Tachyon tidbits featuring Nancy Kress, Kameron Hurley, Cory Doctorow, Brandon Sanderson, Andrew Fox, and Kate Elliott
Rick Klaw blog andrew fox, Apolitical Cocktail Party: 2020 Handbook, brandon sanderson, context: further selected essays on productivity creativity parenting and politics in the 21st century, cory doctorow, fantasy literature, hex, jana nyman, kameron hurley, kate elliott, lamplighter, meet me in the future, Nancy Kress, review, sea change, smashwords, the curious sff reader, the emperor's soul, the man who would be kong, tor.com, with a little help, you tube 0
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Ever read a book and immediately wish that you’d been able to read it in school, rather than [insert inaccessible book of choice]? For me, Nancy Kress’s 2020 novella SEA CHANGE, with its gutsy-yet-conflicted heroine and all-too-real near-future global catastrophes, is exactly the kind of book I wish I’d been handed way back when.
I enjoyed SEA CHANGE tremendously, not only for the strength of Kress’s character work but for the ways in which she tackles difficult subjects like environmental collapse, the fraught legal status of people living on reservations in America, grief and the different ways people cope with loss, and the often-surprising ways people express their hope for a better future. SEA CHANGE is a short novel with a powerful impact, and I highly recommend it.
THE CURIOUS SFF READER enjoys Kameron Hurley’s MEET ME IN THE FUTURE.
Before reading this anthology, I had only read one of Hurley’s novels The Stars are Legion and one of her short stories, The Red Secretary (included in this short collection but first published in Uncanny Magazine). I didn’t have the best experience with the former, however, I really enjoyed the latter, which is why I decided to give MEET ME IN THE FUTURE a try. And I’m glad I did because it’s an amazing collection!
Hurley’s stories are bloody, complex and deal with hard issues so, if dark fiction isn’t your thing, I don’t think you will enjoy this one. However, if you want to read from the perspectives of morally grey characters who don’t take shit from anybody, I would definitely recommend this anthology.
If you enjoy dark and unsettling reads exploring fascinating themes, MEET ME IN THE FUTURE is a must. The collection doesn’t contain a single bad story and they were varied enough that I didn’t feel burn-out by the end.
The “reading list” included in the appendix of the Apolitical Cocktail Party: 2020 Handbook contains Cory Doctorow’s CONTEXT: FURTHER SELECTED ESSAYS ON PRODUCTIVITY, CREATIVITY, PARENTING, AND POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY and With A Little Help.
Brandon Sanderson answers Where Should I Start With Your Books?
SMASHWORDS offers a free read of Andrew Fox’s “The Man Who Would Be Kong.”
An elderly man, Max Strauss, retired in Miami Beach, visits an entrepreneur who is about to open a King Kong-themed restaurant. Max claims to have portrayed the giant gorilla in the 1933 classic film. But everyone knows that King Kong was actually an 18″ tall animated model, don’t they? So is Max an attention-seeking fraud? Or is he something far greater?
TOR.COM announces Kate Elliot’s a new two fantasy novella series comprised of Lamplighter in early 2022 and Hex in 2023.
Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.
Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.
But Fellian has more than just her lamplighting skills up her sleeve…
Rick Klaw blog axie barclay, book view café, driftwood, essay, fantasy literature, jana nyman, kat hooper, manhattan book review, marie brennan, nikki @ the bibliophibian, quote, r/booksuggestions, r/fantasy, reddit, review 0
Months after its release, Marie Brennan’s DRIFTWOOD continues to garner interest.
Axie Barclay for MANHATTAN BOOK REVIEW enjoys the mosaic novel.
From the lived-in feel of the world to the mysteries surrounding Last, let alone the creatures from all the worlds emerging from the Mist, Brennan is at her most creative with this work. From religious zealotry to loners trying to save their little stretch of earth or memory of their people, Driftwood is as diverse as the Shreds themselves. Definitely worth a read.
