Tuesday, February 28, 2012

19 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

This is the fifth time I've attempted to put together a list of the books I am most looking forward to in the coming year.  I'm a little bit late on this one, but here you go. 

This is the first year I’ve posted one of these lists without including either a Wheel of Time novel or a George R. R. Martin book. Of course, the only reason for this is that A Memory of Light was pushed back from November 2012 to January 2013. But there it is. On the plus side, we’ve still got some Scott Lynch to look forward to. Maybe. 

More or less in order.  Sort of.

1. Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch: Oh, Gentleman Bastards, how I would like to read more of you. And yet, my real desire is for Scott Lynch’s health and well being. Take care of yourself, Scott. The book will come when it does.

2. Caine’s Law, by Matthew Stover (April): How in the world did I not know this was coming until just now? It’s a new Caine novel! You know, Heroes Die, Blade of Tyshalle, and Caine Black Knife. asskicking awesome fantasy/ sci-fi blend. The usual stuff that you simply must read.

3. Range of Ghosts, by Elizabeth Bear (March): New Fantasy Series. Elizabeth Bear. I am there.

4. Touchstone, by Melanie Rawn (February): I have such high hopes for this book. Rawn is the author of the excellent Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies, but after beginning (and not finishing) her Exiles trilogy, Rawn took a long time off (for a very good reason), but returned to write two books in a now cancelled paranormal romance series. This (along with last year’s Golden Key prequel) marks her return to a more traditional epic fantasy series. Can’t wait!

5. The Coldest War, by Ian Tregillis (July): It’s about time that Tor got their stuff together and finally published this second volume of the Milkweed Triptych. Bitter Seeds was an excellent debut and The Coldest War had been on the shelf for waaaay too long.

6. Redshirts, by John Scalzi (June): New Scalzi.

7. Kitty Steals the Show, by Carrie Vaughn (August): Compulsively readable, Vaughn’s Kitty Norville novels are the ultimate summer crack. This is the 10th Kitty novel and Vaughn shows no sign of losing steam.

8. Arctic Rising, by Tobias Buckell (February): I’ve long been a fan of Buckell’s Xenowealth sequence and while he’s taken off quite a bit of time from that, here he delivers a near future climate-change novel.

9. Existence, by David Brin (July): New Brin! This sounds like it has touches of what made Earth such a cool and prescient novel.

10. ad eternum, by Elizabeth Bear (March): This is, presumably, the final Abby Irene novella from Bear.  I shall miss them.

11. Glamour in Glass, by Mary Robinette Kowal (April): It’s a mark of Kowal’s skill that I’m looking forward to the sequel to a book that could reasonably be pitched as “Jane Austen with magic”.

12. Wake of the Bloody Angel, by Alex Bledsoe (July): New Eddie LaCrosse novel.

13. Red Country, by Joe Abercrombie (November):Another tale told in the world of The First Law. All I really ask for is for some face-in-the-mud unpleasantness and battles as told with the evil snark of Joe Abercrombie. Is that too much to ask for? I don’t think that it is.

14. Inexplicable, by Cherie Priest (Fall): The fourth Clockwork Century novel. I need to read Ganymede, but more Cherie Priest is always a good thing.

15. Lowball, by George R. R. Martin (editor): I still need to catch up on Fort Freak and Books 9 – 17, but a new Wild Cards volume is a happy day for me.

16. Eclipse Five, by Jonathan Strahan (May): Strahan’s name on an anthology is enough to make me take a second look, but his Eclipse volumes are an automatic purchase. It’s a fantastic original anthology series and what I like best is that it’s unthemed.

17. Boneyards, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (January): I loved Diving into the Wreck and then somehow managed to not read City of Ruins (the sequel). Here is book three. I’d better get cracking.

18. Devils’s Wake, by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due: It’s an apocalyptic novel with aliens. And zombies, of sorts. I’m down with that.

19. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, by Nancy Kress (April): I tend to enjoy what Nancy Kress writes and here you’ve got some interesting combination of a post apocalyptic world, aliens, and time travel.

I could probably make another list or three of all the books I'm looking forward to.  Here, I've mostly stuck with the SFF genre.  Step outside of the genre, and the list will grow exponentially.

So.  What do YOU want to read this year?

