Wednesday, September 22, 2010

EV Shirts

Not sure if you knew this or not (I didn't), but that awesome 'zine Electric Velocipede does more than offer great fiction, it also offers shirts and mugs, which I think is pretty cool. 

Great way to show some support while getting some stuff not everyone on the block has, and, actually, I rather like a couple of those shirts.  Might need to order me one.

Oh, and go read Electric Velocipede.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Melanie Rawn, The Diviner

And, in news I've rather happy about, Melanie Rawn has announced a publication date for The Diviner: June 2011.  Actually, she announced it a month ago, and there's another post on her message board saying August 2011, but that Rawn is actually talking publication dates is an EXCELLENT sign. 

Don't know what in the world I'm talking about?  Have you heard of The Golden Key, written by Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott, and published back in the 90's? I would point you to my blog post covering the book, but it's been fifteen years since I read it.  Maybe longer.  Here's a review from Catherine Asaro from back in 1997.

The Golden Key was fantastic, people.  After it was published there was talk about sequels and prequels that would be individually written by the three co-authors.  The first one, the one that sets the stage and gives the other authors what they need to do their work was Melanie Rawn's The Diviner.  Without it, Roberson and Elliott can't continue. 

We're getting The Diviner next year!!!!!!

It's time for a re-read of The Golden Key, I think.

Oh, and there's artwork


some Eclipse Four info

Jonathan Strahan posted a little bit of info about the forthcoming (Spring 2011) publication of Eclipse Four

I don't want to overquote, so here's a tease and then go read the rest over at Strahan's post.  

The third volume was different again. Responding to the criticism the series had received, I cast my net wider and ultimately I think produced a better book. It’s less centre-of-genre in many ways, but has a consistent feel to it and an overall high quality of stories that helped make it the most successful volume, critically and commercially, so far.
Given that it’s also the one I’m happiest with overall, my intention is to very much continue the series as a follow-on from Eclipse Three. The volume I’m working on now, Eclipse Four, is intended to be a direct follow-on from that book. It will feature some of the same writers, and hopefully will feel similar to Three.
Oh, and Strahan also reveals that Eclipse Four will include a story from the wonderful Emma Bull. 

Can't wait!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Clash of the Geeks: A Chapbook for Charity

Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi and Subterranean Press are proud to announce the publication of Clash of the Geeks, a special and fantastical electronic chapbook featuring stories by Wheaton, Scalzi, New York Times bestseller Patrick Rothfuss, Norton Award winner and Hugo Best Novel nominee Catherynne M. Valente, Hugo and Nebula Award nominee Rachel Swirsky and others, for the benefit of the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America. The chapbook is free to download, but voluntary payment is strongly encouraged, via Paypal or by tax-deductible donation forms, both linked to later in this entry. All proceeds from this chapbook will go to the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America. Please enjoy the stories, link your friends to this page — and give!

I heard about this via Subterranean Press, and it's a cool thing these folks are doing. 

From the perspective of the reader, a lineup that includes Scalzi, Rothfuss, Valente, and Swirsky is fantastic.  You WANT this chapbook.  That all the proceeds go to charity only makes this cooler.  You'll get some quality fiction and help out some folks.

For more details, go to the official page here.  Then, download the chapbook and donate some dollars. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shadow Unit

Might I take a moment to ask you a question?

Are you reading Shadow Unit?

Might I ask you another?

If you're not, why the hell not? 

Shadow Unit is a science fictional story about a group of unrealistically sexy FBI agents struggling to protect humanity from the worst monsters imaginable. Except some of our heroes may be on the road to becoming monsters themselves....

Shadow Unit is one of my favorite fictional things, ever.  The above description works well, but my elevator pitch is "X-Files meets Criminal Minds, except the monsters are human". 

It's a web series comprised of short stories, novellas, and short novels.  Shadow Unit is released like a television show.  There are seasons and episodes.  We're currently in the middle of Season Three, but if you wanted a place to start, might I recommend the very first episode, "Breathe", written by Emma Bull?

