Pixel Scroll 9/30/16 How Much For Just the Pixels?

(1) WRITERS WITH POWER? Having lived through the days when few sf authors had any kind of industry prestige, I’m impressed how many genre writers are included in “Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors 2016”, compiled by The Hollywood Reporter. The list begins with Patrick Ness, and Lauren Oliver, drops Margaret Atwood in the middle, and spots Rowling at #1, Stephen King at #2, and George R.R. Martin at #4. Neil Gaiman and Diana Gabaldon are in there, too.

(2) QUESTION TIME. Shana DuBois has unveiled a new installment of a popular feature at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, “Mind Meld: The Imagined Possibilities of Science Fiction”.

In Istvan Csicsery-Ronay’s The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, he states works of science fiction “may be credible projections of present trends or fantastic images of imagined impossibilities. Or an amalgam of both.”

Q: Do you enjoy science fiction that is more a reflection of where today’s society could be headed in the near future, or science fiction that reflects a far, far future, and why? What are some recent works you’ve enjoyed?

The participants are S. C. Flynn, Michael R. Underwood, Laura Anne Gilman, Andrea Phillips, K. C. Alexander, and Malka Older.

(3) CAT RAMBO AUTHOR NEWSLETTER. Cat Rambo sent a link to her newsletter:

Usually I don’t make my newsletter public, but I did so today so people can see a sampling what it’s like: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5c1e6d30440f85da8e0ac39d3&id=5befcbc8ca

One of the news items is about — The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.

On October 1, Rachel Swirsky and Juliette Wade will launch their classes in the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. The following week I’ll be announcing four single session workshops for October-December: the long-promised space opera class with Ann Leckie, live classes with Swirsky and Wade, and one solo workshop.

(4) WHO REVIEWS MOST BOOKS BY POC? James Davis Nicoll is not one to hold a grudge. He’ll tell you so – read “A challenge for Rising Shadows, Foundation, SFS, Analog, Asimov’s, Vector, F&SF, SFX, and Locus”

Nobody who made Strange Horizons’ annual count—still not holding a grudge—has reviewed as many books by POC as I have.

Nicoll is speaking of Strange Horizons’ “The 2015 SF Count”. The editors there explain:

Welcome to the sixth Strange Horizons “SF count” of representation in SF reviewing. The goal of the count is straightforward: for the last calendar year, for a range of SF review venues, to calculate the gender and race balance of books reviewed, and of reviewers.

Despite being just about the most prolific reviewer in the field, a review-writing dynamo, Nicoll is not included in the Strange Horizons survey. Maybe if he pretended  to be a magazine?

(5) FUNDRAISER. Family members of the Yosts have started a GoFundMe page to benefit the two girls, ages 6 and 8, who survived the murders reported here the other day.

I am a family member of the Yost Family and even typing these words out now still doesnt make it real.  The unimaginable as happened to two little innocent girls who are now left with out parents to raise them.  Our hearts are completely broken and will miss them every single day that passes.  We will remember the good times we had and remind these two beautiful girls of how much they were loved by their parents.  The girls are 6 and 8 and will need all the help they can get in this extremely tragic event.

Every donation received will be to help for future care of these children.

Our family sends our deepest gratitude for any help.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  We truly appreciate all of your help and kind words while our family mourns the loss of two beloved family members.

(6) GOLDEN DUCK. Still catching up with awards announced in August.

2016 Golden Duck Awards

The 2016 Golden Duck Awards were announced by Doug Drummond and Helen Gbala at MidAmeriCon II on August 18.

  • Picture Book Interstellar Cinderella, by Deborah Underwoon (author) and Meg Hunt (illustrator) (Chronicle)
  • Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grade Fuzzy Mud, by Louis Sacher (Delacorte)
  • Hal Clement Award for Young Adult Armada, by Ernest Cline (Crown)

(7) KANSAS CITY BBQ. Scott Edelman and David Levine sat down for barbecue while attending the Worldcon, and that culinary inspiration led to Episode 19 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.


We talked about the things being a science fiction fan for so long taught him about being a professional science fiction writer, what it was like contributing to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe after having read the series since Day One, how pretending to live on Mars for two weeks helped him write his newly published novel Arabella of Mars, and much more.


  • September 30, 1988 Elvira, Mistress of the Dark premieres in theaters.


  • Born September 30, 1924 — Truman Capote.

And what, you may ask, is his connection to sf/f?

After a rejection notice from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, Ray Bradbury sent his short story “Homecoming” to Mademoiselle Magazine. There it was spotted by a young editorial assistant named Truman Capote, who rescued the manuscript from the slush pile and helped get it published in the magazine. “Homecoming” won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947.  This was the first publication of a Ray Bradbury story in the mainstream.

(10) FAN FUND OF NEW ZEALAND. The FFANZ administrators have announced that Lynelle Howell is running to be the fund’s delegate to Continuum 13, in Melbourne, 2017:

The Fan Fund for Australia and New Zealand was created to strengthen the ties between Australian and New Zealand fandom.  FFANZ assists fans with travel to the Natcon of the other nation, and assists with as many of the attendant costs of travel as practical, as well as facilitating connections between fans.

This year’s FFANZ race is a westward bound one, facilitating travel by a New Zealand fan to the 56th Australian Speculative Fiction National Convention, Continuum XIII – Triskaidekaphilia, to be held in Melbourne, Victoria, over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, 9th-12th June, 2017. It is expected that after the trip the winner takes over as administrator of the fund, engages in fundraising for the fund, and that they promote links between the two fandoms via a trip report or other means.

Click the link above for the candidate’s platform, and her nominators’ statements.

(11) FREAKY FRIDAY MUSICAL. The Washington Post’s Jane Horwitz writes about the Disney-backed Freaky Friday musical, opening at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia this weekend, including how the show is simultaneously based on the Mary Rodgers novel, the first Disney movie, the second Disney movie and the 1995 TV movie and how stars Emma Bunton and Heidi Blickenstaff really like working together.

(12) WHAT DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE PAGE. Some things are better left untold.

(13) HIDEOUS TO BEHOLD. The Good Show Sir blog promises to post “Only the worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy book covers. The amazing thing is, they never run out!

