I read a lot of books in familiar series this year, and only a few really stood out. Ilona Andrews’s Sapphire Flames is a fun start to a new trilogy in the Hidden Legacy series of urban fantasy romances, focusing on Catalina, the second daughter in the heavily armed Baylor family, taking over as Head of the family’s House with her rare but powerful talent as a Siren – and ...Read MoreRead more
Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead 978-1-59463-465-9, $27.00, 272pp, hc) March 2019.
Make no mistake: Helen Oyeyemi’s sixth novel is literary fiction, with a profound central metaphor and wandering, unfixed storylines. Its language is heady and attention-getting: “Flowers wilt and shed mottled petals, mold blooms greenish-white on chocolate truffles, and Harriet’s gingerbread hunkers down in its tin, no more attractive than the day it arrived, but no more repellent either.” But ...Read MoreRead more
All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-84-2, $17.99, 320pp, tp) November 2019.
In her introduction to All Worlds are Real, Jo Walton correctly notes that Susan Palwick is “definitely not as well known as a writer this good ought to be at this point in her career.” While one reason for this is that she’s not been especially prolific – four novels and one prior collection ...Read MoreRead more
Audible and the publishers who sued them over their planned Captions program – which creates scrolling, machine-generated text that displays while their audiobooks are playing – have reached a settlement. Audible’s lawyer Emily Resbaum wrote to the court on January 13, 2020 that “We are pleased to inform the Court that the parties have resolved their disputes. The parties respectfully request until January 21 to allow the parties to obtain ...Read MoreRead more
Gollancz publisher Anne Clarke is leaving the Orion imprint after one year in the post. Marcus Gipps is receiving a promotion to publishing director. Gipps worked as a bookseller for ten years before joining Gollancz in 2011, and most recently held the title of editorial director of Gollancz and SF Gateway. Gipps will work with deputy publisher Gillian Redfearn and will report to Orion managing director Katie Espiner.
Rachel Winterbottom ...Read MoreRead more
The Bookseller has announced 30 from 30, a “super list” of 30 books from the past 30 years of British Book Awards winners as finalists for a one-off award for the best book of the past three decades. Titles of genre interest include Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Myer (Little, Brown), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury), Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (Scholastic), and The Lovely Bones ...Read MoreRead more
Winners for the 2019 Children’s and Young Adults Bloggers’ Literary Awards (Cybils) have been announced. Books of genre interest include:
Young Adult Speculative Fiction
- WINNER: Fireborne, Rosaria Munda (Putnam)
- Internment, Samira Ahmed (Little, Brown)
- The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown)
- Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Knopf)
- Echo North, Joanna Ruth Meyer (Page Street Kids)
- War Girls, Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill)
- Sorcery of
This was my first full year reviewing books for Locus. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, even the yawning, anxiety-inducing depth of the white screen as I desperately cobbled together something coherent to say about the books I was discussing. On that note (not the yawning depth of the white screen, but the books), I’ve read some terrific genre fiction this year. As has been the case for a decade ...Read MoreRead more
A Dream So Dark, L.L. McKinney (Imprint 978-1-250-15392-0, $18.99, 416pp, hc) September 2019.
L.L. McKinney picks up the action right where she left off with her new “all hands on deck” sequel to A Blade So Black, A Dream So Dark. After losing one of her closest friends and discovering a major secret about her mentor in the closing pages of A Blade So Black, McKinney’s ...Read MoreRead more
The Society of Authors announced the winners of its translation prizes on February 12, 2020 in a ceremony at the British Library in London, UK. Morgan Giles’s translation of Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri (Tilted Axis) won the £2,000 TA First Translation Prize, sponsored by Daniel Hahn and the British Council, and given “for a debut literary translation into English published in the UK.” The award is shared between ...Read MoreRead more
The San Francisco Public Library presents “SF by the Bay,” an exhibit and series of events from February 1 – April 30, 2020, showcasing the library’s J. Francis McComas Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection and celebrating the San Francisco Bay Area’s contributions SF art, film, and literature. The exhibit is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Library in the General Collections and Humanities Center, with associated displays located ...Read MoreRead more
Resurgence, C.J. Cherryh (DAW 978-0-7564-1427-6, $26.00, 340pp, hc) January 2020. Cover by Todd Lockwood.
