I woke up this morning to find several thousand unexpected dollars in my bank account, which isn’t a problem writers usually have. My literary agency gives me a heads’ up when they make a deposit, but didn’t with this one, so it’s entirely possible this was a mistaken deposit. I’m sitting here dying to allocate the money to various bills, but waiting for a confirmation that the money is mine. ...Read MoreRead more
The 2020 Friends of Genre convention (FOGcon 10) was held March 6-8 at the Walnut Creek Marriot in Walnut Creek CA. 234 memberships were sold, with approximately 185 warm bodies, presumably due to COVID-19 cancellations. The theme was “Turning Points”, with honored guests Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nisi Shawl (via video), and Terry Pratchett (posthumously).
Despite necessary last-minute changes, like Zooming GOH Shawl in for panels, programming included 35 items, with ...Read MoreRead more
Susan Carol Burke was born June 21, 1955. She grew up in Milwaukee WI and lived there for more than 40 years, spent a year and a half in Texas, and then relocated to Madrid, Spain with her husband in 1999, where they stayed for 17 years. In 2016 they returned to the US, settling in Chicago. She began writing for newspapers as a teenager, attended the University of Wisconsin ...Read MoreRead more
Gareth Lyn Powell was born September 3, 1970 in Clifton, Bristol, England; he grew up in Bristol, and lives there still. He studied humanities and creative writing at the University of Glamorgan (later renamed the University of South Wales). He has taught creative writing at various universities. He worked in call centers and in marketing before turning to writing more seriously in 2008.
Powell began publishing SF with “Morning Star” ...Read MoreRead more
A memorial service for author Michael Blumlein, who died last October, was held January 25, 2020 at the San Francisco Film Centre in the Presidio in San Francisco CA. More than 200 people attended a two-act performance with an intermission, celebrating Blumlein’s “many worlds, passions, and relationships,” hosted by the author’s daughter, Risa Blumlein.
An actor performed sections from Blumlein’s last novella Longer, and several authors read from essays ...Read MoreRead more
When we speak of forging, it is usually one of two types: the first is when we create something new out of disparate materials— the type of forging usually associated with blacksmiths—but the second type is one we often associate with thieves, charlatans, and mountebanks; the kind where we create something that is fake with the intention of duping or deceiving others into believing that what we have created is ...Read MoreRead more
Putting the science in science fiction involves a lot of moving parts and navigating them can be challenging at any point in your writing career. Both science and science fiction are ever-expanding fields, and staying on top of one, let alone both, requires diligence and persistence. Furthermore, getting the level of detail just right so as to not be so technical you alienate your readers, while avoiding being needlessly inaccurate, ...Read MoreRead more
The San Francisco Public Library presents “SF by the Bay”, an exhibit and series of events from February 1 – April 30, 2020, showcasing the library’s J. Francis McComas Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection and celebrating the San Francisco Bay Area’s contributions SF art, film, and literature. The exhibit is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Library in the General Collections and Humanities Center, with associated displays located ...Read MoreRead more
Nina Allan was born May 27, 1966 in Whitechapel, London, and grew up in the Midlands and West Sussex. She attended the University of Reading and the University of Exeter, and earned her master’s in literature at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She has worked in record stores and as a bookseller.
