RT Daily Blog

Trend Watch: Space Opera Revival In 2011

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, DECEMBER 30, 2011 | PERMALINK

Dramatic, celestial adventures that often romanticize space, dubbed “space operas”, have been popular since the pulp stories were published in sci fi magazines, such as Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction, in the early 20th century (author Jamie Rubin has a blog series revisiting Astounding Science Fiction, which you can learn about here). Popular in the early and mid twentieth century, space operas' heyday is generally considered the 1930s mainly because this is when E.E. "Doc" Smith published a short story that would become his Lensman series, which was runner up for a Hugo Award for best All-Time Series. And while there are dozens of sci fi plot lines that have become popular over time, traveling beyond the stars never seems to get old. In the past several years, space opera has seen a come back, with many authors putting their own spin on the classic space travel trope. 

Today we take a look at three 2011 titles that prove this subgenre is still alive and kicking:


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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RT Picks Three (Free) Holiday Themed Sci Fi Short Stories

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, DECEMBER 21, 2011 | PERMALINK

A big thanks to Bryan Thomas Schmidt for his blog post “16 Holiday Themed Science Fiction And Fantasy Stories” earlier this month. Here at the RT office, we had a great time going through each free story and getting a huge holiday dose of futuristic fun. The web team was especially excited by three stories by some very well known authors. If you are looking for some great Christmas reading, look no further than the following tales.

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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Violence And Villains In The Thirteen Hallows By Michael Scott And Colette Freedman

BY Janine Johnston, DECEMBER 15, 2011 | PERMALINK

Sci fi and fantasy fans are hard to please. In fact, I would dare to say that some of us are filled with a geeky snobbery so strong, that it sometimes cannot be contained in all the forum threads and blog comment boxes the Internet has to offer. It's spilling out into the streets. 

Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but I think I speak for many readers when I say that we are getting tired of the same old fantasy story. A young, brave hero (who is almost always male), usually acting out of some sort of need for revenge and having nothing to lose, goes on some kind of adventure, along the way he acquires a powerful item (of magical or scientific origin) and must destroy the bad guys or else the universe will explode. Don’t get me wrong, this plot is a classic, filled with beloved tropes, but what makes it work in for contemporary readers is not groundbreaking plots, but instead authors’ original details and talented writing … which unfortunately seems harder to come by these days. 


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Holiday Gift Guide: For The Science Fiction And Fantasy Fans On Your List

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, DECEMBER 05, 2011 | PERMALINK

It’s that time of year again, when you’ve got to make a list and check it twice to figure out what you’re going to get your loved ones. But don’t worry; we’re here to help with gift suggestions for each type of person on your list. Today we bring you our top recommendations for the hard-to-gift-to science fiction or fantasy fan on your list ...

 

For the TV Enthusiast 

Although the much-anticipated DVD box set of Game of Thrones (the complete first season) won’t be out until March 6, this collection is on the top of everyone’s wishlists! Relive all the guts, glory and mystery — or let your loved one see it for the first time if they are living without cable. (We suggest gifting a card with an image of the set and something that says, "Your gift is coming soon!") If you are desperate to give the gift of George R. R. Martin in a form that can be unwrapped before the New Year, we recommend this four-book box set of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that Game of Thrones is based on.

However, if Game of Thrones is not your giftee’s style, and they long for a show that’s now off the air, delight your loved one with this fantastic Firefly-inspired gift. A pair of replica prop pistols like the ones owned by Captain Mal are sure to thrill followers of the Whedonverse. Or for the BSG (that’s Battlestar Galactic, folks) fan on your list, this gender-neutral pendent is a discrete token of fandom that will surely win you a giant grin.


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Tags: Science Fiction
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Morgan & Elisa Dish: Three Sci Fi Side Dishes

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, NOVEMBER 23, 2011 | PERMALINK

Just in time for the holidays, the RT web team is doing something a bit different for this week’s Dish. Instead of digging into one full length novel, Morgan and Elisa are sampling three short stories as Side Dishes. So what’s on the menu? First up is Cherie Priest’s “Wishbones”, a horrifying, monstrous tale. Then they move into Cassandra Clare’s tale of unrequited love in the steampunk short “Some Fortunate Future Day”. And finally is “Hello, Moto” by the incredible science fiction/fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor. After joining Morgan and Elisa on a trip through these otherworldly tales, you can give each a try since all three short stories are FREE online reads.