The writers of Shadow Unit are Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette, Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Chelsea Polk, and Holly Black

The best thing for readers: IT'S ALL FREE.  Really.  Professional quality fiction from award winning writers, free.  Shadow Unit is run on the donation model, so if you like what you see and you have a couple of extra shekels, maybe throw some in the hat. 

So.  Shadow Unit

Read it. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Forthcoming 2010: Q4

This is a couple of months late, but, welcome to the latest installment of "Stuff I'm Looking Forward To This Year". As always, I take my information from the Locus Forthcoming list, plus a little bit of extra research when I'm aware of things that should be on the Locus list and are not.

Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest: Book of the month, right here. Dreadnought is Priest’s follow up to the quite excellent Boneshaker (review) (and also to Clementine) and I honestly don’t care what it is about – it’s a new novel from Cherie Priest. That it is a new Clockwork Century novel only sweetens the deal.

Ventriloquism, by Catherynne M. Valente: This is a collection from PS Publishing and I think the Locus list isn’t accurate and that it may be published in December. Cat Valente is good, and even though this may be a touch difficult to get on my side of the pond, it’s worth looking into. PS does good work.

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld: The sequel to Leviathan (review), the 2009 offering from Scott Westerfeld. It’s new Westerfeld, what more do you need?

The Way of the Wizard, by John Joseph Adams: I’ll admit to being slack on reading JJA’s last couple of anthologies (the vampire one and the Sherlock Holmes one), but I tend to like his editorial eye for the anthologies of his I have read. I expect good things.

Gilded Latten Bones, by Glen Cook: The new Garrett PI novel. I’m waaaaay behind on this series, only having recently read Red Iron Nights, but this is just encouragement to keep going.

Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson: Book of the Month. New Wheel of Time. Sanderson was very much on his game with The Gathering Storm (review) and I expect the penultimate book of the series to exceed my high expectations.

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King: A novella anthology from King. I prefer him in the short form as his recent novels haven’t been all that (haven’t read Under the Dome, though)

Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal, by Joe R. Lansdale: While I wait for a third Ned the Seal novella, here is a collection of the two previous novellas. Review and Review. Love this stuff.

Holiday, by M. Rickert: Story collection. Been waiting on this one for a couple of years.

The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne M. Valente: The first in a new series from Valente.

Deadman’s Road, by Joe R. Lansdale: After a very stacked November, there’s not much in December I’m itching for. But this collection of stories (including the short novel Dead in the West - review) featuring the zombie killing preacher is just too good to pass up.

Friday, September 10, 2010

new swirsky

I haven't read this yet, but there's a new story from Rachel Swirsky up on "The Monster's Million Faces".  Since Swirsky brings the excellence on a regular basis, I thought you might like to know.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


I don't really have a post in me talking about Steven Brust's Phoenix, which is another excellent entry in his Vlad Taltos series.

But, because I want to acknowledge its excellence - I point you to Jo Walton and her post over at from last year

Actual Reviews


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ark, by Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter
Roc: 2010

Damn, I’ve been meaning to write about this book for a while now. Ark is Stephen Baxter’s quasi-sequel to his excellent novel Flood (review). I say “quasi-sequel” because much of Ark runs concurrent to the events of Flood, just in different locations. There is some overlap with characters and major events, but not from the same perspectives.

The premise of Flood, if not guessed from the title, is that for whatever reason the ocean waters begin to rise and rise and rise above their current levels. Now, this may spoil some of the events of Flood, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, please put this blog post down and run, don’t walk, to the nearest copy of Flood and start reading immediately. It’s a wonderful book, so I won’t blame you. Just come back when you’re done. Okay. Now that you’re back, don’t care if you’re going to be spoiled, or are comfortable with a brief refresher, let’s move on. Flood is a novel of a global catastrophe on a scale that boggles the mind if people not named Stephen Baxter think about it for too long. The central cast of characters of Flood are focused on survival for themselves and for a remnant of humanity – on something called Ark Three, which can be described in the grossest of terms as a “giant raft” – a way to survive on the surface of the ocean when there is no land left. Can it be built? Will it work? The novel answers both.

As can be guessed by its name, Ark Three is one of a number of projects to save as many people as possible (a “select” many people, but people all the same). What about Ark One and Two?

