Adrienne Martini Reviews Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher

Paladin’s Hope, T. Kingfisher (Red Wombat Studio 978-1-61450-551-8, $34.95, 270pp, hc) October 2021.

Paladin’s Hope is the third book in T. Kingfisher’s (AKA Ursula Vernon’s) Saint of Steel series. Like Paladin’s Grace and Paladin’s Strength before it, Paladin’s Hope is a fantasy romance at its core. There are gods and clerics and gnoles set against a medieval-esque city and countryside. The two main characters are destined for each ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno

This Thing Between Us, Gus Moreno (MCD x FSG Originals 978-0-37453-923-8, $17.00, 272pp, tp) October 2021.


I’ve never owned an Amazon Alexa. I do have a Google Nest sitting beside the TV, but other than my daughter asking the device to play songs from The Greatest Showman soundtrack, the family rarely engages with it. I am, however, aware that both the Alexa and the Nest are always listening, ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke, Tiffany D. Jackson (Katherine Tegen Books 978-0063029095, $18.99, 384pp, hc) September 2021.

After her public collapse and a stint in rehab, Marigold, a Black high school track star, is finally getting a second chance. When her artist mom gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a residency that comes with a free house, Mari, her mother, brother, step-father, and step-sister move from coastal California to a rundown Midwestern town. ...Read More

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NPR’s Best Books of 2021

NPR’s Books We Love (formerly Book Concierge) has an extensive list of Best Books in an assortment of categories, including It’s All Geek to Me and Young Adult, with hundreds of titles recommended by “NPR staff and trusted critics.” The Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction category includes titles by leading authors like Charlie Jane Anders, Becky Chambers, Fonda Lee, Rivers Solomon, Cadwell Turnbull, Jeff VanderMeer, and many others.

For ...Read More

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Martin Announces Sky Railway Opening

George R.R. Martin announced the opening of Sky Railway, the renamed and renovated historic short-haul railroad he purchased, with other investors, in 2020. “Mostly what I have been doing is throwing out ideas and writing checks,” Martin said.

We had two big old diesel locomotives, so right off we decided we would run two trains: the Wolf and the Dragon. And to paint them, and give each its own character ...Read More

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SCBWI Free Workshop for Writers of Color

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has organized a free workshop “geared towards writers of colour” called Need To Know: Knowing Your Power as an Author of Colour. “This workshop is aimed to help you break down the processes of being published so you know where your power lies.” The event is scheduled for January 15, 2022 and will take place virtually. Workshop leaders are Patrice Lawrence ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Shards of Earth: The Final Architecture Book One, Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor 978-1-5290-5188-9, $28.00, 549 pp, hc) August 2021. Cover by Steve Stone.

Once upon a time I used the term “re­combinant SF” to describe stories that whipped multiple ideas and themes and gadgets and speculations and story-patterns into busy, complicated, surprising concoctions: a Chi­nese AI emperor and Tibetan yak-wranglers on a terraformed Mars; a moon-size ancient alien and clone-soldiers ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Invisible Sun by Charles Stross

Invisible Sun, Charles Stross (Tor 978-1-250-80709-0, $27.99, 285 pp, hc) September 2021. Cover by Neil Lang.

Partway into Charles Stross’s Invisible Sun, a harried intelligence/security chief says, ‘‘We’ve got a lot of balls in the air,’’ a condition that might apply as well to a number of his fellow characters and to Stross himself in his authorial role. This ninth and final entry in what is now called ...Read More

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New York Public Library Best Books of 2021

The New York Public Library has announced its lists of the best books of 2021 in various categories, including 100 Best Books for Adults, 50 Best Books for Teens, and 145 Best Books for Kids.

The Adult category includes numerous genre titles, with Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Tor), Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Ballantine), and Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (Tordotcom), plus many more. The Teen ...Read More

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Financial Times Best Books of 2021

The Financial Times has announced the five best SF books of 2021, as selected by James Lovegrove:

  • The City of Dr Moreau, JS Barnes (Titan)
  • Several People Are Typing, Calvin Kasulke (Hodder/Doubleday)
  • Five Minds, Guy Morpuss (Viper)
  • The Offset, Calder Szewczak (Angry Robot)
  • Skyward Inn, Aliya Whiteley (Solaris)

For more, see the Financial Times website.

