Friday, November 17, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for November 17, 2017


It's time again for our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Star Trek Discovery, Thor: Ragnarok, Inhumans, Justice League, The Punisher, The Orville, Oathbringer, Artemis, sexual harrassment in the entertainment industry, black speculative fiction, a controversy surrounding Windycon 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:

Comments on Star Trek Discovery (and The Orville):
Comments on Thor Ragnarok:

Comments on Inhumans:

Comments on Justice League:

Comments on The Punisher:

Discussions of sexual harrassment in the entertainment industry:

 Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Flying Glass (Fanglewick School of Magic, Book 1) by E.M. Cooper

Release date:  November 16, 2017
Subgenre: Middle Grade Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy

About The Flying Glass

 

Marnie Speck arrives at her new foster home in Downfell, Northern England with her crusty social worker, Miss Baxter. Marnie guards a rose-covered case with hidden secrets and the only link to her past and future. A telescope, old glass and a strange librarian unleash the potential of a new and extraordinary life far away at the Fanglewick School of Magic in the Old World. But first Marnie must find a way to cross the demonic halo like aspiring young wizards, witches and elves have for centuries.

In a strange but beautiful landscape inhabited by haughty wizards, ratbag witches and ambitious elves, Marnie fights for a place in Fanglewick, where magic begins and ends. The school sits on the repository of magic and flows through Shining Lake and beyond to the multiverse. Over time, Fanglewick has lured heroes, kings, queens and dark beasts. Wizards, goblins and their dragon-riding armies have waged terrible wars to possess and control its treasure. For now there is peace, yet there are rumblings in the Imporium where scheming wizards and elves work in the magical government and a new presence is lurking in the forests and grounds of Fanglewick.

Excerpt:

 

The cloud room
Marnie Speck looked towards the heavens for a sign but saw instead through a flurry of snowflakes, the eagle beak and whiskery chin of her social worker, Miss Irma Baxter. She urged Marnie to hurry as they strode along the greasy city streets of Downfell against the tide of weary workers rushing home in the wintry gloom. Traffic fumes and city grime left the air thick and heavy, filling Marnie’s lungs. She studied the passing faces, checking compulsively as she always did, but a flicker of light, luminescent and purple, over the buildings to her right distracted her. The strange light fingered over rooftops. Pulsating clouds parted for a few moments while the full moon bulged from the night sky.
‘What was that? Did you see the flash?’
‘Stop your chattering.’ Miss Baxter hugged her coat to her chest. ‘Hurry up.’
‘But the purple light ... didn’t you see it?’
Miss Baxter’s lips drew taut over her dull teeth. ‘In my day, we never contradicted our elders.’
Marnie knew Miss Baxter was thinking of supper and her warm bed and nothing would dissuade her from her mission. She could barely keep up with her stout guardian as she marched with determination, her heels clicking like frenzied chisels on the pavement, grinding the snow to slush.
Monitoring the oncoming walkers, Marnie was astounded to see how strange some of them seemed. Most were ordinary Downfellians, weary and bent, vacant eyes glued to their feet, urged on by the promise of families, dinner and sleep. Amongst the tide, Marnie spotted the odd: a smiling woman with silver eyes, the weird boy with sharp teeth and dreadlocks and the old man in a grey cloak who chuckled at the evening sky. Marnie didn’t miss the scurry of white cats fleeing over the rooftops or the shimmer of iridescent blue butterflies skimming over the snow. Downfell was magnificent and thrilled her to the tips of her frozen fingers and toes.
When they reached the door of number three Hirst Street, Marnie’s anticipation grew at the sight of warmly lit windows and sound of human laughter inside the mansion. Miss Baxter climbed to the top step and adjusted her sensible tweed coat before knocking impatiently. Marnie shivered as the snow swirled around her skinny ankles and up her flimsy dress. Slipping on the step, she fell forwards. To avoid smashing her nose, she clutched at the prickly legs of Miss Baxter, who recoiled, unaccustomed to human contact let alone the simple touch of a young girl.
‘Pull yourself together,’ Miss Baxter said. ‘No one likes a needy child.’
Marnie ducked her head and withdrew her hands. When the door finally opened, she smiled at the rush of warmth and waft of cinnamon.
‘Good evening, Mrs Arnold. I have another girl,’ said Miss Baxter using her nice voice.

