Tachyon tidbits featuring Patricia A. McKillip, Lauren Beukes, Nancy Kress, and Brandon Sanderson

The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.

Patricia A. McKillip (photo: Stephen Gold/Wikimedia Commons), Lauren Beukes, Nancy Kress (Ellen Datlow), and Brandon Sanderson (Ceridwen via Wikimedia Commons)

A. C. Wise on her eponymous blog selected Patricia A. McKillip’s THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD in Women to Read: Where to Start: June 2017.

However, I’m picking THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD because it feels like the sort of book that has always existed, a timeless myth or fairy tale.

On top of a fascinating and rounded character in Sybel, McKillip also offers up gorgeous prose and a timeless fairy tale feel in THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, making this an excellent starting place for her work.

For THE MANCHESTER REVIEW (Issue 18), Geoff Ryman offers a survey of African science fiction with 21 Today: The Rise of Speculative Fiction, year by year. Within the article, he discusses Lauren Beukes.

2003 ‘Branded’
by Lauren Beukes

A short story
written for the creative writing MA with Andre Brink at the
University of Cape Town. The story was finally published in December
2003 in SL magazine and is an early piece of outright futurism set in
Johannesburg fuelled by the author’s experiences working in early
viral marketing. What makes the story pivotal is not just that it
imagines a new future in Africa. Beukes was being influenced by uses
of technology that were distinctively African, including the use of
SMS. Technology in Africa was already developing in slightly
different directions when African SFF began to lift off. It also
formed a chapter in Beukes’ first novel MOXYLAND (2008). Beukes’s
next novel ZOO CITY (2010) established her as a major international
writer, winning the Arthur C Clarke Award. Set in Johannesburg it
features a psychic detective seeking out missing persons, and people
who have animal familiars. Her subsequent novels include THE SHINING
GIRLS (2013), BROKEN MONSTERS (2014), the graphic novel SURVIVOR’S
CLUB (2016) with Dale Halvorsen, and the collection of short fiction
and essays SLIPPING (2016).

That same issue reprinted “Branded,” which also appears in SLIPPING: STORIES, ESSAYS, & OTHER WRITING.

We were at Stones, playing pool, drinking, goofing around, maybe hoping to score a little sugar, when Kendra arrived, all moffied up and gloaming like an Aito/329. “Ahoy, Special K, where you been, girl, so juiced to kill?” Tendeka asked while he racked up the balls, all click-clack in their white plastic triangle. Old school this pool bar was. But Kendra didn’t answer. Girl just grinned, reached into her back pocket for her phone, hung skate-rat style off a silver chain connected to her belt, and infra’d five Rand to the table to get tata machance on the next game.

But I was watching the girl and as she slipped her phone back into her pocket, I saw that telltale glow ‘neath her sleeve. Long sleeves in summer didn’t cut it. So, it didn’t surprise me none in the least when K waxed the table. Ten-Ten was surprised though. Ten-Ten slipped his groove. But boy kept it in, didn’t say anything, just infra’d another five to the table and racked ‘em again. Anyone else but Ten woulda racked ‘em hard, woulda slammed those balls on the table, eish. But Ten, Ten went the other way. Just by how careful he was. Precise ‘n clipped like an assembly line. So you could see.

Mary Robinette Kowal on her eponymous blog features Nancy Kress and her new novel TOMORROW’S KIN as part of the My Favorite Bit feature.

What is now fashionable—even obligatory—is the kick-ass heroine.  Katniss Everdean.  Rey in STAR WARS.  Arya Stark.  Breq of ANCILLARY JUSTICE.  Furiosa.  Wonder Woman.  And practically every single story I see from writing students when I teach.  The kick-ass heroine is admirable.  I admire her.  She fights with swords or bows or finely honed martial arts.  She commands magic.  She defeats oppressors, saves medieval kingdoms and interplanetary empires, annihilates anyone stupid enough to lay a hand on her.

My protagonist is not a kick-ass heroine.  

Marianne Jenner, of my new novel TOMORROW’S KIN (Tor), is smart, persistent, idealistic.  She is also in late middle-age, has never been in a physical fight in her life, does not own a weapon and doesn’t want to.  At the first whiff of danger, she sensibly hires a bodyguard.  Scientist, grandmother, social activist, she is a sexual being (yes, at over 50!) with sometimes terrible taste in lovers.  She is made vulnerable by her love for her difficult children and gifted grandchildren.  Marianne affects large events, including an epidemic, an ecological collapse, and a global war, but not from carrying out a grand design.  She has no grand design.  She does the best she can with the various messes she finds, some of which she created herself.  Like most of the rest of us, much of the time.

Marianne isn’t, of course, the only major character in the novel, which extends the story of my Nebula-winning novella YESTERDAY’S KIN ten more years.  There is Jonah Stubbs, the colorful and profane entrepreneur of a privately built starship.  There is Colin, five years old and able to hear in untrasonic and infrasonic ranges inaudible to “normal” humans.  There is Sissy, exuberant assistant to Marianne, and her handsome, weapons-expert boyfriend, Tim.  There are scientists trying to build a starship from alien physics, Americans bent on mayhem, and Russians bent on revenge.

At TOR.COM, Stubby the Rocket reports that Brandon Sanderson’s AETHER OF NIGHT, an early unreleased novel, can be had for FREE at 17TH SHARD.

All you have to do is sign up for an account on the forum and request a copy here:

Getting it will be simple. Simply head on over to the AETHER OF NIGHT Manuscript Request topic, and post that you want it (for this, you will need to register a 17th Shard account, but that’s all you’ll need). Then, one of our staff members will PM you the document.

Sanderson fans may recognize elements in AETHER OF NIGHT that eventually show up in Sanderson’s published works, and ponder over Cosmere-related elements that may or may not show up in future published works!

For more info about THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Thomas Canty

For more information about SLIPPING: STORIES, ESSAYS, & OTHER WRITING, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Clara Bacou

Design by Elizabeth Story

For more info on YESTERDAY’S KIN, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Thomas Canty

For more on THE EMPEROR’S SOUL, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Alexander Nanitchkov

Design by Elizabeth Story