2017 in Review by Liz Bourke

[Editor’s note: part of our 2017 year-in-review essay series from the February 2018 issue of Locus]

How do you sum up a year like 2017? It feels like it was a longer year than usual – and as I write this, it isn’t even over yet.

I don’t like writing about my favourite books, even my favourite books in any given year. At the time of writing, I’ve read 209 ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Let’s Get Better at Demanding Better from Tech

Photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

At long last, the techlash has arrived, and not a minute too soon. I have been involved in the tech industry since I got my first programming job in 1988. I’ve been a sysadmin, a CIO, a trainer, a software company founder, and an activist. I’ve argued against terrible laws and argued for good ones. I’ve dreamed of the promise of tech and been haunted ...Read More

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2017 and Other Years That We Barely Survived (in Fiction) by Jonathan Strahan

[Editor’s note: part of our 2017 year-in-review essay series from the February 2018 issue of Locus]

The best science fiction of 2017 fell into one of two camps: tales of cli­mate change or stories of colonizing our solar system. Kim Stanley Rob­inson’s magisterial New York 2140, a personal pick for best novel of the year, showed everyone a way forward on how to discuss climate change and our collective future ...Read More

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Saving the World Through Science Fiction, Unless We’re Too Late by Gary K. Wolfe

[Editor’s note: part of our 2017 year-in-review essay series from the February 2018 issue of Locus]

According to Barnes & Noble’s year-end summary, if we set aside J.K. Rowl­ing and Rick Riordan, the bestselling genre-related novel of 2017 was Mar­garet Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, followed a few slots later by Stephen King’s It – novels originally published in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Ama­zon’s list adds Orwell’s 1984 (from way back ...Read More

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Year-in-Review: 2017 Magazine Summary

[Editor’s note: This is the first time we have run the yearly Magazine Summary online. Text has been edited for formatting.]

The short fiction market was strong throughout 2017. We added a few online markets to our review, though we did see a number of print markets shift to online only (that sticky distribution problem) and a number of venues went on hiatus or closed because of financial difficulties.

The ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf – Season 2 Update!

Back in October of 2017 we announced that that SF Crossing the Gulf podcast, hosted by Karen Burnham and Karen Lord, had been made available via a dedicated archive page.

At that time, we shared that the archive page featured short descriptions of each episode (and links to the full details at SF Signal) for Season One, and that the rest of the episodes would be following soon. We’re pleased ...Read More

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Mad Hatters and March Hares Signing

Editor Ellen Datlow and contributors to her anthology Mad Hatters and March Hares read for the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series at KGB Bar in New York on December 18, 2017.

Back: Matthew Kressel, Genevieve Valentine, Ellen Datlow, Richard Bowes, Katherine Vaz, Kris Dikeman; front: Ysabeau Wilce. Photo by Ellen Datlow

This article and more like it in the February 2018 issue of Locus.

While you are here, please ...Read More
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Carrie Vaughn: Writing the Good Parts

Carrie Vaughn was born January 28, 1973 in Sacramento CA to a military family, and grew up all over the country before settling in Colorado, where she graduated high school. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, and got her Master’s in English Literature at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 1998, and taught there in 2009. Vaughn began publishing  short fiction in ...Read More

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E.C. Ambrose Guest Post–“History and Fantasy, Made for Each Other”

Sometimes the question is raised—on either side of a perceived divide—as to why an author would combine history with fantasy rather than stick to one or the other. Well-crafted history and fantasy both have the effect of transporting the reader. Employing them in the same work can illuminate questions about history and historical perspectives, using the tools and possibilities of magic to explore the potential of humanity, then and now. ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: What I’ve Learned About Being a Writer

You will fail more than you succeed. You will remember the failures more often than the successes.

The people who believe in you now will believe in you always. Get rid of everyone else.

Readers will love your work. They will think this means they love you. They will be wrong, but do not correct them. You will no longer be yourself when you’re among readers, but an amalgamation of ...Read More

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David Mack Guest Post–“Beautiful Lies: Facts vs. Story in Secret History Fiction”

What is more important in historical fiction: factual accuracy or dramatic effectiveness? As with almost all questions pertaining to the art and business of publishing, the most truthful answer is “it depends.”

