2020 SFWA Nebula Conference

The 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference morphed mid-COVID from an in-person conference into an impressive online event, held May 29-31, 2020. There were 808 members from 33 countries, a record, up from 2019’s record-breaking 475 registered members.

Online programming began before the event proper on May 23, with a Mentorship Meeting, pairing experienced congoers with newer attendees, and the Nebula Finalist Reception. Weekend programming focused on industry-relevant topics, such as “Too ...Read More

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Marleen S. Barr–“Report from New York City, Two, Or Here I Go Again”

Note: This piece was written before the murder of George Floyd.

 

Hello. I’m back. After nineteen years—but who is counting and those years went by really fast—I’m returning to Locus to reach out to the science fiction community from New York City during a crisis. When I was traumatized during 9/11 because I was looking out of my apartment window at the Empire State Building expecting it to be ...Read More

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Madeline Ashby: Foresight

Madeline Ashby was born April 24, 1983 in Panorama City CA and grew up in Washington State, outside Seattle, before relocating to Canada in her early twenties. She graduated from Seattle University in 2005, and went on to get an M.A. from York University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on ”Japanese animation, cyborg theory, and fan cultures.” She then attended the Ontario College of Art and Design University, where ...Read More

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Swati Teerdhala Guest Post–“What’s In A World?”

Worldbuilding is like a jigsaw puzzle. You start with the edges, the essential outline and framework, and then work in, spiraling and spiraling until you find the last, perfect piece. Without the edge, the outline, you have no direction to go in. You start grasping around, putting together little groups of pieces here or there, hoping to find something that connects, but it all feels rather futile. And makes it ...Read More

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Tobias S. Buckell: Many Hands Lift

Tobias Samuel Buckell was born January 2, 1979 in Grenada in the West Indies, where he lived for the first decade of his life before relocating to the British Virgin Islands and then US Virgin Islands. He moved to Ohio in 1995 in the aftermath of Hurricane Marilyn, which destroyed the boat his family lived on. Buckell graduated from Bluffton University with an English degree in 2000. His short stories ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: It’s OK if this Email Finds You Well

It’s perfectly fine if you’re doing okay right now.

The odds are against it, but it’s absolutely all right to answer ‘‘How are you?’’ with ‘‘I’m… okay?’’ Because at some point, each of us will complete the five or seven stages of grief that accompany slow-moving crises and pandemics and disasters like the one currently sweeping the globe, and we will carry on.

Humans are resilient creatures, to both our ...Read More

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C.L. Polk: The World Turned Upside Down

Chelsea Louise Polk was born September 28, 1969 in New Westminster, British Columbia. She spent her childhood there and in Surrey BC before moving to Ed­monton at age 13 and then to Calgary at 21.

She published a few pieces of short fiction beginning in the early 2000s as Chel­sea Polk. Her most recent story is “St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid” at Tor.com (2/5/20). Polk’s debut novel Witchmark (2018) ...Read More

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Elizabeth Bear: Everyone’s Utopia Is Someone’s Dystopia

 

Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky was born September 22, 1971, in Hartford CT. She attended the University of Connecticut, where she studied English and anthropology, though she did not take a degree. She has worked as a technical writer, stable hand, reporter, and in assorted office jobs, and has been writing full-time since 2006. She married Christopher Kindred in 2000, divorcing in 2007. She became involved with fantasy writer and firefighter ...Read More

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Chinese New Year SF Gala by Derek Künsken

The Chinese publishing company Future Af­fairs Administration (FAA) which, among other things, publishes the online Manda­rin-language SF magazine Non-Exist, recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with its Chinese New Year SF Gala. Lunar New Year is a couple of weeks of celebration in China, very focused on family and roots. For the last five years, FAA has been commissioning SF writers to create stories based on different themes. International authors ...Read More

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Molly Tanzer Guest Post–“On Getting My Ears Involved”

Last year, I read the same passage from my book, Creatures of Want and Ruin, for four different events: the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar in New York City, at NecronomiCon Providence, at Noir at the Bar in Denver, and finally at Writers with Drinks in San Francisco. Given the reception to the readings, I can say with confidence that my performance improved every time—but it wasn’t ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Rules for Writers

In 1991, I read two documents from Bruce Sterling that changed the course of my professional and literary career. The first was “The Turkey City Lexicon”, which Sterling co-wrote with Lewis Shiner, an online classic that was finally published between covers in the 1991 Pulphouse edition of The SFWA Handbook, which I received in the mail with my newly minted SFWA membership kit.

