Gary K. Wolfe Reviews A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Vic­tor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

A People’s Future of the United States, Vic­tor LaValle & John Joseph Adams, eds. (One World 978-0-5255-0880-9, $23.00, 410pp, tp) February 2019.

I’ve grumbled before in this space about how dystopia – which by now has nearly grown inde­pendent of SF in the popular imagination – may have become the default model for the future simply because, these days at least, it makes fewer imaginative demands than almost any ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James (Riverhead 978-0-7352-2017-1, $30.00, 640pp, hc) February 2019.

Novelists who approach genre materials after having been more or less certi­fied as “literary” writers tend to start by revisiting fairly familiar territory – zombie apocalypses (Colson Whitehead), vampires (Justin Cronin), drizzly dystopias (just about everyone else). Marlon James, with his Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings and several other prominent nomina­tions, ...Read More

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Gene Wolfe (1931-2019)

Grand Master Gene Wolfe, 87, died April 14, 2019 after a long struggle with heart disease. Wolfe was famed for his ambitious, challenging, and enthralling novels and stories, most famously the Book of the New Sun series.

Gene Rodman Wolfe was born May 7, 1931 in Brooklyn NY and grew up in Texas, where he attended Texas A&M and the University of Houston, graduating from the latter in 1956 with ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape by Gregory Benford

Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape, Gregory Benford (Saga 978-1-5344-1127-2, $27.99, 368pp, hc), January 2019.

It’s been nearly four decades since Gregory Benford’s classic, multiple award-winning Timescape, which was lauded as much for its convincing portrayal of working scientists as for its ingenious notion of tachyonic cross-time communication. Benford describes Rewrite as a “conceptual sequel” to that novel, but for the most part the scientists in it are walk-on ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, Jane Yolen (Tachyon 978-1-61696-306-4, $16.95, 320pp, tp) November 2018.

Chances are that not every reader of Jane Yo­len’s collection How to Fracture a Fairy Tale – which follows close upon her World Fantasy Award winning The Emerald Circus – will remember the classic Rocky and Bullwinkle segments from nearly 60 years ago, narrated by Edward Everett Horton, which as far as I know ...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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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Uncommon Miracles by Julie C. Day

Uncommon Miracles, Julie C. Day (PS 978-1-786363-34-3, £20.00, 234pp, hc) October 2018.

Well, aren’t we about overdue for the bunny apoc­alypse? That seems to be the question Julie C. Day raises in “Everyone Gets a Happy Ending”, the lead story in her first collection Uncommon Miracles, and it’s not quite as whimsical as it sounds. It follows the familiar pattern of end-of-days tales, with two friends making their ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Readymade Bodhisattva, Edited by Sunyung Park & Sang Joon Park

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction, Sunyung Park & Sang Joon Park, eds. (Kaya Press 978-1-885030-57-3, $24.95, 434pp, tp) March 2019.

With Chinese SF gaining such prominence lately, and Japanese SF having been more or less familiar to Western readers for decades (I reviewed the first English-language study of Japanese SF way back in 1992!), it’s reasonable to be curious about what else is going ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg (One World 978-0-399-59227-0, $27.00, 334pp, hc) June 2018.

When Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox appeared last summer to some mainstream fanfare, drawing praise from figures as diverse as China Miéville and Kelly Link, it didn’t come to my immediate attention since – at least tech­nically – it’s not quite SF or fantasy. Instead, it concerns a failing professor named Voth who comes ...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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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Tales from the Inner City, Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine Books 978-1-338-29840-6, $24.99, 224pp, hc) October 2018.

Shaun Tan’s always remarkable work, from his Oscar-winning short The Lost Thing to his wordless fable of immigration The Arrival, often returns to themes of alienation and belonging, and in Tales from the Inner City he takes on very nearly the whole of nature vs. civilization, or at least the ongo­ing ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

In the Vanishers’ Palace, Aliette de Bodard (JABberwocky Literary Agency 978-1-625673-98-5, $12.99, 202pp, tp) October 2018.

