Anton Strout (1970-2020)

Writer Anton Strout, 50, died unexpected on December 30, 2020. Strout was an author of urban fantasy, best known for his Simon Canderous series. He was also the host of the Once and Future Podcast, where he interviewed authors beginning in 2014, producing more than 200 episodes. He worked in publishing as well, as a longtime sales rep for Penguin Random House.

Anton Strout was born January 24, 1970 in ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Neofeudalism and the Digital Manor

As I write this in mid-November 2020, there’s quite a stir over the new version of Apple’s Mac OS, the operating system that runs on its laptops. For more than a year, Apple has engaged in a covert, global surveillance of its users through its operating system, which automatically sent information about which apps you were running to Apple, and which gave Apple a remote veto over whether that program ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Rest and Be Thankful by Emma Glass

Rest and Be Thankful, Emma Glass (Blooms­bury 978-1-526-60107-0, £12.99, 144pp, hc) March 2020.

While I know it’s odd to say anything remotely positive about 2020, I found this to be an incredible year for fiction and especially sophomore novels from some of the UK’s brightest authors, including Daisy Johnson, Sophie Mackintosh, Megan Hunter, and now Emma Glass. Peach, Glass’s debut novel published in 2018, was an ambitious, if ...Read More

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Amazon News, January 2021

Amazon Publishing may shift their longstanding stance against allowing libraries to lend their ebooks. The company is said to be in “active discussions” with the Digital Public Library of America to alter its policies. Amazon is reportedly “testing a number of different models” and may lend books as early as 2021, with a spokesperson saying, “We believe libraries serve a critical purpose in communities across the country, and our priority ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde & Yuko Shimizu

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: An Illuminated Edition, Oscar Wilde & Yuko Shimizu (Beehive Books 979-1-948886-01-7, $100.00, 140pp, hc) April 2020. Cover by Yuko Shimuzu.

Historically, small presses have been the refuge of non-mainstream writers and artists, whose work they have nurtured and promoted. In the SFnal field they have provided an important home for many award-winning writers (I’m looking at you, Tachyon). In addition to Tachyon Publications ...Read More

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Publishing News, January 2021

Knopf Random House Canada is splitting apart: beginning in 2021, Knopf Canada and Random House Canada will operate independently again (they were combined in 2009). Publisher Anne Collins will become executive editor and vice-president of Random House Canada on January 4, 2021. CEO Kristin Cochrane says, “I believe the time is right to have space for each to build on its past successes and pave the way for the future. ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Leonardo 2 by Stéphane Levallois

Leonardo 2, Stéphane Levallois (NBM/Louvre éditions 978-1-681122-64-9, $29.99, 96pp, hc) October 2020. Cover by Stéphane Levallois.

If we ever needed art, we need it now. Discuss­ing art books in a time of plague may seem frivolous, but there’s an argument to be made that any distraction becomes precious during times of extreme stress. Also valuable is the reminder of the sublime and ingenious ways humans can transmute powerful emotions ...Read More

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Maya C. James and Rich Horton Review Entanglements, Edited by Sheila Williams

Entanglements: Tomorrow’s Lovers, Fami­lies, and Friends, Sheila Williams, ed. (MIT Press 978-0-26253-925-8, 240pp, $19.95, tp) September 2020.

Artificial intelligence, genome tampering (eugenics), sex bots, and other forms of technology descend upon the middle class in Entanglements, an anthology from Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s. Originally launched in 2011 by MIT Technology Review, Twelve Tomorrows is an annual anthology se­ries that explores the role of technology in near and ...Read More

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Issue 720 Table of Contents, January 2021

The January 2021 issue of Locus magazine has interviews with Andrea Hairston and Alix E. Harrow and a spotlight on Apex Magazine. Ben Bova and Phyllis Eisenstein are remembered with obituaries and appreciations. News covers the three new Grand Masters (SFWA Grand Master Nalo Hopkinson, MWA Grand Master Charlaine Harris, and SFPA Grand Master Linda Addison), the Penguin Random House planned acquisition of Simon & Schuster, SFWA ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews The House of Styx by Derek Künsken

The House of Styx, Derek Künsken (Solaris 978-1786183200, $8.99, eb,) August 2020. (Solaris 978-1781088050, 608pp, $27.99, hc) April 2021.

