Tachyon tidbits featuring Bruce Sterling, Ellen Klages, and Deji Bryce Olukotun

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


Bruce Sterling (source: THE VERGE), Ellen Klages (Scott R. Kline), and Deji Bryce Olukotun (Katy Haas / PEN American Center)

In his guest post “Reading Dystopias in a Dystopian Year” for AMBLING ALONG THE AQUEDUCT, Chris Brown mentions Bruce Sterling’s PIRATE UTOPIA.

I read a lot of American dystopias this year, at the same time as I began to better understand the extent to which I already live in one.  Having started off the year selling one, my forthcoming novel TROPIC OF KANSAS, I was curious to find the best examples I could, ones that were also great books.


Bruce Sterling’s PIRATE UTOPIA, to which I contributed an afterword, starts as a somewhat whimsical alternate history of the 15-month post-WWI Italian “liberation” of the Croatian port of Fiume and ends with a glimpse of the fascist American specters lurking in the dark mirrors of our pulp literature. 


TOR.COM reprinted “Caligo Lane” by Ellen Klages, which will also be appearing in her forthcoming collection WICKED WONDERS.

Even with the Golden Gate newly bridged and the ugly hulks of battleships lining the bay, San Francisco is well-suited to magic. It is not a geometric city, but full of hidden alleys and twisted lanes. Formed by hills and surrounded by water, its weather transforms its geography, a fog that erases landmarks, cloaking and enclosing as the rest of the world disappears.

That may be an illusion; most magic is. Maps of the city are replete with misdirection. Streets drawn as straight lines may in fact be stairs or a crumbling brick path, or they may dead end for a block or two, then reappear under another name.

Caligo Lane is one such street, most often reached by an accident that cannot be repeated.


THE NEW INQUIRY shared a transcript of The Changing Faces of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, a November 3, 2016 panel with science fiction and fantasy authors Deji Bryce Olukotun (contributor to Jacob Weisman’s INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE), Maria Dahvana Headley, and Haris Durrani.


When PEN approached
me to help organize the event, I was in the middle of reading
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s BLACK PANTHER comic books, which are super
popular: they sell out every week. I felt real enthusiasm that a
writer of color who was a National Book Award winner and MacArthur
Fellow was tackling comic books, but at the same time, I wasn’t
thrilled with some of his depictions of African themes and cultures.

Let me explain a
little more what I mean. I was excited that Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has
been a comic book fan his whole life, is tackling the genre, but I
had critiques about his technique–some of the dialogue, some of the
writing. I felt the dilemma that a lot of people feel if you are from
a marginalized group. A lot of voices, especially black voices aren’t
making it on the page with major publishers. Was I going to actually
destroy opportunities if I spoke out against his work and said,
“Well, I love this part of the story but I don’t like this part”?

We’re in an
interesting time. This year two women authors won the prestigious
Hugo Awards: N.K. Jemisin won for THE FIFTH SEASON, and Nnedi Okora
won for BINTI, which is a novella. The best novelette went to Folding
Beijing by Hao Jingfang, which was translated by Ken Liu and is set
in Beijing. Best new writer went to Andy Wier, who wrote THE MARTIAN.

Is everything great? In 2015 authors, especially white authors, protested against political correctness and over-correcting for diversity at the Hugo Awards. With the on-screen adaptation of “The Hunger Games,” people were pissed off that some of the characters were played by people of color. PEN just did a recent study that revealed that there were only 47 LGBTQ books published in 2014. Less than half of those were from a major publisher. What I’ve observed is that there is a lot of great writing happening but a lot of it is on Kickstarter and on Patreon. Is that progress?

I hope what we will do today is talk about the good things that are happening, but also the things that could be better. What keeps you up at night? When you think about the publishing industry, what worries you?


For more info on PIRATE UTOPIA, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover and illustration by John Coulthart

For more info on WICKED WONDERS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover design by Elizabeth Story

For more info about INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Goro Fujita

Design by Elizabeth Story