Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook 978-0-316-42204-8, $28.00, 528pp, hc) October 2020.

Despite its vampires, assassins, and a viciously conspiratorial patriarchy, the main sensibility I took away from Alix E. Harrow’s spectacular debut, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, was one of celebration – a celebration of portal fantasies, of secret histories, of favorite books and tales, most of all of the protagonists’ capac­ity to ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Fiyah,, and BCS

Clarkesworld 8/20 Fiyah Spring ’20 7/29/20, 8/12/20, 8/19/20 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/30/20, 8/13/20

My favorite story in August’s Clarkes­world is “The Immolation of Kev Magee” by L.X. Beckett. Set in a near future of eco-collapse, it centers on Breeze, a very attractive but somehow naive refugee from Detroit. Breeze is trying to get ahead via the equivalent of vlogging in a commune set up near the ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Fauna by Christiane Vadnais

Fauna, Christiane Vadnais (Coach House Books 978-1-55245-416-9, $15.99, 144 pages) September 2020.

Originally published in French back in 2018, the award-winning Fauna by Quebec author Christiane Vadnais imagines an Earth radically transformed by climate change. The short novel comprises ten linked stories set mostly around Shivering Heights where “life is an enigma of water and sky” and where some days the rain “falls in perfectly formed pearls… [and] on ...Read More

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SFWA and Alan Dean Foster Press Conference

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and author Alan Dean Foster held a press conference November 18, 2020, claiming that Disney has been withholding payment for Foster’s work on Star Wars and Alien novelizations. According to their press release,

Foster was originally contracted to write the Alien novelizations by Titan Books, and the Star Wars novelizations by Lucasfilm. Both companies regularly paid his royalties. When The Walt ...Read More

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People & Publishing Roundup, November 2020


PETER SWIRSKI is now repre­sented by the John Jarrold Literary Agency.


Author TOMI ADEYEMI was named one of the 100 most influen­tial people of 2020 by Time in the “Pioneers” category. For the full list: <>.

CHARLOTTE HONIGMAN‘s “The Partisan and the Witch” (Skull and Pestle: New Tales of Baba Yaga) won the 2020 Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award for Short Fiction. The ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Emperor’s Wolves by Michelle Sagara

The Emperor’s Wolves, Michelle Sagara (Mira 978-0-778-30991-8, $16.99, 516pp, tp) October 2020.

Let me confess: I hadn’t intended to read Michelle Sagara’s The Emperor’s Wolves for this month’s Locus. I could read it closer to its publication date, I thought – but I’d already read the first page, and oh, it turned out that I could really use an Elantra novel right then.

The Emperor’s Wolves is a prequel ...Read More

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2020 National Book Awards Winners

Winners of the National Book Awards (NBA) in the Fiction, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature categories were announced November 18, 2020 in a virtual ceremony.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Pantheon) won the Fiction category. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic) won the Young People’s Literature category. Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, translated by Morgan Giles (Riverhead), won the Translated Literature category.

Winners for non-fiction and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit 978-0-316-30013-1, $28.00, 576pp, hc) October 2020.

Kim Stanley Robinson has famously shown us a post-neutron-bombed USA, inundated and then frozen the DC area, tossed sizeable chunks of California into the Pacific, flooded most of Manhattan, and even wiped out virtually all of Europe with the plague, but the opening chapters of The Ministry of the Future may be the most ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

The Loop, Jeremy Robert Johnson (Saga 978-1-53445-429-3, $26.99, 320pp, hc) September 2020.

There’s something to be said for a story that jams its foot on the accelerator and leaves it there for 300 pages, an engine that runs at 5,000 RPM for the entire length of a narrative, pushing on until it has spent itself completely. That’s the kind of book Jeremy Robert Johnson’s The Loop is: a sprinting, ...Read More

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SFWA Releases Bud Webster Legacy Kit

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) released the Bud Webster Legacy Kit, a resource list to help writers protect their literary estates.

