Saturday, May 21, 2011

Guest Post by Amy Kathleen Ryan + Giveaway: Signed ARC of Glow

Hi everyone! I fell asleep early last night and I wasn’t able to post this. Sorry for the delay!

It’s finally Friday/Saturday which means that summer classes are over! I’ll be reading Possession, Solstice, Exodus, Zenith, Blood Red Road, Dark Inside (of there’s still time) and maybe some of the books Kai featured!

Science Fiction is your Friend

Take a look at the following list, and try to pick out which of these novels is science fiction:
Utopia, by Sir Thomas More, (published in 1516)
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, (1818)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain (1889)
I’ll come clean. That was a trick question. They’re all science fiction. In the first, a traveler alights on a previously unknown world to find fantastical delights of new technologies and ingenious methods of ruling and controlling the populace. The next is about how a mad scientist goes too far, with disastrous consequences. And the last one tells the story of a time traveler from the future confronting the irrationalism of a bygone age. Some of you might have been thinking, “But those are works of classic literature, not science fiction.” My response would be, “Why can’t they be both?”

It’s a joke among science fiction writers that once sci-fi gets super awesome, the literary establishment reclassifies it as “literature,” as if science fiction couldn’t be literary. Titles like Orwell’s 1984, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Huxley’s Brave New World are appropriated by the stiff-lipped literati with the explanation that, “They’re not about technology.” When someone says this to me, and they say it all the time, I know that I am speaking with a person who has never read serious science fiction. Otherwise, they would know that science fiction is never about technology. Like Austen’s genteel English countryside, like Melville’s threatening gray-dark seas, like Pasternak’s frigid Russian steppes, technology provides the setting for science fiction, and nothing more. Lately people are crazy for fiction about future dystopias like The Hunger Games. Let's not forget, though, that dystopian fiction has always been a subset of science fiction--perhaps the most interesting one. And if we think about our favorite dystopias, when have they ever been about the technologies of oppression that make the stories possible? Never! Dystopian fiction is about how the individual struggles against that oppression. (Perhaps this is why the genre seems to appeal to geeks and nerds.)

If science fiction, (or dystopian fiction) isn’t about technology, then, what is it about? That depends on the writer. For Kurt Vonnegut, science fiction is about the absurdity of having a rational mind in an irrational universe. For Octavia Butler, it’s about the individual struggling for meaning against changing circumstances she is increasingly ill equipped to understand. For Bradbury, it’s about the confusion of holding onto one’s identity against the insane backdrop of an unpredictable world. But ask another reader about these writers and you’ll get a different answer. Like all great fiction, great sci-fi examines the human condition through its own specialized lens.

Well then, is sci-fi character driven, like all great literature? That would be the question of the fiction writer with a freshly acquired MFA diploma tucked under her tweed-bedecked arm. I’ll answer that question when someone can provide me with a satisfactory explanation of what “character driven” means. Does it mean that nothing ever acts upon characters from the outside world? Are there no wars, no random events, no chance encounters in character driven fiction? This would disqualify Leo Tolstoy and Victor Hugo, so that can’t be right. I admit to being purposefully difficult here, but it’s to prove a point. It is true that in science fiction, characters find themselves acted upon by events external to themselves. This is inevitable, because otherwise what would be the point of the rocket ships, the time machines, the alien invaders? But that doesn’t mean that science fiction writers are creating uninteresting, two-dimensional characters. The good writers, like Philip K. Dick, create characters that are morally complex, often unlikeable, and usually much more fascinating than their futuristic backdrops.

Another common complaint about science fiction is that most of it isn’t very good. To this I would counter by paraphrasing science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon: “Of course ninety-percent of science fiction is crap. Ninety-percent of everything is crap.” There are plenty of examples of science fiction that just don’t cut the mustard. They’re silly stories about boring people doing unbelievable things in an unfamiliar setting. But every so often, along comes an Ursula Le Guin or a Doris Lessing to elevate the genre to something sublime. How common are the great writers in mainstream fiction? Not too common either, I’d say.