For starters, the expectation of factual accuracy is often higher for “serious” literary historical fiction than it is for its speculative cousins, alternative (or “alt”) history and “secret” history. For those who aren’t familiar with those two subgenres, ...Read More

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SF in Ukraine by Michael Burianyk

Photo by Andrew Bossi under Creative Commons License

Ukrainian SF, fantasy, and horror is little known in the English-speaking world, leaving not much of a shadow in publish­ing or on the internet, but there is a long, solid, and growing tradition in what is usually called “Fantastyka.”

Ukraine has long been a bilingual – Ukrainian and Russian – country. Ukraine was an important part of the Russian Empire and even ...Read More

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Alex Marshall and Nicholas Eames In Conversation

Fantasy authors Nicholas Eames and Jesse Bullington (a.k.a. Alex Marshall) join us to talk about the musical inspiration behind their latest books.

NICK: Kings of the Wyld was inspired largely by ’70s rock, though a few gems from other eras snuck in there as well (here’s looking at you, Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack). The artists I found particularly inspiring included classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and ...Read More

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Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Photo by Liza Groen Trombi

Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin, 88, died January 22, 2018 in Portland OR.

Le Guin was a towering figure in the field, famed for her fiction and non-fiction alike, with a career in SF that spanned more than 50 years. She was a Hugo Award nominee 23 times and won five, and won six Nebula Awards, with 18 nominations. Other major awards included the ...Read More

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John Crowley: As the Crow Flies

John Michael Crowley was born December 1, 1942 in Presque Isle ME, where his father, a doctor and captain in the Army Air Corps, was stationed. The family moved several times, settling in Indiana in 1953 when his father took a position as a doctor at Notre Dame. Crowley attended Indiana University, earning a degree in English in 1964. He moved to New York and worked as a photographer’s assistant, ...Read More

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JY Yang: Energy Systems

JY Yang was born July 12, 1983 in Singapore. They studied molecular biology and worked as a research scientist before becoming a writer for animation and game studios, and they also worked in journalism and as a science communicator for Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research.

Yang began publishing stories in the small press in 2011 with “Captain Bells and The Sovereign State of Discordia” in The Ste­ampowered Globe, ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Persuasion, Adaptation, and the Arms Race for Your Attention

Photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

As we all know, time travelers have to be very careful when they visit the past, because their evolved immune systems allow them to harbor pathogens that the olde timey people are defenseless against. One careless bowel movement, a single badly timed cough, a bit of blood spilled, and whole civilizations are in pandemic peril.

Surviving to the future means adapting to the risks of ...Read More

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Sarah Gailey Guest Post–“Gods and Beggars”

How might a God test the worthiness of their people?

Religious traditions the world over are fascinated by this question. How will we prove to our Gods that we are following their rules, that we are just and virtuous, that we are deserving of reward?

A worthy answer to this question lies in an oft-repeated fable: the god disguises themself as a beggar, sits at the roadside, and waits to ...Read More

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Mike Allen: The Allure of the Forbidden

MICHAEL LOUIS ALLEN was born Febru­ary 1, 1969 in Minneapolis MN to academic parents, who moved often for teaching jobs. He lived in Guam until after kindergarten, spent a year outside Chicago, then spent eight years in the small mining town of Wise VA before finally settling in Roanoke VA, where he has lived ever since. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a liberal arts degree, then earned his Master’s ...Read More

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Seanan McGuire: Out of Sync

Seanan McGuire was born January 5, 1978 in Martinez CA. She studied folklore and herpetology at the University of California, Berkeley.

She has worked as a phone sex operator, a technical support engineer, an exotic animal rescuer, a process engineer for communications company SBC, and a quality assurance engineer for a non-profit. She now writes full time.

McGuire’s debut novel Rosemary and Rue (2009) launched her October Daye urban fantasy ...Read More

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Andrea Phillips Guest Post–“The Broken World of ReMade”

Science fiction has always looked to the future, and famously even helped to change imagination into reality. Earbuds, hovercraft, even the Internet itself were all fiction, until one day they weren’t. But it’s a tall order for a writer to keep up with the future these days; the pace at which technology advances has become breathtakingly fast. You can write a novel incorporating only technologies and social practices that exist ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Fear, Procrastination, and the Thorny Problem of Demanding What You’re Worth

Fear often masks itself as procrastination.

