The 2017 World Fantasy Award Winners

Sunday, November 5th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sudden Appearance of Hope-smallI wish I could have attended the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend. Many of my friends were there, as well as plenty of people I would have liked to meet. At the convention last year (in Columbus, Ohio), Black Gate won a World Fantasy Award, and there’s no way we could top that experience, but it would have been marvelous to be in the room as this year’s winners were announced.

The next best thing is to share the winners with you. If you’re looking for the best fantasy of 2016, this is as close to a definitive list as you’re likely to find.

The World Fantasy Awards winners are:

Best Novel

WINNER: The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Claire North (Redhook; Orbit UK)
Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
Roadsouls, Betsy James (Aqueduct)
The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff (Harper)

Best Long Fiction

WINNER: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson ( Publishing)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle ( Publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
“Bloodybones”, Paul F. Olson (Whispered Echoes)
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson ( Publishing)

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A New Twilight Zone? Maybe — And I Have a Few Requests

Saturday, November 4th, 2017 | Posted by Ryan Harvey


The current landscape of television, with numerous platforms, shows where all the episodes can be released at once to create what are essentially eleven-hour movies, and the full reimagining of what a “season” entails, has made the anthology show a viable format once again. Naturally, this means we’re due for a revival of the most famous anthology program in the medium’s history: The Twilight Zone. A.k.a. “One of the Best TV Shows Ever.”

As of this week, it indeed looks like we’re on the way to a TZ revival, based on this news from The Hollywood Reporter. And it’s not just from anyone pulled randomly out of the PGA and DGA listings. It’s from Jordan Peele, whose directorial debut this earlier year, the smash horror hit Get Out, is just covered with Serling-esque fingerprints.

This is still tentative, and The Hollywood Reporter mentions it’s unclear if this is a series order or only an announcement of development for CBS’s All Access service. Jordan Peele’s production company, Monkeypaw, is behind the new show, with Marco Ramirez (Sons of AnarchyDaredevil) assigned as head writer and showrunner. CBS so far hasn’t made an official comment on either Peele or Ramirez’s involvement, which tells me the deal is still in the process of getting hammered out. It could all evaporate, as a 2012 revival attempt with Bryan Singer did. But the timing on this — and the involvement of Jordan Peele — makes it sound like it may turn into reality. Or what passes for reality in a land of shadow and substance, things and ideas…

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The 2017 Hugo Award Winners

Sunday, August 13th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Obelisk Gate-medium Every-Heart-a-Doorway_Seanan-McGuire-small Words Are My Matter Writings About Life and Books Ursula K. Le Guin-small

The winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards were announced on Friday at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland. I wish I had been there! But since I wasn’t, let’s just get this over with. Here’s the complete list of winners. Congratulations, all you cool people. In Helsinki, eating pickled herring. I don’t want to hear about it.

Best Novel

The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella

Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)

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Burn the (Black) Witch

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 | Posted by Jackson Kuhl

The-Black-Witch-smallFinishing up your manuscript for a YA novel? Congratulations! You’re almost ready to become a bona fide published author. The final step: evading the pitchfork-wielding mob!

The Black Witch, a debut young-adult fantasy novel by Laurie Forest, was still seven weeks from its May 1 publication date, but positive buzz was already building, with early reviews calling it “an intoxicating tale of rebellion and star-crossed romance,” “a massive page-turner that leaves readers longing for more,” and “an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”

The hype train was derailed in mid-March, however, by Shauna Sinyard, a bookstore employee and blogger who writes primarily about YA and had a different take: “The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” she wrote in a nearly 9,000-word review that blasted the novel as an end-to-end mess of unadulterated bigotry…

In a tweet that would be retweeted nearly 500 times, Sinyard asked people to spread the word about The Black Witch by sharing her review — a clarion call for YA Twitter, which regularly identifies and denounces books for being problematic (an all-purpose umbrella term for describing texts that engage improperly with race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other marginalizations)…

