Society of Illustrators Inducts Richard Powers into Hall of Fame

Saturday, November 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Richard Powers Of all Possible Worlds-small Richard Powers The Goblin Reservation-small The-Man-in-the-High-Castle-Richard-Powers-small is reporting that legendary paperback artist Richard Powers, who illustrated hundreds of science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Society of Illustrators.

Richard Powers began illustrating covers for American paperback publishers in 1950. He was extremely active in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, painting hundreds of covers for Berkley, Ballantine, Putnam, Doubleday, and many others. He died in 1998, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2008.

The Society of Illustrators has been electing artists recognized for their ““distinguished achievement in the art of illustration” into the Hall of Fame since 1958. The newest Hall of Fame inductees include Beatrix Potter, Peter de Seve, Marshall Arisman, Guy Billout, Rolf Armstrong, and William Glackens.

Click on any of the images above to see Powers’ artwork in all its high-resolution glory.

Kickstarting the Mindjammer Universe: A Far Future Transhuman Utopia?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Posted by Sarah Newton


Yesterday Mindjammer Press launched a Kickstarter for my far future transhuman science-fiction roleplaying game and fiction setting Mindjammer, to fund a series of RPG supplements and fiction for the game, including sourcebooks, adventures, and even a version for the Traveller rules. It made its initial funding goal this morning in a little less than 24 hours, and John very kindly invited me to Black Gate to speak about the Kickstarter and the Mindjammer setting.

You may know something about Mindjammer already — John O’Neill and Howard Andrew Jones have both written about it before, and I’ve blogged about it here too. It’s set in Earth’s far, far future — approximately 17,000AD — during the Expansionary Era, when a formerly stagnant civilization on Old Earth has reinvented itself as a “New Commonality of Humankind” following the discovery of “planing” — faster-than-light travel. Now, two centuries on, the Commonality is journeying to the stars, rediscovering lost colonies settled from Old Earth by slower-than-light generation and stasis ships millennia before. Cultural conflict is everywhere, between this vibrant, optimistic, yet overwhelmingly strong interstellar civilization, and the disunited, often highly divergent lost colony cultures which are facing “integration” at the Commonality’s hands.

The Commonality considers itself the brightest and greatest civilization of humankind. The Mindscape, a vast interstellar shared consciousness and data storage medium to which all Commonality citizens are linked by neural implant, gifts its citizens with technological telepathy and the awesome powers of technopsi. It also lets them upload their memories, and download the memories of other people — even dead people. Artificial life forms with synthetic personalities based on the memory engrams of dead heroes abound: even the starships are sentient beings, the eponymous “Mindjammers”, faster-than-light vessels which travel between the stars, updating the Mindscape and knitting transhumanity’s interstellar civilization together.

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S.T. Joshi Is Mad as Hell

Friday, November 13th, 2015 | Posted by Jackson Kuhl

H.P. Lovecraft in Brooklyn, 1922.

H.P. Lovecraft in Brooklyn, 1922.

Lovecraft biographer and anthologist S.T. Joshi has lost his cool air over the World Fantasy Convention’s decision to remodel their awards:

HP Lovecraft’s biographer ST Joshi has returned his two World Fantasy awards following the organisers’ decision to stop using a bust of the author for the annual trophy – a move the Lovecraft expert called “a craven yielding to the worst sort of political correctness”.

The change was announced on Sunday. It follows a year-long campaign led by the author Daniel José Older, who launched a petition calling for the awards to end their trophy’s association with “avowed racist” Lovecraft.

You don’t have Joshi to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is his last WFC. Writing to WFC co-chairman David G. Hartwell, Joshi said:

Please make sure that I am not nominated for any future World Fantasy Award. I will not accept the award if it is bestowed upon me.

I will never attend another World Fantasy Convention as long as I live. And I will do everything in my power to urge a boycott of the World Fantasy Convention among my many friends and colleagues.

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2015 World Fantasy Award Winners Announced

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell-smallUnlike last year, I was unable to attend the World Fantasy Convention, but from all reports it was just as exciting and rewarding as ever. They presented the World Fantasy Awards right on time at the end of the convention, and I’m happy to be able to share the winners with you.

