Goth Chick News: Stoker Award Winners Just In Time for Summer Indulging

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Bram-Stoker Award-smallBack in February the Horror Writers Association announced their nominees for the annual Bram Stoker Awards for superior writing in eleven categories, including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction.

This week they announced the winners, who will receive what must be the coolest trophy ever.

Here are all the winners, as well as the runners up.

Superior Achievement in a Novel – Blood Kin, Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris)

  • Suffer the Children, Craig DiLouie (Gallery)
  • Jade Sky, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone)
  • Beautiful You, Chuck Palahniuk (Jonathan Cape/Vintage)
  • The Vines, Christopher Rice (47North)

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2015 Locus Award Finalists Announced

Monday, May 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Mirror Empire-smallThe Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the nominations for the 2015 Locus Awards.

The winners are selected by the readers of Locus magazine. The awards began in 1971, originally as a way to highlight quality work in advance of the Hugo Awards. The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, on June 26-28, 2015. In addition to creators, the Locus Foundation also honors winning publishers with certificates, which I think is kind of neat.

The finalists are:

FANTASY NOVEL

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Steles of the Sky, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman (Viking)
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot US)

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A Shout-out Over Innsmouth

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 | Posted by Jackson Kuhl

Innsmouth Olde AleNarragansett Beer has released the second offering in their Lovecraft Series of craft beers, Innsmouth Olde Ale.

When I first read it, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” was not among my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories; I was drawn to more cosmic works like “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” But “Innsmouth” has grown on me over the years, in part because I can better appreciate its sophistication and in part because technology has evolved to the point where the story is as much prescience as fantasy horror. Ken Hite’s discussion of Robert M. Price’s essay prefacing The Innsmouth Cycle made me realize the story is more than just a guy being chased by a bunch of inbred townies:

Among other things, Price makes the point that Obed Marsh is the prophet of a Cargo Cult, one which implicitly casts Lovecraft’s New England as a primitive backwater. … Lovecraft’s story brilliantly inverts the colonialist understanding of the Cargo Cult by demonstrating that the Other (the non-white, the “Kanak,” the foreign) is the far more sophisticated myth, one with a better claim both on the past and the future than white Massachusetts Protestant Christianity.

If you haven’t read the story, then spoilers crawlin’ an’ bleatin’ an’ barkin’ an’ hoppin’ after the jump!

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Sci-Fi’s Difficult Genius: The New Yorker on Gene Wolfe

Friday, April 24th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Soldier of the Mist-smallPeter Bebergal — who penned a thoughtful analysis of Michael Moorcock for The New Yorker back in January, “The Anti-Tolkien” — is at it again. This time, he takes a look at the often challenging work of Gene Wolfe.

He kicks off the article with some insightful comments on the 1986 fantasy Soldier of the Mist, the first novel in Wolfe’s Latro trilogy, centered on the adventures of a Roman mercenary with a perplexing ailment.

Having suffered an injury during the Battle of Plataea, a Greco-Persian War skirmish, Latro has no memory of his past. Each night, he writes the day’s events on a scroll; the next morning he reads the scroll to bring himself current. Latro has to carefully choose what he is going to write down: he is limited by time, because when he sleeps he loses his memory again, and by the medium, because there is only so much papyrus. It is hinted that Latro’s wound was caused by the meddling of the gods… It could be the case, however, that Latro’s wound causes him to hallucinate.

On the phone from his home in Peoria, Gene Wolfe explained to me recently that Latro’s memory loss does not make him an unreliable narrator, as many critics assume. Instead, Latro might reveal only the truth that matters. Latro must ask himself, Wolfe said, “What is worth writing, what is going to be of value to me when I read it in the future? What will I want to know?” These are questions that Wolfe has been asking himself, in one form or another, for decades. His stories and novels are rich with riddles, mysteries, and sleights of textual hand.

Read the complete article online here.


Coode Street Podcast Reveals that K.J. Parker is Tom Holt

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Hammer K J Parker-smallBest selling fantasy author K.J. Parker appeared on the scene 17 years ago, when he published Colours in the Steel (1998), the first novel in The Fencer trilogy.

