2011 Hugo Award Nominations Announced

Monday, April 25th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

hundred-thousandThe nominees for the 2011 Hugo and Campbell awards for best science fiction and fantasy of the year have been announced. The nominees for best novel are:

  • Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
  • Feed, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Dervish House, Ian McDonald (Pyr; Gollancz)
  • Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)

I was particularly pleased to see The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on the list. I heard N.K. Jemisin read at Wiscon last year, and was extremely impressed. She’s one of the best new fantasy writers we have, and no mistake.

The nominees for Best Semiprozine were Clarkesworld, Interzone, Lightspeed, Locus, and Weird Tales — deserving titles, all. It was also a great year for Asimov’s Science Fiction, which had no less than five nominations in the short fiction categories:

  • “The Sultan of the Clouds,” Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s 9/10) – Best Novella
  • “The Jaguar House, in Shadow,” Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 7/10) – Best Novelette
  • “Plus or Minus,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 12/10) – Best Novelette
  • “The Emperor of Mars,” Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s 6/10) – Best Novelette
  • “For Want of a Nail,” Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s 12/10) – Best Short Story

As well as a nod to editor Sheila Williams as Best Professional Editor (Short Form). Special congratulations to Pyr editor Lou Anders on his nomination for Best Professional Editor Long Form (go Lou!), and to Black Gate contributor Steven H Silver, on his ninth nomination for Best Fan Writer.

And of course, special commendation to Hugo voters for nominating “F**k Me, Ray Bradbury” in the Best Dramatic Presentation – Short. You folks are classy.

The winners will be announced at the World Science Fiction convention in Reno, Nevada, on August 20, 2011. You can find the complete list of nominees at Locus Online. Congratulations to all the nominees!  Except maybe “F**k Me, Ray Bradbury.”


Supernatural Spotlight – Episode 6.18 “Frontierland”

Monday, April 25th, 2011 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Sam (left) and Dean (right) go to the Old West.

Sam (left) and Dean (right) go to the Old West.

The episode starts out on Sunrise, Wyoming, March 5, 1861, with a high-noon shootout duel on the street … and one of the participants is Dean Winchester. Right as they draw, the episode cuts to a revamped old-west-themed title sequence.

The next scene takes place 48 hours earlier (or 150 years later, depending on how you look at it), and the boys and Billy are cracking into the Campbell family’s hidden stash of demon-hunting lore, which is now free for the taking since Samuel died a couple of episodes back. It’s an extensive collection and they’re looking for “anything that’ll put a run in the octomom’s stocking,” meaning Eve, the mother of all monsters.

Billy finds something indicating that “the ashes of a phoenix can burn the mother,” but they don’t know anything about a phoenix … except that, according to Samuel Colt’s journal (also part of the collection), the gun maker and demon hunter had killed one on March 5, 1861, and it left behind a pile of smoldering ashes.

The search for a Delorian is on.

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An Interview With Claude Lalumière, Part Two

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

Claude LalumièreHere’s Part Two of my interview with writer, critic, and editor Claude Lalumière. You can find Part One here. This time around, we discuss Claude’s influences, his work as an anthologist, his criticism, and his process as a writer. My great thanks to Claude for his generosity, thoughtfulness, and candor.

An Interview with Claude Lalumière, Part Two

Conducted and Transcribed by Matthew David Surridge

Your fiction shows the powerful influence of a number of different writers, and the fusion of those particular writers creates something strong and unusual. Could you write a bit about how you first encountered the work of people like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, J.G. Ballard, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lucius Shepard, Rachel Pollack, and Paul Di Filippo, and what those writers came to mean to you?

This is a question requiring an epic-length answer.

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Goth Chick Crypt Notes: American Gods Come to HBO

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image0024I have a special place in my Goth Chick heart for Neil Gaiman, due to a distinctly unique phenomenon for which he is responsible.

He is one of only two authors who have made me laugh out loud, and though South Park can elicit a hard core chuckle from me at times, it almost never happens when I’m reading.

Up high on this personal literary pedestal, along with Mr. Gaiman, is the one and only Douglas Adams; he who is responsible for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy which I have read so often I can practically recite by heart, and which never, ever fails to crack me up. But honestly, I sort of take Mr. Adams as a given.

I was on vacation when I picked up a copy of Good Omens, having not been that familiar with Gaiman’s work. Hours later when I finally put it back down, I decided it was nothing short of genius on multiple levels, not the least of which was the humor.

And before I start getting letters, I realize that Terry Prachett co-authored Good Omens and Gaiman can’t be given full credit. However, I have read other Prachett stories and decided it must be the parts that Gaiman wrote in Good Omens which were the source of the hilarity; because as clever as Prachett is, he never caused me to make a public display of myself.