The best science fiction creates an unfamiliar context in which the writer can explore big ideas about human society and the individual’s place in it. Great science fiction is philosophical, psychological, and political. Think of George Orwell’s 1984 and the way members of his dystopia were being observed by a panoptical infrastructure and manipulated by carefully designed sound-bites. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale created a society that combined many of the indignities suffered by real women all over the globe in order to expose the psychological effect of strict gender roles. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World imagined a milieu where people were so softened by instant gratification that they were incapable of tolerating emotional pain, and so they were equally incapable of experiencing joy. Each of these writers was looking at the changing world around them, recognizing how it was affecting themselves and their fellow human beings, and writing about it. This is the essence of dystopian fiction, the heart of science fiction.

This is why I am proud to call myself a science fiction writer, let the establishment be damned. My humble little novel, Glow, which is book one in the forthcoming Sky Chasers series from St. Martin’s Press, (September 2011) will participate in that under-appreciated science fiction tradition, pitting the individual against a dystopia in a way that reveals something interesting about the society we live in today. Whatever genre I'm writing, I try to be as literary as I can be, and so I hope that at least some people will see my books as "Literary Science Fiction," a term I believe has been sorely lacking in our discourse.  During Dystopian Domination, let's all embrace that poor abused term, science fiction! Let's re-appropriate it for ourselves. Let's appreciate the great works of literature sci-fi has given us! In other words: Geeks of the world unite!!!

Amy Kathleen Ryan is the author of GLOW, book one in THE SKY CHASERS trilogy, (St. Martin’s Press, September 2011) She is also the author of Vibes and Zen and Xander Undone. She lives in Colorado with her family. Visit her website at

Giveaway: Signed ARC of Glow

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.


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  1. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

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  2. Thanks for the giveaway! Can't say I read the guest post word for word, but it was really informative. :)

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    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway!

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads
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    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  4. Awesome guest post, thanks for sharing! :D And I also just have to say that I am absolutely smitten with the cover of glow, I just love it! :D The book sounds pretty great too. ;) lol

    I'm a GFC follower :D

    +2 I Follow Amaterasu Reads (.ambur.)
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    Thanks for the chance to win a signed ARC of Glow! :D

  5. Nice post! I'm looking forward to this one.


  6. Follow via GFC quixoticdreamer

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  7. Thanks again! I love dystopian, so I'm glad to add another to my TBR pile.

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    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. Hi, this is awesome...thanks for making it international!


  9. I so want to win this! Thanks for the chance!

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    Tnx again!

  10. I want to read this!

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  11. Thanks for the fantastic giveaway and AMAZING guest post! I never knew science fiction dated so far back! I'm not all that big of a fan of sci-fi til Dystopian Era took over Vampire Era, some of my favourites books are dystopians!!! Can't wait to read Glow ( beautiful cover!!)

    GFC Follower

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    Badass Bookie xx

  12. The guest post is a nice article, I think.

    +2 Following Amaterasu Reads (GCF: ivanbookworm)
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  13. Thanks for the great blog post and giveaway!
    Science fiction has always been one of my fav genres and yes, it's sometimes hard to classify books - are they sci-fi, or more like dystopia, etc. Many great novels span the genres and that's great :-) !

    danaan at gmx dot at

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  14. I love dyspotian series.


  15. Excellent Post!

    +3 Button on my blog
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    Nickey @ The Book Shop Assistant

  16. Thanks for the guest post and giveaway! As someone who's actually read more of the older sci-fi - as in all of the ones mentioned at the beginning of the post - I love it when authors reference those books!

    I follow both this blog and Amaterasu Reads.

    susanna dot pyatt at student dot rcsnc dot org

  17. I re-read over the guest post and all I can think is Yes! Yes! Yes!

  18. Thanks for the giveaway.

    It sounds like a darker and more compelling story like Across the Universe.

    I would like to read it.

    I follow Amaterasu Reads


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  19. thank you for the giveaway!!! :)))

    old gfc follower of fragments of life - adrianga
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  20. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    ERIN x

  21. GFC follower

  22. Hi!! Thanks for another wonderfull chance =) I'm really new with all the sci-fi genre but lately thanks to a good friend, I've started to really enjoyed. I'll give it a try to this one!!

    GFC Follower of both blogs =D

  23. I am a follower!

  24. Oops. I forgot to say that I follow Amaterasu Reads as well.

  25. Thanks for the giveaway!!
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

  26. Thanks for the giveaway.
    I always thought that science fiction was character driven, so to speak, as a lot of books are. I had an english teacher one who said that the characters aren't important in science fiction because it's really about the world and ideas but I kind of disagree. Any type of book can have good and important characters and some of the science fiction I've read has.

