Paul Kincaid wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books that holds court on the state of science fiction. He does so, by evaluating three of the 2012 Year’s Best anthologies. In it, he wonders if,
the genres of the fantastic themselves have reached a state of exhaustion. . . [or] that science fiction has lost confidence in the future. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it has lost confidence that the future can be comprehended.
Which is it? Have they lost confidence in the future or is the future incomprehensible? The latter would imply that the future is too complex. Technology has accelerated so fast in recent years that to speculate on its destination and its impact on our lives might be too difficult. I don’t find that argument particularly convincing. The former question, which should read, has the future failed, holds water. Because it has.… Read the rest
I’m not sure what prompted me to write this post, but it seems like an appropriate time to talk about the five books that most influenced me as a person and as a reader. Perhaps it’s because I’m going through a big transition now, both personally with my father-in-law’s declining health and professionally with my impending doomsday of January 1 for unemployment, that I want to reflect a bit. Either way, I think there’s something significant to be learned about someone in a list like this.
Maybe other bloggers will take my cue and do a list of their own?
The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon
The first Hardy Boys book is my number one, and it’s not close. It was the first proper book I ever read and it’s largely, if not entirely, responsible for kindling in me a love of story. My parents’ raised me to find my own path.
… Read the rest
Stormdancer, blurbed by Patrick Rothfuss and heavily marketed by Thomas Dunne Books, is billed as Japanese steampunk. It’s Jay Kristoff’s debut novel and as far as I’m concerned it’s a colossal failure. That is to say, I’m puzzled that anyone bought it, and utterly bamboozled how it went to a three-way auction.
Before I get too far into my critique I should mention that Kristoff writes well enough. His prose is easily digestible and it made reading Stormdancer tolerable. He capably lays out his story, revealing information in a way that makes sense, doesn’t seem dishonest to his reader, and covers his bases. If I was evaluating a home being auctioned off in an estate sale whose previous owner had fourteen cats and no litter boxes, I would say, “it has good bones.” Unfortunately, once you own the home it still smells like cat piss and one man can only carry so many bottles of bleach.
I write a regular column at SF Signal spotlighting small presses from around the world. Last month I wrote about Small Beer Press, a literary genre press out of Massachusetts. Today, I spent 1100 words on ChiZine, the rapidly growing dark fiction press from Toronto, Canada.
I’ve taken to frequenting brick and mortar book stores more often since beginning this column. I find myself needing to peruse the stacks, to see what catches my eye and what’s being stocked. It should come as no surprise that few of the presses I’ll be covering find themselves en masse on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, but some do. ChiZine Publications is one of them.
When I first came across ChiZine, two years ago or so, I wrote them off to some degree. I’ve never been one for weird for its own sake and covers like David Nickle’s Monstrous Affections coded that way for me.
… Read the rest
When I began this blog, some eighteen months ago, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read me, or if I’d ever get a review copies. Strangely enough, two books I finished this past month were sequels to the first review copies I ever received: The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer, sequel to The Whitefire Crossing, and Chimera by T.C. McCarthy, sequel to Germline and Exogene. I write about them together not because of their coincidental significance to this blog, but because of the vastly different styles between the two and the fact they ultimately succeed for the same reason.
Whitefire, Schafer’s debut novel, was an adventure novel about smuggler Dev, and his human cargo Kiran, a blood mage looking to escape his powerful mentor. A mountain climber herself, Schafer spent most of the novel in the Whitefire Mountains crossing the natural barrier between two nations with very different ideas about the proper use of magic.… Read the rest
The next few weeks may be a little rough around these parts as I smooth out my transition to WordPress. I’m marginally savvy with these things, but I’m finding this transition a little harder. DNS, as far as I’m concerned, might as well be Sanskrit. In any case, I’m hoping that the transition will be mostly seamless for everyone.
RSS subscribers should see no change as I’ve burned the feed to this new site. For those who visit me via bookmark, I’ll be forwarding you here from the old Google Blog.
Thanks for reading, more to come soon.… Read the rest
Press release originally appeared on Pornokitsch:
Jurassic London are pleased to announce Speculative Fiction 2012: The Year’s Best Online Reviews & Commentary, capturing the best of 2012′s blogs, websites and other digital publications.
With the online reviewing community larger than ever before, Speculative Fiction aims to both capture and celebrate the best in genre non-fiction: the top book reviews, criticism and essays of the year.
The collection will be edited by Justin Landon (Staffer’s Book Review) and Jared Shurin (Pornokitsch).
Speculative Fiction will be available February 2013. All proceeds will go to charity (partner TBA).
The editors are currently seeking recommendations. Pieces must be longer than 500 words. This is a reprint anthology: work must have been first published online, in 2012 and not in a professional publication.
Recommendations should be submitted here: Speculative Fiction 2012.
Payment will be on publication, at the reprint rate of one cent a word, plus a contributor copy.
… Read the rest
November is almost here, which for those of us in the United States means election time. It’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric that’s espoused at the conventions. What springs from that is a crazy notion that the two American political parties are separated by a legion of issues from abortion, to fiscal responsibility, to same sex marriage, to defense policy.
While it’s certainly true that the extremes of the two parties disagree on most of these items, many of those who identify closer to center find themselves separated by one fundamental ideology. Democrats believe government creates opportunities, and Republicans believe it restricts them. Who’s right? I’ve no idea and both parties often find themselves in hypocritical boxes (Pro-life policies for example seem more big government, than not). But, I often wish the debate could center around this issue because there’s a lot of great academic work that’s been done from both perspectives.… Read the rest