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2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize Longlist

The 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize has announced its 37-title longlist. The award honors “mid-career authors in fiction,” and the winner receives a $50,000 prize, given by the New Literary Project. Authors of genre interest, along with their most recent titles, include:

  • The Turnout, Megan Abbott (Putnam)
  • Appleseed, Matt Bell (Custom House)
  • How to Wrestle a Girl, Venita Blackburn (MCD)
  • Sleepwalk, Dan Chaon (Henry Holt)
  • The
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2021 Kirkus Best SFF of the Year

Kirkus has announced its list of the eight best science fiction and fantasy books of 2021:

  • Light from Uncommon Stars, Ryka Aoki (Tor)
  • Destroyer of Light, Jennifer Marie Brissett (Tor)
  • Machinehood, S.B. Divya (Saga)
  • The Free Bastards, Jonathan French (Del Rey)
  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
  • A Radical Act of Free Magic, H.G. Parry (Redhook)
  • No Gods, No Monsters, Cadwell Turnbull
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New Books: 23 November 2021

Baron, Mike: Nexus

(WordFire Press 978-1-68057-229-2, $24.99, 378pp, formats: trade paperback, hardcover, ebook, November 17, 2021)

Superhero SF novel, based on the comic book character created by Baron and Steve Rude. Nexus is the greatest avenger that the galaxy has known, but his power comes from an alien race with its own agenda.


Brauning, Kate: The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell

(Page Street 978-1-645645673125, $17.99, 368pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

A Lesson in Vengeance, Victoria Lee (Delacorte Press 978-0-593-30584-3, $18.99, 384pp, hc) August 2021. Cover by Maggie Enterrios.

From start to startling finish, Victoria Lee’s A Lesson in Vengeance is a dream novel for fans of dark academia. Felicity Morrow has returned to the Dalloway School after receiving intense counseling following the previous year’s tragic death of her classmate/girlfriend, Alex. She will now be back in their former dorm, ...Read More

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2021 Ditmar Awards Winners

The winners of the 2021 Ditmar Awards for Australian SF were announced November 20, 2021 in an online ceremony.

Best Novel

  • WINNER: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Crying Forest, Venero Armanno (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • Hollow Empire, Sam Hawke (Penguin)
  • The Animals in That Country, Laura Jean McKay (Scribe)
  • Monstrous Heart, Claire McKenna (HarperCollins)
  • Poison & Light, Gillian Polack (Shooting
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Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction and the Speculative Imagination


The Achievement & Assessment Institute (AAI) at the University of Kansas has announced the creation of the Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction and the Speculative Imagination, headed by director Chris McKitterick.

The center “brings writers, readers, scholars, educators, and fans of speculative fiction together to study and create work that changes the world.” It will initally offer

interdisciplinary workshops, masterclasses, courses, seminars, and other opportunities, using speculative fiction ...Read More

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Nommos at Worldcon

The Nommo Awards, honoring the best in African SF, will be presented at Discon III, the 79th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held December 15-19, 2021 in Washington DC. Sheree Renée Thomas will be master of ceremonies. She says,

As a reader and a writer who loved the genre, I hoped to see a time when the work of Black writers would be widely embraced in the field, a
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2021 Ignotus Winners

The Asociación Española de Fantasía, Ciencia Ficción y Terror (AEFCFT) has announced the Winners for the 2021 Ignotus Awards (the Spanish equivalent of the Hugo Awards).

Novela extranjera (Foreign Novel)

  • WINNER: Una órbita cerrada y compartida [A Closed and Common Orbit], Becky Chambers, translated by Alexander Páez & Antonio Rivas (Insólita)
  • Un poco de odio [A Little Hatred], Joe Abercrombie, translated by Manu Viciano (Alianza)
  • Los últimos días [Last Days],
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2021 Future Worlds Prize Shortlist

The Future Worlds Prize for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of Colour, formerly the Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award, has announced its eight-title shortlist

  • “A Shadow in Chains”, MH Ayinde
  • “The Sawling”, Jordan Collins
  • “Frankincense”, Salma Ibrahim
  • “In the City of Villages”, Franchesca Liauw
  • “Margot, Who Is Beautiful Now”, Bea Pantoja
  • “The Warden”, Madeehah Reza
  • “Contracts Made in Gold”, Aqeelah Seedat
  • “A Box Full of Stories”, Fatima
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Spotlight on: Tehani Farr

What was your introduction to science fiction and fantasy art? What influences drew you in?

It’s a genre that has always simply slotted into my life and perspective. When I was 13, I fell in love with the art of Luis Royo and H.R. Giger, discovered after a long seclusion. I was born and lived off the grid for most of my childhood, was homeschooled all my life, and we ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Hood by Lavie Tidhar

The Hood, Lavie Tidhar (Head of Zeus 978-1-838-93131-5, £18.99, 448pp, hc) October 2021.

