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How important are character names?

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I'm writing a YA fantasy novel, which takes place in a world where the geography, weather, laws of physics, etc are the same as ours but with different flora and fauna. There are magical and fantastical elements as you would expect and the characters are human. My characters have fairly normal English names, e.g. Scarlet Brand, and now, about half way through the first draft, the main characters have really grown into their names (at least in my head).

I'd...

Game of Thrones gets prequel: now a franchise?

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As revealed yesterday, Game of Thrones may be about to get it's first spin-off series.

Already a pilot for a new TV series, set 10,000 in the past, has been green-lighted by HBO for production.

But according to George R R Martin, this is merely one of five concepts that he's pitched - and while one has...

Alpha Centauri might be habitable after all

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A long-term study of Alpha Centuari has dispelled fears that life couldn't survive in that star system.

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory made observations every six months from 2005, and discovered that the radiation wouldn't be so bad as originally expected.

At around 4 light years away, Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to Earth. It comprises three stars: Alpha Centuari A...

Is Lucasfilm killing Star Wars?

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I hope you can forgive the rambling nature of this thread (I have an unfocused and somewhat simple mind.)

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago on why Lucasarts failed. It cites indecision, constant changes in direction, no leadership amounted to the closing of possibly once of the best gaming companies ever and I wonder if we're watching the demise of Star Wars.

Four movies in and...

Review: Goblins at the Gates by Ellis Knox

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Goblins at the Gates is an odd book that mixes fantasy with Roman Historical Fiction. I expected a lighthearted romp, but the book quickly showed itself to be a far more serious work. There's something of L Sprague de Camp in a David Gemmell story to this, which is both a positive and a negative.

The setting is well-realized, with some great attention to detail in terms of historical accuracy - you know the author's done their research when you laugh at...

All my Amazon reviews have disappeared!

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Yep, all the reviews I've ever posted to Amazon have disappeared. I'm not sure why - I noticed last week, and my initial feeling was that it must have been an IT error.

However, Gathering has just lost a review as well, so I wonder if Amazon has a new algorithm for cracking down on "fake" reviews - and it's throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

I don't see how I could possibly have broken Amazon's rules, though perhaps being the first reviewer on a...

Review: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

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Mapping the Interior is a horror novel in the vein of Stephen King. In other words, it’s disturbing, fantastical, psychological and compelling. Set somewhere in the American midwest, the story is told by Junior, a young, Native American boy who is trying to make sense of his dead father’s nightly visits.

Given that Junior is twelve-years old, the novel is also, in part, a coming-of-age story and the supernatural horrors of the novel are almost secondary...

The Survivors Series - Nathan Hystad

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It's an exciting week for me! I have released the 3rd book in the Survivors series! To celebrate, I have books one and two for just $0.99 each

If you haven't tried them yet, now's the time.

The Event $0.99 everywhere
New Threat $0.99 US and UK
New World

It's been a whirlwind of a few months for me, and I suddenly have 4 novels...

Review: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Humanity has reached levels of technology that are verging on godlike and now, having found no other life in the galaxy, they are using those abilities to really play god; attempting to raise Terran monkeys to full sentience on a terraformed planet far from Sol. Meanwhile back at the solar system humanity’s continuous bickerings really do look like they might put an end to the human race this time. Leaving only a few humans on Earth reduced to savages clawing...

Review: Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

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Arafura and Adrana are teenagers who don’t much like their family life and so decide to run away and join a solar light sail powered spaceship, make their fortunes and return to bale out their impoverished father. That’s the idea anyway; of course nothing ever works out quite according to plan.

This is a strange mishmash of a book. It feels, particularly at the outset, as those it is striving for a young adult audience but later loses that early atmosphere...

Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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Young Rosemary is running away from a nasty family secret and joins the crew of a wormhole construction spaceship. An individually dysfunctional crew who, of course, gel together into a formidable team. They have been given a dangerous job that’s going to bring them lots of much needed funds but first they have to get to the angry planet and it’s a long way….

This is a difficult one to review; if all you are after is a fun, light, character driven bit of space...

Review: Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell

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It is right and proper that we recognise mastery of a craft in someone, but sometimes it can lead to overlooking the person's other skills. Take David Gemmell. Everyone knows about his ability to write action scenes, to convey the psychology of violence and depict the tough yet principled characters that bring it all to life. Yet Midnight Falcon, while not being short of the above, achieves its greatness and emotional impact for its portrayal of alienation...

"Moonstar Odyssey" by David Gerrold (1977)

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Moonstar Odyssey by David Gerrold (1977)

This unusual science fiction novel takes place in the far future, on a planet of another solar system which was settled by humans many generations ago. Before humans arrived, it was an airless, bone-dry chunk of cratered rock. Now, after terraforming, it is a world of shallow oceans dotted with small islands (the peaks of the craters.) The planet's temperatures are kept within a livable range by a series of...

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