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The SFF Chronicles Science Fiction & Fantasy Community

Writing Odd Couples in Fantasy

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I'm writing my second novella featuring my Odd Couple partners-in-mischief/crime - a bouncy little kitsune and grumpy little water elemental - and I'm finding it endlessly amusing to follow them on their adventures and to develop their friendship. (And my writing group finds them entertaining as well.)

Anyone else here who likes writing books and stories featuring Odd Couples?

How do you avoid falling into stereotypes like "a pair of mismatched cops teaming up...

Density of invented words

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I am reading a story were the author (his first attempt to write) use a lot of invented words to name beings, properties and deities. The text is supra-saturated with such words, e.g. the first 2 paragraphs (146 words) he have 5 invented words. The list of invented words grows larger as you advance the reading as does the confusion in my mind.

So, how many words are safe to invent in a story?

Does the length of the story (5k vs 90k) gives you the possibility to...

Review: The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

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I saw this book going for 99p in an Amazon Daily Deal. It didn't look like the sort of book I'd like, but I figured on take a look at the sample anyway.

Chapter 1 was a clear example of how to do infodumping right - just enough context as necessary, with tight writing and pacing. So I read on.

Set on a borderland waste, The Grey Bastards is a generous mix of Western setting in a Fantasy context. But it also has an...

Review: The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge

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The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge is a fantastic story about Iron-Age Britain just before, during, and after the Roman invasion under Claudius.

It mainly follows the fortunes - and misfortunes - of Caradoc (aka, Caractacus) who grows from being a wild youth happy to raid his neighbours, to being weighed down with the responsibility of leading an uprising against Roman occupation. We also follow Boudicca and other...

Circe by Madeline Miller

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First, I should say that this was just (as in this week) voted "Fantasy Book of the Year" on Goodreads. Second, the readers there got it right.

In Circe, Madeline Miller delivers the full package. Compelling characters? Check. Excellent storytelling? Check. Powerful, subtle, simple yet elegant prose? Check. Compelling characters? What, did I say that already? Then let me say it again. In this book, you will be beguilled by Circe as you watch her grow, as...

Bick's thoughts on the Discworld novels

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I was in the middle of reading other books, and had quite different plans, and then I made the mistake of picking up a Discworld book and read a few pages, found myself dragged into it and ended up reading it in a day or so. I then pulled the next one down off the shelf and read that similarly quickly. And now I just finished a third and picked up a fourth. These books are a bit like wine gums or Pringles. Hard to stop. I imagine I'll end up reading a fair...

'What's the blast radius of a supernova?'

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What's the blast radius of a supernova.jpg

Hi there everyone, thanks in advance for your thoughts. Those of you coming at this from the thread ‘fighting fire in microgravity’ will know that my current (much, much, stalled) project is a document to help authors who want to write some (just some!) realistic physics into their science fiction. I do this in-person for a few authors already as I've got good qualifications in physics and space...

Doctor Who (37) 11:09 It Takes You Away.

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I don't care what others say, I loved this episode.

The caves with the Gollum like creature, the fleshing eating flies that reminded me of evil fairies, a mirror portal to a parallel universe, it had an amazing fantasy feel to it.

I really felt for Graham having to give up Grace again. Ryan was better this week, liked the interaction with Hannah.

Best one so far.

December 2018 reading thread

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Another month, more reading. :)

I've just finished The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge, a superb novel about the Britons during the Roman invasion, and the following resistance to it. It was truly enlightening to read about Romans from an outside perspective. I'll be putting a review up for that soon.

I'm also still reading Black and British by David Olusoga - which is proving excellent to dip into on an evening. I'm also still reading A...

December 2018 -- 75-word writing challenge -- VICTORY TO MAD ALICE!

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Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words (that's right, gotta give those extra ten words from last month back!), not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


Mars Rover Testing in the Moroccan Sahara Desert

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This Friday I'll be privileged enough to travel to the Ibn Battuta test Centre in Erfoud in the Moroccan Sahara Desert to support tests for advanced robotic software technologies which are anticipated to be used for Next Generation Mars exploration missions. The tests represent the culmination of four years work on the international R&D programme which has been coordinated by ESA and five national agencies (CNES, ASI, DLR, CDTI & UKSA), and a cluster of...

Do authors take their fans loyalty for granted?

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George R R Martin's new release has made me wonder are authors taking us for a ride?
For example:
The vast majority of us are eagerly awaiting Martin's Winds of Winter and Patrick Rothfuss' Door of Stone, we haven't been waiting a year or two we've been waiting what seems like decades. The release dates keep being changed but it's ok us as fans will still purchase.

Us fans of Thomas Covenant bought the final chronicles even though we needed a dictionary to...

Rebellion Publishing sets up new film studio

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We already have a discussion about a possible Judge Dredd TV series - now Rebellion Publishing have announced they're setting up their own film studio which will be used to film this, along with a Rogue Trooper film:

Rebellion Publishing (@RebellionPub) on Twitter

There's more information on the BBC website...

Space News: Black Holes, Sun's Twin, ISS 20!

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A few small pieces of science news this week that may be of particular interest to our science fiction writers - and anyone else with an interest in space. :)

1. Visualizing a Black Hole

What might a Black Hole look like? A recent computer model provides a suggestion - see above for the image.

More on that here: Researchers have created a virtual reality simulation...

History News: Sodom meteor, Viking Patara, and more!

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1. Air-burst meteor destroyed Sodom?

“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities — and also the vegetation in the land.” - Genesis 19:24–25

An interesting theory put forward this week suggests that a powerful air-burst meteor destroyed settlements around the Dead Sea...

The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Book 1: A Wizard of Earthsea

When Karg raiders attack the island of Gont, the inhabitants of a small village are saved by a young boy who has discovered that he has magical powers. A sorcerer directs him to the island of Roke to there learn the ways of wizardry and controlling his abilities. Ged, as he becomes known, shows great promise but his pride...

Are you addicted to books and reading?

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I have more books than I think I can ever read. And yet - I must have more books.

I struggle to resist 99p ebook sales. I'm subscribed to Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals. I have long wishlists that I check more or less every day to see if any have come on offer.

I must have more books.

I have a lot of unread books on my shelves, all of which I want to read. I just need time to read them.

Yet there are also so many other books out there I really want to...

Space News: Meet the new neighbours, dwarfs, and ghosts

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1. Meet the new neighbour

The big news this week is that Barnard's Star has a planet: Planet found circling neighbouring star

Barnard's Star is the second closest star system to ours, the nearest - Centauri - being a three-star system that was also recently discovered to have at least one planet in it.

What's especially exciting is that Barnard's Star is a red dwarf, which is the most...

Massive archaeology work for HS2 begins

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The big new northern 150 mile rail extension from London to Birmingham has begun - with a mass exploration of archaeological sites along the route: HS2 begins archaeology work exploring over 10,000 years of British history

The government is keen to put a positive spin on this:

- 1,000 archaeologists
- 60+ sites
- 10,000 years of history...

Meat cultures gets US approval as food

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Authorities in the US have approved a system for regulating the sale of meat cultures - ie, meat grown from cells for consumption, instead of from slaughtered animals: US paves way to get 'lab meat' on plates

This has long been a staple of sci-fi, and in theory offers a lot of benefits - land currently turned over for the grazing and feeding of herds might be turned over to other...