Super-Intelligent Cats, Shape-Shifting Aliens, and Mysterious Footprints in the Snow: Rich Horton on 9 Tales of Space and Time, edited by Raymond J. Healy

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

9 Tales of Space and Time-small 9 Tales of Space and Time-back-small

Earlier this week I wrote a brief Vintage Treasures piece about Raymond J. Healy’s groundbreaking anthology New Tales of Space and Time. Groundbreaking because it virtually invented the original science fiction anthology, way back in 1951. I was inspired to write that article by Rich Horton’s review of Healy’s follow-up, 9 Tales of Space and Time, at his blog Strange at Ecbatan. Here’s Rich.

Raymond J. Healy (1907-1997) is primarily remembered within the SF field for his role as co-editor (with J. Francis McComas, one of the founding editors of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) of the absolutely seminal 1946 anthology Adventures in Time and Space, with was the first introduction in book form to short SF for many post-War readers. It was reprinted numerous times, including a Modern Library edition in 1957.

Healy edited three other SF anthologies, one more reprint book with McComas, the much shorter and less good More Adventures in Time and Space (1955); and two original anthologies on his own: New Tales of Space and Time (1951) and the book at hand, 9 Tales of Space and Time (1954)… Both books are very good, and both seem to have been quite significant at the time, but I don’t think they are much remembered. The first book had two major stories, Kris Neville’s “Bettyann” and Anthony Boucher’s “The Quest for Saint Aquin,” as well as contributions from the likes of Asimov and Bradbury. The second book has no story as good as those, but it is still quite interesting.

Like Rich, I consider Healy’s first book, Adventures in Time and Space, to be enormously important, perhaps the most important SF anthology of the Twentieth Century.

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Godzilla, So-So Solo-Act: The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985)

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

return-of-godzilla-international-dvd-coverThe most recent Japanese Godzilla film, 2016’s Shin Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla: Resurgence), is about to stomp into North America on Blu-ray. Shin Godzilla received an extremely limited one-week run in U.S. theaters in October 2016 — the theater where I watched it ran it once each on Saturday and Sunday morning — so this home video release is the first opportunity most people in Region A will have to see it. (I’ve reached a point where I no longer consider the world in terms of nations but of Blu-ray region coding. “What part of the world are you from?” “Region A.”)

As prep for examining Shin Godzilla, I’m warping back to 1984 and the film in the series with which it has the most in common, i.e. the last time Godzilla went solo, with no other monster in sight: The Return of Godzilla. The home video timing works out well, since The Return of Godzilla only recently had its own digital video debut in North America on a Blu-ray from Kraken Releasing. In fact, the film hasn’t been available here on home video in any format since the late 1990s.

It’s also the first time the original version of the film has been legally available in the United States. When The Return of Godzilla first reached American theaters, it was as a grotesque Dr. Pepper-fueled mutant hybrid called Godzilla 1985. This Americanized version has been heavily slagged for decades for good reasons, but the original isn’t a hidden gem like the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Don’t expect a kaiju epiphany on your first viewing of The Return of Godzilla.

The Reboot of Godzilla

Known in Japan simply as Gojira, The Return of Godzilla was a reboot of the series long before that term for franchise reimagination became popular. It ignited the “Heisei” series of Godzilla films that lasted until 1996 and brought the legendary monster to a second height of fame and quality. Which is strange, since The Return of Godzilla doesn’t look as if it could ignite anything bigger than a tealight candle.

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Apex Magazine on the Best Short Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 21st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Apex Magazine June 2017-smallIn his editorial in last month’s Apex Magazine, Jason Sizemore salutes some of the best short fiction reviewers out there.

There are some reviewers that stand head and shoulders above the rest, and I want to direct our readers to them.

Charles Payseur (Quick Sip Reviews) writes entertaining and smart reviews. His pairing of alcoholic drinks with his favorite stories of the month is amusing. If a reviewer can have “heart,” then Charles has it.

Maria Haskins is incredibly well-read and she takes the time to write a list of her favorite stories along with capsule reviews on her blog. She’s a great advocate for short fiction and short fiction publications.

A.C. Wise contributes a monthly review column to the Apex Magazine website titled “Words for Thought” with some of the smartest analysis you’ll find.

Paula Guran regularly reviews work outside her comfort zone and adds much needed life and variety to the short fiction reviews in Locus Magazine.