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Eyed Jacks

This is more of an acknowledgment than anything else. I read One Eyed Jacks over the summer and since I plan to start stepping back into the Wild Cards series, I want to at least mention this volume of one of my favorite series. You can also consider this part of my occasional posts covering what I read while in Texas. Very occasional posts, at that.

One Eyed Jacks is the eighth (out of 21, so far) novel in George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards shared world milieu. Sadly, it is one of the least successful so far. While each book has something I don't care about (like the Ti Malice storyline of Down and Dirty), most are strengthened by some aspect that I adore. One Eyed Jacks is missing that bit of specialness.  Plus, One Eyed Jacks has more Tachyon and Blaise (not a good thing in my book). Also, jumpers. The jumpers are a group of aces who can “jump” their consciousness into the bodies of other people and completely take them over. Conceptually, it’s a fascinating idea because if you consider that they can also take over other aces and the accompanying powers, there’s a lot of damage these little bastards can do with minimal personal repercussions.

Thing is, there are repercussions because when the jumpers pick on the wrong aces or the wrong people, somebody is going to come looking for answers. In this case, Blaise. Yes, that damned Blaise – the sociopathic son of Dr. Tachyon and who perpetually has storylines I find intensely uninteresting. I’m sure others take nasty delight in the appearance of any Blaise storyline. Wild Cards has plenty to offer. While I enjoyed how aspects of the Jumper / Blaise story resolved, it’s just more Blaise with the suggestion that he will continue to take a prominent role in the coming volumes.

Other storylines in the novel feature Jerry Strauss, once The Projectionist who was trapped in the body of a giant ape, now Mr. Nobody, working as something of a private investigator in love with his brother’s wife; Dr. Tachyon’s new chief surgeon Dr. Cody Havero; and The Oddity. Stephen Leigh’s Oddity story “Sixteen Candles” is a poignant and painful story. It’s also damn good.

While I want to see how the jumper concept works itself out, One Eyed Jacks did not have me clamoring to pick up Jokertown Shuffle to get the next installment of the story.

Despite this, Wild Cards remains an impressive achievement of shared world collaboration. George R. R. Martin has done well to keep it going over the years, even if there is the occasional dip in quality. If you’re looking for a starting point for the series and shudder at the thought at starting with the first book and slogging through twenty more volumes, start with Inside Straight. It may be the eighteenth volume, but it serves as a reintroduction to the world with a new cast of characters and new story arcs. I highly recommend it (and the whole series).

Previous Wild Cards Reviews:
Wild Cards (bk 1)
Aces High (bk 2)
Jokers Wild (bk 3)
Aces Abroad (bk 4)
Down and Dirty (bk 5)
Ace in the Hole (bk 6)
Inside Straight (bk 18) 
Busted Flush (bk 19)

Friday, February 24, 2012

One Eyed Jack and the Suicide King: Sold!!!

Here's a hearty congratulations to Elizabeth Bear.  Her now forthcoming novel One Eyed Jack and the Suicide King has been sold to Prime Books and is tentatively slated for publication sometime in 2013.

Y'all, I don't think I can express how friggin excited I am by this news.  Now, you all know I like me some Bear.  This is understood. But, I love me some Promethean AgeOne Eyed Jack and the Suicide King is the fifth volume in Bear's Promethean Age series, which we have neither seen nor heard a peep of since 2008 as Roc, the previous publisher, declined to buy any more of these damned wonderful fantastic novels.

From Bear's livejournal, she writes

I should mention that this book takes place between Blood & Iron and Whiskey & Water, except the bits that take place long before either, and it's on the opposite coast. So it totally functions as a stand-alone novel.

Waaaay back in 2007, Subterranean Press published an excerpt.  Go take a gander.  

Can't. Friggin. Wait.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ken Liu's Sense of Wonder

Ken Liu is interviewed over at the Sense of Wonder blog.  Go check it out. 

I can't really turn around these days without running up against something about Liu.  It's not a bad thing.  He's already published several stories this year.  I'm holding off on those until I get closer to being done with the reading for my Hugo ballot.  By that point I expect another handful of Liu to be in the world.  The last year has been intensively prolific. Read him.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2011 Nebula Award Nominees

Via SF Signal

The nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards have been announced by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association.

  • Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Embassytown, China MiĆ©ville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
  • Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
  • God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK) 

  • Kiss Me Twice” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2011)
  • Silently and Very Fast” by Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011)
  • “The Ice Owl” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
  • “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011)
  • The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing)
  • “With Unclean Hands” by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011) 

  • Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4, Night Shade Books)
  • “Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011)
  • Sauerkraut Station” by Ferrett Steinmetz (Giganotosaurus, November 2011)
  • Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com, June 2011)
  • The Migratory Pattern of Dancers” by Katherine Sparrow (Giganotosaurus, July 2011)
  • The Old Equations” by Jake Kerr (Lightspeed Magazine, July 2011)
  • “What We Found” by Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011) 

Short Story

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal) 

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book
  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking Juvenile)
  • Chime, Franny Billingsley (Dial Books; Bloomsbury)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • The Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
  • The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books)
  • Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Orchard Books; Carolrhoda Books) 

Congratulations to all of the nominees,  but I would like to give extra attention to Mary Robinette Kowal, Rachel Swirsky, Genevieve Valentine, Ken Liu, Katherine Sparrow, E Lily Yu, Charlie Jane Anders, and Aliette de Bodard. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Changes at Strange Horizons

Though it may have been a couple of years since I've read Strange Horizons on a regular basis, but I wanted to note the changing of the guard over there.  Susan Marie Groppi, the long time fiction editor, is stepping down

Under her guidance, Strange Horizons has been nominated for the Hugo and Groppi herself was recognized with a World Fantasy Award.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Missing: 2011

I posted a similar list last year, and I think it is worth posting a number of the books I didn't read in 2011.  Now, the actual list is absurdly long, but this is a decent representation of books I would have liked to have read and, for various reasons, never did.

For the sake of keeping this list manageable, I limited it to genre books.  If I browsed through listings of LitFic and Nonfiction, well, the list would be absurd. 

The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie
The Dragon's Path, by Daniel Abraham
Daybreak Zero, by John Barnes
The Mostly True Story of Jack, by Kelly Barnhill
Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey
The Sacred Band, by David Anthony Durham
Raising Stony Mayhall, by Daryl Gregory
The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
God's War, by Kameron Hurley
The Kingdom of Gods, by N. K. Jemisin
11/22/63, by Stephen King
Of Blood and Honey, by Stina Leicht
A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin
Soft Apocalypse, by Will McIntosh
Embassytown, by China Mieville
The Tempering of Men, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
The Cold Commands, by Richard K. Morgan
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht
Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor
Ganymede, by Cherie Priest
The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi
The Diviner, by Melanie Rawn
City of Ruins, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson
Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi
Eclipse Four, by Jonathan Strahan
Osama, by Lavie Tidhar
Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente
The Folded World, by Catherynne M. Valente
Zone One, by Colson Whitehead

And, finally, pretty much every awesome book published by Pyr and Night Shade Books.

Since I’ve posted this list almost two months later than usual, I have read Fuzzy Nation and The Heroes.  I’ve begun The Sacred Band and have God’s War and Soft Apocalypse at home from the library.  I own copies of Daybreak Zero, The Mostly True Story of Jack, A Dance With Dragons, The Tempering of Men, Ganymede, The Diviner, The Allow of Law, Eclipse Four, and Deathless.  None of this helps me consider these novels for the best I read last year. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Memory of Light Publication Date

If I had a 2013 calendar, it would be marked.  January 8, 2013.  A Memory of Light. 

I understand that there are individuals unhappy that the novel is being pushed back from Autumn 2012 to January 2013.  That’s right, people are complaining on the internet.  This is not one of those posts.  This is an expression of happiness and relief that I will be reading A Memory of Light in less than twelve months and that it will be given sufficient time to ensure that the novel is the best that it can possibly be.  Isn’t that what should be important*? 

January 15, 1990 – January 8, 2013

From start to finish, The Wheel of Time will have taken almost twenty three years to complete.  Longer, if you count the time Robert Jordan spent writing The Eye of the World before it was published.  But, let’s just go with 23 years based on publication date.

I started reading the series in 1993 when The Fires of Heaven was just being published.  I was fourteen years old.  I will be two months from my thirty fourth birthday when A Memory of Light is published.  Except for the most recent two novels, I have read and re-read each book in the series multiple times, more than that if we’re just talking about the first four.  I have shook my fist wondering who really did kill Asmodean and I have joked that Bela is actually the Creator.  I have marveled at The Cleansing, and been awestruck in wonder at the scenes of Rand going through the arches at Rhuidean.  I’ve dreamed of new trips through the Portal Stones and grew to appreciate Egwene’s handling of her captivity as one of the strongest storylines in the entire series. 

