Cory Doctorow: Jeannette Ng Was Right: John W. Campbell Was a Fascist

[All opinions expressed by commentators, guest bloggers, reviewers, and interviewees are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of Locus magazine or its staff.]

At the Hugo Awards ceremony at this summer’s Dublin Worldcon, Jeannette Ng was presented with the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Ng gave an outstanding and brave acceptance speech in which she called Campbell – the award’s namesake and one of ...Read More

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Tyler Hayes Guest Post–“Rescued From the Trunk”

The week before I got an offer on my debut novel, I made the decision to give up on it.

The Imaginary Corpse was a labor of love: a noir-flavored fantasy cobbled together from childhood memories, my experiences in therapy, and a million literary and ludological ancestors. Writing it felt right in a way that no other manuscript had before. I built this world in a matter of hours, the ...Read More

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Tade Thompson Guest Post–“The Unworthy: The Nature of Virtue in Jason Aaron’s Thor”

At first glance you might think this topic is too comic-nerdy for you, but I promise there’s a universal theme that applies to any reader. Oh, and comic nerds? Spoiler alert.

For the uninitiated, Thor is a character from Marvel comics, created in 1962 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. The easiest thing to say about the origins is that Thor was inspired by Norse mythology by way ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Why Does Writing Books Get Tougher Instead of Easier?

One of the ironies of the writing craft is that the more novels many of us write, the more difficult it is to write a novel. This appears to be a contradiction, but I hear it again and again from other professional writers, and I encounter it in my own work. It’s as if, once you know how to write a book, it gets easier to see the flaws in ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: DRM Broke Its Promise

When states had established religions and all-powerful churches, the clergy could impose many indignities on their parishoners merely by asserting that it was “God’s will.” Our modern secular religion is the worship of markets as self-correcting, self-perfecting systems that merely demand that we all act in our own self-interest to produce an outcome that makes us all better off. Whenever corporations thrive by making us all worse off, we’re told ...Read More

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Christopher Brown Guest Post–“Truth and Reconciliation and Science Fiction”

The best science fiction I have read this year came in a series of emails from the future.

The Training Commission is a collaboration between authors Ingrid Burrington and Brendan C. Byrne, produced with sponsorship from Mozilla. It’s an epistolary work, a fragmented narrative in the form of electronic correspondence from a character on the run in a near-future USA that is both familiar and incredibly strange. Rich with worldbuilding ...Read More

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Reese Hogan Guest Post–“Music, Art, and Connection: How Artists Benefit One Another Through Creation”

All ideas come from somewhere. For me, a book really starts taking shape when I have three separate ideas that come together. These ideas come from all sorts of places, but at least one of them is almost always from another piece of art. For example, for one of my novels, I found a gorgeous picture on Deviant Art that filled my mind with possibilities, and brought my story in ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Writing Through the News Cycle

It’s taken some time for me to come to terms with the fact that I have developed fairly severe anxiety. When I say this out loud, of course, those in conversation with me often reply, “It’s 2019. Who doesn’t have anxiety?”

Anxiety is showing up sooner in children, too. My mom often points out that in her day, everyone was fearful of nuclear war, and the threat of climate change ...Read More

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David Wellington Guest Post–“The Race for the Soul of NASA”

NASA had a plan. A plan that would put people back on the moon by 2028. There we would build a base camp from which we would take the first steps toward landing human beings on Mars. It was a bold plan built on decades of science and experience, and it would have probably taken a few miracles to pull off. NASA, of course, has always been in the business ...Read More

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Angela Slatter Guest Post–“The Pleasure and Pain of Finishing a Trilogy”

Write a trilogy, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

*sigh*

I should start by saying that the Verity Fassbinder series began as a standalone short story. “Brisneyland by Night” was written at Clarion South in 2009 and caught the eye of someone who helpfully suggested it would make an excellent series if I could manage it.

Ignorance is not only bliss but also a kind of protective Teflon coating ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Fake News Is an Oracle

Several times over the 13 years that I’ve been writing this column, I’ve railed against the toxic myth that science fiction is a predictive litera­ture, a way to know the future. Science fiction writers are not fortune tellers, and that’s obvious because no one is a (real) fortune teller, because the future is unknowable, and because the future changes based on what we do.