Since then he’s had a stellar career, producing The Scavenger trilogy and the popular The Engineer trilogy (Devices and Desires, Evil for Evil, and The Escapement), plus standalone novels such as The Company (2008), The Folding Knife (2010), and The Hammer (2011).

But Parker has never appeared in public, or even spoken on the phone — not even to accept the two World Fantasy Awards he’s won. It soon became public knowledge that the name was a pseudonym. But despite intense curiosity and conjecture, the identity behind the name remained a closely guarded secret, until Parker decided to reveal it to his long-time editor Jonathan Strahan and his partner Gary K. Wolfe yesterday, on their Coode Street Podcast.

K.J. Parker is actually humorous fantasy writer Tom Holt, whose popular novels include Expecting Someone Taller (1987), Who’s Afraid of Beowulf? (1988), Ye Gods! (1992), Blonde Bombshell (2010), and more than two dozen others.

Over the last 17 years Holt has continued his prolific output under his own name, while simultaneously writing over a dozen novels as K.J. Parker.

Listen to the complete interview here.


Philip Sandifer’s Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Rabid Puppies logo-smallAuthor Philip Sandifer (The Last War in Albion, TARDIS Eruditorum) has a fascinating take on the ongoing 2015 Hugo controversy, pointing out that debating with the Sad Puppies is a waste of time — not because they don’t have a point, but because they are largely irrelevant. Theo Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate largely dictated the outcome, and it’s Beale ‘s agenda that will shape the outcome in future years.

Relatively unreported — and indeed misreported in most coverage of this, is the fact that the Sad Puppies largely failed… In the only category in which both Beale and Torgersen proposed full slates, Best Short Story, Beale’s nominees made it.

Sandifer’s thesis is that the Sad Puppies, and the groundswell of fans who’ve gathered to support it, are the popular face of a much more tightly controlled effort by Theo Beale.

As we’ve seen, it’s not really Torgersen who is most important here; it’s Theodore Beale…. The Rabid Puppies were the slate that actually dominated the Hugos nominations, but the Sad Puppies give every appearance of having been actively constructed to allow them to… Regardless of Torgersen’s intentions, the practical result is that he’s providing the politely moderate front for a movement that is in practice dominated by Theodore Beale…

Torgersen makes much of empowering fans, saying that the slate “is a recommendation. Not an absolute,” and stressing that “YOU get to have a say in who is acknowledged.” Beale, on the other hand, discourages his readers from exercising any personal preference, saying of his recommendations that “I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are.”

Read the complete article here.


Black Gate Withdraws From Hugo Consideration

Sunday, April 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

2011 Hugo Award-smallOn April 4th, Black Gate was nominated for a 2015 Hugo Award for Best Fanzine. One of our bloggers, Matthew David Surridge, was also nominated as Best Fan Writer but, as he explained, he declined the nomination before the ballot was announced.

Since the nomination for Black Gate was for the entire site, which produces over 120 articles per month by a team of over 40 volunteers, I did not decline the nomination, although personally I shared many of the Matthew’s concerns. However, over the last two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to hear from many of our bloggers, and by and large they share many of those concerns as well.

Accordingly, on Saturday, April 18th, I informed the administrators at Sasquan that we have withdrawn Black Gate from consideration for the 2015 Hugo Award.

As I explained in my previous  post, Sad Puppies and Super Puppies: The 2015 Hugo Train Wreck, (and in our original announcement), I have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the 2015 Hugo ballot, as it was largely dictated by a single individual, Vox Day, who campaigned for a slate of nominees on his website (the Rabid Puppies slate). To a lesser extent, it was also influenced by Brad Togersen’s Sad Puppies slate. Together, the two slates successfully placed 61 nominees on the ballot. Black Gate was part of the Rabid Puppies ballot, although we were unaware of our inclusion until we were informed of our nomination.

In short, over the last two weeks I have come to agree with those arguing that the use of a slate — and particularly a slate that has 11 nominees from Vox Day’s Castalia House, and nominates him personally for two awards — is a serious threat to the perceived integrity of the Hugo Awards.

