Unbound Worlds is Shutting Down

Friday, November 16th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Unbound-Worlds

Penguin Random House’s genre site Unbound Worlds, now in its tenth year, has been one of the most consistently entertaining and informative resources for fans of SF, fantasy and horror. Today the publisher announced that the site will be essentially shutting down at the end of the month.

Today we’re announcing that the conversation with our readers is ready to evolve in new and exciting ways. In the new year, the articles, interviews, and lists you have enjoyed on Unbound Worlds will have a new home within penguinrandomhouse.com. That means we’ll no longer be publishing new content on Unbound Worlds after this month, but we’re excited to be able to deliver even more of the very best in science fiction, fantasy, and horror books, curated collections, and offers through our email programs.

We’ll have more details to share in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we hope that you’ll visit PenguinRandomHouse.com. There, you can sign up to receive personalized recommendations and discover even more about our books and authors as you join us on this journey through the stars and beyond.

Read the complete announcement here.

This is a major loss, not just to the field but to me personally. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the site’s content, and drawn heavily from Matt Staggs’ monthly Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books columns (and others) to help stay informed. Over the years I’ve pointed BG readers towards plenty of their articles, from “Where to Start with Gothic Space Opera” to “A Century of Sword and Planet” and “Unbound Worlds on 7 Great Occult Detectives.” In honor of all they’ve done for us over the years, here’s a look back at some of Unbound Worlds greatest hits.

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Pyr Sold to Start Publishing

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

A Guile of Dragons-small Blood Orbit-small The Hanged Man K.D. Edwards-small

Publishers Weekly is reporting that Pyr, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, has been sold to digital publisher Start Publishing.

Under Editorial Director Lou Anders, who founded the line in March 2005, Pyr was one of the most dynamic and exciting independent publishers in the industry, acquiring books from Michael Moorcock, Ian McDonald, Kay Kenyon, Sean Williams, Alan Dean Foster, Adam Roberts, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Tim Lebbon, Paul McAuley, Brenda Cooper, Jack Dann, Ken MacLeod, Robert Silverberg, and many others. Pyr launched numerous talented new writers as well, including Black Gate authors James Enge, Chris Willrich, Jon Sprunk, and others. Lou left Pyr in 2014 to pursue his own writing career, but under new editor Rene Sears Pyr has continued to be a force in the industry, with a backlist of over 170 titles. Recent releases include K. R. Richardson’s Blood Orbit, Tracy Townsend’s Thieves of Fate series, and the excellent Nebula Awards Showcase anthologies; its forthcoming titles include K.D. Edwards The Hanged Man.

I’m not sure what this means for Pyr, and especially their print editions. But PW claims Start Publishing will continue the print versions, and retain at least two editors from Pyr and their sister crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books.

Start Publishing began has an exclusively digital publisher but, through a series of acquisitions, now releases print editions as well. Start will publish both print and digital editions of the newly acquired titles. Jarred Weisfeld, president of Start, told PW two editors from Prometheus will stay on to continue to release frontlist titles under both imprints. Start will also hire a new public relations/marketing person to promote the two imprints.

Read the complete announcement here.


The 2018 World Fantasy Award Winners

Sunday, November 4th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Changeling Victor LaValle-small Jade City Fonda Lee-small The New Voices of Fantasy-small

The World Fantasy Convention is always the highlight of my year, and the highlight of the convention is always the presentation of the World Fantasy Awards, among the most prestigious awards our field has to offer.

So it was a little frustrating that I had to leave the awards ceremony so early today to catch my flight. Fortunately, our on-the-spot correspondent Patty Templeton kept me up to date with minute-by-minute texts from the ceremony during my race to the airport. While there was plenty of excitement, the biggest news Patty had to share was that the big award for the evening, BEST NOVEL, was in fact a tie (“Hot dang!” texted Templeton), which hasn’t happened since 2009 when Jeff Ford and Margo Lanagan split the prize.

