These are the days of miracle and wonder, don’t cry baby, don’t cry; or (mostly) short fiction that I read in 2018, by Jonathan Strahan

The way we read fiction is changing. We’ve been told this repeatedly. Where once we had a single medium – ink on paper – to deliver new stories to us and only a few ways – face-to-face discussion, mail, reviews etc. – to discuss them, now we have many. Print is not dead; digital is not king. Instead, we read the way we like and when we like: in printed ...Read More

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2018 Year-in-Review by Adrienne Martini

These end-of-the-year lists always make me uncom­fortable, if only because I know I haven’t read even a plurality of titles published in any given 365 days. Not only that, I haven’t yet read a bunch that have been highly praised, like Blackfish City, Revenant Gun, and Unholy Land. Having said that, what I do feel comfortable with is flagging a few titles that I’m mildly infatuated with, ...Read More

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A Year of Looking Backward by Gary K. Wolfe

I’m not sure this is prog­ress: 2018 began with The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine­teen Eighty-Four, and Fahrenheit 451 back on the bestseller lists, and a fair number of folks re­marking on how prescient Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower suddenly seemed.

Toward the end of the year, just before Thanksgiv­ing, Vintage decided to re-release, for the first time in decades, Fletcher Knebel’s Night of Camp David, the 1965 ...Read More

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Shahid Mahmud Guest Post–“Alternity Squared”

As was recently announced, Phoenix Pick will be publishing a new Robert A. Heinlein novel later this year, likely in November.

The Heinlein Prize Trust and Phoenix Pick have collaborated to piece together a complete novel based on fragments of a typewritten manuscript and notes by Heinlein.

The completed novel is about 187,000 words long. It shares the first one-third of its text with the published The Number of the ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Are You Overthinking It?

I write messy, incoherent first drafts. It sucks. But most of the time I’m okay with it. It’s my process, and it’s why revision exists.

Drafts aren’t what readers see. After getting that first blush of the book on paper, I spend each subsequent iteration fleshing out worldbuilding details and refining dialogue and fixing structure. Few people want to read about a bunch of characters expositing about the plot over ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf—in Conversation with Kij Johnson

Episode 22b: In conversation with Kij Johnson: “The Privilege of the Happy Ending” Rounding off our triad of podcasts about the end of the world as we know it, we are honoured to welcome Kij Johnson to discuss her apocalypse-themed fantasy story (with strong hints of science fiction!) “The Privilege of the Happy Ending”. The research, the worldbuilding, and the structural and narrative choices that went into this story make ...Read More Read more

SF Crossing the Gulf—in Conversation with Daryl Gregory

Episode 22a: In conversation with Daryl Gregory: “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” Even better than reading an excellent story is discussing with the author how and why they wrote it! We are so pleased to have Daryl Gregory with us to discuss the nuances, secrets and personal touches in his apocalypse-themed science fiction story “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”. (But first listen to episode 22 of the podcast ...Read More Read more

SF Crossing the Gulf—The Everyday Apocalypse

Episode 22: The Everyday Apocalypse: “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” by Daryl Gregory and “The Privilege of the Happy Ending” by Kij Johnson Apocalypse now, or some day soon when we least expect it? Karen and Karen compare and contrast two very different stories with a common theme – the end of the world as we know it. But apocalypse can mean many things when we consider the privileged ...Read More Read more

Cory Doctorow: Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me

The Silicon Valley gospel of “disruption” has descended into caricature, but, at its core, there are some sound tactics buried beneath the self-serving bullshit. A lot of our systems and institutions are corrupt, bloated, and infested with cream-skimming rentiers who add nothing and take so much.

Take taxis: there is nothing good about the idea that cab drivers and cab passengers meet each other by random chance, with the drivers ...Read More

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Derek Kunsken Guest Post—”Whither Go Labor and Workers with AI and Robots?”

I’ve never worried about the future over some Terminator scenario, although I will admit that the Boston Dynamics dog creeps me out. My concerns about the future my son will inhabit are a bit more mundane, mostly on the technological labour market disruptions.

