In This Issue: William Forstchen, David Edison, Ramona Wheeler, and more!

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February 3, 2014
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On Building a Pillar to the Sky Quotes from the End of the World The Angel Angle YA Grab Bag Sweepstakes More Stories...

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More Stories Congratulations to Linda Stasi, whose novel The Sixth Station was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award! Check out an interview with the Queen of Steampunk, Cherie Priest. Brian Staveley cut 100,000 words from The Emperor’s Blades? That’s a whole novel! Find out more tidbits from his reddit AMA. Given a little extra time, perfectionist Michael Whelan made some beautiful revisions to the cover of Words of Radiance. Plus, you can read three new Words of Radiance excerpts on Want to learn from a SFWA Grand Master? Read an interview with Michael Moorcock.
On Building a Pillar to the Sky
by William Forstchen

The idea of a space “elevator,” or “pillar,” originated in the early 20th century, when the pioneering Russian theorist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky laid out the math for chemical rockets to achieve orbit. Even then, Tsiolkovsky saw the fundamental flaw: the amount of energy, to achieve orbital velocity and the ratio of weight of fuel to functional payload, was absurd, and if ever achieved would be incredibly expensive. Right now it runs close to ten thousand dollars for each pound of payload lofted to low orbit, compared to less than two bucks per pound to get you across the Atlantic or Pacific. Also, at the time Tsiolkovsky figured out the math, no such rockets existed and there was doubt one could even be built.

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Quotes from the End of the World
by David Edison

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” -Cicero, circa 43 BCE

An epigraph is a helluva thing: it can establish tone, mood, mise-en-scene, perspective; can replace exposition, and can turn a told story into a discovered story—all from a snippet of an external voice and the power of suggestion, and all before the story, book, or chapter even begins. When it comes to world-building, the epigraph downright teraforms.

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The Angel Angle
by Ramona Wheeler

Three Princes is set in a world “where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire.” The alternate history genre is often associated with magic and mythology, and there is magic in this novel, although you might read to the end without noticing the swish of a wand, or a wizard lurking in the background. The magic is ancient Egyptian magic, a subtle and mysterious kind of power—the power that built the Pyramids.

There has always been a hunger in the world for great magicians. The past century has seen the rise of many: Lennon, King, Mandela, Obama… There is no explanation for the power and impact of these people. There is no logic in the faith of their followers. It is not about logic. It’s about magic.

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