Frightening cosplay character


Cosplayer Yuri Ros created this costume for a character called "Calne Miku," sporting insectile mouth-parts and terrifying symbiotic head-bugs.

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The Cold Dark

John Biggs presents a vignette from the world of Mytro, his new young-adult novel about a secret train system that can take you anywhere in the world. [5m read time]

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Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

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Free Jim's Mine [short story]

Read Tananarive Due’s‘s tale of a pregnant woman escaping slavery in 1830s Georgia. Introduced by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, it’s from The Long Hidden, a new anthology of historical fiction.

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Is professionally-published Fan Fiction the next victim of Betteridge's Law of Headlines?

Rachel Edidin asks: "Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream?"

Literary publishing’s uneasy relationship with fan fiction has been complicated by the realization that fandom is a huge potential market—one stocked with both prolific authors and enthusiastic readers. But tapping that market is a dilemma few publishers seem quite prepared to engage.

Acadia: A New Sci-Fi Novel (Excerpt)

Enjoy the first chapter of a new novel from James Erwin, creator of Rome Sweet Rome. If you’d like to support it, Erwin has established a crowdfunding project where you can order DRM-free ebooks and hardcopies.

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Bruce Sterling: "From Beyond the Coming Age of Networked Matter," a short story

I wasn’t too chuffed about the weird changes I saw in my favorite start-up guy. Crawferd was a techie I knew from my circuit: GE Industrial Internet, IBM Smart Cities, the Internet-of-Things in Hackney hackathons. The kind of guy I thought I understood.

I relied on Crawferd to deliver an out-there networked-matter pitch to my potential investors. He was great at this, since he was imaginative, inventive, fearless, tireless, and he had no formal education. Crawferd wore unlaced Converse shoes and a lot of Armani. He had all the bumbling sincerity of a Twitter Arab Spring.

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"Social Services," a short story by Madeline Ashby

I want my own office,” Lena said. “My own space to work from.”

Social Services paused for a while to think. Lena knew that it was thinking, because the woman in the magic mirror kept animating her eyes this way and that behind cat-eye horn-rims. She did so in perfect meter, making her look like one of those old clocks where the cat wagged its tail and looked to and fro, to and fro, all day and all night, forever and ever. Lena had only ever seen those clocks in media, so she had no idea if they really ticked. But she imagined they ticked terribly. The real function of clocks, it seemed to her, was not to tell time but to mark its passage. Ticktickticktick. Byebyebyebye.

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"By His Things Will You Know Him," a short story

“My father kept things. I mean, he didn’t like to throw things away. Nothing.” I looked into his eyes as I said these words. I’d said them before, to explain my spotless desk…

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Pravic: new SF zine

NewImage Pravic is a new science fiction zine edited by David "Total Dick-Head" Gill and Nathaniel K. Miller. The copy machine just spit out the second issue, featuring fiction by Rudy Rucker, Robert Onopa, Cal Godot, and Gill. Also, a special bonus rumination: "Are The Melvins sci-fi?" Single print copies are $3 to your door or $1 for a PDF digital download to your desktop. Pravic: A New Grammar for Science Fiction

Read mystery novels to learn chemistry

Deborah Blum — my favorite expert in the fine art of poisoning — writes a fascinating piece about the way mystery writers like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers approached the chemistry in their stories with an almost mind-blowing accuracy. Not only did they get the symptoms of specific poisons correct, they were actually describe common chemical tests and techniques right in the narrative.

Kickstarting a fiction magazine that pays well

All round e-publishing genius Pablo Defendini sez,

Fireside Magazine is a multigenre fiction magazine. Our goal is twofold: to publish great storytelling and offer fair pay for writers and artists. We published three issues last year, each funded by its own Kickstarter. That wasn’t really a sustainable way to make a magazine, and we want to create more certainty for our readers and for the magazine.

So we came up with a new plan for Year Two: a monthly subscription website and ebook (epub and mobi). Each issue in Year Two will have two pieces of flash fiction (1,000 words or less), one short story, and one of 12 episodes of a serial fiction experiment by Chuck Wendig. Each issue will also have artwork by Galen Dara. The website is being rethought and is being designed responsively, which means it will adjust to display an optimum reading experience on screens of any size. We are aiming to provide a clean, simple way to read our stories without any clutter or distractions, just the words and the artwork. But in order to do all this work up front and pay the creators their fair share, we need to raise the money ahead of time, so it's back to Kickstarter!

Fireside magazine: Year Two

Anne of Green Gables had herpes (and you probably do, too)

Anne of Green Gables, by the time she reached middle-age, had apparently joined the majority of adults who test positive for the virus herpes simplex type 1.

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Great Moments in Pedantry: James and the Giant Peach needs moar seagulls

Children’s literature is about the wonder of discovering new worlds, the power of imagination, and the all the little triumphs and defeats that make up a life.

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Where characters come from, and where they go

My latest Locus column is "Where Characters Come From," and it advances a neurological theory for why fiction works, and where writers find their characters.

As a writer, I know that there’s a point in the writing when the engine of the story really seems to roar to life, and at that moment, the characters start feeling like real people. When you start working on a story, the characters are like finger-puppets, and putting words into their mouths is a bit embarrassing, like you’re sitting at your desk waggling your hands at one another and making them speak in funny, squeaky voices. But once those characters ‘‘catch,’’ they become people, and writing them feels more like you’re recounting something that happened than something you’re making up. This reality also extends to your autonomic nervous system, which will set your heart racing when your characters face danger, make you weepy at their tragedies, has you grinning foolishly at their victories.

In some ways, this is even weirder. For a writer to trick himself into feeling emotional rapport for the imaginary people he himself invented seems dangerous, akin to a dealer who starts dipping into the product. Where does this sense of reality – this physical, limbic reaction to inconsequential non-events – spring from?

Where Characters Come From