Ark, the novel, is the story of the building, training, and mission of Ark One – a mission of sending a colony to the stars, so that even if life is extinguished on Earth, humanity will survive somewhere.

Ark features and references many of the same characters of Flood, but shifts the focus differently. Characters who stay behind on Earth, like Lily Brooke and Thandie Jones are not major players here. They are referenced by the children, like Grace, but the novel focuses more on the next generation – the would-be crew of Ark One.

Also, Ark prominently features the actual space mission and that lends a very different tenor to the novel.

So, while Ark could arguably be described as the sequel to Flood, it is more thematically a sister novel. Ark deals with much of the same stuff, the same issues, fears, and hopes, but it does so differently. Stephen Baxter understands that the initial discovery and wonder of how high the sea will rise and what it means for humanity just isn’t there this time around. Readers know what happens to the world and to the characters. Baxter plays with that sense of inevitability and doom that hangs over Earth and shows what else was happening, what other events were occurring that demonstrate humanity’s capacity for survival. The story of Ark is in the quiet moments during global destruction.

In a very real sense, Flood and Ark are hopeful novels. The promise implicit in Baxter’s story is that humanity will ever strive to survive as a species, and even in the most impossible conditions that have eliminated so much life, a remnant will adapt and survive and find a new way to persevere. Ultimately, it is a beautiful sentiment if one can get past the billions who have perished.

Though it is a very different sort of novel from the excellent Flood, Ark is a very welcome and able companion novel.  Ark does not have the same sort of awestruck wonder at the looming and encroaching disaster, but it is moving and wonderful all the same.

Monday, September 06, 2010

2010 Hugo Award Nomination List

This is the same PDF that has the voting breakdown, but scroll down and you'll get a list of works nominated in each category.  This isn't as complete or detailed a list as we got last year when the nominations were disclosed all the way down to 5 votes, but this is always interesting to me. 

What we get to see here is just how few votes it really takes to push a work that missed the ballot onto the final ballot.  Which goes to say, if you feel that nominating and voting for the Hugo Awards is worth a $50 supporting membership, and you are passionate about the works...there is an excellent opportunity to influence which works are recognized.

I am not listing out everything on the PDF in each category (that's what the file is for), but for the major fiction categories I will.

The works in bold were on my ballot.

142 The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (20.3%)
105 The City & The City, China Mieville (15%)
100 WWW: Wake, Robert J. Sawyer (14.3%)
77 Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (11%)
62 Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (8.9%)
62 Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (8.9%)

Just Missed
53 Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (7.6%)
49 This Is Not a Game, Walter Jon Williams (7%)
49 Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (7%)
45 Galileo's Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (6.4%)
42 Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (6%)
40 Makers, Cory Doctorow (5.7%)
40 The Sunless Countries, Karl Schroeder (5.7%)
37 Lifelode, Jo Walton (5.3%)
35 The Price of Spring, Daniel Abraham (5%)
32 Empress of Mars, Kage Baker (4.6%)
32 House of Suns, Alastair Reynolds (4.6%)
29 Green, Jay Lake (4.1%)
27 Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (3.9%)
24 Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire (3.4%)
24 Transition, Iain M. Banks (3.4%)
23 The Quiet War, Paul McAuley (3.3%)
22 The Magicians, Lev Grossman (3.1%)
22 Yellow Blue Tibia, Adam Roberts (3.1%)
21 Liar, Justine Larbalestier (3%)
21 Regenesis, C.J. Cherryh (3%)

This is everything listed for the novel, actually.  10 votes puts Leviathan on the ballot.  I'm also glad Finch got solid love. 