There are many pieces of cover art that are beautiful to behold. Yet, there are others which exhibit a rarer, odd form of beauty. We think that such conflicts of focal points, lettering choices, false perspectives, anatomical befuddlement, ridiculous transport vehicles, oversized and frankly unusable monster-hunting weaponry, clothing choices that would get you killed walking down the street let alone hiking a through a frozen wasteland, clichéd cat-people, and downright bad art deserve their own special form of tribute.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

The Hammer and the Horn

I think they’re living up to their promise….!

[Thanks to JJ, Scott Edelman, Michael J. Walsh, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Rambo, James Davis Nicoll, DMS, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

Long List Year 2 Kickstarter

Long List 2 anthology cover by Galen Dara.

Long List 2 anthology cover by Galen Dara.

David Steffen’s The Long List Anthology year 2 Kickstarter has rocketed off the starting line, which is a thematically appropriate beginning for this year’s collected edition of the stories that received enough Hugo nominations to get into the final report.

The purpose of the Long List Anthology is to celebrate more of the fiction that was loved by the Hugo Award voting audience.  Every year, besides the well-known final ballot, there is a lesser-known longer list of nominated works.  The purpose of this anthology is to put all these stories in a package to make them easy for readers to find, so you can put them on your bookshelf or load them up on your e-reader. The goal here is to widen that celebration of great fan-loved fiction.

This will be the second volume of the Long List Anthology.  Last year’s volume was a huge success, reaching the base goal in a couple days, and the stretch goals for novelettes and novellas not long after, and up into audiobook stretch goals after that.  It has sold close to 10,000 copies, appeared in Amazon’s top 100 paid books for a time, and still continues to sell copies steadily almost a year later.

Steffen also has an interesting new idea for including nonfiction:

Last year, the anthology was entirely comprised of fiction. This year we’re trying a small change. Letters From Tiptree is one of the works on the longer list of nominated works for the Best Related Work category.

The appeal has brought in $2,564 as of this writing, streaking past its initial $2,300 goal with 17 days remaining to gather in pledges for the stretch goals.

The following authors have already agreed to let their stories appear in the anthology, though as Steffan further explains, “Not all of the stories on the long list can be included because of printing constraints, and not every story is available, so the anthology cannot include everything.”


  • “Three Cups of Grief, By Starlight” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar
  • “Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar
  • “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” by Megan Grey
  • “The Women You Didn’t See” by Nicola Griffith (a letter from Letters to Tiptree)
  • “Damage” by David D. Levine
  • “Neat Things” by Seanan McGuire (a letter from Letters To Tiptree)
  • “Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker
  • “Pocosin” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Wooden Feathers” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong

(Note that this base goal includes all 5 short stories that were nominated for the inaugural Eugie Foster Memorial Award!)


  • “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer
  • “Another Word For World” by Ann Leckie
  • “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” by Rose Lemberg
  • “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir
  • “The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Up to 1 other


  • “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik
  • “The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” by Kai Ashante Wilson


2015 Cóyotl Awards


The winners of the 2015 Cóyotl Awards, presented by the Furry Writers’ Guild for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature of the 2015 calendar year, were announced August 13 at the Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver.



  • Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor Books, December 2015)


  • Forest Gods by Ryan Campbell (Sofawolf Press, September 2015)
  • The Long Road Home by Rukis (FurPlanet Productions, July 2015)
  • Rat’s Reputation by Michael H. Payne (Sofawolf Press,
  • Windfall by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions, July 2015)



  • Koa of the Drowned Kingdom by Ryan Campbell (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)


  • Losing My Religion by Kyell Gold (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)



  • The Analogue Catby Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden (in The Furry Future, ed. by Fred Patten; FurPlanet Productions, January 2015)


  • Bullet Tooth Clawby Marshall L. Moseley (in Inhuman Acts, ed. by Ocean Tigrox; FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)
  • Muskrat Bluesby Ianus J. Wolf (in Inhuman Acts, ed. by Ocean Tigrox; FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)



  • Inhuman Acts edited by Ocean Tigrox (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)


  • The Furry Future edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions, January 2015)
  • ROAR Volume 6 edited by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books, July 2015)

[Thanks to Fred Patten for the story.]

A Dozen “Year’s Best”

By Carl Slaughter: A dozen editors, some of them household names in the speculative community, take their stab at the year’s best stories.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois


The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One edited by Neil Clarke


The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 edited by Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams


The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016 Edition edited by Rich Horton


The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten edited by Jonathan Strahan


The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 edited by Karen Joy Fowler and John Joseph Adams


The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2016 edited by Paula Guran


The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016 Edition edited by Paula Guran


Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 edited by Mercedes Lackey


The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF 2015: Volume 2 edited by David Afsharirad

Years Best milSF 2015

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight edited by Ellen Datlow


The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 8  edited by Allan Kaster



Helsinki To Run Best Series Hugo

Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in August 2017, will exercise its right under WSFS Constitution to run a special Hugo category for “Best Series.”

The committee’s announcement today explains:

Fans voted in August 2016  to trial a new Hugo award for “Best Series”, which could be added in 2018. Each Worldcon Committee has the authority to introduce a special category Hugo award, and Worldcon 75 has decided to test “Best Series” in 2017. This follows the precedent of the 2009 Worldcon, which trialled “Best Graphic Story” before it became a regular Hugo the following year. Fans at Worldcon 75 will be able to decide whether to ratify the “Best Series” for future years and suggest revisions to the award definition at the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting held in Helsinki during the convention.

The committee says an eligible work for the special Best Series Hugo award is “a multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, which has appeared in at least three volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the calendar year 2016, at least one volume of which was published in 2016.”


Three To Watch For

By Carl Slaughter:


Bill Schelly

By Bill Schelly


Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary chronicles the career of Otto Binder, from pulp magazine author to writer of Supergirl, Captain Marvel, and Superman comics. As the originator of the first sentient robot in literature (“I, Robot,” published in Amazing Stories in 1939 and predating Isaac Asimov’s collection of the same name), Binder’s effect on science fiction was profound. Within the world of comic books, he created or co-created much of the Superman universe, including Smallville; Krypto, Superboy’s dog; Supergirl; and the villain Braniac. Binder is also credited with writing many of the first “Bizarro” storylines for DC Comics, as well as for being the main writer for the Captain Marvel comics.

