Hello, everyone! Since today is Thursday, that means it is time for our weekly Crossroads post over at Amazing Stories. Continuing with April’s humor theme, this week I look at how speculative fiction uses parody to subvert and challenge the genre, and so move the literary conversation forward.
I hope you stop by and join the conversation!
Crossroads: The Importance of Parody to the Speculative Fiction Genre
And now, for something completely different…
It’s Thursday, and that means that this week’s Crossroads post has gone live over at Amazing Stories. Continuing with April’s “humor” theme, I take a look at the most significant humorist in speculative fiction’s recent history: Douglas Adams. In particular, I explore why his work has become such a cultural touchstone and examine why maybe every humorous work shouldn’t be compared to the Hitchhiker’s Guide.
I hope you come and join the conversation!
Crossroads: Right Place, Time, and Tech – The Hitchhiker’s Guide
In case you haven’t noticed (and these things are easy to miss), today is Thursday! Not only does that mean the week is drawing to a close, but it also means that it is time for another Crossroads post at Amazing Stories.
Continuing with our western month, this week we take a look at the different approaches to world-building used in the western genre, and in science fiction, and fantasy. I hope you stop by and join the conversation!
CROSSROADS: World-building in Westerns and Speculative Fiction
With Thursday upon us, that means it is time for another Crossroads post over at Amazing Stories. This week, I look at the archetypal western hero, and the ways in which that hero shows up in science fiction and fantasy. Specifically, I explore the traditional usage of the western cowboy/outlaw and the ways in which SF/F dilutes that archetype, and discuss how contemporary western-themed SF/F (e.g. Weird West, steampunk, alternate history, etc.) subverts the archetypal western hero in fundamental ways.
You can find the whole essay here: CROSSROADS: The Western Hero in Speculative Fiction
So today is the first Thursday of March, which means it is time to kick off a new Crossroads series over at Amazing Stories.
This month, I’m going to be focusing on the relationship between Westerns and Speculative Fiction. There will be horses and spaceships, guns and swords and lasers, and plenty of riding into
sunsets solar flares. This week’s post outlines the aesthetic dimensions of the western which I think are most relevant for speculative fiction and begins to examine whether the western’s commercial trajectory may be a valuable cautionary tale for speculative fiction.
I hope you stop by! Today’s post is: Crossroads: Riding into Space – Westerns and Speculative Fiction
Today marks the last day in the Crossroads: Romance series at Amazing Stories. To wrap up this month, I move solidly into science fiction and fantasy, and explore the (sometimes troubled) ways in which both genres incorporate elements of romance. Please be sure to come and join the conversation!
You can find today’s essay here: Crossroads: Is this a Kissing Book? SF/F’s Relationship to Romance.
(and be sure to stop by next week, when Crossroads heads into western territory!)
February is here, and that means that over on Amazing Stories, I’ll be looking at how romance and speculative fiction hook up. This week, I kick the series off by trying to get to the heart of what the romance genre is all about. And contrary to what some might think, it isn’t about sex. No, the romance genre is centrally concerned with power.
Come join the conversation here:
CROSSROADS: Romance – More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine
Today on Amazing Stories, I explore how fantasy navigates its epic/local tensions with noir, and how both noir and fantasy use wainscot structures.
Please stop by and take a look: Crossroads: Tripping the Noir Fantastic
As of this morning, Amazing Stories is officially out of its beta test. If you enjoy reading this blog, then I strongly encourage you to stop by www.amazingstoriesmag.com and check out the insightful, fascinating discussions that are happening over on the Amazing Stories blog.
One of the reasons why I’m really excited about Amazing Stories is that I’ve committed to writing a weekly Crossroads column exploring the relationship between speculative fiction and other genres. Here’s how it’ll work: every month, I’ll pick a different genre. And then every Thursday throughout that month, I’ll explore how that genre interacts with speculative fiction, how they feed off of each other and inform each other.
As of right now, the first two of my Crossroads posts are already available. The third will be out this Thursday. In January, I’m exploring the relationship between noir and speculative fiction, and so far this months’ posts are:
|Crossroads: Where Genres Meet in the Night
||My inaugural post at Amazing Stories, where I explain what Crossroads is all about and what the year’s schedule will look like.
|Crossroads: What Is Noir, Anyway?
||This post takes a close look at what characteristics make a story noir, and introduces some of the tensions that exist between the noir aesthetic and speculative fiction.
|Crossroads: A Genre Darkly (available: January 24th, 2013)
||Coming up this Thursday, I take a deep dive into the close relationship between science fiction and noir, exploring how science fiction incorporates noir plot structures and style into its toolkit.
Next week, I’ll be taking a similar deep dive into the even greater challenge of unifying noir and fantasy. I hope you stop by Amazing Stories, and I hope that you enjoy my Crossroads column! I’d love it if you could swing by and join in the conversation.
When it comes to science fiction, there are few names that loom so large as Hugo Gernsback. His Amazing Stories, which hit the shelves in 1926, was the first magazine dedicated solely to the genre: every story it featured was science fiction (or “scientifiction”, as Gernsback preferred – thankfully the portmanteau didn’t catch on). For better or for worse, Gernsback single-handedly shifted the trajectory of science fiction (who do you think the Hugo Awards are named after?).
And now, with Steve Davidson at the helm, Amazing Stories is coming back. On January 2nd, 2013, Amazing Stories is opening its initial (phase 1) beta test.
This is merely the first step in the re-launch of Amazing Stories, for which Davidson has assembled a team of over fifty bloggers who will write weekly across fourteen different categories: genre literature, genre film, art, science, etc. I’ve signed on as one of those columnists, where I’ll be writing weekly under the pen name Chris Gerwel (more on that decision here on Tuesday).
While the first phase will focus on the Amazing Stories’ blog and community, it will be followed by a second phase where user-customization and interactivity features will be added to the site. Once these tests are completed, the magazine itself will re-launch – with new and reprint fiction, artwork, and articles.
Blogging for Amazing Stories is in many ways a landmark moment for me, and I am looking forward to it. I’m especially looking forward to the day when I can let you know my first columns have gone live.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions for you:
- If you want to kick the tires on the new Amazing Stories and participate in the beta test, please e-mail Steve Davidson.
- If you want to see what the new Amazing Stories will look like, you can see two preliminary pre-launch issues here and here.
- If you want to read the full press release, along with the list of Amazing Stories new blog team, you can do so here.