There is no pretending that I am at all neutral in how I feel about The Wheel of Time.  I am an unabashed fan.  Though I may have grumbled at the pacing in some of those middle / late novels, I was still right there on publication day picking up my copy and reading the book a second and third time.  Robert Jordan’s passing was heartbreaking and given my love of the series, I was okay if the last novels were never published if the man himself wasn’t around to write them.  I was apprehensive about how Brandon would do in finishing the series and relieved when I saw how good of a job Sanderson did. 

So the publication date has been bounced a couple of months from an expected October / November publication date?  I’ve been invested in this world for twenty years.  What’s two more months to get the book right, to nail the ending and ensure that we get the conclusion we’ve hoped for and that Robert Jordan’s series deserves? 

I want to be able to turn that last page, exhale, and whisper a thank you to Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Harriet, and everyone involved in making The Wheel of Time happen for those twenty three years.  Not just for ending it well, but for that first introduction to Lews Therin and Dragonmount to that last coda to A Memory of Light.  For the twenty years of enjoyment those books have given me.  But to do that, I think it matters that sufficient time is given to getting that last book right.  Two more months?  Take four. 

*Yes, I know that we can apply this argument to a wide variety of much delayed novels that readers have been anticipating for years.  I’m not going there right now.  We’ve blown the original expected publication date by maybe four months?  (Well, maybe a year and four months when it was announced we weren’t getting a 2011 release of AMOL) Brandon has done one hell of a job pushing out these three novels in a four year span and he’s kept a high level of quality.  Brandon and I?  We’re totally cool. 

The Top Nine Books Published in 2011

This list is so very late, to the point that someone else might consider not even posting it.  But hey, I like my lists.  I still have at least two more for last year that I want to post (one is a list of books that I didn't read.  The list is long, but distinguished...).  I'll try to get that one done before June.  That's a joke. 

As I’ve mentioned previously, compared to other years, the list of books I read last year is fairly thin. I wasn’t able to read as widely or deeply as I have in the past and the volume of new releases was greatly diminished. This does not take away from the quality of novels on this list, though. Had I read everything I wanted to, I believe a significant portion of this list would remain in place.

Some people do a top ten list, others do a top eleven, yet others may only do five. My list is 9 books long. Why? Partly to be a little bit different and partly because I want the tenth spot on my list to be reserved for that really great book which I simply did not get the chance to read during 2011. That really great book may also be something I have only heard whispers about and I may not discover for several more years. Whatever that tenth great book is, I’m holding a spot for it on my list.

This Top Nine List is more or less in order. Ask me tomorrow and some titles may shift around a little bit. Whichever order the list is in, these are the nine novels published in 2011 which I feel were the strongest titles of the year, popularity be damned.

1. Among Others, by Jo Walton: Among Others is a novel which perfectly captures the childhood of a fifteen year old who is at a new school, feels isolated, and finds solace in the worlds and magic of books. There are hints and echoes of magic in the novel for the protagonist, Morwenna, but the real magic is in the story itself – that depiction of a childhood filled with the discovery of new worlds and how liberating that was, even as those school days are less inviting.

2. The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear: Oh, Bear, why must you continue to crush my heart? I wouldn’t have it any other way and the way you crush me time and again is a major reason why I keep coming back, but damn.

3. Mechanique, by Genevieve Valentine: I rather liked this strange tale of a traveling circus in a post apocalyptic, steampunk, slightly magical world. While this may seem like an odd thing to single out, but what I appreciated about Valentine’s writing was her use of repetition for effect. Every now and then, there was a phrase or an image or something that was repeated and it was more than just a stylistic quirk. It helped build the tone of the narrative and a piece of the world. Mechanique is Valentine’s first novel and I hope for many more.

4. Grail, by Elizabeth Bear: More Bear is always a good thing. Here she concludes the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy of a generation ship finally arriving at a home planet only to find another tribe of humanity already there with their own particular culture in place. Except that is a gross simplification of the complexity of Bear’s work and the shape of life and post-humans on the ship. In introducing sections on the humans on Fortune, the novel loses a bit of the claustrophobic tightness of Dust and Chill, but as a whole, Grail still satisfies.

