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"Five Thrillers" is "a masterpiece of action"

Speaking of "Five Thrillers," Jason Sanford declared in a review that it is "a masterpiece of action, fast-paced narration, and insightful examination of the attributes which make humans so successful and potentially scary" and added that he’d be "extremely disappointed" if it didn’t end up on many of the major SF award ballots. He also called Maurizio Manzieri’s cover art "mind blowingly great."

So, obviously, for Mr. Sanford, "Five Thrillers" = love. What did you think of it?

Interview: Robert Reed on "Five Thrillers"

Robert Reed–author of “Five Thrillers,” which appears in our April 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story concerns five slices of a famous man’s life. "Joe Carroway is smart and strong, brave to the brink of fearless, and oh, he’s also a psychopath with zero empathy for anyone but himself," Reed said. "Armed with these tools, the man is destined for great things, and a long historic life too."

The story was inspired by Reed’s watching of "a lot" of violent television. "For many reasons, one of my favorite programs has been 24," he said. "When the program is working, one damned thing follows another, and I’m caught up in the flow, trying to guess what happens next."

But of course, 24‘s protagonist, Jack Bauer, is not a real human–no person can do what he does, suffer as he suffers, and inflict his family and lovers with his world, Reed said. "The only way that I can see him being flesh-and-blood is to make him a soulless psychopath and a great actor," he said. "His grief for his dead wife and estranged daughter is what the world expects, and so he shows it to the world.  But one day in this man’s life would crush any normal soul."

So Reed asked himself: "What kind of hero could I borrow from this template?"

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Free Fiction Friday: Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang’s story from our September 2007 issue, “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” was one of the most talked-about stories of the year. It landed on several awards ballots, and is currently a finalist for the Nebula Award and British Science Fiction Association Award. Because of the former nomination, we placed the complete text of the story on our website. Because of the latter nomination, Starship Sofa has made it available as a podcast [MP3 link]. So, pick your poison–text or audio–and enjoy!

The Martian Child DVD Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Jacob P. Silvia whose entry in our The Martian Child DVD giveaway contest was chosen as the winner.

These were the rules of the contest:

1. Pick a story from F&SF that you think would make a great movie. (The story should be one that hasn’t already been adapted to film before. So no remakes!)

2. Choose the director and/or screenwriter for the job.

3. Cast the film.

4. Come up with a nice Hollywood tagline for it.

5. To enter the contest, post a comment to this blog entry with your answers. The winning entry will be the one we feel did the best job playing producer. So creativity counts!

And here’s Mr. Silvia’s winning entry:

Story: "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link

Dir/Writer: Joss Whedon


Fox: varies, but notably Zooey Deschanel
Two Devils: varies, but notably Emily Deschanel
Faithful Margaret: Amy Adams
Prince Wing: Kevin Sorbo
George Washington Statue: CG, Voice by Phil LaMarr
Jeremy Mars: Shia LaBeouf
Elizabeth: Ellen Page
Amy: Kristen Bell
Talis: Summer Glau
Karl: Lee Norris
Jeremy’s Mother: Naomi Watts
Gordon Mars: Brian Huskey (of Sonic Drive-In “married couple” commercial fame)
Vampire: Helena Bonham Carter
Miss Thing: Tim Curry
Tagline: "Are you being watched?"

Great choice, and great casting! From his lips to Joss Whedon’s ears! (Or in this case, from his keyboard to Joss Whedon’s eyes!)

Interview: James Stoddard on "First Editions"

James Stoddard–author of “The First Editions,” which appears in our April 2008 issue–said in an interview that ideas usually come to him over time, making the origins hard to pinpoint, but this story was the exception. “I was walking out of the library at the college where I work, and noticed a display which read: If I were a book, I’d be a library book so I could meet a lot of people,” Stoddard said. “I got two paces past the display and stopped dead in my tracks. I knew I had a story.”

Stoddard knew he had something, but his first fear was that someone had already done it. “I could picture sending it to Gordon and having him respond with, ‘Don’t you realize this was done in an award-winning story in the first issue of F&SF in 1950?’ or some such thing,” Stoddard said. “But I had no recollection of such a tale. The other problem was that I thought that such a grand idea deserved a really good story. All during the writing, I kept asking myself whether I was going in the right direction, since there were so many possibilities from the initial premise. In the end, of course, I could only do the best I could. But beyond my doubts, the story was quite enjoyable to write.”

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