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  27. I'd love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway!
    +2 follow Amaterasu Reads
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    erinberry12 at charter dot net

  28. Oh, I really want to read this book! Lookin' forward to it...

    Email: ckeaton (at) gmx (dot) com

  29. Fantastic post on the science-fiction genre! I am super excited to get my hands on Glow. It sounds amazing and the cover is gorgeous!

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    Thank you!

  30. +1 Thanks so much for hosting this giveaway! please enter me, I'm a new follower :)


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  31. Great giveaway! I would love to win this!

    spread here

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  32. awesome giveaway
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads
    GFC-Ioana Lacatusu

  33. Excellent post. I have this confusion with sci-fi / dystopian. For example I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis and my first thought was that it belonged to sci-fi (probably because it was about a spaceship). But then I started to think that it would also be dystopia...

    I'm a follower via GFC as GABY. magabygc aT

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  34. This sounds interesting! I think I have seen quite a few bloggers talking about it. Great giveaway!

    +2 for following Amaterasu Reads
    +3 for posting the Dystopian Domination button on my blog (

    Thanks for the chance!!


  35. OMG! OMG! One of the best covers I've seen this year! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    girlaboutbooks at gmail dot com

    Thanks again!

  36. Sounds great

  37. Thanks for the giveaway!
    GFC - Memrie

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  38. Awesome most for the SCIFI lovers! This book sounds great and thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC Follower: Kristen- Seeing Night
    Twitter Follower- Seeing Night
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  39. I'd love to win a copy of this book! sounds really interesting!

  40. Glow sounds amazing!!

    I'm a follower
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    m_laura28 at yahoo dot ca

  41. Thanks for the giveaway
    Follow on GFC
    jenhedger at hotmail dot com

  42. Glow sounds completely unlike anything I've read before, fingers crossed! :)

    kate1485 at

  43. Glow.
    That's an awesome as title.

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

  44. Hi, Precious
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    I love dystopian novels.
    I like the cover.

    GFC follower = Adriana
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  45. Thank you so much for this giveaway :D

    +2 for following both blogs
    +3 for blogging
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  46. +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    +3 post our Dystopian Domination (the code is at the top right corner of my blog)

  47. Thanks for the giveaway!

    +2 for following both blogs


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  48. Love the cover. It's so gorgeous! Thanks for the giveaway :)

    +2 AR follow - GFC name is Lisa
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  49. Sounds very interesting and it has a pretty cover!

    GFC Follower - Gabbie
    +2 Follower of Amaterasu Reads

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Thanks for the giveaway!


  52. Thanks for another contest. sharonluvscats at gmail dot com

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  53. The cover reminds me of Matched, which was awesome. Looking forward to reading Glow. Love that it will be a series.

    GFC: Candice
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    candicerjames (at) gmail (dot) com

  54. Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a follower of both blogs.

  55. enjoyed reading this post about science fiction, especially the part about 90 per cent!
    Bmcbroom @
    Am a follower here
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  56. Ooh I like the cover for that one! :)

    GFC follower
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  57. Thank you for the giveaway! =) Big hug for making it international! =) =)

    I follow your blog publicly via GFC (Nikita)

    +2 I follow Amaterasu Reads (Nikita)
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    +3 You can find the blog post about this giveaway here:
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  58. I really really would love to read this book... fantastic cover...

    thank you for the giveaway :))

    GFC follower

  59. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    I follow as Krostína Gotthardová

  60. This sounds great! I'm a GFC follower: A.J.

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  61. +2 I follow this blog & Amaterasu Reads with GFC.
    +2 I tweeted:!/book_mistress/status/74935223523086337
    +3 Button on my sidebar:
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    Miss Lauren @ The Book Mistress

  62. The cover intrigues me. Please count me in!

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    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  63. This book sounds soooo good :) its been on my wishlist for a while. Thanks for another great giveaway!

