Future Treasures: In the Night Woods by Dale Bailey

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

In the Night Wood Dale Bailey-smallI’ve been writing about short fiction at Black Gate for over a decade, and over those years the name Dale Bailey keeps popping up.

He’s had a successful series of tales inspired by 50s monster movies (“I Married a Monster from Outer Space,” “Teenagers from Outer Space,” “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” and “Invasion of the Saucer-Men”) in Asimov’s, Nightmare and Clarkesworld, and his fiction has appeared in many Year’s Best volumes. His novels include The Fallen (2002), House of Bones (2003), and The Subterranean Season (2015).

His latest is In the Night Woods, forthcoming from John Joseph Adams Books. The Kirkus review is pretty tantalizing:

Bailey’s novel has every aspect of gothic horror: the drafty manor, the shady servants, the tortured protagonists. The writing is dense with allusions and details, the narrative twisting and turning in the same way the Night Wood distorts the senses of anyone who wanders into it. The writing does get a bit convoluted and hard to follow at times, but it’s in keeping with the atmosphere of subtle dread that permeates the novel. The book is surprisingly short, and there’s a lot of buildup to a very quick climax… The succession of reveals in the frantic last 30 or so pages, however, is tense and disturbing, satisfying for any horror fan.

A modern gothic horror done right.

We previously covered Bailey’s 2015 collection The End of the End of Everything.

In the Night Woods arrives from John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on October 9, 2018. It’s 224 pages, priced at $23 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Andrew Davidson. Read more here.

Here’s the publisher’s description.

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New Treasures: The End of the End of Everything by Dale Bailey

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The End of the End of Everything Dale Bailey-small

I don’t keep on top of modern horror and dark fantasy as much as I should, but I do make an effort to get the collections everyone is talking about. That means Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters, Laird Barron’s The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, John Langan’s The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, Simon Strantzas’ Burnt Black Suns, and Stephen Graham Jones’ After the People Lights Have Gone Off. And the last one on my list was The End of the End of Everything, Dale Bailey’s second collection (following his 2003 Golden Gryphon volume The Resurrection Man’s Legacy and Other Stories). I’ve been hearing great things about Bailey for over a decade, and I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for a while. But it was James Patrick Kelly’s gonzo blurb that finally made me pull the trigger:

Here are nine gorgeously-written and closely-observed tales of ordinary people trying to hold it together when everything is falling apart. I’ve been a story aficionado for several decades now and I can’t think of a more accomplished master of the fantastic short form. Prepare to hunt feral Girl Scouts! Pack your bags for a dinosaur safari! Invite friends to your end of the world party! Dale Bailey is the poet of the apocalypse; his stories are guaranteed to haunt you.

If I ever get around to writing a book — or anything, really — I want James Patrick Kelly writing all my blurbs.

The End of the End of Everything was published by Arche Press on April 9, 2015. It is 229 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $3.99 for the digital version. The cover art is by Galan Dara. Click the image above for a bigger version.


Future Treasures: Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, edited by Irene Gallo

Friday, August 31st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Worlds Seen in Passing Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction-smallTor.com is one of the finest genre websites on the planet. Originally created to promote Tor Books, it has taken on a very substantial life of its own, with news, art, commentary, thoughtful re-reads of many of my favorite novels (and more than a few that I’ve overlooked)… and especially fiction. It’s become widely renowned for its top-notch fiction, from many of the biggest names in the genre.

How did it all start? Tor.com publisher Irene Gallo tells all in the Preface to Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, a feast of a book collecting 40 of the best stories published at the site over the years.

Tor.com celebrated its tenth anniversary on July 20, 2018 — the forty-ninth anniversary of the first manned moon landing. It started out innocently enough. In 2006, our publisher, Fritz Foy, while attending the Tor Books holiday party, pulled Patrick and Theresa Nielsen Hayden and me aside and said he wanted to create “a river of conversation, art, and fiction” within the SF/F community — an online magazine that crossed the borders between publishers and media.

It took us a couple years to get off the ground. During that time, whenever we felt lost in the process, we’d come back to the word “genuine.” We wanted to build a place that treated science fiction and fantasy (and related subjects) with gravitas and humor, a place to have fun without shying away from weightier, more thoughtful subjects. In short, we wanted to build a place where we wanted to hang out…

We knew from the start that fiction was always going to be at the heart of Tor.com. As publishers it made sense, but also… the entire site is dedicated to storytelling. Of course we wanted fiction to be our focal point. We have since published hundreds of original stories, along with art, reprints, comics, and poems — all of which are a source of pride for us, as well as bringing enjoyment to our readers.

This is a very substantial volume — 567 pages! — and it’s packed with fiction from the best writers in the industry, including Kathleen Ann Goonan, Jeff VanderMeer, Leigh Bardugo, Lavie Tidhar, A.M. Dellamonica, Dale Bailey, Tina Connolly, Max Gladstone, Alyssa Wong, Genevieve Valentine, Kij Johnson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Rachel Swirsky, Ken Liu, Ruthanna Emrys, Isabel Yap, Helen Marshall, Pat Murphy, Kameron Hurley, Yoon Ha Lee, N. K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Charlie Jane Anders, and many, many others.