79 The God Engines, John Scalzi (21.1%)
66 Act One, Nancy Kress (17.6%)
56 Palimpsest, Charles Stross (14.9%)
51 Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (13.6%)
51 The Women of Nell Gwynne's, Kage Baker (13.6%)
51 Vishnu at the Cat Circus, Ian McDonald (13.6%)

Just Missed
46 Wives, Paul Haines (12.3%)
27 The Spires of Denon, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (7.2%)
24 Sea-Hearts, Margo Lanagan (6.4%)
20 Broken Windchimes, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (5.3%)
20 Shaka II, Mike Resnick (5.3%)
19 Horn, Peter M Ball (5.1%)
18 Hot Rock, Greg Egan (4.8%)
16 Earth II, Stephen Baxter (4.3%)
16 Paradiso Lost, Albert E. Cowdrey (4.3%)
16 Sublimation Angels, Jason Sanford (4.3%)
15 Where the Winds Are All Asleep, Michael F. Flynn (4%)
14 Crimes and Glory, Paul McAuley (3.7%)
14 The Far End of History, John C Wright (3.7%)
11 Halloween Town, Lucius Shepard (2.9%)
11 Sugar, Leah Bobet (2.9%)

Five more votes, and "Wives" gets a tie and is on the ballot.  Six votes, and there's no question.  The reason why I posted the full nomination list for this category, though, is "Sugar", by Leah Bobet.  One, it was on my ballot.  Two, Shadow Unit!

52 Overtime, Charles Stross (12.9%)
51 The Island, Peter Watts (12.7%)
38 Eros, Philia, Agape, Rachel Swirsky (9.5%)
38 It Takes Two, Nicola Griffith (9.5%)

38 One of Our Bastards is Missing, Paul Cornell (9.5%)
38 Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast, Eugie Foster (9.5%)

Just Missed
30 First Flight, Mary Robinette Kowal (7.5%)
30 Soulmates, Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn (7.5%)
26 Utriusque Cosmi, Robert Charles Wilson (6.5%)
26 Zeppelin City, Eileen Gunn and Michael Swanwick (6.5%)
23 A Memory of Wind, Rachel Swirsky (5.7%)
19 This Peaceable Land; or, the Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Robert Charles Wilson (4.7%)
16 But It Does Move, Harry Turtledove (4%)
16 Economancer, Carolyn Ives Gilman (4%)
16 Lion Walk, Mary Rosenblum (4%)
15 Controlled Experiment, Tom Purdom (3.7%)
15 This Wind Blowing, and This Tide, Damien Broderick (3.7%)
14 Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance, John Kessel (3.5%)
14 Truth and Bone, Pat Cadigan (3.5%)
13 Galapagos, Caitlin R. Kiernan (3.2%)
12 A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc; or, A Lullaby, Helen Keeble (3%)
12 Inevitable, Sean Williams (3%)
12 Siren Beat, Tansy Rayner Roberts (3%)
12 The Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon, Ken Scholes (3%)

Lots of ties going on here.  And, ahh!  Less than 10 votes and Mary Robinette Kowal would be on the ballot!

Short Story
59 Spar, Kij Johnson (13.7%)
37 The Bride of Frankenstein, Mike Resnick (8.6%)
31 Non-Zero Probabilities, N.K. Jemisin (7.2%)
25 The Moment, Lawrence M. Schoen (5.8%)
23 Bridesicle, Will McIntosh (5.3%)

Just Missed
20 Going Deep, James Patrick Kelly (4.6%)
17 Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction, Jo Walton (3.9%)
16 Before my Last Breath, Robert Reed (3.7%)
16 The Pelican Bar, Karen joy Fowler (3.7%)
16 Useless Things, Maureen F. McHugh (3.7%)
15 The Receivers, Alastair Reynolds (3.5%)
14 Blocked, Geoff Ryman (3.2%)
14 Donovan Sent Us, Gene Wolfe (3.2%)
12 Benchwarmer, Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn (2.8%)
11 A Story, With Beans, Steven Gould (2.5%)
11 As Women Fight, Sara Genge (2.5%)
11 Elan Vital, K. Tempest Bradford (2.5%)
11 The Consciousness Problem, Mary Robinette Kowal (2.5%)
11 The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew, Catherynne M. Valente (2.5%)
10 Butterfly Bomb, Dominic Green (2.3%)
10 Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela, Saladin Ahmed (2.3%)
10 To Go Boldly, Cory Doctorow (2.3%)

Four votes, and James Patrick Kelly is on the ballot.  That's why nominating is important.

It gets even tighter in Best Graphic Story.  One vote separated "on the ballot" from "not on the ballot".  One.  Same with Best Editor, Long Form, and Fan Writer.

