Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016 Locus Awards finalists

Locus Magazine announced the 2016 finalists for the annual Locus Awards today. Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 24-26, 2016.

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (Borzoi; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (Morrow)
A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

FANTASY NOVEL
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (Roc; Gollancz)
Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK
Half a War, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey; Harper Voyager UK)
Half the World, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)
Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Tor)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)

FIRST NOVEL
Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (Ace; Macmillan UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris)
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury US; Bloomsbury UK)
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com)

These are just the categories for novels. There are short fiction categories and many others, too. These are quality nominees throughout, which represents an antidote to the Puppy-pooped-upon Hugo nominations, where readers have to step cautiously through noxious material to find a few quality candidates.

I'm particularly pleased to find Aurora and A Borrowed Man in the sf novel shortlist. Other favorites of mine include: Signal to Noise and The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps in first novel, and The House of Shattered Wings and Wylding Hall in fantasy novel. Many of the others are on my to-be-read pile.

For the complete list of all the categories, follow here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Hugo shortlists

The 2016 Hugo Award shortlists were announced today. They are intended to be a popular vote of the science fiction community to determine the best work in various categories. As with last year, much of the ballot is supplanted this year by work that can be found on the 2016 Rabid Puppies slate (or as they would like to call it, a recommended list).

You could argue that the Rabid Puppies can't take credit for the success and talent of various authors and editors that they've listed. True. Simply for a visual representation, in the fiction categories I will list only those stories that do not overlap with the Rabid Puppies slate (I'll make an exception for Slow Bullets since the author publicly asked for his story to be removed from both Puppy lists) and add a little commentary:

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

I'm disappointed that Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson didn't make the list, since it was my choice for best sf novel of the year. Still, these three are strong nominees.

BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb2015)

BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)
...

I could go on to the other categories, yet I'm sure the reader can plan this game, too. I've already stated my opinion on the Rapid Puppy ballot manipulation:
Hugo Award slates and the politics of exclusion
Attention seeking troll puppies
I doubt that more needs to be said.

Here is a link for a complete list of all the 2016 Hugo Award shortlists.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PKD in academia

Three days of academic conferences, 28-30 April 2016, regarding Philip K. Dick are spread across two neighboring universities in Southern California.

Beginning at the University of California, Irvine, 28 April, a one-day conference will feature speakers including: Gregory Benford, David Brin, Sherryl Vint, Tessa Dick, Grania Davis, Charles Platt, and others. The conference schedule is online. (Follow here.)

The following two days, 29-30 April, a multi-track event will be held at Cal State University Fullerton. Speakers include: James Blaylock, Tim Powers, Rob Latham, Jonathan Lethem, Howard Hendrix, Bruce McAllister, Jacob Weisman, Tessa Dick, Grania Davis, Gregory Benford, Ursula Heise, and others. The conference schedule is online. (Follow here.)



Monday, April 18, 2016

Paolo and others

Paolo of the moment

Paolo Bacigalupi's voice could be heard on the 08 April 2016 episode of the Science Friday radio show/podcast. (Follow here.)

A print interview is featured in the current Locus Magazine. An excerpt appears online. (Follow here.)

Shedding some "Light"

M. John Harrison: "The best work neither shows nor tells: it says by being, not by saying."

A new Harrison interview is available online. (Follow here.)

Hugo numerology


According to a 14 April 2016 news release from MidAmericon2: "Over 4,000 nominating ballots were received for the 2016 Hugo Awards, nearly doubling the previous record of 2,122 ballots set last year by Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon held in Spokane, WA."

The Hugo Award shortlists will be announced on 26 April 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

X-Files reboot

The X-Files recently had a six-episode reboot, bringing back original stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. The episodes aired in January and February, 2016.

A short review:
I want to believe.
I want the show to be better.

A slightly longer review:
I have a nostalgia for the original series. The X-Files was entertaining at a time when TV was a vast wasteland. It often had an anti-science message that rubbed me the wrong way, yet it had a sense of humor about the concept of the show itself. Most importantly, the original two stars were engaging.

