Cory Doctorow: How to Do Everything (Lifehacking Considered Harmful)

Photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

I was there when “lifehacking” was born. It was the 11th of February, 2004, at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, held in a giant conference hotel in San Diego. I was on the committee for ETech (as we called it) and I had lobbied hard for the inclusion of a talk called “Life Hacks: Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks” by Danny O’Brien, a technology ...Read More

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2017 World Fantasy Awards Winners

Photo/award design by Vincent Villafranca

The World Fantasy Awards winners for works published in 2016 were announced during the World Fantasy Convention, held November 2-5, 2017 at the Wyndham Riverwalk in San Antonio TX. The Lifetime Achievement Awards, presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, went to Terry Brooks and Marina Warner.

The World Fantasy Awards winners are:

Best Novel

  • WINNER: The Sudden Appearance
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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction

Asimov’s 7-8/17
F&SF 7-8/17
Uncanny 7-8/17
Clarkesworld 7/17
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, People of Color Take Over Special Issue
Tor.com 7/17

There are two very entertaining novellas in the July-August Asimov’s, both by writers who have long been favorites of mine, and both of whom had long career hiatuses. Alexander Jablokov published nothing between 1998 and 2006; while R. Garcia y Robertson‘s story this month is the first I’ve ...Read More

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Liz Bourke reviews The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Margaret Killjoy (Tor.com Publishing 978–0-7563-9736-2, $14.99, 128pp, tp) July 2017. Cover by Mark Smith.

Margaret Killjoy’s The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is a peculiar, compelling, and atmo­spheric novella. I’d never heard of Killjoy before this novella, though I understand she’s written plenty of fiction and nonfiction, largely from an anarchist point of view.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is set in a ...Read More

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Borderlands Reaches Funding Goal

Alan Beatts, owner of San Francisco specialty bookshop Borderlands Books, announced on October 31 that he had secured enough funding to buy the building at 1373 Haight Street as a permanent home for the bookstore. Beatts had previously sought funding from the local community, and within 18 days raised $1.9 million dollars from 49 lenders. The sale closes on November 15, 2017. Borderlands plans to move from their current location ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

The Leaf Reader, Emily Arsenault (Soho Teen 978-1-61695-782-7, $18.99, 240pp, tp) June 2017.

Emily Arsenault has been writing quirky mys­teries for adults for some time, garnering her a much-deserved following from card catalog aficionados (for The Broken Tea Glass) to Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn fans (for Miss Me When I’m Gone). Now with her young adult debut, The Leaf Reader, the author dives deep into the missing ...Read More

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Issue 682 Table of Contents, November 2017

The November issue features interviews with David Marusek and Aliette de Bodard, a column by Cory Doctorow, an obituary and appreciations of Kit Reed, Julian May, and Yoji Kondo, a report from Hawaiicon, and reviews of short fiction and books by Victor LaValle, Jane Yolen, Tim Pratt, Sarah Gailey, and many others.


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Table of Contents

November 2017 • Issue 682 • Vol. ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel, Josh Malerman (HarperCol­lins Ecco 978-0-06-225968-4, $26.99, 292pp, hc) May 2017.

The alternating plotlines of Josh Malerman’s Black Mad Wheel both use the present tense and focus on a man named Philip Tonka. We first see him as a badly injured, yet not completely amnesiac patient in a midwestern hos­pital, someone who still “remembers every detail of the desert” where he was nearly pulverized, yet can’t explain what ...Read More

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Menuge Wins XPRIZE Short Fiction Contest

“Dido’s Lament” by Aidan J.S. Menuge won the XPRIZE short fiction contest, chosen from over 1,400 entries from 74 countries. Menuge will receive a $10,000 prize package that includes round-trip airfare to Tokyo for the winner and a guest, four nights in a four-star hotel, $1,500 in spending money, a GoPro camera, a handheld universal translator, and honorary membership on the Science Fiction Advisory Council.

The contest was held with ...Read More

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Hemming Award Changes

The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF) has announced changes to the Norma K. Hemming Award. The award, “designed to recognise excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability in a published speculative fiction work,” has added new categories and moved to a two-year cycle. The new categories now include Short Fiction and Edited Anthologies.

