L. Penelope Guest Post–“The Optimism of Fantasy”

Over the past few months, as I’ve struggled to write the fourth and final book in my epic fantasy series, Earthsinger Chronicles, I’ve thought a lot about endings. Recently, popular culture has seen the end of several long-running series: Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Two of those series ended in ways that were wildly disappointing to many fans and should serve as cautionary ...Read More

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Tochi Onyebuchi: Power Systems

Tochi Joshua Onyebuchi was born on October 4, 1987 in Northampton MA to Nigerian immigrant parents, and grew up in Newington and New Britain CT. He studied political science at Yale, earned a MFA in screenwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a master’s degree in global economic law from the Instituts d’études politiques in France. He attended law school at Columbia, and after graduation worked in civil ...Read More

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2020 Locus Awards Online

The Locus Awards took place online on June 24-27, 2020 in their first virtual-only iteration; Connie Willis and Daryl Gregory co-emceed the ceremony. There were over 150 registrations, and paid members received a Locus t-shirt and a print program book.

Despite struggling with whether to go forward with the Locus Awards events (usually held on the ground in Seattle), and ignoring their total lack of technical experience with webinar platforms, ...Read More

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Romina Garber Guest Post–“Worldbuilding With A Worldview”

When I was sixteen, I skipped my appointment to get sworn in as a U.S. citizen because I was taking an Advanced Placement exam.  

The instant the test was over, the Principal spoke over the intercom and called me down to his office, where I was mortified to see my mom waiting for me and mystified to find her in a rage. How could I miss that appointment? What was ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Of Men and Monsters

I got fall-down drunk a week or so ago; literally falling on the stairs and knocking down a piece of art, and the next day, I had a panic attack so severe I had to take a break from work and have a lie down.

Clearly, I have been processing a lot of emotions – or not processing, which is why my body decided to express how I felt after ...Read More

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Jordan Ifueko Guest Post–“The Watchmaker Author”

When I got serious about writing in my teens, my literary opinions involved a lot of eyerolling.  

Black and white false dichotomies attracted me, as they do many thirteen-year-olds eager to become Serious Artists™. One creed I held to be especially dear was that fake writers treat stories like games of pretend, and real writers remain conscious of their task—making art—at all times.  

Adulthood shrunk my head a few sizes. ...Read More

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Flights of Foundry: From Idea to Convention in Seven Weeks

Flights of Foundry, a completely online speculative media conference, took place May 16-17, 2020. The event was co-founded by Jessica Eanes and Cislyn Smith, and featured 8,300 minutes of programming, which ran non-stop from midnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday. Guests of honor included Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu, Ken Liu, Liz Gorinsky, An­drea Phillips, Rachel S. Cordasco, Grace P. Fong, and Alex Shvartsman. Not wanting to crowd out or ...Read More

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Django Wexler Guest Post—”Science Fantasy”

Genres and sub-genres are always tricky things to pin down, and never more so than with works that live at the boundary between two categories. Ashes of the Sun has been called, among other things, “science fantasy”—it’s not the only way to describe it, but it definitely fits. (Aside—as with all genre discussions, your terms and definitions may vary! There are many different lenses with which to examine these categories. ...Read More

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Veronica Roth: Chosen One

Veronica Anne Roth was born August 19, 1988 in New York and grew up in Barrington IL. She attended Carleton College for a year, then transferred to Northwestern University, where she studied and writing. In 2011, Roth married photographer Nelson Fitch.

Roth sold her debut novel, Divergent, while she was still an undergrad. The bestselling, young-adult SF series continued with Insurgent (2012), Allegiant (2013), and collection Four (2013), and ...Read More

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Photo Story: Fenners Take Over Spectrum

ARNIE FENNER retired as senior art director at An­drews McMeel on May 29, 2020. He & CATHY FENNER will take over as directors of the Spectrum Fantastic Art competi­tion and editors of the annual Spectrum art book, replacing JOHN FLESKES, beginning with the 28th competition this Fall. The Fenners founded the compe­tition in 1994 and ran it until Fleskes took over in 2013. Further announce­ments regarding the new advisory ...Read More

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Estelle Laure Guest Post–“The Lost Boys”

Writers are in a retelling frenzy, borrowing from what already exists to pay homage or lend perspective, to modernize or fracture or fanfic. I believe it’s an act of love to take a story that’s in danger of disappearing and make it new, provided you have something to add to the mix. But what happens when the inspiration for your current novel is and has only ever been a movie? ...Read More