    GFC - Beckyinwonderland

  64. Ahh l so want to read this. THANK YOU!!

    I am an old follower =)

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  65. Great giveaway. I am GFC as misadevilgirl


  66. GFC follower(jennifer)

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    jlkalman26 at gmail dot com

  67. Thank you for the giveaway! I'm an old GFC follower and I'm an old follower of Amaterasu Reads. :)

    imagesandwords at optonline dot net

  68. I'm an old follower.(Karla Vollkopf) ;)
    Thank you for the intl giveaway! Sounds like a fantastic dystopian! *-*

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  69. +2 I'm an old follower of amaterasu reads.(Karla Vollkopf) ;)

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  70. +2 I tweeted:!/vollkopf/status/75601020083912704

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  71. I follow your blog, thanks.



    annabell_lee_dk (at)

  72. Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a GFC follower: TheReadingOwl
    Email: readingowling(AT)gmail(DOT)com
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  73. i have to say not usually a reader of "science fiction" but this book has everything i love in a book: suspense, a good storyline and romance! can't wait to read it!

    GFC follower: celebrie2

  74. Thank you SO, So much for this giveaway !


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  75. This book sounds really good!


  76. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm a GFC follower (Thais).

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads (Thais)
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  77. I do like Trilogies. This looks like a great series.

    Follow GFC Mary Preston

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  78. Thanks for the giveaway. This sounds like a great read.

    nadz_nnr AT hotmail DOT com

  79. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm a follower : Papillons132

    tati132 [at] live [dot] fr

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  80. Sounds brilliant! Definitely adding this one to my TBR List! I'm a follower, please enter me!

    +2 Following Amaterasu Reads



  81. Please enter me in the great giveaway!

    Folling on GFC as Nina C
    Email is tribb99(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

  82. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! You're the best!

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    crazypplrok at gmail dot com

  83. awesome giveaway!!


  84. GFC follower (Dovile)

    +2 follow Amaterasu Reads

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  85. GFC follower of both blogs! as Jadey!

    Sidebar and button -

    Thanks for these giveaways!


  86. I'm a follower Fran, thank you!

    lemondedefrancesca at

    +2 I'm following Amaterasu Reads (Fran)
    +3 I have blogged this
    +3 I've post the Dystopian Domination button on my blog

  87. I'm a GFC follower and here's my email id - paromitagupt(at)gmail(dot)com

    +2 I Follow Amaterasu Reads
    +2 I've Spread the word in Facebook

  88. +2 following Amaterasu Reads
    +2 Tweeted:!/livin_thru_arts/status/76953871175532545
    +3 Button present:




  89. This book sounds AWESOME! Thanks for the giveaway :)

    Sarah @ That Bookish Girl

  90. Thanks for giveway!
    GFC: Jeanne
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  91. Ooh, this cover is pretty :D And the book seems interesting. Would love to win it ;D
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

  92. I follow this blog!! Through GFC...

    +1 Original entry
    +2 for Amaterasu's reads follower

  93. I would be happy to get the first book in this series since I haven't read it yet:)
    GFC follower here and at Amaterasu Reads +2
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  94. I love series, I love dystopian and love stories so I would love to read it :)

    I follow both you and Amaterasu Reads :)
    I tweeted here!/kla505/status/77427770254295040

  95. Thanks SO SO Much for the giveaway! Glow is a book I'm looking very much forward to!

    +2 I follow Amaterasu Reads
    GFC: Carina l. tai

  96. This one sounds so different then a lot of the other dystopians that are out right now. Love that it has more of a Science Fiction vibe to it. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy!

    +2 Follower of both you and Amaterasu Reads!
    +3 Dystopian Domination button on blog:


    Thanks again!

  97. This book sounds so amazing! And the cover is simple yet gorgeous, and reminds me a little bit of Matched by Ally Condie :)

    I'm a follower!

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)

  98. Great post. I love science fiction!

    Thank you for the awesome giveaway!! I'm an old follower. :)

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  99. Thank you very much for the giveaway!

    GFC - Ashley Collins


  100. I absolutely love dystopian fiction and can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC Follower
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  101. GFC follower
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  102. thank you soo much for this awesome giveaway and for making it international!:)

    GFC-Janhvi Jagtap
    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  103. thanks!
    +2 follower of both
    +2 tweet:!/michelledluvsu/status/79712185856704512
    starlightgirl678 at aol dot com

  104. Ok, here I go! Thanks so much, by the way

    +2-I followed Amasterasu Reads

    My Email:

    Cheers, Grace

  105. Thank you so much for the chance at this book :)

    I am a follower here (Alex @ The Blethering Bookworm)

    (+2) following Amaterasu Reads

    (+2) twitter -!/BletheringBkwrm/status/80781979754303489

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    (+3) Badge (top left of side bar) -

    Thank you again.


    E-Mail - phantom4eva(at)gmail(dot)com