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tordotcom July 22 2014, 13:00

Morning Roundup: The Difference Becomes Pretty Academic Once You’ve Been Swallowed



We got this from I [REDACTED] Love Science! And we do love science, but we’re glad that the scientifically improbable impromptu conference on the differences between “poisonous” and “venomous” allowed the adorable mouse to scamper away, and elude death for a few more minutes. We love science, but we also love anthropomorphized cartoon animals. If that’s wrong, we don’t wanna be right.

Morning Roundup features hidden backstory of some Guardians we’re fond of, an appreciation of Sansa Stark from her #1 fan, and a magical land where beaches are made of LEGO!

[Oh, and we mock a sacred peice of your childhood, probably, depending on when your childhood was.]

Read the full article

marthawells July 22 2014, 12:55

Audiobook News

Some great news! The audiobook narrator for Stories of the Raksura Vol I will be Christopher Kipiniak, who did the first three Books of the Raksura.

If you like audiobooks and are new here, all my fantasy novels plus the Star Wars novel are available in audiobook at Audible.com, Tantor Audio, Audible UK, iTunes, and other audiobook retailers.

A note about conventions, because this comes up occasionally: authors and artists (who are not in the top 4-5 or so headlining guests) do not get paid to go to SF/F conventions, to do panels or workshops, even all day long workshops. We pay our own travel, hotel, food, etc, and usually all we get is a free membership (the same thing volunteers who work on the convention get). For large conventions like World Fantasy and WorldCon, we have to buy our own membership. (Often, if a WorldCon makes enough money to pay its expenses and has money left over, it will reimburse panelists for their memberships. But that's never guaranteed.)

Couple of links:

Kickstarter: Imagined Realms: Book 1 - New Fantasy Art by Julie Dillon

Aliette de Bodard: Some thoughts on the Hugo nominees
mb_galleycat July 22 2014, 12:42

Half Price Books Hosts Shelfie Contest



Half Price Books is currently running the #MeMyShelfandI photo contest.

Bibliophiles are being asked to “show off” their bookshelf “with or without self-portrait” which may feature books, music, movies, or other collectible items. The contest will run from July 21, 2014 to August 04, 2014.

From there, entrants should submit their #shelfies on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. For Facebook, the pictures should be posted “directly to the Half Price Books wall using the hashtag #MeMyShelfandI within the photo caption.” For Twitter and Instagram, contestants “must mention @HalfPriceBooks and use the hashtag #MeMyShelfandI within a photo caption.” Follow this link to learn more details about this contest.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

makinglight July 22 2014, 12:14

A fund for Velma and Soren


A guest post by Debbie Notkin:

Many Making Light readers know Velma and Soren (Scraps) deSelby-Bowen. Those who read the open threads here may also know that Velma has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She hasn't been very specific on the site, but I have her permission to tell you (to tell anyone, in fact) that the cancer is "smooth muscle cell neoplasm." Velma was scheduled for surgery tomorrow (7/23), but they have just discovered at least one infection, and surgery may be postponed. Velma's doctors tell her that surgery will likely be followed by chemotherapy. I will do my best to keep Making Light readers informed as I learn more.

Velma has been out of work for some time, and will not be able to work for some unpredictable amount of time going forward. Soren's stroke of several years ago (followed closely on this site) makes it very difficult for him to earn any income, though he does have some disability income.

Their need is great, and is not likely to get any less great for many months. I'm asking this community for donations to help them survive this period. I have set up a unique gmail address (velmascraps@gmail.com) for nothing other than taking Paypal donations and communicating with me and a team of supporters about this issue.

If you can't/don't use Paypal, you can email me at the velmascraps address and we can discuss other means of getting money to them. Since we're hoping to cover their needs for several months, some people may want to donate a lump sum to spread out over that time, and other people may want to send monthly small amounts. PLEASE, no one give anything that will affect your own ability to get along.

I have been unable to identify any online services that will track monthly donations and reminders (if anyone knows of one, please tell me!). If you would like to make a monthly donation, someone will send you an email reminder around the 25th of each month. If you need to halt your donations, just let me know.

Please pass this along to anyone who you think knows them or might otherwise help, but who doesn't read Making Light.

And thank you in advance for your generosity, whether in the form of money or good wishes and good thoughts. They need those too.

nick_kaufmann July 22 2014, 11:03

The Scariest Part: A.J. Colucci Talks About SEEDERS

Seeders (3)

Welcome to this week’s installment of The Scariest Part, a recurring feature in which authors, comic book writers, filmmakers, and game creators tell us what scares them in their latest works of horror, dark fantasy, dark science fiction, and suspense. (If you’d like to be featured on The Scariest Part, check out the guidelines here.)

