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Fictitious

Author: Adron Buske

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The Fictitious podcast, hosted by Adron Buske, delves into the craft of Science Fiction and Fantasy storytelling through interviews with authors and other professional writers. These conversations examine the writing process, techniques, and work habits of passionate creators and explore their most recent, and most popular, works.
63 Episodes
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Essa Hansen is the author of NOPHEK GLOSS. This debut science fiction adventure follows Caiden, a teenage mechanic who discovers his simple but highly regimented life is actually one of servitude on a hidden slave planet.   When his entire colony is sent to slaughter, Caiden alone survives, fleeing the vicious creatures who devoured his people. After taking refuge in a strange, abandoned vessel, he is saved from capture by a band of explorers, and whisked off planet—with only trauma and rage as mementos of his previous existence.   Among the stars, he discovers a multiverse of strange lifeforms, alien cultures, and unfathomably powerful foes. Torn by grief and guilt, accompanied by a quarrelsome found family, and in possession of a dangerously unique ship, Caiden wrestles with his own mysterious origins while facing a singular question: how can one boy take revenge on a vast, evil interstellar political entity?   NOPHEK GLOSS is an ambitious and imaginative space opera novel that arrives November 17th from Orbit Books.
I’m pleased to welcome author Alix E. Harrow back to the show. Alix’s debut fantasy novel, THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY, got nominated for—like—all the major awards, was on all of the best-of lists, and was basically a "whole thing". Her new novel, THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES, follows three estranged sisters as their lives uncomfortably re-entwine in late 1800’s New Salem. A patriarchal society has stamped down women’s magic as taboo in the name of control and moral purity. But the Eastwood sisters discover magic is at play nonetheless, as suffragettes and politicians clash, shadowy forces and awakening witches collide, and visions of a dark tower loom. THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES arrives on October 13th from Redhook.
In this episode, I’m pleased to be joined again by author Leigh Bardugo. She's well known for her expansive Grishaverse series of young adult fantasy novels, including the original Shadow & Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, and the King of Scars duology. Outside of the Grishaverse, she has also released an official Wonder Woman novel, and the supernatural thriller Ninth House. Today we’ll be talking about her latest release, THE LIVES OF SAINTS. This lavishly illustrated collection explores the religious folklore of the Grishaverse through short tales of miracles and martyrdom. Grishaverse fans will recognize some familiar names among the saints within and, indeed, the book itself is a real world manifestation of an object carried by a beloved character. THE LIVES OF SAINTS is out October 6th from Imprint, a division of MacMillan books.
In this episode, I’m joined by Ryan Van Loan, author of THE SIN IN THE STEEL. This debut Fantasy adventure sets a Sherlockian teenage street rat investigator and her troubled ex-soldier partner against political intrigue and violent piracy. In a world where pistoles and steel compete with mad mages and vengeful gods, Buc and Eld are sent to solve a tangled mystery that threatens to destabilize trade and society. But each are haunted by failures from their pasts, and their present—full of meddlesome dead gods and ship-sinking pirate queens—doesn’t look too promising, either. THE SIN IN THE STEEL is available now from TOR Books.
I’m joined in this episode by Andrea Stewart, author of THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER. This outstanding Fantasy debut novel features seafaring adventures, a unique and cruel magic system, an ambitious Emperor’s daughter with holes in her memory, a wanted smuggler chasing a specter from his past, magic animal companions, creepy mystical constructs, and so much more. THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER arrived in stores on September 8th from Orbit Books. About Andrea Stewart Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes. About THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognize her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic. Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
I’m joined in this episode by Richard Kadrey, author of the long-running urban fantasy series, SANDMAN SLIM. These novels follow the paranormal misadventures of James Stark, a hard-to-kill, half-human magician who spent 11 years stuck in Hell as an arena gladiator and pet hitman for his demon masters. After carving a bloody path back to earth, Stark re-emerges in Los Angeles, hellbent on killing the circle of humans who sent him to suffer Downtown. But to live and avenge in LA requires grit, gear, and allies, plus the occasional occult odd-job to keep you in kevlar. When your companions are carnivorous spider people, fallen angels and disembodied talking heads, and your enemies are kill-happy sorcerers, undead legions and Hellion lords….well, you’re gonna need a grim sense of humor, a fistful of supernatural powers, and an eagerness to get way down and very dirty. For better—or probably worse—Stark has a triple helping of all that, which is how he earned his nickname—Sandman Slim, the monster who kills monsters. The ten previous high-octane novels in the SANDMAN SLIM series are available now, and the eleventh—BALLISTIC KISS—is also out now from Harper Voyager. 
