2013 Locus Recommended Reading List

This Recommended Reading List, published in Locus Magazine’s February 2014 issue, is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers – Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Faren Miller, Jonathan Strahan, Russell Letson, Graham Sleight, Adrienne Martini, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Burnham, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Paul Di Filippo, and others — with inputs from outside reviewers, other professional critics, other lists, etc. Short fiction selections are based on material ...Read More

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New SF Imprint: Simon451

Simon & Schuster has announced the launch of a new adult SF/F imprint, Simon451. The imprint will publish both print and e-book formats, but will focus on e-book originals and digital-first publishing, and will also experiment with publishing short stories and serials, as well as reissuing backlist titles as e-books. Senior editor Sarah Knight will run the imprint, which launches in October 2014 with A Vision of Fire, first in ...Read More

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SF Signal Hacked

SF Signal was hacked over the weekend, and is still experiencing some technical issues, though they should be resolved soon. The main problem was identified and fixed on Saturday, but  Google red-flagged the site as containing malware, so visitors may have seen a warning to that effect even after the problem was resolved. Editor John DeNardo wrote, “Hopefully, nobody who visited us was affected by this. In either case, you ...Read More

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SF Site Suspends Regular Updates

SF Site will suspend their twice-monthly publication schedule due to a decline in advertising. They will still “continue to post reviews, columns and interviews from time to time… We will maintain the web site and the server, and we will continue to post material as it comes our way — just not as twice-monthly issues, as we have done in the past.” ...Read More

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Electric Velocipede and Icarus Closing

John Klima of Electric Velocipede and Steve Berman of Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction announced recently that their magazines are closing.

Electric Velocipede‘s final issue is #27. In his editorial, Klima explains:

I have outstanding debt from running Electric Velocipede—and since the magazine can’t even support itself, it doesn’t make sense to keep it going and continue to spend money without earning any. On top of that are ...Read More

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SFWA Raises Qualification Pay Rates

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has raised the minimum pay rate necessary for short fiction markets to qualify authors for SFWA membership from five cents per word to six cents per word, effective July 1, 2014. This is the first time the rate has been increased since 2004, when it rose from three cents per word to five cents per word. See the press release at ...Read More

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Amazon Launches Short Fiction Imprint

Amazon Publishing has launched a new short fiction imprint, StoryFront, which will feature short stories in all genres published exclusively for the Kindle. It will also publish stories originally seen in Amazon’s new weekly literary journal, Day One, and serve as a home for the journal. StoryFront launched with 43 stories, including genre stories by Rebecca Adams Wright, Christian Cantrell, and J.A. Konrath. ...Read More

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Google Wins Book Scanning Suit

The Google Book lawsuit has been settled in the search engine’s favor. On November 14, 2013 Judge Denny Chin dismissed the Author’s Guild lawsuit, which claimed that Google’s program of scanning and indexing books, and posting portions of those books online, violated copyright. Chin ruled that the scanning program is fair use, but went even further, saying, “Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts ...Read More

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New SF/F Imprint at Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster has announced a new imprint, not yet named, that will focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror for “YA and above.” Justin Chandra is publisher, and Joe Monti (recently of Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency) has been hired as executive editor. Navah Wolfe of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers has been promoted to editor, and will work for the new imprint full-time. The new line will ...Read More

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Resurrection House Acquires Underland

Mark Teppo’s new publishing company Resurrection House has acquired Victoria Blake’s Underland Press. Underland will be a “distinct imprint” of Resurrection House, and “will cater more to titles that are not as readily categorized. Much like the existing Underland catalog, in fact. They may have a touch more noir in their fantasy, a bit more horror in their science fiction, and perhaps even a smidgen of darling mainstream aspirations in ...Read More

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Penguin E-books Return to Overdrive

Penguin titles are once again available on Overdrive, the e-book lending service. Nearly two years ago, Penguin pulled its titles from Overdrive, citing “security concerns” stemming from Overdrive’s exclusive deal to allow Kindle lending of e-books.

