October Newsletter: A Night of Local Horror, HonorCon, and (in November) William Gibson, NC Comicon, and NC Speculative Fiction Night

Vol 4. No 10. October 27, 2014: Well, this newsletter is coming quite a bit late in the month, but we’ve got plenty to show for it, both in the rear-view and coming up in late October and early November including visits from Timothy Zahn, John Barrowman, and William Gibson, and! the first NC Speculative Fiction Night event in quite a while. First, a quick look at some highlighted upcoming events:

Tuesday, Oct 28, Motorco Music Hall hosts "A Night of Local Horror" featuring 10 local short films. 7 pm. 

Tuesday, October 28, Durham’s Motorco Music Hall hosts A Night of Local Horror [Facebook] featuring 10 short horror films from local authors including the local premiere of “Disengaged,” the follow-up to FOODIE and the world premiere of Roger Paris’ “The Vampire”. Tickets are $5 and the doors open at 6 pm.

October 31 through November 2, sf convention HonorCon in Raleigh with guests David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Keith DeCandido, and Emmett Plant. “Celebrating Military Science Fiction Literature and Honor Harrington’s 21st Birthday.” At the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown. Per a Facebook update, “Ticket Sales have been extended through Sunday, October 26th until 11:30pm! There is still time to get your tickets, so sign up! We have David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Keith DeCandido, and some people from Baen books who will be bringing up the Baen Road Show!”

 

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September newsletter: John Hodgman, tiltExpo, HMLT, Stuart Rojstaczer, Kim Harrison, John Darnielle, The Escapism Film Festival, Scott Westerfeld, and more!

Vol 4. No 9. September 5, 2014: The first Friday of the month has no fewer than five events to pique your interest, and the first week of the month has already brought the first of five six! seven! new books by North Carolina authors that will hit stores in September.

Let’s start with those events happening today (Friday, September 5):

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  • While most festival events are on Saturday and are free, the Bookmarks Festival in Winston-Salem, NC does have a pair of ticketed “Eat and Greet” sessions on Friday, with authors Lisa Leake and Rita Mae Brown. (The Saturday lineup includes Lev Grossman, Tiphanie Yanique, Maggie Stiefvater, Morowa Yejidé, Margaret Stohl, and Jen McConnel, among many others.)\
  • Running Friday through Sunday,  The Escapist Expo returns as tiltExpo — “Triangle Game Initiative (TGI), producer of the East Coast Game Conference – will bring a new consumer event, tiltExpo, to the Durham Convention Center this September 5th, 6th, and 7th.” Guests include Bob Chipman, Chewie Slate, Rich Perrotta, Mating Habits of the Modern Geek, and the UNC “Humans vs Zombies” team, and programming includes open gaming, panels, a costume contest, and an accompanying music festival.
  • At 7 pm, DSI Comedy in Chapel Hill hosts a superhero-themed night of improv battle: “This Friday, six courageous comedians (Power Up!) will face their arch-nemeses Pantie Raid in an epic Cage Match battle! Using a super power based on YOUR suggestions, watch as they soar to new heights of comedy. Will our heroes emerge victorious in their fight against their lingerie-loving foes? Only YOU can decide.”
  • At 8 pm, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern presents “HMLT: a version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet” at Durham’s Oval Park outdoor amphitheatre (1100 Oakland Ave) at 8 pm — “With a focus on the disintegration of two powerful families, Little Green Pig brings its signature intensity to Shakespeare’s masterpiece about the pathology of denial.”
  • Also at 8 pm — The Carolina Theatre of Durham presents John Hodgman with special guest David Rees: “John Hodgman is a writer, humorist, geek celebrity, former professional literary agent and expert on all world knowledge. He was the bumbling PC in Apple’s long-running “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC” ad campaign.”

And before I get to the new books and other news, here’s a sampling (for the full listing, see further down) of events further ahead this month: Read the rest of this entry »


August Newsletter: Mur Lafferty wins the Manly Wade Wellman Award; events with Charles Soule, Lev Grossman, and John Scalzi; more news and links; and an announcement on the future of Bull Spec

Vol 4. No 8. August 14, 2014: Well, it was bound to happen. In about a year of monthly guest hosting on Carolina Book Beat, I hadn’t had a podcast fail. Well, it happened in early July, as guests Wilton Barnhardt and Jeff VanderMeer were really quite fantastic, but if you didn’t catch it live, you missed it. Mea culpa.