Based almost solely on Sinyard’s opinion, the novel became the object of sustained, aggressive opposition in the weeks leading up its release. Its publisher, Harlequin Teen, was bombarded with angry emails demanding they pull the book. The Black Witch’s Goodreads rating dropped to an abysmal 1.71 thanks to a mass coordinated campaign of one-star reviews, mostly from people who admitted to not having read it…

Positive buzz all but died off, as community members began confronting The Black Witch’s supporters, demanding to know why they insisted on reading a racist book. When Kirkus gave the novel a glowing starred review, dozens of commenters demanded a retraction…

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2017 Locus Award Winners Announced

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Death's End Cixin Liu-small All-the-Birds-in-the-Sky-medium Revenger Alastair Reynolds-small

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Locus Awards, one of the most prestigious (and certainly one of the longest running) fan-voted awards in the industry.

The winners are selected by fans in an online poll. 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:


Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor)


All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor)

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The 2016 Nebula Award Winners

Sunday, May 21st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

All-the-Birds-in-the-Sky-medium Every-Heart-a-Doorway_Seanan-McGuire-small Arabella of Mars-small

The 2016 Nebulas were presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America at the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards Weekend on Saturday, May 20th, at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center in Pennsylvania.

Unlike the last two events (which were held in Chicago), I was unable to attend this year, which I regret. But somehow they went on without me, and gave out Nebula Awards anyway. Here’s the complete list of winners.


All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books)

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Keep Up With the Latest Releases from Black Gate Authors

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Soverign Silk ElizaBeth Gilligan-small Black Mask Spring 2017-small All Systems Red The Murderbot Diaries-small

One of the things readers frequently ask me for is updates on their favorite Black Gate authors. We published hundreds of writers in the decade-plus the magazine was alive, and at least as many in the 10 years that we’ve been running the blog… that’s a lot of talented authors to keep tabs on!

Nevertheless, we do our best. Here’s a quick snapshot of the current and upcoming releases from some of your favorite Black Gate writers.

ElizaBeth Gilligan (“Iron Joan,” BG 3) releases Sovereign Silk, the long-awaited third novel in her Silken Magic series, from DAW on June 6
Bob Byrne, our Monday morning blogger (and resident Sherlock expert), has a story in the Spring 2017 issue of the revived Black Mask magazine
Martha Wells (the Giliead and Ilias tales in BG) published All Systems Red, the first book in The Murderbot Diaries, through on May 2
Ellen Klages (“A Taste of Summer,” BG3) had her second collection Wicked Wonders come out from Tachyon Publications on May 9
James Enge (the Morlock stories) released his latest Kindle volume Iris Descends on January 15.
Derek Kunsken’s debut SF novel The Quantum Magician (“Ocean’s Eleven meets Guardians of the Galaxy“) will be published by Solaris Books in October 2018
Howard Andrew Jones has a brand new Dabir & Asim tale, “The Black Lion,” in the latest issue of Skelos magazine

Read More »

2017 Locus Awards Finalists Announced

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Babylon’s Ashes James S.A. Corey-small Fellside-by-M-R-Carey-small Vigil Angela Slatter-small

The Locus Awards, voted on by readers in an open online poll, have been presented every year since 1971. (A quarter century before there was such a thing as an online poll. Back in the day, we used to send ballots through the mail. Ask your parents what that means.) The final ballot lists 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 on June 23-25, 2017.

Even if you didn’t vote in the awards, the list of Finalists makes a terrific Recommended Reading list. Jonathan Strahan posted the following on his Facebook feed this morning, and I agree completely.

Here’s a thought, fellow SF readers. Locus has just announced its long list for the Locus Awards. Forget that it’s an awards list for a moment, though. It’s a reading list.

