Posts Tagged ‘science fantasy’

Cover Reveal: Ever Touched by Erin Zarro

Happy Monday, squiders! I know I don’t normally post on Mondays, but I wanted to share the cover for the third book in Erin Zarro’s science fantasy series, Ever Touched. (I have read an advanced copy and can confidently say it is an interesting addition to the series.)

Ever Touched cover

Tada! And here’s the blurb:
One secret remembered, another forgotten…which one will explode first?

Brianna has two problems: she cannot remember her past, and she astrally projects to another woman who has predictions tortured out of her. As a result, she is lonely and feels distanced from her co-workers — the only family she has ever known — the Fey Touched Hunters. She is their intelligence gatherer, and her episodes are interfering with her ability to do her job.

When Fey Touched Hunter Cobra, her friend, finds her alone and injured from an episode, she accepts his help. But she’s terrified of doctors and of being thought mentally ill, so she refuses to tell him what’s wrong or let him take her to get medical help. Still, Cobra continues to help and protect her. They find themselves falling in love.

But Cobra, too, has a secret that could rip their fragile bond apart. 

When Brianna discovers through her episodes that someone has plans to destroy the Fey Clans, the Fey Touched decide to put their hatred aside and help them. But it’s not just a matter of someone with a grudge: there are other, more powerful players — beings thought to be legend.

As they unravel the mystery, Brianna’s episodes become more frequent and more dangerous until she is faced with a choice. To find the mystery girl and help the Fey Clans, she must risk opening herself up to the Hunters and to Cobra, and put her own life on the line. But is she prepared for the answers she’ll find?

Ever Touched will be available in early May, though you can pick up the first two books, Fey Touched and Grave Touched now.

Hope you have a lovely week, Squiders!

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The Evolution of an Idea

Anthologies are always interesting. First you’ve got to come up with a theme for the overall anthology, and then you’ve got to come up with a story that fits for it.

When we started brainstorming for Seasons Eternal, we had a bit of a hard time coming up with a theme idea. We’d done winter-themed for last year’s Winter’s Night, so we didn’t want to repeat that, but we weren’t sure where to go. Did we want to pick a genre? And not just something like, say, steampunk, because everyone else does that sort of thing. Steampunk with strong heroines! Steampunk with strong heroines who happen to be airship pirates!

It was actually my husband who came up with the premise that would become Seasons Eternal, the world where the seasons had stopped. I think it appealed to us because it would be a shared world, so our stories could be more interconnected than just four people trying to tell stories that may or may not be anything like each other.

So, theme picked, we assigned seasons. The way scheduling worked out, I was assigned spring a little later than everyone else, and, hence, got to work after everyone else, so I went into my story having a sense of what everyone else was doing in theirs.

At first, I was stumped. I don’t know if any of you live on the west coast, but that’s pretty much how I picture an eternal spring. It never really gets cold or hot, there’s not a lot of inclement weather you need to worry about, and you can grow things year-round. Let’s face it–if the seasons were going to stop, Spring would be the one you’d want to get stuck in. (In fact, my biggest complaint about the weather when we lived in California was that there were no seasons and it made it hard to mark the passage of time in my head.)

(Californians will tell you that there are two seasons: wet and dry. To that I say: Bah!)

(Oh man, candy cane and cocoa taste terrible together.)

As Siri says, stories are about people. And unlike a summer where the heat never ends, or a winter where the snow never stops, Spring doesn’t really bring any hardship to the people. In fact, they probably felt like they’d been blessed, where everyone else had been cursed. Like they had been deserving, like they had been…justified.

And they wouldn’t want to share their good fortune.

I don’t think I can say more without giving the story away. Seasons Eternal: Stories of a World Frozen in Time is available through Turtleduck Press at your favorite e-retailer. (Just a reminder that proceeds from sales goes to UNICEF to make children’s holidays more joyful and bright!)

Announcing Seasons Eternal

Hey Squiders, do you have friends or family (or yourself) that enjoy science fantasy? Do you need Christmas (or other holiday) present ideas? Then look no further!

The incredibly sexy ladies over at Turtleduck Press (myself included) have just put out their second anthology, and we decided to work from a shared world concept this year. Our going idea was: what would happen on a world where the seasons had stopped changing, locking entire regions into one of the four? How would society have to adapt to continue to survive, say, if summer’s heat never waned, if autumn never finished its decay?

We set up ourselves up with some vague parameters: the seasons would have stopped changing about a hundred years previously, only a few generations back, so that society could still be in a state of flux, but enough time had passed that they would have figured out enough to continue surviving. And then we went to it.

The result is an interesting mix, as each author had to imagine what a season that never ended would look like, what it would do to the land, the animals, the people, and then come up with society’s response. Would they turn to technology? Would they run from it? Would stories of the seasons make it into legend, or would they be forgotten?

