102 Genre Interviews

Hi everybody. As anticipated, my recent move from Italy to Dublin to take up a demanding new day job has greatly cut down my blogging activity. But there’s a post that I simply must write.

Anyone who is familiar with my blog will know that from December 2014 to July 2015, I published a large number of interviews with science fiction and fantasy bloggers, podcasters, magazine editors and Youtubers. The series of 102 interviews took me – in the virtual sense – all over the world. Today I am finally getting around to reflecting a little on all those questions and answers.

Clovian soldier on guard (from "The Hidden Face")

Undercover in southern Germany

My focus initially was on bloggers and magazine editors, the two categories with which I was most familiar. I later included podcasters and Youtubers who talk about books – they call themselves “booktubers”. These new categories gave me – and I hope my readers as well – a lot of useful information about how podcasts and Booktube work. They also made me aware of how divided SFF fandom is, particularly as regards Booktube.

Before starting to interview some tubers, I shared the common prejudice that people talking about books on Youtube are always teenagers enthusing about Young Adult fiction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a strong community of serious, knowledgeable SFF fans on Booktube. Booktube is also the one area of SFF fandom that appears to be dominated by women.

If you have not already done so, read my interviews with some of the tubers, or find them in the list of blogs I follow on my front page. Giving a bit of attention to Booktube is one of the aspects of the interview series I am most proud of.

One of the simply most pleasing aspects of the series was getting to know – at least in the virtual sense – lots of cool people with a passion for reading science fiction and fantasy. I hope that many of them will remain online acquaintances for a long time to come.

Although the 102 interviews cover a wide spectrum of fandom, they do not of course include absolutely everyone. In many cases, that is because the interviewee declined to participate. Some people have been surprised to learn that fans might turn down the chance to talk about themselves and their passion. Surprising, perhaps, but true. Some bloggers may have been genuinely simply too busy. I invited equal numbers of men and women to be interviewed, but a greater number of women declined. That might be sadly understandable when they receive a message from a man they do not know, or know only virtually – the internet in general probably would show similar tendencies.

A more surprising aspect, though – and one that can tell us some important things that are specific to blogging and related activity – is the number of refusals or non-responses from interviewees operating outside what I would call the mainstream. By “mainstream”, I mean the activity of focusing largely on new or recent releases by major publishers and/or well-known writers. It was important to me to cover that mainstream world, but I also wanted to give space to those who choose to concentrate on a very specific or minority aspect of SFF. Many – fortunately, not all – of the non-mainstreamers declined. That is a shame, but probably consistent with the choice of following a totally non-commercial, private passion.

(from "The Changeland")

Searching for non-mainstream blogger hermits

Interestingly, I managed to lure out of retirement some victims of “blog burnout” who still had just sufficient energy to talk about it. Like me at the moment. “Temporary life burnout?” Not catchy, but very common, I am sure.

Will I do more interviews in the future? Possibly. I would be interested in re-visiting certain interviewees who have taken a new direction or started a new initiative. In the first series, I tried to give space to new players, so that would be a constant. Also, there might be a new invite for those who recklessly declined first time around.

Will I revisit the first series to provide more analysis and impressions? I would like to, although I would also like to blog about other things. So, possibly… .

Back to the Land of my (great-great-great-grand) Fathers

There are big changes underway here at SCy-Fy. To take up a new day job I have just moved countries, from Italy to Ireland. My family left Ireland four generations and 160 years ago and I am the first to return.

To celebrate this, the look of the blog has changed from Italian azzurro to the black and white of Guinness beer. Cheers! 

I am now living in Dublin, a city founded by my distant ancestors more than a thousand years ago:

Skallagrim in Ventaburh (2)

Arriving by boat last week. The fashions may have changed…

Day job pressure and life changes will make my blogging and social media activity irregular for a while, but I haven’t forgotten you all!

Interview with The Quiet Fantasy Book Blog

Today’s guest is Ferg at the Quiet Fantasy Book Blog.

SCy-Fy: How do you plan your posts, Ferg?

QFBB: If I am doing a review, I plan out my thoughts on paper first. I have a simple format, breaking down the book review into four categories: likes, dislikes, thoughts and summary. If I have the time, I will come up with my own book blurb; I like to think it adds a personal touch to my review.

