Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Midnight Circus by Jane Yolen

The Midnight Circus, Jane Yolen (Tachyon 978-1-61696-340-8, 242pp, $16.95, tp) October 2020.

The Midnight Circus is the third collection of Jane Yolen stories from Tachyon in the last three years, following The Emerald Circus (which won a World Fantasy Award in 2018) and How to Fracture a Fairy Tale. Collectively these rather modest volumes are giving us a pretty good sense of what a Selected Stories volume might ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Bone Shard Daughter Andrea Stewart

The Bone Shard Daughter, Andrea Stewart (Orbit 978-0-31654-142-8, $28.00, 448pp, hc) September 2020.

The Bone Shard Daughter is a surprisingly complex book, even for the first installment in an epic fantasy series. It’s full of reflective themes and characters, ways in which elements of the novel mirror each other, or gesture to each other. Using uncomplicated prose, ideas both innovative and usefully recycled, high-quality worldbuilding, and carefully tuned enigma, ...Read More

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Staff Changes at Augur

Canadian speculative fiction magazine Augur has announced changes to its editorial staff, via Twitter. Editor-in-chief Alex De Pompa will be leaving after 2020. He will be replaced by current poetry editor Terese Mason Pierre and managing editor Lawrence Stewen as co-editors-in-chief. Victoria Liao will become managing editor, and Kerrie Seljak-Byrne will remain as publisher.

Other changes include graphic fiction editor Amy Wang promoted to senior editor, comics and illustration; assistant ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk

The Invention of Sound, Chuck Palahniuk (Grand Central Publishing 978-1-538-71800-1, $27.00, 240pp, hc) September 2020.

Chuck Palahniuk’s outlandish new novel, The Invention of Sound, toggles between two very different individuals. Mitzi Ives is a foley artist who, following in her father’s footsteps, special­ises in screams so devastating and true-to-life they almost sound real. Gates Foster is an investigator who spends his days hunting through child-pornography sites for a ...Read More

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Utopiales Canceled

The French science fiction festival Nantes Utopiales has announced that it is canceling this year’s events, which were scheduled for October 29 – November 2, 2020 at the Nantes Convention Center in Nantes, France. The decision comes after French President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, in effect from October 30 until at least December 1, 2020.

For more information, see the Utopiales website.

While you are here, ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Night Roll by Michael J. DeLuca

Night Roll, Michael J. DeLuca (Stelliform Press) November 2020.

Michael J. DeLuca is known for his work with Small Beer Press and as the editor of Reckoning, an outlet for creative writing on environmental justice. He is also a consistent writer of short fiction and now has a stand-alone novella com­ing out. Night Roll is the most Detroit story I have read since Alexander Irvine’s The Nar­rows (2005), which ...Read More

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New & Notable Books, October 2020

Mike Allen, Aftermath of an Industrial Ac­cident (Mythic Delirium 7/20) Small-press publisher and editor Allen demonstrates his own wide-ranging writing talents in this collection of 16 stories and seven poems, three brand new, most horror, but in a variety of styles, including from psychological and body horror to ghosts and nightmares.


Marie Brennan, Driftwood (Tachyon 8/20) Bren­nan’s powerful new fantasy novel, the first in a series, introduces the world ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Seven Devils by Elizabeth May & Laura Lam

Seven Devils, Elizabeth May & Laura Lam (DAW 978-0756415808, $26.00, 464pp, hc) August 2020.

I wanted to like Seven Devils a lot more than, it turns out, I actually did. The epic space-opera team-up from Laura Lam (author of Goldilocks and Shattered Minds ) and Elizabeth May (The Falconer, The Vanishing Throne, The Fallen Kingdom), Seven Devils is the opening novel in a longer series ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Ivory’s Story by Eugen Bacon

Ivory’s Story, Eugen Bacon (NewCon Press 978-1-91295-077-5, £9.99, 152pp, tp) September 2020.

Eugen Bacon’s latest novel has a lot going on. A lot. Any one strand of its dense weave could blanket a whole novel’s activities and characterization in the hands of a different writer. Ivory’s Story is not a simple read, but it is a daring, rewarding read. Bacon demonstrates unusual virtuosity in tone and style and offers ...Read More

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2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals Longlist

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence for “the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year,” including the following titles and authors of genre interest:


  • Parakeet, Marie-Helene Bertino (Farrar)
  • Pew, Catherine Lacey (Farrar)
  • The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)
  • Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell (Random)
...Read More Read more

Russell Letson Reviews Failed State by Christopher Brown

Failed State, Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager 978-0062859105, $16.99, 384pp, tp) August 2020.