Unfortunately, the new reboot takes itself too seriously, the violence is increased for no particular benefit, and Duchovny and Anderson are wooden and deliver their lines with little inflection. Not only is the chemistry between the lead actors absent, they are awkward in each others presence as if they've been through a messy divorce and they are trying to pretend they've never met.

The first and last episodes of the six-episode reboot are strident and unpleasant. The middle episodes are monster-of-the-week filler episodes.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

100,000 page views

I'll be try to post more often in the run-up to the Worldcon in Kansas City.

Today's item: This site, which started I started in August 2009, has reached just over 100,000 pageviews.

This is amusing to me since long ago, I was handed a webserver (Mac) and an email server (Mac), and was asked to take a bunch of classes, computing, web design, scripting, data base driven pages, and database management. I took the courses right there at a certain college campus in California. My boss also flew me up to Mac conventions and database conventions in Silicon Valley. Including a web-database integration course at Apple headquarters, which was a cool place. Well, within  the first year our little site that only the students knew about was getting over 100,000 pageviews per day, mostly going the database. To give you a time frame, Netscape 1.0 was new that year. Anyway, fun times.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Locus 'Year in Review' for 2015

Locus magazine's "Year in Review" issue is now available, and it's their most information packed issue of the year. It features recommended reading lists and extensive commentary from numerous reviewers, critics, and editors. Here's a brief sample:

Graham Sleight
A dozen books worth your time this year:
House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
Dragon Heart by Cecelia Holland
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Best of Nancy Kress by Nancy Kress
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville
Galapagos Regained by James Morrow
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts
Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick

Russell Letson
Hidden Folk by Eleanor Arnason
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Tracker by C.J. Cherryh
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
Where by Kit Reed
Gypsy by Carter Scholz
Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick

I think both Sleight and Letson offer excellent recommendations. My choice for best science fiction novel of the year is Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, and best single-author collection is Get in Trouble by Kelly Link.

For the 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List, follow here.

Related link:
Best of the Year: 2015

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Four Year's Best anthologies;
Hugo nominations are open

Here are the tables of contents for four forthcoming best of the year anthologies, summarizing short fiction excellence for work published in 2015.

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
of the Year, Vol. 10
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Solaris Books, forthcoming May 2016

Table of contents:
  1. “City of Ash” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Medium.com, read it here)
  2. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” by Elizabeth Bear (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  3. “The Machine Starts” by Greg Bear (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  4. “The Winter Wraith” by Jeffrey Ford (F&SF, November/December 2015)
  5. “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warnings)
  6. “Jamaica Ginger” by Nalo Hopkinson & Nisi Shawl (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  7. “Drones” by Simon Ings (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  8. “Emergence” by Gwyneth Jones (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  9. “Dancy vs. the Pterosaur” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Sirenia Digest, April 2015)
  10. “Another Word for World” by Anne Leckie (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  11. “The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link (Strange Horizons, October 2015, read it here)
  12. “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Mailk (Tor.com, April 2015, read it here)
  13. “Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan” by Ian McDonald (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  14. “Little Sisters” by Vonda McIntyre (Book View Café, May 2015)
  15. “Calved” by Sam J. Miller (Asimov’s, September 2015)
  16. “Ghosts of Home” by Sam J. Miller (Lightspeed, August 2015, read it here)
  17. “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir (F&SF, July/August 2015)
  18. “The Empress in Her Glory” by Robert Reed (Clarkesworld, April 2015, read it here)
  19. “A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone, March/April 2015)
  20. “Oral Argument” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Tor.com, December 2015, read it here)
  21. “Water of Versailles” by Kelly Robson (Tor.com, June 2015, read it here)
  22. “Capitalism in the 22nd Century” by Geoff Ryman (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  23. “The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club” by Nike Sulway (Lightspeed, October 2015, read it here)
  24. “The Lily and the Horn” by Catherynne Valente (Fantasy Magazine, December 2015, read it here)
  25. “Blood, Ash, Braids” by Genevieve Valentine (Operation Arcana, edited by John Joseph Adams)
  26. “Kaiju maximus®: ‘So Various, So Beautiful, So New’” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Fantasy Magazine, December 2015, read it here)
  27. “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Nightmare Magazine, October 2015, read it here)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016
Edited by Rich Horton
Prime Books, forthcoming May 2016