Could it be fixed? Would they try?

As with our last anthology, the proceeds from sales go to benefit UNICEF, hopefully making children around world’s holidays a little brighter. Ebooks are available for 99 cents, and the paperback is available for $4.99. Cheap and for a good cause! Oh, and full of science fantasy goodness. More information can be found here, so give it a look!

Time Quintet Re-read: Many Waters

Hopefully no one got confused (like Ian *cough*) and read A Swiftly Tilting Planet instead. While Planet was published before Many Waters, Many Waters goes first chronologically.

I still like it a lot. Bible mythology is one of my very favorite mythologies. I’ve done a lot of research on it myself, so it’s always nice to see it used (and used properly) in a story. My one real complaint is that she uses “nephilim” here to essentially be synonymous with “fallen angel,” whereas the term is usually used to describe human/angel offspring. But the nephilim are generally described as giants, and I like how she’s made them (and the seraphim) so much taller than the people. Also, one of the reasons God creates the flood is to destroy the nephilim, so hoorah to her for incorporating that.

Things I like about this story: the world. I like that she’s integrated these creatures that are mythological into the normal world. Unicorns and manticores and griffins – things that exist in stories but could have, conceivably, been destroyed in the flood. And I like that she made the people much smaller. We know that people used to be shorter, even as little as a few hundred years ago, so it makes sense, and it’s nice that she makes it so it’s hard to tell when exactly they are.

And I want a pet mammoth.

I also like the fact that while it is a retelling of a biblical story, it is not a religious story. There is some good vs. evil, like in the entire series, but aside from the fact that God (“El” here, which is also great, more on that in a second) actually talks to people and angels, there’s not a lot of morality that you’re hit over the head with.

Plotwise, this book seems completely stand alone, unconnected to the other books. First of all, we’ve got Sandy and Dennys as the main characters, when they’ve been merely peripherals otherwise, and there’s no mention of dark planets or Echthroi. Aside from the mention of tessering and some discussion of quantum physics, the scientific aspects are barely mentioned here.

Calling God “El” here is a wonderful move, because “el” literally means God. This is why the angels are named things like MichaEL (who is like God), GabriEL (strong man of God), RaphaEL (God has healed), etc. So not only is it an actual translation of God, but it makes things obvious without brow-beating.

Okay, onto the questions, and have Planet ready to go for November 29th.

1. How do you think disrupting their father’s computer program manages to result in actual tessering?

2. Do you think the twins were meant to go to that time period? Why?

3. Would you consider THIS to be a religious book? More or less than Wrinkle?

4. Why do you think Madeleine L’Engle decided to move away from Meg/Calvin/Charles Wallace for this story?

5. Most of the creatures on or around the oasis are mythological or are nephilim/seraphim in disguise. Why do you think Madeleine L’Engle included the mammoths but not any other extinct creatures?

As always, your own comments and questions are welcome.

Subgenre Study: Science Fantasy

This is a tricky one.  For one thing, people can’t even agree whether it’s a subgenre or its own genre.  And once you reach some sort of consensus on that, getting people to try and agree on a definition – well. 

Science fantasy, I hope we can all agree, is, as the name implies, a mixture of science fiction and fantasy.  This can take a variety of paths – straight science fiction with fantasy races, something that looks suspiciously like fantasy but then you find out you’re really on a planet that was colonized by Earth some time in the distant past, a world where magic operates but where it sounds suspiciously like our world in the distant past, etc.  Some people claim it’s science fantasy if it’s technological, like science fiction, but uses technology that is impossible, such as time travel, or where things like telekinesis or telepathy are readily apparent.  You see how it gets confusing.

As Arthur C. Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  Take this book I just finished – Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  (Brilliant, by the way.)  A key point of the book are these crystal keys that, for all intent and purposes, seem to be magical but you know they’re just extremely advanced technology from the way the world is laid out.  I’d also consider it science fantasy, if you want an example of the genre.

Perhaps the most well-known example of science fantasy is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series.  The stories themselves involve dragons and fighting the Thread which falls from the sky and leaves the land dead in its wake.  Dragons = fantasy, yes?  But here’s the clincher – Pern itself is an acronym for Parallel Earth, Resources Negligible – and it was colonized by humans some couple hundred years beforehand.  Space exploration and colonization falls into science fiction.  Tada!  Science fantasy.

Other examples include Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy (Golden Compass, et al.), Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, and, according to some people, things like Star Wars (the magical Force) and Narnia (arguable that Narnia is a separate planet/dimension, especially in The Last Battle).

Science fantasy is so widely debated that some people refuse to acknowledge it at all, but I have to admit it’s one of my very favorites.  I think it adds a very fascinating depth to the stories.

What about you, Squiders?  Science fantasy = real genre/subgenre?  What are your opinions of it, and any books to recommend?