The Legacy Kit was created in honor of Bud Webster, a driving force behind the SFWA Estates Program. It includes a checklist of important documents, sample book inventories and tables, and a layman’s glossary of important terms in addition to explanatory articles on the relevant ...Read More

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Meg Elison: They’re Made Out of Stories

Meg Elison was born May 10, 1982. Her military family moved frequently, living in Europe and more than a dozen US states. She left home at 14 and dropped out of high school, but later attended community college and completed her degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

Elison’s debut, feminist postapocalyptic novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (2014), won the Philip K. Dick Award and launched the Road ...Read More

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2020 Ignotus Winners

Winners of the 2020 Ignotus Awards (the Spanish equivalent of the Hugo Awards), honoring the best works published in Spain last year, were announced during the online Hispacón.

Novela extranjera (Foreign Novel)

  • WINNER: La brigada de luz [The Light Brigade], Kameron Hurley, translated by Natalia Cervera (Alianza)
  • Ararat, Christopher Golden, translated by Efraim Suárez (Grupo Tierra Trivium)
  • El cielo de piedra [The Stone Sky], N.K. Jemisin, translated by David
...Read More Read more

Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: The Dark, Nightmare, Uncanny, and Shoreline of Infinity

The Dark 7/20, 8/20 Nightmare 8/20, 9/20 Uncanny 7-8/20 Shoreline of Infinity #18

Although I’m writing this in the heat of summer, by the time you read it autumn will be beckoning with fictional chills as well as cooler weather. If you haven’t caught up to these stories by then, they will still be worthy of the season.

The Dark #62 offers two originals. “Agog” by Stephen Volk ...Read More

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2020 Endeavour Award Winners

What the Wind Brings by Matthew Hughes (Pulp Literature) and The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan (Redhook) have jointly won the 2020 Endeavour Award, announced November 13, 2020 during the online OryCon 42. Other finalists were:

  • Merlin Redux, Dave Duncan (Night Shade)
  • Shadow Stitcher, Misha Handman (EDGE)
  • Middlegame, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)

The award is given to “a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel ...Read More

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Publishing News

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt fired 525 employees on the first of October, fol­lowed by more than 150 employees who took early retirement in September. In all, their workforce has dropped by over 20%, from about 3,3000 to 2,600. They have implemented other cost-cutting measures, most related to the increased popularity of ebooks and a new “digital first” approach.

Harper Children’s has announced changes at their Harper imprint. Director of publishing VP ...Read More

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Goldsmiths Fantasy Prize “Winners”

Goldsmiths University of London announced “‘winners’ to date” of the hypothetical Goldsmiths Fantasy Prize, for “a novel by any British or Irish writer published since 1759.” The “Fantasy” in the prize title refers to the counterfactual nature of the award, not to genre; nonetheless, several titles of genre interest were selected as “winners”:

  • The Atrocity Exhibition, J.G. Ballard (4th Estate; originally Jonathan Cape 1970)
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony
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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Episodes: A Collection by Christopher Priest

Episodes: A Collection, Christopher Priest (Gollancz 978-1473200630, £8.99, 368pp, tp), May 2019. (Gollancz 978-1-473-22600-5, $24.99, 368pp, hc) August 2020.

Last month I had the opportunity to review an important 50-year retrospective of M. John Har­rison stories, and so it seems appropriate to take a look at Episodes, a similar long-term retrospective from Christopher Priest, originally published in the UK last year and now available to the likes of ...Read More

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Chiang Receives Unleash Imagination Award

Ted Chiang was honored with the Imagination in Service to Society Award, presented November 12, 2020 by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation during their 2020 Unleash Imagination online event. The award was given “for his thoughtful and thought-provoking science fiction, leading us to examine in fresh ways our own beliefs.”

For more information, including Chiang’s video conversation, see the Clarke Foundation website.

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

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ISFiC Writers Contest Deadline Extension

The 2020 Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) short fiction contest for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy has extended its deadline for submissions to November 27, 2020. First prize includes $300, publication in the Windycon 47 program book and on the ISFiC website, and membership and accommodations for Windycon 47, to be held at the Westin in Lombard, Illinois on November 12-14, 2021, COVID-permitting, featuring all of the ...Read More

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Spotlight on: We Need Diverse Books

Tell us about the mission of We Need Diverse Books.

We Need Diverse Books, AKA WNDB, is a non-profit, grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates for es­sential changes in the publishing industry. Our aim is to create a world in which every child can see themselves in the pages of a book.

Fill us in on the organization’s history: when was it founded, and by whom? What achieve­ments

...Read More Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen

The Faithless Hawk, Margaret Owen (Henry Holt 978-1-250-19194-6, $18.99, 400pp, hc) August 2020.