Table of contents:
  1. “The Daughters of John Demetrius” by Joe Pitkin (Analog, October 2015)
  2. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Analog, September 2015)
  3. “Twelve and Tag” by Gregory Norman Bossert (Asimov’s, March 2015)
  4. “Mutability” by Ray Nayler (Asimov’s, June 2015)
  5. “Acres of Perhaps” by Will Ludwigsen (Asimov’s, July 2015)
  6. “Unearthly Landscape by a Lady” by Rebecca Campbell (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, October 2015, read it here)
  7. “The King in the Cathedral” by Rich Larson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2015 read it here)
  8. “Little Sisters” by Vonda N. McIntyre (Book View Cafe, May 2015)
  9. “The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild” by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, January 2015, read it here)
  10. “Asymptotic” by Andy Dudak (Clarkesworld, June 2015, read it here)
  11. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015, read it here)
  12. “Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld, August 2015, read it here)
  13. “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamysn Muir (F&SF, July/August 2015)
  14. “The Two Paupers” by C.S.E. Cooney (Fairchild Books)
  15. “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  16. “The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red, Red Coal” by Chaz Brenchley (Lightspeed, June 2015, read it here)
  17. “Time Bomb Time” by C.C. Finlay (Lightspeed, May 2015, read it here)
  18. “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, February 2015, read it here)
  19. “The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club” by Nike Sulway (Lightspeed, October 2015, read it here)
  20. “My Last Bringback” by John Barnes (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  21. “Drones” by Simon Ings (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  22. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” by Elizabeth Bear (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  23. “Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Idea Countness Rathagan” by Ian McDonald (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  24. “The Graphology of Hemorrhage” by Yoon Ha Lee (Operation Arcana, edited by John Joseph Adams)
  25. “Capitalism in the 22nd Century” by Geoff Ryman (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  26. “The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link (Strange Horizons, October 2015, read it here)
  27. “This Evening’s Performance” by Genevieve Valentine (The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk)
  28. “Please Undo This Hurt” by Seth Dickinson (Tor.com, September 2015, read it here)
  29. “Consolation” by John Kessel (Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling)
  30. “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (Uncanny, January/February 2015, read it here)

The Best Science Fiction of the Year,
Vol. 1
Edited by Neil Clarke
Night Shade Books, forthcoming June 2016

Table of contents:
  1. “A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone, March/April 2015)
  2. “In Blue Lily’s Wake” by Aliette de Bodard (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  3. “Outsider” by An Owomeyla (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  4. “Another Word for World” by Ann Leckie (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  5. “Iron Pegasus” by Brenda Cooper (Mission: Tomorrow, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt)
  6. “Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, September 2015, read it here)
  7. “Bannerless” by Carrie Vaughn (The End Has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey)
  8. “Gypsy” by Carter Scholz (PM Press)
  9. “The Smog Society” by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan (Lightspeed, August 2015, read it here)
  10. “The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss” by David Brin (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  11. “Damage” by David D. Levine (Tor.com, January 2015, read it here)
  12. “Capitalism in the 22nd Century” by Geoff Ryman (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  13. “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (Uncanny, January/February 2015, read it here)
  14. “Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan” by Ian McDonald (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  15. “Hold-Time Violations” by John Chu (Tor.com, October 2015, read it here)
  16. “Two-Year Man” by Kelly Robson (Asimov’s, August 2015)
  17. “The Gods Have Not Died in Vain” by Ken Liu (The End Has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey)
  18. “Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld, August 2015, read it here)
  19. “Cocoons” by Nancy Kress (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  20. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015, read it here)
  21. “So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, November 2015, read it here)
  22. “No Placeholder for You, My Love” by Nick Wolven (Asimov’s, August 2015)
  23. “Wild Honey” by Paul McAuley (Asimov’s, August 2015)
  24. “Meshed” by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld, February 2015, read it here)
  25. “Empty” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, December 2015)
  26. “Calved” by Sam J. Miller (Asimov’s, September 2015)
  27. “The Audience” by Sean McMullen (Analog, June 2015)
  28. “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  29. “Three Bodies at Mitanni” by Seth Dickinson (Analog, June 2015)
  30. “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” by Taiyo Fujii, translated by Jim Hubbert (Lightspeed, July 2015, read it here)
  31. “The Cold Inequalities” by Yoon Ha Lee (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction,
Thirty-third Annual Collection
Edited by Gardner Dozois 
St. Martin's Griffin, forthcoming July 2016