AI and robotics are poised to drastically reduce a number of labour market needs in the next 10-30 years. Everything from car and truck drivers, to airplane ...Read More

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Weston Ochse Guest Post–“Found Footage Fiction”

Despite the earlier revolting Cannibal Holocaust in 1980, The Blair Witch Project firmly established found footage as a film genre in1999. The shaky-cam unreliable narrator film about three students who disappeared in a Pennsylvania forest opened the door for the immensely popular Paranormal Activity franchise. Seeing events unfold on a second internal screen somehow made them feel more real to the viewer. The horror we felt while watching was predicated ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Genre Conventions and Conferences: What Makes Great Events

This is the time of year when I’m astounded at how many of my peers have made the event rounds at various conventions and festivals this year and still had time to, you know, write books. And pay bills.

The vast majority of events in my career – and certainly every event early in my career – were and are self-funded. Even when I was invited as a participant to ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: What the Internet Is For

The internet operates on a revolutionary principle, underpinned by a revolutionary principle, overlaid by a revolutionary principle. Is it, therefore, revolutionary?

The revolutionary principle the internet runs on is this: the “end-to-end” principle, which states that any person using the internet can communicate with any other person on the internet without getting any third party’s permission. If you want to connect to my webserver, you simply connect to it: you ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf — Authentic Indian Experience™

Welcome to your authentic Crossing the Gulf experience! In one of our favourite discussions to date, Karen and Karen summarise, assess, dissect and digest the multiple-award-winning short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse. This richly layered and nuanced story rewards on so many levels. We provide perspectives from our own experiences, alternating roles as insider and outsider.

Reference is made to the film The Thirteenth Floor ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Building the Story of Ourselves

There is a theory that storytelling is how we create our consciousness. This is why we can’t remember being infants. We only pick up the ability to remember events when we’re two or three years old – about the same time we figure out how to construct narrative. Once we can tell stories about the world and ourselves, we become truly conscious.

So if the stories we tell about ourselves ...Read More

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V. M. Escalada Guest Post–“The Good, Not Just the Bad and the Ugly”

You want to know why romance is the most popular genre? With more romance novels sold than all other novels put together? I have a theory. It’s not about all the kissy-facing (ok, it is a little bit): it’s because every book ends with hope.

Have you noticed how many versions of Sherlock Holmes there are extant? Looking at movies and TV alone, at least three, right? And probably more ...Read More

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Resisting and Persisting: An interview with the contributors to “Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler”

The Hugo-nominated and Locus award-winning anthology Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler contains essays and letters to the beloved pioneer of science fiction, many of which were written in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

The timing of this collection is particularly poignant; many of the contributors made direct reference to recent events and the contemporary political climate, drawing parallels with Butler’s work. Her influence is keenly felt. ...Read More

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Roundtable Guest Post by Christine Feehan, with Charlaine Harris, Gena Showalter and Melinda M. Snodgrass–“The Evolution of Acceptance of Women Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction”

As women writing fantasy and science fiction today it’s exciting to see so many female writers of this genre, to see more support for women and continued successes. As a writer of paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction since the 1990s, I’ve found a welcoming home in this genre over the years. I’ve invited some of my friends and colleagues to join me in discussing what it’s like to write in ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Big Tech: We Can Do Better Than Constitutional Monarchies

Once, the mainstream view was that worrying about tech policy was faintly ridiculous, a kind of masturbatory science fictional exercise in which your hyperactive imagination led you to have vivid delu­sions about the supposed significance of the rules we laid down for the internet and the computers we connect to it.

Weirdly, worrying about this stuff made you a “techno utopian,” though it’s a strange type of uto­pian who spends ...Read More

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Jonathan French Guest Post–“MFA vs…D&D?”

A vagabond, a pit-fighter, a noblewoman, and a dung-collector stand in a crowded square to witness the execution of a dissident madman. Though strangers before that overcast day, the condemned man’s final ravings upon the scaffold will bind them inextricably. Marked to deliver his body safely to a doom-cult, the four hapless individuals discover that failure risks their sanity. And their souls.

That was the story hook for a roleplaying ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: So You Still Have A Day Job….