So why not look down the list below for Best First Novel. and try something new? Pick a book from the list below. Buy a copy, borrow a copy, go to the library and grab a copy. Track one down, and try something new…. I can recommend the Lee, Shawl and Slatter books very highly. Some of the others look really interesting.

You can find the complete list of finalists at Locus Online, and last year’s winners here.

Support the Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume II Kickstarter!

Monday, May 8th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume 2

In his review of Volume One of The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Fletcher Vredenburgh wrote:

Regular readers of my monthly short story roundup know how great I think Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is, ranking it the most consistent forum for the best in contemporary swords & sorcery. Some may think I’m laying it on a little thick, but The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: Volume 1, 2009-2011, a distillation of the mag’s first three years, should prove that I’m not.

It’s too late to get in on the ground floor and support the creation of Volume One — but you can help support the publishers and editors of HFQ in their noble effort to produce a second volume. I asked editor Adrian Simmons to give us the scoop, and here’s what he told me.

At Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, we swore we wouldn’t be one of those sites constantly begging you for change. But we’ve swallowed our pirde (one bite at a time, which is why it has taken so damn long) and come to you, our readers and fans, for support so we can get our best-of anthologies moving again.

If you only support Kickstarters that are clear winners, you’re in luck — as of early Monday morning, the campaign has already surpassed $700 on a $500 goal, with roughly seven weeks to go. Check it out here.

Save the Unicorns!

Monday, April 24th, 2017 | Posted by MichaelPenkas

In CalabriaPeter S. Beagle is the author of The Last Unicorn. Honestly, that should be enough, but check out his full bibliography and you’ll see that this man’s been producing fantastic literature for over half a century. In recent times, Mr. Beagle’s fallen on hard economic times for reasons both heartbreaking and infuriating (check out a summarized explanation here). Fortunately, there’s a way to help him out… and get your hands on a lot of unicorn stories in the process.

Humble Bundle Inc. is currently offering a Save the Unicorns bundle of ebooks. Not only were these books selected by Peter S. Beagle for this collection, but several of them feature stories by Beagle and a couple of them are currently only available through this offer. Proceeds from this bundle will go to a charity of your choice, but if you choose to send the money to Tachyon Publications, Peter S. Beagle will receive royalties from it.

So what do you get for your money? That depends entirely on how much you want to donate. For one dollar (just ONE DOLLAR), you get Ariel by Steven R. Boyett, Unicorn Mountain by Michael Bishop, Homeward Bound by Bruce Coville, and Unicorn Triangle by Patricia A. McKillip. If you can spare eight dollars, you also get The Fantasy & Science Fiction Book of Unicorns edited by Gordon Van Gelder (available EXCLUSIVELY through this bundle), Dream a Little Dream by Piers Anthony and Julie Brady, The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen, Pandora Park by Piers Anthony, and The Unicorn Trade by Poul Anderson and Karen Anderson. And if you give just fifteen dollars, you also get In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle, The Unicorn Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman, The Fantasy & Science Fiction Book of Unicorns Volume II edited by Gordon Van Gelder (again, available EXCLUSIVELY through this bundle), My Son Heydari and the Karkadann by Peter S. Beagle, The Day of the Dissonance by Alan Dean Foster, and The Dragon and the Unicorn by A.A. Attanasio. You can choose to download these e-books in MOBI, PDF, or EPUB formats (or all three if you have multiple devices).

And for those of you who have been following Peter S. Beagle’s legal struggles, rest assured that this offer is legitimate. I actually contacted Tachyon Publications earlier today to confirm (because I am by nature a suspicious soul) and received a pair of confirmations that this is all on the up and up. Beyond that, I just bought this bundle and did in fact receive all fifteen of the e-books that I listed above.

If you want to learn more about Mr. Beagle’s financial struggles and other ways you can help, check out the Support Peter S. Beagle website. And remember, the Humble Bundle won’t be available indefinitely. In fact, as of this posting, you have only a week left to Save the Unicorns!

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