus on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Boskone.

Congratulations to all of the 2017 Hugo Nominees and good luck to everyone! I look forward to seeing you all in Helsinki for Worldcon 75 and the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

 

Posted in Boskone, Hugo Awards, The Grimm Future | Leave a comment

Journey Planet: Boskone is Here!!! (Available 12/31/16)

jp-boskone-page-01_origWhat is Journey Planet: Boskone? It is a fantastic new fanzine published in December 2016 by the Hugo Award-winning Journey Planet and this issue features Boskone through the years!

When I agreed to chair the 54th Boskone convention, I really wanted to do something special to share and to celebrate Boskone, its history, and fandom with as many people as possible…especially people who may not be able to journey to Boston for a winter convention.

That’s when the idea for Journey Planet: Boskone was born! I reached out to Journey Planet’s regular editors James Bacon and Chris Garcia with my idea to do a Boskone themed edition of the fanzine. They loved the idea and invited me to be the Guest Editor. So, I jumped at the chance, pulling in author and graphic designer Errick Nunnally to pitch in and help out.

The real beauty of Journey Planet: Boskone is that it is very much like a convention in a box…or a convention in a PDF fanzine to be more accurate! 🙂 This amazing fanzine celebrates the past 53 Boskone conventions and features a variety of reprinted guest introductions, cover images, and other historic tidbits from past Boskone Souvenir Books for you to enjoy.

With Boskone 54 coming up in February 2017, I hope you enjoy this edition of Journey Planet: Boskone that reflects Boskone’s unique personality, spirit, and style. If you are not able to attend Boskone this year, hopefully this special fanzine will provide a little mid-winter fannish fun for you to enjoy.

Special thanks to all of our contributors, to Boskone, and to Tony & Suford Lewis for access to their complete collection of Boskone Souvenir Books. YOU have all helped to make this fanzine possible. Thank you!!!

SIGNAL BOOST: Please feel free to share Journey Planet: Boskone with anyone who might enjoy it. If you have any questions, please let me know.

  • Journey Planet: Boskone
  • Publication Date: December 31, 2016
  • Guest Editor: Erin Underwood
  • Designer: Errick Nunnally
  • Available: Online as a free PDF
  • Publisher: Journey Planet
  • Executive Editors: James Bacon & Chris Garcia
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“The Grimm Future” is now an eBook

At Boskone 53, NESFA Press introduced its new hardcover science fiction anthology The Grimm Future, edited by me. 🙂 NESFA Press received a number of requests for an ebook, which is now available to purchase online for $9.95 at:

GrimmDJ-Front-FINAL

Book Description:

Blending fresh new science fiction with a futuristic dash of magic, The Grimm Future is a unique anthology of reimagined Grimm fairy tales from some of today’s most exciting authors—along with the original stories that inspired them. The Grimm Future examines our humanity and what that term might come to mean through the eyes of future generations as society advances into an age when technology consumes nearly every aspect of our lives or has ultimately changed life as we know it. How might these timeless stories evolve? Given the relentless onrush of technology, there is even greater need for fairy tales and Grimm magic in our future. Read on!

Table of Contents:

  • “Introduction” by Erin Underwood
  • “Pair of Ugly Stepsisters, Three of a Kind” by Garth Nix, based upon multiple Grimm fairy tales, including “Little Brother and Little Sister,” “Rapunzel,” “Little Red-Cap,” and “Cinderella”
  • “The Iron Man” by Max Gladstone, based upon “Iron John”
  • “Zel and Grets” by Maura McHugh, based upon “Hansel & Gretel”
  • “For Want of a Nail” by Sandra McDonald & Stephen D. Covey, based upon “The Nail”
  • “The Shroud” by Dan Wells, based upon “The Shroud”
  • “Long-Term Employment” by Mike Resnick, based upon “Death’s Messengers”
  • “Swan Dive” by Nancy Holder, based upon “The Six Swans”
  • “The White Rat” by Dana Cameron, based upon “The White Snake”
  • “Origins” by Carlos Hernandez, based upon “The Star-Talers”
  • “Angie Taylor in: Peril Beneath the Earth’s Crust” by John Langan, based upon “The Brave Little Tailor”
  • “The Three Snake-Leaves” by Jeffrey Ford, based upon “The Three Snake-Leaves”
  • “The Madman’s Ungrateful Child” by Peadar Ó Guillín, based upon “The Bremen Town-Musicians”
  • “Stories of the Trees, Stories of the Birds, Stories of the Bones” by Kat Howard, based upon “The Juniper Tree”
  • “Be Still, and Listen” by Seanan McGuire, based upon “Little Briar-Rose”
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Free Comic Book Day is Awesome!

