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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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I don’t know about you but (for fairly uncomplicated reasons involving a working weekend) I’m taking at least part of today off. I plan to read. A lot. I plan to read stories like Caroline Yoachim’s recent piece “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0“, available free to all at Lightspeed Magazine.

Enjoy!

🍁

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Today’s free fiction selection is Elizabeth Bear’s “And the Balance in Blood,” from the November/December 2015 issue of Uncanny.

Bear writes both novels and terrific, frequently magical shorts.* (“Tideline,” a 2008 Hugo award-winner from Asimov’s Science Fiction, holds a special place in my heart, but the text version isn’t freely available [audio link at Escape Pod].)

If you’re curious about Bear’s other works or where to start with her (many) series, check out Tor.com’s helpful article Where To Start with the Work of Elizabeth Bear.

Enjoy!

* Also, what a great pen name. Makes me want to write as Jennifer Okapi or Swan or Fossa:)

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I ran through a number of possibilities for today’s installment of #ThingsILike. Allow me to take you on a tour:
(tl;dr? Limitless is awesome:)

Option #1: Delightfully Precocious Investigative Journalist Hilde Kate Lysiak (Age 9)
Consider, if you will, the nine-year old reporter from Pennsylvania doing her best (and it’s good) to report serious news in her hometown. Hilde Kate Lysiak publishes the Orange Street News from Selinsgrove, PA, and she’s not writing puff pieces about puppies or flowers. Her story went viral when she reported on a murder that took place early April just a few blocks from her house. I can’t wait to see what she can do by the time she gets her driver’s license.

Option #2: Call A Random Swede
I also discovered that Sweden (yes, the country) has its own phone number. Dial the number (it is international, so watch those fees!) and you will be connected to a random Swede.

That’s right, thousands of people have signed up to participate in this program, and incoming calls are randomly shunted to one of them when a call comes through. Call one minute and you might find yourself speaking with a professor in Uppsala, call the next minute and you could be put in touch with a (let’s say) restauranteur from Stockholm or Volvo employee in Arvika.

No guarantees that caller and callee will speak a common language, but that’s part of the fun. There’s just no telling! Suggested topics of conversation include meatballs (yum), darkness (it’s like fine wine in France, they have a lot of the stuff but not everywhere), and feminism (yeah, my family’s ancestral homeland is awesome). All in the name of tourism, of course, but what a great way to humanize another culture.

What’s the number, you ask? Why, it’s + 46 771 793 336 🙂

Option #3: Limitless
Both of the above topics are fun, but in the end I decided to go with something a bit closer to my writerly wheelhouse: Limitless.

The show is based on the movie of the same name. (Time to fess up: I watched the beginning of the movie but somehow never quite made it to the end. It may have had something to do with the initial portrayal of the writer as unmotivated loser. Maybe;)

Here’s a short description from CBS: Limitless is “is a fast-paced drama about Brian Finch, who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them…”

Sounds like a fine (if potentially generic) crime/investigative show. Except that it is nothing like your average CSI.

When I heard the initial chatter about the series my dominant reaction was “meh.” What could they bring to the table as a series? A lot, it turns out. If you’re a fan of deep, serious drama look elsewhere (admittedly, I’m often not), but what the show does, it does very well.

I like speculative fiction and I like humor, and like peanut butter and chocolate, the two are often better together. Limitless is one such case. The writers (and everyone else involved) are blending both humor and serious stakes together into one great whole. Breaking the fourth wall doesn’t begin to capture it. We are always happy to see an episode on the PVR, but we make sure to watch it after dinner. That way we won’t be distracted by an errant tomato and miss a quip, creative visual set piece, or hilarious aside.

Sure, it’s a (mostly) lighthearted TV show, but that doesn’t mean it can’t do fun and interesting things with characters, plot, and presentation. Creative, innovative and downright fun, I’m enjoying the heck out of this show. And as I mentioned, it’s not a show I initially expected to like.

The cast features established faces (including Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ron Rifkin) and (for me at least) newer ones, including the charismatic and entertaining Jake McDorman. While Bradley Cooper serves as executive producer and sometime guest star, the dynamics between McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter are what anchor the show. I recommend you start at the beginning of Season 1 rather than try to pop in mid-way for best effect.

Why bring this up today? Because I realized that there are only two episodes left in the season and CBS has yet to renew. Prospects look good but after all the television-related heartbreak (of course I’m looking at you Firefly, but there are many more), I wanted to speak up.

If you’re in the market for good, geeky fun dished out with sides of humor and crime-fighting, Limitless is for you.

/recommended

This has been today’s edition of #ThingsILike, sent from my writerly Headquarters (with an exclamation point!).

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For today’s sampling of free fiction we have a novelette by the great Connie Willis.

Fire Watch” is anchored in a future where time travel is a research tool, and features the same group of historians as in Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. (This novelette is #0.5 in the Oxford Time Travel series.)

Welcome to a world where your academic practicum might include saving a beloved church during the London Blitz. Heck, I wish my History degree had come with a side of time travel:)

Enjoy!

 

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Ever feel like things just aren’t going your way? My free fiction selection for the day is “Non-Zero Probabilities” by N. K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, September 2009) ~3400 words.

This 2009 Nebula Award Nominee and 2010 Hugo Award Nominee introduces us to a new New York City, one in which the rules of probability have dramatically changed, and only sometimes for the better:

In the mornings, Adele girds herself for the trip to work as a warrior for battle. First she prays, both to the Christian god of her Irish ancestors and to the orishas of her African ancestors — the latter she is less familiar with, but getting to know. Then she takes a bath with herbs, including dried chickory and allspice, from a mixture given to her by the woman at the local botanica. (She doesn’t know Spanish well, but she’s getting to know that too. Today’s word is suerte.)

Enjoy!

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