So without any further ado, here are the winners of the 2018 World Fantasy Awards.

Best Novel (tie)

WINNER: The Changeling, Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
WINNER: Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit)
The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crowley (Saga)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf)

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Kickstarting Cosmic Fantasy: The Chronicles of Future Earth RPG

Monday, October 8th, 2018 | Posted by Sarah Newton

The Chronicles of Future Earth

In the last centuries of the Fifth Cycliad, a great malaise began to descend on the lands of humankind. The civilizations of the Earth, which for aeons had seemed on the verge of slumber, now finally began to rot from within. From the edges of the world, the ever-present enemies drew close, their hungry claws poised to tear apart the delicate flesh of a fruit a hundred millennia in the ripening. And all around, a cry arose for Heroes, to stand against the dying of the light, and save the world from the sins of its past.

Are you a fan of Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique? Of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun? M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City? Do you yearn for a roleplaying game that exudes the vibe of Bruce Pennington’s gorgeous artwork? Then look no further — The Chronicles of Future Earth is here.

On Friday 28 September, Mindjammer Press launched its new Kickstarter for The Chronicles of Future Earth — Cosmic Fantasy Roleplaying in the Post-Historical Age. I’m Sarah Newton, the author of the game, which in some ways is the fantasy counterpart to my transhuman science-fiction roleplaying game Mindjammer. We funded the project in a little under 9 hours, and have been unlocking stretch goals since; as of this moment (Friday 5 October), we’ve raised just under £20,000 (appx $27,000), and have unlocked a Player Character Folio and GM adventure to add to the “Chronicler Pack” which forms the core of our offering: a gorgeous full-colour hardback rulebook, a GM screen, dice, tokens, and an A2 map of the “Springtide Civilization” — the world of the earth of the far, far future where the game takes place.

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CICADA Magazine Closes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Cicada magazine lot-small

YA lit/comics magazine CICADA has folded effective August 31. It was part of Cricket Media, which also publishes Cricket, Ladybug, and Spider magazines. CICADA was an excellent market for YA fantasy short fiction for over 20 years, and its sudden loss is a blow. Team CICADA posted the following message on their website:

Dear members, contributors, and readers,

Our story began in 1998, and we like to think it’s been a good one — full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and a tasteful amount of werewolves and Vikings. Here’s the thing about all good stories, though: they have to come to an end when it feels right. We think that time has come.

As of August 31, 2018, we will be ending CICADA. It has absolutely been our honor to work with such an amazing community of authors and artists, and it has been our pleasure to share their work with our readers. We’ve always been so inspired by the creativity, kindness, talent, and courage of our online community. It isn’t easy to say goodbye, but we’re really proud of this publication and community, and it’s been an amazing ride.

The website will remain active until September 15, 2018, so we encourage our contributors and readers to download any digital files they may want to keep. We understand that you may have questions — please feel free to reach out to us at cicada@cricketmedia.com or on the forums. Subscribers will be contacted via email with details on refunds for the remainder of their subscription periods.

Thank you again to all our contributors, readers, and Slammers for being part of our story. We are so, so excited to see what you will create in the future.

CICADA had an excellent line-up of modern fantasy writers (and it looked great on my bookshelf). The magazine’s list of favorite writers included Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel Jose Older, Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link, Ursula Vernon, Sofia Samatar, Leigh Bardugo, Octavia Butler, and other genre stars. It advertised itself as a magazine “fascinated with the lyric and strange and committed to work that speaks to teens’ truths… Especially welcome: works by people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQAI+ people, nonbinary people, and other marginalized peoples.” The website will come down on Sept 15; until then you can check it out here.


The 2018 Hugo Award Winners

Monday, August 20th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The-Stone-Sky-N.K.-Jemisin-smaller All Systems Red-small Uncanny Magazine May June 2017-small

The winners of the 2018 Hugo Awards were announced yesterday at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California. There were truly epic speeches, the traditional Hugo Loser’s Party hosted by George R.R. Martin, and celebrations all around.