With the resuming of the relationship with Overdrive, Penguin titles will be available for Kindle users through a “sideload” process in which readers upload Penguin titles via a USB connection directly to their device. ...Read More

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Goodreads Review Deletion Policy Creates a Stir

Goodreads announced that it will remove book reviews (and shelves) that focus on author behavior rather than the books themselves. This is an effort to set “an appropriate tone for [the] community site,” but has been interpreted by many of the site’s users as censorship. As author Phi Tran suggests, “One thing that is worth mentioning is Goodreads’ new Amazon ownership.  Whether Amazon is dictating this decision is unclear, but ...Read More

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Thomases Leaving Apex

Lynne M. Thomas, editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine, has announced her plans to step down after the December 2013 issue. Managing editor (and her husband) Michael Damian Thomas is leaving at the same time.

Thomas took over from previous editor Catherynne M. Valente in November 2011. In her farewell, Thomas wrote, “I’m in need of break, after which I’m looking forward to exploring new opportunities and projects….  Publisher Jason Sizemore plans ...Read More

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Overstock To Permanently Match Amazon Book Prices

In July 2013, Internet retailer Overstock.com offered a sale on all its books, pricing them 10% below Amazon’s prices.  In response, Amazon matched Overstock’s new prices.

On August 19th, Overstock.com released a statement saying it would permanently match Amazon prices on their print books.  It will also give its “Club O” program members a 15% rebate in Overstock credit on book purchases in order to “effectively undercut Amazon’s book prices ...Read More

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Williams Leaves Night Shade

Tony Lyons of Skyhorse Publishing and Jarred Weisfeld of Start Publishing have announced the departure of Jason Williams from their Night Shade Books imprint. Williams founded Night Shade Books as an independent publisher in 1997, and worked with Skyhorse/Start after their acquisition of the company earlier this year. Jeremy Lassen remains as editor for Night Shade. ...Read More

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Omni Reboot

SF and science magazine Omni (1978-95) is being reborn as online magazine Omni Reboot, with articles, fiction, and other content expected to begin appearing this week. The revival is thanks to investor and entrepreneur Jeremy Frommer, who purchased the estate of Omni publisher Bob Guccione, including the magazine archives. His Powerhouse Press will also publish some Omni-related material, with an art book forthcoming.

The editor of Omni Reboot is Claire ...Read More

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Vonnegut Joins Kindle Worlds

Amazon Publishing has licensed the work of Kurt Vonnegut for their Kindle Worlds program, which allows  writers to create and sell authorized fan fiction based on the works of participating authors, estates, and packagers. Writers who want to write own stories or novels based on Vonnegut’s worlds and characters will be able to do so once the submission platform for this license goes live in August.

For more, see Amazon’s ...Read More

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Rowling Revealed as Author of Mystery Novel

J.K. Rowling has been revealed as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling (Mulholland), a mystery/crime novel published as by Robert Galbraith.

After a journalist speculated that Rowling was the real author, she confessed, saying, “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience! It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from ...Read More

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Frenkel Leaves Tor

Longtime Tor Books editor James Frenkel has left the company. Tor senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden wrote in a series of posts to his twitter account:

James Frenkel is no longer associated with Tor Books. We wish him the best.

We’ll be contacting the authors and agents Mr. Frenkel worked with to discuss which editor here they’ll be working with going forward.

This process will take some days or even ...Read More

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Humble eBook Bundle II

The Humble eBook bundle is a “pay-what-you-want” offer that will run for the next two weeks, allowing readers to purchase a six-title DRM-free e-book package for whatever amount they choose to pay.

Buyers can choose to allocate a portion (or the entirety) of their payment to charities including the Electric Frontier Foundation, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or Child’s Play Charity.

You can check out the promotional ...Read More

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Skyhorse & Start Acquire Night Shade

Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing’s deal to acquire Night Shade Books has been finalized. We previously reported on the negotiations, which sparked a debate among authors and industry professionals over the terms of the deal and included an open letter from Night Shade co-owner Jeremy Lassen.

