Ian Mond Reviews Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

Dead Astronauts, Jeff VanderMeer (MCD 978-0374-27680-5, $27.00, 352pp, hc) December 2019.

Whatever success the British and Ameri­can New Wave had in broadening our definition of science fiction and fantasy, the Modernist techniques the movement embodied never caught on. There are strong, market-driven reasons why this is the case, why, if you want to a read a genre novel that deliberately eschews a linear, conventional structure you need to look ...Read More

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2020 GUFF and DUFF Candidates

Candidates for the 2020 Going Under Fan Fund (GUFF) have been announced:

  • Cora Buhlert (Germany)
  • Hisham El-Far & Lee Fletcher (UK)
  • Hanna Hakkarainen (Finland)
  • Elizabeth Jones & Claire Rousseau (UK)
  • Dave Lally (UK)
  • Alison Scott (UK)

The 2020 fund will send fans from Europe to Australasia to attend the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, CoNZealand, to be held July 29 – August 2, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Voting is

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2019 Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has announced the preliminary ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Coyote Rage, Owl Goingback (Independent Legions)
  • Unamerica, Cody Goodfellow (King Shot)
  • Black Heart Boys’ Choir, Curtis M. Lawson (Wyrd Horror)
  • The Murder of Jesus Christ, John R. Little (Bad Moon)
  • Inspection, Josh Malerman (Del Rey)
  • The Worst is Yet to Come, S.P. Miskowski
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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters Amy Binns

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, Amy Binns (Grace Judson Press 978-0992756710, $14.95, 304pp, pb) October 2019.

In the Preface to his biography of Somerset Maugham, who was notoriously uncooperative with biographers, Ted Morgan recounts how Maugham directed his executors to prevent the publication of his letters. “Maugham,” writes Morgan, “who had spent most of his long life prying into the affairs of humankind, did not want his own affairs ...Read More

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Arkady Martine: Histories of Power

AnnaLinden Weller, who writes fiction as Arkady Martine, was born on April 19, 1985 in New York City, and spent the first 18 years of her life there. She attended the Uni­versity of Chicago, graduating with a BA in religious studies in 2007. She earned a master’s in in classical Armenian studies at the University of Oxford in 2013, and a Ph.D. in history at Rutgers in 2014, with a ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland

A Choir of Lies, Alexandra Rowland (Saga 978-1-53441-283-5, $26.99, 464pp, hc) Septem­ber 2019.

“Stories are powerful. Stories are ar­rows and swords. Written down, they become a copy of a mind. These words right now, on the pages under my hands – what am I doing with them? What power have I put into this? Is it safe? Is it right?” So asks Ylfing, one of the dual narrators of ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt

The Forbidden Stars, Tim Pratt (Angry Robot 978-0-85766-769-4, $8.99, 400pp, pb) October 2019. Cover by Paul Scott Canavan.

Tim Pratt’s Axiom novels (The Wrong Stars, The Dreaming Stars, and now The Forbidden Stars) have delighted me since almost the first chapter of the first book, back in 2017. They’re a very modern iteration of action-heavy pulp, with appealing characters and worldbuilding that hints at more ...Read More

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Chiang Named Notre Dame Artist-in-Residence

Ted Chiang will be artist in residence at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study for the 2020-21 academic year. He will take part in a two-day workshop, engage with Notre Dame faculty, and participate in weekly seminars. His Exhalation (Knopf) appears on the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2019 list.

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

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Quillifer the Knight by Walter Jon Williams

Quillifer the Knight, Walter Jon Williams (Saga 978-1-4814-9001-6, $16.99, 544pp, tp) November 2019.

When Walter Jon Williams introduced us to his amorous and sometimes hapless hero Quillifer a couple of years ago, he was clearly and joy­ously celebrating the kind of essentially comic, faux-historical swashbucklers that date back as far as Rafael Sabatini and Anthony Hope and as recently as K.J. Parker. Like Hope and Parker, he sets his ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Fallen by Benedict Jacka and The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

Benedict Jacka, Fallen (Ace 978-0-440-00058-7, $7.99, 296pp, pb) September 2018.