One of the most notable aspects of Derek Künsken’s short work to date has been a fascination with rigorous worldbuilding, of­ten featuring the extreme, and the politics that often result from adaptation to said environments. These aspects are central to his new novel, The House of Styx, first in ...Read More

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Staff Picks: The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Jonathan Strahan chooses The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. Gary K. Wolfe says, “At times The Ministry of the Future seems bent on exploding the notion of what a novel can be. Of Robinson’s 106 chapters, some are narrated by anonymous characters who never show up again (such as one of the pilots in In­dia’s aerial seeding program), some ...Read More

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2021 Salam Award Judges

Judges for the 2021 Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction have been announced: Indra Das, Saad Z. Hossain, and Malka Older.

The annual award is open to original fiction of 10,000 words or fewer written in English by authors who must be “currently residing in Pakistan, or be of Pakistani birth/descent.” Submissions are open now through July 31, 2021. The winning story will receive $500 and publication on the award website, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller

The Blade Between, Sam J. Miller (Ecco 978-0-06-296982-8, $26.99, 384pp, hc) December 2020.

In both of Sam J. Miller’s YA novels, The Art of Starving and Destroy All Monsters, Hudson High School – presumably a version of the same small-town high school that Miller attended in upstate New York – is nearly as powerful an antagonist as the supernatural forces that threaten Miller’s outsider heroes. With The Blade ...Read More

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Staff Picks: The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Liz Bourke picks The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso: “I was a fan of Caruso’s work to start with, but with The Obsidian Tower she’s hit another level in terms of prose and tension. This is a truly ex­cellent fantasy, and an epic beginning for a new trilogy. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Read Liz’s full review online ...Read More

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The Atlantic‘s Best Books of 2020

Several titles of genre interest made The Atlantic‘s list of the 15 best books of 2020: Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang (Liveright), and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Pantheon).

For the full list, see The Atlantic‘s website.

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

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Paula Guran Reviews The Midnight Circus by Jane Yolen

The Midnight Circus, Jane Yolen (Tachyon Publications 978-1-616-96340-8, $16.95, 256pp, tp) November 2020.

The prolific, multi-award-winning Jane Yolen is a bona fide legend and, at least to those of us on the darker side of genre, has long been noted for what Theodora Goss calls – in her excellent foreword – the darkness “in much of her work, both fiction and poetry, because her writing is grounded in history ...Read More

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Staff Picks: Pacific Storm by Linda Nagata

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Russell Letson selects Pacific Storm by Linda Nagata: “in Pacific Storm, she explores an increasingly relevant near-future-nightmare territory, one that sits comfortably (or uncomfortably) next to recent work by Christopher Brown (Rule of Capture, Failed State), Greg Egan (Perihelion Sum­mer), Nancy Kress (Sea Change), and even the political-satirical side of Charles Stross (Dead ...Read More

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Staff Picks: By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Josh Pearce picks By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar. Ian Mond calls it “a jolt of pure entertain­ment, a brilliant, revisionist blend of magic, crime syndicates, and Kung-fu knights.”

Read Ian’s full review online or in the April 2020 issue of Locus, and Gary K. Wolfe’s review online or in the June 2020 issue of Locus. ...Read More

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EW‘s 10 Best Books of 2020

Entertainment Weekly has released their list of the 10 best books of 2020, compiled by Leah Greenblatt and David Canfield. Titles of genre interest include The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf) in the top spot, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco) at number four, and Memorial by Bryan Washington (Riverhead) at number five.

For the full list, see EW‘s website.

