Friday, August 11, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 11, 2017

Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web. This week's edition is somewhat truncated, because Cora is away at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on The Dark Tower

Comments on the Confederate controversy:


Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Frigga's Lost Army by Juli D. Revezzo

Release date: July 17, 2017
Subgenre: Norse mythology, historical fantasy

About Frigga's Lost Army


In the winter of 1943, Benjamin is just a grunt and Army cook—until he finds himself captured, along with his unit, taken prisoner by Mussolini's troops after the Battle of Tunisia.

Transported to a POW camp in Italy, Benjamin is plagued with intense visions of the Norse Goddess Frigga and her retinue of Valkyries, berserkers, and other magical beings.

When he encounters a woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to the goddess, he wonders if he hasn’t been entangled in a battle between the natural and the supernatural—a battle for the present and the future.



The blond soldier slipped inside the fence, and as he did so, Benjamin could better discern the fiend’s words: Fascist rhetoric, but—
His attention caught a strange lilt to the speech; it seemed split along two frequencies. Underneath the propagandistic poison sounded the alluring, bewitching voice of a poet, making promises Benjamin couldn’t believe.
“Be calm, son; be still. Observe. It will not be long.”
The soldier smiled, and Benjamin gulped in confused fear.
“Your fear is logical,” the soldier continued, “but don’t let it cloud your vision or you’ll miss your chance, understand?”
Benjamin gasped, and the words barely squeaked past his lips, “No, sir.”
The soldier stepped back and Benjamin’s vision blurred, only to regain focus in an instant. He saw himself for a moment, dark blond hair dirty and matted under his war helmet, his thin jaw clenched. Rage tinged his face and eyes. He wondered if his mother would call him baby-cheeked anymore. Though he was the platoon cook, he’d had far less to eat lately than in years past.
Now, the landscape changed and Benjamin stood before the towering soldier, no fence between them, the cloudless African skyline replaced by the vision of a finely crafted hall. The man, too, seemed different: he no longer sported the uniform of those faithful to the enemy, but the fine clothing, and jewels of a king out of Medieval legend.
Celtic legend, if he wasn’t mistaken.
A table spread long before him laden with gleaming gold goblets, and Benjamin for a moment saw his own face in them, as he suspected, dirtied from the grit and sweat of the fight, marked with smoke and dust, blue eyes tired with little lines of exhaustion easily seen in the reflection. He was nineteen but wondered what it felt like to be ancient. Ninety years, surely, had passed since he’d so proudly entered the recruitment office. Ages ago, instead of only one year.
Then the scent of the food turned his attention away from the gleaming mirror image. Plates filled the space laden with steaks so succulent he wished he could take some to his friends.
The king pulled his attention away from the feast, though he spoke in a gentle voice,
“I can put it no more plainly, son. Keys break if stressed too much. They can even be deadly in the hands of an angry woman. Keep watch for her; you will see what I mean.”
Keys. He could think of no woman in Celtic mythology who used them as a symbol, but then, he’d long ago forgotten his mythology. Of whom did the king speak?
The king seemed to await his answer, so Benjamin nodded—or thought he did. “An angry woman. What do you mean? How—”
The king smiled, cut him off, “We despise what’s happening in Midgard—as her people call your world—and We are seeing to the matter. Don’t give up. You will know soon. You will be home, soon.”
Benjamin closed his eyes; when he opened them, the camp returned, and the sea green eyed soldier disengaged his attention. Another took his place, dividing their platoon up….


About Juli D. Revezzo:

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker's Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, the Antique Magic paranormal series and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

Launch date: 7th-14th August 2017
Sub-genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

About the 2250 Saga:

The 2250 Saga is a Dystopian Action-Adventure based in the fictional world of Apex.

Follow Romy over ten years of her life as she tries to survive living as a Citizen in the world of autocratic Prospos and Soren Terrorists.

In this edition, you will find: Romy, Romy's Legacy and Romy's Last Stand.


