Displaced Genre Bookshop Crowdfunds for New Chicago Location

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 | Posted by G. Winston Hyatt

Bucket O Blood-smallOn Monday, June 29, Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records posted a song to their store’s Facebook page: “We’re Desperate,” from the 1981 X album Wild Gift.

Though the Chicago bookshop specializing in all things cult doesn’t, as the lyrics proclaim, need a new address every other week — it does need one soon. They’re facing the termination of their lease at the end of July and must vacate their current storefront.

They don’t want to leave their neighborhood, and the store’s devoted local following certainly don’t want to see them go. (Black Gate is based in Chicago, and more than a few contributors have perused the shop’s shelves or attended one of its events.)

They’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds to offset the high cost of moving. It’s down to the wire, with less than a week left, and every little bit helps.

Owners Grant and Jenny with Peter S. Beagle

Owners Grant and Jenny with Peter S. Beagle

The shop’s expertly curated collection of genre fiction, vinyl oddities, horror and sci-fi films, and assorted weird artifacts have made it a beloved destination among casual fans and avid collectors alike.

When most bookstores can’t be bothered to separate their fantasy from their science fiction, and have a horror section consisting of a ramshackle shelf of VC Andrews and Stephen King, Bucket O’ Blood is something special.

They’re seeking not just a new space, but an expanded location to better serve the community, offering space for book clubs, writing workshops, author events, live music, and perhaps the occasional arcane ritual when the stars are right.

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2015 Locus Award Winners Announced

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Goblin Emperor-smallThe Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners for the 2015 Locus Awards. Woo hoo! Cake and drinks for all.

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 were announced yesterday, during the annual Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA.

The winners are:


The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)


Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit)


Half a King, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)

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J. K. Rowling Confirms Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Harry Potter charactersIn a series of tweets yesterday, J.K. Rowling announced that her creation Harry Potter would return in a spin-off play, which will open in London’s West End in summer 2016.

I’m also very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the CursedChild will be opening in London next year. It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself.

To answer one inevitable (and reasonable!) question — why isn’t #CursedChild a new novel? — I am confident that when audiences see the play, they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story. I’ve had countless offers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and Sonia Friedman are a dream team! I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to spoil what I know will be a real treat for fans. However, I can say that it is not a prequel!

Rowling is already hard at work on the script for another Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a Warner Bros. film based on her 2001 book of the same name, featuring monster wrangler Newt Scamander. But this is the first major post-Potter work that will feature her original characters.

Speculation is rampant about exactly where the story will fit in the time line, with some folks theorizing it could tell the tale of one of the summers only glossed over in the novels, or perhaps one of Harry Potter’s cases as an auror. Rowling’s co-writer Jack Thorne also wrote the highly regarded 2013 production of Let the Right One In for the National Theatre of Scotland (also directed by John Tiffany), so expectations are high. For now though, the creators are remaining mum.

The Bard’s Tale IV Kickstarter Fully Funded After 12 Days

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Bards Tale IV

The Bard’s Tale was one of the first computer role playing games I ever played. It was developed in 1985 by Interplay, and published by Electronic Arts. I was in grad school at the time, and I’d play on the computers in the lab. Wandering around the 30×30 map of the ancient town of Skara Brae at night, getting killed by monsters, over and over (and over…) again. Good times, good times.

The Bard’s Tale sold, like, a billion copies, and became one of the big RPG franchises of the 80s (alongside Wizardry, Ultima, and SPI’s Gold Box games). There were two sequels and a construction set, before Interplay split off from Electronic Arts and began developing Dragon Wars (which was called Bard’s Tale IV until a month before its release in 1990). The Bard’s Tale franchise became dormant then, until Interplay founder Brian Fargo revived it for the first release from InXile Entertainment, The Bard’s Tale, in 2004. That game was a light-hearted console-style action game (with some absolutely killer tavern tunes).

Fast forward to 2015, where InXile Entertainment is now a triple-A studio with one of the finest RPGs in recent memory under its belt, Wasteland 2, and a reputation for record-breaking Kickstarter successes (Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera.) On June 2 Brian Fargo and team launched a new Kickstarter campaign, to fund a sequel to the original Bard’s Tale trilogy. The Bard’s Tale IV promises to be a modern single-player, party-based dungeon-crawler, an experience rich in exploration and combat, and “dungeons filled with challenging puzzles and devious riddles.” InXile set a goal of $1.25 million, and crossed that threshold in just 12 days. With 22 days to go, the campaign has over 28,600 backers, and plenty of exciting stretch goals, like free copies of the original games, a code wheel, and more. Check out the Kickstarter page here.

