Roundtable on Samuel R. Delany, Grand Master

In December 2013, Samuel R. Delany was named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by SFWA. Delany has influenced science-fiction and fantasy, and literature in general, in different ways—as fiction writer, critic, theorist, memoirist, editor, teacher. How has Delany influenced your own work or views on writing and literature? For readers who haven’t read much by Delany, is there such a thing as a Delany “gateway” story, novel or essay?

Rachel ...Read More

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Roundtable on “Planetary Writing” and SF in 2014

In The Economist‘s recent “The World in 2014” issue, Jonathan Ledgard writes:

“Dystopian literature will lose out to more optimistic fare in 2014. In part this shift is attributable to readers’ fatigue with mutant, vampire and (particularly) zombie stories. Mostly, though, it reflects a move in the popular consciousness from civilisational angst to the question of preserving biodiversity.”

Later, Ledgard concludes, “2014 will mark the rise of planetary writing: high ...Read More

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Roundtable on "Planetary Writing" and SF in 2014

In The Economist‘s recent “The World in 2014” issue, Jonathan Ledgard writes:

“Dystopian literature will lose out to more optimistic fare in 2014. In part this shift is attributable to readers’ fatigue with mutant, vampire and (particularly) zombie stories. Mostly, though, it reflects a move in the popular consciousness from civilisational angst to the question of preserving biodiversity.”

Later, Ledgard concludes, “2014 will mark the rise of planetary writing: high ...Read More

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Interview with Nancy Kress and Jack Skillingstead

Here’s one final interview from ICON 38, with two guests of honor, Nancy Kress and Jack Skillingstead.

[Alvaro Zinos-Amaro] What’s been the high point of ICON 38 for you?

[Jack Skillingstead] I liked DreamCon, the workshop for high school and college students. It was fun sitting there talking to the students. I also liked getting to know Ellen Datlow better. I’vet met her a few times, but hadn’t spent a ...Read More

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Interview with Joe Haldeman

Last month I had the pleasure of attending ICON 38, Iowa’s long-running science fiction convention. After closing ceremonies, I sat down with SFWA Grand Master and ICON co-founder Joe Haldeman, and his wife Gay, and asked him some questions.

[Alvaro Zinos-Amaro] How has ICON changed over the last 38 years? Has it changed?

[Joe Haldeman] It has. Oddly enough, not the people. The people are the same. But it’s much ...Read More

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Roundtable on the Zen of Organizing Books

One last spin-off from yesterday’s discussion on organizing books…

Jonathan Strahan

It probably says something deeply disturbing about me, but there is something incredibly satisfying, almost on at a DNA level, about putting books in their place. When I finally amalgamated a lot of shelves and for the first time all thirteen volumes of The Collected Stories of Theodore Sturgeon sat together I felt a zen-like calm descend on me, ...Read More

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Roundtable on the Theory of Organizing Books

Following on from yesterday’s discussion on organizing books…

John Clute

There was a Readercon panel this year — inspired by a very good panel at WFC in Toronto — about building a collection in a way both organizes its contents and makes those contents accessible as a presentation, as a kind of body English, of the meaning of those contents.

Any non-alphabetic organization of authors — ie sorting books by ...Read More

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Roundtable on Organizing Books

How do you organize your bookshelves? To Be Read piles? Are they alphabetized? If you’re like me and can only dream of having organized bookshelves at the moment, how would you organize them if you had the time? How about magazines?

Stacie Hanes

They’re grouped by subject. I wish I had the time and space for full LOC organization. I don’t have the space to hang on to magazines.

Elizabeth ...Read More

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Five Golden Things — Eileen Gunn

Five SF stories about Linotype machines

We don’t see much science-fiction about Linotype machines any more, and it’s easy to forget how radically those big, noisy heffalumps changed the world. Their invention in 1886 spawned publishing’s industrial revolution, and the machines remained pretty much the same over the entire 20th century, even as they were being superseded, first by phototypesetting and then by digital type.