A fair amount of Aliette de Bodard’s recent fiction seems to be about life in the ruins, most spec­tacularly the devastated Paris of her Dominion of the Fallen series, the result of a supernatural war decades earlier. She loves putting her characters adrift in huge, cavernous spaces. Her remarkable new novella In the ...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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Betty Ballantine (1919-2019)

 Legendary editor and publisher Betty Ballantine, 99, died February 12, 2019 at home in Bearsville NY. Her career in publishing began in the 1930s, and she was instrumental in the rise of mass-market paperbacks and helped found both Bantam Books and Ballantine Books.

Elizabeth Norah Jones was born September 25, 1919 in India to a colonial family. At 12 she moved with her family to Jersey in the Channel Islands, ...Read More

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These are the days of miracle and wonder, don’t cry baby, don’t cry; or (mostly) short fiction that I read in 2018, by Jonathan Strahan

The way we read fiction is changing. We’ve been told this repeatedly. Where once we had a single medium – ink on paper – to deliver new stories to us and only a few ways – face-to-face discussion, mail, reviews etc. – to discuss them, now we have many. Print is not dead; digital is not king. Instead, we read the way we like and when we like: in printed ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales by Michael Bishop

The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet 978-1-933846-72-9, $17.99, 282pp, tp) August 2018.

Michael Bishop has been defining his own uniquely eclectic brand of humanistic SF since his emergence as one of the most prominent new writers of the 1970s, and it’s likely that this has been both good and bad news for his career. On the one hand, he’s given us works ...Read More

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A Year of Looking Backward by Gary K. Wolfe

I’m not sure this is prog­ress: 2018 began with The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine­teen Eighty-Four, and Fahrenheit 451 back on the bestseller lists, and a fair number of folks re­marking on how prescient Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower suddenly seemed.

Toward the end of the year, just before Thanksgiv­ing, Vintage decided to re-release, for the first time in decades, Fletcher Knebel’s Night of Camp David, the 1965 ...Read More

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Shahid Mahmud Guest Post–“Alternity Squared”

As was recently announced, Phoenix Pick will be publishing a new Robert A. Heinlein novel later this year, likely in November.

The Heinlein Prize Trust and Phoenix Pick have collaborated to piece together a complete novel based on fragments of a typewritten manuscript and notes by Heinlein.

The completed novel is about 187,000 words long. It shares the first one-third of its text with the published The Number of the ...Read More

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Carol Emshwiller (1921-2019)

Author Carol Emshwiller, 97, died February 2, 2019 in Durham NC, where she was living with her daughter.

She began her long career with “This Thing Called Love” in Future (1955), and was known for her experimental and feminist fiction. Many early stories appeared in F&SF and the Orbit anthologies, and some of her most striking early work is collected in Joy in Our Cause (1974). Other collections include Verging ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Un­dertow 978-1-988964-02-7, $17.99, 288pp, tp) May 2018.

Priya Sharma’s short fiction has mostly appeared in horror or dark fantasy venues, earning her a British Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson nomination for “Fabulous Beasts”, one of the strongest stories in her very strong first collection All the Fabulous Beasts. But her relationship to these genres, and to the often folkloric materials that ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan

An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer 978-1-61873-153-1, $16.00 288p, tp) November 2018.

There are few contemporary writers in any genre as immediately identifiable by voice alone as Andy Duncan, and it’s a voice with roots as far back as Mark Twain and as current as Howard Waldrop, finely attuned to the various tributaries of American vernacular – but often quite a bit darker than its down-home patina ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

Unholy Land, Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon 978-1-61696-304-0, $15.95, 262pp, tp) November 2018.

It may be the oldest Nimby game in the world. By now, we could assemble a small shelf of alternate histories concerning un­realized Jewish homelands in unlikely parts of the globe. Twenty years ago, Janet Berliner and George Guthridge won a Bram Stoker award for Children of the Dusk, the final volume of their Madagascar Manifesto trilogy, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Book of Magic Edited by Gardner Dozois

The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam 978-0-399-59378-9, $30.00, 576pp, hc) October 2018.