Peng Shepherd is the author of THE BOOK OF M. This debut speculative fiction novel examines a near future world, fallen to an inexplicable epidemic called The Forgetting. All around the world, people have lost their shadows, and soon after, their memories incurably erode as well. Society has collapsed as the Shadowless spread, and their Forgetting warps aspects of reality in alarming and unexplainable ways. Hidden away at a secluded resort hotel, Ory and his wife, Max, have survived several years on scavenged scraps and fickle luck. But when Max’s shadow disappears, the couple are divided, racing across the dangerous urban wasteland — Max chasing her fleeing memories, Ory chasing his fleeing wife. Meanwhile, the Olympic hopeful archer Naz shelters in Boston, on the verge of starving, separated by an ocean from her Iranian family, when she is drawn from hiding to traverse America — with only a bow and arrow to protect herself and a beloved companion. Beyond them all is Patient RA, victim of an accident that left him with total retrograde amnesia, his memory wiped even before the Forgetting could steal it from him. After exposure to the first discovered shadowless, the Amnesiac — a man with a middle but no beginning — gains unique insight into the Forgetting and its true nature. But as Naz, Ory, and Max’s paths spiral towards conflict and upheaval, what role will the Amnesiac play, as “the One Who Gathers”? THE BOOK OF M is available now from William Morrow.
In this episode, I’m excited to welcome Martha Wells, author of THE MURDERBOT DIARIES. This award-winning science fiction series features the introverted, cynical, and frequently hilarious security robot that thinks privately of itself as MurderBot. It's a half-machine, half-organic construct, corporate owned and rented out to space-exploring organizations.   There’re plenty of SecUnit’s just like it, except MurderBot hacked its systems to allow greater autonomy — which mostly consists of slacking on the job and downloading as much serial entertainment as it can stream.   When its latest clients, a scientific research team exploring a distant planet, find themselves in danger after a neighboring mission group go dark, MurderBot must exploit all its unique talents and perspectives to defend them. Which risks revealing to its human crew that it’s broken free of its corporate limitations, as well as an unpleasant history that inspired its threatening moniker.   THE MURDERBOT DIARIES include 4 novellas — ALL SYSTEMS RED, ARTIFICIAL CONDITION, ROGUE PROTOCOL, and EXIT STRATEGY — and a brand new, full-length novel called NETWORK EFFECT, which is available now from Tor.Com publishing.
Emily B. Martin is the author of SUNSHIELD (HarperVoyager, available now), an adventurous eco-fantasy that weaves together the lives of a desert outlaw, a young ambassador, and a political prisoner.    Known as the Sunshield Bandit, a former slave named Lark roams desolate canyons, attacking the wagons of human traffickers, and taking from the rich to feed her team and their rescued captives.   Translator and minor noble Veran has journeyed to a foreign court in hopes of halting injustices perpetuated by the ruling class, but friendly relations have turned inexplicably hostile.   And walled away in a makeshift cell, the battered—but not beaten—Tamsin must figure out who has stolen her from the most important of responsibilities, and how she can escape to right those wrongs.    These three beleaguered activists know nothing of each other, but their common goals will intertwine against corrupt politics, brutal slavery, and ecological destruction. 
