Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

In Honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day

pirates

Shimmerzine is giving away for free their special one-time issue devoted to pirate stories edited by John Joseph Adams.

The editors of Shimmerzine have this to say:

In 2007, Dred Pirate John Joseph Adams, of the MS Fantasy and Science Fiction, commandeered the MS Shimmer for one special issue: the Pirate issue, released November 2007.

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday dear to our hearts, we’re making the electronic edition freely available. One day only: Plunder away!

The issue features fiction from James L. Cambias, Marissa K. Lingen, Jeremiah Tolbert, Mikal Trimm, and and half a dozen others. And don’t miss our piratical interview with the creator of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Illustrated throughout by James Owen.

Note the "one day only" part. Better get it today.

Book Review: Seeds of Change by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Back in early June, John Joseph Adams sent out a request for advanced readers for his Seeds of Change anthology. Of course, I took him up on it.

Adams is the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, but he's also been on a tear of late editing anthologies. There's The Living Dead, Wastelands, and, now, Seeds of Change.

While Adams gave plenty of advanced notice of the imminent release of the anthology, I fell behind with some other reading and wasn't able to start it until after it had already been released. Fortunately, Seeds of Change is a fast-paced, easy read (though I have to admit I did not read every story through, see below), and so this review comes only shortly after the official release. You can purchase Seeds of Change in hardcover or Kindle formats.

Now, on to my review…

I'm going to start with an introduction pulled from the Seeds of Change web site to give you a taste of what this anthology is all about:

Imagine the moment when the present ends, and the future begins–when the world we knew is no more and a brave new world is thrust upon us. Gathering stories by nine of today’s most incisive minds, Seeds of Change confronts the pivotal issues facing our society today: racism, global warming, peak oil, technological advancement, and political revolution.

A heady claim, to be sure, but Seeds of Change delivered, for me, seven out of nine times.

That calls for an explanation: There are nine stories in total; two of them didn't do it for me, and I had to stop reading. But of the seven stories I did finish, I found each of them both entertaining and thought-provoking. That's a rare combination, IMO. Often an author will go too far into the literary realm, which is all well and fine when one is looking for that sort of thing. But these days I'll take entertaining over literary nine times out of ten. It was a pleasant surprise that Seeds of Change provided both, and probably why I found it such an easy read.

Of the seven stories I completed, the most entertaining were those by Jay Lake, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, and Ted Kosmatka. Tobias Buckell was up there as well, but I found his Pepper story contribution a bit of a letdown. Perhaps I'd gotten too used to the character's zombie butt-kicking ways from Sly Mongoose that to see him thoughtful and almost introspective threw me. On the other hand, this anthology is about change, so seeing things in a different light may be what it's all about.

Seeds of Change scores a ten on quality of writing. Regardless of what I might have thought about a story's theme or characters, the authors each come through with a wholly engaging style. That goes for the two stories I didn't finish as well.

For the record, those two were "A Dance Called Armageddon", by Ken MacLeod, and "Artists Aren't Stupid", by Jeremiah Tolbert. There was nothing inherently wrong with either story. The oration simply wasn't doing it for me. At my age (I'm 38), that's enough for me to give it a pass.

But that fact takes nothing away from the anthology. If you're looking for a healthy dose of thought-provoking literature leavened by a hefty shot of entertainment to put an exclamation on these final summer days, I highly recommend Seeds of Change.

Call for advanced readers: Seeds of Change

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John Joseph Adams is looking for advanced readers for his upcoming anthology Seeds of Change. Follow the link for sign-up information. I commented in the blog post that I’d be interested and John shot me over an e-copy within an hour.

The copy reads:

Imagine the moment when the present ends, and the future begins–when the world we knew is no more and a brave new world is thrust upon us. Gathering stories by nine of today’s most incisive minds, Seeds of Change confronts the pivotal issues facing our society today: racism, global warming, peak oil, technological advancement, and political revolution. Many serve as a call to action. How will you change with the future?

It boasts a very nice list of authors:

  • N-Words by Ted Kosmatka
  • The Future by Degrees by Jay Lake
  • Drinking Problem by K. D. Wentworth
  • Endosymbiont by Blake Charlton
  • A Dance Called Armageddon by Ken MacLeod
  • Arties Aren’t Stupid by Jeremiah Tolbert
  • Faceless in Gethsemane by Mark Budz
  • Spider the Artist by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Resistance by Tobias S. Buckell

I’m especially interested in the last story by Tobias Buckell as it’s a Pepper story, a character I just got familiar with through Sly Mongoose.

If you’re interested in getting a free copy for posting a review, check out John’s post and make it so.