Erik Chevalier Reaches Settlement With FTC For Kickstarter Failure

Thursday, June 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Doom That Came to Atlantic City logoTwo years ago we reported on the spectacular failure of one of the biggest Kickstarter success stories of 2012.

Reports are coming in that Erik Chevalier, the man behind one of the most high-profile Kickstarter game successes of 2012, The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, has admitted that he will never produce the game… Over the past 13 months, Chevalier has been releasing increasingly bleak progress reports, culminating in this post Tuesday…

The Washington Post is reporting today that Chevalier has agreed to a settlement order with the FTC that includes a $111,793.71 judgment against him — although it’s unlikely he’ll ever be able to pay it.

In its first ever enforcement action against a crowdfunded project, the Federal Trade Commission went after a board game project gone wrong… Few, if any, supporters of the project ever received refunds, the FTC alleged in a complaint against Chevalier disclosed Thursday that accuses him of deceiving backers of the project. And instead of spending most of the funds raised through Kickstarter on making the game, he spent it on himself, the agency claimed. “In reality, Defendant never hired artists for the board game and instead used the consumers’ funds for miscellaneous personal equipment, rent for a personal residence, and licenses for a separate project,” the complaint said.

Chevalier has agreed to a settlement order with agency. Under the agreement, he’s prohibited from making misrepresentations about crowdfunding campaigns and failing to honor refund policies in the future. The order also contains a $111,793.71 judgment against Chevaliar, but it is suspended because of his inability to pay. “The full amount will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition,” an FTC press release said.

Read the complete article here.

Support For Irene Gallo Continues to Grow

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Tor Books logoSupport for Irene Gallo, the embattled Creative Director of Tor Books, has grown with astonishing speed over the last 24 hours. Writers, editors, bloggers, and fans are speaking out in numbers across the genre.

In her Daily Dot article “Why sci-fi authors are angry with Tor Books,” Gavia Baker-Whitelaw writes:

In the world of sci-fi/fantasy publishing, all anyone can talk about today is this Tor.com blog post from Tor Books founder Tom Doherty….

After Doherty denounced Gallo’s comment, many sci-fi fans and authors began accusing him of hypocrisy. If Gallo’s post was deemed objectionable enough to warrant a public disavowal, what about the controversial opinions published by other Tor authors and employees?

While Gallo’s opinions were offensive to some Sad Puppies supporters, it’s unclear why the single-paragraph Facebook comment resulted in such a public response almost a month after it was posted. Other Tor-affiliated writers have posted similar things on social media over the past few months, but none of the comments were addressed on the front page of Tor.com.

In an article titled “Tor’s Dumb Letter,” Harry Connolly highlights the differences in the way Irene Gallo and Tor contracts manager Sean Fodera were treated for embarrassing the company.

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Internet Explodes Around Irene Gallo

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Irene Gallo Tor Creative Director-smallIf you’ve been following science fiction publishing for the past 48 hours, you may have found yourself asking, “Who the heck is Irene Gallo?”

The talented Ms Gallo is the Creative Director of Tor Books, and the associate publisher of the marvelous Tor.com, where she’s done some exemplary work. On May 11, in response to a question on her personal Facebook page, she wrote a quick and rather clueless assessment of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies movement:

There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.

Virtually no one took notice of Irene’s comments until Vox Day tweeted a screenshot on June 6th, and Larry Correia took note of it on Facebook, saying:

Irene Gallo is the Creative Director at Tor… I think we should share the love. Everybody deserves to see this wisdom in action.

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Clarkesworld Magazine Now Accepting Novelettes

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Clarkesworld 84-smallNeil Clarke has had quite a year. His magazine Clarkesworld published its 100th issue in January — an extraordinary milestone for any fiction magazine, let alone one of the earliest online venues — and in November he and fellow Clarkesworld folks Sean Wallace and Kate Baker received a Special Award from the World Fantasy Convention. And at the Nebulas this past weekend, Neil had no less than three stories he’d edited up for awards — more than any other editor. But I think the biggest news from Neil was this low-key announcement on his blog on June 2:

For several years now, I’ve capped the upper limit on Clarkesworld’s original fiction at 8,000 words. There were several good reasons for doing that, but they were mostly financial. This past week, we passed our latest Patreon goal and secured funding for a fourth original story in every issue… Assuming the Patreon pledge levels hold, this puts us in a situation that provides me with some flexibility.