My guest is A.J. Colucci, whose latest novel is Seeders. Here is the publisher’s description:

George Brookes is a brilliant but reclusive plant biologist living on a remote Canadian island. After his mysterious death, the heirs to his estate arrive on the island, including his daughter Isabelle, her teenage children, and Jules Beecher, a friend and pioneer in plant neurobiology. They will be isolated on the frigid island for two weeks, until the next supply boat arrives.

As Jules begins investigating the laboratory and scientific papers left by George, he comes to realize that his mentor may have achieved a monumental scientific breakthrough: communication between plants and humans. Within days, the island begins to have strange and violent effects on the group, especially Jules who becomes obsessed with George’s journal, the strange fungus growing on every plant and tree, and horrible secrets that lay buried in the woods. It doesn’t take long for Isabelle to realize that her father may have unleashed something sinister on the island, a malignant force that’s far more deadly than any human. As a fierce storm hits and the power goes out, she knows they’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

A.J. Colucci masterfully weaves real science with horror to create a truly terrifying thriller, drawing from astonishing new discoveries about plants and exploring their eerie implications. Seeders is a feast of horror and suspense.

And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for A.J. Colucci:

The scariest part of Seeders. That’s a tough one. It could be how six people are stranded on a cold, desolate island and start losing their minds. Or the decomposing body they find in the woods. Perhaps it’s the premise of the book — communication between plants and people, based on actual science — because in my book plants don’t just feel pain and emotion; they fight back.

However, for me, the scariest part of the story is what happened while writing the novel. I’d been working on Seeders during the winter months when the towering trees in my neighborhood were bare and loomed like angry giants, staring down at me with thousands of claw branches as I took my morning walks. Lost in my story, the trees seemed eager to attack, and frustrated by the roots that kept them anchored to the ground. I learned from my research that rootedness is their curse. And I did hours of research, every day, getting daily doses of plant facts. Trees and plants feel pain. They can learn and remember. They can signal insects and send chemical warnings to each other. Did you know the lovely smell of fresh cut grass is actually your lawn screaming?

However, as spring approached and their leaves began to bud, the trees didn’t look so frightening. I remember thinking the mighty oak seemed more content, less hostile in the warmth of a sunny day. It came time to tend to my garden, and I got the old snipping shears out of the shed to trim my four foot Japanese Red Maple. It has those droopy branches and its feathery leaves were beginning to touch the ground.

But before making the first snip, I hesitated. After all my research, was I really going to cut this tree? I knew plants, in their own way, felt pain. They reacted to trauma by becoming depressed. Simply cutting one branch would affect the entire plant for hours. Yet, not cutting the droopy branch was an invitation to bugs crawling on the ground. So I snipped it. All seemed fine until a couple seconds after the snip and I heard a squeal. I kid you not. It was a small squeal of pain. Of course, I thought it must be my imagination, but my heart kicked up and I stared bug-eyed at the tree. I held my breath. I tried it again. A second after the snip, I heard the squeal. Now my blood ran cold and my hand was shaking. I looked around to see if anyone was around, even though I was positive the noise came from the tree. I snipped once more, and two seconds later it cried out. I recalled the sound, sort of a high pitch whine and the release of a tiny breath. Like what you’d hear from a baby in a moment of discomfort.

With a tight fist I stood up, and then loosened my grip. There was that sound again. I looked closely at the shears, pinching them closed and letting them snap open. It was the shears, the stupid shears! They were slightly rusted and squeaked when they sprang open. Still, rusty shears or not, I cannot forget that feeling of horror. Thinking, knowing, the tree had shrieked. After everything I learned while researching Seeders, I know we can never be quite sure of what a plant is really feeling, or thinking.

A.J. Colucci: Website

Seeders: Amazon / Other sellers

A.J. Colucci is an author of science thrillers, stories that combine true, cutting-edge science with the adrenaline-rush of a thriller. Her latest novel, Seeders, was described by #1 New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston as “Gripping and brilliantly original.” Her debut novel, The Colony, was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly, and Booklist called it “a frightening combination of well-researched science and scenes of pure horror.” A.J. spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and writer for corporate America. Today she is a full-time author who lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and a couple of adorable cats. A.J. is a member of International Thriller Writers.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

darthsanddroids July 22 2014, 10:39

Episode 1069: Three Sepia


Episode 1069: Three Sepia

There are many reasons for adventurers to adopt aliases. And all of them make good adventure material. Because if they're concealing their identity, you just have to ask the simple question: What if they get found out?

