The Geek Side of Life: A Song of Ice and Fire – What’s the end game?

Hey guys! This is a Balticon Panel that I was on about, well, look at the title. The excellent Tim Dodge was both moderator and recorder, and has posted the audio on his podcast, which I am reposting now. :)

Originally posted here.

Live from Balticon 49! This is a panel discussion titled A Song of Ice and Fire: What’s the End Game? It featured Jay Buechler, Christiana Ellis, Nutty Nuchtchas and Jeff Young. SPOILER WARNING: Do not listen to this episode if you have not read all five books in the series and you care about being surprised.

Web sites:

Promo: Coxwood History Fun Cast

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Psuedopod #450: “The Horse Lord”

Originally posted here.

“The Horse Lord” by Lisa Tuttle.

“The Horse Lord” was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in June 1977 and included in A NEST OF NIGHTMARES. This collection was first published in 1986 by Sphere Books and is now available as an e-book from Jo Fletcher Books; it is also included in STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, a collection of her early supernatural fiction published as a limited edition hardcover by Ash-Tree Press in 2010.

Lisa Tuttle began her career as a published writer in the early 1970s, and won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer of the year in 1974. She’s the author of seven novels and more than a hundred short stories. Born and raised in Texas, she has lived in a remote, rural part of Scotland for the past twenty-five years. Her first novel, Windhaven, was a collaboration with George R. R. Martin published in 1981. This was followed by a horror novel,Familiar Spirit, in 1983. Unable to stick to one well-defined genre, although most of her work features elements of horror and/or dark fantasy, she went on to write novels of psychological suspense (Gabriel and The Pillow Friend), science fiction (Lost Futures), and contemporary/mythic fantasy (The Mysteries and The Silver Bough) as well as books for children and young adults, and non-fiction (Encyclopedia of Feminism and Heroines).

Short stories were her first love, and remain important. Her first short story collection, A Nest of Nightmares was published in the U.K. in 1986, and two years later featured in Horror: 100 Best Books edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Her other collections include A Spaceship Built of Stone and other stories (1987), Memories of the Body: Tales of Desire and Transformation (1992), Ghosts and Other Lovers (2002) and Objects in Dreams(2012). A number of her short stories have appeared in “best of the year” anthologies and been nominated for awards; “Closet Dreams” won the 2007 International Horror Guild Award. She edited an influential anthology of horror stories by women writers, Skin of the Soul, first published in 1990.

She has just finished a new novel, to be published next year: THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF — this is the start of a new detective series set in London in the 1890s. If you want a taste of what is to come, check out her stories in both theRogues and Down These Strange Streets anthologies and follow her author page on Facebook.

Your narrator this week is Christiana Ellis who is a Writer and podcaster living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of Nina Kimberly the Merciless as well as Space Casey. She also produces several non-fiction podcasts and videos that can all be found at Christianaellis.com. Most recent project is Space Casey Season 2, the sequel to the original audiodrama about a con artist in the future, which can be found on Podiobooks.com and SpaceCasey.com

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The double barn doors were secured by a length of stout, rust-encrusted chain, fastened with an old padlock.

Marilyn hefted the lock with one hand and tugged at the chain, which did not give. She looked up at the splintering grey wood of the doors and wondered how the children had got in.

Dusting red powder from her hands, Marilyn strolled around the side of the old barn. Dead leaves and dying grasses crunched beneath her sneakered feet, and she hunched her shoulders against the chill in the wind.

‘There’s plenty of room for horses,’ Kelly had said the night before at dinner. ‘There’s a perfect barn. You can’t say it would be impractical to keep a horse here.’ Kelly was Derek’s daughter, eleven years old and mad about horses.

This barn had been used as a stable, Marilyn thought, and could be again. Why not get Kelly a horse? And why not one for herself as well? As a girl, Marilyn had ridden in Central Park. She stared down the length of the barn: for some reason, the door to each stall had been tightly boarded shut.

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Space Casey Season 2 Parsec Submission

Space Casey Season 2 has been nominated for a Parsec Award in the the Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form) category!

Space Casey Cover Square-1400

I was asked to submit a 30-minute compilation including up to four clips from the season, and this is what I submitted. I hope you enjoy!

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Peak Superhero! (Video)

I get together with Christopher Morse, Jared Axelrod and Tee Morris to talk all about superheroes!

Posted in Extras, Non-Fiction, podcasts | 1 Comment

Gamergate Makes Me Sad

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I am a gamer, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

I am, however, sad.

I’m sad because a thing called Gamergate is tearing the online gamer community apart right now, and it is making everybody miserable.

Whose fault that is, of course, is up for debate.

I have an opinion on that, but let me set that aside for a moment.

There are a lot of people in Gamergate, and not all of them are there for the same reasons.

If you are a Gamergate supporter, I am not going to try and argue your points. There’s plenty of that going around already, and it has not, it seems to me, been very productive or helpful.

Instead, I’m just going to ask you this:

Whatever it is that you personally hope is going to come out of all of this…

Is it really worth it?

I’m not talking about the natural tendency to try to fight tomorrow’s war today. I’m talking about what changes might get made to the industry right now. Think about what it is that you want to have happen. Be as specific as possible.

Want such-and-such a website to promise to disclose writer-developer relationships?

Want so-and-so who was mean to you online to be fired?

Want to make sure that your favorite games are not tampered with?

You tell me. What is it, specifically, that you want to change?