In later years, Binder expanded from comic books into pure science writing, publishing dozens of books and articles on the subject of satellites and space travel as well as UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Comic book historian Bill Schelly tells the tale of Otto Binder through comic panels, personal letters, and interviews with Binder’s own family and friends. Schelly weaves together Binder’s professional successes and personal tragedies, including the death of Binder’s only daughter and his wife’s struggle with mental illness. A touching and human story, Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is a biography that is both meticulously researched and beautifully told, keeping alive Binder’s spirit of scientific curiosity and whimsy.


S.D. Smith

S.D. Smith

By S.D. Smith


S. D. Smith’s 2014 debut epic anthropomorphic novel, The Green Ember, was met with lavish endorsements from speculative authors and Amazon reviewers alike. 90% of over 500 reviews were 5 stars. Ember Falls, the much awaited sequel, came out in September 2016.  All 35 initial reviews of Ember Falls are 5 stars.  It’s been compared to Empire Strikes Back because the events turn much darker for the heroes.  Plot details on Amazon and the author’s website are very skimpy.  But here are comments from the more articulate reviewers.  Meanwhile, The Black Star of Kingston, a prequel and the first in the Tales of Old Natalia series, came out in 2015.


  • “Here’s the best way I can sum up The Green Ember for you: It reads as if Brian Jacques had Sam Gamgee’s famous quote from The Return of the King (‘Is everything sad going to come untrue?’) nailed above his desk while writing a version of Redwall that wasn’t awful. Far from being merely ‘not awful,’ though, Smith’s first novel shows that he truly understands the essentials of storytelling. Ember picks up and rolls, its two young protagonists landing in near-constant peril of some sort or another from the fifth chapter on. Refreshingly, Smith doesn’t defang the subject matter. Combatants die. Conflicts leave lasting scars. Internal politics roil old allies. And the book intentionally refuses to end neatly. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking Joe Abercrombie or George R.R. Martin here. The Green Ember is liberally seasoned with hope (and gorgeous pencil illustrations by Zach Franzen). But whenever the proceedings threaten to become saccharine, Smith tosses a little grit into the pot. The final pages find the characters with swords in their hands and a very long fight ahead of them. Indeed, the only real problem with the novel is its abrupt conclusion. I won’t complain when fantasy authors decide to keep things short. Goodness knows we have too many doorstop-thick titles in the genre. But The Green Ember almost begs for a sequel. Here’s to hoping that Smith pens it someday.”  Loren Eaton, I Saw Lightning Fall
  • “This is an ‘instant classic.’ That is to say, it shares the same spirit of derring-do involving small characters cast into big adventure against long odds with so many of the stories I’ve loved through the years, from Treasure Island to Watership Down. The Green Ember is about two rabbits, sister Heather and brother Picket, who find themselves caught up in the struggle at the fabric of their world and seek to right some pretty dreadful wrongs. Along the way, they wrestle with their own weaknesses and encounter dastardly deeds, danger, and double-crosses. (Thankfully, no terrifying over-use of alliteration.) It’s entertaining, thought-provoking, beautifully-written, and I’m sure will challenge its young readers to dig deep by inspiring them with both the successes and failures of its lapine protagonists.”  Glenn McCarty, Eye Wonder Why
  • The Green Ember is a wonderful, poignant adventure tale, set in a time of great chaos, with lament of a lost kingdom and hope for a new, peaceful time. Characterized by anthropomorphic rabbits, birds, wolves and other animals, this fresh tale certainly is within the realm of popular fantasy, with this story written for the comprehension level of middle grade readers.
  • “But what sets this wonderful novel apart are several things. The plot is intricately developed and works very well. When I sat down and thought about it, there is almost a chiastic layout to the plot. For a first time novel, to be that well laid out, yet still not lose sight of the joy of the characters and stories is a great feat. Also, the reader understands the story from the perspectives of the two protagonists, Heather and Pickett, who are complex and young and inexperienced. In a sense, the reader is the third partner here, because nothing is revealed to the reader until it is revealed to these two.
  • “Also, there are some real moments of wisdom written here, that come across very softly, but effectively. Matters dealing with the nature of evil, the real price of friendship, how different roles and interests play into larger communities, how hope and sadness can often, and sometimes must exist side by side. This is a real story of truth and beauty. There are larger points to be made, but it still remains a good story. The larger points are up to the reader to extrapolate from.
  • “Readers should see the influence of Lewis and Tolkien, Narnia and Middle Earth, on Smith’s Natalia and his Rabbit Kingdom. Yet Smith has told an entirely original tale, that honors its forebears, but brings new light and skill to tale spinning. And like those earlier works, the reader certainly hopes that future stories will come to further expand and tell more stories, because of the truth and beauty they represent.”  Jason G.
  • “‘My place beside you, my blood for yours. Till the Green Ember rises or the end of the world!’ So ends the prologue to The Green Ember. What a start! S.D. Smith’s debut novel stands in stark contrast to most contemporary middle school fiction. Courage, loyalty, wisdom, and hope abound. Classic virtues are esteemed. It is moral without moralizing. It is dramatic without resorting to preteen angst. It is swashbuckling without glorifying violence. Good is good and evil is evil. Clearly Smith is influenced by Lewis’ Narnia, but this isn’t derivitive fan fiction. Smith has created a new world that stands on its own inhabited by wonderful and sometimes terrifying characters.”  J. Hanks
  • “My 5-yr old son and 3- and 7-yr. old daughters are all mesmerized and plead for extra chapters when we read together. After even just the first chapter, we knew that this was going to be a rare favorite. It has proven breathlessly thrilling and so much fun, edifying… challenging for all of us. And heartrendingly tender. Beautiful. At times, profound. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Don’t miss this.”  Kristin B
David Liss

David Liss

By David Liss


In 2015, Randoms, David Liss’ riotous debut YA space opera novel, was greeted with a tidal wave of enthusiasm from fans, critics, and fellow authors.  In September 2016, Liss followed Randoms with Rebels.  With Randoms at 500 pages and Rebels at 400 pages, it’s particularly impressive that Liss was able to maintain the humor, adventure, and pop culture references.