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Steven Erikson: Undercurrents

Steve Rune Lundin, who writes fantasy as Steven Erikson, was born October 7, 1959 in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Winnipeg. He trained as an anthropologist and archaeologist and is a graduate of the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop; his thesis, a collection of linked stories, became his debut publication, A Ruin of Feathers (1991), written as Steve Lundin. He followed that with two more collections and debut novel This ...Read More

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Kalynn Bayron Guest Post–“We Have Always Lived in the Castle: Black Women in Horror”

Black women have always contributed significantly to the horror genre, though our roles have been massively downplayed and overlooked by the larger genre fiction community. As a result, Black women have had to carve out a space and make a way out of no way. Our relationship to trauma, our storytelling culture, our willingness to show that everyday life has the potential to be a horror in and of itself ...Read More

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SF In India: Webinar on Science Fiction in India

It is universally acknowledged that life is para­lyzed due to pandemic spread of COVID-19. The effect encompassed every sector of soci­ety, and was not restricted any particular gender, class, age, region, race, religion and others. For the first time, a worldwide pan­demic has affected homo sapiens. Every government, voluntary organization, police, military, medical community, and essential service sector must be thanked for their timely, selfless services, which could speed up ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Full Employment

I am an AI skeptic. I am baffled by anyone who isn’t.

I don’t see any path from continuous improvements to the (admittedly impressive) ”machine learning” field that leads to a general AI any more than I can see a path from continuous improvements in horse-breeding that leads to an internal combustion engine.

Not only am I an AI skeptic, I’m an automation-employment-crisis skeptic. That is, I believe that even ...Read More

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WisCon 44 Report

WisCon 44 was scheduled for May 22-25, 2020 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison WI, with Rebecca Roanhorse and Yoon Ha Lee as guests of honor. Because of the CO­VID-19 pandemic, the convention was converted to a virtual event, their first “all-online con,” held on the same dates, with additional events on the evening of the 21st. Roanhorse attended virtually, but Lee was unable to take part.

There were 1,084 ...Read More

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2020 SFWA Nebula Conference

The 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference morphed mid-COVID from an in-person conference into an impressive online event, held May 29-31, 2020. There were 808 members from 33 countries, a record, up from 2019’s record-breaking 475 registered members.

Online programming began before the event proper on May 23, with a Mentorship Meeting, pairing experienced congoers with newer attendees, and the Nebula Finalist Reception. Weekend programming focused on industry-relevant topics, such as “Too ...Read More

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Marleen S. Barr–“Report from New York City, Two, Or Here I Go Again”

Note: This piece was written before the murder of George Floyd.

 

Hello. I’m back. After nineteen years—but who is counting and those years went by really fast—I’m returning to Locus to reach out to the science fiction community from New York City during a crisis. When I was traumatized during 9/11 because I was looking out of my apartment window at the Empire State Building expecting it to be ...Read More

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Madeline Ashby: Foresight

Madeline Ashby was born April 24, 1983 in Panorama City CA and grew up in Washington State, outside Seattle, before relocating to Canada in her early twenties. She graduated from Seattle University in 2005, and went on to get an M.A. from York University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on ”Japanese animation, cyborg theory, and fan cultures.” She then attended the Ontario College of Art and Design University, where ...Read More

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Swati Teerdhala Guest Post–“What’s In A World?”

Worldbuilding is like a jigsaw puzzle. You start with the edges, the essential outline and framework, and then work in, spiraling and spiraling until you find the last, perfect piece. Without the edge, the outline, you have no direction to go in. You start grasping around, putting together little groups of pieces here or there, hoping to find something that connects, but it all feels rather futile. And makes it ...Read More

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Tobias S. Buckell: Many Hands Lift

Tobias Samuel Buckell was born January 2, 1979 in Grenada in the West Indies, where he lived for the first decade of his life before relocating to the British Virgin Islands and then US Virgin Islands. He moved to Ohio in 1995 in the aftermath of Hurricane Marilyn, which destroyed the boat his family lived on. Buckell graduated from Bluffton University with an English degree in 2000. His short stories ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: It’s OK if this Email Finds You Well

It’s perfectly fine if you’re doing okay right now.