These days, reading anything scarier than “The Adventures of the Widdle Kiddons in Ice-Cream-Sundae Land” winds up reminding me of some bit of direness I’ve seen on the telly that morning. So when I saw the title of Christopher Brown’s new novel and recalled the spot-on dystopian vibe of its predecessor from last year, Rule of Capture ...Read More

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ABCD Awards Winners

Winners of the 2020 Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards have been announced. Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer (MCD x FSG) won in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (4th Estate) won the Classics/Reissue category. Faber Stories, featuring titles by Brian Aldiss, Junot Diaz, Celia Fremlin, Sarah Hall, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Joyce, Marianne Moore, Flannery O’Connor, and others, won the Series category.

For more information, see the ABCD ...Read More

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Gaiman Wins Forry Award

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) has selected Neil Gaiman as this year’s recipient of the Forry Award for lifetime achievement in the SF field. The award, named for Forrest J Ackerman and given annually since 1966, is normally given at LOSCON, held at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LOSCON 47 has been delayed until November 26-28, 2021.

While you are here, please ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Best of Michael Marshall Smith by Michael Marshall Smith

The Best of Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall Smith (Subterranean Press 978-1-596-06950-3, $45.00, 568pp, hc) December 2020.

Michael Marshall Smith is that rare author whose first published story “The Man Who Drew Cats” won a respected award – the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction – and put him immediately on the genre map. He followed it with a second win the following year with “The Dark Land” and ...Read More

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Asteroid Awards Winners

Winners of the 2020 Asteroid Awards were announced by The Outpost Con on October 24, 2020. Fiyah received the $1,000 Best Science Fiction award, “recognizing excellence in publications and authors working to expand the boundaries of science fiction.” Other nominees in the category were Clarkesworld and Cory Doctorow.

For more information see the convention’s website.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or ...Read More

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Kaguya Sci-Fi Contest Winners

Japanese science fiction website VirtualGorillaPlus (VG+) has announced the winners of its Kaguya Sci-Fi Contest, judged by Terrie Hashimoto:

  • Grand Prize: “Dewdrops and Pearls”, Umiyuri Katsuyama
  • Readers’ Prize: “Someday That Summer”, Mahiro Saeki
  • Chief Judge’s Prize: “Aboard My Grandfather”, Ryuhei Otake
  • Judge’s Special Prize: “Remote”, Kaoru Sakasaki

Winners were chosen from 416 entries on the theme of “Schools of the Future.” The grand prize story was translated into English and ...Read More

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2020 British Fantasy Awards Shortlist

The British Fantasy Society has announced the shortlist for the 2020 British Fantasy Awards. The nominees are:

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

  • The Bone Ships, RJ Barker (Orbit)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Orbit)
  • The Migration, Helen Marshall (Titan)
  • The Poison Song, Jen Williams (Headline)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • The Plague Stones, James Brogden (Titan)
  • The
...Read More Read more

Marshall Ryan Maresca: Choosing Magic

Marshall Ryan Maresca was born March 31, 1973 in Syracuse NY and grew up in upstate New York. He attended Penn State, where he got a degree in video and film production, and was active in the theater world. He settled in Austin TX, where he lives with his wife and son.

Most of Maresca‘s work is in the Maradaine world, an epic fantasy setting he has explored in four ...Read More

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2020 Chesley Awards Winners

The 2020 Chesley Awards winners were announced by the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA) in a virtual ceremony:

Best Cover Illustration: Hardcover

  • WINNER: Eric Wilkerson for Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, Kwame Mbalia (Disney Hyperion)
  • Tommy Arnold for Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir ( Publishing)
  • Tran Nguyen for The Storm Crow, Kalyn Josephson (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • Karla Ortiz for The Rage of
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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Trials of Koli, M.R. Carey (Orbit 978-0-31645-868-9, $16.99, 496pp, tp) September 2020.

In short: if you loved M.R. Carey’s The Book of Koli, you will love The Trials of Koli just as much, if not more. Carey has delivered satisfac­torily on the promise of the Rampart Trilogy with a second volume just as absorbing, stunning, and emotionally rich as the first. If you want more information about ...Read More

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2020 Nommo Awards Winners

The African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS) has announced the winners of the 2020 Nommo Awards, given for speculative fiction by Africans living anywhere, presented October 25, 2020 in an online ceremony.