With that said, there are two ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Singular Cure for Burnout

We live in a hustle culture. Trying to manage a living with a singular regular job is increasingly difficult. To freelancers and other working class folks, this isn’t news. As the middle class shrinks, the working class grows, and so does the working class hustle.

There’s an expectation that we all have side hustles. How are we monetizing our hobbies, our passions? Do you pick up odd jobs? Have you ...Read More

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Seanan McGuire Guest Post–“Not a Prison”

What’s a genre, anyway? Some have very firm, rigid rules, and deviation is so easy that it’s easier to say what isn’t part of the genre than what is. The dictionary definition states that genres have socially agreed upon conventions, developed over time (this is why, for example, the goalposts of science fiction and urban fantasy are forever moving).

Well, we know when something isn’t part of a genre. HEA (short for “happily ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Steering with the Windshield Wipers

Take off your glasses for a sec (you’re a Locus reader, so I’m guessing that you, like me, are currently wearing prescription eyewear) and have a look at the manufacturer’s name on the temples. Specifically, check to see if they were made by Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue, or Versace. If so, ...Read More

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Jack Skillingstead Guest Post–“Crisis Points”

Your life, whether you know it or not, has been shaped by crisis points. They come in all shapes and sizes, from personal life decisions—whether to divorce, who you choose to trust in a dangerous situation, what seat you pick when you purchase tickets on a flight you didn’t know would crash—to geopolitical events with staggering consequences. You can also think of crisis points as pivot points, a moment or ...Read More

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Taran Matharu Guest Post–“Creating the World of a New Book Series”

My name is Taran Matharu, and I am the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, a high fantasy saga that has sold over a million copies.

The Chosen (Contender #1) is my first foray into science fiction, combining my passion for history, palaeontology, unsolved mysteries and outer space. Here’s the blurb:

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover ...Read More

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Brenda Cooper and Joey Eschrich Guest Post–“From Guilt To Hope: Why We Write Climate Fiction”

In the shadow of several years of climate chaos, from devastating hurricanes and unforeseen droughts to migrant crises, climate fiction is experiencing a surge of popularity in speculative and other literature. There is an emerging global consciousness that climate change is present and urgent, and that it affects all of us even if its impacts vary wildly depending on who and where you are.

Climate fiction often depicts people who ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Future Is Intrinsically Hopeful

I recently finished the first draft of a long-overdue fantasy novel called The Broken Heavens, last in a trilogy. Instead of celebrating, however, I found myself filled with post-post weariness. Endings are bittersweet, and this one was especially so. While I began writing this series in earnest about ten years ago, the kernel of its idea – a world where the invaders were alternate versions of the protagonists – ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf—In Conversation with Nathan Ballingrud

Episode 24a: In conversation with Nathan Ballingrud: “The Good Husband”

In a follow up to our previous podcast, we had the very great pleasure of chatting with the lovely Nathan Ballingrud, author of “The Good Husband”, about the themes and inspiration for his story about a marriage gone awry, and his new works (both film and text) in 2019. Best to read “The Good Husband” first or, if you must ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf—Transformative Horror

Episode 24: Transformative Horror: “The Fruit of My Woman” by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith) and “The Good Husband” by Nathan Ballingrud

Ballingrud’s work is frightening, Kang’s is surreal, and both are disturbingly beautiful in their portrayal of how a person’s radical transformation can destabilize their marriage… or are they about how marriage can precipitate a radical transformation? Tune in to hear us tease out the nuances of these ...Read More

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Ken Liu Guest Post–“Is It Possible to Learn About China by Reading Chinese Science Fiction?”

As a child, I was first exposed to life in the West through Chinese translations of American science fiction. While I couldn’t see E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (because back then Hollywood films weren’t shown in China), I did get to read the Chinese translation of Kotzwinkle’s novelization. To this day, I have fond memories of the nigh-incomprehensible footnote explaining Dungeons & Dragons to the reader—just try imagining accomplishing this feat in ...Read More

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Alastair Reynolds Guest Post–“The Past and Future of Time Travel”

I owe a lot to Doctor Who, but not my enduring affection for the time travel story. In my formative years, the Time Lords had grounded the Doctor, the Tardis confined to a corner of the laboratory while an endless parade of monsters kept trying to invade or blow up nineteen-seventies Earth.