Welcome to the club. I’ve been writing and publishing novels for seven years now. I also have a robust Patreon following where I produce short fiction for members paying a monthly fee, and I am always hustling to re-sell projects, whether that’s short stories or foreign and film rights on novels. I still pick up the occasional freelance project and magazine column, because I still have a student loan and ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf — A Wrinkle in Time: The book, the movie

When a dearly loved but challenging book becomes a movie, where do you set your expectations? Karen and Karen discuss the alchemy of transmuting text to screen and the choices that must be made if the story is to not merely translate, but flourish. We also talk about how much the book meant to us growing up, and our belief that Ava DuVernay has given us a film that will ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags

For 20 years, privacy advocates have been sounding the alarm about commercial online surveillance, the way that companies gather deep dossiers on us to help marketers target us with ads. This pitch fell flat: by and large, people were skeptical of the efficacy of targeted advertising; the ads we got were rarely very persuasive, and when they did work, it was usually because the advertisers had figured out what we ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: On Patience, Goal-Setting, and Gardening

I’m coming off a 16-hour editing day working on a novel called The Light Brigade, which comes out next year. The editing flurry was my fault – the book was three months late. Any later, and it was going to have to push to another publishing season.

Pushing a book out is a pain to everyone involved: the publishing machine is a capitalist enterprise like any other, and a ...Read More

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Warren Hammond Guest Post–“Why I Took the Indie Route (This Time)”

I was between projects when Joshua Viola of Hex Publishers bought me a beer and pitched me his idea for a new science fiction franchise called Denver Moon. To this point in my career, I’d been fortunate enough to have four novels published by big-five publishers. I’d done many of the things aspiring writers dream about: book signings, media interviews, responding to fan mail. Nobody would confuse my career ...Read More

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Fonda Lee Guest Post–“The Case for YA Science Fiction”

On a recent plane ride home from a major book festival, I ended up chatting with a woman next to me who had also been at the festival. “So, what do you write?” she asked, when she discovered I was an attending author. I reluctantly told her that I write science fiction and fantasy. “Oh, that explains why I didn’t see you on any panels this weekend,” she said. “I ...Read More

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Cat Rambo Guest Post–“Whatever Works”

One of the things I insist to my students is that no writing advice is one-size-fits-all, aside from the general notion is that one should put words down in some form or another. Some people do what we affectionately call “pantsing” after the notion that one is writing by the seat of one’s pants, flying into the wordcloud and seeing what collects on one’s wings along the way. Others outline ...Read More

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Nicholas Sansbury Smith Guest Post–“Paranoia or Pragmatism?”

Prior to my career as a writer, I worked for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in disaster mitigation. My job was to help communities prepare for natural and man-made events, some of them bordering on apocalyptic. I spent most of my time working with communities to prepare for these disasters, but I also spent time in the field observing and documenting the aftermath when disaster struck. Seeing how devastating ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: The Engagement-Maximization Presidency

Incentives matter.

The dominance of ad-supported businesses online created an odd and perverse incentive to “maximize engagement” – to go to enormous lengths to create tools that people used for as long as possible, even when this made the product worse. Think of how Google added a “trending searches” drop­down to the default search-bar on Android, so that any time you went looking for a specific piece of information (the ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf — Season 3 Debut!

A Marvel movie, an afrofuturistic dream, a box office phenomenon… and more? We take a side step from page to screen to comment on the many ways that Black Panther works, and works well. We also hint at future podcasts to compare text to film in other adaptations such as A Wrinkle in TimeAnnihilation, and Arrival (2016).

https://locusmag.com/sfcrossingthegulf/sfgulf19.mp3

Download mp3 file.

Note: This podcast and all previous ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Writing is Hard, and That’s OK

On winning the Oscar Award for best original screenplay, Jordan Peele admitted that he started his winning script for the film Get Out at least 20 times. Why 20? Because he just didn’t feel he could get the script to work, no matter how many times he tackled it.

Author N.K. Jemisin relates a similar struggle in the writing of her masterful novel, The Fifth Season. In her acceptance ...Read More

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African SFF 2017 by Geoff Ryman

2017 was a year of small watersheds and consolida­tions, rather than break­throughs for African specu­lative fiction.

Roughly 40 short specu­lative fiction stories were published in magazines and anthologies, according to Wole Talabi’s database on the African Speculative Fiction Society website.

In some ways it was a year of sales to international markets. Wole Talabi, Cat Hellesin, and Dare Segun Falowo had important stories published in F&SF. Jordan Ifueko wrote “Os­hun ...Read More

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