IMG_4657There is this thing in the comic book industry that is pure gold…and it’s called Free Comic Book Day. On that special day, comic book shops in a bunch of different countries designate certain comic books to give away for free. They even bring in authors, artists, colorists, editors, publishers, etc. to sign the comic books and to talk to fans. Okay, it sounds a little crazy to just give a bunch of comic books away for free, buy truly…Free Comic Book Day is true genius.

On Sunday, May 8th, I decided to pop into my local comic book shop in Salem, MA. Harrison’s Comics & Pop Culture is a pretty big store with lots of variety.The staff is also very knowledgeable and helpful.

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Harrison’s is also well-kept, bright, and clean. There’s a game room down stairs, and you can literally get lost for hours wandering from rack to rack looking as comics, posters, and toys.

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I really wasn’t planning to buy anything, but while I was there, I found some great comics that I just had to have in addition to the freebies.

One of the freebies was the PREVIEWS comic magazine for the “DC Universe Rebirth” series that will be launching soon, which will also include the new Wonder Woman comic book series by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott Art, and Paulo Siqueira.

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Regarding the Wonder Woman “Rebirth” series, the story, the art, and the coloring all look amazing. It comes out in June 2016 and should be fantastic. There are a bunch of other articles, artwork, etc in the PREVIEWS issue. It’s literally packed with every superhero that is going to be part of the “Rebirth” series. I’m definitely thrilled to have picked this up!

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Some of the other comics that I bought include the new Dresden Files comic (which should be fun!), Lock & Key #1 by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodrigues (which only cost $1), and a couple of Justice League of America comics that (I admit) I bought because I loved the old skool art work on the covers, which feature my favorite girl–“Wonder Woman.” All in all, a very good day!

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Harrison’s also has a fantastic Star Wars section, which I spent far too much time perusing. I would have liked to see more options that feature Rey, but I have a feeling that once the film trilogy is done, we’ll see more Rey stories in the Star Wars comics and novels.

…and they also have a great selection of Doctor Who comics!

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I am hoping that the trend will catch on with book stores. I think it would be great for bookstores to do a Free Book Day in which they give away stuff for free to help promote reading, books, etc. Plus, anything to encourage people to come into a bookstore rather than buying online is a good thing.

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If you managed to pick up a few comics at your local shop on Free Comic Book Day, let me know what you picked up. I’d love to see what you got!

Did you find any favorites? Did you get anything signed? What comic book shop did you end up visiting? I want to know!

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Come to Boskone (Feb 19-21, 2016) in Boston, MA!

Hey Everyone! The Underwords Blog has been quiet for awhile, and I am taking this moment to break the silence and share with you one of the projects that I have been working on over the last six months. BOSKONE!!!

As you may (or may not) know, I also help to plan and organize science fiction and fantasy conventions. The one I love most is Boskone, which takes place in Boston, MA from February 19-21, 2016 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel.

If you love books, movies, games, and anything connected to science fiction or fantasy, you should consider coming to Boskone this year. We have have a fantastic line up of Guests as well as over 150 other authors, artists, musicians, scientists, and publishers who are coming…and it is going to be a fantastic event.

Online registration is open through midnight on Saturday, February 13, 2016. So, if you want to save some time, definitely take a moment now to register online. However, if you miss the window, you can still buy your membership at the door.

Membership Registration Information:

Full Weekend Rates
Adult Full Convention: $65
College Student Full Convention: $40*
K-12 Full Convention: $25*

One Day Rates
Friday One Day: $25
Saturday One Day: $45
Sunday One Day: $25

* Valid school ID may be required.

Boskone’s Signature Evening Events Include:

Boskone Reception & Meet the Guests: Step it up, and join us in the Galleria for an upscale social mixer where with Boskone’s Guests and program participants. Come meet this year’s guests:

  • Guest of Honor:  Garth Nix
  • Official Artists: Richard Anderson
  • Special Guests: Arnie & Cathy Fenner
  • Featured Filkers: Vixy & Tony
  • NESFA Guest: Bob Eggleton

The Videri String Quartet will be performing in the galleria from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM! Cash bar available. (Friday)

Featured Filkers Concert with Vixy & Tony: Vixy & Tony (disguised by day as Michelle Dockrey, mild-mannered officemouse, and Tony Fabris, mild-mannered codemonkey) are award-winning musicians with an easygoing style, catchy songs, accessible lyrics, and energetic performances — enjoyed by both SF fans and mainstream music enthusiasts alike. (Friday)Noir at the Bar

Noir at the Bar – Special Edition: Noir at the Bar is a popular literary series that has “sprung up all over the country.” Boston’s Noir at the Bar series comes to Boskone on February 19th for a special night of readings, fun, and prizes with our noir, crime, mystery, and horror writers.

