Nexus by Paul Kincaid

Every so often you come across a book that seems to act as a nexus, drawing other recently read books into an unexpected pattern, even though they otherwise seem completely unconnected. For me, this year, that nexus was The Dollmaker by Nina Allan (riverrun). One of the two central characters is a dwarf who becomes an expert and sought-after maker of dolls, which immediately called to mind Little by Edward ...Read More

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John Andrew Karr Guest Post–“The Allure of Mars”

Observe Mars in the night sky. Depending upon its distance from Earth, Mars varies in brightness and clarity— but it is always unique. No other celestial body reveals itself so red to the naked eye. Certainly, it is the color of roses and poppies and wine, but those comparisons are not what early stargazers had in mind when they referred to the Red Planet.

To them, it was the color ...Read More

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Year-in-Review: 2019 Magazine Summary

The following sections are primarily sorted by Hugo Eligibility: Professional, Semiprozine, etc., and then loosely by pay rate, SFWA qualifying market, and the amount of fiction pub­lished. We covered 82 magazines, 17 audio sites, and eight critical magazines.

We continue to see new venues launching under the crowdfunding format, older venues trying out print or subscription models, and of course funding by grants in non-US venues. A few magazines shut ...Read More

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Books for 2019 by Carolyn Cushman

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 More

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Year in Review 2019 by Ian Mond

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 More

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2019 by Tim Pratt

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 More

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Photo Story: Celebrating 90 Years of Analog

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 More

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2019 by Colleen Mondor

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 More

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Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone: Letter Space

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 More

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Mr. Russell’s Neighborhood by Russell Letson

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 More

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Photo Story: SF at Philadelphia Museum of Art

On December 22, 2019 the Philadelphia Museum of Art cel­ebrated SF with an afternoon of read­ings hosted by Lawrence M. Schoen and featuring David Walton and Sally Wiener Grotta, held in conjunction with the Designs for Differ­ent Futures exhibit (details at <philamuseum.org/calendar/exhibition/designs-different-futures>).

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

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

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2019 in Review by Adrienne Martini

These end-of-the-year lists always flummox me, mostly because I never quite know what I’m supposed to write about. Should it be the big titles, the ones that made such a splash that you couldn’t help but notice them? Or should they be the smaller titles that only made a little ripple? That last group is full of the titles that make my reader’s heart sing because they show the writer’s ...Read More

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Notes From a Future on Fire…. by Jonathan Strahan

I would like nothing more than to be able to wrap the messy, tumultuous, vital, strange year in science fiction that was 2019 into a simple package that is easy to comprehend and digest for Locus readers. Instead, as rain falls on my patio roof here on the west coast of Australia while my fellow citizens are being emergency-evacuated from fire zones on the far side of the country in ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Into the Raging ’20s, We Ride

I’ve found that the insidious problem for me in scrolling through social media is that it feels like action. Ironically, it also creates – in me – a profound feeling of being out of control over events in the wider world, while generating a huge amount of anxiety and worry. But while surfacing atrocity after atrocity, treason after treason, may feel like action, we often find that our righteous need ...Read More

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Looking Backward, with Corrective Lenses by Gary K. Wolfe

I confess to once having been one of those annoying calendar geeks who would point out at parties that the new century actually began in 2001, not 2000, and that a year like 2010 or 2020 actually represents the end of the decade, not the beginning of a new one. It was about as useful, and about as welcome, as pointing out to someone turning 40 that it’s actually the ...Read More

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Kelly Lagor: Putting the “Science” in Science Fiction

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a movie theater or reading on your couch, and out of a character’s mouth comes the most laughably awful science you have ever heard. At first, you might try to hang onto your suspension of disbelief. But it’s just groan-inducingly wrong. Why couldn’t the writer spend five minutes on the internet to get it right? Maybe you vow to never see anything by ...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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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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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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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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SF in China: Chengdu International Science Fiction Conference and China Report by Jaymee Goh & Rafaela Yilun Fan

The Fifth Chengdu International Science Fiction Conference, organized by China’s oldest sci­ence fiction magazine Science Fiction World, opened with fanfare at the Eastern Memory Suburb of Sichuan province’s capital, free and open to the public. Panelists came from across the world, with different roles in science fiction: classic writers such as American authors Pat Murphy and Eileen Gunn and Belgian author Frank Roger; newer writers such as Niger’s Rich Larson, ...Read More

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SF in Brazil, by Roberto Causo

These are dire times for Brazil’s book market and publishing industry, with the current political and economic crisis extended un­der the unsympathetic-toward-culture Bolsonaro administration. In 2018, important book chains Saraiva and Cultura filed for the local equivalent of US Chapter 11. Measures included closing up bookstores; firing staff, clerks and booksellers; and withholding payments for publishing houses and other suppliers. In 2019, Saraiva revised its reorganization plan before court.

In ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Inaction is a Form of Action

In XKCD comic 1357, “Free Speech”, Randall Munroe offers a characteristically concise and snappy summary of one of the canonical arguments about free expression: “The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it…. If you’re yelled at… or get banned from an internet community your free ...Read More

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Photo Story: SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series

The SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series hosted Caroline M. Yoachim and Shanna Germain on November 14, 2019 in Portland OR. Ken Scholes gave a eulogy for John Pitts. The next reading, featuring Daniel H. Wilson, Catherynne M. Valente, and Django Wexler, will be held January 30, 2020. For more, see the SFWA website.

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

While you are here, ...Read More

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Rivers Solomon: Into the Deep

Rivers Solomon was born in 1989 and grew up in California, Indiana, Texas, and New York. They attended Stanford University, gradu­ating with a degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and earned a MFA at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Debut novel An Unkindness of Ghosts was a fi­nalist for Gaylactic Spectrum and Lambda Awards, and was selected for the James Tiptree, ...Read More

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Matthew Hughes: Shaman in the Past Tense

Matthew Hughes was born May 27, 1949 in Liverpool, England. His family emigrated to southern Ontario, Canada when he was five years old, and then moved to Vancouver when he was 13. He attended Simon Fraser Uni­versity but left school before graduating. He has worked various jobs, but spent most of his career as a freelance writer, including nearly 40 years as a speechwriter for various Canadian politicians and corporate ...Read More

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Can*Con 2019 Report

Can*Con 2019 was held October 18-20 at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa, Canada. There were 452 registered memberships; 436 members were in attendance. There were seven guests of honour: Charlie Jane Anders, Lee Harris, DongWon Song, Kelly Robson, and Science Literacy guests Brock Dickinson, Stephen Leahy, and Deborah Raji.

Programming featured 164 panelists at 134 sessions, discussing science, writing, publishing, literature, and more, including “Behind the Scenes of Grant Applications”, ...Read More

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2019 World Fantasy Convention Report

The 45th World Fantasy Convention was held October 31 – November 3, 2019 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott in a still-smoky California. Guests of honor were Margo Lanagan, Beth Meacham, Reiko Murakami, Sheree Renée Thomas, and Tad Williams, with toastmaster Robert Silverberg. Life Achievement Awards winners were Hayao Miyazaki and Jack Zipes.

Attendance was down from the prior year, with 660 warm bodies out of 762 total memberships purchased, ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Power of Giving a Damn

I grew up thinking it wasn’t cool to care too much about things.

Caring about something too hard made you vulnerable. Weak. Care too much for a person, and they can hurt you emotionally. Care too much about a cause, and it will let you down. Care too much about a piece of media or an institution, and it opens you up to ridicule. The world was full of opportunities ...Read More

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Michael Burianyk Guest Post–“Ukrainian Gods: Slavic Myths and Legends for Fantasy Writers”

My gratitude and appreciation to Natalia Burianyk, Anastasia Rohoza, Natalie Kononenko, Christine Worobec, Rachel Cordasco and Svitlana Taratorina for their input and support. All misunderstandings and misinterpretations are mine.

In American Gods, Neil Gaiman has Mr. Wednesday say of Czernobog and his family, “They’re not Rom. They’re Russian. Slavs. I believe.” Why would they be confused with the very un-Slavic Rom (“gypsies”)? Why is Czernobog, more often associated with ...Read More

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L.X. Beckett: Hopetopia

L.X. Beckett is a pen name for Alyx­andra Margaret Dellamonica, who also writes as A.M. Dellamonica and Alyx Dellamonica. Born February 25, 1968 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, they studied theater at the University of Lethbridge, and now teach creative writing at UCLA and other institutions. They are currently studying for a MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Dellamonica married author Kelly Robson in an “outlaw wedding” ...Read More

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