I’ve been thinking about that statement more as I turn on my computer every morning and stare at my list of tasks for the day, the week, the month, the year. On top of my writing career, I have a full-time job in advertising, and that’s gotten tougher to balance year-over-year. Our time is finite. Jobs eat a lot of it. Once, I would ...Read More

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Vivien Jackson Guest Post–“Cybernetic Humans”

My brother is one of those guys who has a joke for every situation, so when he texted me an x-ray of a human shoulder that wasn’t fully connected, I texted back a question mark and a couple of confused emojis. Looking for the punchline, right? He replied with, “Oops,” followed by the observation that it is difficult to perform basic hygiene tasks, or really to do anything, after you’ve ...Read More

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Spotlight on Andy Weir, Author

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Andy Weir was first hired as a program­mer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been work­ing as a software en­gineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of sub­jects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. First novel The Martian was a bestseller and was adapted as a popular feature film. New novel ...Read More

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Aliette de Bodard: Engineering the Story

ALIETTE DE BODARD was born November 10, 1982 in New York City to a Vietnamese mother and a French father. At age one she moved with her family to Paris, France, where she has lived ever since, apart from two years in London as a teen­ager. She attended the École Polytechnique, graduating in 2002 with a degree in applied mathematics, electronics, and computer science. She speaks both French and Eng­lish ...Read More

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David Marusek: Under the Alaskan Sky

DAVID MARUSEK was born January 21, 1951 in Buffalo NY, and grew up all over the US. He attended UC Santa Barbara from 1969-73, earning a degree in cultural anthropology. That year he moved to Alaska, where he has lived ever since. He was married and divorced, and has an adult daughter. He has worked in construction, surveying, as a hospital attendant, and an ad salesman, but most of his ...Read More

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Jason Shiga Guest Post–“The Science of Demon”

The final volume of Demon comes out this week and it represents the culmination of a seven year long journey that took me from self-printed minicomics to a daily webcomic to a published 4 volume series from First Second. The series has become infamous for its deranged and nihilistic sense of humor. But for me, the simple idea at the core of the book was a story of a man ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: How to Do Everything (Lifehacking Considered Harmful)

Photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

I was there when “lifehacking” was born. It was the 11th of February, 2004, at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, held in a giant conference hotel in San Diego. I was on the committee for ETech (as we called it) and I had lobbied hard for the inclusion of a talk called “Life Hacks: Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks” by Danny O’Brien, a technology ...Read More

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SF Crossing the Gulf Is Back!

Announcing the new archive page for SF Crossing the Gulf podcast.

The podcast, hosted by Karen Burnham and Karen Lord, debuted in 2012 and ran for 18 episodes over the course of two seasons, originally hosted by SF Signal (the text descriptions are still available there, but no audio). Episodes include fascinating discussions of notable contemporary hard science fiction, classic writers such as Cordwainer Smith and Olaf Stapledon, weird stories, ...Read More

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Annalee Newitz: Reprogramming

Annalee Newitz was born May 6, 1969 in Santa Monica CA, and grew up in Huntingon Beach and Irvine. She attended UC Berkeley, where she completed a Ph.D. in English and American Studies in 1998; her dissertation was published as Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture (2006). She began freelance writing in the mid-’90s, and has written full-time since 1999, mostly as a journalist focusing on technology ...Read More

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James Patrick Kelly: Alterations

James Patrick Kelly was born April 11, 1951 in Mineola NY. He earned a BA in English Literature at the University of Notre Dame in 1972, and attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in 1974 and ’76. He began writing full time in 1977. In 2005 he joined the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program as an instructor.

Kelly’s professional career began with “Dea Ex Machina” for Galaxy (1975), followed by scores ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: What Comes After the Ship Is Sunk?

In 1692, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the island of Port Royal, plunging over half the city into the sea and flooding what remained with a sizable tidal wave. Port Royal was infamous for its reputation as a rollicking pirate haven, and the disaster that descended upon it that day was largely tacked up to God’s vengeance. It’s always easier to blame God than poor planning or simple ignorance.

Same ...Read More

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