A quarter-century and 20 volumes into a long-running series, it’s hard to figure the exact audience to address in a review of the newest, Resurgence. When C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner sequence began in 1994, it looked like it might have been the start of a mere trilogy. Over the last 25 years, it has become ...Read MoreRead more
The Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) announced several grant recipients.
María Isabel Álvarez won the 2019 Gulliver Travel Grant, which gives $1,000 annually to cover airfare, lodging, or other travel expenses. Honorable mentions were Michaux Dempster, Claire Holroyde, and Jenni Zellner.
Del Sandeen won the 2019 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants. The Diverse Writers Grant is “intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as ...Read MoreRead more
Most years I read a fair bit of science fiction and fantasy, but the majority of my pleasure reading tends to be mystery and crime (I don’t write in those genres, so I can enjoy them without that otherwise inevitable layer of analysis). This year, though, I’m on an award jury covering speculative fiction, and as a result, I’ve read more widely and deeply in my home field than I ...Read MoreRead more
Full Throttle: Stories, Joe Hill (Morrow 978-0-06220-067-9, $27.99, 484pp, hc) October 2019.
Joe Hill’s first collection 20th Century Ghosts – which this reviewer read, reviewed, and then interviewed the author while having no idea he was the son of Stephen King – was full of fresh, genre-bending work. It was a thrill to discover an unknown author with such talent and promise. Of course, Hill went on from there ...Read MoreRead more
Scottish author and editor Paul Barnett, 70, who wrote SF mostly as John Grant, died February 3, 2020. In addition to his extensive writing career, he worked in publishing, serving as a commissioning editor at art book publisher Paper Tiger from 1997-2004; for his work there, he won a Chesley Award for best art director in 2002, and received a World Fantasy Award nomination the following year. He edited The ...Read MoreRead more
Finalists for the 2019 Analog Analytical Laboratory (AnLab) and Asimov’s Readers’ Awards have been announced and are available to read online.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact Analytical Laboratory Award Finalists
- “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle or, Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s“, Adam-Troy Castro (9-10/19)
- “The Savannah Problem“, Adam-Troy Castro (1-2/19)
- “You Must Remember This“, Jay O’Connell (11-12/19)
- “A Mate Not a Meal“, Sarina Dorie
Editors, writers, scholars, and fans came together to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Analog Science Fiction and Fact and launch its milestone issue at the Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium in downtown Brooklyn NY on December 12, 2019. Organized by Jason Ellis, assistant professor of English at City Tech, and Emily Hockaday, managing editor of Analog, the event featured an editors’ roundtable, author readings, Analog-focused research paper presentations, ...Read MoreRead more
The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga 978-1-534-43986-3, $19.99, 176pp) November 2019.
Rivers Solomon’s The Deep has a pretty colorful and convoluted history, but one that suggests how SF and Afrofuturist conceits are increasingly interacting with the broader culture. The idea of a utopian underwater society built by the water-breathing descendants of pregnant slaves thrown overboard from slave ships was first conceived by ...Read MoreRead more
The shortlist for the 2019 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards has been announced.
- The Green Man’s Foe, Juliet E. McKenna (Wizard’s Tower)
- Atlas Alone, Emma Newman (Gollancz)
- Fleet of Knives, Gareth L. Powell (Titan)
- Children of Ruin, Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)
- The Rosewater Insurrection, Tade Thompson (Orbit)
Best Shorter Fiction
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
- This is
The top five results of the Uncanny Magazine 2019 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll have been announced.
Sarah Gailey ...Read MoreRead more
Nominees have been announced for the Splatterpunk Awards, “honoring superior achievement for works published in 2019 in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror.”