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Morgan: I found Cherie Priest’s “Wishbones” to be a nod to classic horror stories. I mean, we’ve got a rural setting with unsuspecting victims and a giant monster.

Elisa: While the text did have a lot in common with a horror story, I thought that what set Priest's work apart from others was the multiple narratives. “Wishbones” takes place during two eras, present day and the 1860s during the Civil War.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Free E-Read: Charles De Lint's "The Invisibles"

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, NOVEMBER 17, 2011 | PERMALINK

Charles de Lint’s short story “The Invisibles” is currently available as a free e-read on Fantasy Magazine.

In the story, the author explores a social injustice and what it means to believe in magic. The narrator, a painter named Andrew, illustrates how our perceptions of the world around us affect our everyday lives. While sitting at a cafe with his friend, Ted, Andrew realizes that he can see a girl no one else in the room can. Intrigued, the young man decides to follow her home, and is shocked to discover that pedestrians are practically walking into her. She's invisible, but not to him.

The plot thickens when Andrew meets an unusual boy lingering outside of the girl's home. He explains who The Invisibles are, why no one can see them and gives Andrew a very cryptic message just before vanishing into a cloud of dust and garbage. The next day, Andrew consults Ted about the bizarre occurrences, and the discoveries Andrew makes are shocking.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Spoiled: Mary Robinette Kowal On Her Next Three Novels!

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, OCTOBER 31, 2011 | PERMALINK

Author Mary Robinette Kowal’s debut novel, the fantasy Shades of Milk and Honey, was awarded our August 2010 RT Seal of Excellence. Said RT Senior Reviewer Natalie A. Luhrs, “If Jane Austen had written a fantasy novel, Shades of Milk and Honey would have been the result.” Today, the author chats with us about what readers can expect in next April’s series second, and then get spoiled with exclusive details about Kowal’s two novels coming up after that — books three and four in the series!

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We are anxiously awaiting the release date of Glamour in Glass, which will continue the romance of Jane and Vincent, who readers met in last year’s Shades of Milk and Honey. We know in the series second Jane and Vincent head abroad, where are some of the spots where they will stop?


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Can The CDC's Advice Help You Survive A Zombie Pandemic?

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, OCTOBER 28, 2011 | PERMALINK

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s a new comic out that has just been published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which is getting us in the frightened frame of mind. Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic is the CDC's newest method of educating people about what resources are available and what type of provisions should be gathered in the event of a disaster — be it a zombie plague or something else entirely. Intrigued? You can download the comic for free here and then find out what RT’s Whitney and Morgan think of some of the CDC’s suggestions for zombie pandemic survival ...

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CDC Tip: Turn to the televised news, the CDC’s website and the radio stations for information regarding a zombie outbreak.


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Tags: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
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Shawna Thomas On Her Debut Fantasy, Altered Destiny

BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, OCTOBER 28, 2011 | PERMALINK

Shawna Thomas' debut novel, this month's fantasy tale Altered Destiny got a Top Pick rating from RT's Victoria and made such an impression on her that it was nominated for the month's RT Seal of Excellence. Today we sit down with the author to find out about how she brought her heroine Selia's fantasy world to life, an insider look at her vampiric hero and what readers can expect next from this new talent!

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First of all, your debut book was nominated for October’s RT Seal of Excellence. Congratulations! What is one of the other unexpected pluses of your experience as a debut author? 


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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J. M. McDermott Releases Women and Monsters Short Story Collection For Free!

BY Whitney Sullivan, OCTOBER 20, 2011 | PERMALINK

Ever wonder what happened to the women of myths and legend? You can find out in J.M. McDermott's series of surreal digital short stories. Serialized on the web, the collection Women and Monsters, is available at womenandmonsters.wordpress.com with a new story posted every Monday. In these tales, McDermott will feature the writer's take on a woman or monster of classic Greek mythology. From Eurydice to Charybdis, McDermott's Women and Monsters lets the voiceless finally speak for themselves. 


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Tags: Science Fiction
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