Category Archives: Books

Terry Pratchett RIP

Terry Pratchett Drawn by Jack Kirby
There are no words to express my sadness at the passing of Terry Pratchett. Today, Pratchett, who has been battling Alzheimer’s in only a way he can – in public, with humility, humour and honesty – passed away at tender age of 66.

Discworld novels have filled many of my days.

My heart is clenched at the thought of such an immense loss of this creative powerhouse that is Terry Pratchett. He would, you see, never call himself a “creative powerhouse”, yet he is recognized as prolific, authoring over 70 novels, many of which were turned into beloved, memorable, wonderful, amazing televised productions.

At last, Sir Terry, We Must Walk Together.

Read more here.

Update: The Obituary

2014 Hugo Awards Nominees

Presented at:Loncon 3, London, United Kingdom, August 17, 2014

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
– Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
– Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)

Best Novella

– “Equoid”, Charles Stross (, 09-2013)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
– “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (, 10-2013)
– “The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
– The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)

Best Novelette

– “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (, 09-2013)
– “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
– “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)
– “The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
– “Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Sofia Samatar*
Max Gladstone*
Wesley Chu
Ramez Naam*
Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Best Short Story

– “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (, 02-2013)
– “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
– “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
– “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (, 04-2013)

Best Related Work

– “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
– Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
– Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
– Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
– Writing Excuses Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story

– “Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)
– Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
– Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
– “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
– The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

– Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
– Frozen,screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
– Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)
– Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
– The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

– Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
– Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
– Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America)
– An Adventure in Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
– The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)
– Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow
John Joseph Adams
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams
Neil Clarke

Best Editor, Long Form

Ginjer Buchanan
Liz Gorinsky
Sheila Gilbert
Toni Weisskopf
Lee Harris

Best Semiprozine

– Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
– Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Abigail Nussbaum, Rebecca Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin
– Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas
– Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
– Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews

Best Fan Writer

Kameron Hurley
Abigail Nussbaum
Foz Meadows
Liz Bourke
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Sarah Webb
Brad W. Foster
Mandie Manzano
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

2013 Hugo Awards Nominees Announced

The nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards were announced at four conventions, via UStream, CoverItLive coverage on the Hugo Awards web site, and via Twitter at LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 Worldcon, on March 30, 2013.

Here is the exciting list:

Best Novel

– Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
– Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
– 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
– Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)
– Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)

Best Novella

– The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
– After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
– “The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)
– On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
– San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit)

Best Novelette

– “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
– “In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
– “Fade To White”, Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
– “Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)
– “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (476 nominating ballots cast)
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2011 or 2012, sponsored by Dell Magazines. (Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)

Mur Lafferty*
Stina Leicht*
Chuck Wendig*
Max Gladstone
Zen Cho*

Best Short Story

– “Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)
– “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)
– “Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)

Best Graphic Story

– Saga, Volume One, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
– Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
– Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)
– Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)
– Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

– The Avengers, Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
– The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
– The Hunger Games, Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
– Looper, Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)
– The Cabin in the Woods, Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

– Game of Thrones, “Blackwater”, Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)
– Doctor Who, “The Angels Take Manhattan”, Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
– Fringe, “Letters of Transit”, Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)
– Doctor Who, “Asylum of the Daleks”, Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
– Doctor Who, “The Snowmen”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)

Best Editor, Short Form

Stanley Schmidt
Sheila Williams
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Jonathan Strahan

Best Editor, Long Form

Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Toni Weisskopf
Sheila Gilbert
Lou Anders
Liz Gorinsky

Best Professional Artist

John Picacio
Dan dos Santos
Julie Dillon
Chris McGrath
Vincent Chong

Best Semiprozine

– Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
– Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams and Stefan Rudnicki
– Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross
– Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
– Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews

Best Fanzine

– SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester**
– The Drink Tank, edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon
– Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
– Banana Wings, edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond

Best Fancast

– SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)**
– SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz
– StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith
– The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
– Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)

Best Fan Writer

Tansy Rayner Roberts
Steven H Silver
Christopher J. Garcia
Mark Oshiro
James Bacon

Best Fan Artist

Galen Dara
Brad W. Foster
Spring Schoenhuth
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles

Stephen King has released his novelisation of the Simpson’s Movie a bit late

Today, news hit that Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King will attempt to bring King’s most recent novel to the small screens. But I feel like I’ve already seen it.

Who can forget the much anticipated Simpson’s Movie released in the summer of 2007 with a blizzard of promotional tie-in products. (I still have my Krusty-O’s box)

While most of the tie-in merchandise from the movie release has long since disappeared from 7-11 store shelves* Steven Kings book of the film entitled “Under The Dome” was released earlier this month. As with the movie the book details the sudden appearance of an impenetrable clear dome which cuts off an average American town from the rest of the world and the resulting character drama as neighbor turns against neighbor within.

It is not clear how the novel interprets the significance of Spider Pig.