For the last several years the coveted Life Achievement Award has been given to two recipients, and this year the judges continued that tradition, presenting the award to both Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper for their outstanding service to the fantasy field.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges. This year’s winners of the World Fantasy Awards are:


The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House)


We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)

Short Fiction

Do You Like to Look at Monsters?, Scott Nicolay (chapbook, Fedogan & Bremer)

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Crossed Genres Magazine Will Close After December Issue

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0-smallCrossed Genres Magazine, the online magazine of science fiction and fantasy with a twist, has announced that its December issue will be its last.

We regret to announce that Crossed Genres Magazine will be closing after issue 36 in December… the magazine has run out of funds to continue. In April 2014 we ran a successful Kickstarter to keep CG Magazine going, but once another year had passed, roughly 90 percent of those who’d pledged to the Kickstarter chose not to renew their memberships. New memberships have been no more than a trickle since…

We considered a lot of other options to try and keep CG Magazine open, but ultimately none of them were viable without further sacrificing our lives and well-being. We’ve now been running CG, and the magazine, for 7 years (with a year’s break for the zine in the middle), and we have no choice but to scale back.

We’re incredibly proud of what CG Magazine managed to accomplish. Providing a SFWA-qualifying venue for talented voices typically under-represented in SFF was always our goal, and we believe we accomplished that…

Crossed Genres Magazine is edited by Bart R. Leib, Kay T. Holt, and Kelly Jennings; past editors include Jaym Gates and Natania Barron. The magazine is published monthly and is free to read online; its first issue appeared September, 2008. The genre (or theme) of the magazine changed each issue; genres included Time Travel, Tragedy, Superhero, Robots and Mystery. The magazine renamed itself Crossed Genres 2.0 and started over at issue #1, Boundaries, in January 2013. Crossed Genres Publications also publishes novels and anthologies, including Salsa Nocturna and the acclaimed Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. We last covered Crossed Genres with issue #25.

Read the complete announcement here.

A New Star Trek TV Series is in the Works

Monday, November 2nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

USS Enterprise-smallHollywood Reporter is reporting that a new Star Trek TV series is in development, for broadcast in early 2017.

The new series will be the sixth live-action show to be based on Gene Roddenberry’s original creation, which ran from 1966-67 on NBC. It will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the 2009 reboot Star Trek and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, for CBS Television Studios. It is scheduled to premiere in January 2017 with a preview episode on CBS, before it moves exclusively to CBS All Access, an on-demand and streaming service.

The new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966… A search is under way for a writer to take on the cult hit. The franchise is poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary as the original series debuted Sept. 8, 1966…

CBS TV Studios distributed the original series, which was produced by Paramount Television and Desilu Productions. Created by Gene Roddenberry and starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, the series ran for three seasons and 79 episodes from 1966-67 on NBC and became a monster hit via syndication. It spawned an animated series (1973-74), a series of feature films — starting in 1979 — and four TV follow-ups including The Next Generation (1987-1994), Deep Space Nine (1993-99), Voyager (1995-2001) and Enterprise (2001-05).

News of a new Star Trek TV series comes as the franchise has been mired in rights issues between CBS and Paramount after Viacom merged with CBS in 2000. CBS Corp. absorbed Paramount for television, while Paramount Studios — the company that distributed the films — went to Viacom.

No news yet on what time frame the series will take place it, although it is reportedly not linked to the new movie franchise. Read the complete article here. (Hat tip to io9 for the news.)

The Winners of the 2015 British Fantasy Awards

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Cuckoo Song Frances Hardinge-smallCherrio! The winners of the 20015 British Fantasy Awards have been announced by the British Fantasy Society.

The nominees in 13 categories were announced in July, and the complete list of winners follows. Congratulations to all the winners!

