Monthly Archives: March 2012
Over the past month, in sharing with you the amazing contributions that Science Fiction novels and movies have made on our culture, I’ve mentioned certain awards. For a list of awards (last updated in 2007,) check out the Science Fiction Awards Watch website.
Many of the awards were named for men who have been innovators of the Speculative Fiction genre and all of its sub-genres. As you browse the list, you may recognize a name or two (or more if you’re a SpecFic fan).
One of those awards, the Philip K. Dick Award, was named for the author who wrote such amazing stories as “Second Variety” (the story that the movie “Screamers“ was based on), Wholesale”, which was the basis for the movie Total Recall; and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, which the cult classic movie “Blade Runner” was based on.
The reason I mention awards, is that at least four to five months before the award weekend, the nominations are announced. This is a great way to find speculative fiction authors that you may never have heard of. And you’ll know that these books are at the top of their game. Here is the list of nominees for the PKD Award. The winner will be announced on April 6th 2012.
- The Company Man, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)
- Deadline, Mira Grant (Orbit)
- The Other, Matthew Hughes (Underland)
- A Soldier’s Duty, Jean Johnson (Ace)
- The Postmortal, Drew Magary (Penguin)
- After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh (Small Beer)
- The Samuel Petrovich Trilogy, Simon Morden (Orbit)*
For those of you that read my blog and have never really read SpecFic before, this is a great list to start with. And to prove it, I’m having a contest. Anyone that correctly guesses the winner of the PKD award will win a $25 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post no later than 11:59 Monday April 2 with the name of the author you think will win. I will announce the winner on my April 10th blog. If no one correctly guesses the winner, then I will pull a name out of a hat. But you have to comment to be entered to win.
So pick up a new book, give it a whirl and vote. You too could be a winner!
*PKD Award list provided by Locus Online.
There’s a genre for every reader’s taste.
Romance from sweet to HOT, suspense, paranormal, humorous, historical…we have an awesome range.
If Mysteries and Thrillers are your thing you can’t go wrong. Police action, murderous mayhem, amateur sleuths and more.
You’ll also find Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Woman’s Fiction…. A fantastic selection!
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Who says you can have too much of a good thing. You can never have too many great books. Load up your Kindle and tell your neighbors to do the same.
You like Romance? Find them here.
Don’t miss Mimi Barbour’s “My Cheeky Angel” or Virna DePaul’s “Chosen by Sin.” Rita Herron will make you smile with “Marry Me Maddie.” Stephanie Bond’s “I think I Love You” and Denise Domning’s “Almost Perfect” are perfect for the addicted romance reader. Debra Burroughs “Three Days in Seattle” and
Excited by Thrillers? Ecstatic for Mysteries? Scared by Horror? Tweaked by Sci-Fi? You’re in the right place!
Ron Kierkegaard’s “The God Particle” stretches the boundaries and Michael Shean’s “Shadow of a Dark Star” will open your eyes to new worlds. Michael Paneush’s “The Stein and Candle Detective Agency” is a fantastical take on mystery and fantasy abounds Vicki Keirie’s “Worlds Burn Through.”
“Liquid Lies” By Lois Lavrisa dives into secrets, lies and murder, while Shannon Mayer will lead you through ten Horrifying stories in “Ingredients of a Caldron.” Nathan Yocum investigates a post-apocalyptic future in “The Zona” and Katherine Owen digs deep in a story of love and loss in “Seeing Julia.”
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This week I have a nice surprise for each of you. I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing one of the up and coming sci-fi authors of our time. You may not have heard of him yet, but I guarantee you, he’s worth hearing about.
His name is Mark Sheldon and he’s the author of the “Noricin Chronicles” series. I introduced you to book 5, “The Relics of Time” a few weeks ago in one of my Review blogs. If you are looking for a fun, exciting, fast-paced read, look no further. Head on over to his website (click on the link above) and enjoy the ride. And as a plus, after you read each of the books, you’ll receive clues for really cool puzzles that he created on his website.
Mark lives in Los Angeles and has been a sci-fi
geek fan since he was a kid. His imagination, creativity and love of puzzles is brilliant, in my opinion. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
So Mark, what was the first Science Fiction book you ever read? What was the impact on you?
Not sure if it was the first, but definitely the first Science Fiction book I remember reading that had a long-lasting impact on me was Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. My dad and I actually started reading them together before I went to bed in the fourth grade. We read the first three together, and then I went on and read the fourth and fifth in the trilogy by myself. Undeniably, those books have been the most influential to me, not only as a writer, but as a person in general. My writing, my sense of humor, my general philosophy and outlook on life, almost everything can be traced back to Douglas Adams.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It wasn’t ever really a question, to be honest. And there certainly wasn’t this big “Aha!” moment. It’s just who I’ve always been. As far back as Kindergarten, I was making up and writing down stories – and I would reckon that even before that I was telling them, until I learned how to write them down.
You are a serious Science Fiction fan. Some might classify “The Noricin Chronicles” as Fantasy? What genre do you consider your work?