The text of the press release follows:

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. and Start Publishing are pleased to announce the acquisition of Night Shade Books, an ...Read More

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Underland Press Sold to Skyhorse and Start

Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing have purchased Underland Press. Founded in 2007 by Victoria Blake, Underland has published titles by Brian Evenson, Elizabeth Hand, Matthew Hughes, Joe Lansdale, John Shirley, Jeff VanderMeer, and others. Their most recent publication is anthology Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Evolution, and Revolution, edited by Blake (February 2013).  Blake will remain in her position as publisher of non-fiction line InFact Books.

Tony Lyons of ...Read More

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Eclipse Online Closes

Night Shade Books has announced that online magazine Eclipse Online is closing, effective immediately. All stories in inventory have been returned to their authors, and no new stories will be considered for publication. Editor Jonathan Strahan said, “While I am disappointed to see Eclipse Online close, I will always be grateful to Jason Williams, Jeremy Lassen, Ross Lockhart, and the team at Night Shade Books for their enthusiastic and energetic ...Read More

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Open Letter from Night Shade Books

The following is an open letter from Jeremy Lassen, co-0wner of Night Shade Books.

By now most of you had have probably heard that Night Shade is in the process of being bought out.  As many of you know, for a long time, Night Shade has been struggling financially. In evaluating our long-term outlook, Jason and I determined that those struggles would continue for an indefinite period of time. During ...Read More

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SFWA Delists Night Shade Books as Qualifying Market

Night Shade Books has been delisted as a qualifying market for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

From SFWA.org, “As of Apr 3, 2013, Night Shade Books is no longer a qualifying venue. This action refers to Night Shade Books, the company owned by Jeremy Lassen and Jason Williams. We are aware of current negotiations by Night Shade with other companies to continue the brand name under other ...Read More

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Night Shade Books in Negotiations for Sale of Assets

As reported by Publishers Weekly, Night Shade Books is in negotiations with Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing to sell its assets, namely its titles under contract. The press has been struggling financially for several years, and in the past months laid off editor Ross Lockhart and lost several authors. SFWA recently began working with Night Shade to find an alternative to bankruptcy, as bankruptcy can tie up contracts indefinitely or ...Read More

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Amazon Buys Goodreads

Amazon.com has purchased popular “social cataloging” site Goodreads for an undisclosed sum. Goodreads was founded in 2007 and has about 16 million active members, who use the site to catalog books they own, have read, or want to read; to review books; and to socialize online with other readers.

With this acquisition, Amazon now has a stake in all the major social cataloging sites, with its own site Shelfari and ...Read More

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B&N Cuts S&S Orders

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has cut back orders of new Simon & Schuster titles — to “almost nothing” for some books — during an ongoing dispute over financial terms. Refusing to sell books is a new negotiating tactic for B&N, though not unheard of in the industry; Amazon.com famously removed “buy now” buttons from Macmillan titles during a dispute over terms. The refusal to stock S&S books will certainly ...Read More

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Random House Adjusts Controversial Terms

Random House has announced changes to the controversial contract terms for their digital SF imprint Hydra, and its sister imprints Alibi (crime), Loveswept (romance) and Flirt (YA/New Adult).

The imprints drew criticism for what SFWA called “onerous and unconscionable” contract terms, including acquisition of all rights for the duration of copyright, no payment of advances against royalties, and requiring authors to bear the costs of production and marketing through deductions ...Read More

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Random House Imprint Hydra Not SFWA Qualified

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced to its members today that Hydra, an electronic imprint of Random House, does not meet the requirements for an approved qualifying market. SFWA cited problems with “onerous and unconscionable” contract terms (with life-of-copyright terms that include both primary and subsidiary rights), failing to pay authors an advance against royalties, as well as requiring authors to pay, through deductions from royalties ...Read More

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Dozois Joins Clarkesworld

Beginning in April Gardner Dozois will be reprint editor for Clarkesworld Magazine. He will choose two SF stories a month to reprint. Editor-in-Chief Neil Clarke says:

“Since my heart attack last year, when readers responded with encouragement and support, I’ve been trying to find a way to say ‘thank you’. The reprint department had been on our wish list for some time and when the opportunity to work with someone ...Read More

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