And don’t say: “Ethical journalism” because that is an abstract, and not everybody would agree on what that is. Think about real, tangible, specific things. What is it you want?

Now, let’s say you got it…

How much difference would that make in your actual day-to-day life?

Maybe you think it’s a lot. I can’t speak for your life or your priorities. My guess though, is that, other than a sense of victory, it wouldn’t really change anything very much at all unless you are personally a games developer or journalist.

So, in any case, whatever that change is. Is it really worth all this discord and fighting?

 

I can’t answer that for you, but let me talk a little bit about what else the gaming community is sacrificing in this battle:

  • Real actual human beings with thoughts and feelings are made to feel afraid in their homes.
  • People are angry and polarized. Trolling is rampant on both sides, with no end in sight.
  • Indie games developers may leave the field for a less controversial, less aggressive medium, robbing all of us of whatever games they might have made.
  • Potential games developers will not even enter the field.
  • Big triple-A games makers will see the controversy and become more risk-averse than ever, for fear of pissing off anyone. The result will be more-and-more annualized bland franchises, with no innovation, because who knows what change might set off the next big fight?
  • The mainstream perception of “Gamers” is being damaged more by this fighting than by any other thing I can think of in my lifetime.

Again, regardless of whose fault this is, it is still happening, and it is happening because the fight over “Gamergate” is happening.

 

Still worth it?

 

Regardless of who started it or why or how or whatever, Gamergate has become the online equivalent of a riot, with looting and violence.

You may have joined something that you hoped would be a peaceful protest. Now, you look at the looters with genuine dismay, upset that they have co-opted your message. But if you continue to stand there in the streets with them, you cannot be surprised when the tear gas starts flying.

Is that “fair”? Maybe not. Still gonna happen.

(As a side-note, everybody knows that simply “reporting” the trolls is 100% useless. The preponderance of burner Twitter accounts on both sides of this movement means that any troll that gets their account suspended just creates four more the next day and keeps on trolling.)

So what am I saying you should do?

Go home. Play videogames. This is not a “battle” that needs to be “won” today! It is not a “war”!

The games industry is not going anywhere. Games journalism will exist as long as games do.

Neither industry is going to make sweeping changes overnight. In either direction.

There will always be games that you like, and games that you don’t like.

The future of games and game journalism will be forged not with demands and harassment, but by calm discussion and good-faith engagement over time.

Continuing this fighting on Twitter will accomplish nothing except further trolling, further anger, and further division in the gaming community.

Instead, I suggest that you find games and game websites that you like and support them. Be involved. Give constructive feedback and help to shape the community there.

If you feel a site is not worthy of your business, then leave it at that. Just don’t go there. It is really that simple.

And finally, please, to everyone on every side of this thing. Remember that your fellow human beings are fellow human beings! People say dumb things sometimes. People say things that they don’t mean. They say things that they mean but phrase it badly. They have strong feelings and irrational feelings and conflicting feelings and they like and don’t like and love and hate lots of different things because we’re all people here!

There are real human stakes here. Real lives that are being damaged.

Or is it really all just a game to you?

Posted in Extras, Non-Fiction, Video Games | 7 Comments

Pseudopod 398: Prince Of Flowers

by Elizabeth Hand.

“Prince of Flowers” was Hand’s first published story. It appeared in Twilight Zone Magazine in 1988, was subsequently reprinted in The Year’s Best Horror and has appeared in various anthologies since then, as well as in her story collection LAST SUMMER AT MARS HILL. “Much of the story is drawn from my own experiences working at theSmithsonian Institution in the 1970s-1980s. I was at the National Air & Space Museum, not the National History Museum, but spent as much time in the latter as I could. In those days, a Smithsonian ID badge allowed you to access all areas — not any more, alas.”

ELIZABETH HAND is the author of numerous award-winning novels and collections of short fiction, as well as a longtime reviewer and critic whose work has appeared in theWashington PostLos Angeles TimesSalon, and many other publications.

As mentioned by Al, please consider throwing a few bucks to the Bobby Lombardi Fundraiser.

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Balticon 2014 – Panel: Managing Multiple Podcast Streams!

This panel was about managing multiple podcast streams, and featured the following panelists!

P.G. Holyfield
A.B. Kovacs
Christiana Ellis (Me)
Jimmy Rogers
Jonah Knight (moderating)

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Balticon 2014 Panel – How to Find New Podcasts

At Balticon 2014, I was on a panel titled “How To Find New Podcasts”. This is it.

 

Other panelists were:

Scott Roche,

Norm Sherman

Posted in Extras, Guest Appearances, Non-Fiction, podcasts | 5 Comments

Space Casey Season 2 Promo!

Space Casey Cover Square-1400Check out the brand new promo for Space Casey Season 2!

Launches May 20th, 2014!

Find out more at SpaceCasey.com

Posted in Extras, Fiction, podcasts, Promos, Space Casey | 13 Comments

PodCastle Episode 288: Flash Fiction Contest Strikes Back!

Originally posted at PodCastle.org

This week we’re back with a special episode collecting the winners of our recent flash fiction contest! A huge congratulations to our winners – we’re looking forward to hearing more stories from them!

3rd Prize:
“Georgina and the Basilisk,” by Leslianne Wilder
Read by LaShawn Wanak

2nd Prize:

“The Bear,” by Taven Moore
Read by Christiana Ellis

1st Prize:

“Wuffle,” by Chantal Beaulne
Read by Nathaniel Lee

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