In this episode by debut author Alina Boyden. Her new historically-inspired Fantasy novel is STEALING THUNDER, available May 12th from ACE Books.    It follows Razia, a sought-after dancer and courtesan with a wealthy and powerful clientele. She is also a thief, stealing from clients in cooperation with her found family of hijras.   But though her late night thievery poses constant danger, her greatest fear is the reveal of her past identity. Because Razia was once the crown prince of a nearby kingdom. She escaped her hateful father to live life as a women, as her true self, on her own terms.   When a new client, an influential prince himself, takes a great interest in her, Razia is thrust again into royal politics and conflict. Revelation of her royal origin could bring violence and death by her father’s orders, but her precarious situation may also give her the chance to steal back the single thing she loved and lost from her past life. 
Menna van Praag is the author of THE SISTERS GRIMM (available now from HarperVoyager Books). It's a dark and evocative tale of four seemingly unrelated young women united by a surreal, supernatural origin. Goldie, Liyanna, Scarlet, and Bea are all on the cusp of 18, each burdened by complicated family relationships, and all filled with a deep sense of longing for something they can’t quite remember. As children, they found each other in Everwhere, an unchanging world outside of their world, of magic and perpetual night. Crossing over to Everwhere is a gift only the offspring of a single demonic father possess. But as teenagers, they are torn from each other, and forget their shadowy dreamworld. Now, about to come of age, the powers that are their birthright flare into existence again, and the gates to Everwhere reopen to them. Their father’s other children prowl there, too, though — sons-turned-solidiers, whose all-consuming mission is to kill their father’s powerful daughters. Enemies and alliances form as these half-sisters seek to understand who they really are — and face a choice to die in the light, or join their father’s eternal darkness.
This episode features my first return guest — Dan Stout! His new novel, TITAN'S DAY (DAW Books) is the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2019, TITANSHADE. TITAN’S DAY returns us to the city of Titanshade, our police investigator protagonist Carter, and his two-mouthed, mandibled partner, Ajax. Their discoveries in the first novel have changed the fate and fortunes of their dirty, cold and crime-ridden city — whether for good or ill, who yet can say? But bodies are still showing up in alleyways, so Carter and Ajax are back on the streets — and back in the thick of inter-department politics and inner city crime syndicate conflict. The detectives race to save innocent lives as the boom-town tips towards anarchy, and all-out war threatens the lives of human — and otherwise-humanoid citizens — during the city’s biggest celebration of the year: Titan’s Day. TITAN'S DAY is available now where books are sold.
Tricia Levenseller is the author of THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US (available now from Feiwel & Friends). It’s a young adult fantasy novel that’s been quite accurately described as a “Slytherin romance”. It follows the charming and cunning Alessandra, the second daughter of mid-level nobility, for years left to pursue her own lusts and liaisons while her favored older sister awaited a suitor. Now of age and availability to be brought to society, Alessandra has her sights set on a singular target — the elusive and mysterious Shadow King, a young ruler wrapped in living darkness. But Alessandra doesn’t just seek courtship — she desires nothing less than the throne and total control. She intends to steal the heart of the king — and then kill him — so she’ll have that throne all to herself. Because she isn’t just a confident and conniving would-be queen, she’s a murderer who killed her first love when he scorned her. But she’s not the only person at court who wants to assassinate the Shadow King, and winning his true affections is an entirely complicated matter on its own. 
K.B. Wagers is the author of A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK (HarperVoyager). It’s a good vibes military space opera that follows the Near Earth Orbital Guard, essentially a spacefaring Coast Guard protecting humanity within our solar system. The Neo-G crew of the Interceptor ship Zuma’s Ghost prepares for the annual Boarding Games — a multi-military competition which carries huge prestige, bragging rights, and useful inter-branch clout. But this tight-knit found family faces destabilization as their lieutenant commander is promoted off the ship, replaced with Maxine Carmichael, a capable but awkward young woman whose family name carries a great deal of influence and baggage. As Max works to gel with the team’s volatile mechanic and conflicted captain, their Neo-G missions uncover a strange pattern of interconnected mysteries — worried smugglers who die suspiciously in military custody, colony ships lost for generations turning up without their suspended animation crews, and corporate intrigues that might just haunt Max’s own family’s company. A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK is diverse and accessible science fiction that arrives March 3rd from Harper Voyager books.
