And here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web:
Speculative fiction in general:
- Shaun Duke looks at the common roots of space opera and epic fantasy.
- Gerry Canavan points out that the current space opera renaissance is less optimistic than its golden age predecessors and still influenced by the more pessimistic science fiction of the 1970s.
- At The Spectator, William Cook argues that Blade Runner foresaw the way we live today.
- At Reason, Jesse Walker discusses the blurry line between man and machine in the work of Philip K. Dick.
- The New Yorker profiles Liu Cixin.
- At The Guardian, David Barnett asks whether it really matters whether Kazuo Ishiguro considers his new novel The Buried Giant fantasy or not.
- At Flavorwire, Jonathan Sturgeon calls genre writers and readers tyrannical for trying to claim Kazuo Ishiguro as one of their own.
- Meanwhile, Kazuo Ishiguro himself rejects claims of genre snobbery.
- And at Esquire, Stephen Marche declares the genre wars over.
- The Middle East Monitor takes a look at Arab science fiction.
- At the BBC World Service, Lauren Beukes takes a look at African science fiction.
- At the Guardian, Jessica Bland introduces Afrofuturism.
- Justina Robson tackles the issue of women in science fiction.
- Open Road Media has a video in which male writers talk about women in science fiction.
- Legion of Leia takes a look at ten female SFF roles that defied stereotypes.
- Robert Jackson Bennett wonders why it is so hard for many male writers to write convincing female characters.
- So does Junot Diaz, albeit in somewhat harsher words.
- Annalee Flower Horne discusses the portrayal of sexual violence survivors in science fiction and fantasy.
- Various women writers discuss the issues and pitfalls of using rape and sexual violence as a plot device.
- At The Galaxy Express, Heather Massey looks at black women authors of science fiction romance.
- Cora Buhlert takes a look at the disparate reviews of Jupiter Ascending.
- At the Independent, Sarah Hughes wonders about the secret of Outlander's success.
- At The Atlantic, Sophie Gilbert reappraises Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the show's eighteenth anniversary.
- Also at The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky remembers Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic.
- Landon Porter explains why superheroes need supporting casts.
- At The Conversation, Luke Moffett claims that Chappie suggests it's time to think about the rights of robots.
- Is Guardians of the Galaxy just a D&D campaign played by the Avengers (plus Falcon and Bucky) during their downtime?
- Jessie Stickgold-Sarah explains how early 2000s theories about the Web 2.0 were both fulfilled and subverted by the online fandom cultures.
Tributes to Sir Terry Pratchett:
- The BBC has an obituary for Sir Terry Pratchett.
- Tor.com remembers Terry Pratchett.
- At the Guardian, Dean Burnett remembers Terry Pratchett.
- The Guardian also has an obituary for Terry Pratchett by Christopher Priest.
- Finally, the Guardian also shares tributes to the late Sir Terry from various well known writers, actors, politicians and other celebrities.
- The Independent shares the best Terry Pratchett quotes.
- The Globe and Mail has an obituary for Terry Pratchett.
- Neil Gaiman shares his memories of Terry Pratchett.
- George R.R. Martin shares his tribute to Terry Pratchett.
- Scott Lynch also has a tribute to Terry Pratchett.
- At Can't Talk, Bell recounts how reading Terry Pratchett helped her grow up and realise her full potential.
- A petition has been started at Change.org imploring Death to bring back Terry Pratchett.
Writing, publishing and promotion:
- Dave Farland shares some tips for creating believable characters.
- Elena Linville talks about writing a story that just keeps on growing.
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks about the importance of writing routines.
- Sherry Soule shares some tips for working with critique partners.
- Antara Man shares three surefire way to get book reviews.
- Mark Lawrence wonders how much blog reviews really influence sales.
- Ruth Nestvold shares some tips for formatting your book for Createspace or another POD service.
- Lela Markham interviews Ted Cross.
- Michael Brookes interviews Allen Miles.
- Michael Anton interviews Simon R. Green.
- August S. Evrard interviews Myke Cole.
- Robyn Lupo interviews Linda Nagata.
- Nick Sharps interviews Charles E. Gannon.
- The Civilian Reader interviews Markus Heitz.
- Anthony Vicino reviews the anthology No Way Home.
- Edi's Book Lighthouse reviews The Immortality Game by Ted Cross.
- Tome Tender also reviews The Immortality Game by Ted Cross.
- Michael Patrick Hicks reviews Doll Face by Tim Curran.
- Emily Asher Perrin reviews Chappie and compares it to a grown-up E.T.
- Time reviews the movie Chappie.
- KSDK also reviews Chappie.
- A Star Trek anthology edited by James A. Bray is looking for funding.
- Speculations K.C., a Kansas City Worldcon anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, is looking for backers.
- The fourth annual volume of Unidentified Funny Objects, an anthology of humorous fantasy edited by Alex Shvartsman, is looking for funding.
- The Alpha workshop for young writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror is looking for supporters.
- The Visalia Times Delta reports on the second annual Tulare Sci-Fi Con in Tulare, California.
- The Campus also reports on the Tulare Sci-Fi Con.
- Shannon Page recounts her experiences at RadCon in Pasco, Washington, and also shares a few photos.
- Jim Hines also shares some photos of RadCon.
- The Tri-City Herald also reports about RadCon.
- Andrea Blythe shares her experiences at FogCon in San Francisco.
Science and technology:
- The NASA spacecraft Dawn has achieved orbit around Ceres, making it the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet.
- Brazilian astronomers have discovered two newborn star clusters.
- Astronomers have also discovered a gigantic black hole with a weight of 12 billion suns.
- NASA has shared a model of what Mars might have looked like when it had oceans.
- See some concept drawings for the Mars One habitat.
- Discover argues that ion engines are the future of space travel.
- At Time.com, two economists argue that galactic empires make no sense.
- Cyber warriors need not be soldiers in the traditional sense.
- A start-up that uses 3D printing techology to create prosthetic arms for children with partially developed limbs has given a bionic arm to a 7-year-old boy, presented by Robert Downey Jr. in character as Tony Stark himself.
- Some cases of synaesthesia might be caused by alphabet magnets.
- Check out this awesome timelapse video and photos of the launching and transfer of the cruise liner Anthem of the Seas in Papenburg, Germany.
Free online fiction:
- "Simon Clash: The Galaxy's Greatest Hero" by James Aquilone in Nature.
- "The Thyme Fiend" by Jeffrey Ford in Tor.com.
- "Phantom" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
- "On a Spiritual Plain" by Lou Antonelli.
- "The River Stole the Gods" by R.M. Webb.
- Chapter 20 of Dragon Physician by Joyce Chng.
- "Communications in Outer Space", part 42 of Musketeer Space by Tansy Rayner Roberts.
- "The Pink Parlor", part 6 of Room by Jodi Ralston.
- Chapter 5 of "Darkness Falling", part 84 of The Descendants by Landon Porter.
Odds and ends:
- Lauren Panepinto asked several female fantasy artists to redesign famous female SF and fantasy characters with stunning results.
- Watch the first episode of Powers, a streaming video series based on the comic by Brian Michael Bendis, online for free.
- Watch a trailer for season 5 of Game of Thrones.
- Watch a trailer for Tomorrowland.
- Watch a trailer for the new Marvel streaming video series Daredevil.
- Watch a trailer for the movie Selfless.