Lavie Tidhar’s ambitious four-novel re­visiting of British mythology – which he calls the Anti-Matter of Britain – began with last year’s By Force Alone, a cheerfully anarchic and thoroughly entertaining assault on Arthuriana, and now, with The Hood, it moves forward a few centuries to the 12th-century era of Robin Hood legends. But while ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction 1950 to 1985 by Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction 1950 to 1985, Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre, eds. (PM Press 978-1-62963-883-6, $59.95, 224pp, hc) October 2021.

I’m a child of the cyberpunk generation. One of the first genre novels that left an impression on me was William Gibson’s Neuromancer (even if I didn’t entirely understand it). It wasn’t until my late twenties, when I started attending the monthly meetings of ...Read More

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Indigo Best Books of 2021

Indigo has announced its top-10 list of the best books of 2021. Titles and authors of genre interest include:

  • The Strangers by Katherena Vermette (Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield (Mulholland)
  • One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Griffin)
  • She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor)
  • Bewilderment by Richard Powers (Norton)

For more information, including the complete list, see the Indigo website.

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The National Pastime 2021 Edition, Alternate Plains, and The Adventure of the Golden Woman

The National Pastime 2021 Edition

Alternate Plains, Darren Ridgley & Adam Pe­trash, eds. (Great Plains Publications) October 2021.

The Adventure of the Golden Woman, Cynthia Ward (Aqueduct Press) September 2021.

Here’s an unexpected source of some SF: the 2021 issue of The National Pastime, published by the Society for American Baseball Research. This issue is about “the future according to baseball,” and it’s edited by Cecilia M. Tan ...Read More

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2021 National Book Awards Winners

Winners of the National Book Awards (NBA) in the Fiction and Young People’s Literature categories were announced November 17, 2021 in a virtual ceremony.

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott (Dutton) won the Fiction category, and Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers) won the Young People’s Literature category.

Winners for non-fiction, translated literature, and poetry were also announced.

A total of ...Read More

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Washington Post Best Books of 2021

The Washington Post has published a piece on the best SF, fantasy, and horror of 2021, selected by writers Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar. Books mentioned include:

  • Unity, Elly Bangs (Tachyon)
  • His Name Was Death, Rafael Bernal (New Directions)
  • Inscape, Louise Carey (Gollancz)
  • Goddess of Filth, V. Castro (Creature)
  • Philosophy Through Science Fiction, Helen De Cruz, Johon De Smedt & Eric Schwitzgebel, eds. (Bloomsbury Academic)
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SFWA and Lackey Statements

The Board of Directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and newly named Grand Master Mercedes Lackey have responded to the issue of earlier comments made by Lackey about writing trans characters. SFWA sent a statement to their membership on November 17, 2021, that reads:

After we announced Mercedes Lackey as SFWA’s next Grand Master on 11/4, stances that Ms. Lackey had taken on writing trans characters ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:, Fiyah, and Clarkesworld, and 8/4/21, 8/18/21, 8/25/21 Fiyah Summer ’21 Clarkesworld 8/21

To start off this month, I’d like to highlight two stories that use abstract mathematics in interesting ways. The August Clarkesworld features “The Serpentine Band” by Congyun ‘Mu Ming’ Gu (translated by Tian Huang) which tips over into novella territory at 18,500 words. It is a beautiful story of a bureaucrat in historical China. We learn about the life ...Read More

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Nyabola Prize Shortlist

The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has announced the 10-title shortlist for the Nyabola Prize. The award recognizes science fiction written in the Kiswahili language by authors age 18-35. The finalists are:

  • “Dunia ya Pili” by Sofi Binsari
  • “Pigo Zito” by Twihuvila Gillah
  • “Afriti Hasitiki” by Hussna Mohamed Hassan
  • “Dubwasha” by Stallone Joyfully
  • “Sayari Ya Wanawake” by Emmanuel Kimeu
  • “Mashine” by Hassan Omar Mambosasa
  • “Ustaarabu Wa Sayari Ya Sadiza”
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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub by Peter Straub

The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub: Volume 1: Stories, Peter Straub (Borderlands Press, $120.00, 477pp, hc) October 2021.

The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub: Volume 2: Novellas, Peter Straub (Borderlands Press, $120.00, 477pp, hc) October 2021.

Whenever Peter Straub’s name shows up on social media or in critical discussions of horror, it’s increasingly accompanied by encomiums like “icon” or “living legend” (he even has an award ...Read More

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Weird Tales Presents

Weird Tales and Blackstone Publishing have announced a major new partnership, with Blackstone planning to publish 50 new books in five years under the banner “Weird Tales Presents.”

Titles will include “original novels and anthologies, compilations, and more, penned by some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, while also introducing new voices,” with print, e-book, and audiobook editions planned. Blackstone will also distribute the digital and audio ...Read More

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