July was a banner month for events, with Barnhardt, Jay Posey, VanderMeer, Lydia Netzer, Deborah Harkness, D.B. Jackson a.k.a. David B. Coe, and Mur Lafferty all holding events, not to mention new sf convention ConGregate in Winston-Salem with guests of honor Larry Correia and Toni Weisskopf, where Lafferty was awarded the first Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy for her novel The Shambling Guide to New York City. Lafferty writes, “It was a huge honor to win, and an even bigger honor to be the first recipient.”At the same awards ceremony, Rich Sigfrit won the Cornerstone Award for his 10+ years of contributions to Carolinas fandom.

 

Speaking of awards, Natania Barron (for her Pilgrim of the Sky Live video reading series) and Tony Daniel (as host for Baen Free Radio Hour) were nominated for Parsec Awards, along with Bull Spec “alum” Tina Connolly (for her Toasted Cake speculative fiction podcast). Honoring excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, the awards will be presented at Dragon*Con. Read the rest of this entry »


June newsletter: MakerFaire, Noir at the Bar, ConTemporal, and the last week for Manly Wade Wellman Award nominations

Vol 4. No 6. June 6, 2014: First, it was pretty amazing to see so many fantastic NC authors and fans at ConCarolinas last weekend. (And, OK, sure, those coming in from out of state as well!) June is a bit quieter in terms of readings, though (of course) there’s still plenty going on, from Maker Faire this weekend to ConTemporal to close out the month, and the first “Noir at the Bar” event on June 19 with a half-dozen (and counting) crime novelists holding court.

Looking further ahead, while there’s rumor and word of a D.B. Jackson signing at Quail Ridge Books in July, I don’t have the final details to pass along just yet. But! The “NEW” event listings include the annual “Can’t Stop the Serenity” charity screening of the Firefly movie in July and not one but two readings with John Scalzi in late August.

Meanwhile, new bullspec.com content (other than a few “Friday Quick Update” posts) since the last newsletter includes:

And, speaking of Durham author Monica Byrne, she was my guest on The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Monica Byrne which is now available in podcast. There’s one more night to catch her play Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo at Durham’s Manbites Dog Theatre, and she will be at McIntyre’s books on Saturday, June 14.

Lastly, I need to draw your attention to nominations for the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award, which have been extended through Friday, June 13. If you are or were a member of illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, or ConGregate, you are eligible to vote! If you haven’t, please fill out the registration form and I will get your e-ballot to you as soon as I can.

-Sam

UPCOMING EVENTS, JUNE 2014

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May newsletter: Mary Robinette Kowal tonight (Monday), new books from David Drake and Monica Byrne, ConCarolinas with George R.R. Martin, and more

Vol 4. No 5. May 12, 2014: Whew! In a month which kicked off with readings from Alena Graedon, Jay Posey, and Christopher Moore, Free Comic Book Day festivities and a “May the Fourth Be With You” burlesque, and when there’s a reading TONIGHT from Mary Robinette Kowal, I’m quite a bit late on the May newsletter. Better late than never?

Let’s start with the new books. The first week of April brought a crop already covered in the April newsletter, and the rest of the month saw two more local releases: Mistress Of Land And Sea by Betty Cross (Double Dragon eBooks) and Morningside Fall by Jay Posey (Angry Robot), both sequels to previous books. Meanwhile, earlier this week saw the publication of David Drake’s The Sea Without a Shore, the latest (and tenth!) in his Lt. Leary space opera/adventure series from Baen Books.

mistressoflandandsea-510 MorningsideFall-144dpi drake-9781476736396

Speaking of Baen Books, in partnership with the Indianapolis-based Gen Con gaming convention’s Writer’s Symposium, Baen has announced a new writing contest for adventure fantasy, the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, for short stories under 8000 words “centered on adventure fantasy short stories, whether epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, or contemporary fantasy.” Writers, take note! Also for writers, NC authors Nathan Ballingrud (whose collection North American Lake Monsters was just nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award) and Dale Bailey are among the workshop instructors for LitReactor’s The Horror, The Horror: Writing Horror Fiction with Substance which starts June 2 and is currently accepting signups.