What did it for me—what opened my mind to the imaginative possibilities of time travel—was HG Wells. ...Read More

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Cinda Williams Chima Guest Post–“Can a Pantser Find Success Writing Series Fantasy?”

“Writing a novel is as if you are going off on a journey across a valley. The valley is full of mist, but you can see the top of a tree here and the top of another tree over there. And with any luck you can see the other side of the valley. But you cannot see down into the mist. Nevertheless, you head for the first tree.” — Terry ...Read More

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Horror Round-Up 2018 by Ellen Datlow

As usual, I mostly read short horror fiction, but among the novels I read I found several good ones to recom­mend: Unbury Carol by Josh Maler­man (Del Rey) is a weird, deeply dark western about the eponymous woman, who has suffered from a condition since childhood – she periodically falls into a deep coma-like state during which she appears dead. Only a few people know, and one – her husband ...Read More

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Firsts and Lasts by Graham Sleight

As ever, the exercise of trying to infer grand themes from a year’s books (or, more exactly, a year’s read­ing) is a bit of a lottery. If nothing else, writing and publishing lead-times mean that very few books were a direct verdict on the year in which they were published. But I’d note two themes that struck me. Firstly, it felt like a year when there were more than the ...Read More

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African SFF 2018 by Geoff Ryman

Calendar year 2018 was dominated by the over­whelming success of the movie Black Panther, which drew a whole new audience to cinemas in cit­ies like Nairobi and Lagos. It inspired a sugar-rush of love, a hastily retitled Nol­lywood rip off, and a small mini-backlash from those who rewrote Wakanda’s history to make it more credibly African. Elsewhere in film, the Nigerian short Hello Rain, adapted by CJ Obasi ...Read More

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2018 in Listening by Amy Goldschlager

Howdy, listeners! It’s been another year when audio­books seem ever more robust as a medium, plus another year of the inter­minable online argument about whether listening to the audiobook has equal weight with reading the book (hint: yes, yes it does).

But, as is my wont at this time of year, I’m using this space to discuss the listening time I spent being unfaithful to audiobooks, and talk about the ...Read More

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Half a Year Online by Karen Burnham

At the beginning of 2018 I had no idea that I would end up reading so much short fiction from so many different venues that I would need a spreadsheet to keep track of it. Since I started reviewing online short fiction for Locus in the August issue (after the sad passing of Gardner Dozois – I very much wish I could read his 2018 year-end column this year) I’ve ...Read More

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Year in Review: 2018 by Paula Guran

These days I don’t read much horror other than short fiction. It’s not what I turn to for pleasure-reading fiction. So my “year-in-review” article does not specifically discuss the dark side. Maybe not surprisingly, though, many of my favorite reads have more than a thin stream of the tenebrous trickling through them. Outside of personal inclination, this may be an indication of what seems to be becoming more of a ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Terra Nullius

In 1660, John Locke published his Two Treatises of Government, where he set out to resolve the seeming conflict between individual property rights (which he valorized) and the Bible (ditto), which set out the principle that God had created the Earth and its bounty for all of humanity. How could a Christian claim to own something personally when God had intended for everyone to share in His creation?

Locke’s ...Read More

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2018 Year-in-Review by Carolyn Cushman

There wasn’t much that really blew me away in 2018, but some entertain­ing titles turned up. At the top of my SF read­ing this year are Martha Wells’s Artificial Condi­tion, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy, the last three novellas in the Murderbot Diaries quartet featuring the deadly yet oddly endearing android Murderbot, a corporate-owned security guard that apparently once went berserk and killed humans (hence its chosen ...Read More

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Memories of 2018 by Rich Horton

Sadly, what sticks most with me about 2018 is how many greats we lost. Two SFWA Grand Masters, and two more who very plausi­bly could have been named Grand Masters.

On January 22, the in­comparable Ursula K. Le Guin died. She was perhaps the best writer in our field, and was plausibly men­tioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. On March 8, we lost Kate Wilhelm, who ...Read More

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