Here’s the publisher’s description.

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Hugo Nomination Thoughts, 2018

Sunday, March 4th, 2018 | Posted by Rich Horton

Shiny Hugo Awards

Time for my annual post on what I’m thinking about for Hugo nominations. As ever, I’ll caution that I have read a lot of short fiction, but that I am less up on the other categories. I have seen a fair quantity of movies, too, however.

Let me reiterate something I said last year – though I participate with a lot of enjoyment in Hugo nomination and voting every year, I am philosophically convinced that there is no such thing as the “best” story – “best” piece of art, period. This doesn’t mean I don’t think some art is better than other art – I absolutely do think that. But I think that at the top, there is no way to draw fine distinctions, to insist on rankings. Different stories do different things, all worthwhile. I can readily change my own mind about which stories I prefer – it might depend on how important to me that “thing” they do is (and of course most stories do multiple different things!) – it might depend on my mood that day – it might depend on something new I’ve read that makes me think differently about a certain subject. And one more thing – I claim no special authority of my own. I have my own tastes, and indeed my own prejudices. So too does everyone else. I have blind spots, and I have things that affect me more profoundly than they might affect others. I’ve also read a lot of SF – and that changes my reactions to stories as well – and not in a way that need be considered privileged.

Anyway, as ever, in the lists below, I’ll suggest somewhere between 3 and 8 or so items that might be on my final ballot. Those will be in no particular order. And the other stories I list will all really be about as good – and I might change my mind before my ballot goes in.

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Future Treasures: 95 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books to Read in 2018

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Myke Cole THE ARMORED SAINT-small The Robots of Gotham-small Outpost W. Michael Gear-small

Hand in hand with the new year comes brand new schedules from the major genre publishers like Tor, DAW, Ace, Angry Robot, Solaris, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and many others. The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog has compiled a magnificent list of 95 Books Sci-Fi & Fantasy Editors Can’t Wait for You to Read in 2018, and I was surprised and delighted to see Black Gate authors well represented, including Myke Coke, Todd McAulty, and Patrice Sarath.

There’s also plenty of other enticing titles, including books by W. Michael Gear, Tim Powers, Yoon Ha Lee, Seanan McGuire, Jim Butcher, S.K.Dunstall, Peter McLean, David Weber, Kristen Britain, Sylvain Neuvel, Carrie Vaughn, Dale Bailey, Molly Tanzer, Rich Larson, Kameron Hurley, Nancy Springer, Peter Watts, Ian McDonald, Dan Abnett, and many others. Here’s a few of the hightlights.

The Armored Saint, by Myke Cole (Tor.com, 208 pages, $17.99 in hardcover, February 20)

This is a fabulous tale of bravery versus doubt, of magic versus religion and of humanity versus its demons (both real and metaphorical). A truly action-packed fantasy, with a heroine you can’t help but adore, and Myke Cole’s long-overdue foray into hardcover fiction. Book one in a series of three, and one not to be missed! — Lee Harris

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Check out the Table of Contents for The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume Four, edited by Helen Marshall and Michael Kelly

Sunday, October 15th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 4-small The Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 4-back-small

It’s always a delight when The Year’s Best Weird Fiction arrives, as I consistently find it one of the most eclectic and eye-opening of the Year’s Best volumes. All of them introduce me to new writers and fiction venues, but I don’t think any do it with the same regularity as Year’s Best Weird Fiction.

The series is edited by a different guest editor every year; Canadian author Helen Marshall is at the reins for 2017. The series editor is Undertow’s distinguished publisher, Michael Kelly. This year’s volume includes stories from Jeffrey Ford, Dale Bailey, Usman T. Malik, Sam J. Miller, Sarah Tolmie, Indrapramit Das, and many others. It arrived in trade paperback from Undertow Publications earlier this month.

And while we’re talking about the book, I have to say a few words about Alex Andreev’s fantastically creepy cover, which may be my favorite cover art of 2017. I’ve seen it multiple times, but didn’t notice anything particularly unsettling about it until I tracked down a high-res version for this article. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Click the image above left to view a high-resolution version, and see what I mean. Warning: not for the squeamish. (Which in this case definitely includes me. Brrrr.)

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Check out the Table of Contents for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017, edited by Charles Yu and John Joseph Adams

Sunday, October 1st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017-small The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017-back-small

Charles Yu, the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine, also knows his way around a short story, with two collections to his credit, Third Class Superhero (2006) and Sorry Please Thank You (2012). He’s a fine choice to edit this year’s edition of Mariner Books’ The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was edited by Joe Hill in 2015, and Karen Joy Fowler in 2016. The Series Editor is John Joseph Adams, editor of Lightspeed, Nightmare, and about a zillion SF and fantasy anthologies.

