The opening reception for the SF by the Bay exhibit with Gordon Van Gelder, publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, co-sponsors Tachyon Publications, SF in SF, Locus magazine, Borderlands Books and other special guests happens on Saturday, February 15, 10:30-2:30. The reception will be followed by a screening of the silent flim Aelita: Queen of Mars with introduction and live piano accompaniment by acclaimed concert pianist Frederick Hodges.
I cannot recommend this short story collection enough. If you are not familiar with Kameron Hurley’s work, it is an excellent introduction and jumping off point. After reading this, I am going to check out her Worldbreaker Saga and the Bel Dame Apocrypha series. If you have read her novels before, then you definitely should buy this collection.
In this entertaining vlog, MICHEAL READS tells us what they are going to read this month, which includes MEET ME IN THE FUTURE, that they picked up at the library because the mechanical beetleborg is so cool and the Booklist quote.
In her regular LOCUS column, Hurley writes about the new decade “Into the Raging ’20s, We Ride.”
As we barrel toward the spring, I’ve resolved to spend the 2020s engaged in active work; not only the directly political kind, but also the quieter kind, the kind that is the work of crafting meaningful stories that move people. This is my profession. My vocation. Yet I’ve found so much of the headspace I need for creation stolen by a world in upheaval.Read rest at LOCUS
I’ve found myself seeking ways to transform how I work in the 2020s. Certainly much of this is about turning away from social sites that are especially bad at policing misinformation. It’s about checking into reputable news sites once or twice a week instead of following the latest tragedy in real time on Twitter. I no longer wake up and scroll through Twitter first thing in the morning. It’s no longer my primary source of news. I go to Twitter for discussions about books and films. My Instagram is primarily full of books and dogs. I deleted Facebook. I’ve started turning off my phone altogether an hour before I want to go to bed.
Our always-on culture has been driven by organizations that seek to get an increasing share of a finite resource: our attention. The more attention I give their services and algorithms, the less attention I have for the things that matter to me: my work, my family, my own social causes.
Tachyon tidbits featuring Peter Watts, Jacob Weisman, David Sandner, Marie Brennan, and Carrie Vaughn
Rick Klaw blog Carrie Vaughn, cold-forged flame, David Sandner, jacob weisman, james davis nicoll, Locus, marie rennan, mingus fingers, nisi shawl, paul di filippo, Peter Watts, peter watts is an angry sentient tumor, review, steel, the seattle review of books, tor.com 0
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Profanity is completely appropriate when examining the economic equations that keep cops shooting unarmed black folks. Or when acknowledging the deliberate ignorance with which religious fundamentalists respond to logical arguments against their beliefs. Or when adding up the costs of blithely ignoring the doomful extrapolations SFFH offers concerning global pandemics and climate change. Illustrations in the style of caution-sign icons, at times grim, at times hilarious, mostly both, accompany fifty essays in which Watts does all of the above and more. Like cheering on the Zika virus and experimenting with LSD. (Not at the same time.)
Plus in the opening bit of the next review, Shawl says this:
Peter Watts has written and published a dozen brilliant books; Riot Baby (Tor.com) is Tochi Onyebuchi’s incandescent adult debut.
The characterization here is superb, with all the players leaping off the page with subtle grace. The evocation of the period is spot-on, subtle and not overdone. The parallel worlds of boxing and jazz extend fine tendrils of correlation into each other. The doings of the actors are multivalent and authentic. And the unreductionist climax rings true. All in all, a wonderful accomplishment, not alone for sentences such as “I looked at Mingus. He had changed, his impossibly spotted neck bent almost to breaking as he loomed over us over us… [as he] moved his hooves along the strings….”The team behind this charming, low-key but powerful tale—David Sandner & Jacob Weisman—blend their voices beautifully into an organic whole that reminds me of the tonality of John Kessel or Karen Joy Fowler.
James Davis Nicoll in his TOR.COM piece Five Sword-Wielding Women in SFF included works from Marie Brennan and Carrie Vaughn.
Recently I noticed an angry person on the internet expressing outrage at the very idea of women, any women, being able to use a sword. Frankly, it’s an objection that’s too stupid for words. While one could certainly respond by mentioning, for example, the Trưng sisters, Madame de Saint-Baslemont, and of course the flamboyantly bisexual and dangerous Julie d’Aubigny, let’s do what we do best, here, and talk about some of the excellent books featuring swordswomen.
Nancy Kress’ SEA CHANGE is another excellent, fast-paced read from one of speculative fiction’s most consistent voices
Excitement begins to mount for Nancy Kress’ forthcoming SEA CHANGE.