But before all that, they gave out some some Hugos. Here are the 2018 winners of our favorite genre award.

Best Novel

The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

Read More »


The 2018 World Fantasy Awards Ballot

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Changeling Victor LaValle-small Mapping the Interior Stephen Graham Jones-small Tender Sofia Samatar-small

The 2018 World Fantasy Awards Ballot, containing a whole bunch of books I haven’t read yet, has just been announced. The ballot is compiled by the voting attendees of the World Fantasy Convention, all of whom clearly read a lot more than I do. Where do they find the time? Don’t they have blog posts to write, like normal people?

At least I have my membership for the convention, so I’ll be there to watch all the excitement unfold. It’s still a few months away, so I a little time to get caught up. Wish we luck.

As has been tradition since 1998, the coveted Life Achievement Award is being given to two recipients. This year they are Canadian author Charles de Lint and DAW Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth (Betsy) Wollheim. Both are fine selections, richly deserving of this recognition.

The winners in every other category will be selected by a panel of judges. Here’s the complete list of nominees, with links to our previous coverage.

Life Achievement

  • Charles de Lint
  • Elizabeth Wollheim

Read More »


Who Is Mysterio? The Early Days of the Spider-Man Villain with the Fishbowl on His Head

Saturday, May 26th, 2018 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

mysterio-entrance-panel-amazing-spider-man-issue-13

News dropped on Monday that actor Jake Gyllenhaal will likely play the part of Mysterio in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, whatever it’s called. (Spider-Man: Back from the Ashes would work.) Gyllenhaal is an excellent choice to play a whole range of Spidey villains — the actor’s earned trust on that front thanks to his performance in Nightcrawler. But the real news for me is Mysterio, regardless of who’s putting on the mesh green outfit with eye-brooch accessories. He’s a Spider-Man villain overdue for the big screen treatment.

(Oh, and we now know for certain that Michael Keaton will return as the Vulture, probably to stoke the fires about the Sinister Six getting together. Bokeem Woodbine’s Shocker is still alive, and it looks like Scorpion is in play as well. Only two more slots to fill! Maybe Kraven the Hunter and … The Kangaroo? I hope it’s the Kangaroo.)

So who is this Mysterio bloke? Short version: he’s a special effects wizard who decided to go into a life of crime and put a fishbowl on his head. Because comic books. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he can put on a helluva light and illusion show and he specializes in reality-bending tricks and mind games, making him an ideal movie bad guy.

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The 2017 Nebula Award Winners

Sunday, May 20th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The-Stone-Sky-N.K.-Jemisin-smaller All Systems Red-small The-Art-of-Starving-Sam-J-Miller-medium

I turned 54 years old today. And as a birthday present to me, just as it does every year, the Science Fiction Writers of America gave out the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards. This year they were presented at the SFWA Nebula Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

Unlike the last 2015 and 2016 events (which were held in Chicago), I was unable to attend, but they somehow went on without me. Here’s the complete list of winners.

Novel

The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Novella

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

Read More »


2018 Locus Awards Finalists Announced

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Persepolis Rising-small New York 2140-small The-Collapsing-Empire-small

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the nominations for the 2018 Locus Awards. I still don’t understand why this isn’t a national holiday.

The Locus Awards, voted on by readers in an open online poll, have been presented every year since 1971. That’s… uh… (counts on fingers) 47 years, which makes a virtual genre institution. The final ballot lists an impressive ten finalists in each category, including Science Fiction Novel, Fantasy Novel, Horror Novel, Young Adult Book, First Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Anthology, Collection, Magazine, Publisher, Editor, Artist, Non-Fiction, and Art Book. The winners will be announced at the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle from June 22-24, 2018.

It’s an impressive list of nominees this year. Have a look.

Read More »


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