At FANTASY LITERATURE, both Kat Hooper and Jane Nyman feel much the same
I enjoyed most of the tales, though, and hope that Brennan will revisit this setting for a full-length novel in the future.~Kat Hooper
I listened to the audiobook which was produced by Tantor Audio and beautifully narrated by Christina Delaine. I recommend this version!
Bill’s comparison between DRIFTWOOD and Invisible Cities is quite apt — the quilted-together nature of the stories, the otherworldliness and yet almost-recognizability of Driftwood’s lands and peoples, the stories they tell each other and themselves about who they are and where they came from, all evoke Italo Calvino at his finest, and I can’t think of a better compliment to pay to Marie Brennan.~Jana Nyman
[I’d] recommend it to anyone who’s already a fan of Marie Brennan or to anyone who is looking for an introduction to her work.
Mentions of DRIFTWOOD abound on REDDIT.
r/booksuggestions Your favorite shorter books (under 250 pages)
I recently read the new book by Marie Brennan called DRIFTWOOD. Had about 200 pages and was very interesting.Baroness_Lori
The world was something i never read before. Very unique and well written.
Loved it! I’m a big Lady Trent fan, and I enjoyed this jaunt into a different world. I hope she writes more books in this setting, it was very creative and fun, and the story really stuck with me.thesphinxistheriddle
As part of r/Fantasy’s What are some physically good looking looking fantasy/sci fi books?, chem9dog included the book under “And here’s a list of normal books you can get anywhere that I think are just plain gorgeous even without a fancy edition.”
Nicky @ The Bibliophibian includes a selection from the book in Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes.
Paggarat was less doomed than they wagered, not because of how long it lasted but because of how it went out. Because of Aun and Esr, smiling at each other until the end of the world.
For BOOK VIEW CAFÉ, Brennnan offers her thoughts on hospitality.
After that tour through the unpleasant things humans do to each other, let’s turn our thoughts to something nicer.
You may think it odd that I’m discussing hospitality, given that my patrons voted for a set of economic topics this month. But we’re going to be looking at concepts of generosity and charity, and from that perspective, it seems only natural to begin with hospitality: the welcoming of a guest into your home.
Specifically, welcoming a traveler. We also take in guests on a more casual, short-term basis, when somebody comes by for dinner or to have a conversation, but for our purposes here I’m focusing on travelers. These days we talk about the “hospitality industry,” as if there are factories somewhere churning out a product for customers to buy — and in a sense, that’s true. Hotel chains operate on the promise of mass-produced accommodations, rentable for a set time in exchange for money.
But hospitality used to mean a good deal more. It wasn’t financial; it was sacred.
Get lost in the fascinating world, myth and lore of utterly beautiful THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES by R. B. Lemberg
Rick Klaw blog andrew liptak, fantasy literature, jana nyman, lee mandelo, lost in a good book, oliver potter, pamela scott, r.b. lemberg, review, the book lover's boudoir, the four profound weaves, twitter
R. B. Lemberg’s THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES continues to garner interest.
This was my first time reading the author. If this great book is anything to go buy, it won’t be my last. I really like the idea of The Birdverse.
I thought this was great and got lost in the fascinating world, myth and lore of the book and the story as it bounced between two characters.
LOST IN A GOOD BOOK feels much the same.
This book is one of a kind. The writing is fascinating, atmospheric, drenched in culture and personality. It feels completely immersive. The writing is utterly beautiful, and the characters are very memorable.
In a Sunday Status Update for FANTASY LITERATURE, Jana Nyman express some thoughts on the novella.
I also read R.B. Lemberg’s first BIRDVERSE novella, THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, which is beautifully written, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more stories set in this universe.
As shared on TWITTER, Oliver Potter got a tattoo celebrating the book.
Andrew Liptak and Lee Mandelo, in Liptak’s newsletter, mention THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES in Read Trans / Nonbinary Authors.