Hosted by Chris Irvin and Errick Nunnally. Cash bar available. (Friday)

Boskone Book Party: Join the party, buy books, grab some swag, and have a fantastic time adding new material from nearly 20 of your favorite Boskone authors to your bookshelf.

Publishers and authors come together to in the Galleria to share what’s new since last year. This year NESFA Press is also launching two anthologies: The Grimm Future, edited by Erin Underwood, and Conspiracy!, edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial.  (Saturday)

Boskone Rapid-Fire Theater and NESFA Awards Ceremony: Tonight’s presentation: a fast-paced theatrical extravaganza, featuring a set of mini-shows that resemble live-action “podcast experiments.” This special Saturday night program has something for everyfan. We hope you’re entertained, amused, soothed, gratified, provoked, intrigued, informed, or if possible all of the above in swift succession. Hosted by Boskone’s very own David G. Grubbs. (Saturday)

  • Music with Vixy & Tony.
  • NESFA Awards Presentation: The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) presents its annual Skylark and Gaughan Awards as well as the winner of the NESFA Short Story Contest.
  • The Wesley Chu Interview.
  • At the Movies with Boskone (Dan Kimmel and Garen Daly)
  • Mystery Radio Play (Bruce Coville, David Grubbs, Bob Kuhn, Laurie Mann, Melinda Snodgrass).

Superhero Open MicSuperhero Open Mic: Kapow! Live from Boskone … enjoy the knock-out stylings of our program participants and audience members who share their open mic skills in the first-ever Superhero Open Mic. Each person gives his/her best 5-minute superhero performance – story, poem, song, skit, interpretive dance, or whatever! OPTIONAL: For extra appeal, feel free to come dressed as a superhero! Cash bar available.

THE RULES: Boskone members are invited to join our participants in the open mic by signing up for one of the eight open slots at the door to the event, which opens for sign-ups at 8:30 pm. Each performer is given a firm 5-minute time limit (max), including set-up time. So a quick transition between acts is key. (Saturday)

In addition to these signature events, we also have over 350 other program items . . . and much, much more! You can view the Boskone 53 Program Schedule here.

We also have more than 150 amazing writers, artists, publishers, scientists, and editors coming back to Boskone. Some of our program participants include:

Ginjer Buchanan, Wesley Chu, Neil Clarke, C.S.E. Cooney, Bruce Coville, Gardner Dozois, Brendan DuBois, Esther Friesner, Charles Gannon, David Gerrold, Christopher Golden, Theodora Goss, Joe Hill, James Patrick Kelly, Thomas Kidd, Flourish Klink, John Langan, Ken Liu, Darlene Marshall, Cerece Rennie Murphy, E.C. Myers, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Robert Sawyer, Melinda Snodgrass, Charles Stross, Django Wexler, Fran Wilde, Gary K. Wolf, Walter Jon Williams, Brianna Spacekat Wu, and E. Lily Yu.

You can view the full list of program participants here.

AN INCREDIBLE ART PROGRAM AND ART SHOW!

Bob Eggleton doing an art demo.

This year’s Art Show is truly amazing, featuring work by our Official Artist Richard Anderson, a retrospective by NESFA Press Guest Bob Eggleton, and a Spectrum inspired exhibit in honor of our Special Guests Arnie & Cathy Fenner (organized by Edie Stern and Joe Siclari), which includes work by more than 35 artists that spans more than 20 years of speculative art.

There are also dozens of speculative art program items, demos, and discussions. In addition, we also have a number of artists who are attending as program participants as well as members this year, including Tommy Arnold, Rick Berry, Kristina Carroll, Scott Grimando, Stephen Hickman, Ingrid Kallick, Tom Kidd, Gary Lippincott, Sheeba Maya, Omar Rayyan, Ruth Sanderson, Dave Seeley and many others!

There is so much more to share, but let me finish by saying…. I love this convention and I am so happy to be able to share it with you. If you’re going to be in Boston, MA from February 19-21, 2016, it would be awesome to see you there.

