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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Tor.com has put together a selection of its short fiction from 2016. If you’re interested in an e-book of same (rather than reading the material online) it’s available free for the next few days.

We are very excited to offer a free download of the 2016 edition of Some of the Best from Tor.com, an anthology of 25 of our favorite short stories and novelettes from the last year. Readers worldwide can download the ebook for free by signing up for the Tor.com Publishing newsletter from midnight EST on January 10th until 11:59 P.M. EST on January 17th.

Free fiction. Mmm, tasty.

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I had a post in mind for today that I thought would be cool but, sadly, it’s not ready. Rather than go with something that’s not right, I’m setting it aside until I can do a good job or come up with something better. So in the end, what did I choose as Today’s Thing I Like? Popcorn:)

Here’s an excerpt from the family cookbook to tell you why.

Popcorn
My whole family can make this with their eyes closed, but Dad really deserves credit for setting new and higher standards for butter and salt consumption. He is blessed with a genetic tolerance for such unhealthy behavior; his blood pressure and cholesterol levels are lower than mine.

For years he’d head to the kitchen after dinner, and a few minutes later I’d hear pop pop! as hot oil turned the first kernels inside out. A few minutes more and we’d be piled on the couch with huge bowls of popcorn and masses of paper towels.

There was no television in the house growing up but at some point we acquired a copy of Star Wars and a video monitor. This was back before Blockbusters popped up down the street (or closed down, for that matter), and there were certainly no DVD players.

The tape was black and white and we watched it on a Beta machine. (Don’t remember Beta? That’s funny, no one else does either.) My brother and I watched that tape until it died, literally came apart from use. To this day I can still reel off an annoying amount of dialog and get excited when I see Star Wars in color. What could be better than a cold drink, a hot bowl of popcorn, and reciting C3PO’s lines with people you love?

 

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Today’s Thing I Like is nonfiction writing in general, and author Mary Roach in particular. If you aren’t familiar with her work, check out the books linked below or this interview with Seth Shostak at SETICon 2012.

Nonfiction can be a fiction writer’s best friend. At its best, it includes detailed, character-driven explorations of real-life situations and challenges, and can provide the sort of solid foundation a more speculative piece needs to succeed. I’ve mentioned this before, but avoiding abstractitis is key to good writing.

Specifically:

No matter how abstract your topic, how intangible, your first step is to find things you can drop on your foot.
— John Maguire

Nonfiction helps you do that, and Mary Roach is a great example of a quality nonfiction writer.

I have yet to read all of Roach’s books but Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void were terrific. Her books take a somewhat off-beat topic and delve in, deep. She’s also funny. The level of detail is satisfying and succeeds in painting an engaging portrait of her subject that is also educational. Packing for Mars, for example, is a great way for writers to familiarize themselves with the nitty gritty of space exploration, how we got to where we are now, and how we’ll get to where we’re going.

To note, if you’re interested in popular nonfiction about the intricacies of digestion or Mars exploration, check out Giulia Enders’ excellent Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ, and Steve Squyres’ Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet.

Read, then write:)

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In case you missed it this weekend, the winners of the 2015 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy have been announced. Women won big.

Given that, today’s free fiction will be a double-header. The winners for Best Novelette and Best Short Story are available to all online. Enjoy!

Find the complete list of winners and nominees over at io9 or SFWA. Congratulations to all!

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For today’s free fiction I’ve chosen George R.R. Martin’s “A Night at the Tarn House.” First published in the Songs of the Dying Earth anthology, you can read this story at Clarkesworld (there’s a free audio version too, if you prefer). Does Martin need an introduction at this point? I think not:)

TARN HOUSE
Half a League On
Famous for Our Hissing Eels

Who doesn’t love hissing eels? Honestly!

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thestarwarstrilogy.com

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So there I was, submitting a story to Daily Science Fiction, when I stumbled upon “Shark’s Teeth” by T.A. Pratt. Now, I wasn’t planning to post this or any other DSF story because I didn’t want anyone (hello DSF editors!) to think I was sucking up, but hey, it’s a fun story. It also put me onto Pratt’s Marla Mason series, and I love finding new worlds to explore.

Marla Mason, sorcerer in exile, looked over the railing of the balcony, down at the lavish resort hotel’s pool with its swim-up bar and tanned, happy people lounging on chairs, and thought, I can’t take another day of this.

“I can’t take another day of this,” she said aloud…

Time to stock up on lembas a.k.a. chocolate chip cookies (my exploring food of choice, feel free to substitute as necessary!) and find a copy of Marla’s introductory novel, the 2007 Blood Engines🙂

Enjoy!

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