You don't necessarily have to have anyone find out who they really are, but this question should always be uppermost in their minds. Any slip or clue at all dropped by the heroes can lead to panic, or desperate measures. And fun for all!

makinglight July 22 2014, 04:09

I dreamed a Wikipedia entry


I dreamed a Wikipedia entry. It was about William Rowse Sitcup, a deservedly obscure figure in the history of colonial Virginia. Born to a family long established in James County, young William grew up living a life of the mind. For reasons imperfectly understood, by adolescence he became obsessed with the geographical details of Virginia itself--its tidewater region, its Piedmont, its rugged western mountains, its long Shenandoah valley, and all the individual counties. He became convinced that the Dominion had been, in its physical shape and political subdivisions, ordained by God as a perfect miniature of the greater world outside. (The fact that Virginia contains no deserts, no year-round snowcaps, no rainforest, and no permafrost seems never to have impinged on young Rowse's--he went by his middle name--frenzy of hermetic insight.) On reaching his majority, he came into an inheritance that gave him a modest level of financial independence, and allowed him to pursue his dream of visiting all of Virginia's counties--this is when "Virginia" included what are now the states of West Virginia and Kentucky--in order to deliver a series of lectures to be offered to the public in each of them, elucidating to no-doubt-thunderstruck audiences his vision of the Dominion as a divinely-wrought miniature of the great world, hammered out on God's anvil as a benign but distinctly pedagogical message to erring humanity. It goes without saying that, in Rowse's worldview, the institution of slavery was assumed to be part of the divine plan. It is peculiar, then, that on his visit to Ohio County, in that portion of then-Virginia which stuck like a northern-pointing spear between Pennsylvania and Ohio, Rowse was on several occasions heard to express sympathy and support for slaves who had managed to cross the Ohio and light out for freedom. Whether he actually met any is lost to history. Little is known of him following this sojourn beyond the mountains; he died under mysterious circumstances in Palmyra on his way back to his familiar Tidewater home. After much pressure from his family's solicitor, the inkeeper returned Rowse's portfolio of manuscripts, but when it was opened in the parlor of the family's old manor, all that remained was a fall of ash and the smell of rosemary. Citation needed.
scalzifeed July 22 2014, 01:06

The Neighbors’ Mailboxes Vs. the Scalzi Riding Mower



Spoiler: The neighbors’ mailboxes lost.

We have of course informed the neighbors of the event, and have told them that we will gladly pay for the repair/replacement of the boxes. Because, duh. This is our fault. And that’s what you do when something is your fault.

scalzifeed July 22 2014, 01:06

This Thursday (and Elsewhen) in San Diego



Yes, I’ll be in San Diego this week, and all my events are on Thursday, the 24th. Here’s where you will find me:

1:30pm: Reading at the Grand Horton Theater, 444 4th Avenue (between Island and J streets). I’ll read a bit from Lock In, or I might decide to do something else. You never know! Be on edge!

9:00pm: I’ll be making an appearance at the LA Times Hero Complex party.

Thursday evening I may also be making appearances at w00tstock and/or the Geek and Sundry party, depending on several factors. Twitter will be the best place to find out where I will be that evening (and if I know earlier than that evening, I’ll note it here).

I’ll also be in town Friday and Saturday. Much of that will be for private business — I’ll be having meetings, y’all — but I might decide to park myself somewhere and do “office hours” at some point. Again, Twitter will be the place to learn about that. If I do office hours I will be happy to chat and/or sign books.

I will not be at the convention center or on the SDCC floor. Here are the reasons for that.

If you can’t/don’t see me this week in San Diego, I will be back on September 8, 7pm, at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore as part of my Lock In tour. Details on my official tour schedule.

See you in San Diego!

the_onion_daily July 21 2014, 23:17

American Voices: Facebook Testing Out ‘Buy’ Button



According to company officials, Facebook is testing out a new “Buy” button on the News Feed section and on advertisements, which would give users the option to keep their credit card and shipping information on file with Facebook and purchase ...

grrm July 21 2014, 21:47

Master Class

For those of you who were unable to travel to Switzerland for NIFFF, Livestream has uploaded my "Master Class" interview and Q&A.

NIFFF was great fun, all in all, though they kept me so busy that I was only able to see one film of the ninety-plus shown at the festival.  Most of the interviews covered the same old ground... but the masterclass got into some areas a bit more substantially, and you may find it interesting.

I had fun doing it, anyway.

If you would like to check it out, go to:



the_onion_daily July 21 2014, 21:46

Texans Confident They Have Right Pieces In Place To Make Deep Preseason Run



HOUSTON—Saying the team has benefited from a number of crucial offseason pickups, members of the Houston Texans expressed confidence to reporters Monday that they now have the right pieces in place to make a deep preseason run.

the_onion_daily July 21 2014, 21:16

Man In Elevator In On Conversation Now



CHICAGO—Following the unprompted remarks he made over his shoulder, an unidentified man currently riding the elevator with Regent Business Solutions coworkers Joseph Roper and Adam McIntosh is apparently now in on the conversation, sources confirmed...

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