In his introduction to The Book of Magic, his follow-up to last year’s The Book of Swords, Gardner Dozois somehow manages to build an argu­ment comparing SFF magazines to the Great Smoky Mountains, which I will admit to being a notion I had not previously entertained. (Basically, he claims the magazines served like ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews More Walls Broken by Tim Powers

More Walls Broken, Tim Powers (Subterranean 978-1-59606-886-5, $25.00, 136pp, hc) February 2019.

One of the appealing aspects of Tim Powers’s fiction is his obvious affection for his settings, whether the 19th-century Britain of his Romantic and Victorian era novels, the Caribbean of On Stranger Tides, or the Southern California-Las Vegas axis of his Fault Lines trilogy and later novels. His relatively sparse shorter fiction hardly gives him room ...Read More

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Kathleen Jennings: Raised by Wolves

Kathleen Dolan Jennings was born May 26, 1980 in Brisbane, Australia, and spent much of her childhood on a small cattle station in Western Queensland. She attended the University of Queensland, and worked as a lawyer for ten years (five in private practice, five for the government) before shifting her focus to illustration and writing. She recently submitted her dissertation for a MPhil degree on Australian Gothic literature.

Jennings has ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

Hazards of Time Travel, Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco 978-0-06-231959-3, $26.99, 336p, hc) November 2018.

The main problem with contemporary dystopian fiction, I think, is that it no longer demands any imagination. It’s not just that the US is currently being governed by the petulant brat from Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life” (or that the rest of the government is acting like the terrified adults in that story), but ...Read More

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Charles Vess: Narrative Impulse

Charles Vess was born June 10, 1951 in Lynchburg VA. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating in 1974 with a BFA, and worked in commercial animation until moving to New York City in 1976. There he became a freelance illustrator, working for many publications including Heavy Metal, Klutz Press and National Lampoon. For over 10 years he worked for various comic book publishers, including Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. He ...Read More

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Spotlight on: Victo Ngai, Artist

Victo Ngai is a Los Angeles based illustrator from Hong Kong, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. “Victo” is not a boy nor a typo, but a nickname derived from Victoria – a leftover from the British colonization.

Ngai’s work appears in advertising, packaging, magazines, books, newspapers and animation, her clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Apple, Prophecy Wines, Johnnie Walker, American Express, Lufthansa Airline, General ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews (2009-2017) by Gardner Dozois

Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews (2009-2017), Gardner Dozois (Advent/ReAni­mus Press 978-1718795051, $19.99, 444+60pp, tp) May 2018.

A good example of what we’ll be missing – in this magazine in particular – can be found in Dozois’s Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews 2009-2017, which collects the first nine years of the Gardnerspace columns he wrote for Locus (in his introduction, Dozois makes it clear this title was ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street/William Morrow 978-0-06-257194-6, $28.99, 528pp, hc) October 2018.

In the acknowledgements to Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Hein­lein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Alec Nevala-Lee quotes the late Algis Budrys arguing that “we need a long, objec­tive look ...Read More

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Issue 696 Table of Contents, January 2019

The January issue features interviews with Charles Vess and Kathleen Jennings; Gaylactic Spectrum and Parsecs awards winners; Barnes and Noble and The New Yorker Best of the Year lists; a column by Cory Doctorow; photo stories on Nnedi Okorafor, Manchess Exhibition, and SF Writers in China; the Locus Holiday PartyLocus Looks at Art spotlights; an obituary for Thomas P. Dunn; and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Moon, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit 978-0-316-26237-8, $27.00, 480pp, hc) October 2018.

As far as I know, Kim Stanley Robinson hasn’t bothered to develop a consistent fu­ture history in the manner of Heinlein and others, and it’s just as well: why be constrained by a future concocted years or decades earlier, when everything that’s happened in the interim could alter that future radically? (Robinson recognized this when he updated ...Read More

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