With the move to a two-year cycle, separate prizes will now ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction

Clarkesworld 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17

The best story in the February Clarkes­world is “Assassins” by Jack Skilling­stead & Burt Courtier, which makes good use of a clever idea: an assassin who “kills” popular characters in computer games rather than people in real life – something that eventually leads her to be targeted by a rival who wants to do the same thing to her, or, rather, to her avatar. It’s ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands, Sarah Rees Brennan (Small Beer/Big Mouth House 978-1-6187-312-03, $19.95, 465pp) August 2017. Cover by Carolyn Nowak.

I have rewritten the first paragraph of this re­view a half-dozen times, trying to find some way to make clear that Sarah Rees Brennan has created a nearly perfect YA fantasy without gushing. I can’t do it. In Other Lands is brilliantly subver­sive, assuredly smart, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It combines ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar

Tender: Stories, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer 978-1-618-73126-5, $24.00, 280pp, hc) April 2017.

The practice of including original stories in a collec­tion of mostly reprints is usually an astute marketing decision, but perhaps not always the best literary decision. There have been cases, some in fairly recent memory, in which brilliant tales that helped establish the writer’s reputation are mixed with what one suspects were trunk stories that never found a ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini reviews The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (Subter­ranean 978-1-59606-833-9, $40.00, 146pp, hc) June 2017. Cover by Stephen Walters.

I’m already in the tank for Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot series of books, which follows the trials of one Peter Grant, a police constable in London’s Metropolitan Police. He’s in a special unit, one that is charged with tracking down crimes that involve magic or, as his non-magical brothers in stab vests say, “weird ...Read More

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John Langan reviews Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Ill Will, Dan Chaon (Ballantine 9780345476043 $28.00, 480pp, hc) March 2017.

Dustin Tillman, the protagonist of Dan Chaon’s brilliant, thrilling Ill Will, sits at the nexus of two sets of murders. The first occurred when he was a young child: his mother, father, aunt, and uncle were shot to death the morning the two families were supposed to leave for a vacation to Yellowstone Park. Dustin accused his older, adopted ...Read More

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2018 Andrew Carnegie Medals Shortlist

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the shortlist for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence for “the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the US in the previous year.” Several titles of genre interest appear on the list:

Fiction

  • Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders (Random House)
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)

Nonfiction

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir,
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Carolyn Cushman reviews The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Laurie Forest, The Black Witch (Harlequin Teen, 978-0-373-21231-6, $19.99, 601pp, hc) May 2017.

Oppressed teens begin to see the world differ­ently at university in this first book in the young-adult Black Witch Chronicles series. The story centers on Elloren Gardner, granddaughter of the last Black Witch. Elloren looks eerily like her late grandmother but lacks any magical ability herself. However, the reader knows she does have magic, a lot of ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Telling the Map: Stories by Christopher Rowe

Telling the Map: Stories, Christopher Rowe (Small Beer 978-1-618-73132-6, $16.00, 270pp, tp) July 2017. Cover by Kathleen Jennings.

One of the surviving conventions of golden age SF is the notion that any sort of complicated future is likely to be both urban and coastal, but there’s also been a smaller but distinctive tradition of flyover-state futures that imagine the towns and rural areas of the South or Midwest as something ...Read More

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Russell Letson reviews Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Tomorrow’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tor 978-0-765390295, $25.99, 352pp, hc) July 2017.

I’m going to have the same problem reviewing Nancy Kress’s Tomorrow’s Kin that I did with Steal Across the Sky a few years back: how to describe its virtues without giving away what are clearly meant to be surprises. (As I have not seen the finished book, I don’t know what hints and details the jacket copy might offer.) ...Read More

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Whitehead Wins Hurston/Wright Award

Colson Whitehead won the 2017 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award in fiction for The Underground Railroad (Doubleday). The Legacy Awards, which honor “the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe,” were presented October 20, 2017 during a gala at the Washington Plaza hotel in Washington DC. Additional awards for debut fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and special merit awards were also presented.

For more information ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini reviews River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing 978-0-7653-9523-8, $14.99, 176pp, tp) May 2017. Cover by Richard Anderson.

