Concrete Park: apocalyptic, afrofuturistic graphic novel of greatness

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I learned about Concrete Park from Calvin Reid, the pioneering comics critic/reviewer who chaired a panel with Scott McCloud and me at the Miami Book Fair last month; Calvin called it the best new afrofuturistic comic he'd read, and I rushed out to get my own copy.

VanderMeer Storybundle: name your price for international fantasy, sf, and weird fiction

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Jeff VanderMeer sends us the latest Storybundle, which has "the DEBUT of Ann VanderMeer's BESTIARY, which features original fiction from China Mieville, Catherynne M. Valente, and many others--not available elsewhere." Read the rest

READ: Kim Stanley Robinson's first standalone story in 25 years!

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Robinson's "Oral Argument" is a fascinating courtroom drama about patents, biotech, and photosynthetic tattooed humans that turns on the Bilski Supreme Court decision about the patentability of business methods. Read the rest

Humble Bundle's Prime Sci-Fantasy Bundle

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The latest Humble Ebook Bundle features 15 DRM-free ebooks, with works by Fritz Leiber, Kelly Link, Mary Robinette Kowal, Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, Madeline L'Engle and many others -- name your price and how much you'd like to divert to charities, including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Science Fiction Writers of America's Givers Fund, and Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders. Read the rest

How to bake spice-filled sandworm bread

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After some trial and error, Chris-Rachael Oseland has perfected a recipe for spice-filled sandworm bread, just in time for Kitchen Overlord's Dune Week. Read the rest

Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling talk about their new anthology TRANSREAL CYBERPUNK

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Rudy Rucker sends us, "videos by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling discussing their new anthology TRANSREAL CYBERPUNK: it's a thirty-year mind-warped ping-pong in which the authors are the characters themselves. As scholar Rob Latham puts it in his introduction, This book is unlike any other collaboration I know of in the field, ... the whole is not only greater than the sum of its parts, but wilder, and weirder, and more wondrous. Science fiction is the richer for it." Read the rest

The word "taser" comes from an old racist science fiction novel

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Taser inventor Jack Cover named his gadget after a zapper from Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, a 1911 YA science fiction novel by Victor Appleton that tells the story of a hero who travels to Africa to get rich by killing elephants for their ivory, and who encounters racist caricatures of "natives" who he fights off with his "electric rifle." Read the rest

Newly discovered WEB Du Bois science fiction story reveals more Afrofuturist history

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NAACP founder WEB Du Bois wasn't just a committed, effective activist for the rights of black people in America: he was also a prolific author of early 20th century science fiction and fantasy stories. Read the rest

Spider Robinson on "Writer's Tears" Irish whiskey

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[Editor's note: science fiction novelist Spider Robinson forever influenced my liquor consumption habits with the rhapsodic praises for Bushmill's 1608 Irish whiskey that feature in so many of his books. I've bought rather a large number of bottles of the stuff. So when I got this email (with the subject "Unsolicited testimonial") from him in my inbox this morning, I did two things: ordered a bottle and asked if I could republish the email here here. Spider graciously permitted this. -Cory]

I’ve tried most high-end Irish whiskeys, and always kept coming back to Bushmills 1608. But I just switched loyalties.

I freely confess I was initially attracted by the name alone. I’d have bought my first bottle just to own the bottle, even if the contents had been undrinkable. But it’s not why I’m now already up to my sixth bottle—and at approximately CAN$65 per bottle! In my opinion, it tastes like what God drinks when He’s sitting at His typewriter. Whiskey—uisge baugh—means “water of Life.” This tastes to me a bit like the first tide pool that developed chemistry sophisticated enough to make its own alcohol. I just gave bottles to my siblings for Christmas, and I recommend the stuff unreservedly to you, my friends.

If your local Liquor Commission doesn’t stock it and is too stupid to order it for you, just Google up the online hootch-delivery service called Master Of Malt, and you’ll be drinking it less than a week later without paying shipping, plus they’ll happily sell you either 1 or 6 handsome tasting glasses for a reasonable extra sum. Read the rest

Ten of 2015's most notable African science fiction and fantasy stories

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Wole Talabi, a Nigerian sf writer who lives in Malaysia, has rounded up his ten favorite African science fiction and fantasy stories of 2015. Like Africa, the stories are wildly varied, each as different from the other as they are from the sf you're likely to read coming out of Europe and North America. Read the rest

The dystopian First Contact/alien abduction sf story hidden in the Thanksgiving tale

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When you look at the Thanksgiving story from Squanto's point of view, it's a pretty depressing science fiction story about minding your business outside your home one day when you're suddenly abducted by aliens with advanced technology, and when you finally make your way back home, years, you discover that nearly everyone on the continent has been wiped out by an alien supervirus. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new science fiction magazine from the propietors of Singularity & Co

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The people behind Brooklyn's brilliant science fiction bookstore Singularity & Co are looking to raise $60,000 to launch a new science fiction quarterly magazine called the Tycho Journal. Read the rest

The final Pratchett: The Shepherd's Crown

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I really tried to make this book last. It's the last Discworld novel, written by Terry Pratchett in the last days of his life, as his death from a tragic, unfair, ghastly early onset Alzheimer's stole up on him. But I couldn't help myself. I read it, read it all. I wept. Then I read it again.

Our Generation Ships Will Sink

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As noted in Cory's review, Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora makes an undeniable case for ecological stewardship through a rigorous, gripping technological speculation about climate science, biology, space propulsion and sociodynamic factors. In this exclusive feature essay, Robinson explains the technology behind the best science fiction novel of 2015.

LISTEN: William "Accidental Terrorist" Shunn on Mormonism and science fiction

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The latest installment of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast (MP3) interviews science fiction author William Shunn, author of the The Accidental Terrorist, a memoir that explains the bizarre circumstances in which Shunn, as a teenaged Mormon missionary stationed in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested and deported for terrorism. Read the rest

What happened to all the Star Trek hair? Shatner didn't take all of it home, did he?

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A 1968 memo from Paramount producer Robert Justman to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry reports on the sad state of the show's hairpieces, which had gone missing in great number. Read the rest

Mothership Zeta: a new science fiction zine from the creators of the Escape Pod podcast

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Mur Lafferty writes, "Mothership Zeta is the first ezine project to come out of Escape Artists (publisher of podcast magazines Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle). We are an ebook-only zine that focuses on new fiction with a fun theme, along with nonfiction from experts in science fiction, science, and more!"

Read the rest

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