Gaiman followed with another classic, Neverwhere, in 1996 and Stardust in 1997. I have since adored every tale he has turned out. So it was with great interest I learned that nearly simultaneously with the premier of its epic Game of Thrones, HBO has announced that American Gods will be adapted into a new mini-series, with Gaiman himself co-piloting the writing, along with Robert Richardson.

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Galaxy, December 1965: A Retro-Review

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Posted by Rich Horton

galaxy-dec-1965I picked up a few magazines at an antique store near Columbia, MO, last week, including three consecutive issues — of different magazines — from the end of 1965/beginning of 1966: the December 1965 Galaxy, the January 1966 F&SF (reviewed here), and the February 1966 Analog. The first one I got to was the Galaxy.

This is from more or less the center of Frederik Pohl’s editorial tenure. Galaxy in this period was bimonthly, with two sister magazines — Worlds of Tomorrow, also bimonthly, and Worlds of If, which was monthly. (I admit I had not known that — I thought it was also bimonthly, and I’m surprised that Galaxy, the “senior” magazine, was not the monthly one.) Galaxy was generously sized, at 196 pages (including covers), with about as much fiction as Analog and Asimov’s feature these days. By contrast Worlds of Tomorrow had 164 pages per issue, and If only 132. The latter two were 50 cents, but Galaxy was 60 cents. (I find this mixture of format, frequency, and pricing in three magazines from the same stable rather intriguing.)

The cover of the December 1965 Galaxy is by Pederson, illustrating “The Mercurymen”, by C. C. MacApp. (Galaxy typically only credited last names for artists — apparently this particular artist was named John Pederson, Jr. — I’m not very familiar with his work, and not too impressed with this particular example!) Interiors were by Gray Morrow, Giunta, Jack Gaughan, and Wood. (The artists whose first names I know are, not surprisingly perhaps, the better ones, though I am told that John Giunta and Wally Wood were well known for work in comics.) There are a fair number of ads — more than often in SF magazines — though somewhat low rent ones: Rosicruans, hypnotism, the Puzzle Lovers Club, the Book Find Club, book plates (from Galaxy), and the Duraclean Company.

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Considering the Game of Thrones Cast

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Posted by Theo

agot21I very seldom approve of book-to-film translations. I still absolutely refuse to watch Disney’s animated devastation of Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron or the Americanised abomination that attempted to pass itself off as the cinematic version of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising.

Despite my skepticism, however, I thought the first installation of Game of Thrones was very good. Apparently I was not the only one to think so, since HBO has already decided to renew AGOT for a second season thanks to the 4.2 million viewers who watched the premiere. This is good news, as the series promises to be the most successful cinematic adaptation of a fantasy novel since Peter Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings.

Now, it would have been hard for the producers to go seriously wrong so long as they stayed faithful to the source material – one of these days Hollywood is going to figure out that having their cliche factories “improve” upon a much-loved literary tale is actually counterproductive – but the casting is one crucial component that can ruin even a perfectly faithful adaptation. So, here’s my take on what has so far turned out to be an unusually good cast.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD Do not read further if you have not read or seen AGOT.

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Shipping April 30: Black Gate 15!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

bg15_320aBlack Gate 15 arrives from the printer this week, and subscriber copies will begin shipping out April 30th.

BG 15 is another massive issue: 384 pages of fiction, reviews, and articles. It contains 22 stories, totaling nearly 152,000 words of adventure fantasy. Jonathan L. Howard returns with “The Shuttered Temple,” the sequel to “The Beautiful Corridor” from Black Gate 13, in which the resourceful thief Kyth must penetrate the secrets of a mysterious and very lethal temple. Howard Andrew Jones bring us a lengthy excerpt from his blockbuster novel The Desert of Souls, featuring Dabir & Asim. And Harry Connolly returns after too long an absence with “Eating Venom,” in which a desperate soldier faces a basilisk’s poison — and the treachery it brings.

What else is in BG 15? John C. Hocking kicks off a terrific new sword & sorcery series with “A River Through Darkness & Light,” featuring a dedicated Archivist who leads a small band into a deadly desert tomb; John Fultz shares the twisted fate of a thief who dares fantastic dangers to steal rare spirits indeed in “The Vintages of Dream,” and Vaughn Heppner offers the first chapter of an exciting new sword & sorcery serial as a young warrior flees the spawn of a terrible god through the streets of an ancient city in “The Oracle of Gog.”

Plus fiction from Darrell Schweitzer, Jamie McEwan, Michael Livingston, Frederic S. Durbin, Chris Willrich, Fraser Ronald, Maria V. Snyder, Brian Dolton, Sarah Avery, and many others!

In our generous non-fiction section, Mike Resnick educates us on the best in black & white fantasy cinema, Bud Webster turns his attention to the brilliant Tom Reamy in his Who? column on 20th Century fantasy authors, Scott Taylor challenges ten famous fantasy artists to share their vision of a single character in Art Evolution, and Rich Horton looks at the finest fantasy anthologies of the last 25 years. Plus over 30 pages of book, game, and DVD reviews, edited by Bill Ward, Howard Andrew Jones, and Andrew Zimmerman Jones — and a brand new Knights of the Dinner Table strip.