In her sequel to The Merciful Crow, Margaret Owen returns to the kingdom of Sabor and the new chaos created by the sudden death/murder of their cruel but powerful king. The Faithless Hawk includes all of the characters from the first book but increases the action and adds some major royal intrigue as the battle ...Read More

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Harrison Wins Goldsmiths Prize

The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison (Gollancz) won the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize, given for a book by a British or Irish author “that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best.” This year’s judges were Will Eaves, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Chris Power, and Frances Wilson (chair).

For more information, see the Goldsmiths website.


While ...Read More

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Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

Time magazine has released a list of 100 Must-Read Books of 2020, including many of genre interest:

  • Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam (Ecco)
  • Followers, Megan Angelo (Graydon House)
  • We Ride Upon Sticks, Quan Barry (Pantheon)
  • Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
  • Agency, William Gibson (Berkley)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones (Saga)
  • The Glass Hotel,
...Read More Read more

PEN America/L’Engle Rahman Prize for Mentorship

Honorees of the 2020 PEN America/L’Engle Rahman Prize for Mentorship have been announced: Benjamin Frandsen & Noelia Cerna, Elizabeth Hawes & Jeffrey James Keyes, Derek Trumbo & Agustín Lopez, and Seth Wittner & Katrinka (Kei) Moore.

Named for the late acclaimed author Madeleine L’Engle and her 10-year written friendship with scholar, writer and former Black Party leader Ahmad Rahman, the PEN America/L’Engle Rahman Prize for Mentorship honors four mentor/mentee pairs ...Read More

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2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winners

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) is the winner of the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the Fiction category. The prize “is the first and only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace,” and includes $10,000 for the winners of each category and $5,000 for runners-up. Fiction judges for 2020 were Hua Hsu and Brando Skyhorse.

As ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Afterland by Lauren Beukes

Afterland, Lauren Beukes (Mulholland Books 978-0-31626-783-0, $28.00, 411pp, hc) July 2020.

Released in April, the popularity of Law­rence Wright’s plague novel, The End of October, may have persuaded some to believe there was still an appetite for fictional pandemics. Six months later, and with a second wave of COVID-19 erupting across the globe (as I write this my hometown, Melbourne, is in the fifth week of Lockdown 2.0) ...Read More

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2020 BAMB Readers Awards Winners

Winners for the 2020 Books Are My Bag (BAMB) Readers Awards have been announced. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (Bloomsbury) won the Fiction category, Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (Bloomsbury) won the Young Adult Fiction category, and Greek Myths by Jean Menzies, illustrated by Katie Ponder (DK) won the Breakthrough Author category.

There are also winners in the Children’s Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry categories. The ...Read More

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2021 Aspen Words Longlist

The 15-title longlist for the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize has been announced, including titles and authors of genre interest:

  • Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam (Ecco)
  • The New Wilderness, Diane Cook (HarperCollins)
  • The Death of Vivek, Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead)
  • The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich (Harper)
  • If I Had Two Wings, Randall Kenan (Norton)
  • A Children’s Bible, Lydia Millet (Norton)
  • A Girl is a
...Read More Read more

EstCon 2020 Report

Estcon 2020 was special in a number of ways. The timing of COVID-19 in Esto­nia was close to perfect, as the pandemic retreated from the first wave and politely held off on a second wave long enough for allow for the gathering. The farm site meant that it was easy to put extra measures in place, for example encouraging attendees to bring their own tents, which meant that beds could ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn, Melissa Bashardoust (Flat­iron Books 978-1-250-19614-9, $18.99, 328pp, hc) July 2020. Cover by Sasha Vinogradova.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is Melissa Bashar­doust’s second novel, after 2017’s Girls Made of Snow and Glass. It’s a delight­ful and energetic book, one that effortlessly avoids any hint of a sophomore slump to present us with a vivid world, a compelling cast, and a narrative that managed to deftly surprise me ...Read More

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Working Class Writers Grant Opens

The Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) is accepting applications for its $1,000 Working Class Writers Grant, “awarded annually to assist working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers who have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to financial barriers.” Applications are open until December 31, 2020. The winner will be announced February 15, 2021.

For more information, see the SLF website.

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

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