Best Fantasy Novel – The Robert Holdstock Award

Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Best Horror Novel – The August Derleth Award)

No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)

Best Novella

“Newspaper Heart,” Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)

Read More »

Forbes on the Tragic Failure of Jem And The Holograms

Monday, October 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Jem And The Holograms-smallLast week Box Office Mojo reported that Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror film Crimson Peak “crashed and burned into 2,984 theaters to the tune of an estimated $12.8 million.” So what did it make of Jem And The Holograms‘ historically bad take of one-tenth of that total this weekend, $1.3 million from 2,413 theaters? It calls it one of “the year’s biggest flops… the fourth worst opening for a film in more than 2,000 theaters.”

Jem And The Holograms was a much-loved 80s cartoon produced by Hasbro, Marvel, and Sunbow (the same team behind G.I. Joe and Transformers). Featuring the plucky Jerrica Benton, whose father left her virtually flawless hologram technology that allowed her to disguise herself as a beautiful pop singer, Jem was the brainchild of comics writer Christy Marx (Sisterhood of Steel, Conan, Red Sonja). Forbes writer Scott Mendelson sees the massive failure of the live-action version as a genuine tragedy.

The film took a source material that is over-the-top colorful and over-the-top exciting, filled with larger-than-life characters and musically-charged action sequences where Jem and her friends had to both be kick-ass rock stars and kick-ass crime fighters at the same time, and made a toned-down, muted, and overly patronizing “young girl gets in over her head due to fame and artistic success and forgets what matters” fable that basically penalized its young heroes for wanting and achieving success and power…

It was the kind of film that Josie and the Pussycats spoofed a decade ago, and basically operated as a dark-n-gritty origin story that spent the entire film building up to the possibility of maybe seeing a Jem movie that Jem fans wanted to see the first time out in a would-be sequel. Okay, so a cheap film that spit on the source material bombed, who cares right? Well, here’s the rub: The overriding message of Jem and the Holograms is that a girl-centric action cartoon from the 1980′s doesn’t deserve or justify even 5% of the resources given without a second thought to boy-centric properties cashing in on 80′s nostalgia.

Read the complete article here.

October 2015 Nightmare Special Issue: Queers Destroy Horror! Now on Sale

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Nightmare Magazine Queers Destroy Horror-smallThe October issue of online magazine Nightmare, issue 37, is now available.

This month is a massive special issue, Queers Destroy Horror!, containing far more content than regular issues, but the digital edition is still available for the same low price ($2.99). The issue was funded as a stretch goal of the incredibly successful Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter campaign for Lightspeed magazine, which was released in June.

Nightmare 37 an all-horror extravaganza entirely written and edited by queer creators. Guest editor Wendy N. Wagner has assembled new horror from Chuck Palahniuk, Matthew Bright, Sunny Moraine, Alyssa Wong, and Lee Thomas, and reprints by Kelley Eskridge, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Poppy Z. Brite. There’s also a generous assortment of nonfiction articles edited by Megan Arkenberg, and written by Lucy A. Snyder, Sigrid Ellis, Catherine Lundoff, Michael Matheson, Evan J. Peterson, and Cory Skerry, that take a hard look at queer achievements and challenges in the horror genre. Plus there’s a selection of queer poetry selected by Robyn A. Lupo, and an original cover by AJ Jones.

Like the supermassive Women Destroy Science Fiction! issue of Lightspeed,, the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Nightmare is also available in print — as a 198-page trade paperback for $12.99.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents, including the free content on the website, as well as the exclusive paid content available online in the print and ebook editions.

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Canadian Inventor Creates the Goblin Glider

Saturday, October 17th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

This week Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru conducted the first successful test flight of a working hoverboard over a pond in Quebec.

Duru broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight — more than 250 meters, five times the previous record — at Quebec’s Lake Ouareau in May of this year, but he’s been working on a “secret, next-generation version” of his device for the past five months. On Wednesday of this week, the 31-year-old Canadian inventor and his company, Omni Hoverboards, invited Reg Sherren of the CBC to witness the first test of the new prototype in Quebec. Watch the one-minute clip above for the results, and read all the details at the CBC website.

All I can say is: It’s about time, 21st Century. And now I know what I want for Christmas.

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