On to events! Two readings on my calendar this month, starting tonight (Monday, May 12) at 7:30 pm, when Quail Ridge Books once again hosts Raleigh native Mary Robinette Kowal — who took the time for a Coming to Town interview — for her latest Glamourist Histories novel. This time it’s Valour and Vanity, described as “Jane Austen’s Ocean’s Eleven … with magic” — a heist novel complete with an edge-of-your-seat gondola chase through Venice. Then, (almost) to close the month on Wednesday May 28, Durham author Monica Byrne launches her debut novel The Girl in the Road at The Regulator Bookshop at 7 pm.

Valour and Vanity The Girl in the Road

New events in the listings since the last newsletter include Jeff VanderMeer in July and Lev Grossman in August, as well as a “Video Games Live: Bonus Round” concert by the NC Symphony in June.

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April Newsletter: NC Literary Festival tonight (w/ Lev Grossman) through this weekend; Ann VanderMeer brings time travel to Flyleaf Books on April 21; so many new books; and (in May) Christopher Moore and Mary Robinette Kowal

Vol 4. No 4. April 3, 2014:

April is here, and, finally, so is Spring — hopefully to stay this time. March was quite a month, with a large helping of new books and several fantastic events, and April is off to a cracking start with a full handful of more new books and another round of can’t-miss events, starting today, Thursday April 3, with Lev Grossman at the North Carolina Literary Festival at 7:30 pm, reading at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library Auditorium at NC State’s Centennial Campus, and continuing all weekend including Junot Diaz (Friday, 7 pm), Karen Joy Fowler and R.L. Stine in a special Monti storytelling event (Friday, 8 pm), Karen Joy Fowler and Therese Anne Fowler (Saturday, 11:30 am), Nathan Ballingrud, R.L. Stine, and Peter Straub (Saturday, 12:30 pm), John Kessel and Peter Straub (Saturday, 3:30 pm), a “Literary Fantastic” panel (Sunday, 2 pm, with Kessel, Ballingrud, Dale Bailey, and Richard Butner), and many and much more for readers of all ages.

There are some new events coming up as well, including: Flyleaf Books hosting Ann VanderMeer on Monday, April 21; Quail Ridge Books hosting Mary Robinette Kowal on Monday, May 12; book launches from local authors Jen McConnel, Jay Posey, and Monica Byrne; and too many more to list up here, so do check out the complete listings below.

Speaking of new books, something is absolutely in the air (and likely water) here, as March and April are absolutely packed with NC-authored science fiction and fantasy. How many? Here’s March: Mur Lafferty’s Ghost Train to New Orleans; Jenna Black’s ResistanceJen McConnel’s Daughter of Chaos; Margaret Killjoy’s A Country of Ghosts; and Scott Nicholson’s After: Milepost 291.

  
  GP

And already out in April? Asheville author Alexandra Duncan’s debut novel Salvage; Charlotte author Gail Z. Martin’s Reign of Ash; and the essay anthology Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction co-edited by (ex-Durham, sadly) Gerry Canavan. In addition to new books, there are plenty of new editions as well, from a newly-announced special limited definitive edition of Lewis Shiner’s Glimpses from Subterranean Press, to ReAnimus Press editions of Allen L. Wold’s backlist, to a mass market paperback edition of Tony Daniel and David Drake’s The Heretic in Drake’s “Raj Whitehall/The General” series. And speaking of Tony Daniel, his radioplay adaptation of Eric Flint’s novella “Islands” is set to be recorded this weekend, with a fantastic cast, if I do say so myself.

Glimpses Signed Limited Edition (preorder) cover  Islands Poster

It’s also been a near-banner month for new web content at bullspec.com ranging from reviews to interviews and guest columns and more: The Exploding Spaceship Release Day Edition (a day late in US and a day early in the UK): Reviews of Emilie and the Sky World and the 57 Lives of Alex WayfareComing to Town: Kim Harrison for The Undead Pool, interviewed by Sharon Stogner; The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Some Recent Good Urban Fantasy Reads: The Cormorant, Black Arts and Ghost Train to New OrleansThe Exloding Spaceship Reviews Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi and The Eidolon by Libby McGuganThe Hardest Part: Mur Lafferty on Ghost Train to New OrleansLocal book release: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnelPaul Kincaid’s From the Other Side, March 2014: The Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist, Diana Wynne Jones’ The Islands of Chaldea, Ken MacLeod’s Descent, and Nick Mamatas’ The Last Weekend; and The Hardest Part: Alexandra Duncan on Salvage.