Black Gate 15 is $18.95 for the print edition, $8.95 in PDF, or shipped right to your door as part of a 2-issue subscription for just $32.95! We’ll have a detailed sneak peek, with tantalizing story excerpts and artwork, right here in a few days. Stay tuned. And don’t forget our back issue sale — any two back issues for just $25, including our double-sized BG 14!

Cover art by Donato Giancola.


Subterranean magazine Summer 2011 Now Available

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Soyka

summer-20112The 19th online issue — and 26th issue overall – of one of the genre’s leading publications, Subterranean Magazine, is now available (at least in part).

Subterranean is published quarterly. It appeared in print for seven issues (some of which are still in print and are available here) before switching to the current online format in Winter 2007. It is presented free online by Subterranean Press, and is edited by William Schafer.

The Summer 2011 issue is guest edited by Gwenda Bond and focuses on young adult fiction. From her introduction:

Enter the fabulous writers whose stories you’ll find here. Each offering showcases a different facet of the many-faceted jewel that is YA. You’ll find Malinda Lo’s first short story publication, “The Fox,” a seductive tale featuring characters from her new YA high fantasy novel Huntress, alongside the best high fantasy zombie story I’ve ever read in Sarah Rees Brennan’s “Queen of Atlantis.” Both these authors–as well as Tiffany Trent (author of the Hallowmere series, and the upcoming The Unnaturalists), and Kelly Link (acclaimed short fiction author, whose YA stories were collected in Pretty Monsters)–will already be familiar to many YA readers, and to plenty of genre readers as well. If Genevieve Valentine’s story about an unusual teen pregnancy, “Demons, Your Body, and You,” is your introduction to her, I envy you; her first novel Mechanique will be out soon. Well-known SFF author Tobias Buckell provides the lone science fiction piece with “Mirror, Mirror,” while newer writer Richard Larson’s “The Ghost Party” tests the friendship of two girls against a backdrop of threats shady and eldritch. Finally, vampires: what YA issue would be complete without them? I promise you that Alaya Dawn Johnson’s hilarious, shockingly irreverent “Their Changing Bodies” is unlike any vampire story you’ve read, and that New York Times’ bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler’s “Younger Women” also opens a different, ahem, vein.

Content is released in weekly installments until the full issue is published.  As of today, Bond’s introduction and “The Fox” are available.


The Monks Are Coming: MONK PUNK

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Posted by John R. Fultz

Static Movement Press’s new anthology of multi-genre monk tales, MONK PUNK, is finally available from Pill Hill Press Book Shoppe. It will be available from Amazon within the week.

The book features my story “Where the White Lotus Grows,” which was inspired partly by my love of the ’70s KUNG FU television show (starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine).

Caine remains one of the most iconic characters in television, and for good reason. KUNG FU, which was co-developed by the great Bruce Lee, contrasted Zen and Taoist philosophy with the savage violence of the Old West. As a child, I spent hours absorbing the lessons of Caine and his venerable mentors, Master Kahn and Master Po, watching this peaceful soul wander through world of brutal conflict in search of peace. There has never been a television show with this much soul-deep wisdom at the very core of its concept.

 “Where the White Lotus Grows” reimagines this idea of the “peaceful warrior” in a dark fantasy setting. It stars Kantoh, a Disciple of the Empty Hand. Imperial soldiers and demonic forces dog his steps as he walks a dangerous path whose destination even he does not know. But the greatest threat to his cryptic mission may be his own human compassion.

TOC and other cool stuff after the jump…

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James Schmitz’s The Demon Breed: SF as a Test-bed for Living (With Women who Kick Alien Butt)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Mark Tiedemann

demon-breed1I’d like to take some time to talk about the impact of simple truths and how perceptions long thought changed need regular revisits so we don’t forget. We become comfortable after tectonic changes occur that alter the landscape, so comfortable we sometimes get caught by surprise when an example of what we believed was long gone springs up before us, not nearly as banished as we’d thought. We forget, most of us.

And yes, this is about science fiction and fantasy. Really.

I collected the original run of Terry Carr’s groundbreaking Ace Specials back when they first appeared in the late Sixties. Some truly phenomenal work came out under that imprint, work still published and read today.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, Alexi Panshin’s Rite of Passage, Keith Roberts’ Pavane, The Black Corridor and Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock. A number of others that were influential but you have to search for them today, work by Wilson Tucker, Bob Shaw, and Joanna Russ.

Among them was a little novel by a writer not much talked about today except in certain “knowing” circles — James Schmitz. The novel was The Demon Breed and it featured a character that just riveted me.

Tough, smart, capable, a role model for anyone who wanted to grow up competent and self-assured and substantial. Nile Etland.

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