Brendan DuBois’ new novel of alien invasion, Red Vengeance, is out in paperback this month. What you might not know, is that in addition to writing killer SF, DuBois is also an award-winning mystery novelist. Which got us thinking. What character from SF/F would you hire to investigate a crime and why? Let us know in a short (100 words or less) paragraph for a chance to win a signed copy of Red Vengeance. And no fair using characters who are already detectives.
Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award 2017 Goes to Philip A. Kramer
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Announcing the three winners of the 2017 Annual Jim Baen Memorial Award Short Story Contest!
Top Ten Finalists Announced for Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award
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Announcing the top ten finalists for the 2017 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest!
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A new reader guide filled with interesting and provocative questions and notes is now available for Lois McMaster Bujold’s latest entry in her legendary Vorkosigan saga, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. It’s a great way to get discussion started for your book club or online reading group. And it’s also wonderful way to deepen the pleasure of . . . did we say there’s a new entry in the Vorkosigan saga!
Click to download this month’s reader's guide
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“Feldspar” is the grand prize winner of the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award competition sponsored by Baen Books and the National Space Society. Author Philip Kramer, Ph.D. is a biomedical researcher specializing in metabolism, oxidative stress, and aging research. He posts regularly on his website (pakramer.com), which promotes the use of accurate science in science fiction.
Philip A. Kramer
“Bullet Catch” is the first runner up in the 2017 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award competition. Author Stephen Lawson has served on three deployments with the U.S. Navy and is currently a helicopter pilot for the Kentucky National Guard. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, and is an MBA student as well. His writing has appeared in the Writers of the Future Volume 33 anthology, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Daily Science Fiction. He also has a story upcoming at Galaxy’s Edge. Stephen’s blog can be found at stephenlawsonstories.wordpress.com.
The soft Martian regolith shifted beneath the rover’s wheels. The automated systems detected the motion and ceased all forward progression. The rover compiled a diagnostic and sent the packet of data through its antennae to a satellite above the red planet, which relayed it to a distant blue dot.
Eight minutes later, within a studio apartment in San Francisco, a computer console beeped in warning. Blake caught sight of the flashing red light out of the corner of his eye, and his stomach sank. He sprang up from the futon and navigated through the piles of dirty laundry and pizza boxes to the opposite wall.
He sat down in his black ergonomic chair and considered the eighty-five inch screen in front of him. The status window in the lower left quadrant contained a new update.
<NAVIGATION INTERRUPTED_ 30 DEGREE TILT_ TOPPLING SEQUENCE INITIATED>
William Ledbetter is the winner of the Nebula Award for best novelette for his story “The Long Fall Up.” He is the long-time administrator of the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society. Ledbetter has more than fifty speculative fiction stories and nonfiction articles published in markets such as Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Writers of the Future, Escape Pod, the SFWA blog, Analog, and Ad Astra. He's been a space and technology geek since childhood and spent most of his nonwriting career in the aerospace and defense industry. He lives near Dallas with his family and too many animals.
Part 1: Greed
"A rail gun? Why on God's red planet are you building a rail gun?" Patricia asks. She studies me with eyes that are never without mischief.
As much as I wish it would, I know my charm won't work on her. She made it quite clear that she was engaged when we started training for our one year rotation. As such, I made sure to get the requisition form signed by Mars2050's CFO and the outpost commander, Inigo. Patricia isn't handing out freebies from the supply stock.
"It's for meteors, Trish," I say. "There isn't enough atmospheric friction to burn them up like on Earth. I'm trying to ensure the survival of the hub."
She looks over the form, then back up at me with a raised eyebrow.
Bug-Eyed Monsters Versus
the World Builders
I've loved science fiction for almost as long as I can remember, at first just watching old black and white movies like The Blob, Earth Versus the Flying Saucers and The Day the Earth Stood Still on Nightmare Theater, then eventually discovering books and never looking back. It's from that position of love that I'd like to challenge your thinking on one of our most powerful and enduring visions: humans colonizing and adventuring on worlds already filled with exotic alien lifeforms. I do think we will find them, I just don't think we will live on those planets.
I'd read plenty of science fiction before stumbling across Dune when I was a freshman in high school, but it was the first book that truly transported me to new and wondrous worlds. I was stunned by the vast and unforgiving desert world with its titanic sandworms, mysterious sand trout and the human Freman who had learned to live there. As I continued to gobble up science fiction, I grew to realize that my favorite fictional worlds are those that don't exist simply as an exciting backdrop for human adventures, but seemed to have a life and history of their own. So quickly added to that list were worlds like Harry Harrison's Pyrrus from Deathworld, where the entire planetary ecosystem acts as a rapidly evolving immune system to expel the human virus, the intelligent world Solaris and even the thread ravaged world of Pern. And like all fans of this greatest of genres, I was charmed, transported and awed.
But like the humanity portrayed in Childhood's End, we have to grow up. As our tools get better and we explore real alien worlds, we expand our understanding and sometimes learn that our exciting imaginary worlds don't often match up to reality. I remember watching for hours as space-suited astronauts constructed the International Space Station. This was science fiction made real. Humanity was building our first real home in space! Yet most of my friends, many of whom were huge space and science fiction fans, found the process mind numbingly boring. For the population at large, shuttle launches became no more exciting than airliners taking off, and even robotic probes reaching Ceres and Pluto were only momentary exciting news blurbs. Thanks to our amazing rovers and orbiting spacecraft, we found that with no canals, no Barsoom or ancient sandship-riding civilizations, even Mars has become boring to the average Joe.
The Baen Free Radio Hour offers a weekly dose of Baen news, contests, suggestions for developing writers and readers, and, above all, lively discussion with a galaxy of authors, artists, and scientists all around the Baen Books universe. Plus: great audio adaptations of Baen author works, and professional readings of the science fiction and fantasy you love.