Christopher East on his eponymous blog praises the novella.
Drowning coastlines, climate refugees, and extreme weather feature prominently in most climate-change SF, but the effects of climate change on agriculture and food security are less frequently explored. Kress corrects this with a characteristically brisk and engaging science fiction thriller. This one quickly establishes an intriguing tapestry of connected mysteries, and then gradually solves them by deftly executing a flashback structure to bounce back and forth through time to fill in the puzzle pieces. Along the way, she mixes a convincing, extended romance subplot in with suspenseful intrigue and convincing futurism. It’s another excellent, fast-paced read from one of speculative fiction’s most consistent voices.
DISCIPLES OF BOLTAX shares similar sentiments.
It was, in a word, fantastic. Ms. Kress has crafted a brilliant and frighteningly realistic near future world where genetically modified foods are a crime and anyone trying to use science feed the hungry is hunted down by the government. It is a taut thriller that never slows down and leaves you wanting more.
Russell Letson in LOCUS (Issue 709, February 2020) reviews the book.
SEA CHANGE includes plenty of old-fashioned science-fictional didaxis – the actuality of the threat of biological disaster, the how and why of ecological change, the machineries of political and social panic and crackdown, the dueling protocols of underground movement and law-enforcement agency. There’s even a molecular diagram of a neurotoxin to accompany the account of how it’s generated in algae blooms. But the book kicks harder because we see and feel the impact of these processes on a whole life, close-up.
At the official STAR TREK site, Margaret Kingsbury includes SEA CHANGE in 20 2020 Sci-Fi Books to Read Based on Your Favorite Star Trek Character.
Renata/Caroline Denton is a lawyer and operative in an underground science organization whose research could save the world. B’Elanna should enjoy the who-done-it turn the book takes when a spy infiltrates the group and only Renata can discover who it is.
Gary Wolfe in The Coode Street Podcast (Episode 363: Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2020) mentions the work.
2019 Locus Recommended Reading List includes titles from Lisa Goldstein, Kameron Hurley, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Hannu Rajaniemi & Jacob Weisman, and Peter Watts
Rick Klaw blog Caitlín R. Kiernan, hannu rajaniemi, ivory apples, jacob weisman, kameron hurley, lisa goldstein, Locus, meet me in the future, Peter Watts, peter watts is an angry sentient tumor, the new voices of science fiction, the very best of caitlin r kiernan 0
LOCUS released their annual recommended reading list. Tachyon is proud to have several selections including Lisa Goldstein’s IVORY APPLES, Kameron Hurley’s MEET ME IN THE FUTURE, THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman‘s THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION, and PETER WATTS IS AN ANGRY SENTIENT TUMOR.
Other Tachyon authors, artists, and editors receiving notice include John Joseph Adams, Charlie Jane Anders, Rick Berry, Michael Blumlein, Ellen Datlow, Julie Dillon, Cory Doctorow, Ellen Klages, Susan Palwick, Alastair Reynolds, Michael Swanwick, Lavie Tidhar, Ann VanderMeer, Jeff VanderMeer, and Jo Walton.
Congrats to all.
The visions of alternate worlds are the main strength here—better, worse, stranger than our own—wrapped around the twin issues of Israel as persecuted and persecutor.
For LOCUS, Tidhar reports from the Beijing SF Summit Forum 2019 and Shenzhen.
To make matters more interesting (for me!), my visit coincided with the Chinese publication of my novel Central Station. While the others were relaxing, I was reunited with my old friend Wu Yan at the Citic Bookstore in Beijing for a panel event. Professor Wu, whom one may well call the godfather of Chinese SF, was a central pillar of the convention – a couple of days later he’d be delivering a keynote address reporting on the financial profitability of the growing “SF sector” before the thousands of attendees.
Wu Yan happily informed me that I was known as in China as “the science fiction ghost” – apparently because no one has seen me since 2000. The name seemed to catch, based on the number of interviews I did which introduced me this way….
THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION gives plenty of hope that the future of future fiction is in good hands
Rick Klaw blog black gate, hannu rajaniemi, jacogb wesiman, james van pelt, jason sanford, judith merrill, lettie prell, Locus, paul di filippo, review, samantha mills, strange alliances, the british fantasy society, the new voices of science fiction 0
Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman‘s THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION continues to impress.
For LOCUS, Paul Di Filippo praises the anthology.
