2018 in Review: Translations, Continuations, and Deviations, by Lila Garrott

2018 has been a good year for the offbeat in speculative fiction. In fact, one of my top books of the year was released as a mainstream literary novel, even though the speculative element is central and necessary: Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation has to contain imaginary pharmacology in order for the protagonist to black out for the lengths of time she considers desirable, without having real-life ...Read More

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2018: Comfort Reading in an Uncomfortable Year, by Tim Pratt

My reading was weird and scattered this year even by my usual weird-and-scattered standards, and the Goodreads shelf I’ve labeled “comfort re-reads” has a lot more entries than usual, as I retreated from the various unpleasant aspects of this year’s reality into old, be­loved fictional worlds. I wasn’t sure I’d read enough new SF, fantasy, and horror to even justify a year-end round-up this time, but going over my list ...Read More

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Photo Story: Puppet Grand Master

Brad Linaweaver was associate producer of documentary Robert A. Heinlein: The Pup­pet Grand Master, included with the deluxe Blu-ray version of The Puppet Masters (1994), based on Heinlein’s 1951 novel, re­leased in December 2018. Contributors to the documentary include David Gerrold, Eleanor Wood, and others.

This story and more like it in the February 2019 issue of Locus.

While you are here, please take a moment to support ...Read More

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2018 in Review by Liz Bourke

Looking back on 2018, the year feels rather longer than mere chronological time can account for. I don’t imagine I can remember all the books I’ve read this year – a year in which I became engaged, hunted for a house, moved house, and most recently, acquired a pair of very boisterous bouncy kittens: the mere quotidian logistics of living have absorbed rather more of my energy and memory than ...Read More

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Jasper Fforde Guest Post—”Genre, Speculative Fiction and the Cradle of Ideas”

I’ve often struggled over giving my books a genre label, partly because I’m not sure that labels are a great idea, nor, to be honest, is genre—which I’ve often decried as “the measles of the book world”. Sure, genre is useful to publicity and marketing, but it’s of no real use, I contend, to readers, and may in fact narrow reader choices rather than broadening them. I’ve often heard readers ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf—in Conversation with Ted Chiang

Episode 23: In conversation with Ted Chiang: “The Great Silence”
Most people may know about Ted from “Story of Your Life” which was filmed as Arrival, but his reputation with readers and writers as a top tier craftsman of the short form was well established before then. We had the pleasure of asking Ted some questions about a short (very short!) piece of his from 2015, part of an
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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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Derek Künsken: Genesis of an Interstellar Heist Caper

DEREK STÉPHANE KÜNSKEN was born March 13, 1971 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. He attended the University of Guelph as an undergraduate and earned a master’s degree in molecular biology at McMaster University, but he left science behind to work with street children in Honduras. After returning to Canada he worked various jobs until he joined the Canadian Federal Public Service, working on refugee and diplomatic postings in Colombia ...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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Photo Story: Rowe Bikes for Diabetes Cure

Author Christopher Rowe was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes: “Cue many major life changes…. I’ve decided to be pro­active about the whole thing… by training to ride the 62-mile leg of the Kentucky edition of this year’s Tour de Cure, an annual fund­raiser for the American Diabetes Association.” He’s raising money for the organization at <main.diabetes.org/goto/cnrowe>.

This story and more like it in the February 2019 issue of Locus ...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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Spotlight on: Cynthia Sheppard, Artist


Cynthia Sheppard has been creating artwork for books and games since the mid-2000s. Her illustrations are inspired by a late 19th-century realist painting and modern fantasy art, with a focus on emotional resonance and visual storytelling. She’s currently a senior art director at Wizards of the Coast, where she create worlds and has commissioned over 2,000 illustrations for the card game Magic: The Gathering.

She told us, “If I’ve ever ...Read More

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Spotlight on: Greg Ruth, Artist


Greg Ruth is a
New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Boy and NDEH (with Ethan Hawke) and has worked making books and comics since 1993. He has published work through The New York Times, DC Com­ics, Fantagraphics Books, Mondo, Dark Horse, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Hyperion, Simon and Schuster, the Criterion Collection, Slate, CNN, Penguin, Hachette, and Tor. He has created two music videos for Prince and Rob Thomas, ...Read More

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Kathleen Jennings: Raised by Wolves

Kathleen Dolan Jennings was born May 26, 1980 in Brisbane, Australia, and spent much of her childhood on a small cattle station in Western Queensland. She attended the University of Queensland, and worked as a lawyer for ten years (five in private practice, five for the government) before shifting her focus to illustration and writing. She recently submitted her dissertation for a MPhil degree on Australian Gothic literature.

