Wandering America’s Highways: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire



Seanan McGuire InCryptid Sparrow Hill Road I’ve lost track of how many novels the amazingly prolific Seanan McGuire, and her alter ego Mira Grant, have published between them. Suffice to say that at this point, McGuire’s had a great deal of practice, and it shows.

Sparrow Hill Road is her latest book, set in the same universe as her InCryptid series but not featuring any overlap with characters or events introduced in those novels. It is more a collection of linked stories than a single unified novel—which makes sense, because Sparrow Hill Road originated as a series of short stories first published at Edge of Propinquity in 2010. These are the stories of Rose Marshall, dead at the age of sixteen in 1954, killed by a man called Bobby Cross who made a deal at the crossroads to live forever.

She’s been wandering America’s highways as a ghost ever since.

[Read more. Some spoilers for the book.]

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Gemsigns (Excerpt)



Gemsigns Stephanie Saulter Revolutions excerpt

Gemsigns, the first novel in Stephanie Saulter’s ®evolition series, will be published for the first time in the US on May 6th by Quercus Books. Read an excerpt from Gemsigns below, and if you’re in the UK you can pick up the sequel, Binary, from Jo Fletcher!

For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems—the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves.

A conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

[Read an Excerpt]

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Quickening”



Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Quickening“The Quickening”
Written by Naren Shankar
Directed by Rene Auberjonois
Season 4, Episode 23
Production episode 40514-495
Original air date: May 20, 1996
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Sisko travels to the planet Zeist, and—

Whoops. Wrong The Quickening...

Kira, Dax, and Bashir are doing a bio-survey of a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. En route, they get a distress call from a planet just outside Dominion territory. Dax and Bashir beam down to find a settlement that looks badly wrecked. A woman suffering from an obvious illness collapses in front of them. While Dax tries to find out where the local hospital is, Bashir treats her, and another local tells them to go away now while they still have the chance.

Dax trades her hair clip for a ride to the “hospital”—in truth a near-empty structure that doesn’t seem to have any actual facilities. It turns out that Trevean, the head of the hospital, is in truth running a hospice—and he helps death along by providing a poison once the Blight has quickened. Once the quickening happens, the person is all but dead.

[Come to Quark’s, Quark’s is fun / Come right now, don’t walk, run!]

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The Retrospective: Mythic Delirium #30



Since it happens to be poetry month, the time seems more or less just right for talking about the transitional last print issue of long-running speculative poetry magazine Mythic Delirium. It’s issue #30, and in honor the magazine’s Kickstarter funded shift to digital publication and a new format, editor Mike Allen had gathered up a retrospective from the past fifteen years’ worth of issues—poems ranging from the first from their first issue, to the most recent MD poem to win a Rhysling Award.

It is an interesting sort of project, a goodbye to the old and a remembrance of the past that also happens to be signaling a fresh start for the magazine, with different guiding principles and a radically different format. I look forward to seeing what the Allens (Mike and Anita) do with the upcoming magazine, but for now, there’s the retrospective issue and the poems in it.

[A review.]

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Let It Go, Winter Soldier—Heartbreaking Captain America/Frozen Fan Art



Captain America, Winter Soldier, FrozenThere are lots of Frozen mashups in the world already, but when you have a title character called “The Winter Solider,” he would seem an apt analog for Queen Elsa, no? And considering Cap's feelings in the newly released sequel, we're just gonna cry a lot and present you with this piece of fanart.

Just... just build a snowman with your Steve. Please? It doesn't have to be a snowman.

Fan art via 9gag.com.

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The Days of the Deer Sweepstakes!



The Days of the Deer is the first in an epic trilogy, and Argentinian author Liliana Bodoc’s first work translated into English. In the late 15th century, South America is menaced by a great encroaching darkness, which is linked in some way to the approaching European explorers.

The new edition of this engrossing, vividly imagined novel is out this month from Corvus, and we want to send you one of our three copies right now!

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on April 15. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on April 19. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

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JordanCon 2014: The Return of the Con Report, Part 1



It’s that time again, kids!

Once more, your Auntie Leigh has returned from the seriously over-pollinated wilds of Atlanta, Georgia, fresh from attending the 6th annual JordanCon, this year known as “Asha’Con.” And also once more, I bring you excess verbiage and mostly shamelessly pirated photos to share the experience with you!

Well, most of the experience, anyway. I figure y’all will appreciate it if I keep the allergy attack and hangover symptoms to myself, so I will. That’s because I love you.

(Seriously, So. Much. Pollen. And booze, but that was a given.)

…And as it turns out, there is way too much awesome to fit into one post, so this is actually only Part ONE of my Report!

Anyway, be warned for many many (many) photos under the cut, and click on!

[Remember when we were such fools]

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Can You Overcome Your Fear of Change? Cory Doctorow and William Campbell Powell Discuss Expiration D



William Campbell Powell Cory Doctorow Expiration Day

William Campbell Powell’s book Expiration Day takes place in a not-too-distant future where a decline in global fertility has resulted in a decidedly commercial response: Start making sophisticated androids for those who want children.

Powell’s story zeroes in on the formative teenage years of Tania Deeley and her experience as she realizes that the friends and school she has always accepted as rote may in fact consist predominantly of androids. Including her best friend Siân.

But how does a teenager not realize their friends are androids? Little Brother and Homeland author Cory Doctorow was curious about this himself, and after reading an early copy of Powell’s book, sat down with the author to discuss how easy it is to cocoon yourself unquestioningly inside the information you are given, and how hard it is to bust out of that.

[Watch the video of Doctorow and Powell’s discussion]

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Short Fiction Spotlight: Beneath Ceaseless Skies #144



Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. In my last installment we returned to Lightspeed Magazine to look at a few recent stories; this week, I’d like to shift focus to another magazine I haven’t talked so much about: Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Their April issue contains two stories, “Golden Daughter, Stone Wife” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew and “At the Edge of the Sea” by Raphael Ordoñez.

I feel like I keep running into stories by Sriduangkaew—I know I’ve covered at least a few in this column series! Seems like this is a good year for her work, too, because I have enjoyed the majority of those stories. A name I hadn’t encountered before, though, was Ordoñez, who according to good ol’ ISFDB is a fairly new writer (first professional publications in 2013). His work has appeared primarily in past issues of BCS.


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Is Art Selfish?



Oscar Wilde once said, “Art is the most intense form of individualism the world has ever known.”

And perhaps he’s right. When I’m working on my comics, I lock myself in my art studio (i.e. spare bedroom) for hours. At least once a day, my four-year-old will tiptoe down our hallway. She’ll scratch at my door quietly, like a cat. After her scratches don’t bring any response, she’ll try whispering. Then knocking. Then shouting. “Daddy?! When are you coming out, Daddy?! Daddy, can you even hear me?!”

[Thoughts on art, selfishness, cosplay, and livers...]

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