This year’s volume officially goes on sale on Tuesday, but I saw a copy on the shelf yesterday at Barnes & Noble, so it’s out in the wild. It’s the last of the Year’s Best volumes we track here at Black Gate, but it’s also one of the most interesting. It contains fiction by Leigh Bardugo, E. Lily Yu,y Nisi Shawl, Jeremiah Tolbert, Peter S. Beagle, N.K. Jemisin, Genevieve Valentine, Catherynne M. Valente, Greg van Eekhout, Caroline M. Yoachim, and many others — including two stories by Dale Bailey. Here’s the complete TOC.

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Try the Science Fiction Value Packs from Asimov’s and Analog for Just $6.95

Sunday, June 18th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimov Science Fiction and Analog double sized issues-small

Get a dozen double issues of Asimov’s and Analog — a $96 value — for just $15.95!

I was checking the subscription rates for Analog Science Fiction last week, as I was prepping an article on the May/June issue, when I stumbled on two curious new entries on the subscription page:

Science Fiction Value Pack-8 — $6.95
Science Fiction Double Issue Value Pack-12 — $15.95

For a limited time Dell Magazines, publishers of Asimov’s and Analog (as well as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine) is selling packs of back issues at steep discounts. You can get an 8 pack (total value nearly $40) for just $6.95 — less than a dollar an issue! — or an even dozen double issues (value $96) for just $15.95. All the stock is brand new.

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May/June 2017 Asimov’s Science Fiction Now on Sale

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimov's Science Fiction May June 2017-smallAsimov’s Science Fiction is celebrating its 40th Anniversary Year in 2017, and in her editorial this issue Sheila Williams reflects on the many milestones and anniversaries she’s had during her 35 years with the magazine.

Alas, the magazines’ fifteenth anniversary was not a happy occasion. Isaac died on April 6, 1992, leaving all of us heartbroken. He’d told me several times before he died that one major reason he’d founded the magazine was to give new writers a welcoming place to break into science fiction. He also expressed his deeply held wish that the magazine continue long after his death. While the following year wasn’t a special anniversary year, it was a happier one. In March 1993, Rick Wilber and I announced the creation of what would become known as the Dell Magazine Award. This award, which goes to the best SF or fantasy story by a full-time college student, seeks to further Isaac’s legacy of supporting emerging authors. Later that year, I hit another important milestone — the birth of my first daughter, Irene.

I don’t remember if we held a twentieth anniversary celebration for the magazine in 1997, but I do remember that the magazine hit a grand slam at the Hugos. Asimov’s stories picked up the award in all three short fiction categories, and Gardner Dozois won one of his many Hugos for best editor. The twenty-fifth anniversary is another blur, partly because my second daughter, Juliet, was born in early July….

2017 is shaping up as a very good year, as well. As I write this, we are formulating plans for a fortieth anniversary celebration on April 13. It will be held in New York City at the Housing Works Bookstore Café on 126 Crosby Street. Although this issue doesn’t go on sale until April 25, I hope that many of you will have heard the word via social media and will have commemorated the occasion with us. Later in the year, Prime Books will be publishing Asimov’s Science Fiction: A Decade of Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories, 2005 to 2015 in conjunction with our anniversary year. In addition to many of the authors who appeared in our Thirtieth Anniversary Anthology, this book contains stories by Sarah Pinsker, David Levine, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Bear, Vylar Kaftan, Will McIntosh, and others. We hope to have a book signing in place in NYC to celebrate the launch of the book. Please keep up with us on social media to learn more about our plans.

Indeed, Derek Kunsken wrote about his adventurous trip to New York for Asimov’s fortieth anniversary celebration here.

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Asimov’s Science Fiction, Vol. 41, Nos. 3 & 4 (March/April 2017)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 | Posted by MichaelPenkas

Asimovs 2017 3-4Asimov’s continues its 40th anniversary celebration with its March/April issue. Thirteen stories, half a dozen poems, and plenty of little asides about what the magazine means to the various contributors.

It begins with “Soulmates.com” by Will McIntosh, a story about love in the digital age which reads like it was meant to be charming, but came off rather creepy. Both characters behave like vengeful stalkers at different points in the story and it all got tied up far too neatly, with the one of the characters essentially “hacking” all of the problems away.

Next up is “Number Thirty-Nine Skink” by Suzanne Palmer. The story concerns a robot designed to colonize an alien world by producing perfect duplicates of various Earth lifeforms and dispersing them across the planet’s surface. The robot continues with this project, despite most of the colonization crew leaving and the only human who stayed behind dying. On top of the robot coping with the concept of loneliness, there are also some native lifeforms that object to a robot that mass-produces invasive species. This one’s a bit tricky to follow at first as the reader figures out what’s going on. The cover art by Tomislav Tikulin depicts a scene from this story.

Next up is “Three Can Keep a Secret …” by Bill John and Gregory Frost. Strip out the mimic suits and space travel and what you’ve got is a basic caper story in which a professional assassin is hired by two separate clients to kill one another. Like the best capers, the solution is right there in plain sight, but not obvious until the story’s end.

“The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going” by Sarah Pinsker is less of a science fiction piece and more of a thought experiment on the virtues of sacrifice.

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