The Hopeful Side of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

By Megan Hunter

I can chart the progress of my life through the types of apocalypse I have feared. As a child, the endings I imagined were natural, even cosmic: the land swallowed by the sea, the sun swallowing the earth. When I was an adolescent the man-made came to the fore, as I searched for mushroom shapes in clouds and imagined the exact moment of an explosion: would I know it was happening, I wondered, or would there only be after; dimness, blood, confusion.

As a young adult, I would visualize the carcasses of the planes I traveled on, post-crash, the way their bellies would be lifted from the sea with a winch, spun around like part of a whale. This was a smaller-scale disaster, but I could also imagine all the planes falling from the sky at once, dropping in a synchronized movement to the land below.

When I had my first child, my visions took on a new realism: the key dates of climate change no longer had a vague, post-death strangeness to them. They were the likely years of my son’s life. Now, I imagined him walking through a world too hot to exist in, or living in a city that had become a new Atlantis, its underwater streets swum through by fishes, its buildings draped in seaweed.

Read the full article at Literary Hub.

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We Are All Allies

By Dan Koboldt

IKoboldtn some ways, publishing is a zero-sum game. There are only so many slots in the schedule of traditional publishers. Only ten books can occupy the top ten list, and only one can win the Hugo. Yet the most dangerous and pervasive threat to the aspiring author is not another author, nor is it a big bad publisher. Nor is it a certain online store. No, the biggest threat is the ever-shrinking reading time the average person has in our modern world.

Books once enjoyed very little competition in this arena. Now, time that was once given over to reading is spent on the internet, on social media, on Netflix. The geek who used to read forty hours a week now spends them playing Dragon Age. That’s why authors need to band together: to remind the world of the importance of books. To get them to choose reading over skimming and streaming. Mark my words, fellow authors, we will live or die by our ability to do so.

Read the full article at SFWA.org.

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Putting Archaeology to Work in Fantasy Fiction

By Alter S. Reiss

“Getting the archaeology right” doesn’t actually matter that much when it comes to fantasy. The fact is, when it comes to secondary worlds, a lot of the absolutely basic assumptions don’t make any sense. Why are there people in this world, whose history—whose natural history—is so different from ours? If dragons and elder gods and all that were around for hundreds of thousands of years, why are the horses and carrots and stews and pie in that world exactly the same as ours?

Once you’re willing to swallow that horses are the same despite gryphon-related predation pressures, why strain at faceted diamonds a few centuries too early?

Even if something is set in an actual time and place, the sort of mistakes that archaeologists notice don’t matter that much. Writing about anything—mainly horses and guns, but really, anything—will upset people who know the subject well, but there are very few works that fail artistically because they annoyed experts.

Read the full article at Tor.com.

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Scientists Are Rewriting the History of Photosynthesis

By Jordana Cepelewicz

RESEARCHERS HAVE CAUGHT their best glimpse yet into the origins of photosynthesis, one of nature’s most momentous innovations. By taking near-atomic, high-resolution X-ray images of proteins from primitive bacteria, investigators at Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University have extrapolated what the earliest version of photosynthesis might have looked like nearly 3.5 billion years ago. If they are right, their findings could rewrite the evolutionary history of the process that life uses to convert sunlight into chemical energy.

Read the full article at Wired.

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Poisons in SF & Fantasy

This article is part of the Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy blog series. Each week, we tackle one of the scientific or technological concepts pervasive in sci-fi (space travel, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, etc.) with input from an expert.

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About the Expert

Since getting her Ph.D. in Toxicology in 2015, Megan Cartwright Chaudhuri has worked as a freelance medical writer and editor. Her science non-fiction has appeared in Slate and Visionlearning, while her science fiction has appeared in AnalogCrossed Genres, and the forthcoming Futuristica Volume 1. Megan lives near Seattle with one husband and two cats.

Read the full article at Dan Koboldt.

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Book Review: Fluffy Bunny by Sarah Buhrman

Fluffy Bunny (Runespells, #2)Fluffy Bunny by Sarah Buhrman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for a fair review.

I enjoyed Too Wyrd, the first book in this series, thoroughly (see my review here) so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2. I think it’s fair to say I was primed to enjoy it, but fearful that I wouldn’t like it as much as I liked the first one.

There was nothing to fear. In book 2, we resume the story of Nicola, reluctant chosen hero of the Norse gods, charged to stop Ragnarok by obtaining the Runespells; bindrunes in physical form that represent the true power of the runes as shown to Odin after his ordeal on Yggdrasil.

Read the full article at Patheos.com.

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Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing

By Ruthanne Reid

Some of you may have noticed that the esteemed Mr. Gaiman is my favorite living author. Even if he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s hard not to notice him: booksgraphic novelsaward after award—the man is prolific and very good at what he does. So when I realized he had eight rules of writing, you better believe I beelined to read them. And guess what? They’re fantastic … with a few explanations.

Without further ado, here are Mr. Gaiman’s eight rules:

Read the full article at The Write Practice.

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