There are others (though not as many as there should be). If you have a favorite reviewer let me know!

To that list I would add the hard-working team at Tangent Online, the Hugo-nominated Rocket Stack Rank, the excellent short fiction reviews by Gardner Dozois and Rich Horton in Locus… and of course our very own Fletcher Vredenburgh, Adrian Simmons, and Michael Penkas.

The June issue of Apex also contains brand new fiction by Aimee Ogden, Pip Coen, K.A. Teryna (trans. by Alex Shvartsman), and Tobias S. Buckell, plus an excerpt from Mary Turzillo’s new novel Mars Girls, and a reprint by Maureen McHugh. The cover art is by Irina Kovalova. Read the complete issue for free here. We last covered Apex with the May issue.


Read To Me

Friday, July 21st, 2017 | Posted by Violette Malan

Illuminated pageIn case I haven’t mentioned it before, my brother owns the last independent bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. Which goes to explain why it’s was only this week that I bought a Kindle. For the first time in my life, I’m reading in a different way.

Reading, and its broader form story-telling, has been around as long as history, and it’s been changing and evolving all along, with new ideas and new technologies.

Some think the first stories were told by shepherds sitting around on hillsides watching sheep. As exciting as sheepherding can sometimes get (wolves anyone?) there’s considerably more leisure time in this occupation than there is in farming, or fishing. The shepherds would come down from the hillside and tell their stories to the people in the village, and the marketplace storyteller was born. Or so reasons this particular school of thought.

What happened to the marketplace storyteller? Well, memorizing all of Homer et al (in case there were requests) and learning how to recite them in an entertaining way is really hard work. Then you have to come up with your own, original stories, or really, you’re nobody. You have to put literally years into learning all you need to know, and then you have to sit somewhere telling stories and hoping that people will pay you for it. If you’re very good, someone may become your patron and keep you on retainer to tell stories for them and their guests.

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Goth Chick News; The Girl (and the Movie) With All the Gifts

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Girl With all the Gifts novel-small The Girl With all the Gifts poster-small

Seeing that it now has a sequel, I finally got around to reading M.R. Carey’s first novel, The Girl With All the Gifts (2015).

I’m not sure what I was expecting. As the book has been out for over two years, I don’t think it is giving away too much to tell you the story takes place in a future dystopia, made such by a literal zombie apocalypse. And with all of us having lived through seven years of The Walking Dead, Brad Pitt in World War Z and slightly lighter takes such as Zombieland and Warm Bodies just to name a few, one might conclude that zombies, as a monster fad, might be played out both on screen and in print.

So if I was expecting anything at all, it wasn’t much. In fact, my local bookseller placed it in the YA section which meant I might either love it like A Series of Unfortunate Events or hate it with a burning passion, like Twilight.

Turns out, I definitely didn’t hate it.

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A Treasure Trove of Classic Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories from the Library of America

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Hainish Novels and Stories Library of America

Here’s a delightful find: buried in all the usual news on forthcoming books and new releases I get every week was an understated announcement about this massive compilation of all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hanish novels and stories, to be published in the attractive slip case above by the Library of America.

And I do mean massive. The two volume set is a whopping 1,921 pages. It contains 8 complete novels (include her Hugo and Nebula Award-winning volumes The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed) and 17 stories, including the complete story cycle Five Ways to Forgiveness, plus several appendixes. It will be edited by Brian Attebery, and both volumes include new introductions by Le Guin. It arrives in hardcover on September 5, 2017.

Now you know one of the reasons I’m excited about this book is that it contains the complete text of over half a dozen vintage paperbacks, including a pair of the most acclaimed science fiction novels of the 20th Century, in handsome archival-quality hardcovers. And you know what that means — I can’t resist showing you the original paperback covers (front and back). Here they are.

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Fantasia 2017, Day 1: The Bizarre Adventure Begins (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable)

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

Fantasia 2017The body has a memory, memory activated by the time of year and the weather and the repetition of physical activity. Every year now as summer passes its midpoint, walking through Montreal evokes for me a sense of wonder and anticipation: a physical remembrance of the Fantasia International Film Festival. I’ve covered Montreal’s genre film festival for Black Gate the last three years, walking downtown during the days of the festival and then walking back at night marveling at the things I’ve seen. Last Thursday for a fourth year I set out for the Fantasia theatres at Concordia University’s downtown campus; and so here is the first installment of my Fantasia diary for 2017.