5. Harbinger of the Storm, by Aliette de Bodard: One of the cooler bookish things I’ve discovered in the last couple of years is Aliette de Bodard’s Obsidian and Blood series. Aztec Murder Mysteries, with blood magic. Harbinger of the Storm is the second of three (so far, I hope) novels. They follow Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead, as he is pushed to investigate murders touching the highest levels of the empire. It’s good, interesting, and fresh.

6. Dark Jenny, by Alex Bledsoe: If you’re not reading Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse novels then you are missing out on some excellent sword and sorcery disguised as an old school private eye novel. If you’ve read Glen Cook’s Garrett PI books, you have an idea what to expect (if you haven’t, you should). Eddie LaCrosse is a “sword jockey” and a self-aware wisecracking investigator with a heart for the dames. Dark Jenny touches upon the Arthurian legends and is just a damn good read.

7. Bloodshot, by Cherie Priest: The first of the Cheshire Red novels, Bloodshot tells a different sort of vampire story. Raylene Pendle is a high end thief, stealing rare art and jewels. She is also a vampire. Bloodshot is chock full of government conspiracy, a drag queen, the supernatural, and a healthy amount of action. While I don’t think this quite measures up to her Clockwork Century novels (or the Eden Moore books), Bloodshot is still worth checking out.

8. Kitty’s Big Trouble, by Carrie Vaughn: It starts with some historical research on whether or not General William Tecumseh Sherman was a werewolf, touches on the possibility of Wyatt Earp as a vampire hunter, and then moves on to the larger story arc Vaughn has been teasing for much of this series: that of the “Long Game” played by Roman. Vaughn takes Kitty to San Francisco, introduces readers to yet more aspects of the supernatural (if some of it is true, why not all of it?), and as always, tells a heck of a good story. The Kitty Norville novels are like summer crack.

9. Kitty’s Greatest Hits, by Carrie Vaughn: While the Kitty Norville series stands on its own as complete novels that tell the full and necessary story, this collection of Kitty-verse tales fills in some of the gaps in what we know of the backstory. It enriches our understanding of the characters and the history involved. The focus here isn’t solely on Kitty. We get Rick and TJ and the story of what really happened to Cormac in prison (this perhaps sounds more salacious than it should). This is sort of like a disc of bonus footage that goes along with the main feature. They don’t really fit into the main narrative, but it’s a treat to get to see more.

Previous Best Ofs

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jason Sanford Recommendations

Jason Sanford has posted up his nominations for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards.  I already agree with some of it, and hopefully will be able to track down other that I haven't read.  Unfortunately, there are a few stories that I probably won't be able to because they're published in print zines that don't let their fiction out for free (unless it has already been nominated and then only during the voting period).

Also, I'm not sure about the eligibility of Paolo Bacigalupi's The Alchemist.  Or, Tobias Buckell's The Executioness, for that matter (not on Sanford's ballot, but it's a linked story).  Sort of like Mary Robinette Kowal's "Water to Wine", they were first published in 2010 by Audible.com and then in print by Subterranean Press in 2011.  Like MRK's novella, absolutely worth nominating if you feel strongly about it.  Worst case, it gets enough votes and we get a ruling on cases like this. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Preliminary Hugo Ballot

I've got some work to do and some stories and books to read (and some thinking to do on some categories), but here's what I'm thinking of right now.  I still need to read Eclipse Four and I'm hunting out some more stories of varying lengths.

  • Best Novel (40,000 words or more)
    • The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear**
    • Grail, by Elizabeth Bear
    • Among Others, by Jo Walton**
    • Mechanique, by Genevieve Valentine
    • Harbinger of the Storm, by Aliette de Bodard
    • Dark Jenny, by Alex Bledsoe
      -Books I hope to get through in the next month: The Sacred Band, by David Anthony Durham, God's War, by Kameron Hurley, and Soft Apocalypse, by Will McIntosh.  I'm not sure I'll hit any other plausible novels.
  • Best Novella (17,500 to 40,000 words)
    • “The Small Dark Movie of Your Life”, by Leah Bobet (Shadow Unit)
    • “Bulletproof”, by Emma Bull (Shadow Unit)
    • The White City, by Elizabeth Bear
    • “The Rat Race”, by Cherie Priest (Fort Freak
    • Show Trial”, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Subterranean)
    • “Water to Wine”, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Subterranean)**
    • “Kiss Me Twice”, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's June 11)
    • Gravity Dreams, by Stephen Baxter (PS Publishing)
      -To be fair, I need to read both The White City and "The Rat Race".  I feel that I will have strong feeling about The White City, just based on the previous Abby Irene novellas.  Not sure if I'll get through Fort Freak in time.  I won't nominate something I haven't read.  Just in case it needed saying.
  • Best Novelette (7,500 to 17,500 words)
    • “Six Month, Three Days”, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)**
    • “The Taste of Promises”, by Rachel Swirsky (Life on Mars)
    • “Fields of Gold”, by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
    • “The Migratory Pattern of Dancers”, by Katherine Sparrow (GigaNotoSaurus)*
    • “House of Aunts”, by Zen Cho (GigaNotoSaurus)
    • “Work, With Occasional Molemen”, by Jeremiah Tolbert (GigaNotoSaurus)
    • “The Nearest Thing”, by Genevieve Valentine (Lightspeed)
  • Best Short Story (up to 7,500 words)
    • “The Leavings of the Wolf”, by Elizabeth Bear (Apex, Nov)
    • Simulacrum”, by Ken Liu (Lightspeed) **
    • Her Husband’s Hands”, by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed) **
    • “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”, by E. Lily Wu (Clarkesworld) *
    • Demons, Your Body, and You”, by Genevieve Valentine (Subterranean) – Maybe
    • Paper Menagerie”, by Ken Liu (F&SF)*
  • Best Related Work
  • Best Graphic Story *
  • Best Dramatic Presentation "Long Form" (more than 90 minutes)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation "Short Form" (less than 90 minutes)
  • Best Editor Short Form
    • George R. R. Martin
  • Best Editor Long Form
    • Anne Groell
  • Best Professional Artist
    • Sparth
    • Jon Sullivan
    • John Picacio
    • Jeremy Geddes
    • Jon Foster
    • Rima Staines
  • Best Semiprozine
  • Best Fanzine
  • Best Fan Writer
    • Larry Nolen
    • Aiden Moher
    • Adam Whitehead
  • Best Fan Artist

Monday, February 13, 2012

coming soon to a home near me

To celebrate receiving my tax returns, I decided to treat myself to a little bit of frivolity: books!*

The Tempering of Men, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear: I highly recommend A Companion to Wolves and I’ve been looking forward to the follow up from the moment I turned the last page.

Death Draws Five, by John Jackson Miller: This is the long out of print Wild Cards novel which, I believe, only had some 600 copies out in the world before the publisher closed shop. Every now and then I ran some searches to see if a copy was available anywhere for $50 or less. The answer was always no, with some copies running well over $150. That’s a bit steep. But, as previously mentioned, Death Draws Five was reissued in a trade paperback format (with a trade paper price) and I finally pulled the trigger on it. Thus completes my collection of Wild Cards. I’ve got a full set. That said, if I happen to run across a copy of the novel at Uncle Hugo’s and it isn’t absurdly priced, I may still pick up the hardcover.

Machine, by Jennifer Pelland: I’ve been talking about her short stories for several years now and I’ve been anticipating Pelland’s debut novel since I first heard an inlking that it might one day happen. Now it has. I must read it.

*I also picked up Dragon Quest V for the DS and Modern Warfare 3 for the PS3. I’m still chipping my way through DQVI and I love the old school goodness that Dragon Quest offers me. I only need to pick up DQ II, III, IX and I’ll have everything that’s been released thus far. We won’t talk about the MMO aspects of the forthcoming DQ X. The only thing is that I keep getting distracted by Trauma Center: Under the Knife. Friggin awesome game, that one.

And MW3? Sometimes you just need to shoot some fools.

Friday, February 10, 2012


As I work through recommended stories to nominate for the Hugo, I've run across a number from a publication called GigaNotoSaurus.  I hadn't heard of it before and was a little skeptical, but after reading three of the stories they published last year, I'm impressed. 

GigaNotoSaurus reminds me a bit of the excellent and defunct Lone Star Stories, except that I think GigaNotoSaurus might be even better.  I'll need to read more, but my Hugo reading is definitely recommending the zine. 

Oh, and the latest story published - it's by Ken Liu.  Of course.  I'll be following GigaNotoSaurus with interest this year.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Two MRK Novellas and Hugo Considerations

Mary Robinette Kowal has two novellas I would like to bring some attention to, especially since we're in the Hugo nominating period.

The first is "Kiss Me Twice", originally published in the June 2011 issue of Asimov's and now available on her website.  MRK has a great voice for the detective story and the use of the AI personality actually works here rather than seem an unnecessary anachronism as it might in other stories.  I like it.

The second is "Water to Wine".  I love this story.  It's not the first time Kowal has built a story around wine, and I don't drink wine or understand anything about it, but she does a fantastic job in telling this story that isn't really about wine.  This is a lock for my Hugo ballot.  There's just a big question about its eligibility.

See, "Water to Wine" was originally published in the audio anthology METAtropolis: Cascadia in November of 2010.  In the author's note for the print edition of the story on Subterranean, Kowal writes

Because I wrote the story specifically for audio, I had given “stage directions” for how I wanted lines to be read by the actress, Kate Mulgrew. For the Subterranean version, I went back through the story and wrote additional material to cover the emotional content that a narrator’s voice can deliver. The story is the same, but it is adapted for a different medium.
I couldn't find anything concrete regarding the eligibility status of the story (since fiction tends to go from print to audio, not the other way around), I reached out to Kevin Standlee, the former Hugo Administrator who can often be counted on to provide sage advice and clarification regarding details of the Hugo Awards. 

Unfortunately, I seem to have run into a grey area that won't / can't be answered unless it becomes an issue.
Well, I don't have a definite answer to this. It might be eligible, if the Administrator were to rule that the revisions were sufficient to make it a new work. Unfortunately, the Administrators are loathe to make rulings without a specific case before them. That means that they probably won't tell you in advance, and they won't rule at all unless the work receives enough nominations to appear on the short list.
As such, I'm just going to put the novella on my ballot, recommend "Water to Wine" to you for the same.  After all, it doesn't take many votes to get on the ballot.  I'd love to see a ruling on this (and that the ruling state that Kowal's story is eligible).  If it isn't, well,  you just got to read an awesome story.

Now, if only METAtropolis: Cascadia was available in a print edition like the original Metatropolis ended up being.  I'd totally buy that. 

Dear Subterranean Press: Make it happen.

Range of Ghosts Excerpt

Go head on over to Tor.com and check out an excerpt of Elizabeth Bear's forthcoming novel Range of Ghosts

I'm going to hold off, but that's only because I am absolutely, positively going to buy this upon publication and I want to be able to immerse myself and get the full experience.  But y'all know how I feel about Bear's fiction

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

"Six Months, Three Days", by Charlie Jane Anders

Thanks to Rachel Swirsky's novelette recommendations, I can now recommend to all of you "Six Months, Three Days". 

Swirsky says,
Two precognitives meet and fall in love. Their relationship is fraught by the fact that one of the precognitives is a determinist (seeing the future as a single stream) and the other believes in free will (and sees possibilities branching from most moments). The philosophical contrast and science fictional premise provide an intriguing philosophical flavor to the human romance; the two work exquisitely in synchrony.

She said it better and far more concisely than I was going to manage (clearly), but you all must read this story.  I wanted a little bit more from the ending, but that's only because I wasn't ready for the story to end.  Charlie Jane Anders did what she needed to with the story, but I was hooked and wanted more. 

If you want a preview of my Hugo ballot, know that it is rather likely to include this story.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Ken Liu at SF Signal

There is an interview with Ken Liu over at SF Signal.  Liu is a short story writer I expect to be talking a whole lot more about and one who I am convinced is a writer to watch. I'm glad that Charles Tan was able to get the interview and shine a bit of a spotlight on Liu.  This won't be the only spotlight.  Expect award nominations in the future, hopefully the near future.

Watch for him.  Seek out his stuff if you hear a whisper of his name. 

Friday, February 03, 2012

Story Recs

If you're wondering what I've been doing while I haven't been posting, I've been catching up on short stories.  See, I think that the only short fiction I've read this year was Kitty's Greatest Hits.  It was good, but not enough to fill up a nomination ballot for the Hugo Awards. 

Luckily for me, Rachel Swirsky has been posting her recommendations

Short Story

I rather like what I've discovered from Ken Liu.  He's so very new to me, but he appears to have had an awesome year and I'll be seeking out his stuff throughout 2012.  I hope for an abundance. 

I've made solid progress through the short story list.  Don't think I'll read everything on it at once, but it's a great resource.  I plan to move on to the more prominent novelettes this week. 

I will, at the very least, post a preliminary ballot by the end of the month.  But, with any luck, I'll also start talking about some of the stories I like.  Besides Ken Liu - I recommend him now.