Sunday, May 01, 2016

An Upcoming Event

Some cool news to share: I've been asked to interview author Guy Gavriel Kay later this month at the Vancouver launch of his new book Children of Earth and Sky.

This is a real treat, as I'm a fan of Kay's work (and his occasional musings about Scotch on Twitter). The publisher was kind enough to send a copy of 'Children for me to read ahead of time (via White Dwarf Books, the local co-host of the event), and I've wasted no time diving into it. Two hundred sixteen pages in so far and it's superb. I'm already starting to mull over questions for the interview.

If you're on BC's Lower Mainland and you're a fan of Kay's work — or just a fan of great stories in general — be sure to come to the launch! In addition to our interview, Guy will be reading an excerpt from the novel, he'll take some questions from the audience, and he'll be signing books. If you need to add a few more of his works to your collection, White Dwarf will have a table where you'll be able to buy Kay's books.

Here are the details:

When:     Thursday, May 19 at 7:30pm
Where:    St. James Hall
                 3214 West 10th Ave, Vancouver

For more information, contact White Dwarf Books:

Not in Metro Vancouver? Here's a link to Guy's schedule of some of his upcoming launch events for Children of Earth and Sky (I'm a huge fan of the McNally Robinson store in Winnipeg's Grant Park, and I believe he's also doing a reading at Munro's Books in Victoria on the 18th — a store which I always visit when I'm on the south end of Vancouver Island.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Invaders From Planet 3 - episode 8 - Kit Reed

In this episode, we're joined by author Kit Reed, who tells us how the Oz books — the ones penned by Ruth Plumly Thompson, rather than the originals by L. Frank Baum — were her gateway to speculative fiction. She'll talk about other early influences, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and John Collier, and how her reading continues to range across a wide variety of genre and non-genre authors and subjects.
We'll hear how being the child of a navy officer who moved around a lot meant having to adapt to new communities and situations, teaching her to observe group behaviour and in turn contributing to some of the themes in her stories. Kit then discusses how her career as a journalist also helped shape her approach to writing fiction.
And we'll talk about her love of comics, from early favourites like Superman and Batman, to more recent fare, including Preacher and Snow Piercer. She'll also tell us why — apart from her childhood creation of Harbour the Bunny — she hasn't taken a crack at writing comics herself.
Our interview took place in October 2015 via a Skype connection between Kit's home in Connecticut and my studio in the lair of bloginhood, located deep beneath the Niagara Escarpment.
Find out more about Kit and her works at:

Visit iTunes to subscribe to Invaders From Planet 3 and download episodes, and be sure to rate the show while you're there!

Let the invasion begin!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Invaders From Planet 3 - episode 7 - Joe Haldeman

In this episode, we'll chat with author Joe Haldeman. We're also joined by Joe's wife, Gay — and the resident murder of crows at the hotel hosting the convention.
Joe shares some of his early sf favourites with us, including Lester del Rey's Rocket Jockey, Robert A Heinlein's Red Planet, and the TV series Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. He talks about meeting some of the science fiction authors that influenced him during his youth. And he'll tell us about his enjoyment of the Year's Best anthology series at this stage in his life.
Joe also muses about the way the world and the ability of people to access information and entertainment has changed over the years, and how one's personality and experiences affect one's tastes. He tells us about how his letters home from Vietnam formed the basis of his first novel. And he talks about being a writer, and how science fiction authors differ from their mainstream counterparts.
At various points in our conversation, we talk about gatekeepers — people who have played an important role in introducing him to science fiction, and his own part in fostering someone else's appreciation of the genre.
Our interview took place in October 2015 at VCon — the Vancouver Science Fiction, Fantasy and Games Convention (in the hotel's courtyard, which accounts for the crows adding their two cents to the conversation).
Find out more about Joe and his works at:

Visit iTunes to subscribe to Invaders From Planet 3 and download episodes, and be sure to rate the show while you're there!

Let the invasion begin!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Invaders From Planet 3 - episode 6 - Kristi Charish

In this episode, we're joined by author, podcaster and scientist Kristi Charish, who tells us about how important the Indiana Jones movies were to her as a young fan — especially The Temple of Doom — and why they still resonate so powerfully in pop culture and sf. She'll talk about reading Heinlein and Asimov, and some of her favourite Marvel Comics series over the years, including Excalibur and Ultimate Avengers. She'll also tell us about her love of video games, especially Dragon Age, Uncharted and Mass Effect, and how they influenced her writing.
Kristi shares the story of her roundabout path from being a kid who wanted to be Short Round, to becoming an archaeology student who switched to genetics, to branching into a career as a writer. She'll talk about how that background in science is as important to her writing as her enjoyment of speculative fiction has been. She'll explore the nature of urban fantasy. And we'll discuss how hard science underlies her urban fantasy stories, and how she works to ensure that doesn't interrupt the storytelling.
Our interview took place in October 2015 at VCon — the Vancouver Science Fiction, Fantasy and Games Convention (in a lounge along a main thoroughfare, which is why you'll hear the comings and goings of conventioneers in the background).
Find out more about Kristi and her works at:

Visit iTunes to subscribe to Invaders From Planet 3 and download episodes, and be sure to rate the show while you're there!