Good to see Niall Harrison and Abigail Nussbaum get solid votes for Fan Writer, and SF Signal and Torque Control get Fanzine votes.  I don't know if it'll happen in the next five years, but I think we're probably not too far away from when blogs, websites, and podcasts (StarShipSofa for the WIN) will dominate the Fanzine category and the older model of what a "fanzine" used to be will start to slip away.  Maybe because I have never been part of the fanzine crowd, but I don't see quite the same value and relevance of the traditional fanzine today.

2010 Hugo Award Voting Breakdown

The voting breakdown for the 2010 Hugo Awards is available here.  Actually, the nominating breakdown is also on that same PDF, but I want to do a separate post for that.

For those keeping score at home, here are last year's results.

Novel (875 Ballots): I am completely fascinated by just how even the votes were between The City & The City and The Windup Girl.  I think you're more likely to see a work with fewer first place votes win the award than you are to see a dead heat rundown like this.  Alas, Boneshaker did not win.  I was really pulling for the awesome Cherie Priest (she was first on my ballot, but only 78 others).

I wrote this last year, but I think it bears repeating:
I've seen Kevin Standlee explain this before, but it takes a while for the math to sink in. I believe the winner has to have the majority of all votes cast and if that doesn't happen in the first round, the work with the lowest votes is dropped, the votes are redistributed, and it repeats until there is a winner. Something like that. This allows the winners to be more of a consensus pick, the work that most of the ballots felt was the strongest rather than necessarily being the work the most people gave first place votes to in the first round.

Novella (792 Ballots):  You know what I said about the "fewer first place votes" earlier?  Yeah.  The God Engines had the most first place votes, but not a majority.  As the rundown occurred, it just didn't have enough overall love to carry it through.  Shame. 

Novelette (775 Ballots): I honestly didn't feel "The Island" the same way that the voters did, but from everything I've heard, Peter Watts is a class act and he's had a rough year.  So how can you hate on that?  You can't, that's how.  Griffith and Swirsky were the class of the field, though.

Short Story (812 Ballots)

Campbell (544 Ballots)

What I find intensely interesting is that even though I remember hearing that there were more nominations this year, the actual voting isn't all that different from last year.  More people voting in some categories, less in others.  I think an expanding nominating pool is wonderful, but we should also find a way to expand the voting pool.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

2010 Hugo Award Winners

Via N. K. Jemisin at John Scalzi's Whatever
and via The Hugo Awards website

Since Worldcon is in Australia this year, the Hugo Awards were given out at something like 5:00 AM this morning, American time.  Time Zone dependent.  I certainly didn't stay up for that, but eagerly searched out the winners this morning - as if it were Christmas.  

  • Best Novel: TIE: The City & The City, China MiĆ©ville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK); The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
  • Best Novella: “Palimpsest”, Charles Stross (Wireless; Ace, Orbit)
  • Best Novelette: “The Island”, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2; Eos)
  • Best Short Story: “Bridesicle”, Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
  • Best Related Book: This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
  • Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; Art by Phil Foglio; Colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by Duncan Jones (Liberty Films)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who: “The Waters of Mars” Written by Russell T Davies & Phil Ford; Directed by Graeme Harper (BBC Wales)
  • Best Editor Short Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Best Editor Long Form: Ellen Datlow
  • Best Professional Artist: Shaun Tan
  • Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, & Cheryl Morgan
  • Best Fan Writer: Frederik Pohl
  • Best Fanzine: StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith
  • Best Fan Artist: Brad W. Foster
And the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (presented by Dell Magazines): Seanan McGuire

Congratulations to all the winners!  

And, for those keeping score at home - this is how I voted.  I called three of them as my top choice.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Return of Detective Inspector Chen

Via Fantasy Book Critic

Some good news has come out of the mess with Night Shade Books: Liz Williams has found a new home for the Detective Inspector Chen series

Iron Khan and Morningstar will be published by Morrigan Books

Excellent news!  I've rather enjoyed this series and while I have an ARC of Iron Khan from Night Shade, I wondered if the novel would ever be published.  I also wonder if there will be any changes between the Night Shade edition and the Morrigan edition. 

Iron Khan is due out this December.  You'll want to look for it.