If it’s a blogging day, I have a more haphazard approach. I find a topic or random idea – be it about TV, film, a book or a game – that sparks some thought and then mind bump onto the page, refining as I go along. I am not a daily poster, but when I do post I like it to be interesting.

SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives?

QFBB: To keep it simple and stick to what I enjoy; more reviews, blog posts and sundry. I want to increase my author interviews. If I am reviewing a new author’s novel, I like to reach out and bundle an interview together with the review; that way I can provide the reader with as much information as possible. Throw in some further games, add in some more of my own writing and hope to keep the site interesting enough for people to keep reading.

SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?

QFBB: Sitting here on my pedestal, riding the crest of the wave of my own grammatical awesomeness…it’s easy to pontificate, so I am afraid I will have to hit the button on the Grumpy Old Man machine.

I feel the biggest challenge past and future has been content, sentence form and grammar on a website. I make mistakes like anyone else (probably more than I even know), but many new blogs I come across fall into the abbreviation-and-slang space and make it really hard to want to come back for a revisit. If I am going to visit a site, I really don’t want to have to have my decoder ring alongside me to read what is written (I know, it’s a little preachy, so apologies). If I am reading your site, be as lengthy or as brief on a topic as you like, but for the love of the Grammar Gods, at the very least read The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

SCy-Fy: Tips for bloggers? For writers?

QFBB: To the bloggers: find one topic that you love or that inspires you. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, just something that’s fun and engaging to you at that moment. Get your voice out there; it doesn’t matter if you are the only person to read it. There is an undemanding joy in the words and in putting them to paper (metaphorically).

I started my blog because I love to read and wanted to get my inner voice out. WordPress and other services like it make it easier than ever to bring those thoughts to a wider audience. Be your own voice, blog.

To the Writers: I would not say I’m overly qualified in this area, but if I could say one thing on the topic: read 78 reasons why your book may never be published and 14 reasons why it just might by Pat Walsh. There is wisdom, understanding and some harsh medicine within those pages.

SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?

QFBB: Sorry, no secret, just a well-used truism, something we have all heard before from our parents or teachers:

If you do not ask, you cannot receive.

It’s not much, but it is powerful. The simple act of asking can be terrifying, but ultimately liberating. For example, you want to review books, you have started with the books you already own and you have your own blog, but you want more, maybe to get out to a larger audience. One option is to contact the larger review sites, the sites you read yourself and ask them if they need reviewers; there is no shame in asking and while some may say no, it only takes one to say yes.

Remember, No is only a word. Just because you have been told “no”, it does not mean you have to quit; it may mean that you simply need to change your approach and/or readjust your own expectations, but keep plugging away, persistence does pay off.

SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?

QFBB: There are ways to make blogging a business and for some this can work, but for most of us this is about having fun, getting your ideas and thoughts out there for the love of the process, not for the gain it can give you. Start with this in mind and if you can take it forward into a business, all the better. You want people to read your blog: the best approach, I think, is to be your own voice, and let yourself shine through.

SCy-Fy: Things that keep you going?

QFBB: The words, the feeling I get when I see people are reading my posts, whether it’s one person or a hundred. It makes me happy

Also, I enjoy helping to promote authors, small and large. Writing is a tough game to get into and a tougher game to stay successful in. Helping those authors puts a smile on my face, so when I can, I promote authors I have been familiar with, have reviewed or interviewed. Every little helps, they say.

SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?

QFBB: I love a good Fantasy Epic and have read a lot recently, A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall being the last. It’s up there with Sanderson for its Epicness, but I will always have a place in my heart for the one day-ers, those books you can sit down and read in a day. My favourite author of these has been and still is Simon R. Green. I am currently reading my way through the Secret History novels at the moment and loving them. But, having previously read the Nightside books, I knew I would. His dark humour just hits me every time.

SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?

QFBB: I am and always will be a massive Terry Pratchett fan and his loss lessens the literary world for me, so I am really looking forward to the release of The Shepherd’s Crown, the final Discworld book. I even went so far as to write my own farewell fiction after his passing.

SCy-Fy: Thank you, Ferg.

QFBB: Thank you!

Interview with Let’s Read

My guest today is SFF BookTuber Brock from Let’s Read.

SCy-Fy: How do you prepare for a show, Brock?