The second was a print classic ...Read More

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Jon Skovron Guest Post–“Why We Read Epic Fantasy During Times of Turmoil”

On a September morning in 2001, I watched from my fire escape in Brooklyn as the second World Trade Center tower fell. In the hours and days and weeks that followed, as the ash and debris rained down from the sky, as the stench of death permeated my neighborhood, as the countless hand-written missing person fliers went up, as soldiers with machine guns began to appear in train stations, I ...Read More

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Kate Heartfield: Timelines

Kate Heartfield was born January 6, 1977 in Kitchener, Ontario, and moved throughout the province with her family before settling outside Winnipeg. She spent a year after high school backpacking in Central America, then moved to Ottawa for university. She graduated with a degree in political science in 1999, then earned a master’s degree in journalism at Carleton University in 2001. She freelanced for a few years before taking a ...Read More

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Veronica Roth Virtual Tour: A Conversation With Daryl Gregory

Authors Veronica Roth (the Divergent series) and Daryl Gregory (Spoonbenders) discuss her new bestselling book Chosen Ones, Chicago,  food, and Chicago food in a half-hour chat. The talk, originally meant to be held at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma but canceled due to the lockdown, took place virtually, from one home office to the other. We hope you enjoy it!

Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times  ...Read More

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Photo Story: Rainforest Writers Village

The annual Rainforest Writers Village retreat, hosted by Patrick Sw­enson and Fairwood Press, was held at Lake Quinault WA in three sessions from February 19 to March 8, 2020. For more: <www.rainforestwriters.com>

Photos by Patrick Swenson.

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

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader ...Read More

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Tamsyn Muir: Blood Words

Tamsyn Elizabeth Muir was born March 14, 1985 in New South Wales, Australia, and relocated to New Zealand when she was nine months old; she grew up in the small town of Howick, outside Auckland, and considers herself a Kiwi. She has also lived in Waiuku and central Wellington. Muir finished school at 16 and attended university briefly before dropping out. After working in retail for two years, she earned ...Read More

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Photo Story: Whitmore Donates Bibliography

Tom Whitmore is donating a copy of E.F. Bleiler’s Checklist of Fantastic Literature (Shasta 1948) that once belonged to J. Francis McComas to the San Francisco Public Library’s J. Francis McComas Science Fiction Collection. This copy of the first major bibliography of pre-1940 speculative fiction is inscribed to McComas by Bleiler, signed by introducer Mel Korshak, and has McComas’s ownership signature on the rear free endpaper. Whitemore says, “It’s a ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Tricky Finances of the Adjunct Writer

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 More

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FOGcon 10 Report

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 More

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Sue Burke: Aliens Among Us

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 More

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Gareth L. Powell: A Rising Tide

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 More

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Photo Story: Blumlein Memorial

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 More

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Justin T. Call Guest Post–“Forging Literary Artifacts “

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 More

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Kelly Lagor: Putting the “Science” in Science Fiction: Part Two

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 More

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Photo Story: SF by the Bay

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 More

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Nina Allan: Never Enough Time

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 More

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Rachel S. Cordasco Guest Post–“Legend of the Galactic Heroes”

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 More

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SF in India by Mysore Srinarahari

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 More

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SF in Translation in 2019 by Rachel S. Cordasco

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 More

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Eric L. Harry Guest Post–“How Does the World End? Let Me Count the Ways”

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 More

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Cory Doctorow: A Lever Without a Fulcrum Is Just a Stick

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 More

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Review of 2019 African SFF by Geoff Ryman

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 More

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