A science fiction superfan finds himself on his very own space adventure when he’s randomly selected to join an alien confederacy in this “exhilarating” (Booklist, starred review) middle grade debut novel.

Zeke Reynolds comes from a long line of proud science fiction geeks. He knows his games, comics, movies, and TV shows like Captain Kirk knows the starship Enterprise. So it’s a dream come true when he learns the science fiction he loves so much is based on reality—and that he’s been selected to spend a year on a massive space station. To evaluate humanity’s worthiness, the Confederation of United Planets has hand picked three of Earth’s most talented young people—and then there’s Zeke. He’s the random.

Unfortunately, Zeke finds life in space more challenging than he’d hoped. When he saves his transport ship from a treacherous enemy attack, he’s labeled a war criminal. Now despised by the Confederation, rejected by his fellow humans, and pursued by a ruthless enemy, Zeke befriends the alien randoms: rejected by their own species, but loyal to each other. But their presence in the Confederation may not be so random after all, and as the danger increases, Zack’s knowledge of science fiction might be the only thing that can save himself, his friends, and Earth itself.



A science fiction superfan is heading back to space on a new mission to save Earth in this hilarious follow-up to the “exhilarating” (Booklist, starred review) Randoms.

It’s difficult to return to Earth and live a simple, unadventurous life after having seen the wonders of the universe—especially when you find yourself with Smelly, a self-important artificial intelligence living in your head, reminding you how much of a primitive meat bag you are. But with Smelly’s help, Zeke is on his way back to space on a new, super-secret mission. Zeke may earn Earth a second chance at intergalactic membership—and better yet, he’ll be reunited with Tamret, the alien girl of his dreams.

However, things never go as planned for Zeke. Conspiracy abounds as he’s once again blamed for destroying a spaceship, and sent deep into the dangerous Forbidden Zone to find the military tech tree that the enemy Phands are already using. Will his knowledge of pop culture and science fiction that saved him in Randoms help again?


  • “Liss’s characters are engaging, the video-game-like competitions and SF commentary are fun, the sheer plenitude of alien species is fascinating, and the jokes just keep on coming.” (Publishers Weekly)
  • “Real geeks wouldn’t have it any other way.” (Kirkus Reviews)
  • “Fans of science fiction and nonstop action alike will enjoy this smart, light adventure that brims with allusions to a variety of sci-fi movies and TV shows old and new.” (School Library Journal)
  • *”First in a series, Randoms is an exhilarating read that will have no trouble hooking sci-fi fans—particularly with its many sf references—and it carries enough fun and excitement to appeal to reluctant readers, in spite of the intimidating page count. With a tip of the hat to geeks everywhere, this novel is a class act.” (Booklist, starred review)
  • “For readers who get giddy about mentions of obscure episodes of Star Trek or complex descriptions of nanites that allow humans to build up their natural abilities as they gain skill points (complete with a flowchart), this is a comradely treat.” (BCCB)
  • “Funny, wild, possibly deranged, and way too much fun.” (Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Army and Rot & Ruin)
  • “As fun as a barrel full of tribbles, Randoms is middle-grade space opera at its best. Scary aliens! Cat people! Exploding starships! My inner geek stood up and cheered. Kids who love sci-fi, comics, or gaming will gobble up this fast-paced story, and it will make converts out of the rest.” (Pete Hautman, author of National Book Award Winner Godless)
  • “What an adventure! Randoms has such a clever concept behind it, and it’s thrilling to ride along as Zeke Reynolds battles enemy aliens (and humans), buddies up with up with aliens (and even, sometimes, humans), and manages again and again to score his own version of victory for underdogs and ‘randoms’ all across the universe.” (Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of the New York Times bestselling series The Shadow Children and The Missing)
  • Randoms is an incredibly fun and heartfelt space adventure. With menacing villains and lovable underdogs, this book has so much to offer readers of all ages. I can’t wait to read what happens to Zeke and his friends next!” (SJ Kincaid, author of Insignia)
  • “A smorgasbord of sci-fi geekiness, David Liss’s Randoms blends angst, adventure, humor, pathos, space battles, anime, giraffe aliens, and philosophical meanderings on the nature of “humanity” into a plot that twists and tumbles towards a breathless summer-action-flick finale. Be prepared to cheer on the underdogs in this dizzying romp of a novel.” (John David Anderson, author of Sidekicked)
  • “My fellow geeks, rejoice! We have a new hero in the form of the all-nerdy, all-knowing, Zeke. And it is no random chance that his knowledge of pop sci-fi makes him the hippest hero of the galaxy.” (Tony DiTerlizzi, author of The Search for Wondla)

Joseph Nassise’s Urban Allies

Joseph Nassise

Joseph Nassise

By Carl Slaughter:

Editor: Joseph Nassise
Harper Voyager


In this impressive anthology, twenty of today’s hottest urban fantasy writers—including Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Maberry, Kelley Armstrong, Seanan Mcguire, and C. E. Murphy—pair together to write ten original stories featuring their favorite series characters.

Worlds collide when two different urban fantasy series meet in each of the ten electrifying stories in this collaborative project, featuring beloved characters such as Peter Octavian and Dahlia Lynley-Chivers, Joanne Walker and Harper Blaine, Joe Ledger and Special Agent Franks, Sabina Kane and Ava. Urban Allies melds the talents of some of the most high-profile authors in the genre today—many of whom are working together for the first time—to give readers a chance to see their favorite characters in an imaginative and fresh way.

Edited by acclaimed bestselling author Joseph Nassise, who is also a contributor, this outstanding collection showcases the brilliant storytelling talents of some of the most acclaimed urban fantasy writers working today—among them seven New York Times bestselling authors and one USA Today bestselling author.

Contributors Include:

  • Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
  • Carrie Vaughn and Diana Rowland
  • Jonathan Maberry and Larry Correia
  • Kelley Armstrong and Seanan Mcguire
  • Joseph Nassise and Sam Witt
  • Steven Savile And Craig Schaefer
  • David Wellington and Weston Ochse
  • Stephen Blackmoore and Jeff Somers
  • C. E. Murphy and Kat Richardson
  • Jaye Wells and Caitlin Kittredge


”This anthology highlights incredible authors and their best lead protagonists. Readers will devour these stories, which answer the question many fans pose: ‘What if these two characters met?’” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Literary mashups are no easy feat, but thanks to some excellent pairings and the work of a group of wonderfully talented writers, this collection is enormously fun from beginning to end, particularly for series fans. 4-1/2 stars.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick))

“Readers will undoubtedly get a kick out of seeing their favorite heroes solving cases together and will enjoy being introduced to new characters and settings.” (Publishers Weekly)

Pixel Scroll 9/29/16 “–We Also Stalk Gods”

(1) THERE’S A SKILL I’D LIKE TO HAVE. It sounds like something you’d see in a movie about dope dealers, says The Hollywood Reporter, but it’s behind the scenes at for-profit fan conventions — “Stars Getting Rich Off Fan Conventions: How to Take Home ‘Garbage Bags Full of $20s’”.

Fan conventions, where stars can take home hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for a few hours of time, once were the domain of has-beens and sci-fi novelties. But the business has become so lucrative — think $500,000 for Captain America‘s Chris Evans or The Walking Dead favorite Norman Reedus to appear — that current TV and film stars are popping up at events like Salt Lake City Comic-Con and Heroes and Villains Fan Fest. The demand has become so overwhelming that agencies including WME, CAA, UTA, ICM, APA, Paradigm and Gersh have in the past three years added “personal appearance” agents to sift through the hundreds of annual events, book talent and (of course) score their 10 percent commission….

Here’s how it works: Actors typically ask for a price guarantee — often paid up front — to show up, sign autographs, pose for photos and sometimes take part in a panel discussion or two. Most conventions charge an entry fee, collect $5 for every autograph and $10 per photo (with a photographer taking another $10). The stars — who receive luxury travel and accommodations — pocket the rest. Anything over the guarantee is icing on the cake….

According to multiple sources familiar with convention deals, the basic guarantee rate for genre stars is in the $5,000 to $10,000 range per appearance — with leads on such current TV series as The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Netflix’s Marvel shows and The CW’s DC Comics fare commanding anywhere from $35,000 to $250,000 and up, depending on their popularity and the frequency with which they appear. At top conventions, it’s not uncommon for a star to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 on top of their guarantee (more if they spend extra time signing)…..

As if the conventions weren’t already lucrative enough, many stars also are contacted independently by autograph dealers looking to arrange meet-ups outside of events and can score anywhere from $6,000 to $250,000 to sign a few hundred items that will wind up on eBay. That’s one reason why Hamill and other stars are especially sensitive about fakes and are backing a new California bill that would require autographed collectibles sold in the state to come with a certificate of authenticity (yet another extra charge at conventions)….

Three big companies dominate the paid-convention space: Wizard World, Informa and ReedPop (each with about 20-plus events set for 2017), all of which are publicly traded. But while conventions are rewarding for attendees and talent, the financial picture for those running them often is less rosy.

(2) ALWAYS TO CALL IT RESEARCH. From A.V. Club we learn that Timeless creators are being sued for allegedly stealing premise for their show”.

Now it’s NBC’s turn to deal with the litigious, as Deadline reports that the creators of Timeless are being sued for allegedly absconding with the idea for their show, not unlike how Goran Visnjic does with a time machine in said show. NBCUniversal and Sony have also been named as defendants.

The suit was filed by Onza Entertainment for breach of contract and copyright infringement. The Spanish company that claims its idea for a government-backed team of time-machine-thief hunters was pinched, if you will, by Timeless creators Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural and Revolution). The suit lays out Onza’s premise for the show, and how it “relates to the adventures of a three-person government team (consisting of one woman and two men) traveling through time to thwart undesired changes to past events.” Timeless does feature its own group of timeline monitors, similarly comprising one woman and two men, though they have more academic backgrounds. Abigail Spencer plays a history professor, Matt Lanter her muscle, with Malcolm Barrett rounding out the ensemble as an engineer.

(3) THE PRICE FOR MARS. In “Musk’s Mars moment: Audacity, madness, brilliance – or maybe all three” on Ars Technica, Eric Berger says that Elon Musk’s plan to put a million people on Mars is actually technically plausible provided Musk raises $30 billion, which he isn’t going to be able to do without substantial government help.

Elon Musk finally did it. Fourteen years after founding SpaceX, and nine months after promising to reveal details about his plans to colonize Mars, the tech mogul made good on that promise Tuesday afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico. Over the course of a 90-minute speech Musk, always a dreamer, shared his biggest and most ambitious dream with the world—how to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species.

And what mighty ambitions they are. The Interplanetary Transport System he unveiled could carry 100 people at a time to Mars. Contrast that to the Apollo program, which carried just two astronauts at a time to the surface of the nearby Moon, and only for brief sojourns. Moreover, Musk’s rocket that would lift all of those people and propellant into orbit would be nearly four times as powerful as the mighty Saturn V booster. Musk envisions a self-sustaining Mars colony with at least a million residents by the end of the century.

Beyond this, what really stood out about Musk’s speech on Tuesday was the naked baring of his soul. Considering his mannerisms, passion, and the utter seriousness of his convictions, it felt at times like the man’s entire life had led him to that particular stage. It took courage to make the speech, to propose the greatest space adventure of all time. His ideas, his architecture for getting it done—they’re all out there now for anyone to criticize, second guess, and doubt.

It is not everyday that one of the world’s notables, a true difference-maker, so completely eschews caution and reveals his deepest ambitions like Musk did with the Interplanetary Transport System. So let us look at those ambitions—the man laid bare, the space hardware he dreams of building—and then consider the feasibility of all this. Because what really matters is whether any of this fantastical stuff can actually happen.


(4) FREE EVERYTHING. In an article at Democracy, a liberal public policy journal, Joshua Holland reviews Manu Saadia’s Trekonomics, which explains what Star Trek has to say about economic principles, particularly automation and the idea that while we won’t have replicators we may be at an era where a lot of goods are costless — “Can We Live Long and Prosper?”

Saadia doesn’t believe we’re likely to achieve a future that looks like Star Trek. For one thing, hyperspace travel, he says, is incredibly costly, and will offer humanity little reward for the effort. So he doesn’t see us exploring strange new worlds, or seeking out new life and new civilizations in the next few hundred years.

Thus tethered to Earth, Trekonomics is ultimately an argument that economic growth and good governance can lead us to enjoy a standard of living that’s almost unimaginable today. At its heart is the concept of “post-scarcity economics”—a world where technology is an unalloyed good that meets all of our material needs. Competition for finite resources has been a constant since early humans started scratching out a living. It’s shaped not only our economic systems, but our cultures and societies in really fundamental ways. The core argument of Trekonomics is that technology will eventually allow us to produce goods and services in excess of what we need, and that freedom from want will, in turn, lead to a radically different social contract—and new norms of governance—that are difficult to imagine today. In a Trekonomics economy, those at the top would have no incentive to grab an ever-larger slice of the pie because the pie would be infinitely large.

(5) SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT COPYRIGHT. Francis Hamit has made a video to generate support for proposed legislation to create a copyright small claims court, HR 5757 or The CASE Act of 2016.  He adds, “There are many ways to support passage of this important legislation.  One way is to buy and wear this t-shirt that you can get from Tfund by following this link.” — http://www.tfund.com/CASEAct

As Hamit explained in a post here:

Now a bill is before the House called the CASE Act (or Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act of 2016.)

It is not law yet, and it needs your support. Write and/or call your Congressional Representative and urge a favorable vote. It is not a perfect solution to the problem, but it’s pretty good.

The CASE Act establishes a Copyright Claims Board with three claims officers and a minimum of two full-time attorneys to examine small cases. Cases must be brought within three years of the infringement, and the plaintiff(s) must have a copyright registration certificate in hand. If the registration was within or before 90 days of publication, the maximum damages are $15,000. If not, then $7,500. No single case will generate statutory damages of more than $30,000. Or, you can roll the dice and go for the actual damages, which may be very hard to prove. You pay your own attorney’s fees. Hardly a bonanza in other words. You can still move the case to a Federal District Court, but my own experience tells me that copyright cases are considered a complicated horror show there.

This court will be centralized as an office at the Library of Congress. While you might make a personal appearance, the emphasis is in resolving claims by mail and/or telephone. You may be able to do this without an attorney, or certified law student, but it’s probably not a good idea.


(6) TWILIGHT ZONE TRIVIA. I learned all kinds of new things while reading “11 Timeless Facts About The Twilight Zone . The first is funny —

There were almost six dimensions.

While recording the opening to the pilot episode in 1959, Serling exclaimed there was a sixth dimension to explore. When a network executive overheard the introduction, he asked Serling what happened to the fifth dimension. Serling assumed there were already five dimensions, not four. Luckily, the mistake was corrected before the episode aired.

(7) X-15. Here’s a BBC article about the X-15 program and efforts to restore the B-52 that ferried the experimental craft to launch altitude – “The bomber that paves the way for the Moon missions”. (One of the cool things I got to do as a kid was attend a science-themed event on the aircraft carrier Kearsarge where X-15 pilot Scott Crossfield was on the program).

Joe Walker could be one of the greatest astronauts you have never heard of.

On 22 August 1963, Walker strapped into the cockpit of an X-15 experimental rocket plane for his final flight. He took off into the clear skies above Edwards Air Force base in sou thern California, his needle-shaped aircraft strapped beneath the starboard wing of a B-52 bomber.

At around 50,000ft, the X-15 dropped from the wing, Walker lit his engine and rocketed into the sky. When the plane ran out of fuel two minutes later, he was travelling at 5,600ft-per-second and the sky had turned from blue to black.

In another two minutes, Walker had reached 354,200 feet – 67 miles – above the Earth and beyond the air we breathe. He was no longer flying a plane but a spacecraft. 11 minutes and eight seconds after release, he was back on the ground – having glided at hypersonic speeds to a perfect landing on a dried-up lake bed

(8) IT IS GETTING TO LOOK LIKE HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND. The Halloween Tree, inspired by a Ray Bradbury story, is back in season at Disneyland.

The four masks on the plaque are artwork done by Joseph Mugnaini. The oak tree is in front of the saloon in Frontierland.



(9) COMIC BOOK TRICK OR TREAT. Comic publishers invite fans to the Halloween ComicFest on October 29.

Celebrating its fifth year, Halloween ComicFest is an annual event where participating comic book specialty shops across North America and beyond celebrate the Halloween season by giving away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. The event takes place on Saturday, October 29th and is the perfect opportunity to introduce friends and family to the many reasons why comic shops are a great destination for Halloween themed comic books, products and merchandise. From zombies, vampires, monsters and aliens to costumes and more, comic shops have it all when it comes to Halloween fun!

Click here to see the offerings – and to download free sample pages.

(10) THE MIND BEHIND THE MASK. Popular Mechanics tries to argue “Why Westworld Matters” in an entertaining little article, however, my memory is rather different – I don’t think it had much influence because sf writers were already feverishly turning out warning stories of this type – anything from Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” to Bradbury’s “Downwind From Gettysburg.”

The Line Between Human and Android Keeps Shrinking

Crichton told American Cinematographer at the time of the film’s 1973 release that he was inspired by going to Disneyland and watching an animatronic Abraham Lincoln recite the Gettysburg Address. “It was the idea of playing with a situation in which the usual distinctions between person and machine—between a car and the driver of the car—become blurred, and then trying to see if there was something in the situation that would lead to other ways of looking at what’s human and what’s mechanical,” he said.

In Westworld, even the park’s administrators aren’t quite sure what their robots are capable of. Ominously, one overseer announces, “These are highly complicated pieces of equipment, almost as complicated as living organisms. … We don’t know exactly how they work.” It becomes clear that Brynner’s gunslinger has gone rogue at least in part because he’s tired of letting park patrons shoot him full of holes just to satisfy their he-man cravings. He’s not a piece of furniture. He’s become sentient, and he wants a say in what happens to him.

Everything from Blade Runner (based on the late-’60s Dick novel) to A.I. (based on the late-’60s short story from Brian Aldiss) has grappled with the ethical questions inherent in making computers that duplicate human characteristics. How will we be able to tell if it’s man or machine?

(11) ISLAMIC SF COLLECTION. Islamicates Volume I: Anthology of Science Fiction short stories inspired from Muslim Cultures is available as a free download in many electronic formats.

Better late than never I always say, the wait is over, I give you the Science Fiction short story anthology based on the first Islamicate Short Story contest. There are a total of 12 stories in the anthology and the first three stories are also the ones which won the best story awards. The anthology is titled Islamicates: Volume I Science Fiction Anthology of Short Stories inspired by Muslim Cultures. It is titled Volume I because we hope to continue this series in the future. It was eight years ago that the first anthology based on Science Fiction inspired by Islamic cultures was released. Not only has the Geek Muslim community increased in numbers considerably but interest in Islam and Muslim cultures has increased to a great extent in pop media in general. We hope that our readers will greatly enjoy the anthology. As always comments, suggestions, questions and feedback in general will be greatly appreciated.

(12) PYTHON-RELATED PROJECT. Matthew Davis recommended a video: “Reading about the recent death of the actor Terence Baylor (who appeared in assorted Monty Python-related projects) reminded me that he was in a Terry Gilliam-directed advert for Orangina which was only ever broadcast in France.”

(13) RIDLEY SCOTT ADS. Davis also pointed out some other advertising history.“While Ridley Scott’s 1984/Apple commercial is famous with film and sf fans I don’t think his very Blade-Runner-esque series of adverts for Barclays bank in 1986 are remembered at all.”

[Thanks to Matthew Davis, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Michael Cassutt: Z Nation, and Space Exploration


Michael Cassutt

By Carl Slaughter: Michael Cassutt produces and writes for a different kind of zombie story. SyFy’s Z Nation is a post-apocalyptic science-humor show. He has 6 nonfiction books about space exploration and has been interviewed by Discovery Channel and History Channel on this topic.  He teaches television writing at USC.

CARL SLAUGHTER: Where does Z Nation fit into the zombie genre television landscape?   

MICHAEL CASSUTT: It depends on which scale you’re using – if judging by how grim the world is, you would put The Walking Dead at one end with Z Nation at the opposite end. Both of us are exploring life in the Zombie Apocalypse, but our characters frequently comment on the absurdity of their situation. (And they are also actively trying to take action to improve it.)

CS: What is the appeal of the zombie genre?  

MC: In some sense, it’s the same appeal that so many Cold War-era post-apocalyptic films of the 1950s and 1960s had, or classic SF like Earth Abides: it gives the viewer or reader a chance to play in a world without rules, where the old standards and restrictions no longer apply. In the Zombie Apocalypse, you get to be a badass survivor and killer, something you are not likely to be in real life.

George R.R. Martin guests on Z Nation.

George R.R. Martin guests on Z Nation.

CS: What’s your role as producer? Same question for script writer?   

MC: In television – and this has been the case for something like thirty years – a producer is almost always a script writer. And as a writer, I am part of a staff that can number as many as eight individuals who meet for 2-3 months and workshop – in TV we say “break” – every episode of the forthcoming season.

Then we go off to write as individuals; I typically write two episodes per season.

Our second drafts go to Karl Schaefer, the showrunner, who does his pass, sometimes light, sometimes heavy. Karl’s draft serves as the basis for prep and production, and in most cases a writer like me comes back into the episode at that point.

We have several writers on ZN who are also directors: Dan Merchant, Jodi Binstock, Abram Cox and Jen Derwingson. When they get their Karl draft, they not only deal with the material as writers, but as directors, too.

We all have input into post-production to some degree.

CS: What other speculative fiction television shows have you been involved with and in what capacity?   

MC: The Twilight Zone (1984-86), freelancer writer, then staff writer;

Max Headroom (1987), story editor, executive story editor;

Eerie, Indiana (1991-92), writer/producer;

The Outer Limits (1994), writer/producer;

Strangeluck (1995-96), writer/producer;

Seven Days (1998-99), writer/producer;

The Dead Zone (2003-04), creative consultant/writer;

Masters of Science Fiction (2005, short-lived ABC anthology), consultant;

Z NATION (2013-present), writer/producer;

I’ve contributed freelance scripts to Beauty & The Beast (CBS 1980s version) Seaquest DSV, Farscape, Stargate SG-1 and several animated series like Dungeons & Dragons, Centurions and even Transformers.

CS: Same question for screen adaptations.  

MC: At one time or another, I’ve adapted novels or short stories by Clifford Simak, Philip Jose Farmer, John Varley, Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke & Stephen Baxter, and Robert A. Heinlein.  None of these have ever been produced, though it doesn’t stop me from trying.

CS: What information about space flight do your nonfiction books contain? 

MC: My space-related non-fiction books – six of them, if you count the forthcoming Astronaut Maker (which may get a new title) – deal with the human side of that world. Who gets to go into space? What did he or she do?  What was it like? I am less interested in, or capable of evaluating, technical advances in rocketry, though I follow them.


CS: Same question for Astronaut Maker.   

MC: This book, which has been in the works for five years and consumed all of my non-TV writing time for the last couple, focuses on one individual who had a 37-year career at NASA, rising from systems engineer to director of the Johnson Space Center, where he was for several years the most powerful individual in the history of human space flight, leading development of the International Space Station and also being in charge of the Space Shuttle.

He was a USAF helicopter pilot who became an engineer on the long-forgotten Dyna-Soar spaceplane program, then was assigned to NASA to work on Apollo. He was deeply involved in the design and development of the Apollo command module – was with the Apollo 1 astronauts at the Cape the night before they died in the tragic fire on the launch pad. Was part of the team that had to disassemble the charred spacecraft.

In the 1970s he became the NASA official in charge of astronaut selection – recruiting the first women and minorities into the astronaut team. He also assigned the crews.

