Here we are, two years into a pandemic, with half of the nation arguing with the other half like grumpy uncles at a holiday dinner, and the planet deciding whether it’s time to raise those sea levels a meter or ten or just blow us all away in megastorms, and I’m sitting at home, reading. And not books about stopping climate change or improving our civic character, but space operas. ...Read MoreRead more
MARLON JAMES was born November 24, 1970 in Kingston Jamaica. He attended the Wolmer’s Trust High School for Boys and attended the University of the West Indies, where he studied Language and Literature, graduating in 1991. He moved to the US, where he later earned his MFA in creative writing at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006.
His debut novel was John Crow’s Devil (2005), followed by The Book ...Read MoreRead more
As is usual with these end-of-the-year columns, I’m not sure what the best approach would be, particularly given that my 2021 standouts are mostly continuations or conclusions of long-running series. Maybe, first, then, Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, the one book that stands alone.
Doerr is a known entity in literary fiction circles. His All the Light We Cannot See ran the table of celebrity book clubs and award ...Read MoreRead more
It doesn’t seem to ever go away. It spreads, mutates, develops new strains, infects every age group, and sometimes seems immune to immunization. Its symptoms may range from the severe to the indifferent. Even if you think you’re safe from it, you might occasionally need a booster shot. By now, it’s become an accepted part of the fabric of modern life.
I’m talking about SFF, of course. Or whatever you ...Read MoreRead more
Nilah Magruder is based in Maryland. She is the author of M.F.K., a middle-grade graphic novel, and winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity, How to Find a Fox, and Wutaryoo. She has published short stories in Fireside Magazine and the All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages anthology. Nilah has also written for Marvel Comics, illustrated children’s books for Disney-Hyperion, Scholastic, and Penguin, ...Read MoreRead more
You started reviewing short fiction for Locus in the February 2002 issue, 20 years ago. What a career! What’s the origin story for you as a reviewer; what brought you into this?
I started reviewing for the short fiction reviewzine Tangent – back when it was a print fanzine. Dave Truesdale posted a notice somewhere saying he was looking for reviewers, and I thought, ‘‘I like short fiction’’ – even ...Read MoreRead more
EUGEN MATOYO BACON was born near Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and moved to Nairobi, Kenya, with her family as a toddler. Her parents and siblings later returned to Tanzania, but she stayed in Kenya at a boarding school run by German sisters. She studied Information Technology at Strathmore College and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Greenwich in the UK. She had her son at a hospital in ...Read MoreRead more
Simon Emmanuel Jimenez is a Filipino-American author born in 1989. He spent time in Canada and the Philippines growing up, and attended Emerson College, where he earned an MFA in creative writing.
Jimenez has published short fiction in literary venues. Debut novel The Vanished Birds appeared in 2020, and was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and a British Fantasy Award. Epic fantasy novel The Spear Cuts Through ...Read MoreRead more
From 1811-1816, a secret society styling themselves “the Luddites” smashed textile machinery in the mills of England. Today, we use “Luddite” as a pejorative referring to backwards, anti-technology reactionaries.
This proves that history really is written by the winners.
In truth, the Luddites’ cause wasn’t the destruction of technology – no more than the Boston Tea Party’s cause was the elimination of tea, or Al Qaeda’s cause was the end ...Read MoreRead more
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki was born in Ughellii, Delta State, Nigeria. He studied Law at the University of Lagos and later attended law school there. He is currently writing and editing full-time.
He began publishing stories in 2018, and has produced several stories, including Nommo Award winner “The Witching Hour” (2018). “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” (2020) won the Otherwise Award and was a finalist for BSFA, Sturgeon, Nebula, and Nommo ...Read MoreRead more
Maggie Tokuda-Hall was born in 1984 and grew up in California, living in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. She earned a BA in studio art from Scripps College in Claremont CA, and an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco.