Remember to register for Boskone! You can either buy your membership online by midnight on Saturday, February 13, 2016 or you can buy your membership in person at the convention.

Posted in Boskone, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Surreal Time Press Reviews GEEK THEATER – The Complete Collection

[Mirrored from the Underwords Press website.]

surrealtimespressIn what is turning out to be one of the most fascinating reviews that I have seen done in a very long time, Surreal Time Press (STP) is publishing a complete set of reviews that feature each play within Geek Theater. It is really quite stunning when someone takes the time and initiative to put together a project like this (all on their own), and it is more than a little humbling. I think, putting it quite bluntly, that this is an editor’s dream. Clearly, STP isn’t going to be enamored of every play and will find things to critique. That’s just how reviews work. However, it’s truly amazing that they have taken the time to sit down and parse each play, pulling out the good and the bad, and then putting it all online for everyone to see.

This list of reviews is currently incomplete as the process is still ongoing, but I will post links to the new review as they are made available. I offer my sincere thanks to STP for this amazing series of reviews for Geek Theater.

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 1: INTRODUCTION
http://surrealtimepress.com/2014/12/18/geek-theater-review-part-1-introduction/
Introduction by Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood

“If there ever was a moment for a collection of plays like Geek Theater: Fifteen Plays by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, this is it. The recently published volume has been carefully curated by editors Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood to celebrate the current proliferation of “geek” related content in theater. As a New York theater critic, I have had the great privilege of witnessing this invasion of geek genres and ideas first hand over the last ten years … In the tradition of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, the plays collected in Geek Theater keep the big ticket special effects mostly off-stage and instead find their stories in the human moments and mind-blowing ideas in the spaces between. I’m fascinated and invigorated by the idea that while mindless effects-laden movies are becoming common in Hollywood, the pure science fiction of the mind lives on and thrives in live theater.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 2: MISSION TO MARS
http://surrealtimepress.com/2014/12/23/geek-theater-review-part-2-mission-to-mars/
Mission to Mars by Jeanne Beckwith

“The ending is masterful.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 3: FOR THE LIVING
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/01/07/geek-theater-review-part-3-for-the-living/
For the Living by Chie-Hoon Lee

“It kind of blew my mind.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 4: THE REST OF THE SHORT PLAYS
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/01/14/geek-theater-review-part-4-the-rest-of-the-short-plays/
Rapunzel’s Haircut by Cecil Castellucci

“Fractured or post-modern fairytales are certain nothing new, so it’s admirable that despite the murder and brainwashing, Castellucci pries out of this old fairy tale a compellingly modern concept about love in the discussion of Rapunzel’s two suitors.”

The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly

“Kelly’s story works because it is driven by character.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 5: CONSIDER THE SERVICES OF THE DEPARTED
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/03/30/geek-theater-review-part-5-consider-the-services-of-the-departed/
Consider the Services of the Departed by F. Brett Cox

“Delivered by a non-gender specific speaker in formal attire, Cox’s script is instead brisk and bracingly funny, correlating the shuffling deceased with the plight of the migrant worker – why not let them rise from their graves and do the jobs that nobody wants to do?”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 6: THE ZOMBIES OF MONTROSE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/01/geek-theater-review-part-6-the-zombies-of-montrose/
The Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow

“We are in refreshingly new territory.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 6: THE ZOMBIES OF MONTROSE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/01/geek-theater-review-part-6-the-zombies-of-montrose/
The Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow

“We are in refreshingly new territory.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 7: THE CLOCKWORK COMRADE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/03/geek-theater-review-part-7-the-clockwork-comrade/
The Clockwork Comrade by Carlos Hernandez

“I never knew I wanted a story about a talking grandfather clock meeting Castro, but this play is so charming and unique that it completely won me over.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW — PART 8: THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF LONG TERM MEMORY
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/13/geek-theater-review-part-8-the-long-and-the-short-of-long-term-memory/
The Long and the Short of Long Term Memory by Cecil Castellucci

“I feel like the tremendous little piece of stagecraft with the hand raising sells the whole thing.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW — PART 9: GEEK!
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/21/geek-theater-review-part-9-geek/
GEEK! By Crystal Skillman

“There’s a good chance you’ll be won over before you even get to the actual script for Crystal Skillman’s play GEEK!”

~

Links to each new review will be posted here.

Posted in Geek Theater, Reviews | Leave a comment

What Works Would You Add to the 2015 Hugo Ballot?