I’m considering raising our upper limit to 16,000 words. That would take us firmly into novelette territory. (Right now, we barely scrape it.) Each issue would feature no more than one novelette… We would also accompany this change with an increase in pay rate on the 4000+ side of our scale.

And in a very brief post the next day, Neil confirmed that Clarkesworld would now publish fiction up to 16,000 words. Its rates have changed as well: it now pays 10¢ per word for the first 5,000 words, and 8¢ for each word over 5,000.

This is very good news for fantasy writers of all kinds. Clarkesworld is one of the most acclaimed publications in the industry, and the fact that it published exclusively short fiction was a source of continued frustration for many writers. So if your great fantasy novelette has been languishing in your desk drawer for years without a home, now’s the time to take it out and polish it up. Clarkesworld‘s submission page is here, and we covered the May issue here.

Presenting the 2015 Nebula Awards

Sunday, June 7th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

  Presenting the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novelette

Presenting the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novelette

I don’t mean that title metaphorically. Like, “Here are the 2015 Nebula winners, so awesome!” I mean it literally. As in, presenting a Nebula Award on stage, in front of God and everybody, while wearing a suit and desperately hoping I pronounced all the names correctly. How’s that for awesome?

The 2015 Nebulas were presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America at the 50th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend on Saturday, June 4th, at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. The event was attended by the brightest and most dazzling talents in the industry (plus, I was there too). I was invited to present the Nebula for Best Novelette, which was a fabulous honor that made me all giddy. If at any point on Saturday I shook your hand and tried to give you a Nebula Award, I hope you can understand — when I’m nervous, rehearsing make me feel better.

Please forgive me. Unless your name is Alaya Dawn Johnson, in which case, congratulations again on winning, and I’m very sorry I added three extra vowels to your first name. Ha ha ha, Alaya. It looked so damn easy on paper.

Anyways, the Nebulas. Super-big deal. The biggest names in the industry, gathered together to celebrate the very best writing of the year. And also to see and be seen, to socialize, discuss the big issues of the day, renew friendships, make new friends, gossip, catch up on all the news. Plus, to give out some Nebula Awards.

Derek Kunsken posted a fine summary of the weekend earlier today. After working with him for so many years, I was delighted to finally meet Derek for the first time, and he turned out to be just as articulate and entertaining in person. He wasn’t the only Black Gate writer to attend — I also caught up with Steven Silver, Jeremiah Tolbert, Tina Jens, and Beth Dawkins.

The highlight, of course, was the awards ceremony. And without any further ado, here’s a complete rundown on the winners.

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Blogging from the Nebulas Weekend

Sunday, June 7th, 2015 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

I’m in Chicago, at the 50th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, and so far, it’s all pretty amazing. For Annihilation_by_jeff_vandermeerthose who don’t know, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America hold an annual Nebula Awards weekend that feels kind of like a very small fan con, except most of the attendees are SFWA members and networking and casual business discussion dominates.

My first Nebulas Weekend was in San José two years ago. Chicago is pretty impressive and the hotel, the Palmer House in downtown Chicago, is even moreso. And like at World Fantasy, attendees got loot bags upon arrival, provided by publishers. A small selection of by book bag contains: Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose, an advance proof of Aliette de Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings, Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty, Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings, Nick Cutter’s The Acolyte and many more.

I don’t tend to go to as much programming as I used to at cons; I go more to meet editors, agents, publishers, and other writers, because hey, common interests. This weekend is an exception because the speakers are pretty uniformly the people who are steering the field itself.

I checked out a panel with Sheila Williams (Asimov’s) and Jacob Wiesman (Tachyon Press) about what editors are looking for. This is a bit in the same theme as Neil Clarke’s recent and excellent and data-based post about what he’s looking for at Clarkesworld. Based on the conversation, it struck me how much building Asimov’s each month is like building an anthology, where tone and editorial vision and story offering have to balance.

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