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:

To listen to Invaders From Planet 3, or subscribe, visit LibsyniTunes, StitcherOvercast and Spotify. Be sure to rate and review 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:

To listen to Invaders From Planet 3, or subscribe, visit LibsyniTunes, StitcherOvercast and Spotify. Be sure to rate and review 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)