I prepare to run towards my right, where the hallway will lead towards my exit and the waiting team.
But I stop in my tracks when I hear a familiar hissing, bumping sound that could only be an Incinerator. I freeze, tilt my ear to the left and listen. It's definitely here, behind another set of sliding doors. These doors would not be locked, because Incinerators don't need to be secured.
Knowing that this is not a part of my assignment, knowing that I'm losing precious time, I can't help myself. I turn left, away from the hall to the exit. I have to see. I need to see.
Walking through the sliding doors, I stop where the machine huffs and burns in front of me. It sits towards the back and right of the room, its massive exhaust pipe reaching up through the tall ceilings.
Its ugly light gray body makes the floors and walls in the room rumble, and I can see that it's well on its way to destroying piles of physical books that are already falling, in twos and threes, down its chute.
I hear the half second hiss as each book burns, and walk towards the electric counter for the Incinerator to shut it down. For good.
This will take a while, and they will find a way to fix it. But if I tell my team exactly how many books are lined up in this room, we will find a way to come back in here and rescue them.
There are well over two thousand books along the far wall, waiting to be destroyed. Who knows how many of those are the only copy left in this world, with its exact words, its exact ideas?
Sorry mother, I think. It's worth it. One less Incinerator in the world is a good thing. So I get to work. It is a slightly different model than the one we had in the Azure library, so it takes me a moment to figure out how to wreck it. I have to be quick though.
There is no ‘Off’ switch on an Incinerator. It is turned on and off remotely, so I have no option but to break it from here. Every time I hear another flash and hiss, another book or four are gone, forever. I flinch, but continue to work.
And that's when Sheppard grabs me.
I didn't hear him over the rumbling loud sounds of the Incinerator. But I'm certain it's him because he's choking me. I see the muscles of his forearm ripple and clench while he pulls me away, his wall of a body flush on my back.
I scratch and punch and pull at his arm, but he's too big. He's too strong, and I'm having a hard time breathing. My legs kick the air uselessly when he picks me up with the other arm wrapped around my ribs. He starts towards the other end of the Incinerator. The burning end.

About Nirina Stone:

Nirina Stone is a NY Times and USA Today Bestseller of Dystopian and Post-Apocalypse novels.

When she was seven, she planned to grow up as a ballet-dancing nun by day and crime-fighting vigilante by night...using ballet.
A lot has changed since then, except for her silly day-dreams.

Nowadays, she imagines being a super-sleuth android assassin living on a Mars-like planet in a different universe. But since that's unlikely, she's writing about it instead.
Stay tuned for the new series, The Allendian Post-Apocalypse, with Petra (Book 1) coming soon.

In the meantime, enjoy The 2250 Saga of which all 3 books, and 'The Vorkian' novella are available now.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cora goes to WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland

Next week, Cora is off to Finland for WorldCon 75 in Helsinki.

Meanwhile, Jessica is holding the fort and there will be new posts here at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, including a (somewhat truncated) link round-up.

But should you find yourself in Helsinki for WorldCon 75, say hello to Cora. You can also find her on the following panels:

Alien Language in Science Fiction

As easy as a Babel Fish is, usually alien languages are handled differently in science fiction. The panelists discuss various alien languages and how they are understood. 
The Hugo categories are based on paper publishing. With more and more writing and art ending up on the internet, in shapes not constrained by publishing houses, shipping, printing and paper, the categories are getting less and less relevant in the light of what is created and what people actually read.

Do the Hugo categories need to change? Do the categories reflect what you read and watch? How do we create a set of categories that get enough nominations and votes, but still mesh with the historical traditions?

Do we need to rethink the traditional fiction formats based on length? How about Best Related Work, which used to be called Best Non-Fiction Book, but now is used to nominate among other things internet platforms, larps, pods, scientific papers and internet essays - do we need to split it into (at least) two? The recent influx of non-fictional future speculations in blogs, articles, TED talks and lectures: are they relevant and pervasive enough that a future category should be discussed? Why do the zines categories assume periodicals with issues? Where is art published - does it need to appear in print?