Earlier this year, J.K. Rowling blew up headlines with a series of transphobic tweets and a followup essay that outlined her views when it came to trans people. It’s caused considerable angst within the trans community and its allies, and has both galvanized trans activists and elevated hateful rhetoric to the wider public. I wrote about the situation back in June, and since then, Rowling has continued to promote her hateful views.
Most recently, she published a new installment of her Cormorant Strike mystery series, Troubled Blood, which reviewers have noted features a serial killer who stalks women dressed as a woman. The book appears to do away with parable of “separate the art from the artist,” and it’s ignited a new firestorm around the author. I’d like to use this moment to highlight some trans / nonbinary authors, because their works are well worth reading.
While I’ve read authors who fall into this category, I want to turn this particular newsletter edition over to Lee Mandelo. I’ve long admired their writing on the subject, and asked to highlight some works from trans and nonbinary writers that they’re a fan of.
For that matter, in the month of September alone there are multiple scintillating new books unto which I’d like to direct your attention:
The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg
Burning Roses by S. L. Huang
Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction edited by Joshua Whitehead
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
…and that’s more or less off the top of my head, so apologies for the others that inevitably slipped past me. The point I’m aiming for here is that trans, nonbinary, and gender-variant folks of all backgrounds are out there writing books about a hundred thousand different things. Compare those September releases for a minute and you’ll notice, beautifully, nothing much in common between them; the same goes for the longer list above.
It’s a veritable cornucopia, so go snag some books and support the folks making good art.
A fascinating and rewarding creation, Marie Brennan’s DRIFTWOOD is charming, meditative, and often poignant
A quartet of reviews for the fantastic DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan.
At FANTASY LITERATURE, Bill Capossere praises the book.
DRIFTWOOD (2020) is a charming, meditative, and often poignant collection of linked stories by Marie Brennan that mostly succeeds both in its individual tales and as a whole, though I had a few issues. But given that one of those is it was too short, it’s still an easy book to recommend.
I absolutely love the setting, which serves up endless potential for stories, since each one reveals a new world to us. Driftwood has a bit of a Calvino-esque feel to it, particularly Invisible Cities, one of my all-time favorite works of fiction. You’ve got visits to different worlds (cities), a sense of the fantastical, each new setting told as a story, some lyrical language. And, as with Calvino, a bit of a haunting sadness. Brennan uses the rich potential of the setting premise to deliver some beautifully original images/ideas, which I won’t ruin by noting here.
As does BLUE BOOK BALLOON.
A collection of simple stories, each self-contained but building into a cycle that is more than the sum of its parts, DRIFTWOOD is a fascinating and rewarding creation, conveyed in prose that can range from the solemn to the bitter to the darkly humorous but is never less than engaging. Brennan is at home sketching the linguistics of a world, bringing alive a marketplace (‘…a thousand spices, each one distinct on the tongue. Aromatic flowers that danced in the gentle air, their seeds spreading I the ceaseless light. Serpents doxing in the warmth, sold as pets, as sacrifices, as food…’) or imaging its complex religious life as she is evoking the long-lived, continually reborn bar, Spit in the Crush’s Eye or describing with great flair the adventurers who brought the balloon to Driftwood and sought to map it – undermining the solemnity of purpose expected in a fantasy novel by saying they did it simply because it seemed a fun thing to do. Everyone might be doomed, swirling away into the pit, but there are lives to live and people here to live them. Finding a calm place between denial of the inevitable and obsession with it seems to be key – in Driftwood as in our own world(s).
READING REALITY adores the mosaic novel.
Escape Rating A+: Some books are just WOW! And DRIFTWOOD is definitely one of those books.
Many of the stories in DRIFTWOOD have been previously and separately published, but together they make a surprisingly wonderful and cohesive whole. A whole that is entirely too short but begins, middles and ends exactly where it should. A beautiful puzzlement and a fantastic read
For THE BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY, Mikaela Silk feels much the same.
