Friday, July 11, 2014

Gardner Dozois papers will come to UC Riverside

Gardner Dozois' archive of personal papers will come to the University of California, Riverside, according to an announcement by the university librarian.

Dozois is an award-winning author and editor. He served as editor of Asimov's Science Ficton magazine for 19 years.

The archive is describes as "35 linear feet" of material, including correspondence with almost every notable author and editor in the science fiction community in the past 40 years. For more details about the archive, follow here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Locus 'Year in Review' for 2013

Locus magazine's "Year in Review" is now available. It features recommended reading lists and commentary from reviewers, editors, and professionals in the science fiction and fantasy community. Here is a brief sample:

Graham Sleight's half dozen favorite books of the year:
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
What the Doctor Ordered by Michael Blumlein
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
The Land Across by Gene Wolfe

Russell Letson's top 11 novels:
Zero Point by Neal Asher
The Last President by John Barnes
Proxima by Stephen Baxter
Protector by C.J. Cherryh
Impulse by Steven Gould
Empty Space: A Haunting by M. John Harrison
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Evening's Empires by Paul McAuley
The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
On the Steel Breeze by Alastair Reynolds

As with previous years (Year in Review 2012 and 2011) my own preferences are closer to Sleight rather than Letson, whose list I find uneven. This year, for the first time in many years, there was no essay or best books list from Jonathan Strahan. I hope he will return next year.

For the complete 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List, follow here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Mentioning a few recent things

Returning now after a long silence, here are some things I feel compelled to comment on.

Samuel R. Delany to be named SFWA Grand Master
Naming Delany a Grand Master will be a wonderful thing, and a long overdue honor for the author of one of the greatest bodies of work in the science fiction and fantasy genres. As with the previous year (naming Gene Wolfe Grand Master) my first thought is: Why wasn't Delany given this honor many years ago? Delany and Wolfe would both make my list of the top five authors in the genre in the past 50 years. Perhaps next time SFWA can add a woman's name to the predominantly male Grand Master list? (Here is the list.)

Neal Barrett, Jr. (1929-2014)
The under-appreciated and unique work of this author deserves continued attention. See especially the novels Through Darkest America (1987) and The Hereafter Gang (1991). For more information, follow this link to the SF Encyclopedia.

Sofia Samatar wins 2014 Crawford Award
This is an award for first fantasy novel. Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria (Small Beer Press, 2013) is an exceptional first novel and signals the arrival of a first-rate literary voice. This award is well-earned and the novel is highly recommended. (More about the award.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More photos from LoneStarCon 3

Here are a few more of my photos from LoneStarCon 3, the 71st annual World Science fiction convention, held August 29 through September 2, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas.

Guest of Honor James Gunn, age 90, being interviewed by Kij Johnson at the Guest of Honor Interview, noon Sunday, September 1.

Catherynne M. Valente at her reading, 2 p.m. Friday, August 30.

Gardner Dozois at the "How to Sell to Ellen Datlow" panel 8 p.m. Friday, August 30.

Michael Swanwick at  the "How to Sell to Ellen Datlow" panel, phoning a missing panelist.

Special Guest Leslie Fish performing at her Special Guest Concert, 7 p.m. Thursday, August 29.

The convention hotels, Marriott Riverwalk and Marriott Rivercenter, viewed from the convention center.

Large mosaic at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Evening and night views from the balcony of our hotel room at the Marriott Riverwalk. The San Antonio River is center bottom of both photos.

Monday, September 2, 2013

2013 Hugo Award Winners

The 2013 Hugo Awards were presented last night, September 1, at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, during LoneStarCon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention. Photos can be enlarged by clicking.

The three fiction winners: John Scalzi (novel), Pat Cadigan (novelette), and Brandon Sanderson (novella). The short story winner, Ken Liu, was not present.

Best dramatic presentation, short form, the "Blackwater" episode of Game of Thrones, Rory McCann (actor and bodyguard) and George R.R. Martin (screenplay). McCann plays The Hound in the Game of Thrones television series.

Best novelette, "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi" by Pat Cadigan.

Best Semiprozine, Clarkesworld: Kate Baker, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace, and Neil Clarke.

Best Fan Artist, Galen Dara.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Mur Lafferty (center), with presenters Jay Lake (left) and his daughter, Bronwyn (right).

Best Editor, long form, Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Best professional artist, John Picacio.

Best novella, "The Emperor's Soul" by Brandon Sanderson. The second Hugo he is holding is for Best Related Work.

Best Novel, Redshirts by John Scalzi.

Best Editor, short form, Stanley Schmidt. He is also holding his Chairman's Special Award.

Best Fanzine, SF Signal: JP Frantz, John DeNardo, and Patrick Hester.

Best Fancast, SF Squeecast: Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente. Paul Cornell is not pictured.

Best Related Work, Writing Excuses, Season Seven: Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Brandon Sanderson.

Related link:
Complete list of 2013 Hugo Winners from Locus Online

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Garcia Art Glass

For those who are traveling to San Antonio for LoneStarCon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention, which starts in two days, here's a suggestion for a fun activity near the convention center. We visited Garcia Art Glass today and enjoyed it. They have fine art glass and conventional items like cups and pitchers. Don't miss visiting the workshop, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. visitors are welcome to watch the glass blowers at work. There are benches set up inside the workshop for visitors.

