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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FOGcon 9 Report

The 2019 Friends of Genre convention (FOGcon 9) was held March 8-10 at the Walnut Creek Marriot in Walnut Creek CA. 227 memberships were sold, plus an additional 61 day passes. The theme was “Friendship”, with honored guests Becky Chambers, Karen Joy Fowler, and Ursula K. Le Guin (posthumously).

Programming included 66 participants and 32 items, with panels on science, writing, publishing, literature, politics, and more, such as “Creating With ...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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S.A. Chakraborty: Feels Like Magic

SHANNON CHAKRABORTY was born December 7, 1985 in New Jersey. She studied international relations and Middle Eastern history at American University before moving to Brooklyn to work in a medical office. While working in healthcare, she joined the Brooklyn Speculative Fictions Writers group and began developing her craft with early stories set in the world that would become the Daevabad trilogy, an epic political fantasy inspired by medieval Islamic history. ...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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Leigh Bardugo: Radical Balance

LEIGH BARDUGO was born April 6, 1975 in Jerusalem, Israel, and grew up in Southern California. She attended Yale University, graduating with an English degree in 1997, and worked various jobs, including as a copywriter, journalist, and make-up and special effects artist.

Her debut YA novel Shadow and Bone, an epic fantasy, appeared in 2012, and began the Shadow and Bone trilogy that continued with Siege and Storm (2013) ...Read More

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Photo Story: Finch for the Stage

“The Old Man and C” by Sheila Finch (1989) has been adapted as a stage play by Jason Trucco & David Jager, with a musical score by Carlos Alomar, and debuted in “semi-public” performances on February 10-13, 2019 in New York.

This story and more like it in the March 2019 issue of Locus.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring ...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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Competing Against Trump by Ian Mond

Nothing in 2018 can possibly compare to the breadth of imagination, range of tone, and unconventional spelling present in Donald Trump’s tweets. His early morning tantrums proved to be the most riveting, most extraordinary, most majestic fiction I read this year. It says something about authors around the world that when faced with Trump’s prodigious talent they never dropped their heads; they continued to write and publish the most astonishing ...Read More

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2018: A Year on Edge by Paul Kincaid

It’s been a hard year. The rule of ignorance and self­ishness in Trump’s Amer­ica; the wilful destruction of economic probity at the behest of perceived (and probably illusory) political necessity in Brexit Britain; the continued rise of the far right in Hungary, Poland, It­aly, France, and elsewhere. All of this is, at some point, going to feed through into a wave of fictions built around the ongoing sense of fear ...Read More

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Year in Review by Katharine Coldiron

By the time the clock hits 11:59 on December 31, my list of books read for 2018 will tally about 150. Because I review a wide variety of books, a small minority of those books will have been SF/F (only about a dozen, in fact). I like reading and reviewing genre books, and I especially like doing so for Locus, but it’s just a sliver of what I do as ...Read More

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Photo Story: Bowes 75th Birthday Party

The New York Review of Science Fiction hosted a party to celebrate the 75th birthday of author Rick Bowes, attended by various New York-area SF lu­minaries. Ellen Datlow and Jeffrey Ford both read appreciations of Bowes, praising him as a friend, writer, storyteller, mentor, conversationalist, and living history of some of the most interesting times in New York City.

This story and more like it in the February 2019 issue ...Read More

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From Remote Cabins to Late Night Movies: Horror in 2018 by John Langan

Novels first, then: Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World is the novel of 2018. With his previous two books, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay an­nounced himself as among the most ambitious of his generation of horror writ­ers, producing novels that drew on the examples of the genre’s great practitioners, King and Jackson, while blending them with a 21st- century ...Read More

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2018: The Triumph of “Only Different” by Russell Letson

It’s the most summarizing time of the year, and I’ve been at it long enough that I’m tempted to just summarize my old summaries, looking for meta-trends or shapes in the clouds (very like a camel, indeed) that impose order on the squirming facts of a field that is neither singular nor unified but (to plagiarize myself from a quarter-century ago) “a set of fields with readerships that only occasionally ...Read More

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Year-in-Review: 2018 Magazine Summary

We are mixing it up a little this year. The following sections are sorted by Hugo Eligibility: Professional, Semiprozine, etc., and by the SFWA qualifying standard for pay rate, then sorted loosely by pay rate and amount of fiction published. We covered 70 magazines, 14 audio sites, and nine critical magazines.

The short fiction market held strong through 2018, with more new voices, more inclusivity, and more translations than we’ve ...Read More

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2018 in Review: Translations, Continuations, and Deviations, by Lila Garrott

2018 has been a good year for the offbeat in speculative fiction. In fact, one of my top books of the year was released as a mainstream literary novel, even though the speculative element is central and necessary: Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation has to contain imaginary pharmacology in order for the protagonist to black out for the lengths of time she considers desirable, without having real-life ...Read More

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2018: Comfort Reading in an Uncomfortable Year, by Tim Pratt

My reading was weird and scattered this year even by my usual weird-and-scattered standards, and the Goodreads shelf I’ve labeled “comfort re-reads” has a lot more entries than usual, as I retreated from the various unpleasant aspects of this year’s reality into old, be­loved fictional worlds. I wasn’t sure I’d read enough new SF, fantasy, and horror to even justify a year-end round-up this time, but going over my list ...Read More

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Photo Story: Puppet Grand Master

Brad Linaweaver was associate producer of documentary Robert A. Heinlein: The Pup­pet Grand Master, included with the deluxe Blu-ray version of The Puppet Masters (1994), based on Heinlein’s 1951 novel, re­leased in December 2018. Contributors to the documentary include David Gerrold, Eleanor Wood, and others.

This story and more like it in the February 2019 issue of Locus.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus ...Read More

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2018 in Review by Liz Bourke

Looking back on 2018, the year feels rather longer than mere chronological time can account for. I don’t imagine I can remember all the books I’ve read this year – a year in which I became engaged, hunted for a house, moved house, and most recently, acquired a pair of very boisterous bouncy kittens: the mere quotidian logistics of living have absorbed rather more of my energy and memory than ...Read More

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Jasper Fforde Guest Post—”Genre, Speculative Fiction and the Cradle of Ideas”

I’ve often struggled over giving my books a genre label, partly because I’m not sure that labels are a great idea, nor, to be honest, is genre—which I’ve often decried as “the measles of the book world”. Sure, genre is useful to publicity and marketing, but it’s of no real use, I contend, to readers, and may in fact narrow reader choices rather than broadening them. I’ve often heard readers ...Read More

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