Jennings has ...Read More

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Photo Story: SF Writers in China

The Future Affairs Administration brought another group of SF writers to China, with Carolyn Ives Gilman, Naomi Kritzer, and Fran Wilde coming from the US and Samantha Murray from Australia. They visited Danzhai village from December 1-3, 2018, along with Chinese writers Tang Fei, Lei, Liang Ling, Han Song, and Su Wanwen. Vera Sun and Emily Gu organized the trip for FAA.

This feature and more like it in the ...Read More

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Spotlight on: Omar Rayyan, Artist

Having created illustrations for many publish­ers, including Simon & Schuster, Random House and Hyperion/Disney, Omar Rayyan’s primary market was geared towards children’s and young adult’s magazine and books, doing cover and interior illustrations. He also illustrated several children’s picture books.

Other genres he has worked in include the gam­ing market, most notably for Magic: The Gathering, where he has done card art and concept work. Omar was also among the ...Read More

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Charles Vess: Narrative Impulse

Charles Vess was born June 10, 1951 in Lynchburg VA. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating in 1974 with a BFA, and worked in commercial animation until moving to New York City in 1976. There he became a freelance illustrator, working for many publications including Heavy Metal, Klutz Press and National Lampoon. For over 10 years he worked for various comic book publishers, including Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. He ...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
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Photo Story: Manchess Exhibition

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA is hosting “Gregory Manchess: Above the Timberline,” a showcase exploring the artist/writer’s illustrated novel Above the Timberline, featuring 30 paintings, props, archival materials, photographs, and videos of the artistic process, plus life-sized sculpture of characters. The show opened November 10, 2018 and will run through February 24, 2019. For more, see the Norman Rockwell Museum website.

This feature and more like it ...Read More

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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
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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
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Spotlight on: Victo Ngai, Artist


Victo Ngai is a Los Angeles based illustrator from Hong Kong, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. “Victo” is not a boy nor a typo, but a nickname derived from Victoria – a leftover from the British colonization.

Ngai’s work appears in advertising, packaging, magazines, books, newspapers and animation, her clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Apple, Prophecy Wines, Johnnie Walker, American Express, Lufthansa ...Read More

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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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Photo Story: Okorafor Named Person of the Year

Nnedi Okorafor was named Person of the Year at the 2018 African Diaspora Awards, presented December 1, 2018 during an awards ceremony hosted by the Society for Africans in Diaspora held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

This and more like it in the January 2019 issue of Locus.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus ...Read More

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Speculative Fiction in Translation: Novels, Collections, and Short Stories 2018

This list of 2018 speculative titles in translation was compiled by Rachel Cordasco, who founded and runs site sfintranslation.com as well as the SF in Translation Award which can be voted on here until March 1, 2019. Corrections may be sent to locus@locusmag.com.

SF IN TRANSLATION OUT IN 2018

Total books/collections/anthologies: 79

Top 3 languages:
Japanese (19%)
French (16.5%)
Spanish (8.9%)

Top 3 publishers:
Black Coat Press (13.9%)
Haikasoru (6.3%) ...Read More

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Forbidden Planet Halloween Signing

Forbidden Planet in London hosted a multi-author signing for The Mammoth Book of Halloween Stories and The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women (both edited by Stephen Jones) on October 27, 2018.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall ...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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Becky Chambers: To Be Spaceborn

Rebecca Marie Chambers was born in 1985 in Southern California and grew up outside Los Angeles before relocat­ing at 18 to study theater at the University of San Francisco. She worked in theater for years before becoming a freelance writer, and spent time in Iceland and Scotland before returning to California, where she lives now with her wife, Berglaug Asmundardottir.

Chambers crowdfunded her debut novel The Long Way to a ...Read More

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International: SF in Brazil

Since 2014, Brazil has been plunged into a political and economic crisis triggered by unprecedented levels of corruption, plots against the democratic order, and numerous state acts of budget recklessness. Book-buying habits were affected, of course, but during the current slow economic recovery the book selling market was hurt again when major bookstore chain Saraiva decided to hold payments to publishers.

Saraiva has been Brazil’s biggest bookstore chain since 2008, ...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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