By this, am I declaring these new voices unoriginal? Far from it! I am honoring them as shining bright avatars of all the classical gods and goddesses of SF who came before them. Deploying the toolkit and concerns bequeathed by their literary ancestors, they are extending the reach of the genre not by plowing under everything that was built before and salting the earth, but by erecting new superstructures on old foundations—or perhaps new eco-communes in the shadow of dinosaur cities. It’s the way the field has always moved forward, and this volume gives plenty of hope that the future of future fiction is in good hands.
STRANGE ALLIANCES feels much the same.
These writers demonstrate the breadth of concepts and worlds with which science fiction writers can create a delicious buffet of stories for readers to gorge themselves on and that, for emerging writers in the genre, there will always be plenty of room for stunning originality.
John C. Adams of THE BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY continues the trend.
The anthology itself is so varied that, whatever your taste, you’ll find plenty that sparks the quivering dread of what’s to come which is a hallmark of a truly excellent volume of SF.
At BLACK GATE, James Van Pelt showcases Jason Sanford’s and Samantha Mills’ tales from the book to illustrate his feelings.
THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION entertained me consistently, and moved me several times. Weisman and Rajaniemi picked winners for the table of contents.
Contributor Lettie Prell discusses science fiction versus speculative fiction, name checking legendary editor Judith Merrill and THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION along the way.
I remembered editor Judith Merrill had written on the topic of science fiction and speculative fiction, and dug around in my bookcase till I found it, in the introduction to SF: The Best of the Best, published in 1967 by Dell. I was humbled to read her words: “Science fiction as a descriptive label has long since lost whatever validity it might once have had. By now it means so many things so many people that—even though there are more and more people to whom it means something—I prefer not to use it at all.” And here I’d so blithely offered a definition to the class that, in retrospect, doesn’t begin to cover it all.
Merrill goes on to explain why she used the initials SF in the anthology’s title: “[It] allows you to think science fiction if you like, while I think science fable or scientific fantasy or speculative fiction, or (once in a rare while, because there’s little enough of it being written, by any rigorous definition) science fiction.” Wow, and this was back in 1967. Fast-forward to an anthology like THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION (Tachyon, 2019), and her words about the term would fit just as well.
Lisa Goldstein’s wonderful, clear-eyed, and unsentimental IVORY APPLES is one of the best books of 2019
IVORY APPLES is a challenging and entertaining read that provokes reflection on the responsibilities of creative people and the nature of art — its influence, possibilities and costs.
Gary K. Wolfe at LOCUS offers similar sentiments.
IVORY APPLES is a haunting story of what a classic fantasy work can do for and to its readers and its creator; on the other, it’s a pretty wonderful, clear-eyed, and unsentimental fantasy novel entirely on its own terms, muse or no muse.
At COMPULSIVE READER, Christine Jacques also likes the book.
In Ivory, Goldstein has created a place that exists only on its own terms.
Fascinating work, and very, very dark in its implications, as with pretty much everything by Watts.
Jonathan Cowie for THE SCIENCE FACT & SCIENCE FICTION (SF²) CONCATENATION recommends the book.
This book’s first paperback edition comes from the US, specialist SF imprint, Tachyon: it is not yet out in Britain (we desperately need more of Watts over here in Blighty) but Europeans can find it, as I did, in larger bookshops as well as genre specialist ones. Or you can, if you are prepared to sink that low, get it from Amazon. The Tachyon first edition paperback also comes with a neat interior design by Elizabeth Story. Almost every other page has a word with one letter printed in red: it is as if the publisher or author wishes to send a message to the reader without anyone else knowing…
So, THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION is not yet (early 2019) out in Europe. But it is , I assure you, worth seeking out as an import. Some SF² Concatenation team members nominated The Freeze-Frame Revolution as one of the best SF books of 2018: I simply had to see what all the fuss was about. What the fuss is about is a tightly written, SFnal gem, and it really is possibly one of the best SF books of 2018!
VMAC.CH enjoys the story.
THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION by Peter Watts was a book proposed by Amazon. The plot description sounded excellent and captivating, and I’ve tried the free reading example. I had some issues to get into the story and understand what’s going on, but once I passed this, the book was terrific, a good idea and perfect execution of it.
For more info on THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story
Alec Checkerfield Uncategorized annette lapointe, Caitlín R. Kiernan, duncan lawie, elizabeth story, gary k wolfe, hannes hummel, Locus, new york journal of books, paul stjohn mackintosh, review, shon richards, strange horizons, the very best of caitlin r kiernan
A quintet of praise for THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN.
Photo: Kyle Cassidy
Shon Richards on their eponymous site loves the collection.