Best Novel

  • WINNER: David Mogo, Godhunter, Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Abaddon)
  • Sing Down the Stars, Nerine Dorman (Tafelberg)
  • Triangulum, Masande Ntshanga (Penguin Random House South Africa/Two Dollar Radio)
  • War Girls, Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill)
  • The Old Drift
...Read More Read more

Thanki Wins A.C. Bose Grant

Asha Thanki is the recipient of the 2020 A.C. Bose Grant for South Asian Speculative Literature, presented by the Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) and DesiLit. The $1,000 grant is given annually to “a South Asian / South Asian diaspora writer developing speculative fiction.”

Thanki’s winning piece is titled “Somewhere in Bombay, a Fog Descends”.

For more information, see the SLF announcement.

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

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews City Under the Stars by Gardner Dozois & Michael Swanwick

City Under the Stars, Gardner Dozois & Michael Swanwick (Tor 978-1250756589, $14.99, 272pp, tp) August 2020.

As any number of people observed after his un­timely death in 2018, Gardner Dozois’s phenom­enal career as an editor and his ebullient public presence at conventions vastly overshadowed his own achievements as a writer – though he won back-to-back short fiction Nebulas back in the 1980s – and that same ebullience may have ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf: A New Translation, Maria Dahvana Headley (MCD x FSG Originals 978-0-374110-031, $15.00, 176pp, tp) August 2020.

According to Encyclopædia Britannica, Beowulf is a “heroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic.” True, but it is also a work of dark fantasy. Without its monsters, there wouldn’t be much to the story.

Maria Dahvana Headley has already retold the poem through ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu (Tor 978-1250306081, 336pp, $27.99, hardcover) October 2020.

Cixin Liu’s first story collection in English continues to provide the same pleasures found in his award-winning novels: the simultaneous honoring and detournement of classic SF tropes, as filtered through a distinctly non-Western worldview and a quirky set of personal sensibilities. He is at once a radical and a conservative, an optimist and a pessimist, ...Read More

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Publishers Weekly Best Books 2020

Publishers Weekly has announced its list of the best books of 2020, divided into 13 categories, including “50 excellent titles for children and teens.” Their overall Top 10 includes Sisters by Daisy Johnson (Riverhead) and Wayétu Moore’s memoir, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women (Graywolf).

The best books in the SF/Fantasy/Horror category are:
  • Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel, Julian K. Jarboe (Lethe)
  • The City We Became,
...Read More Read more

2020 SFPA Grand Master Nominees

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) announced (via Twitter) their four nominees for the Grand Master award: Linda Addison, F.G. Bergmann, John Grey, and Geoffrey A. Landis.

The title is given “to an individual living at the time of selection whose body of work reflects the highest artistic goals of the SFPA, who has been actively publishing within the target genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy for a ...Read More

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Spotlight on: Francesca Myman

Francesca Myman is the design editor at Locus, where she has worked for 13 years. At Locus she’s been responsible for cover art and interior interview designs since 2011, as well as spot and ad graphics, convention coverage and photography, ad hoc interviews, event planning, and art book acquisitions and wrangling for the Recommended Reading List, and more. She is a Clarion West graduate and a graduate of Yale University, ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson (Del Rey 978-0593135051, $28.00, 336pp, hc) August 2020.

Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds is another book I have mixed feelings about. Not about its success: The Space Between Worlds is ambitious and largely accomplishes what it sets out to do. My mixed feelings are entirely down to whether or not I like it, and how to analyse what it’s doing, regardless of ...Read More

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Leitich Smith Wins NSK Neustadt Prize

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the winner of the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, announced by the University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today magazine. Awarded in alternating years with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the NSK Prize includes $35,000, a silver medallion, and a certificate of recognition. The prize jury consisted of Jonathan Auxier, Monica Brown, Tanita S. Davis, Adib Khorram, Sonia Patel, Randy Ribay, Cynthia Weill, Tanaya ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Red Pill by Hari Kunzru

Red Pill, Hari Kunzru (Knopf 978-0-451-49371-2, $27.95, 304pp, hc) September 2020.

The narrator of Hari Kunzru’s provocatively titled new novel, Red Pill, is an unnamed academic and freelance writer suffering from a mid-career crisis. When the prestigious Deuter Centre selects him for a three-month residency at their villa in Berlin, he accepts the invitation. It’s not only an opportunity for him to work on his latest project (“I ...Read More

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