Season 5 of Fictitious kicks off with Brian Keene, one of the writers on the new Serial Box and Marvel production, THOR: METAL GODS. Brian has authored more than 50 horror, crime, and fantasy novels, and written for DC and Marvel Comics properties and other media tie-ins, including Doctor Who and The X-Files. Now, as part of the Serial Box team, he is co-writing a prose and audio drama space adventure series that follows fan favorite Asgardians Thor and Loki on a quest for a dangerous alien artifact. THOR: METAL GODS is available now as a 15 episode series on SerialBox.com. 
K. Eason is the author of HOW RORY THORNE DESTROYED THE MULTIVERSE — out now from DAW Books. This charming and subversive fantasy-meets-space opera tale follows a young princess who is uprooted from her planet, and her throne, sent off-world to be a pawn for intergalactic politics. But Rory Thorne is no run-of-the-mill fantasy princess, and is definitely no pawn. Rory must use all of her wits, gifts, and determination to turn a manipulative Regent’s plot against him, rescue a mislaid prince she is supposed to be betrothed to, and perhaps avoid plunging the entire star system into chaos and conflict.
This episode focuses on National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – in November 2019. Host Adron Buske shares his own experiences participating in NaNo and his plans for this year's project. The episode also includes a rebroadcast discussion with Grant Faulkner, the executive director of the NaNoWriMo non-profit organization. 
Madeleine Roux is the author of the adult sci-fi thriller SALVAGED (Ace Books). Set in deep space, SALVAGED follows Rosalyn Devar, a bioengineer from an influential family who has fled past traumas for the unglamorous life of a "space janitor". When catastrophic failures leave valuable ships floating in the void full of dead crew, Rosalyn and her fellow salvagers are sent out to clean up the human remains and send the ships home. Her latest assignment delivers her to the Brigantine, a research vessel gone dark. But, once aboard, Rosalyn discovers that the crew are still quite alive. But, with gaping wounds, glowing blue eyes, and a parasitic hive-mind wrestling for control of their identities, they are no longer precisely human. What follows is a desperate fight to keep the parasite from dominating humanity itself, as Rosalyn seeks allies among the infected, while struggling with her own inner demons. Madeleine's previous work includes the popular YA horror series ASYLUM and HOUSE OF FURIES.
Clay McLeod Chapman is the author of meta-horror thriller THE REMAKING (Quirk Books). The tragic campfire tale of a mother and daughter burned as witches haunts the imagination of a small town local – including a budding horror director. When child actress Amber Pendleton is cast in a '70s B-movie about the urban legend, it seems like a springboard to a Hollywood career. Instead, the traumatic events of the film follow her into a medication-saturated, cash-poor 1990s adulthood. She makes her living at third-rate horror conventions, signing photographs for too-eager fans who cannot separate Amber from her disastrous childhood. But when the story that destroyed her life comes calling – again and again – does Amber have any choice but to play a new, desperate part each time? THE REMAKING follows that backwoods ghost story from '70s horror flick to '90s auteur remake to modern day true crime podcast, each time asking – why do these tales consume us, and do we really care about the lives they ruin for our entertainment? 
Annalee Newitz is the author of the sci-fi time travel novel, THE FUTURE OF ANOTHER TIMELINE (Tor Books). In a world where present-to-past time travel is an accepted fact, geo-scientist Tess uses her university-funded temporal travels for both research and resistance. While a subversive group of travelers seeks to alter history and solidify the subjugation of women, Tess works in secret to minimize the damage of their "edits" and keep them from permanently locking the timeline. But although a dire confrontation looms somewhere in the centuries around her, Tess can't keep herself from breaking time travel taboo – stepping back into her own history in an attempt to prevent a riot girl teenager named Beth's involvement in murder. 
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