Table of contents:
  1. “The Falls: A Luna Story” by Ian McDonald (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  2. “Three Cups of Grief, By Starlight” by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, January 2015, read it here)
  3. “Ruins” by Eleanor Arnason (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  4. “Gypsy” by Carter Scholz (PM Press)
  5. “Emergence” by Gwyneth Jones (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  6. “Calved” by Sam J. Miller (Asimov’s, September 2015)
  7. “Meshed” by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld, February 2015, read it here)
  8. “Bannerless” by Carrie Vaughn (The End has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey)
  9. “The Astrakhan, the Homberg, and the Red Red Coat” by Chaz Brenchley (Lightspeed, June 2015, read it here)
  10. “Another Word for World” by Ann Leckie (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  11. “City of Ash” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Medium.com, read it here)
  12. “The Muses of Shuyedan-18” by Indrapramit Das (Asimov’s, June 2015)
  13. “The Audience” by Sean McMullen (Analog, June 2015)
  14. “Consolation” by John Kessel (Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling)
  15. “Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Idea Countness Rathagan” by Ian McDonald (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  16. “Rates of Change” by James S.A. Corey (Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathana Strahan)
  17. “The Children of Gal” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov's, April/May 2015)
  18. “Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld, August 2015, read it here)
  19. “Trapping the Pleistecene” by James Sarafin (F&SF, May/June 2015)
  20. “Machine Learning” by Nancy Kress (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  21. “Silence Like Diamonds” by John Barnes (LightReading, July 2015, read it here)
  22. “Inhuman Garbage” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's, March 2015)
  23. “Planet of Fear” by Paul McAuley (Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois)
  24. “It Takes More Than Muscles to Frown” by Ned Beauman (Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling)
  25. “The Daughters of John Demetrius” by Joe Pitkin (Analog, October 2015)
  26. “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire (Future Visions, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media)
  27. “Capitalism in the 22nd Century” by Geoff Ryman (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  28. “Ice” by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld, October 2015, read it here)
  29. “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson (Clarkesworld, February 2015, read it here)
  30. “In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon” by Michael F. Flynn (Mission: Tomorrow, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt)
  31. “The First Gate of Logic” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  32. “Billy Tumult” by Nick Harkaway (Stories for Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)
  33. “No Placeholder for You, My Love” by Nick Wolven (Asimov's, August 2015)
  34. “The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link (Strange Horizons, October 2015, read it here)
  35. “A Stopped Clock” by Madeline Ashby (Atlantic Council's War Stories from the Future, read it here in PDF)
  36. “Citadel of Weeping Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov's, October/November 2015)

There's a lot that could be said about these lists: where they agree and disagree, which publications the editors found to have the best work, etc. For now I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. I will mention that these lists make excellent preparation for people who vote for the Hugo Awards ...

The Hugo Award nominations are now open
Yes, from now until March 31, the Hugo nominations are open to members of the World Science Fiction Convention. In order to vote you need to be a member of last year's (Spokane), this year's (Kansas City), or next year's (Helsinki) convention.

Related link:
The Hugo Award nominations ballot