LR:  First I have to make sure certain people are unconscious, meaning I put the kids to sleep. The room where I shoot doesn’t receive much light at any time of day, so a few work lights are a must. Twenty minutes to set up stands, camera and check audio and everything is good to go.

Wait. Focus. I’m paranoid about lens focus, so I’ll check that, then check everything over three or four more times. This may not be the best moment to realize I do this. Tag videos are usually run and gun except where I need to retrieve a specific book from storage. Reviews are scripted because I don’t want to forget specific points. Lastly, I’ll have a little dance party to get my energy up.

SCy-Fy: Other than increasingly wild dance parties, what are your future initiatives?

LR: I’d like to place a heavier emphasis on book reviews. Originally the plan was to make only book reviews, but since they take longer to create, I started to focus on the more improvised tag style. They are incredibly fun to do, but those videos are more about me and less about the books. I’d love to place more focus on the stories we all get to enjoy.

Books are strange to review on video because it’s harder to have content to cut-away to. When people are critiquing movies, they can show clips from the film, which grants a lot of freedom for pacing and emphasis. With books you can’t cut to a shot of a character or showcase moments because it’s written on a page. There are ways of doing this through illustration and graphics, but the added production time isn’t always cost effective. I’m experimenting to find ways of achieving this and fitting it into the time I have available.

There’s a specific video series I have an idea for, but it will take a lot more planning before it’s ready. It’s the real reason I started BookTube.

SCy-Fy: Sounds intriguing! What do you think will be the major challenges for BookTube in future?

LR: The emergence of BookTube as another form of reputable review. I suppose that’s less of a challenge and more of a progression as time goes on. The personal vlog component is the lifeblood of this community and will always be there. Half in the Bag, Folding Ideas (Dan Olson), Loose Canon (Lindsey Ellis) Extra Credits: I’d like to see some videos move in the direction of those creators.

This may be my own perception, but I think one challenge is interaction with those who aren’t BookTubers. A lot of the dialogue takes place with other BookTubers, but very little conversation comes from those who aren’t making videos.

SCy-Fy: That is a point I have become aware of during this series of interviews…

LR: I’d like to see the community extend its reach to those who just enjoy watching without everyone feeling like they need to make videos in order to be heard. I think we’re all pretty happy to talk with everyone about books.

SCy-Fy: What advice would you give anyone presenting?

LR: Don’t worry about saying everything. Early on, I didn’t want to cut out sentences because I was afraid of losing meaning. Then I started to notice I said the same thing a different way elsewhere, so I’d cut it out. Those points were strengthened by removing the extra line. It shortens the video and concentrates the information into a more digestible chunk. Taking out repetitions made the point stronger and allowed me to get to the next point. You’ll notice I repeated myself a lot there. You see! The power of editing helps.

SCy-Fy: I will leave that unedited to make your point! Your most useful resources?

LR: I’m a pretty open book. I’m inspired by the video makers I mentioned before. The font I use came from the cover of Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook. I’ve not read the copy I own, but gosh do I love that font. I guess that’s my big secret.

SCy-Fy: Points to watch out for?

LR: There’s pressure to upload videos all the time, especially when others can make them so rapidly. It’s hard not to feel left behind in that kind of a scenario. I’ve had to remind myself that it’s okay because no matter what, I’m doing what I can. Make videos on your own terms, not to the unspoken mantra of “Make More Now.”

SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?

LR: Making videos keeps me going. Before BookTube. I was making films out of College but work demands shifted how much time, effort and organization I could put into personal projects. I had the choice to work myself to death or retain my sanity. BookTube helped me to express myself in a way that fit my schedule.

SCy-Fy: The most popular show you’ve presented? Your personal favourite?

LR: The review of Andy Weir’s The Martian has done very well. I think that owes more to the book being popular rather than anything in the video. People who are looking for reviews just happen to find it, I suppose. My personal favourite is The Doctor Who Book Tag. It was more work than usual, but I’ve always liked the flow of it. It has glimmers of the direction I’d like to go with my videos more consistently.

SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?

LR: Among Others by Jo Walton and Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold. I was not prepared for how good they are. Fantastic stories about youth and parenthood. What’s magical is that you don’t need to be a genre fan to read them. They’re powerfully universal.

SCy-Fy: Which books are you most looking forward to reading?