I’ll admit I was unsure about this book when I first started reading, but it drew me in bit by bit and I was enthralled by the time I finished reading.
With its unique setting, ‘Driftwood’ offers a refreshingly different take on the apocalypse. There are no zombies, no nuclear or natural disasters, no tales of people resorting to looting or cannibalism. Instead, it focuses on the deeper and more personal aspects of an apocalypse. The question of what people will do when their world and their culture and their civilisation is disappearing, slowly slipping away to an inevitable doom, is endlessly fascinating. The most interesting feature of this is the variety which Brennan’s setting allows; from those who try to deny the inevitability, such as the King of the Miqerni, to those like Noirin who simply want to ease the loss and for the memories of her people to last as long as possible.
Tachyon tidbits featuring Ellen Klages, Peter Watts, Jaymee Goh, Daryl Gregory, and Avram Davidson & Grania Davis
Rick Klaw blog audio book, avram davidson, c. c. finlay, daryl gregory, david erik nelson, ego sum qui sum, ellen klages, Fantasy & Science Fiction, fantasy literature, grania davis, interview, jaymee goh, Peter Watts, racefail, review, skye walker, strange horizons, the boss in the wall, the freeze-frame revolution, we are all completely fine, wicked wonders 0
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
WICKED WONDERS is an absolutely lovely collection, with some stories that I continue to recommend well after having read them here. The author’s notes on each story were insightful and interesting, and often funny as well.
WICKED WONDERS is a fantastic collection to have. Beyond the enjoyment I got out of it as a reader, the author’s notes on each story were delightful and fascinating insights that have helped me better recognize and appreciate aspects of writing as well. I am glad to have it on my shelf to put in the hands of others who need these stories.
Watts did it again. This book is the main one of the Sunflower cycle, and he managed to paint even more fascinating picture than in Firefall or Rafters cycles, in my opinion. A travel through space and time of such colossal proportions that you hardly percive it scale. New pictures of dehumanised humans and humanised machines that will make you think again about problems of free will and purpose.
For STRANGE HORIZONS, Jaymee Goh contributes Trials by Whiteness: Definitions of Whiteness and Eurocentrism, and Their Relevance Post-RaceFail.
In a recent conversation with newer writers, I realised sufficient time had passed that The Young™ did not know what RaceFail is. RaceFail was a trial by whiteness, a discourse created upon a backdrop of white supremacy, necessitated by ongoing calls for equality. This column will discuss RaceFail, whiteness in the acts of writing, and whiteness in the global Anglophone publishing industry.
There are multiple descriptions of the event—the most useful one is on Fanlore.org—which presents a bit of an oral history of that series of conversations happening across LiveJournal and blogs. Over the course of several months, fans of science fiction and fantasy across multiple blogging platforms organised as communities of fans of different texts, writing personal essays on the emotional effects of not seeing themselves reflected in the texts they consumed. They addressed not only representation within the texts themselves, but representation within the processes by which these texts were created and processed through the industries that produced them for mass consumption, most notably the publishing or film industries.
Other stories that paved the way for me to see this in myself include the films A Dark Song; As Above, So Below; The Endless; and The Babadook; and Daryl Gregory’s excellent novella WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE.
Dramatic, full of wonderful details and characters, all in all a satisfying and thoughtful read. But I would expect no less from Kress.
On a Sunday Status Update for FANTASY LITERATURE, Jane Nyman reports on the novella.
This week I read Nancy Kress’ recent novella, SEA CHANGE, which packs a lot of story, social commentary, and very-near-future environmental concerns in an economical package.