The Linotype and its operators ...Read More

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Italcon 39: Before, During, and After: A Personal Perspective by Michael Bishop

An unexpected invitation

On February 12 of this year, Armando Corridore, owner and publisher of the firm Elara Libri in Bologna, Italy, e-mailed me an invitation to attend Italcon 39 – “the annual Italian congress of fantastic literature” – as its sole American literary guest.

Armando explained that the convention would be held in Bellaria, “a quiet seaside town on the Adriatic coast,” from May 23 – May 26. It ...Read More

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Small Blue Planet — Ep. 06, Philippines

This month we talk to two notables from the Philippines. Charles A. Tan and Dean Francis Alfar give us a tour of the speculative fiction authors working in their country right now.

Dean Francis Alfar is a Filipino playwright, novelist and writer of speculative fiction. His plays have been performed in venues across the country, while his articles and fiction have been published both in his native Philippines and ...Read More

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Roundtable on Space Exploration–Part 3, Cynicism and Cannibalism

Continued from Wednesday…

Gardner Dozois

 It’s kind of sad how many of the SF writers, editors, and critics here don’t really believe that any real extended presence in space is possible.  No wonder we can’t convince anybody else.

Cecelia Holland

Gardner. You and me. Let’s shoot the Moon.

Rachel Swirsky

Well, I guess it depends on who the “we” is in that sentence? Obviously, those who don’t believe it aren’t ...Read More

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Roundtable on Space Exploration–Capitalization

Continued from Monday…

Gardner Dozois

 It’s impossible to predict what will be technologically possible a hundred years from now.  The way things are going, it’s impossible to predict what will be technologically possible five years from now.  Research is already underway into creating magnetic/electronic shields to protect ships from radiation; I read an article about it only a couple of days ago.

Starting from the state of technology and scientific ...Read More

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Roundtable on Space Exploration

Space travel is still super rare and super expensive, but there’s some hope on the horizon that the costs may be coming down. If it were reasonably available to you, would you be willing to go into space yourself? For a day trip, weekend trip, months-long grand tour or into the up-and-out explorer? If you were willing to escape our gravity well, which of the sfnal portrayals of space travel ...Read More

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Small Blue Planet — Ep 05, Israel

In this episode of Small Blue Planet we visit Israel with translators Gili Bar Hillel and Didi Chanoch.

Among the interesting bits mentioned:

Conventions: Icon, Utopia, Olamot, Meorot, Bydion
Magazines: Once Upon a Future
Publishers: Graff Publishing
Current writers: Lavie Tidhar, Yir Naniv, Guy Hasson, Vered Tochterman, Gail Hareven,
Etgar Keret, Assaf Gavron, Asaf Ashery
Abigail Nussbaum’s review of With Both Feet in the Clouds: Fantasy in Hebrew Literature ...Read More

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ICFA 34 – Adapting Shakespeare

This is one of the panels I recorded at the most recent ICFA conference. The participants (in order of appearance) were Jim Casey, Sharon Emmerichs, Kevin Crawford, Neil Gaiman, and Conor McCreery. How do you adapt Shakespeare? Is there any such thing as a single true, definitive “Shakespeare”? How do the plays adapt into different media, different costumes, different generations? A very thoughtful discussion on the malleable Bard. ...Read More Read more

Year's Best Reviews and their Effects on Reviewers

It is well past time for any new comments on Paul Kincaid’s “The Widening Gyre” or Jonathan McCalmont’s response to such, “Cowardice, Laziness and Irony: How Science Fiction Lost the Future.” However, I’ve been reading one of Damon Knight’s collections of criticism, In Search of Wonder, and came across the following gems. They come back-to-back-to-back in a chapter on Anthologies, discussing the first three Judith Merrill S-F, the Year’s Greatest ...Read More

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Five Golden Things — Seanan McGuire

The Five Best…
…genre stories about creepy telepathic kids.