Allan began publishing SF with “Coming Around Again” in 2002. Notable stories include British Science Fiction Association Award finalists ...Read MoreRead more
Yoshiki Tanaka’s Sieun Award-winning Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LotGH) series is simultaneously a work of science fiction (specifically space opera) and an in-depth historiography. Multiple texts exist within its two-thousand-plus pages, with a single unnamed narrator drawing on (fictional) memoirs, autobiographies, and other histories in order to craft their own interpretation of the galactic conflicts of the thirty-sixth century. Originally published in Japan between 1982 and 1987, LotGH was ...Read MoreRead more
The 18th Science Fiction Conference was held January 10-11, 2020 at Aurangabad, Maharashtra state, India, organized by the Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies®, Bangalore (IASFS), Indian Science Fiction Writers Association, Ayodhya (ISFWA), Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Mumbai (MVP), Marathwada Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Aurangabad (MSP), and Deogiri Institute of Engineering and Management (DIEM), with the host Mukthananda College, Gangapur, Aurangabad District. Highlights of the event included the celebration of Isaac Asimov’s ...Read MoreRead more
In general, speculative fiction in translation (SFT) accounts for a very small fraction of the fiction published in English each year. This past year was no exception: 50 books (novels, collections, and anthologies) and 80 short (standalone) works of SFT made their way to Anglophone readers. While this may not sound like much, it does signify a slow but steady increase in non-Anglophone speculative fiction since the turn of the ...Read MoreRead more
Before we get started, let’s define what we mean by “the end of the world.”
Extinguishing all life on earth would be difficult. Every day, 800 million viruses and tens of millions of bacteria rain down from the troposphere onto every square meter of the planet’s surface. Extremophile microorganisms flourish at unimaginable pressures in the depths of the Marianas Trench. Russian cosmonauts claim to have found plankton surviving the vacuum ...Read MoreRead more
A lever without a fulcrum is just a stick. That is, even the longest, sturdiest lever in the world will not shift even the tiniest object unless you have a fulcrum to balance it on.
Copyright law is billed as a lever creators can use to budge the corporations that bring our work to market. The companies may be large, and they may be powerful, but creators can resist that ...Read MoreRead more
The year 2019 saw the growth of interest in African fiction pay off in terms of publications of novels.
The biggest news of the year may be that Tade Thompson’s Rosewater won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. This year also saw the publication of the second and third books in the Wormwood series, The Rosewater Insurrection and The Rosewater Redemption. Thompson also published a new novella about Molly Southbourne, ...Read MoreRead more
Over the past few years, I’ve been talking here about a couple of recurring ideas on the shape of the SF and fantasy world. For instance, the notion that these fields are increasingly a pluralism and that there’s no default way that one should expect an SF/F novel to be written; that interplay between “genre” and “mainstream” writers of the fantastic is increasing, fruitfully; and that “science fiction” and “fantasy” ...Read MoreRead more
I often take this opportunity to discuss great podcasts of the past year. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get the chance to pick up too many new SF-related podcasts in 2019, but continue to enjoy new episodes of the familiar ones. Welcome to Night Vale is proceeding delightfully, with wars in time, space, and alternate realities, including a frightening conflict involving Night Vale citizen brains placed in future ...Read MoreRead more
In April 2005 I was well settled into my career as a romance novelist, writing everything from paranormal romances to adult and young adult contemporary fiction for New American Library (now Penguin Random House). My life was simple: I wrote books, lots of books. And then one day I heard about a new massively multiplayer online role playing game called World of Warcraft (WOW), and my life changed. Not only ...Read MoreRead more
My remit here at Locus is primarily to cover short fiction from print sources, and thus I thought to build my year end summary around just that. But don’t forget – there is a great deal of excellent work that appears first online. To that I will add my usual plea – don’t ignore the print work just because it’s harder to find.
I’ll begin with two collections that got ...Read MoreRead more
In 2019 I really learned about drinking from the firehose that is the amount of speculative short fiction available in electronic/online venues. As far as I can tell I read about 530 stories from at least 35 different outlets, and I know that there’s an immense amount of excellent work that I missed. The variety that’s available is fantastic, and I’m also very pleased by the overall quality that I’ve ...Read MoreRead more
The most impressive novel of 2019 was Michelle Paver’s Wakenhyrst. It’s an utter triumph of a book, a pitch-perfect evocation of the stories of M.R. James and A.C. Benson filtered through a 21st-century sensibility; the result is reminiscent of Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger. Concise and intense, filled with references to the tradition of English ghost stories, Paver’s novel succeeds on a number of levels. Starting with her ...Read MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more