Amazon


About E.M. Cooper:

E.M. Cooper is an Australian author who enjoys writing fantasy for readers from middle grade and up.  She has written the five book fantasy series, Xavier and a paranormal fantasy series for older readers under another pen name.

 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Aspiria Rising by Douglas Barton

Release date: November 15, 2017
Subgenre: Dystopian thriller 

About Aspiria Rising

 

Persecuted and Forced to Rebel against the Meritocracy

Like most people on his world, Dominy worships the ground scientists walk on. He can't wait to work with the brightest minds in the galaxy at Aspiria, the intellectual capital of civilization. Unfortunately, many of them are disappearing.

Desperate to solve the mystery, Dominy recruits a band of fellow academic trainees. Together they set out on a manic journey through deserted basements, forgotten particle accelerators, and jam-packed futuristic stadiums.

When they uncover a shocking conspiracy, Dominy realizes he may hold the key to keeping civilization alive. With time ticking away, he confronts the capital's leadership only to discover a madman is involved in an unimaginable galactic plot.

Aspiria Rising is a utopian sci-fi thriller for the ages. If you like mystery, heart-pounding suspense, and a touch of quirky romance, then you'll love Douglas Barton's debut novel.

Excerpt:

 

Dominy stood at the edge of the crowd in Sector Four, desperate to compete, desperate to start his new life at Aspiria.
Two moons, the color of polished copper, loomed above the academy's skyline. Like eyes, the orbs seemed to stare at him, measuring him up, assessing his intelligence. He turned around. The planet's fierce sun rested at the horizon. Later it would strike its vengeance. But not now.
It was a perfect morning.
He pushed through the throng of white-robed students and headed for a violet awning, the venue for his first-ever match. Dominy was the rare outsider selected to attend the academy, and he felt special, invincible. But he knew that wasn't true, not at Aspiria. His mother's words rang in his ears: Always exude confidence, regardless of your true feelings. Dominy wasn't so sure. He hadn't mastered that skill.
No time like the present. He stared straight ahead, laser-focused on the task at hand, and strutted along the quadrangle's cushioned surface. Walk tall. Walk tall. Walk tall.
"Hey, Dominy."
He turned to the familiar voice. Nalton. The frail student with a twisted spine was Dominy's assigned escort at Aspiria on this new world, the planet P1.
"Hey, race you to the arena?" Nalton sported a greatest-day-ever grin. The boy couldn't run but instead hobbled on thin legs like an injured bird.
Dominy returned the smile. He raised his fist toward the cobalt sky in salute to his new friend. "Absolutely."
He led Nalton through the crowd and they made their way atop a ten-meter-square competition platform awaiting Dominy's match. Nalton tapped the silver-rimmed stage with his sandal toe. "You ready?"
Dominy inhaled a whiff of ammonia. Nasty. Most likely, it had been used to swab away the sweat after the last match. Maybe he'd use that chemical smell as a trigger to focus during his match. "Sure." I am aren't I?
He pulled his processing notepad from his pocket and retrieved the dataset on his teammate, Shalene. For this match, he was only an assistant—a so-called handler—to Shalene. But he had to be at the top of his game anyway. She could call on him at any time. He glanced back at the leering moons. Assistant or not, leadership would measure his individual performance. For the rest of his life. His notepad flashed. Shalene's test scores and competition data scrolled up. Those mind-warping statistics! He hadn't even met the top-performing genius and he already idolized her.
The sun hung above the horizon, its rays coloring the academy's science laboratories a beautiful magenta. He closed his eyes and pictured himself working with Shalene, as partners, solving the galaxy's greatest problems.
Nalton tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, you sure you're okay, you look like you're dreaming."
At the north end of the arena, two young men approached the platform. "That's him! That's Vernan! He's the one!" Waves of cheers from the spectators greeted Vernan as he and his handler stepped up to the platform.


Amazon


About Douglas Barton:

Douglas Barton lives in Northern California where he writes science fiction to escape the mundane business world and express his vision of story worlds. He's married and has two half-human half-aliens (teenage boys). 
 


Friday, November 10, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for November 10, 2017


It's time again for our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Star Trek Discovery, The Orville, Thor: Ragnarok, Stranger Things, the World Fantasy Awards, tributes to Karin Dor 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:

Comments on Star Trek Discovery (and The Orville): 

Comments on Thor Ragnarok:

Comments on season 2 of Stranger Things

Deaths and tributes:
 
Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: