New Exotic sci-fi: The Windup Girl and River of Gods

by Noah at Cinefugue
Science fiction stories are generally extrapolations of current trends. With the relative decline of the West and Japan, writers have begun to think about the possibility that the future might belong to Somewhere Else. The most popular choices for that Somewhere Else are countries that are just now on the upswing of their S-curve of economic development: Southeast Asia, Latin America, South Asia, or the Middle East.

Generally, I approve of this trend (which I will call “New Exotic” sci-fi). A Venetian sci-fi writer in 1450 (if such existed) would have been prescient if he had imagined the world of 1850 “belonging” to England, France, or Germany; a British sci-fi writer in 1850 would have been prescient to envision a 1920 in which Japan and America were the “wave of the future.” So it makes heaps of sense for us to postulate that in 50 years, it might be India, or Brazil, or Turkey, or Thailand driving the frontiers of technology and global culture.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. The right way is to recognize the historical fact that no country reaches the tech frontier without undergoing serious social changes.

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MOCKINGJAY Leak Causes Outrage

via Kristen at Daemon’s Books
Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, won’t be released until August 24th, and Scholastic has the book under a strict embargo until then. That means no one is supposed to see the book—not the media, not bookstore employees, no one—until the 24th. Well, somehow Andrew Sims, administrator of the popular Harry Potter fansite, got his hands on a copy. He tweeted a picture of Mockingjay and said, “Thanks to a very kind friend, I’m about to start Mockingjay. Join me on my red eye flight to read along.”

Scholastic denies giving Sims a copy. They told The Hunger Games Examiner: “We are not releasing copies in advance of 8/24/10,” said Sheila Marie Everett, Collins’ publicist at Scholastic. “Scholastic did not provide this person with a copy of Mockingjay. In fact, I haven’t even read it yet!”

Since news of the leak came shortly after author Suzanne Collins asked fans to avoid giving away any Mockingjay spoilers, Hunger Games fans are outraged that not only did Sims get an early copy, he bragged about it on Twitter. I can’t even quote some of the fan reaction I’ve seen on blogs and Twitter because of all the profanity.

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The real explanation for that long delay in George R.R. Martin’s next book?

By Charlie Jane Anders at io9
Fans have been waiting years for A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in George R.R. Martin’s Song Of Ice and Fire series. A vocal minority have gotten snarky about it. But really, they misunderstand the reasons for the delay.

But the series is also intensely chaotic, and one of Martin’s main defenders/explainers, Shawn Speakman, says that’s why Martin has run into trouble with finishing the next book. Over at Random House’s Suvudu blog, Speakman wrote recently:

I believe the lateness of A Dance With Dragons has very little to do with George’s time away from the keyboard and his extra-curricular activities-time he was taking before Feast when the books were coming out more timely-and more to do with writing himself into a possible corner. For years George has wrestled with the Knot and it has defeated him at almost every turn. In short, if he hasn’t found a solution to the Knot by now, he may never…

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Friendly Advice for Vampire Authors

Here at we have a lot of first time authors contact us to either review or feature their book (something we are always happy to do), and with them I have learned a few dos and don’ts – which brings you today’s post. Here are a few pointers that may help you guys out with your publishing dreams.

1. E-Books: E-books are incredibly popular nowadays, especially with self-publishing authors. I understand that printing books is expensive, but, not everyone owns an e-book reader and few people enjoy reading an entire book off of their computer. Only having a PDF file is going to make it VERY hard to find someone to review your book. Personally, I refuse to read them. Yes, I want to review your book, but there’s no way I’m going to sit at my computer for hours to do so. So keep this in mind when you’re getting ready to publish your novel.

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Heinlein and The Saturday Evening Post

John Scalzi for Tor
Why had Heinlein tried placing the story in a magazine that hadn’t published science fiction before? One obvious reason was for the money: The Saturday Evening post paid a multiple of what Heinlein could have earned from John Campbell and Astounding, and that of course was reason enough in itself…But Learning Curve points out another reason, which is of interest to me: Heinlein felt that there was a need to propagandize and popularize the idea of space travel and exploration, for a number of reasons, not a few related to the already-chilling cold war between the US and the Soviets. Writing for the pulps in that regard would be preaching to the converted; placing science fiction in the Post, on the other hand, would be putting it into the laps of people who had never read science fiction before, or who avoided it as something for the eggheads and misfits.

This pinged quite a bit for me as a writer, because while science fiction as a genre does very well with the general public in the film and television media, there’s still resistance to getting a mainstream fiction reader to allow themselves to be seen with a science fiction book that’s explicitly presented as science fiction (as opposed to the camouflaged science fiction of The Road or Never Let Me Go).

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Erotic Romance + Hard SF: IN ENEMY HANDS Proves It Can Be Done Well

by Heather Massey at The Galaxy Express
Did you know…Carina Press categorizes KS Augustin’s IN ENEMY HANDS as “Romance, Science Fiction?” However, that’s not the whole…story. In a guest blog post at Leah Braemel’s joint, the author notes that “IN ENEMY HANDS is classified as a hard s-f romance and there’s quite a bit of science in there, but it’s just another element of the story as a whole. I figure if you can cope with the romance, and the politicking, you can cope with anything!”

Upon finishing the novel, it struck me that this story may be one of the first—if not the first—science fiction romance that combines hard SF and erotic romance elements in a successful fashion. (If anyone knows differently, please clue me in because I would like to read more stories like IN ENEMY HANDS).

I think that’s a pretty significant accomplishment because such an effort further delineates the potential of science fiction romance as a whole. Erotic SFR isn’t limited to rampant sexxoring in space. It can be just as thought-provoking as its non-erotic comrades. Therefore, I’d like to share my (non-spoiler) impressions about the story in terms of how I perceived the blending of the hard SF-erotic romance elements.

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I loved the article on Heinlein. I think there is still (unfortunately) a stigma about reading sci fi, but SO many popular movies have been science fiction that I think it will translate into people reading sci fi who wouldn’t normally have tried it. And I think sci fi books “disguised” as mainstream lit is good because it draws people in the same way that movies do. They’ll want to read more like that, and they’ll find more sci fi. River of Gods is a book I’ve wanted to read for awhile, and I think the article makes a good point about changes in future settings. I never really thought about the trends following where the economy is, but it makes sense. It’s probably the biggest reason for a certain setting after the country the author’s from.I hope George RR Martin figures out the plot trouble for Dance With Dragons, because I love that series (and Dany especially) and I want to see it through til the end.

Are you excited for Mockingjay (in 8 days!)? What do you think of Romance and Hard Sci FI together? What did you think of all our news today?