The odds are against it, but it’s absolutely all right to answer ‘‘How are you?’’ with ‘‘I’m… okay?’’ Because at some point, each of us will complete the five or seven stages of grief that accompany slow-moving crises and pandemics and disasters like the one currently sweeping the globe, and we will carry on.

Humans are resilient creatures, to both our ...Read More

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C.L. Polk: The World Turned Upside Down

Chelsea Louise Polk was born September 28, 1969 in New Westminster, British Columbia. She spent her childhood there and in Surrey BC before moving to Ed­monton at age 13 and then to Calgary at 21.

She published a few pieces of short fiction beginning in the early 2000s as Chel­sea Polk. Her most recent story is “St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid” at Tor.com (2/5/20). Polk’s debut novel Witchmark (2018) ...Read More

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Elizabeth Bear: Everyone’s Utopia Is Someone’s Dystopia

 

Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky was born September 22, 1971, in Hartford CT. She attended the University of Connecticut, where she studied English and anthropology, though she did not take a degree. She has worked as a technical writer, stable hand, reporter, and in assorted office jobs, and has been writing full-time since 2006. She married Christopher Kindred in 2000, divorcing in 2007. She became involved with fantasy writer and firefighter ...Read More

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Chinese New Year SF Gala by Derek Künsken

The Chinese publishing company Future Af­fairs Administration (FAA) which, among other things, publishes the online Manda­rin-language SF magazine Non-Exist, recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with its Chinese New Year SF Gala. Lunar New Year is a couple of weeks of celebration in China, very focused on family and roots. For the last five years, FAA has been commissioning SF writers to create stories based on different themes. International authors ...Read More

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Molly Tanzer Guest Post–“On Getting My Ears Involved”

Last year, I read the same passage from my book, Creatures of Want and Ruin, for four different events: the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar in New York City, at NecronomiCon Providence, at Noir at the Bar in Denver, and finally at Writers with Drinks in San Francisco. Given the reception to the readings, I can say with confidence that my performance improved every time—but it wasn’t ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Rules for Writers

In 1991, I read two documents from Bruce Sterling that changed the course of my professional and literary career. The first was “The Turkey City Lexicon”, which Sterling co-wrote with Lewis Shiner, an online classic that was finally published between covers in the 1991 Pulphouse edition of The SFWA Handbook, which I received in the mail with my newly minted SFWA membership kit.

The second was a print classic ...Read More

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Jon Skovron Guest Post–“Why We Read Epic Fantasy During Times of Turmoil”

On a September morning in 2001, I watched from my fire escape in Brooklyn as the second World Trade Center tower fell. In the hours and days and weeks that followed, as the ash and debris rained down from the sky, as the stench of death permeated my neighborhood, as the countless hand-written missing person fliers went up, as soldiers with machine guns began to appear in train stations, I ...Read More

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Kate Heartfield: Timelines

Kate Heartfield was born January 6, 1977 in Kitchener, Ontario, and moved throughout the province with her family before settling outside Winnipeg. She spent a year after high school backpacking in Central America, then moved to Ottawa for university. She graduated with a degree in political science in 1999, then earned a master’s degree in journalism at Carleton University in 2001. She freelanced for a few years before taking a ...Read More

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Veronica Roth Virtual Tour: A Conversation With Daryl Gregory

Authors Veronica Roth (the Divergent series) and Daryl Gregory (Spoonbenders) discuss her new bestselling book Chosen Ones, Chicago,  food, and Chicago food in a half-hour chat. The talk, originally meant to be held at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma but canceled due to the lockdown, took place virtually, from one home office to the other. We hope you enjoy it!

Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times  ...Read More

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Photo Story: Rainforest Writers Village

The annual Rainforest Writers Village retreat, hosted by Patrick Sw­enson and Fairwood Press, was held at Lake Quinault WA in three sessions from February 19 to March 8, 2020. For more: <www.rainforestwriters.com>

Photos by Patrick Swenson.

This story and more like it in the April 2020 issue of Locus.

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

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Tamsyn Muir: Blood Words

Tamsyn Elizabeth Muir was born March 14, 1985 in New South Wales, Australia, and relocated to New Zealand when she was nine months old; she grew up in the small town of Howick, outside Auckland, and considers herself a Kiwi. She has also lived in Waiuku and central Wellington. Muir finished school at 16 and attended university briefly before dropping out. After working in retail for two years, she earned ...Read More

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