LR: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. He thinks on a whole different level and his books reflect that. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong. His horror is something else so, I’m curious to see what he does in a different vein. Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie.

SCy-Fy: Thanks, Brock.

LR:  Thanks for having me! Really appreciate the blog and everything you do. Hold up. Does anyone ever ask you questions? Who is someone you want to interview, but haven’t yet had the chance? Favourite book so far this year?

SCy-Fy: As for these “question” things: there are quite a few genre people who have not accepted my interview invitations – you know who you are! I am in a phase or re-reading classics at the moment, so my favourite book read this year is Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Wow – answering is so stressful! I never realized… .

Interview with Luke Brown (SFFWorld)

Welcome to the 100th in this series of interviews with science fiction and fantasy bloggers, podcasters, booktubers and magazines. That’s a lot of questions and answers! Thanks to all the interviewees and also to all the readers who have followed me.

There’s a heat wave in Europe at the moment, so I have drifted down to wintry Australia to meet blogger Luke Brown. Luke is part of the reviews team and a forum moderator at SFFWorld. He also maintains a separate blog at Tangle of Dendrites and tweets using @luke.brown2.

SCy-Fy: Tell me about a typical blogging day, Luke.

LB: A typical day starts with an email from Nila White asking me to contribute to an article on the (unofficial) top 20 dog breeds as voted by SFFWorld discussion forum members. Most of the members have specified “epic” dog breeds followed by “male only” in parenthesis. When it’s pointed out there might be some biases worth examining in their choice of dog breeds, most members start arguing against charges of sexism while writing two thousand word critiques setting out the evils of affirmative action.

I then make my way over to have a virtual cup of tea with Mark Chitty. But first he has to dig himself out from under the heavy pile of Peter F. Hamilton books that have fallen on him and buried him in the night. We talk like old boy Tories at each other for a while, laugh and regret the passing of the good old days, when science fiction was fun and mindless entertainment, unbothered by the starving minority groups clawing at its front door, slap each other on the knees in a purely platonic and heterosexual manner, and continue on our merry separate ways.

SCy-Fy: Pass us a virtual beer, will you, mate? Good old Victoria Bitter will do.

LB: Here you go. At some point in the day I will cross paths with Mark Yon, who’s actually quite mad, you know? At some point in the past somebody has convinced him that he’s a little blue monster trapped in a place called Hobbit Towers with an addiction to something called hob-nobs. I usually just humour him, make sure he’s comfortable with his back to a wall at all times, so he doesn’t get too agitated. The key is to assure him that Ash by Mary Gentle is a really good book. No, Mark, it really is. Greatest book ever.

Finally, Rob Bedford comes by, late as usual, cruising along in his own time zone. Rob’s seen more on Twitter these days, gloating about how he’s drinking the latest brew of Danziger Joppenbier or some similarly obscure ale. Despite the fact he’s got a foot in the door with some of our bitter rivals over at SFSignal, he reassures everybody at SFFWorld they’re doing a great job, but nobody understands him because he’s speaking American (except Nila, but we don’t understand her either).

While all this is taking place, Dag Rambraut watches over us from a balcony dressed like Takeshi Kaga, taking a single bite of a raw red capsicum and chewing lustily, before throwing it away and picking up another from a big sack at his feet. Every now and again he stops this bizarre ritual to laugh maniacally.

I imagine this is fairly typical for most SFF bloggers, though.

SCy-Fy: I’m sure it is. What are your future initiatives?

LB: I only rolled a 6, but I get a +1 for my Dexterity, so that makes a 7.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. My main objective for the near future is to keep trying to improve my review writing. It’s a skill, and like all skills it gets better with practice. I’ve only been in this game for about 6 months now, and I’m still trying to find that sweet spot for me between investing my limited time and energy into something which is a hobby and ensuring that I am producing a quality and entertaining product. I look in awe at people like Abigail Nussbaum and would love to be able to do what they do – inject more intellectual criticism into my reviews. I don’t feel I have the time or toolkit to do that at the moment.

I also have to admit that you are responsible for a little reading project I’m contemplating. A Twitter conversation I had with you, Rob Bedford, the G and Stefan Raets has got me thinking of doing an Iain M. Banks reread and review. It’s been over ten years since I read some of the earlier novels in the series and I really should revisit them. I also nominated his Culture series as my favourite in a recent thread over at SFFWorld, so a re-read might well be in order. But I shouldn’t make reading plans, because whenever I do I never end up following them.

SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?

LB: The number of easily accessible platforms on the Internet these days means that the biggest challenge is competing over the noise to get heard. That’s why I wanted to join a team like SFFWorld when I started blogging. This means I’m contributing to a blog that already has an audience and reputation. Even better, I don’t have sole responsibility for keeping material regular and current on the blog.

SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?

LB: I have the The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by Peter Nicholls and Trillion Year Spree by Brian Aldiss. Both are terribly outdated, but they make me feel much more learned and wise than I truly am. I also find The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn to be a very useful resource. The Locus Science Fiction Awards Database and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database are also indispensable resources for me. My most vital resource, however, are my fellow SFFWorld reviewers, who provide constructive feedback and quality assurance on all my reviews.

SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?

LB: Turning something that should be fun into a chore. Taking yourself too seriously. Losing perspective.

SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?

LB: I can’t say I’ve had too many hard times, but I really enjoy being part of the team at SFFWorld. While we often have different views and come at books from our own unique perspectives, there’s a great sense of collegiality and support.

I also enjoy the feedback from authors on my review of their books. Obviously, writers often welcome observations about strengths of their books, but I’ve even had some writers agree with me and thank me for my comments on the weaknesses in their books.

I also received a signed hardback of Touch from Catherine Webb with a lovely thank you for my review of that book, which was very rewarding.

SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?

LB: I really liked Touch by Claire North (pseudonym of Catherine Webb), Half the World by Joe Abercrombie and The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. I’ve already read and reviewed Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, which is excellent. I also thought Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road was an amazing debut.

SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?

LB: I am excited by two forthcoming books that will mark the end of a couple of awesome trilogies: like the rest of SFF blogosphere I’m looking forward to Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie; and the other one is Half a War by Joe Abercrombie, a writer who gets better with every book.

SCy-Fy: Thanks, Luke – now I better head back to the northern heat.

LB: I just want to thank you for this opportunity, and for running a blog that acknowledges and celebrates the hard work put in, and the excellent quality of work being produced by, many SFF bloggers. A tip of the hat to you, sir!

Interview with Joe Sherry (Adventures in Reading)

I’m talking with Joe Sherry, who has been writing for far too long at Adventures in Reading. His reviews and articles have appeared in Fantasy Magazine, The Sacramento Book Review, and Speculative Fiction 2014.

SCy-Fy: Joe, you are one of the veterans of genre blogging.

JS: Let’s just say that I’ve been doing this for a long time. I started Adventures in Reading eleven years ago, which only seems long when I stop and think about everything that has changed.

There have been lots of changes in my personal life, almost all for the better, and the nature of the blogging landscape is just different. Bigger. Different. Many of the other blogs I read, followed and interacted with are long gone. Some are much quieter. A few are still around and kicking, though they’ve changed. In blog years, I think I’m past retirement age. At the very least, my joints creak if I blog too fast.

SCy-Fy: How has your approach changed in that time?

JS: I wrote about everything when I started. I don’t think I covered video games, but I wrote a lot about movies and books. Over time I shifted the priority to being about books, and primarily about science fiction and fantasy. I read a touch more widely than that, but I’d rather write about the genre than about general literature. Mostly.

I would review everything I read, but eventually that became a chore. Several years ago I asked to be removed from publishers’ mailing lists. As much as I enjoyed receiving free books in the mail, I wasn’t reading most of them and when I started reviewing less and less it didn’t feel right to accept these books that I would never review, let alone read. It wasn’t fair to the publisher and it was a waste of their money. Now I just write when or if I have the motivation to do so.

SCy-Fy: Was there a particular moment when things changed for you?

JS: When I realized I didn’t have enough interest in reviewing or even writing about A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, I knew I was done. I just was not willing to close the blog down yet, so every now and then I would hit a spurt where I would write a couple of reviews, write an essay or two on a topic that was burning in my mind, or maybe just post a list of what I was reading.

I’m never going to get back to where I was years ago, when I reviewed or wrote about everything I read, and then wrote essays about the topic of the day. I’m just not there.

