The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Bruce Sterling, Nalo Hopkinson (Photo: David Findlay), Lauren Beukes, and Kate Elliott (April Quintanilla)
Wow. As an SF novel, it’s really quite gorgeous. I’ve been getting tired of all those overdone WWII alternate histories. This one is a beautiful strike in another direction, and it’s humorous and it’s scary and it pushes all the right buttons for me.
And it’s also pulp in all the grand ways, too. 🙂 Mussilini got his dick shot off while working as an editor, Hitler got shot and killed taking a bullet for a friend. There’s even Houdini, the Spy, Lovecraft his employee, and also Robert E Howard working alongside them. I was hoping to see Clarke Ashton Smith among them, but alas, no. 🙂
I haven’t been so delighted by such a strange book just tickling my sense of wonder in such a way as this. Bruce Sterling has gotten really interesting.
He’s been living in Europe for the last decade, learning so much about these places, and also as an American Cyberpunk author now writing Dieselpunk, I have to say that he’s pushing the envelope again. 🙂 In a really awesome way. 🙂
Worldcon 75 also announced the five Guests of Honor, who “come from five different countries and reflect the diversity in science fiction and fantasy”: Johanna Sinisalo, Nalo Hopkinson, John-Henri Holmberg, Claire Wendling, and Walter Jon Williams.
Crystal Huff echoed her co-chair’s comments, saying, “In the early days, the science fiction community was dominated by the US, and accordingly most Worldcons have taken place either in the US or in English speaking countries. But in recent years this has changed rapidly. Many of the most interesting works today are created in other languages, and those new voices bring new energy and new ideas to the genre. We see the beginning of a new era of diversity, not only in colour, but also in gender, beliefs and abilities. To bring Worldcon to Helsinki is a natural, but important step in this development.”
Worldcon 75 will take place August 9-13, 2017 at the Helsinki Messukeskus convention center in Finland. For more information, check out the Worldcon 75 website.
The excerpt I read was so bizarre that I’ve tried to summarize it for fifteen minutes and have completely failed. This collection from South African author Lauren Beukes either going to be gimmicky as hell or absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to find out which.
1. What book are you currently reading?
I’m a tag-team reader which means I’m always reading about six books at the same time, but for the sake of brevity I will focus on the SHAHNAMEH, the Persian Book of Kings, by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. This poetic retelling of a prose original was composed in the 10th century by Ferdowsi and became the national epic of Persia (Iran). The story is exactly as advertised by the title: the legendary and historical reigns of various Persian kings. I’m reading it with Tessa Gratton in weekly chapters which we then discuss in a blog post each week at my blog. This September we are reading through the history of Sekander (Alexander the Great). It is fascinating to see how he is portrayed in this version of his story. There are familiar tales told in a slightly altered form as well as completely new episodes not present in the Western history. Also, amusingly, this history claims that Sekander’s father was a Persian king who married a Greek princess. Highly recommended, and very long. We’re reading the Dick Davis translation, done in prose, but there are other versions.
4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about over time–either positively or negatively?
I avoid re-reading books I loved when I was young for precisely this reason. While some may hold up, others, I fear, will not, and I would rather not lose my rosy affection for them. For example I picked up Robert Heinlein’s RED PLANET as an adult and almost immediately had to set it down again because of how heavily 50s-USA gendered and acculturated it was.
6. And speaking of that, what’s *your* latest book, and why is it awesome?
POISONED BLADE is the second book of the Fives trilogy (which starts with COURT OF FIVES).
The story is set in the country Efea, which was conquered 100 years earlier by a people called the Saroese. Jessamy, our protagonist, is the second of four biracial sisters born to a father and mother who can’t legally marry because he’s Saroese and she’s Efean. The Fives is a game played before large crowds. It’s like a big obstacle course with four obstacles around the outside and a fifth in the center (there’s a greater mystery about the Fives but that is revealed over all three books).
Competing in the Fives is what Jes has always wanted to do (I wanted to write a story about a girl who’s an athlete), but because the sisters have been raised with the father’s rigid cultural expectations she’s not allowed to. In the course of sneaking out to do it anyway she gets caught up in major political intrigue. The story contains generous helpings of my four favorite narrative food groups: determination, love, action, and treachery. Also giant mechanical spiders.
When asked for a pitch, I call it “Little Women meet American Ninja Warrior in a fantasy world inspired by Cleopatra’s Egypt.”
For more info on PIRATE UTOPIA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover and image by John Coulthart
For more info on FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Chuma Hill
Design by Elizabeth Story
For more info about SLIPPING: STORIES, ESSAYS, & OTHER WRITING, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Clara Bacou
Design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on THE VERY BEST OF KATE ELLIOTT, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Julie Dillon
Design by Elizabeth Story