Lastly, while we celebrate the future of reading at the NC Literary Festival this weekend, the NC Science Festival is also ongoing through April 13. Signature events (among hundreds of talks and hands-on science exhibitions!) include: Thursday, April 3, Neil deGrasse Tyson at NCSU’s Hunt Library Auditorium; Wednesday April 9, ESPN’s Sports Science Host John Brenkus at UNC’s Memorial Hall; and Sunday April 13, Mary Roach at The Carolina Theatre of Durham. It’s a fun time to be in NC!

-Sam

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UPCOMING EVENTS, APRIL 2014

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March Newsletter: Margaret Killjoy, Mur Lafferty, Kim Harrison, The Manly Wade Wellman Award opens for nominations, and (in April) the NC Literary Festival

Vol 4. No 3. March 4, 2014:

Welcome, a bit belatedly, to March! The most recent Friday “Quick” Update has so much info that I don’t want to swamp this newsletter in repeating all of it, but in short it covers some new content at bullspec.com (new The Hardest Part essays, Coming to Town interviews, Paul Kincaid’s From the Other Side column on British sf, and the latest The Exploding Spaceship reviews column) as well as some new books (Allen L. Wold just published a new collection A Closet for a Dragon: and Other Early Tales, and Scott Nicholson just released The Narrow Gate: A Supernatural Thriller) and comics (Vandroid #1 by Tommy Lee Edwards and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2 by Jeremy Whitley).

Among other news from last month, some highlights:

  • Mur Lafferty was featured in USA Today for her podcasting; look for more there about her forthcoming book, Ghost Train to New Orleans, soon. Speaking of Ghost Train to New Orleans, it was named a Best Bet for March speculative fiction in Kirkus Reviews. You can read an excerpt of the book already, ahead of the print, ebook, and audiobook release TODAY, and the local launch party at Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books on Thursday night. (And! I talkied with Mur on Carolina Book Beat on Monday morning at 10 am on WCOM-FM; look for the podcast of that broadcast soon.)
  • The NC Literary Festival announced lineup additions to their April 3-6 roster, which already included (among many others) Junot Diaz, Karen Joy Fowler, Peter Straub, R.L. Stine, John Kessel, William Barnhardt, Daniel Wallace, Therese Anne Fowler, and many, many more including Bill Ferris, John Claude Bemis, and Zelda Lockhart. The additions? No less spectacular, including (again, among others) Lev Grossman, Nathan Ballingrud, Richard Butner, Richard Case, and Allan Gurganus. Yeah, wow.
  • Eryk Pruitt‘s forthcoming debut novel, the “Southern Fried crime noir” Dirtbags, has a new trailer.
  • The Duke Chronicle’s Annie Piotrowski wrote an absolutely fantastic article on three Triangle-area small press magazines, one of which was Bull Spec, for which she took the time to have a phone conversation with me. I really, really love how it turned out.

Some “new” news to pass along as well:

  • The North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation announced that nominations are now open (through Friday, May 2) for the  2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy, along with an updated final nomination list which includes 69 novels.
  • Natania Narron’s “live reading” of her novel Pilgrim of the Sky stands at nine episodes so far: http://www.youtube.com/user/pilgrimofthesky
  • Gabriel Dunston has started shipping out Kickstarter reward copies of Purgatory Pub! Yeah!
  • Stephanie Ricker is one of five winners of Rooglewood Press’ “Cinderella” writing competition, with a space-set short story “A Cinder’s Tale” set to appear in the forthcoming anthology Five Glass Slippers.
  • Richard Dansky’s Tumblr of “People Doing Terrible Things to My Book” now features a video of me chainsawing his novel Vaporware in half, filmed by Geek Field Guide’s Warren Schultz. Yes, it does.