Her debut novel, queer YA fantasy The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, appeared in (2020) and was selected for the Otherwise Award honor list; a sequel ...Read MoreRead more
Talk a bit about the process of Kickstarting and printing Villarrte Sketchbook Vol. 1, a Locus Recommended Reading List title. What was the experience like? Highlights and hindsights?
My wife and I were extremely nervous about launching the Kickstarter during the pandemic. Too many uncertainties. So there were a lot of doubts about whether this was going to be a success. One of the highlights, though, was going through with ...Read MoreRead more
Who’s the best fictional leader?
Optimus Prime? Jean-Luc Picard? Captain America?
I’m willing to wager that all three of those iconic characters would be among the most popular contenders if the question were asked in a general poll, and for understandable reasons. When I was ten years old, sitting in front of a television set on a Saturday morning, Peter Cullen’s voice as Optimus Prime ordering, “Autobots, roll out!” made ...Read MoreRead more
What was your introduction to science fiction and fantasy art? What influences drew you in?
It’s a genre that has always simply slotted into my life and perspective. When I was 13, I fell in love with the art of Luis Royo and H.R. Giger, discovered after a long seclusion. I was born and lived off the grid for most of my childhood, was homeschooled all my life, and we ...Read MoreRead more
ELIZABETH ROSALIND WOLLHEIM was born December 5, 1951 in New York, the daughter of legendary editor Donald A. Wollheim and Elsie B. Wollheim, and was closely involved with professional SF from an early age.
She attended Beloit College in Wisconsin in 1969, then transferred to Clark University in Massachusetts. She studied English at Clark while simultaneously studying art at the Worcester Art Museum School. After graduation in 1973 she lived ...Read MoreRead more
Back when work on this year’s ICon started, it really did look that we might be going back to the way things used to be, and we would have an in-person convention. The plan was not to let all the work done over the past year and a half go to waste, but have a convention that would be two in-person days and a third virtual day. This plan sadly ...Read MoreRead more
CHUCK DAVID WENDIG was born April 22, 1976 and grew up in New Hope PA. He attended Queens University in Charlotte NC, where he studied English and religion, graduated in 1998, and “worked various bizarre day jobs, as many writers do” before becoming a full-time freelancer.
He published a story in 1997 as C.D. Wendig, and another in 2000 as C. David Wendig, but most of his fiction publications date ...Read MoreRead more
The second annual FIYAHCON took place online September 16-19, 2021, held via Airmeet and hosted by FIYAH magazine. Guests of honor were Vita Ayala, Malka Older, and Njeri of Onyx Pages. The original event was conceived in the midst of protests and the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inaugural Ignyte awards were conceived following the 2020 Hugo Awards ceremony. Organizer L.D. Lewis, in her 2020 FIYAHCON retrospective on her website, described ...Read MoreRead more
Tell us about your debut novel A Marvellous Light—the world where it takes place and the characters who inhabit that world.
A Marvellous Light is a historical fantasy novel that follows two men as they become reluctantly embroiled in a conspiracy of murder, curses, and contracts. Robin Blyth is a sunshine-hearted jock who’s trying to ignore all his responsibilities when he’s accidentally named as the government liaison to ...Read MoreRead more
Margaret Thatcher was the least science-fictional world leader in modern history.
Her motto was “There is no alternative,” a phrase she repeated so often it became an acronym: “TINA.”
She was referring to capitalism, asserting that there is no conceivable alternative. It was a cheap but remarkably effective rhetorical device, treating a demand as an observation. The true meaning of TINA isn’t “No alternative is possible,” but rather, “Stop trying ...Read MoreRead more
R.B. LEMBERG was born September 27, 1976 in Ukraine, and grew up there, in Russia, and in Israel. They attended graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, where they studied Slavic linguistics, earning a PhD. They work as a sociolinguistics professor at a Midwestern university.