I would argue that anything Caitlin Kiernan writes is the very best but I am biased that way. This edition collects some really fabulous stories and I enjoyed every one of them. These stories are not just horror and weird fiction. These stories will fucking haunt you.
For STRANGE HORIZONS, Duncan Lawie both enjoys and is exhausted by the unforgettable stories.
The result is that this can be an exhausting collection to read. Almost every story asks for close attention, for serious and thoughtful engagement with the text. They start and end in strange places; they are confusing; they strive for mood over plot, feeling over revelation. But they reward that necessary close attention. Perhaps they don’t explain themselves, but there is often a purpose that can be sensed, a satisfaction found in puzzling something out of the material presented. There are lovely turns of phrase, powerful images, and beautiful sentences. There are exacting descriptions which indicate that, when something is vague, it is because Kiernan wishes it to remain so. Sometimes there is even a sense of relief in the ending—even if this is simply that the grimmest thing hasn’t happened.
With 250 stories to Kiernan’s name, it is impossible for this reader to tell how representative these are of her fiction career of nearly thirty years. Indeed, even within this collection I have named fewer than half the available stories, but I hold each of them close—except the ones I want to forget, and those seem to hold on to me.
Annette Lapointe at NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS likes the book.
Within this darkness, a new infection emerges. An alien thing, it occupies bodies and shifts them into new, horrifying modes: “this incomplete, demonic biology. [The infected] were each no more than appendages now, human beings become coalesced obligate parasites or symbiotes, their glinting, chitinous bodies all but lost in a labyrinth of mucosal membranes, buried by the array of connective tissues and tubes that sprouted from them like cancerous umbilical cords.” The layers of sex and motherhood linked to the disease only expand the nightmare. Most crucially, this state is something the women seek out. They ask for the infection; they transform themselves.
These magnificent nightmares rise out of Kiernan’s work and infect the brain of the reader. If her work is infectious, so far only the restrictions of genre publishing have prevented an epidemic. Yet, like the Fenrir virus of “Bradbury Weather,” that infection is something we can choose; it might even be desirable. The alienness is seductive. In a terrible world (the world is terrible; that chandelier used to be a medical student: she chose this, too), we inevitably desire terrible things. New terrors are what Kiernan offers, for worse, but for transformative worse.
On LOCUS, Gary K. Wolfe reviews the volume.
THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, a title apparently meant to avoid confusion with the two volumes of The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan published by Subterranean in 2011 and 2015, is probably as good a one-volume introduction to the variety of Kiernan’s work as we’re likely to get, though it draws almost entirely on the last 15 years of her career (with only one earlier story, from 2003). While there are certainly some worthwhile earlier stories, there’s an argument to be made that Kiernan, who has been consistently maturing as an author since the ’90s, really found her voice and her strongest themes in the early years of this century. The lyricism and striking imagery are still there, but what at times seemed an infatuation with style has given way to an approach that is somehow more disciplined and more experimental at the same time, as though a brilliant improvisational dancer had learned choreography. Kiernan has often made use of dreamlike imagery, but it takes a good deal of narrative confidence to get away with a story like “In View of Nothing”, the most purely dreamlike tale here, which preserves the odd narrative shifts of an actual dream while maintaining its emotional focus on the two women, one a failed assassin and the other an amputee who seems to represent some sort of authority, who are basically talking in a room for most of the story.
Paul StJohn Mackintosh on his eponymous site lauds the publication and author.
What this compilation does demonstrate is that Caitlín R. Kiernan is producing the very best of contemporary dark and weird fiction, regardless of whether or not that typifies her whole range. She not only has written more than nine-tenths of her contemporaries, she has also written substantially better than nine-tenths of them. She casually throws off metaphor and imagery in passing that would make any other writer’s career. Kiernan has a word horde as rich as Smaug’s, and a voice as mesmeric.
In their introduction to The Weird, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer write that Kiernan has “become perhaps the best weird writer of her generation.” There’s only two parts to that statement I’d question: Only weird? And perhaps? Weird fiction as a genre, if it is a genre, should be grateful to be able to lay even partial or intermittent claim to her. Caitlín R. Kiernan is the fulfilment of every weird fiction pundit’s dream of a transgressive, inclusive, brutally contemporary author who brings all the territory’s sub-genres bang up to date while ditching their historical baggage – yet she effortlessly transcends such categories and limitations, just as she effortlessly transcends every genre she’s cared to touch down in. Even after successive World Fantasy Awards and Bram Stoker Awards, she’s still a writer who can’t be honoured and recognized enough. Words fail me. But they rarely if ever fail her.
For more info about THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, visit the Tachyon page.