In terms of upcoming events, there’s quite a lot going on in March and early April, including a reading tonight at Internationalist Books and Community Center on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, by SteamPunk Magazine founder Margaret Killjoy of his forthcoming anarchist utopian novel,  A Country of Ghosts, praised by Kim Stanley Robinson as “An exciting and mysterious novel, a story of war and love.” Killjoy was kind enough to take the time for an interview for bullspec.com‘s “Coming to Town” series, which I hope you will find interested as well. Next up later this week are (on Thursday) Mur Lafferty’s launch party for Ghost Train to New Orleans at Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books and (on Friday) Quail Ridge Books hosts Kim Harrison for The Undead Pool.

Lastly, I want to (again) highlight the 2014 North Carolina Literary Festival, or “NC Lit Fest”, which this year is held at NC State on April 3-6. It’s a smorgasbord of awesome, from visiting authors (Junot Diaz, Peter Straub, Karen Joy Fowler, Lev Grossman, on and on) to North Carolina’s own (John Kessel, Daniel Wallace, Nathan Ballingrud, Richard Butner, on and on). Do keep an eye out for the schedule later this month and see if anything strikes your fancy. I’m sure it will strike mine,

-Sam

MARCH 2014

4 — Local book release day for Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides) by Durham’s Mur Lafferty (Mar 4, 2014).

NEW: 4 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Internationalist Books and Community Center hosts author Margaret Killjoy to talk about his forthcoming utopian anarchist sf novel A Country of Ghosts, praised by Kim Stanley Robinson as “An exciting and mysterious novel, a story of war and love.” More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1411094312476615/

5 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Ishmael Beah – ‘Radiance of Tomorrow’. (Fiction.)

6 (Thursday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Mur Lafferty discusses her fantasy novel Ghost Train to New Orleans.

7 (Friday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Kim Harrison for The Undead Pool. More info:http://www.quailridgebooks.com/event/theundeadpool

11 — Local book release day for Resistance by Jenna Black.

NEW-NEW: 13 (Thursday) 7 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts Kenneth Calhoun for Black Moon, his novel imagining an insomnia epidemic. More info: http://regulatorbookshop.com/event/kenneth-calhoun [how did I miss seeing this in my almost-weekly perusal of local bookstore calendars?!]

NEW-NEW: 15 (Saturday) 4:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts a “Divergent” fan party to celebrate the film adaptation of the popular YA dystopian novel.

16 (Sunday) 3 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Richard Peck – ‘The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail’. (Kids.)

17 (Monday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts the “Three Nightmares You Can’t Resist” tour with authors Kristen Simmons, Mindee Arnett, and Jenna Black. More info:http://www.flyleafbooks.com/event/three-nightmares-you-can%E2%80%99t-resist-tour-featuring-kristen-simmons-mindee-arnett-jenna-black

NEW-NEW: 21-23 (Friday to Sunday) —  Atomic Empire hosts a 3-day “Magic the Gathering” tournament, Magic: Eternal Weekend V: The Atomic Empire Strikes Back.

NEW: 21-23 (Friday to Sunday) – Mad Monster Party Charlotte with William Shatner, Hulk Hogan, and more: http://madmonster.ticketleap.com/mmp14/

NEW-NEW: 23 (Sunday) 7:30 pm — Carrboro’s All Day Records hosts INVERSIONS 2 with readings and spoken word performances by V. Manuscipt, E. Viszk, Brian Howe, and Mildew Ethers.

25 — Local book release day for Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel.

NEW-NEW: 28-29 (Friday and Saturday) — Statesville, NC’s Mitchell Community College will host the 2014 Doris Betts Spring Writers Festival on Mar. 28 and 29. One of the guests is N.K. Jemisin, “an author of speculative fiction short stories and novels. Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, her work has been nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award and has been shortlisted for the Crawford, the Gemmell Morningstar, and the Tiptree. Her short fiction has been published in Clarkesworld, Postscripts, Strange Horizons, Baen’s Universe, Ideomancer, Abyss & Apex, and print anthologies.” More info including free registration for the Saturday morning writers workshop: http://www.mitchellcc.edu/news.cfm?Action=Det&ID=361

28 (Friday) 7:30 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Meg Wolitzer – ‘The Interestings’. (Fiction.)

APRIL 2014 Read the rest of this entry »


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