As always, I’m looking forward over the coming weeks to things I’ve heard of and things I’ve never heard of. I’m trying to figure out what movies I’ll have to pass on seeing in order to watch other movies scheduled against them, and then what movies I’ll be able to see on a computer monitor in the Fantasia screening room. This year the recipients of the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are a little outside my immediate areas of interest — B-movie auteur Larry Cohen, luchador and movie star Mil Máscaras, and Cüneyt Arkin, star of over 300 Turkish films including The Man Who Saved the World (Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam, also known as “Turkish Star Wars”). But who knows if I’ll find myself sitting in on a screening of one or more of their varied works?

This year I began my Fantasia experience on the festival’s first night, Thursday July 13, with a viewing of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. I arrived early, reaching the Hall Theatre at 8:30 PM for a 9:45 screening, and found a line-up of ticketholders already stretching a good 200 feet. The movie’s directed by Takashi Miike, a winner of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, with a script by Itaru Era based on the long-running manga by Hirohiko Araki. I happened to watch this showing in the company of the redoubtable Dave Harris of Pieuvre.ca; neither of us had any experience of the manga, but after the movie we were able to speak briefly with some friends of Dave’s who were fans of the comics. “11 out of 10,” said one, while another said that the movie was so faithful it replicated specific panels on the screen. So: if you’re a fan of the source material, you will like this movie. What about those who aren’t?

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El Castillo de San Gabriel in Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | Posted by Sean McLachlan

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The fort as seen while approaching along El Puente de Las Bolas,
“the Bridge of the Balls.” Cannonballs, that is.

As I mentioned my last post on Lanzarote’s Piracy Museum, Spain’s Canary Islands are dotted with historic forts. As a stopover on the way to and from the New World, these islands off the west coast of Africa naturally became a target for piracy. Every port had at least one fort to protect it.

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The July Fantasy Magazine Rack

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimovs-Science-Fiction-July-August-rack Back Issue July 2017-small Grimdark Magazine 12 2017-rack The-Dark-July-2017-rack
Occult-Detective-Quarterly-2-rack Beneath Ceaseless Skies 229-rack Shimmer-July-2017-rack The-Digest-Enthusiast-6-June-2017-rack

I’m trying something a bit different with our Magazine Rack this month. Rather than just recap the last eight magazines we’ve covered, I want to make this report a little more useful by actually focusing on magazines cover-dated July 2017. That means there are three magazines above — Back Issue, Grimdark, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies — that we’ve haven’t covered yet this month. But I’m including them here because they’re cool, they came out in July, and you should know about them. Plus, they look good.

As usual, you can get details on the other magazines above by just clicking on the thumbnail images. Our additional magazine coverage in the past few weeks includes Bookriot‘s entertaining post on on 5 SF and Fantasy Magazines You Should Be Reading, Fletcher’s May Short Story Roundup, Rich Horton’s Retro-Review of Amazing Stories, October 1963, and Adrian Simmons’ Retro-Review of Amazing Stories, November 1969.

Our June Fantasy Magazine Rack is here.

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A Page Turner with Cool Characters and a Hyperreal Asian Setting: Want by Cindy Pon

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 | Posted by Elizabeth Galewski

Cindy Pon Want-small Cindy Pon Want-back-small

In Want (published by Simon Pulse on June 13, 2017), Cindy Pon transports readers to an unsettlingly believable but dystopian futuristic Taipei, where air pollution writhes in the sky and class unrest seethes on the ground. Society is divided into “haves,” the yous (pronounced “yos”), and “have nots,” the meis (pronounced “mays”). Encased in air-conditioned suits that protect the yous from smog, the wealthy lead long lives. Unable to afford these suits, the meis cough and wheeze until they die at the age of 40.

Enter our narrator, bad boy Jason Zhou. An orphaned mei who flips knives in one hand as a nervous habit, he’s already used up half his expected lifespan. Trouble begins for him and his friends when their mother figure, Dr. Nataraj, reports two attempts on her life in the past week. An environmental activist who advocates for legislation to combat global warming, she suspects that big corporations are behind these attacks. After all, these polluters bribe politicians to ignore her pleas all the time.

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