Unless we think about change now, the future could take us by surprise. 
What is the current state of machine translation? The rough-n-ready web page translation provided by Google, the apps you speak into, film dubbing/sub-titling, and translating SF books themselves all present unique technical challenges. If machine translation is commonplace, will fewer people learn English (or Chinese) as a lingua franca, and will the American cultural steam-roller's effects be reduced? We’ll also look at the risks and benefits of translation making foreign countries less foreign to visitors.
Blogging/vlogging about books has caused some recent controversy. Some authors have claimed bad reviews in book blogs have resulted in poor sales. Book bloggers and authors discuss the importance and power of book bloggers/vloggers.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 4, 2017

Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with more on the Confederate controversy, the drama surrounding Louisville Fandom Fest, the harrasment of Marvel editors as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding campaigns, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

The Confederate controversy:


Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Harkworth Hall by L.S. Johnson

Release date: August 1, 2017
Subgenre: Historical fantasy, gothic

About Harkworth Hall


Caroline Daniels must marry, and marry well. But in her remote corner of England eligible suitors are few and far between, and none hold a candle to her closest friend, Diana Fitzroy.

When Sir Edward Masterson arrives, he seems the answer to Caroline’s financial worries, though she instinctively dislikes the reticent, older merchant. Soon Sir Edward has set his sights on acquiring both Caroline and the decaying Harkworth Hall.

Caroline’s future seems secure, save that Sir Edward’s enigmatic secretary hints at a dark secret, and Sir Edward shows an unusual interest in the nearby bay. To discover Sir Edward’s true purpose, Caroline will have to face the horror beneath Harkworth Hall—and the woman who will change her life.


There was an awkward pause. I was trying to think of a new topic of conversation when Sir Edward suddenly spoke.

“It is entirely possible that this coastline is laced with underground waterways,” he said in a low voice. “Many do not realize just how much water lies within England’s green lands. They are the bedrock of English power, the very veins through which her lifeblood runs. We would do well to treat them with the respect—nay, the reverence—they deserve.”

His voice caused a hush to fall over the room. It seemed larger than the man himself; it seemed to come from both without and somehow within, as if he were echoed by a voice in my mind.

“We first settled close to water because we knew its strength and power. Even now, our greatest cities are those clinging to the edges of rivers or seas, drawing sustenance from the water lapping at their borders. Our might in trade and conquest derives from this holiest of sources, and those who have devoted themselves to understanding its energies and its needs.”

He rose and held his wine glass, half-full, over the center of the table. In the candlelight, it seemed to contain patterns on its surface. I could not stop gazing upon it. Indeed, I felt myself leaning forward to see more clearly, and sensed the others do the same.

“From the mightiest ocean to the smallest tributary, all are ours by the grace of God,” Sir Edward continued, his voice low and melodic, almost as if he were singing. “Water is ours to master, ours to wield. But like any beast, we must treat it properly. We must care for it, and discipline it, or it will consume us.”

Upon the blood-red surface rose the shimmering outline of England and the roiling waters around it. As he spoke, the crimson sea churned and foamed, the waves crashing high upon the cliffs—
—and then the sea seemed to part, as if pressed apart by invisible hands, and there was something in its depths, something coiling and serpentine that rose up in a mass of undulating limbs and seized the whole of the island to itself—
—and then England was gone, drawn down into the wine with an audible splash.

At once the wine was merely wine again. The candles seemed to brighten, though I did not remember them dimming.

“Well said,” said my father. “Well said, indeed.”



Available for 99 cents until August 7!

About L.S. Johnson:

L.S. Johnson was born in New York and now lives in Northern California, where she feeds her cats by writing book indexes. Her stories have appeared in such venues as Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and Year's Best Weird Fiction. Vacui Magia: Stories, her first collection, won the 2nd Annual North Street Book Prize.