I see “Noricin” really as a sort of hybrid of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Yes, it’s got several fantastical elements within it, but it’s still more or less grounded within a “potentially plausible” reality. Rather than being based in magical powers, it’s based in psychic/paranormal powers. And there deliberately aren’t any fantastical creatures within the “Noricin” universe either – unless, of course, you count the Golems, which technically speaking aren’t really creatures.
My basic concept for the series when I started out was basically the mystery elements of Harry Potter, combined with the science-fiction superhero elements of “The X-Men”, and the riddles/code-breaking elements of “The DaVinci Code”. Add in a touch of Dean Koontz’ horror, and Douglas Adams’ sense of humor, and that’s pretty much my writing style in a nutshell.
So one geek to another, in your opinion, what positive impact has science fiction had on our world as a whole?
I think that science fiction really pushes the human race to seek its full potential. Fantasy allows us to escape into an alternate reality, but science fiction allows us to escape into an alternate future, and the thing about escaping into an alternate future, is that if you do it well, there is nothing stopping us from making that future a reality. Look at “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, for example. Jules Vern imagined a machine that could travel great distances under water, and not even a hundred years later, that dream became a reality!
Your “Noricin Chronicles” series–which I love by the way–seems to be gaining momentum. How did you come up with the idea?
There were about three or four separate ideas that I’d been playing with for some time – some of them as far back as high school. The three primary ideas, I can’t really talk about yet as they will give away too much about the last four books. The fourth – and most recent idea – was the basic concept I mentioned previously, of a more mature “Harry Potter” combined with The X-Men and DaVinci Code. That’s all I can really talk about right now, but I will say that at the end of Book 8 you will know at least one of the Mysterious Three.
Book 6 in the series, “The Fall of the Eagle,” is being released on April 8th. Without giving too much away, what can your fans expect with this new installment?
As we find out at the end of Book 5, “The Relics of Time”, Dan’s journey is about to take a turn for the darker. In “The Fall of the Eagle”, he takes an irrevocable plunge into a quest to find out the truth about the Scorpion. From this point on, there is no turning back for Dan, and he will have no choice but to see this quest through until the end.
Ok, I have one more question. I just have to know. How did you come up with the amazing puzzles on your website?
Hehe. I have always had a love for creating coded messages. Ever since reading Michael Crichton’s “Sphere”, I was hooked. So when “The DaVinci Code” became a smash, it was a natural draw for me. Dan Brown has been known to leave puzzles on the jackets and/or the last pages of his books, or even on his homepage, so I thought I would take a page out of his metaphorical book. Unfortunately, I am at something of a disadvantage of being slightly numerically dyslexic, so I have to pay extremely close attention when I’m making these puzzles, but it’s fun for me, and I’m glad that you, at least, have been having fun with trying to solve them!
People born in the last twenty years have always had access to the Internet. However, did you know that it wasn’t until the 1990′s that the World Wide Web became commercial? Yes, there was a form of Internet in existence; however, it wasn’t until 1995 when the Internet finally became truly available for the public and retail. But what role did Science Fiction have in the development of the Internet ? I’m glad you asked.
Some people hear the term “Cyberpunk” and think it refers to a band. Well it doesn’t in this context. Cyberpunk is the sub-genre of sci-fi which deals with high-tech and broken-down, messed up, morally bankrupt civilizations. But how did Cyberpunk come to be? Who started this phenomenon that has been instrumental in the further development of the World Wide Web and the creation of a sub-culture?
While scientists were busy creating the infrastructure for the networks, there were imaginative authors with the foresight to create stories that defined a new generation. These authors, Bruce Bethke, William Gibson, Walter Jon Williams and Greg Bear, in particular created a new language that thirty years later is used to define the “Net”.
Back in 1980 there was a guy named Bruce Bethke (author of the Philip K. Dick Award winning novel Headcrash) who wrote a short story about teenagers who happened to be troublemakers and computer hackers. The story was titled “Cyberpunk”. The story wasn’t immediately published, but it should have been. It wasn’t until 1983 that it came out and the term Cyberpunk took off. At the time, though, cyberpunk referred only to the teenagers who utilized their computer skills to hack and cause mayhem.
However, in 1982, an author named William Gibson, published a novelette in Omni Magazine titled “Burning Chrome“. This short story gave us an introduction to The Sprawl and “Cyberspace” as well as Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics. The following year, William Gibson published a brilliant novel titled “Neuromancer” . In this Sci-Fi Triple Crown Award winning novel (Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick), we are introduced to a world where the true drug of choice is being “jacked in” to “cyberspace”. Because of the huge underground success of this novel, the term “cyberspace” became synonymous with the World Wide Web. And the term Cyberpunk changed to become the name of the newest and coolest sub-genre of science fiction.
From there we were given such amazing books as Johnny Mnemonic (the movie wasn’t that great), Virtual Light, and Software, Wetware and Freeware by Rudy Rucker.
It is often stated that these stories were instrumental in inspiring the furtherance of the Internet, creation of Virtual Reality and thanks to Bethke, the creation of Laptops, Netbooks and Pads. (his teens used portable computers the size of notebooks.) Personally, I wonder, what would have happened to our civilization had it not been for these visionaries who opened the pathways of imagination.