Everybody loves a mind-reader, right?

The telepath or mentalist has been a part of the genre landscape since the days of vaudeville and traveling carnival sideshows, where “mind-readers” trained in observation would use shills and accomplices to wow the crowd with amazing displays of their supposed psychic powers.  It was understandable that these figures would loom large in the science fiction, ...Read More

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Small Blue Planet – Ep 04, France

Our guests this month:

Mélanie Fazi is a long-time fan of fantasy, horror and SF as well as a writer and translator. Although her published books include two novels and two collections of stories, she’s mostly a writer of short fiction. Some of her stories were translated in English and appeared notably in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science-Fiction, Black Static and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She has ...Read More

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Five Golden Things – Jim C. Hines

Five Books/Series That Should Totally Be Adapted With Puppets

Many of us, fans and authors alike, play the dream casting game where we imagine who should star in film or television adaptations of our favorite books. But not all stories were meant for live-action, or even animation. Some stories require the warmth, creativity, and downright fun of puppetry.

  • The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett. I’m assuming you’re all familiar with
...Read More Read more

Chris Barzak, Jedediah Berry, and Genevieve Valentine In Conversation: Crawford Award Winners

At ICFA this past March 2013 we were lucky enough to have three recent Crawford award winners attending the conference: Chris Barzak, Jed Berry, and Genevieve Valentine. (Acutally, there were five winners at the conference that weekend, one of whom was one of our guests of honor, Kij Johnson.) I was lucky enough to catch the three of them after their joint reading on Saturday morning. In a mostly coherent ...Read More

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Roundtable on Unreliable Narrators

Karen Burnham
Unreliable narrators. Why use them? Is it playing fair with the reader? What stories do it best? Who will mention Gene Wolfe first? (Ah, I guess that’d be me.) Who else uses them effectively?

As always, this discussion is broken up into multiple pages for ease of reading. If you’d like to read it all on a single page, select ‘View All’ from the drop down menu above. ...Read More

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Five Golden Things – Cat Rambo

Five Animal Stories that Manage Not to Be Twee

Animal stories have a certain quality that really lets writers play with emotions. There’s a reason White Fang and Black Beauty are classics. And plenty of speculative fiction writers have advantaged themselves of the approach. And OMG sometimes the twee factor runs far too high in this. It’s very easy to do in an animal story.

But we do it nonetheless. ...Read More

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Small Blue Planet – Ep 03, Brazil

In this episode from Brazil, our guests are:

Fábio Fernandes is an SFF writer and translator living in São Paulo, Brazil. He’s got several stories published in online venues in the US, the UK, New Zealand, Portugal, Romenia, and Brazil. He also contributed to Steampunk Reloaded, Southern Weirdo: Reconstruction, and The Apex Book of World SF Vol. 2. Co-edited (with Djibril al-Ayad) We See a Different Frontier, an upcoming anthology ...Read More

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Five Golden Things – Ian Sales

5 sf books worth reading I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered if I hadn’t been reading for SF Mistressworks

I’d always considered myself well-read within the genre, but when people started talking about the poor representation of women sf writers in late 2010/early 2011, I discovered that my own reading was chiefly of books by male writers. And this was despite the fact that through the years my favourite writers had ...Read More

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Small Blue Planet — Ep 02, China

In this episode, centered on China, our guests are:

Ken Liu, an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. His fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He has won a Nebula, a Hugo, a World Fantasy Award, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award, and been nominated for ...Read More

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Locus Recommended Short Fiction Links

As a complement to the overall Locus Recommended Reading List, I like to collect all the short fiction that’s easily available online here. Please let me know if any other stories are or become available, and I’ll update the list as soon as possible.


  • “In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns”, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s 1/12)
  • “Twenty Lights to ‘The Land of Snow’“, Michael Bishop (Going Interstellar
...Read More Read more