More on SEA CHANGE:
A strong, striking look at a a possible future, and the courage that will allow us to survive it.—Laura Anne Gilman, author of Heat of Briar and Soul of Fire
SEA CHANGE is like liquid nitrogen ice cream—a chilling treat. Right next door to the future, filled with dark wit—a fine addition to Kress’s work.—Greg Bear, author of Eon and Take Back the Sky
Nancy Kress is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Her use of science is tricky and thought-provoking, her command of fiction sharp and full of feeling.—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Years of Rice and Salt
Nobody is better at destroying the world—see one of my favorite novellas, the multi-award-winning AFTER THE FALL, BEFORE THE FALL, DURING THE FALL—but here Nancy Kress dives into the science of genetically modified plants and shows us how we just may need them to save the planet. And this brilliant, thoughtful story is also a page-turner! I don’t know about you, but a thriller about a fear-mongering, anti-science government and the smart, brave people resisting it was exactly the story I needed right now.—Daryl Gregory, award-winning writer of Spoonbenders
This taut, suspenseful near-future ecothriller combines a frighteningly plausible ecological/economic collapse scenario with genuine human emotion. A winner!—David D. Levine, author of Arabella of Mars
At NOVEL GAZING REDUX, Marissa Lingen thinks getting the book is a good idea.
I had a good time with this even though I’d read some of the stories already. Having them in a different context illuminates them differently–and, of course, you may not have read any of them at all. It works perfectly well as an introduction to this setting, no preparation required. Just dive in…perhaps a tiny bit carefully. There are kind people here, but it’s not a place of sweetness and light.
Terry Weyna at FANTASY LITERATURE concurs.
I didn’t actually get around to starting Stephen King’s latest opus, but I did read DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan, which is a lovely set of vignettes on a world where worlds go to die.
Alec Checkerfield Uncategorized ama, andrew wheeler, b&n sci-fi & fantasy blog, bill capossere, drawing center, dreams of elvex, factor daily, fantasy literature, gautham shenoy, lavie tidhar, lucas adams, reddit, review, sarah anne langton, superhero, the antick musings of g.b.h. hornswoggler, the new york review of books, the violent century, unholy land
The first US paperback edition of Lavie Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY excites reviewers and fans.
Bill Capossere’s 5 star review for FANTASY LITERATURE:
THE VIOLENT CENTURY is a wonderfully constructed, crafted work that bears a great emotional weight even as it raises more intellectual questions. It’s the kind of work that lingers in the mind long after the reading and leaves the reader unsettled as they roll ideas over and over in their head. Just as good fiction should do.
The Spanish site DREAMS OF ELVEX:
In short: a fantastic superhero story, with a very comiquera structure, with a lot of rhythm and with very original situations. Too bad that some of the story arcs are not as good as others and the rhythm suffers. I see the structure as ideal for an audiovisual adaptation, and I hope that some editorial will consider its translation. For my part I will continue pending the work of this fantastic writer.
(Translation courtesy of Google)
World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar blends the superhero and spy genres in this dark, high-energy epic of alternate 20th century history, originally released in 2015.
As a bonus, for those of you who suffer massive anxiety, like a certain former New York Times SF reviewer, about reading garishly-covered genre fiction on the train, THE VIOLENT CENTURY has an exceptionally classy cover that only just hints at the fantastic elements inside.
At FACTOR DAILY, Gautham Shenoy lists 5 superhero novels for people who love comics (or don’t).
Grim, melancholy and brilliantly written, THE VIOLENT CENTURY – filled with clever cameos and replete with keen observations on humanity and heroes – is not an easy read. Yet, it is a book that rewards the reader for sticking with it till the end.
Lavie participated in a VIOLENT CENTURY-centric REDDIT AMA.
I loved The Violent Century – who were your favorite superheros, and will you write more about my favorite, Spit?
Everyone likes Spit the best!
I have this loosely planned semi-sequel that does focus on Spit, and there’s a handful of short stories so far. She’s so much fun to write – I like kind of falling back into that world from time to time. Oh, there’s one here: Heroes. But I have so much on and I never seem to quite get around to doing the rest of them. There’s a fun one about these really horrible British supermen that I started recently, that makes me laugh. So hopefully one day…
(and yeah, I guess I like Spit the most, too! It’s such a ridiculous superpower).
