Two-Hour Transport: A journey into Seattle’s sci-fi and fantasy community

Seattle’s reputation as a literary town includes an enormous presence in the science fiction and fantasy universe. The great Octavia Butler, author of the Parable of the Sower, penned her works in the shadow of the Space Needle, the city’s iconic landmark. Other authors include Don McQuinn, Cat Rambo, and Shawn Speakman. Lesser known and … More Two-Hour Transport: A journey into Seattle’s sci-fi and fantasy community

Five Questions: D.F. Lovett, author of The Moonborn

I’m excited to welcome to Five Questions Minneapolis-based author D.F. Lovett, who released his debut sci-fi novel, The Moonborn, in 2016. David the head editor and writer for the blog What Would Bale Do, and he writes the acclaimed Reddit novelty account /u/DiscussionQuestions. He has also collaborated on several film projects with the production studio … More Five Questions: D.F. Lovett, author of The Moonborn

How would King Arthur’s knights cope with a climate-changed world?

My wife and I drove from Seattle to Powell’s Books in Portland a couple of weeks ago to satisfy an itch. At this point, I’ve written three novels and eight shorts in the world of Carbon Run, but the project has run its course. Is there another way to explore the idea of a post-global … More How would King Arthur’s knights cope with a climate-changed world?

Five Questions: Sabrina Chase, author of the Argonauts of Space series

I’d like to introduce you to Sabrina Chase, a Seattle author whom I met through one of my writers groups. She gave a fascinating talk about how to successfully publish as an independent. It can be very rewarding, but it’s a lot of work, she says. Sabrina is the author of the Argonauts of Space … More Five Questions: Sabrina Chase, author of the Argonauts of Space series

Author Mem Fox and Donald Trump’s chilling of America

The recent mistreatment of Australian author Mem Fox by US Customs and Border Patrol heralds a little-discussed effect of President Trump’s plan to shut the door on immigration. Her detention by CBP could have a chilling effect on the cross-fertilization of ideas that makes open societies so powerful. As Trump attacks illegal immigration, he is sending … More Author Mem Fox and Donald Trump’s chilling of America

Five Questions: Aaron Ward, author of Upriver, Downriver

I’d like to introduce Aaron Ward, a debut author who has independently published Upriver, Downriver, described by one Amazon reviewer like this: “The phrase ‘coming of age’ is slapped onto so many lukewarm portrayals of growing up these days, but this story nails it.” Aaron kindly answered all of my “Five Questions,” which is a … More Five Questions: Aaron Ward, author of Upriver, Downriver

Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and the veneration of veterans

The election and inauguration of Donald Trump has left-leaning book lovers scrambling for analogous stories in fiction. Most have cited George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, both dystopian novels. A few have pointed to Robert A. Heinlein’s science fiction novel Starship Troopers, because of long-standing criticisms of what some believe is its … More Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and the veneration of veterans

Five Questions: Kevin D. Aslan, author of Encore

I’d like to introduce Kevin D. Aslan, a debut author who is self-publishing his fantasy novel Encore as a serial. Encore follows Leo Melikian, a smart but naïve 25-year old in the south of France who discovers he’s suddenly living each day twice: Monday followed by Monday, Tuesday by Tuesday, and so on. Kevin agreed … More Five Questions: Kevin D. Aslan, author of Encore

Overheated: A weak narrative undercuts the urgency of climate change

Climate change is one of the most difficult subjects to tackle, and I admire any writer who attempts it. Though the reality of climate change is not in doubt—repeat, NOT in doubt—so much of its impact is speculative. Scientists can predict the rise of sea levels, the melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice, more powerful … More Overheated: A weak narrative undercuts the urgency of climate change

For me, 2017 will be the Year of the Contest

I’ve been writing professionally for thirty years, and I’ve tended to see entering contests and competitions as a chore. I’m not sure why, except that I’ve never liked competing against other people, preferring to compete against myself. I like to push myself on and on, to see if I can beat my last personal best. … More For me, 2017 will be the Year of the Contest

I must be crazy, because I’m a college student again

View this post on Instagram Thanks to my sister Steph for the writing tools, which I'm using in my networking classes at South Seattle College. ** #seattle #college #computers #computerscience #writing #notes #oldschool A post shared by J.G. Follansbee (@jgfollansbee) on Jan 13, 2017 at 11:32am PST Last October, I wrote about my layoff from … More I must be crazy, because I’m a college student again

Five Questions: Elizabeth Guizzetti, author of The Grove

I’m starting a new occasional feature on my blog called Five Questions. I’ll ask an author five interesting questions and post their answers. Check out the answer for the bonus question! My inaugural guest is Elizabeth Guizzetti, a personal friend whom I met through a sci-fi and fantasy writers group in Seattle. Elizabeth loves to … More Five Questions: Elizabeth Guizzetti, author of The Grove

Star Wars: Rogue One has a peculiar relationship with death

Warning: Lots of spoilers. The movie Star Wars: Rogue One is a fun way to pass a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon, especially if you’re a kid without much exposure to the Star Wars franchise. For anyone who has a bit more experience with the series, or who thinks much about storytelling, the … More Star Wars: Rogue One has a peculiar relationship with death

Despite Trump’s denialism, 2017 could be a bright spot in the fight for planet Earth

I’ve taken inspiration from climate change. As a writer who loves speculative fiction, everything from Star Trek’s optimism to Margaret Atwood’s dark literary visions, I see global warming as fertile ground for storytelling. You might even say I’m taking advantage of the worst crisis to hit planet Earth in three million years. That only counts … More Despite Trump’s denialism, 2017 could be a bright spot in the fight for planet Earth

Aliens, linguistics, and disruptive storytelling make Arrival must-see sci-fi

We rarely think about our relationship with time. Life is just one damned thing after another. One word follows another. Cause and effect follow the arrow of history. What if you had a different relationship with time, one in which you perceived past, present and future happening at once, so that you know the future … More Aliens, linguistics, and disruptive storytelling make Arrival must-see sci-fi

Poll: Will you see Arrival or Rogue One over Christmas weekend?

Do you like to take family and friends to a movie over Christmas? Science fiction fans have two great choices: Star Wars: Rogue One and Arrival. Rogue One, the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. Arrival, a first contact story, stars Amy Adams as Louise Banks. You can’t … More Poll: Will you see Arrival or Rogue One over Christmas weekend?

Ted Chiang’s sci-fi genius arrives with laser-like precision

Possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Arrival. The release of the movie Arrival last month prompted my interest in Seattle science fiction writer Ted Chiang. He has published only 15 short stories, novelettes, and novellas in print, including “Story of Your Life,” the inspiration for Arrival. He’s won Nebulas, Hugos, and host of other … More Ted Chiang’s sci-fi genius arrives with laser-like precision

You can remember John Glenn by watching this 2005 British TV series

The death of Sen. John Glenn on December 8 brought to my mind the extraordinary achievement of his three orbits around the earth on February 20, 1962. He was the last survivor of the Mercury astronauts, the seven American test pilots who risked their lives to prove that humans could travel and work in space. … More You can remember John Glenn by watching this 2005 British TV series

Help! I need to update my author tagline. Please take this survey.

In today’s publishing market, every author needs a tagline, three to five words that give readers a sense of what he or she offers. This is especially true of unknown authors (like me), and it’s time that I update my tagline to reflect what I hope to offer readers in 2017. I have a few … More Help! I need to update my author tagline. Please take this survey.