While you are here, please ...Read More

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SFF Rosetta Awards

The new Science Fiction and Fantasy Rosetta Awards (SFFRA) were launched December 26, 2020, “initiated and organized by a group of SFF enthusiasts with faith to promote and recognize the SFF literatures from various cultures and languages along with the efforts of those authors and translators.”

The awards will be given in long- and short-form categories, as well as a special service award category. Eligible works must be science fiction ...Read More

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HuffPost‘s Best Books of 2020

HuffPost has announced its list of the best books of 2020, compiled by Claire Fallon, including several titles of genre interest:

  • Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam (Ecco)
  • Parakeet, Marie-Helene Bertino (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
  • Red Pill, Hari Kunzru (Knopf)
  • Temporary, Hilary Leichter (Coffee House)
  • The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)
  • Death in Her Hands, Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin)

For the complete list, see

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Ian Mond Reviews The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories by Eugen Bacon

The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories, Eugen Bacon (Meerkat Press 978-1-94615-431-6, $16.95, 192 pages) December 2020.

The 24 stories that make up Eugen Bacon’s new collection The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories run the gamut in terms of tone, genre, and structure. There are experimental, modern­ist pieces reminiscent of the New Wave, namely “A Good Ball”, “The Enduring”, or “A Man Full of Shadows”; playful, ...Read More

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Staff Picks: We All Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Ian Mond and Jonathan Strahan choose We All Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman. Ian says it “is a remarkable feat of storytelling. Nine years in the making, it comprises over 100 pieces of fiction, spans three volumes (with introductions from Angela Slatter, Michael Marshall Smith, and Lisa Tuttle, and a “peculiar” middleword by Steven Moffat), and features exquisite black-and-white ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Factory Witches of Lowell by C.S. Malerich

The Factory Witches of Lowell, C.S. Malerich (Tor.com Publishing 978-1250756565, $14.99, 128pp, tp) November 2020.

In the early 19th century, Lowell MA was known for its thriving textile mill industry. Unlike neighboring Rhode Island, the Lowell system developed a workforce made primarily of young women, all of whom worked 80 hours a week, lived in company-owned dormitories, and, be­cause of their gender, earned a lower salary than men. Historically, ...Read More

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Staff Picks: The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Gary K. Wolfe chooses The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison: “All of his fiction is distinguished by carefully crafted prose that can achieve sublime beauty even when slicing like a razor, and by characters that are somehow a lot more compelling to us than they are even to themselves.”

Read Gary’s full review online or in the ...Read More

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Staff Picks: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Arley Sorg selects Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark. Gabino Iglesias says it “is a wildly imaginative, superbly written narrative about friendship, magic, and fighting racism that occupies a strange interstitial space between historical fiction, fantasy, and body hor­ror. It is also a smart reimagining of history that pushes current racial tensions to the forefront and forces readers to remember that bigotry ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, V.E. Schwab (Tor 978-0-7653-8756-1, $26.99, 446pp, hc) November 2020.

There are so many classic themes woven together in V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie Larue that at times the novel feels like a gallery of old favorites curated by someone who clearly loves them all. The deal-with-the-devil tale, of course, is as old as the devil. The secret-immortal-living-among-us has been a genre ...Read More

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Staff Picks: The Best of Michael Marshall Smith

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Paula Guran picks The Best of Michael Marshall Smith: “Smith writes stories that draw the reader in and keep them mesmerized as they worm their disquieting way permanently into the psyche. He’s a perceptive observer of human passions, weaknesses, and everything in between. His scrutiny thereof usually results in dark conclu­sions.”

Read Paula’s full review online or in the November 2020 ...Read More

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Staff Picks: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

It’s Locus’s 2020 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks!

Liz Bourke chooses Micaiah Johnson’s “fantastic, thoughtful, and thought-provoking debut” The Space Between Worlds: “in one sense, it’s a quiet, do­mestic novel about jobs and relationships, borders and class issues, and the problems of navigating structures of power as an outsider that those structures can crush with impunity… and then, from another angle, it’s a novel of action and in­trigue, revolution ...Read More

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