After some career setbacks following the Challenger disaster (he was the NASA official who picked that crew, and two of those who were killed were his best friends on the astronaut team), he sort of rose from the ashes to that position at JSC.

He is a brilliant, fascinating man with priceless stories of Apollo, Shuttle, the Russians, and ISS.

CS:Is there an overlap between your trilogy and your nonfiction books?  

MC: My non-fiction work on spaceflight was the reason David Goyer asked me to collaborate on Heaven’s Shadow. He had a notion for a near-future space adventure, and figured it was easier to bring me into the project than to spend a lot of time trying to research the subject.  (We had known each other for fifteen years by that time, so the offer wasn’t entirely out of nowhere.)

CS: Same question for your novels and short stories.   

MC: Three of my novels – Missing Man, Red Moon, and Tango Moment – came directly out of my research into the space program . . . its history and especially figures like Deke Slayton.  The first Heaven’s book, Heaven’s Shadow, incorporates that research, too. But the next two books don’t – they are pure SF, as was my first novel, The Star Country.


A few of my short stories have dealt with space flight – “The Last Apostle” from Asimov’s is my favorite. “The Longer Voyage”, published in F&SF in 1994, was apparently too realistic for some readers. One wrote, “If I thought that Michael Cassutt’s vision of future interstellar travel was true, I’d die” – or words to that effect.

I’ve done a couple of spaceflight-related pieces for George R. R. Martin’s WILD CARDS series.

CS: What did you do for Discovery?  

MC: For Discovery and History Channel I have made half a dozen appearances in space-related documentaries. Most of these – especially the most recent, Secret Space Escapes – deal with history.  But in Universe: Space Weapons [2009], I am on camera a lot, hitting golf balls and taking part in the operation of a trebuchet.

CS: What do you tell your USC students?   

MC: I teach television drama writing and, every few years, do a survey lecture about the various types of SF, fantasy and horror series. For writing students, I try to give them tools and strategies for writing effective drama – not just the basic challenge of creating interesting characters, but dealing with settings and structures and season-long arcs.

It’s as educational for me as it is for them, perhaps more so.

CS: Any advice for print authors who want to break into screen?  

You have to have a book agent, and your book agent must have a relationship with some TV agency.  Then you can write spec pilot scripts and get them to that TV agent.

That’s the only pro-active step you can take that has a chance of working – unless you happen to have some friend or associate who is already a successful TV agent.

Other than that, you must wait for some producer to discover your print work – and option it. Then you can insist that you be involved in the adapation.

CS: How hard is it to break into showrunning?   

MC: If you are a senior writer-producer on the staff of a successful TV series, it’s not difficult at all: you will either move up when your original showrunner burns out, or you will sell your own series and move off to do that.

If you aren’t a senior writer-producer, it’s almost impossible to become a showrunner. You might get a shot if you are an acclaimed writer from, say, feature films, and a network or channel simply wants to work with you.

CS: What’s on the horizon for Z Nation

MC: All I can or should say, since we have surprises in store, is that in Season 3 ZN gets more science-fictional.

CS: What’s on the horizon for Michael Cassutt?  

MC: At the moment I’m completing Astronaut Maker for delivery to Chicago Review Press. When that’s done, I’m going back to writing short fiction and eventually a new novel.

As for TV – who knows? If there’s a Season 4 of ZN I’m eager to be involved. I also have a few projects of my own that I am pursuing.


Brotherton’s SF By Scientists Anthology


By Carl Slaughter:

Editor: Michael Brotherton
Release Date: December 26, 2016

This anthology contains fourteen intriguing stories by active research scientists and other writers trained in science.

Science is at the heart of real science fiction, which is more than just westerns with ray guns or fantasy with spaceships. The people who do science and love science best are scientists. Scientists like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Fred Hoyle wrote some of the legendary tales of golden age science fiction.  Today there is a new generation of scientists writing science fiction informed with the expertise of their fields, from astrophysics to computer science, biochemistry to rocket science, quantum physics to genetics, speculating about what is possible in our universe. Here lies the sense of wonder only science can deliver. All the stories in this volume are supplemented by afterwords commenting on the science underlying each story.


Introduction by Mike Brotherton

  • “Down and Out” by Ken Wharton
  • “Tree of Life” by Jennifer Rohn
  • “Supernova Rhythm” by Andrew Fraknoi
  • “Turing de Force” by Edward M. Lerner
  • “Neural Alchemist” by Tedd Roberts
  • “The Schrödinger Brat Paradox” by Carl Frederick
  • “Upside the Head” by Marissa Lingen
  • “Betelgeuse” by J. Craig Wheeler
  • “Sticks and Stones” by Stephanie Osborn
  • “One for the Conspiracy Theorists” by Jon Richards
  • “Hidden Variables” by Jed Brody
  • “Spreading the Seed” by Les Johnson
  • “Fixer Upper” by Eric Choi
  • “The Gatherer of Sorrows” by J. M. Sidorova
Mike Brotherton

Mike Brotherton


When I originally got involved with Springer’s exciting and innovative “Science and Fiction” line, I expected to see some books featuring scientists writing science fiction, and there have been a number of novels and story collections produced.  What I didn’t see was a broad spectrum showcasing science fiction short stories by working scientists and writers significantly trained in, or retired from, science.  I decided to take on that project myself in an effort to highlight the current generation of scientist science fiction writers.  Many astronomers, physicists, and biologists answered the call.  I also wanted to include people in fields like computer science and “rocket science,” as well as SETI, and successfully acquired a number of intriguing stories.  I was less successful with some fields, like geology and chemistry, but perhaps for a future volume.

We also decided to do something a little different for this anthology, and include essays by each contributor discussing the science of the story.  I found that these often enhanced the stories, deepening my appreciation, and believe they will make them more accessible to those for whom the parent discipline is less familiar.

The stories cover quantum physics, cutting-edge biology, extreme astrophysics, artificial intelligence, astronautics and the International Space Station, alien environments, and even a scientific take on zombies.  We also have a story about detecting an alien signal with SETI by the engineer running the Allen Telescope Array who would be the one to actually do it in real life, which was totally fascinating.

I hope you will enjoy our efforts.