Do to the delay in release King’s publishers have attempted to market this book as a stand alone work separate from the 2007 Simpson’s Movie. Going as far as to claim that King has been working with this story since the late 1970’s. The ruse has been continued by King, remarking on his personal site that “I can’t speak personally to this, because I have never seen the movie”. Despite these claims King himself has admitted that he began writing the bulk of this work in 2007 obviously to coincide with the ‘summer of Springfield’ sparked by the movie’s release.

*a notable exception being those suspect frosted sugar cookies bearing the likenesses of our familiar friends from Springfield which for some reason still seem to be available.

Margaret Atwood Admits To Writing SciFi

by Irma Arkus

In an unprecedented move, Atwood coughs up the truth – she does write science fiction: “I have written two works of science fiction or, if you prefer, speculative fiction: The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake,” Atwood says in her Guardian article.

But the address by Atwood is also a plea, reminding critics and readers alike as to why science fiction is complex, more so than mere fiction writing: “They can explore the consequences of new and proposed technologies in graphic ways, by showing them as fully operational. We’ve always been good at letting cats out of bags and genies out of bottles, we just haven’t been very good at putting them back in again.”

The science fiction allows us to explore nature of humanity, in relation to itself as well as the universe and the “other”: “explore the relationship of man to the universe, an exploration that often takes us in the direction of religion and can meld easily with mythology – an exploration that can happen within the conventions of realism only through conversations and soliloquies.”

Moreover, they are often complex, enticing us to recreate social orders, building new perspectives on what we have, or could potentially have.

Do read Atwood’s insightful article on why science fiction, or even speculative fiction is worthy of note. [Guardian]

C. June Wolf is Giving It Away!

C. June Wolf has a free book giveaway on her site. Free book! You can win a copy of Finding Creatures and Other Stories, prefaced by Charles de Lint and signed by C. June Wolf herself, by merely posting a comment. A comment! That takes like…a second or something.


“A Game of Thrones” Coming to Small Screens

by Irma Arkus

George R. R. Martin’s incredible series of books will see the light of day on the small screen. Or so he says on his blog.

“A Game of Thrones” is coming to HBO, and the pilot will be shot in October in Northern Ireland.

For the most part, the readers of the George R.R. Martin will probably say: “it’s about damn time!” And they would be right, too.

Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” was nominated for a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award and won a Locus. And that’s quite the roster.

Once it made the splash, back in 1966, it immediately inspired six sequels to the storyline, a board game, some trading cards, a role-playing game, and now *pheew* a TV show.

Like all fancy fantasy, George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” is set in Medieval times. The setting is complex, as it encompasses not one, but seven kingdoms that are naturally prone to war.

I consider myself generally allergic to fantasy, am cheering for the albino direwolf, and am actually looking forward to seeing the pilot.

Read This: “Bugs in the Arroyo” by Steven Gould

by Irma Arkus

Tor Books publishing had a brilliant idea, and since 2008, they decided to throw us a bone. A literary bone. Their occasional short stories, available for free on site, prompt readers to a) read more brilliant short stories, and b) get introduced to new, brilliant writers they would never have heard of, and finally c) visit Tor Books and glance at their latest offerings.

This is, in my humble opinion, a win win win win for everyone involved, and all it took was a little digital magic, and some “open source reading.”

Latest offering is that of Stephen Gould’s “Bugs in the Arroyo,” a short story about a society confronted with a sudden metal scarcity, due to a metal-eating invasive species. A la “Creature of the Pit” with Tom Baker, if you may, Stephen Gould writes some fine, imaginative stuff.

Responsible for writing the ever popular “Jumper” (yes, the movie with the one we dare not speak his name) Gould has been enchanting us for a while. Nice to see his flexed muscles on some rather smaller bit, like “Bugs in the Arroyo.” Illustration is by Mark Zug, a master of fantastic meets cool, whose illustrations are quite frankly, breathtaking (yes, yes! like the baby!).

David Brin: Shoresteading

by Irma Arkus

David Brin, master of all scifi, has a new novella “Shoresteading.” The novella is available online, as Baens Universe decided to publish it for free (accepting donations of course,) split into a few precious pieces.

Most consider Brin to be an author leading the scifi pack these days. One of my professors had a saying – BearBrin – and it provides for a decent summary of what most fans consider the best of contemporary science fiction.

So, read on!

HiSciFi @ VCon: C. June Wolf, author of Finding Creatures & Other Stories

We got to meet C. June Wolf during V-Con and she is not only an incredible author, but an amazing human being to boot! Wolf travels and often work in Haiti, which is of course, why so many of her stories are filled with the myth and voodoo of foreign lands.

Tune in and check out her upcoming book: Finding Creatures & Other Stories
HiSciFi @ VCon: C. June Wolf, author of Finding Creatures & Other Stories