Garcia Art Glass is located at 715 South Alamo, about a quarter mile south of the convention center, or take a Blue line streetcar south along Alamo for $1.20.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Any Day Now by Terry Bisson

By using the techniques of alternate history, Terry Bisson has made his novel of the Sixties, Any Day Now (2012), a better book. Bisson risks alienating mainstream readers with alternate history elements, and genre readers may decide the book is not genre enough. The novel that emerges from this contradiction is one of the best books of 2012.

Those of us who lived through the Sixties, your humble blog correspondent included, remember it as a time of unpredictable turmoil and change on every societal axis. Novels of the Sixties, by their faithfulness to events, a checklist of assassination, war, and protest, lose that crucial unpredictability. Bisson pulls the rug out from under readers, events change in unexpected ways, restoring exactly how it felt to live in the Sixties. In the moment, nothing was safe or secure, nothing was nailed down.

The story follows the coming-of-age journey of a young man from his small town roots in Kentucky, to  college, to a loft in New York City, life on a commune in Colorado, drugs, politics, revolution, and the passage of time.

On a sentence-by-sentence level this book is exceptional. And funny. And compact. Maybe too compact. I found myself wanting more scenes with just about every character, which isn't a bad way to leave the reader. There are a lot of names tossed out as shorthand for volumes of information: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, JFK, LBJ, RFK, Abbie Hoffman, Weathermen, Tet Offensive, Humphrey, MLK, and Malcolm X. I'm hoping that's not too high a bar for most readers.

This is an extraordinary novel about the Sixties, a sly, skewed Sixties.

Related links:
RudyRucker reviews Any Day Now in Los Angeles Review of Books
Starred review in Publishers Weekly

Friday, August 2, 2013

2013 Hugo Award voting

The following is a discussion of my ballot for the 2013 Hugo Awards, for work published in 2012. This is a popular vote award, where the voters are the attending and supporting members of the World Science Fiction Convention. The results will be announced at LoneStarCon 3, San Antonio, TX, September 1, 2013.

1. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

The other novels on the shortlist are light snacks. 2312 by Robinson is a feast. It is easily the greatest accomplishment in the novel category. It is three novels in one:  First and foremost, it is a love story about two very different people, Swan and Wahram. It’s a moving and successful double character study. Second, it is a grand tour of the solar system 300 years in the future, displaying wonders of technology, economics, and culture. There’s enough material here for most other authors to write a long series of books. Here, Robinson has chosen to condense it all into one. Third, it is a murder mystery with political overtones. There are unforgettable scenes, such as the struggle of endurance and survival that Swan and Wahram experience when they must walk to safety using maintenance tunnels under the surface of Mercury, and much later, a spaceship collision. Not a perfect novel, yet wonderful and multilayered.

1. On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
2. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
3. “The Stars Do Not Lie” by Jay Lake (Asimov’s Nov-Dec 2012)

Aliette de Bodard’s On a Red Station Drifting is a fascinating story, partly about a refugee in wartime, set in an interstellar Vietnamese Empire.  I hope de Bodard will have more stories in this setting. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress covers familiar ground, about the fall of civilization. The 15-year-old male viewpoint character is well done, the female mathematician viewpoint character in alternating chapters is less interesting, and doesn’t keep the reader invested in her end of the story. Jay Lake’s “The Stars Do Not Lie” is more familiar still, another retelling of an almost-Galileo confronting an almost-Catholic Church, which tries to suppress a scientific discovery.

1. “Fade to White” by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, Aug 2012)
2. “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
3. “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit for Eden, PS Publications)

“Fade to White” by Catherynne M. Valente is a stunningly good story. Two young people, a boy and a girl, prepare for an event that will determine their social futures in a gender divided society. This alternate United States is based on a devastating war with the Soviet Union following immediately after World War II. The most anti-Communist, Red-baiting elements of the political scene of the 1950s are swept into power. Marketing is used effectively for satire, making me wish for a version of “Mad Men” that was set in this alternate world.

Pat Cadigan’s “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” is excellent, also, and funny. It’s about a crew working among the moons of Jupiter. I can’t really say much else without spoiling some of the fun.  “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a touching story of two boys who don’t fit in with their peers.

Short Story:
1. “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)
2. “Mono no Aware” by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese)
3. “Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Aug 2012)

Aliette de Bodard’s “Immersion” depicts the costs of characters leaving behind their native culture in favor of a dominant culture that they can mimic with the use of enhanced reality headsets. “Mono no Aware” by Ken Liu concerns the select few who are able to get on a ship to flee a doomed Earth. I felt the sentimentality was a bit heavy handed. Maybe that’s just me. “Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson is a series of story précises on the theme of mantis women who kill and consume their mates. It’s alternately chilling and comic, while not offering much story.

First place votes in other  categories:
I voted for the Coode Street Podcast in the Fancast category, Tansy Rayner Roberts in the Fan Writer category, The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature for Related Work, Clarkesworld for Semiprozine, Saga, Vol. I for Graphic Story, etc.

Related links:
LoneStarCon 3 website
The full list of all the nominees that made the 2013 Hugo Awards shortlist
Previous posts here at "Strangelove for Science Fiction" regarding Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312: Excerpts, Defining Robinson's 2312, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4