Here’s what is true: at the turn of the 20th century, a couple of American business tycoons (and wannabe tycoons) floated the idea of populating the swampy south with hippopotami. The beasts would make great eating, they thought, which means they could make some money. The whole story – and it’s a great ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Mother Go by James Patrick Kelly

Mother Go, James Patrick Kelly; January LaVoy, narrator (Audible, $29.95, 10 hrs., un­abridged, digital download) July 2017.

It’s been more than a decade since James Patrick Kelly’s short novel, Burn, and his new one Mother Go is unusual in that its first publication comes as an audiobook (this review is based on the text version). Kelly is deservedly well respected for his short fiction, and two of the three stories ...Read More

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Locus Bestsellers, October 2017

HARDCOVERS Months
on list Last
month

1) The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (Morrow) 2 2 2) The Witchwood Crown, Tad Williams (DAW) 1 – 3) The Delirium Brief, Charles Stross (Tor.com Publishing) 1 – 4) Beren and Lúthien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 2 1 5) New York 2140, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US) 5 8 6) Assassin’s Price, L.E. Modesitt, ...Read More Read more

Julian May (1931-2017)

Author Julian May, 86, died October 17, 2017.

May’s first SF story was “Dune Roller” in Astounding (12/51), later filmed as The Cremators (1972). During the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s she mostly moved away from science fiction, writing in numerous genres and under many pseudonyms, including Bob Cunningham, Lee N. Falconer, John Feilen, Matthew G. Grant, Jean Wright Thorne, Ian Thorne, and George Zanderbergen. In all she wrote nearly 300 ...Read More

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Borderlands Building Purchase

Alan Beatts, owner of San Francisco genre bookshop Borderlands Books, announced on October 13 that he “made an offer on a building that is meant to be a permanent home for Borderlands. On Wednesday that offer was accepted by the seller.” The deal will move Borderlands from its Mission neighborhood location at 866 Valencia St. to 1373 Haight Street, currently the home of Recycled Records. Beatts said, “It’s a little ...Read More

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New & Notable Books, October 2017

Nina Allan, The Rift (Titan US 7/17) Allan explores the difficulty of sifting truth from tales and memories in this novel, mingling elements of tantalizing mystery and SF in the story of a woman who hears from a sister who disappeared 20 years previously, and now claims to have traveled by rift to another world. Parts of her story are told as pure SF, while glimpses of the past show ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf Is Back!

Announcing the new archive page for SF Crossing the Gulf podcast.

The podcast, hosted by Karen Burnham and Karen Lord, debuted in 2012 and ran for 18 episodes over the course of two seasons, originally hosted by SF Signal (the text descriptions are still available there, but no audio). Episodes include fascinating discussions of notable contemporary hard science fiction, classic writers such as Cordwainer Smith and Olaf Stapledon, weird stories, ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley (Blooms­bury 978-1-6240-967-1, $26.00, 332pp, hc) July 2017.

In The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley’s uncon­ventional imagination finds a new voice. Merrick Tremayne spent the 1850s working for Britain’s notorious East India Company as a kind of agent/enforcer/drug smuggler in China. This left him washed up at age 30, back at the crumbling family home in Cornwall with little hope of full recovery from a bad leg ...Read More

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Atwood Receives Franz Kafka Prize

Margaret Atwood received the Franz Kafka Prize, given by the Franz Kafka Society and the city of Prague, on October 17, 2017 at the Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic. Atwood was chosen as the 17th laureate of the prize by an international jury on May 22, 2017. The selection jury includes Peter Demetz, André Derval, Marianne Gruber, Oldřich Král, Jiří Stránský, Jiří Stromšík, Lorenzo Silva, and Hans Dieter ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction: August 2017

Strange Horizons 6/5/17
Analog 7-8/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/25/17, 6/22/17
Clarkesworld 6/17
Lightspeed 7/17
Tobias Buckell’s Patreon 4/17
Tor.com 6/17
Tin House Summer ’17

“Utopia, LOL?” is a very nice far-future story from a fairly new voice, Jamie Wahls, in Strange Horizons. It’s told by Kit, one of trillions of humans living in what appear to be Matrioshka brains in the extreme far future. Her job (one of very few ...Read More

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