I’m ready to stop dining on sour grapes and fine whine with a side of Hugo nominations. Anyone even marginally involved with science fiction and fantasy has probably heard about the Hugo Award Hoopla that started last weekend because of #SlateGate also known as #PuppyGate, but that term somehow makes the whole thing sound sweet and innocent. So, I’m coining the term #SlateGate since that really gets to the crux of the issue.

As a result of #SlateGate at the Hugos, a lot of great and well-deserving works did not make it to the final ballot. I for one am dying to find out what those works were since this is one of the things I love most about the Hugos — finding new fiction and authors to read. I enjoy getting to see the wide swath of fiction that people in fandom loved enough to consider nominating. So, I have decided to ask you… What did you put on your nomination ballot? What works did you recommend or love enough to submit? What works got pushed aside in favor of the #SlateGate nominees?

Here are a couple of my Hugo nominations:

NOVEL:

There were so many choices that I wanted to add to this category, and I can’t remember what I actually added to my ballot other than Skin Game by Jim Butcher. Clearly, the stress is getting to me! This book was on both of the slates in #SlateGate, and it made it to the final Hugo Ballot. Still, I loved this book. I thought Butcher turned a corner with his series and found a way to reinvigorate the Dresden Files. I am a longtime fan of the series, and I thought Skin Game was an excellent read. I know Butcher is taking a break from the series. So, this may be the last one that we get for a long time.

SHORTS:

Most of my reading last year was reprints since I was in the process of editing Futuredaze 2: Reprise, a YA reprint anthology. So, the number of new short stories that I read was light and I didn’t feel qualified to add anything onto the ballot in any of the short fiction categories.

BEST RELATED:

The Loncon 3 Philharmonic definitely made my list. I won’t say anything else about it, but if you are a fan and you love music… you have to check this out. You can download the recording here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/myxdnorn40cew7z/AABuWKimdrKEtbVKKplESsnua?dl=0 The file is: Loncon3 Orchestra H.264.mp4 and is very large: 9.89 GB (2:06:12) – there is a shorter (15 mins) preview file also available, so make sure you click the right download button.

GeekTheater-small-lo-resAnother one of my nominations was Geek Theater: 15 Plays by SF and Fantasy Writers. ed, by Jen Gunnels & Erin Underwood. Yes. That’s my book. And, yes, it feels weird nominating my own anthology. However, it’s a one-of-a-kind work that features some absolutely amazing plays. There is nothing like Geek Theater and it really deserves a little extra attention. It has also had some terrific reviews, including the review series being done by Surreal Time Press.

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION LONG:

Maleficent. I loved this movie. I nominated it along with several others that actually made the final ballot, but I wanted to give it a shout out because I really liked the twist they put on the original story. There was something simple and beautiful about the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora. I also thought the cinematography and graphics were gorgeous. I was expecting a regurgitated adaptation and was pleasantly surprised by the originality present in the film.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION SHORT FORM:

I nominated a bunch of TV shows, but only my Game of Thrones choice made it to the ballot. I was deeply disappointed that “Straw Man” from Almost Human didn’t make it. This was not only a fantastic futuristic cop show, but it was great story telling and great science fiction that had a chance of tapping into the mainstream market. The series delved into all of the things that my SF friends are constantly debating. “Straw Man” was that last and the most poignant of the episodes. I had hoped it would make it to the Hugo Ballot to send FOX a message to stop abandoning shows.

Another TV episode that I nominated deserves a little extra attention was “The Grove” from The Walking Dead. The things this episode deals with, the things Carol does, and the implications of what is left of our humanity if this is what happens to our children is just chilling. I can’t fault Carol and yet…I can’t condone her actions either. The amazing thing is that the screenwriters were so adept in their storytelling that even as the action unfolds you can’t help but to feel like, “Yes, this is exactly what would happen.”

BEST FANZINE:

Again, my nomination for Journey Planet made it to the Final Ballot. However, I also nominated a few other choices, including Amazing Stories Magazine because they are doing some terrific work in bringing back the Amazing Stories name. They have an excellent selection of articles, interviews, reviews, etc that give everyone something to enjoy.

CAMPBELL NOMINEES:

I nominated a few people. However, the one I want to mention here is Jennifer Brissett because I found out that she was disqualified from the ballot because her publisher was not at the correct professional level…or something like that…which is complete nonsense. If a person writes an amazing book that garners loads of praise from industry experts, gets great reviews, wins awards, etc. I can’t imagine that the author is not eligible for this award. There is something clearly broken with this process when someone like Jennifer Brissett isn’t qualified. So, boo on the Campbell for that bit of nonsense!