While I still read as much as I did before, I just don’t want to write about it as much anymore. But somewhere in the back of my head, I enjoy keeping it going; but more at a keep-vein-open rate.

SCy-Fy: So what’s next?

JS: I hope to finish my Hugo Award reading so I can turn in a solid voting ballot. Then I’ll complete my write-ups for each category and follow it with an essay of some length about my overall thoughts on the awards and the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies mess – but in relation to the actual nominees, and after having taken the time to work through them all. Once the Hugos are done, I look forward to the World Fantasy Awards and I hope to have enough blogging energy to write about those.

SCy-Fy: Discussion on awards has been one of your favorite topics for a long time…

JS: It has. Even before I began to actively participate in the Hugo awards, I followed the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. I think I have just enough space in my head to follow those three. Initially they provided a great reading list of books and stories that could potentially be considered some of the best the genre had to offer each year.

No award is perfect, and they are reflective of the organization giving them out and also of the process by which the nominations and final votes are tallied. I find myself looking into the World Science Fiction Society’s constitution far more often than I would have imagined and likely more often than most people who aren’t an active part of running the WSFS would ever consider doing. The WSFS is the organization that runs the Hugo Awards and selects the sites of Worldcon.

But besides basic awards nerdery, I like what the awards can do – which is to begin and continue a conversation among readers about what stories and books are the best and also to provide an opportunity for discovery. They can serve as introductions to all sorts of authors and books I never would have discovered otherwise, and that’s pretty cool.

SCy-Fy: You talked before about your own changing approach. What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging generally?

JS: Platform and visibility. There are countless review and commentary blogs and I only know of the ones that feature writers I’ve been aware of for years. Everything I say here is specific to the corner of the SFF online community that I am aware of.

Things may be different on other islands, but from where I sit, the popular and active single-author blog is disappearing or becoming less relevant overall. The best of those writers are getting picked up at larger sites and, presumably, getting paid (even if it is a small amount). That’s where the articles and essays that are being talked about occur, but then the conversations are happening on Twitter and elsewhere, not in the comments sections. Not usually, anyway.

So the challenge is how diffuse the online conversation is becoming and, if this is important to you, how to raise your profile enough that you become visible and can engage your writing with the larger conversations.

SCy-Fy: Tips for bloggers?

JS: Simply understand what your goals are and stick to what will help you get there. If you enjoy it, write. If you don’t…don’t. Blogging isn’t a competition. Also, be honest. Don’t be a jerk.

Don’t try to be something that you are not. Write what is authentic to you. Write for yourself, because if you don’t, you’re not going to keep at it.

SCy-Fy: What are you currently reading?

JS: I’m working through a series re-read of the Deryni novels from Katherine Kurtz; that’s the first time I’ve read some of those books in twenty years or so. The first two (Deryni Rising and Deryni Checkmate) very much hold up.

I’m also working through my Melanie Rawn re-read and am in the middle of her Dragon Star trilogy (Dragon Token is the next one up).

SCy-Fy: What have you enjoyed reading recently?

JS: Jim Butcher’s Skin Game was a very pleasant surprise. I had never read Butcher before and jumping in with Book 15 is a questionable decision, but even though I can imagine just how much I missed, it worked very well on its own.

I’ve enjoyed Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombies series, Eric Flint’s 1632, Rachel Bach’s trilogy beginning with Fortune’s Pawn. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Signal to Noise is not to be missed. I read Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood several months ago – I highly recommend that one, too.

SCy-Fy: Which books are you most looking forward to reading?

JS: I’m looking forward to some of the more obvious choices: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, the next Kameron Hurley, the new Scalzi, anything Elizabeth Bear publishes (I’m behind and need to read One-Eyed Jack and Karen Memory).

But many of the things I’m really looking forward to are just the books taking up space on Mount To-Be-Read: Larry Correia’s first Monster Hunter book, more Deryni, more Elizabeth Moon, Kate Elliott, Katherine Kerr, a Jennifer Roberson re-read, catching up with Myke Cole, Brian McClellan, and James S.A. Corey. Or, everything.

SCy-Fy: Is there a consistent approach to reading in there?

JS: There is: read widely. You never know who your new favorite writer will be, and sometimes finding out will surprise you.

SCy-Fy: Thank you, Joe.

JS: Thank you!