Alex Verus’s life takes a big turn for the worse in this tenth installment in the urban fantasy series. That’s not a huge surprise – this series has had a lot of ups and downs. This time, though, things get pretty desperate. Alex gets caught covering up for his girlfriend Anne, who let her dark self out and some really ...Read More

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Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020)

Author and editor Christopher Tolkien, 95, son and literary executor of J.R.R. Tolkien, died January 15, 2020 in Provence, France. Tolkien dedicated his life to his father’s work, editing and shepherding into print more than a score of the elder Tolkien’s books. He organized and edited the The Silmarillion (1977), Unfinished Tales (1980), and the 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth (1983), along with The Children of Húrin (2007), ...Read More

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Robots and Nonsense: Arley Sorg and Josh Pearce Discuss Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Tim Pratt, via Twitter: Two things they got a lot of in Star Wars is droids and shit that don’t make no sense.

Josh: I liked it more than The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Arley: Me too!

Josh: Good! I recognize that The Last Jedi was trying to do a lot more, storywise. But when I rewatched it I was bored by a lot of parts, like ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North

The Pursuit of William Abbey, Claire North (Orbit 978-0316316842, $16.99, 464pp, tp) No­vember 2019.

The Pursuit of William Abbey is Claire North’s sixth novel in six years, a period during which she also published three no­vellas (The Gamehouse trilogy). It’s a remarkable feat when you consider that (a) these are stand-alone books in an age of multi-volume series and (b) they’ve consistently received critical praise and won awards, including ...Read More

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2020 Dublin Literary Award Longlist

The longlist for the €100,000 2020 International Dublin Literary award has been announced, and includes numerous titles and authors of genre interest:

  • Flames, Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing; Atlantic UK)
  • The Luminous Sea, Melissa Barbeau (Breakwater)
  • The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker (Doubleday)
  • The Woman in the Woods, John Connolly (Emily Bestler)
  • Vox, Christina Dalcher (Berkley)
  • The Saturday Night Ghost Club, Craig Davidson (Penguin)
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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

The Tenth Girl, Sara Faring (Imprint 978-1-250-30450-6, $18.99, 464pp, hc) September 2019.

Sara Faring’s The Tenth Girl is a 1970s Gothic thriller filled with horrifying ghosts in an isolated Argentinian boarding school during the “Dirty War” when 30,000 civilians were disappeared at the hands of the US-backed military government. Eighteen-year old Mavi never knew her father, her rebel mother was recently arrested and hauled away with no hope of ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Joanna Russ by Gwyneth Jones

Joanna Russ, Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press 978-0-252-08447-8, $22.00, 224pp, tp; 978-0-252-04263-8, $99.00, 224pp, hc). September 2019.

Gwyneth Jones’s Joanna Russ, part of the Uni­versity of Illinois Modern Masters of Science Fiction series (edited by Gary K. Wolfe, of this parish), also had me looking back at my reading history. For some reason, I have always thought of Russ, who died in 2011, as a contemporary, even ...Read More

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Lowrey Wins 2020 TAFF

Michael Lowrey won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF), defeating Ann Totusek, to travel from North America to Europe to attend Concentric: Eastercon 2020 from April 10-13, 2020 in Birmingham, UK. There were 103 votes counted. The fund is currently administered by Geri Sullivan in North America and Johan Anglemark in Europe. For more information, see the TAFF website.

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Philip K. Dick Award 2020 Nominees

The 2020 Philip K. Dick Award nominees have been announced:

  • The Outside, Ada Hoffmann (Angry Robot)
  • Velocity Weapon, Megan E. O’Keefe (Orbit)
  • All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick (Fairwood)
  • Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, Sarah Pinsker (Small Beer)
  • The Rosewater Redemption, Tade Thompson (Orbit)
  • The Little Animals, Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct)

The award is presented annually to a distinguished work of science

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Steve Stiles (1943-2020)

Artist Steve Stiles, 76, died January 12, 2020 shortly after announcing a diagnosis of terminal cancer. He lived in Maryland. Stiles was one of fandom’s best-known artists, first nominated for a Best Fan Artist Hugo in 1967, and winning in 2016; he received 17 nominations in all. He won 15 FAAn Awards for his fanzine work (the first in 2001, the last in 2016), and in 1998 won the first ...Read More

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Neil Peart (1952-2020)

Author and legendary Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, 67, died on January 7, 2020, after a long struggle with brain cancer.

Neil Ellwood Peart was born September 15, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario and joined the band Rush in 1974. Peart played with lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson for 45 years to sell-out audiences in the largest venues until the band’s retirement in 2015. Rush ...Read More

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Joe Abercrombie: Age of Madness

Joseph Edward Abercrombie was born December 31, 1974 in Lancaster, England. He attended Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He worked at a TV post-production company and as a film editor before becoming a full-time writer. He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008.

His debut The Blade Itself (2006) was shortlisted for the Compton Crook Award for best first novel, and ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson and The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pio­neered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson (Quirk 978-1-68369-138-9, $19.99 352pp, hc) September 2019.

Monster, She Wrote is a brief, breezy, yet fairly complete overview of women who pioneered hor­ror and related fiction. It’s a fun read, chock-full of authors genre-lovers should know if they don’t already. Forty authors – from Margaret Caven­dish (“the Kardashian of her day,” according ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz and Amy Goldschlager Review The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1-9821-1056-7, $30.00, 576pp, hc) September 2019.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Stephen King’s new novel, The Institute, is a blueprint for his career as a novelist, but in it King re­prises themes that he has explored regularly over the past 45 years, notably: children endowed with wild paranormal talents (think Carrie, The Shin­ing, and even End of Watch, ...Read More

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Chabon Receives Writers for Writers Award

Michael Chabon will re­ceive the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award “for his service on the board of the MacDowell Colony, for donating the proceeds of several books to organizations that support writers, and for helping to raise funds to assist other authors,” to be presented at the Poets & Writers 50th Anniversary Gala in New York City on March 16, 2020.

Chabon & Ayelet Waldman’s company Escapist Fare ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect, Valerie Valdes (Harper Voy­ager 978-0-06287-723-9, $16.99, 448pp, tp) September 2019.

I met Valerie Valdes briefly at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon. Part of me wishes I’d already read Chilling Effect, her debut space opera novel, at that point, because I’d like to ask how many of the little things that look like nods to Mass Effect and the likes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are there ...Read More

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SF in Italy: Lucca Comics & Games 2019: The Flying Saucer Has Finally Landed? by Fulvio Gatti

The relationship between Italian readers and literary science fiction has always been, let’s say, complicated. Besides the main­stream recognition of classic authors like Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard, traditional long sellers like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and the tem­porary TV or movie driven successes – George R.R. Martin to mention the most recent one – it still remains a niche genre for a niche audience, published mostly under ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Odsburg by Matt Tompkins

Odsburg, Matt Tompkins (Ooligan 978-1947845084, $16.00, 202pp, tp) October 2019.

I hadn’t intended to review Odsburg by Matt Tompkins. The book I had lined up was False Bingo, a new short-story collection by Jac Jemc (who wrote a terrific haunted house novel, The Grip of It, back in 2014). Unfortunately, while False Bingo is an excellent book, it has zero genre content and therefore is not really ...Read More

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Mike Resnick (1942-2020)

Author Mike Resnick, 77, died January 9, 2020 of lymphoma. Resnick was a prolific and acclaimed SF, nominated 27 times for Hugo Awards and winning five. His Hugo Award winners include his first nomination “Kirinyaga” (1988), “The Manamouki” (1990), “Seven Views of Olduval Gorge” (1994), “The 43 Antarean Dynasties” (1997), and “Travels with My Cats” (2004), and his most recent fiction nomination was for “The Homecoming” (2011). His winners and ...Read More

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Return of the Science Fiction Ghost: Report on the Beijing SF Summit Forum 2019 and Shenzhen by Lavie Tidhar

The story I told quite a lot on my recent visit to China was how, nearly 20 years ago and with much longer hair, I arrived in Beijing. I got off the night bus from the Mongolian border, armed with nothing much more than a curiosity about Chinese science fiction, and a single email address for a Professor Wu Yan.

I was warmly welcomed, introduced to many of the writers ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Seanan McGuire, Laughter at the Academy (Subterranean Press 978-1-59606-928-2, $40.00, 374pp, hc) October 2019. Cover by Carla Speed McNeil.

McGuire’s introduction calls this her first single-author short story collection, which isn’t exactly true, but it is her first collection of non-series stories, 22 of them, all originally published from 2009-2017. The bulk of them are dark tales; she has a tendency to pick one creepy idea and then push it ...Read More

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2020 WSFA Small Press Award Open

The Washington Science Fiction Association is now accepting nominations of “works published for the first time in the English language in 2019” for its Small Press Award, given annually to an outstanding story of “imaginative literature” (17,500 words or fewer) published in the small press. Authors and small-press publishers are among those eligible to nominate, and need not be members of WSFA. Finalists are selected “by a committee of five ...Read More

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