Okay. So, these are a couple of my choices. Please share! What are some of your nominations that didn’t make the final Hugo Ballot?

Posted in Fandom, Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

FYI: Geek Theater is Eligible for the 2014 Hugo Nominations

GeekTheater-small-lo-resIt’s time to submit your Hugo Awards Nominations for SF/F work published in 2014. I know there are a lot of people who read my blog who either don’t know much about the Hugo Awards or who don’t understand how to become eligible to nominate or vote for the Hugo Awards. I had to research the ins and outs of eligibility for Geek Theater, so I thought I’d share what I found with you.

On a side note, I just sent in my nominations for a bunch of awesome books, stories, and media such as the Supernatural episode “Fan Fiction”, which was probably the best episode of the entire series. And, yes, Geek Theater: 15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (Underwords Press, 2014) edited by Jen Gunnels & Erin Underwood is eligible for the “Best Related Work” category.

So, back to what I found, while I’m not an expert on Hugo nominating eligibility, here’s how I believe it works: In order to vote, you need to have an attending membership for the World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon) that is taking place this year (Sasquan), took place last year (Loncon 3), or will take place next year (MidAmeriCon II). The other option is getting a supporting membership for the current year’s Worldcon, which would be Sasquan this year.

If you are/were an attending member of these Worldcons, you can look up your pin on the Sasquan website and you can print the paper Hugo nominations form. For more information, visit the “I Want to Vote” page on the Hugo Awards website. The due date for nominations is early March, and you can find more details regarding due dates on the Sasquan site.

There are lots and lots of amazing books, short stories, films, television shows, and more that came out in 2014 that are also eligible for the Hugo Awards–and they need your vote as well. The more people who nominate and vote, the more variety there are in the Awards…and that is a very good thing.

For everyone who sends in a nomination for a Hugo Award, good luck! I hope your nomination gets on the ballot!

Posted in Geek Theater, Hugo Awards | 1 Comment

My Piece in the Fanzine Journey Planet: Issue 19 – Doctor Who

I recently had the opportunity to be a part of Journey Planet’s 100 page fanzine. I really enjoyed being a part of this awesome fanzine, and it turned out to be a great fanzine packed full of fun stuff. It came out in December 2014, and you should definitely check it out. You can access it online or download it from Journey Planet for free! Go now! and Read!

Journey Planet: Issue 19 – Doctor Who

Guest Editors Colin Harris and Alissa McKersie!
A 100 Page Bumper Issue!
Page 11 – The Lost Episodes by Michael Lee
Page 13 – My American Experience with Doctor Who by Jim Mann
Page 15 – Doctor Who and Shakespeare by Nicholas Whyte
Page 19 – Why Can’t The All Be Like “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” ~or~ I’m Glad They’re Not All Like “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”
Page 22 – Walking in the Footsteps, Following the TARDIS Tracks by James Bacon
Page 26 – Nightmare in Pantone 2955c by James Bacon
Page 28 – Before & After The Doctor by Chris Garcia
Page 32 – Instant Fanzine – Who Authors Write Featuring Simon Clark, Eoin Colfer, Paul McAuley, Kim Newman, Lance Parkin, Alastair Reynolds
Page 44 – On Target! – The Whovian Art of Chris Achilleos by Colin Harris
Page 48 – The Mutation of Time: Doctor Who Fandom in Britain 1963 – 1990 by Matthew Kilburn
Page 55 – My Life of Doctor Who by Ken Patterson
Page 58 – Radio Free Skaro by Warren Frey
Page 60 – You Don’t Choose the Yarn Life, The Yarn Life Chooses You by Michael Capra
Page 62 – Back in the Days When Our Telly Was Black and White by Christine and Joe Halse
Page 66 – A Crack in Time and Space by Sabine Furlong
Page 70 – Trial of a Time-Lord Fan by Tim Davis
Page 72 – Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Silence A Review by Christopher J Garcia
Page 76 – Instant Fanzine
Featuring: Michael Carroll, Christopher Erickson, Nancy Gonzalez, Des Grogan, Nalini Haynes, Ruth Leibig, Esther MacCallum-Stewert, Jean Martin, Michael Michela, Helena Nash, Mark Oshiro, Padraig O Mealoid, Jesi Pershing, Liam Proven, James Shields, Erin Underwood, Linda Wenzelburger, Roland Willis

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