- Carnivorous Lunar Activities, Max Booth III (Cinestate/Fangoria)
- Killer Lake, W.D. Gagliani & David Benton (Deadite)
- Reception, Kenzie Jennings (Death’s Head)
- Lakehouse Infernal, Christine Morgan (Deadite)
- Merciless, Bryan Smith (Grindhouse)
- Toxic Love, Kristopher Triana (Blood Bound)
- They Kill,
“Imitation Game” by Rona Wang is the winner of the 2020 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. The award is “given annually to the best short-story written in the science fiction or fantasy genres by a full-time undergraduate college student,” and is accompanied by a $500 cash prize, publication in Asimov’s, and an invitation to ICFA (International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts), ...Read MoreRead more
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) has announced the finalists for the 2020 Compton Crook Award:
- Here and Now and Then, Mike Chen (Harlequin/Mira)
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix Harrow (Redhook)
- The Outside, Ada Hoffman (Angry Robot)
- A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor)
- A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)
The award honors the best first SF/fantasy/horror novel of the ...Read MoreRead more
I read a lot of great young adult SF/F books in 2019 and was most struck by the diversity of subjects that came across my desk. There continues (thankfully) to be no dominant theme in YA fantasy, a welcome departure from the past. With the exception of a cluster of titles set in Paris (which is fine; what’s not to like about Paris?), it’s really impossible to point in any ...Read MoreRead more
Amal El-Mohtar was born December 13, 1984 in Ottawa, Canada, and grew up there, apart from two years spent in Lebanon, where her family is from. She began publishing short fiction with “The Crow’s Caw” (2006) and has published scores of stories and poems, notably Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Award winner “Seasons of Glass and Iron” (2016, also a World Fantasy, Sturgeon Memorial, and Aurora Award finalist), Nebula Award finalists ...Read MoreRead more
The Quantum Garden, Derek Künsken (Solaris 978-1781085714, $11.99, 300pp, tp) October 2019.
I reviewed Künsken’s debut novel The Quantum Magician for Locus and was, I can be honest, unsurprised Solaris elected not to use my summary judgment as a cover-blurb, viz.: “It’s not Proust but it passes the time.” Now here’s the follow-up volume: The Quantum Garden, Quantum Evolution #2. It is more of the same. If you ...Read MoreRead more
Agency, William Gibson (Berkley 978-1-101-98693-6, $28.99, 416pp, hc) January 2020.
In Agency, William Gibson has produced a sequel to The Peripheral – or as much of a sequel as can be expected of a story space built, not on one alternate history or timeline, but on branching sets of them. Of course, the “multiple alternate histories” enabling device has been around SF for decades, going back as far ...Read MoreRead more
Barnes & Noble has requested a jury trial in the age discrimination lawsuit filed by Barbara Tavres in the US District Court in Northern California. Tavres was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that began in 2006, and claimed Barnes & Noble fired her because of her age, and also used policies, practices, and procedures which disproportionately affected employees age 40 and older. She seeks class action status. ...Read MoreRead more
Let’s try a different metaphor for this annual make-sense-of-the-field exercise: a ramble through my science-fictional reading neighborhood, which is a virtual space instantiated from the manifold of all-the-books-published and distinct from the neighborhoods described elsewhere in these pages by my colleagues. As I have pointed out nearly every year of the 30 I’ve been writing these wrap-ups, my reading is not statistically or demographically or subculturally representative – it’s the ...Read MoreRead more
Jakarta, Rodrigo Márquez Tizano (Coffee House Press 978-1566895637, $16.95, 160pp, tp) November 2019.
The fact that Rodrigo Márquez Tizano’s debut, Jakarta, (originally published in 2016 and translated by the always brilliant Thomas Bunstead) does not take place in Indonesia is one of the least puzzling aspects of this hallucinogenic novel. The setting is the city of Atlantika, a crumbling dystopia, struggling to recover from the Z-Bug, the latest ...Read MoreRead more
German conglomerate Bertelsmann is now the sole owner of Penguin Random House after Pearson sold them its 25% ownership stake for an estimated $675 million. The deal is expected to be complete in the spring. Pearson owned Penguin, and Bertelsmann owned Random House, before the merger in 2012, at which point Bertelsmann had a 53% share and Pearson 47%. Pearson later sold 22% of its shares to the other company ...Read MoreRead more