And finally an unexpected mention of Lavie’s most recent original novel UNHOLY LAND, courtesy of THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS (reported by Lucas Adams) coverage of “As If: Alternative Histories From Then to Now,” an exhibition at the Drawing Center.
Beyond the accompanying zine, the exhibit doesn’t have a catalog, but outside the Drawing Center it’s easier than ever to find authors plumbing the depths of imagined paths, with new thoughts on the ways we’ve lived and continue to: Lavie Tidhar’s UNHOLY LAND, which envisions a Zionist homeland in Uganda, and K. Chess’s Famous Men Who Never Lived, about a community of refugees forced to flee from their dimension to ours after a cataclysm, both capture the uncertainty and sorrow of our moment.
For more info about THE VIOLENT CENTURY, visit the Tachyon page.
For more info on UNHOLY LAND, visit the Tachyon page.
Covers by Sarah Anne Langton
Alec Checkerfield Uncategorized best of 2018, crime time, fantasy literature, howard freedman, lavie tidhar, maxim jakubowski, review, sean guynes-vishniac, the endless bookshelf, the jewish news of northern california, unholy land, world literature today
Further accolades for Lavie Tidhar’s damn good UNHOLY LAND.
Joining previous notices from NPR, LIBRARY JOURNAL, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, THE GUARDIAN, B&N SCI-FI & FANTASY BLOG, CRIME TIME, and THE SPECULATIVE SHELF, both FANTASY LITERATURE (without comment) and THE ENDLESS BOOKSHELF name the novel as one of the best of 2018.
Science fiction is that mode of literature in which the metaphor is to be taken literally. Lavie Tidhar’s gripping thriller follows writer Lior Tirosh on a return visit to his native land, Palestina, a Jewish state established in east Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. All the writings by Tidhar that I have read are deeply intertextual, playing with the ideas of literature, science fiction tropes, and the identity of the writer. Unholy Land is explicitly Clutean in its intertextuality, employing terms and conceits introduced by John Clute in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997). It is great fun, very tricky : a smile painted upon a skull. Tidhar’s other characteristic is fearlessness and UNHOLY LAND is a look into the dark heart of a nation founded upon exclusions and barriers.
Maxim Jakubowski at CRIME TIME says the book is a must.
A novel which can be read on all sorts of levels, each as rewarding as each other, whether as sheer entertainment or serious speculation, making Tidhar a rather unique writer who seldom comes up with the expected and for whom each book is a challenge to the imagination. This is damn good (as was his A MAN LIES DREAMING, which flirted with the dangerous premise of an alternative reality Hitler as both sleuth and second class author…). A must.
In WORLD LITERATURE TODAY, Sean Guynes-Vishniac praises the story.
Like Tidhar’s other work, UNHOLY LAND is a complex and metatextual narrative, moving between first-, second-, and third-person narrators, that theorizes the work speculative fiction does—the possibilities and alternatives it imagines—and questions the worth of the “fantasy” writer in a world where nation-states maintain and legitimize their existence through the oppression of whole groups of people. It is, unsurprisingly, a powerful meditation on the ethics of history and the power of borders, an analogy, no doubt, to the border walls both on the West Bank and in Trump’s presidential promises as much as to the ideologized divides that drive military and state conflict. UNHOLY LAND is a call to imagine and fight for alternatives.
Howard Freedman for THE JEWISH NEWS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA enjoys the challenging UNHOLY LAND.
At one level, the novel functions as a sort of hard-boiled thriller, but Tidhar, raised on a kibbutz and now living in Britain and writing in English, is no run-of-the-mill novelist. Rather, he is a significant figure in today’s science fiction scene, and this dimension infuses the novel. The borders in question in Palestina turn out to be not only ones dividing territories, but ones separating different spheres of reality. It gets complicated, and the unconventional storytelling (the narrative is in the first, second and third person) can sometimes make it difficult to assess what’s happening. But the bumpy ride is quite worthwhile.
For more info on UNHOLY LAND, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton