The Late March Fantasy Magazine Rack

Friday, March 31st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimovs-Science-Fiction-March-April-2017-rack Clarkesworld-March-2017-rack Lightspeed-March-2017-rack The-Digest-Enthusiast-January-2017-rack
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine January February 2017-rack The-Dark-March-2017-rack The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction April May 2017-rack Sword and Sorcery Magazine February 2017-rack

Lots of great reading for short fiction fans in the back half of March. As usual, Michael Penkas did most of the heavy lifting on our magazine coverage, with in-depth reviews of recent issues of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (two issues), Nightmare, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Asimov’s Science Fiction (two issues!). Fletcher Vredenburgh checked in with his regular February Short Story Roundup, plus reviews of two vintage SF novels originally serialized in Astounding SF/Analog: H. Beam Piper’s Space Viking and Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement. Matthew Wuertz contributed the latest installment in his long-run project to review every issue of the legendary Galaxy magazine, with a report on the September 1953 issue. And finally, we had a look at what happens when cats read science fiction magazines.

Check out all the details on the magazines above by clicking on the each of the images. Our early March Fantasy Magazine Rack is here.

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Future Treasures: Cosmic Powers: The Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies edited by John Joseph Adams

Friday, March 31st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Cosmic Powers-smallJohn Joseph Adams has edited two previous Saga Anthologies: Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction (2015) and What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre (2016). His latest is a collection of epic SF tales “for fans who want a little less science and a lot more action, inspired by movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars.” It contains brand-new fiction from the top authors in the genre.

Okay, I try to be objective in these future-book summaries, but I think JJA and Saga Press have just discovered the keys to my heart. There have been some terrific anthologies published in 2017 (and the year is still young) but, dang. Already this one looks like my favorite.

Just check out the list of contributors: Alan Dean Foster, Dan Abnett, Aliette De Bodard, Kameron Hurley, Charlie Jane Anders, Yoon Ha Lee, Linda Nagata, Seanan McGuire, Caroline M. Yoachim, Tobias S. Buckell, and many others. Here’s the complete table of contents.

“A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime,” Charlie Jane Anders
“Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance,” Tobias S. Buckell
“The Deckhand, the Nova Blade, and the Thrice-Sung Texts,” Becky Chambers
“The Sighted Watchmaker,” Vylar Kaftan
“Infinite Love Engine,” Joseph Allen Hill
“Unfamiliar Gods,” Adam-Troy Castro, with Judi B. Castro
“Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World,” Caroline M. Yoachim
“Our Specialty is Xenogeology,” Alan Dean Foster

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io9 on the Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for March

Friday, March 31st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Standard Hollywood Depravity Adam Christopher-small Infinity Engine Neal Asher-small Dear Sweet Filthy World Caitlin R. Kiernan-small

Well, here it is, the last day of March. And those promises I made to myself that I’d sample all the terrific recommendations for the month that’ve already stacked up — like Andrew Liptak’s 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels to Read this March, and John DeNardo’s 11 Can’t-Miss SF and Fantasy Books in March? Yeah. Pretty much a total failure.

What to do? Try with one more list, of course! Hope springs eternal, and March still has a few hour left.

Over at io9, Cheryl Eddy has compiled a list of 19 new March releases, including books by Alex Bledsoe, Seanan McGuire, Ada Palmer, Paul Cornell, Tim Lebbon, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian McDonald, and many others. Let’s dig in and see what catches my eye (and also, is short. ‘Cause the clock is ticking.)

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Goth Chick News: Neck Deep in the Haunts – The 2017 HAA Show

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show

Hard to believe Goth Chick News has been covering the Haunted Attraction Association’s Halloween show for sixteen glorious years, but as Black Gate photog Chris Z and I once again headed south from Chicago at 5 a.m. toward St. Louis, it didn’t feel like it had been that long at all.

Okay, that’s BS. At 5 a.m. it felt longer.

But as we motored through darkened cornfields dodging various small animals and quoting the movie Motel Hell (“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters!”), it dawned on me how many “firsts” this show represents in my Black Gate career; first trade show covered, first interview and first article in the top 50, though back then I think it was top 20.

Needless to say, not only does the HAA loom large professionally, the people we’ve met along the way mean it has a special place in my little black heart.

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Keith West on the Ballantine Best of Series and Why We Need it More Than Ever

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best of Leigh Brackett 1977-smll

Over at Adventures Fantastic, the distinguished Keith West visits a topic near and dear to our hearts: the Ballantine Best of series, perhaps the most important line of paperback collections the genre has ever seen. The 21 volumes of the Ballantine Best of series introduced thousands of readers to the best short fiction by the greatest SF and fantasy writers of the 20th Century — and more than a few writers who have now been forgotten. Here’s Keith:

I’ve already written about how the Leigh Brackett volume I bought through the [Science Fiction Book Club] was a game changer for me. The authors I first encountered through the SFBC editions were Pohl (the first I bought through the club), Kornbluth, Hamilton, Brown, del Rey, Campbell, plus Brackett, but the one that really blew my mind was Kuttner. His was the second Best of I bought through the club. Something about Kuttner’s wit and cynicism, plus his imagination captured me and has never really let me go…

So why did I say we need the Ballantine series more than ever? Because of the way it captured the literary history of the field. There’s no one today who writes like Cordwainer Smith. Or Stanley G. Weinbaum. Or Eric Frank Russell. These writers were the trail blazers and pioneers of the genre, folks for whom an entertaining story wasn’t just a good thing. It was how they made a living.

James McGlothlin has been reviewing the series for us, one book at a time. Our previous coverage includes the following 16 volumes (listed in order of publication).

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March 2017 Lightspeed Magazine Now Available

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Lightspeed March 2017-smallI don’t get to read Lightspeed magazine as often as I like, but the March issue looks like a good place to play catch up. Here’s Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews on “The Worldless” by up-and-coming author Indrapramit Das.

This is a lovely and complex story that unfolds in a port, in a place between places, where gravity isn’t quite high enough and Dunyshar, those without a world, live and work and die and dream of something more. The story focuses on two people, NuTay and their offspring Satlyt, as they scrape a life together. And I love the way that the story evokes place and the feeling of being detached from place. Orphaned in some important way. Without a culture because culture is associated with planets and not with ports, the place that ships are only ever moving through. It’s obvious from the story that some not-great-s#!t is happening and I like that this is revealed slowly, revealed with all the terrible weight of it… An amazing read!

Read Charles’ complete review of the March issue here.

This month’s Lightspeed offers original fantasy by Marta Randall and Greg Kurzawa, and fantasy reprints by Eileen Gunn and Caitlín R. Kiernan. It also has original science fiction by Indrapramit Das and Adam-Troy Castro, plus SF reprints by Rachel Swirsky and Julian Mortimer Smith. The non-fiction includes an editorial from John Joseph Adams, author spotlights, TV reviews by Joseph Allen Hill, Book Reviews by Amal El-Mohtar, and a feature interview with Nnedi Okorafor.

The exclusive content in the ebook version this month includes an exclusive reprint of Holly Phillips’ novella “Proving the Rule,” and an excerpt from Taiyo Fujii’s novel Orbital Cloud.

The cover this month is by Reiko Murakami, illustrating Indrapramit Das’s story, “The Worldless.” Here’s the complete contents for the March issue.

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Masterpieces of Islamic Art in Cairo

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 | Posted by Sean McLachlan


Mamluk era mosque lamp from 15th century Cairo.
The tradition of hand painted mosque lamps continues
to this day, even though they now contain electric lights

Last week I discussed some of Tutankhamun’s treasures in Cairo’s National Museum. That museum is an amazing collection of items from ancient Egypt. The city’s other great museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, focuses on the Muslim period and has one of the greatest collections of its kind in the world.

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Dark Cults, Elder Beings, and a Deadly Extraterrestrial Fungus: Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Agents of Dreamland-small Agents of Dreamland-back-small

In her new column for the New York Times, N.K. Jemisin turns the spotlight on four recent SF and fantasy releases, including a new novella from Caitlin R. Kiernan.

CaitlÍn R. Kiernan has long been hailed as one of the pre-eminent authors of weird fiction, and her new novella, Agents of Dreamland (Tom Doherty, paper, $11.99), shows why. In this recursive, Lovecraft-inflected police procedural, two agents of the shadowy government group Y pursue the cult leader Drew Standish, whose activities seem to herald a Jonestown-like mass murder. But far more important than whether the killing can be stopped is whether it’s already too late, since the manhunt coincides with the appearance of a deadly extraterrestrial fungus. The clock is ticking, the Elder Beings have been invoked and possible futures have begun to solidify in ways that spell the end of humanity….

Kiernan’s writing — starkly visual, tongue in cheek and disturbingly visceral — carries the day as the story churns toward its uneasy conclusion. And since the door is left open for future stories (and other futures) featuring Immacolata and the Signalman, let’s hope Kiernan will delve further into their adventures.

Jemisin also looks at the seventh volume of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ongoing SF comic Saga, the anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel New York 2140. Read the entire article here.

New Treasures: The Immortal Empire Series by Kate Locke

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

God Save the Queen The Queen is Dead Kate Locke-small Long Live the Queen Kate Locke-small

A few weeks ago I bought God Save the Queen, the first book in Kate Locke’s Immortal Empire series, heartily intrigued by the back cover text.

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch presides over a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believes in and will uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the entire empire.

The first in a fantasy series where vampires, werewolves, and goblins rule London.

God Save the Queen was published in mass market paperback by Orbit on January 31, 2017. I was surprised to find that the next two in the series, The Queen is Dead and Long Live the Queen, were released in rapid succession on February 28 and March 28. A little digging, however, and it all makes sense. The books were originally released in hardcover in 2012/2013; this is a re-release with a fresh design and new covers.

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John DeNardo on 11 Can’t-Miss SF and Fantasy Books in March

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

New York 2140 Kim Stanley Robinson-small Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells-small The Man with the Speckled Eyes Lafferty

The tireless John DeNardo is back with another list, this time looking at the Can’t-Miss SF and Fantasy titles in March (and he should know). Here’s a few of his recommendations.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson:

In the not-too-distant future, New York City’s streets are submerged underwater due to climate change, making every street a canal, every building an island unto itself. Intrigue abounds in the Met Life tower, now converted into a co-op, and the target of a buyout from a shadowy corporation desperate enough to sabotage the building’s infrastructure… Robinson weaves a tapestry of interconnected personal narratives that is captivating for its portrayal of humankind.

New York 2140 was published by Orbit on March 14, 2017. It is 624 pages, priced at $28 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital edition.

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