Lemberg began publishing poetry and fiction of genre interest in 2008, initially under the byline Rose Lemberg. Some of their poetry is collected in ...Read MoreRead more
THIS ESTONIAN SUMMER would have been right at home at the Locus office in California: Sunny days under brilliant blue skies with just a slight breeze to keep the heat from becoming stifling. Perfect for the annual outdoor science fiction convention held at Udu Farm in central Estonia. The event wasn’t confirmed until just a few weeks before, but the vaccination program had reached full throttle and infection rates remained ...Read MoreRead more
TADE THOMPSON was born in South London in the 1970s. He traveled a lot as a child due to his parents’ separation and his father’s work as a lawyer (some of which was behind the Iron Curtain). Thompson’s qualifications include medicine, psychiatry, and social anthropology, though he flirted with Industrial Chemistry in 1988. He has been a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 2007.
He sold his first ...Read MoreRead more
What was your introduction to the comics field? Who were your influences? Was there a particular artist or artists who drew you in?
You know a lot of talented artists in the field of comics. At first, I felt, ‘‘There is no room for me in this business.’’ I have not got any formal education in art and didn’t have special drawing skill. It was clear that, even if I ...Read MoreRead more
Tell us about your new book Light From Uncommon Stars (Tor Books). What’s the story about, and what inspired you to create that future?
Light From Uncommon Stars is about violins and deals with the Devil. It’s about recovering from transphobia and racism and trauma. It’s about space aliens fleeing a galactic war. It talks about the ultimate end of the universe and what is after that end. It talks ...Read MoreRead more
The 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop was held June 7 – July 16, 2021. ‘‘Similar to last year, Odyssey held its writing workshop online due to the ongoing pandemic. It is still the same intense and immersive experience as always!’’ The 12 students came from the US, Denmark, New Zealand, and India; six of the students received scholarships.
This review and more like it in the August 2021 issue of Locus. ...Read MoreRead more
ZEN CHO was born in Selangor Malaysia in 1986 and grew up in Malaysia, apart from a year and a half spent in the US around age six. She moved to the UK at 18 for university, where she met her husband. She earned a law degree at Cambridge, and now works as a lawyer. She lives in the UK with her family.
Cho began publishing genre fiction in 2010, ...Read MoreRead more
Baltimore reading series Charm City Spec held its first in-person event of the year on July 14 on the patio of The Ivy Bookshop, with readings by Sarah Pinsker, Michael R. Underwood, Kate Reed Petty, K.M. Szpara, and Karen Osborne. The quarterly event is sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society with support from The Ivy Bookshop and ‘‘a generous grant from SFWA.’’ Information about upcoming events can be found ...Read MoreRead more
My novels have been characterized as being “Afrofuturistic,” but to be honest I never thought of the subgenre while writing them. When I write I generally don’t think of any subgenre before I sit down to create the work. My thinking when writing is usually concentrated more on story and narrative construction, not on the genre. Mostly all that is happening is that I have a story to tell, I ...Read MoreRead more
LAVIE TIDHAR was born November 16, 1976 and raised on a kibbutz in Israel. He has traveled extensively since he was a teenager, living in South Africa, the UK, Laos, and the small island nation of Vanuatu.
Tidhar began publishing with a poetry collection in Hebrew in 1998, but soon moved to fiction, becoming a prolific author of short stories early in the 21st century. Story “Temporal Spiders, Spatial Webs” ...Read MoreRead more
Your debut novel Mort(e) came out in 2015 and launched the War with No Name Series. Tell us about that book and the world it introduced.
The sales team likes to call it either “Animal Farm on steroids” or “Animal Farm with machine guns.” In short, the series is about a war between humans and sentient animals. In this world, a hyperintelligent queen of a globe-spanning ant colony has vowed ...Read MoreRead more
When I was a baby writer, I obsessively collected career advice from established writers, reading books and essays and attending panels on ‘‘How I broke in’’ featuring established pros. It’s a testament to the irrational, burning desire to publish that I continued to do this long after it became apparent that there was nothing of contemporary applicability in these discussions.
I mean, it was entertaining to hear a writer describe ...Read MoreRead more