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Forbes on What’s Next For The New Dungeons & Dragons

Saturday, April 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Sword Coast Legends-smallForbes columnist David M. Ewalt is a not-so-secret Dungeons & Dragons fan. He’s the author of Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It, and he’s promoted the game in the pages of Forbes over the past two years with an early article on D&D Next, and a fascinating piece on the Books that Inspired the New Dungeons & Dragons. This week he interviewed Nathan Stewart, brand director for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, to find out what’s next for the Fifth Edition of D&D.

Any plans to tell stories that take place outside of the Forgotten Realms?

If you’re talking about us diving deep and taking a focus like what we’ve done with Tyranny of Dragons, we’re going to stay in the Forgotten Realms for the foreseeable future… But we’re gonna have long cycles, and so when we go all in on Greyhawk or Dragonlance or Spelljammers, that’s going to be awhile… the main focus will be on the Forgotten Realms for a long time.

Is the brand where you wanted it to be at this point?

In my strategy I had wanted a high-caliber video game that really brings back the core of D&D… and I don’t think that in my wildest dreams I imagined that that we’d have a game that really captured the essence of D&D as well as Sword Coast Legends coming out. I think by the end of the year we’ll have this conversation and everyone will agree that we’ve actually delivered that plus some, because we’ve done something that no one’s ever done before, which is really deliver that dungeon master/player tabletop experience in the form of a computer RPG.

See the complete article online at Forbes magazine.


Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet Withdraw From the Hugo Ballot

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Lines of Departure Marko Kloos-smallThe drama over the 2015 Hugo nominations continues.

Earlier today 11-time Hugo Award winner Connie Willis refused to present the Campbell Award at this year’s ceremonies, saying “If I did, I’d be collaborating with [Vox Day and his followers] in their scheme.”

And later today, two authors whose works were included in Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies slate both declined their Hugo nominations. Annie Bellet, whose “Goodnight Stars” was nominated for Best Short Story, wrote:

I don’t want to stand in a battlefield anymore. I don’t want to have to think over every tweet and retweet, every blog post, every word I say. I don’t want to cringe when I open my email. I don’t want to have to ask friends to google me and read things so that I can at least be aware of the stuff people might be saying in my name or against my name. This is not why I write. This is not the kind of community I want to be a part of, nor the kind of award I want to win…

Maybe someday I will get to sit in a pretty dress next to my mother and know that if I lose the rocket, it will be because someone wrote a story that resonated more than mine. To know that I will lose to a person and not a political fight. To sit there and know if I lose, no one will cheer. And if I win, no one will boo. Perhaps someday I can win this award for the right reasons and without all the pain.

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Connie Willis Declines to Be a 2015 Hugo Award Presenter

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Connie Willis with HugoConnie Willis has a long tradition as an MC and presenter at the Hugo Awards. She was asked by Hugo Award MC David Gerrold to present the Campbell Award at this year’s ceremonies, and she publicly declined the invitation on her blog:

You may or may not have heard of the Hugo crisis currently facing the science-fiction community… Basically, what’s happened is that a small group of people led by Vox Day/Theodore Beale and Brad Torgerson took advantage of the fact that only a small percentage of Hugo voters nominate works to hijack the ballot… When I heard about this, I was sick at the thought of what they’d done and at all the damage they’d caused… But I didn’t want to speak out and refuse to be a presenter if there was still a chance to salvage the Hugo Awards ceremony…

But then Vox Day and his followers made it impossible for me to remain silent, keep calm, and carry on. Not content with just using dirty tricks to get on the ballot, they’re now demanding they win, too, or they’ll destroy the Hugos altogether. When a commenter on File 770 suggested people fight back by voting for “No Award,” Vox Day wrote: “If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again. The sword cuts both ways, Lois. We are prepared for all eventualities.”

I assume that means they intend to use the same bloc-voting technique to block anyone but their nominees from winning in future years. Or, in other words, “If you ever want to see your precious award again, do exactly as I say.” It’s a threat, pure and simple… In my own particular case, I feel I’ve also been ordered to go along with them and act as if this were an ordinary Hugo Awards ceremony. I’ve essentially been told to engage in some light-hearted banter with the nominees, give one of them the award, and by my presence – and my silence – lend cover and credibility to winners who got the award through bullying and extortion.

Well, I won’t do it. I can’t do it. If I did, I’d be collaborating with them in their scheme.

Read our summary of this year’s Hugo mess here, and Connie’s complete statement on the matter here.


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