Let the invasion begin!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Invaders From Planet 3 - episode 5 - Melinda Snodgrass

Author and editor Melinda Snodgrass joins us in this episode, telling us how she began her journey into speculative fiction with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. She'll talk about how Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom books, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Heinlein's juveniles were important to her as a smart kid who wanted adventure and escapism, why she's still fond of them as an adult, and the influence the stories of her youth have had on her own writing. Melinda will share her thoughts on what it's like to read the works of friends versus books written by people she doesn't know. She'll talk about some of the business aspects of writing, such as the cross-pollination that takes place between different types of media. And she has some words of wisdom for older fans about the next generation of science fiction and fantasy lovers who have come to the genre by different paths.
Our interview took place in August 2015 at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington (in a lounge area near a hallway in the convention centre, which is why you'll hear some background noise).
Find out more about Melinda and her works at:

Visit iTunes to subscribe to Invaders From Planet 3 and download episodes, and be sure to rate the show while you're there!

Let the invasion begin!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

My Nominations for the 2016 Hugos

It's getting near to the end of Hugo Award nomination season, and I figured that since I'm entitled to suggest some worthy works and individuals (having attended Sasquan last year), I'd probably better get around to doing it.

After all, while I haven't heard of any nefarious schemes by cliques of house pets, barnyard livestock, amoebae, left-handed buggy whips, lesser-known flavours of Jello, strains of grass seed or brands of breakfast cereals aimed at hijacking the process for their own narrow ends, the scars of last year's stupidity remain, and the best way to ensure that everybody has a voice, and that a diverse field of high-quality contenders gets a shot at being recognized, is for as many people as possible to nominate everything out there that's good. Does that mean every deserving contender will make the final ballot? No. The universe of science fiction and fantasy and all of their various subgenres has become just too big and is continuing to expand every day. I'm not sure it's possible to have read or seen or heard everything that's been released everywhere in the past year. But, as individuals, we can nominate what we have encountered that's good and hope that other fans feel the same. And we can share our nomination choices and talk about why we think they're deserving, and, as part of that discussion, agree and disagree with each other without resorting to flame wars or bullying or threats or forming gangs to squeeze out opposition or tear the awards down. Because we're better than that. Or, at least, I hope we are. And so, in order to ensure that we're better than the mistakes of the recent past, we all need to get out there and make our nominations and in so doing make all of our voices heard. And then get on with our lives and get back to reading and watching and listening to all of the good sf out there, because there's just so much of it to experience that we can't afford to waste time fighting with each other.

So. My picks for the Hugos — or, at least the categories I'm able to make nominations for, since some of them just aren't areas that I've paid close enough attention to or have enough of an appreciation for. Some of them you've probably heard of. Others may be new to you — in which case I'd suggest that you go out and read them or watch them or listen to them because, for my part, I think they're pretty awesome. Feel free to agree or disagree with my choices. But, at the end of the day, they're mine. You should make yours, whatever they are.

Note: my nominations within each category are listed in no particular order.

Best Novel:

  • Where by Kit Reed
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
  • Valkyrie's Song by MD Lachlan
  • The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson

Best Novella:
(No nominations made — I didn't read any novellas last year)

Best Novelette:
(No nominations made — I didn't read any novelettes last year)

Best Short Story:

  • "The Gladiator Lie" by Kelly Robson (from Licence Expired — The Unauthorized James Bond)
  • "Two Graves" by Ian Rogers (from Licence Expired — The Unauthorized James Bond)
  • "Black Dog" by Neil Gaiman (from Trigger Warning)

Best Related Work:
(No nominations made)

Best Graphic Story:

  • We Stand on Guard issue #6 by Brain K Vaughan (writer) & Steve Skroce (artist)
  • Star Wars — Darth Vader issue #1 by Kieron Gillen (writer) & Salvador Larroca (artist)

Best Dramatic Presentation — Long Form:

  • Mad Max — Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Ex Machina
  • Star Wars — The Force Awakens
  • Ant-Man

Best Dramatic Presentation — Short Form:

  • Sense8 season 1, episode 11 "Just Turn the Wheel and the Future Changes"
  • Daredevil season 1, episode 13 "Daredevil"
  • Gotham season 2, episode 6 "By Fire"
  • Game of Thrones season 5, episode 10 "Mother's Mercy"
  • The Last Man on Earth season 1, episode 2 "The Elephant in the Room"

Best Professional Editor — Short Form:
(No nominations made)

Best Professional Editor — Long Form:
(No nominations made)

Best Professional Artist:
(No nominations made)

Best Semiprozine:

  • On-Spec Magazine

Best Fanzine:
(No nominations made)

Best Fancast:

  • The Three Hoarsemen
  • MF Galaxy
  • SF Signal Podcast
  • Coode Street Podcast

Best Fan Writer:
(No nominations made)

Best Fan Artist:
(No nominations made)

The John W Campbell Award:
(No nominations made)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Invaders From Planet 3 - episode 4 - Robert J Sawyer

In this episode, author & editor Robert J. Sawyer tells us about getting an early start in adult-level science fiction reading books by David Gerrold and Isaac Asimov. He'll talk about why the original Star Trek was such a great TV series, and share his opinions about how science fiction has evolved and sometimes taken steps backward over the years. We'll also chat with Rob about how well old sf novels hold up, specifically some of the works of Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Reflecting on his own writing, Rob will tell us about what he learned from interviewing some of the giants in the field back in the 1980s, how he's tried to synthesize the approaches of Larry Niven and Mike Resnick, and  his reputation for being an optimist. He'll also give us some hints about what to expect from his newest novel, Quantum Night.
Our interview took place in August 2015 at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington.
Find out more about Rob and his works at:

Visit iTunes to subscribe to Invaders From Planet 3 and download episodes, and be sure to rate the show while you're there!

Let the invasion begin!