2017 Locus Awards Winners Announced

The 2017 Locus Awards were announced Saturday, June 24, at the Locus Awards Weekend held in Seattle, WA. The awards are hosted by the Locus Science Fiction Foundation and winners determined through an open online poll; this year the poll ran from February 1 to April 15.   The nominees and winners are:

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
  • Winner: Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • Company Town, Madeline Ashby (Tor)
  • The Medusa Chronicles, Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Saga)
  • Take Back the Sky, Greg Bear (Orbit)
  • Visitor, C.J. Cherryh (DAW)
  • Babylon’s Ashes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
  • After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
  • Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon)
  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; Fleet)
  • Last Year, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
FANTASY NOVEL
  • Winner: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor)
  • Summerlong, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Children of Earth and Sky, Guy Gavriel Kay (NAL)
  • The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville (Del Rey; Picador)
  • The Winged Histories, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Nightmare Stacks, Charles Stross (Ace) Necessity, Jo Walton (Tor)
HORROR NOVEL
  • Winner: The Fireman, Joe Hill (Morrow)
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, R.S. Belcher (Tor)
  • Fellside, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
  • Mongrels, Stephen Graham Jones (Morrow)
  • The Fisherman, John Langan (Word Horde)
  • Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Dunne)
  • HEX, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Family Plot, Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff (Harper)
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
FIRST NOVEL
  • Winner: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US)
  • The Reader, Traci Chee (Putnam)
  • Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis Chen (Dunne)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig (Greenwillow; Hot Key)
  • Roses and Rot, Kat Howard (Saga)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Infomocracy, Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • Winner: Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US)
  • Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo (Holt)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin)
  • Lois Lane: Double Down, Gwenda Bond (Switch)
  • Truthwitch, Susan Dennard (Tor Teen)
  • Poisoned Blade, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
  • Burning Midnight, Will McIntosh (Delacorte; Macmillan) Goldenhand, Garth Nix (Harper; Allen & Unwin; Hot Key)
  • This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab (Titan; Greenwillow)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)
NOVELLA
  • Winner: Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Lost Child of Lychford, Paul Cornell (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Hammers on Bone, Cassandra Khaw (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Census-taker, China Miéville (Del Rey; Picador)
  • The Iron Tactician, Alastair Reynolds (NewCon)
  • The Dispatcher, John Scalzi (Audible; Subterranean)
  • Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling (Tachyon)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
NOVELETTE
  • Winner: “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny May/June 2016)
  • ‘‘The Art of Space Travel”, Nina Allan (Tor.com July 27, 2016)
  • “Pearl”, Aliette de Bodard (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Red as Blood and White as Bone”, Theodora Goss (Tor.com May 4, 2016)
  • “Foxfire, Foxfire”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies March 3, 2016)
  • “The Visitor from Taured”, Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov’s August 2016)
  • “Spinning Silver”, Naomi Novik (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Those Shadows Laugh”, Geoff Ryman (F&SF September/October 2016)
  • “The Future is Blue”, Catherynne M. Valente (Drowned Worlds)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
SHORT STORY
  • Winner: “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “The Story of Kao Yu”, Peter S. Beagle (Tor.com December 7, 2016) “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny November/December 2016)
  • “A Salvaging of Ghosts”, Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies March 17, 2016)
  • “The City Born Great”, N.K. Jemisin (Tor.com September 28, 2016)
  • “Seven Birthdays”, Ken Liu (Bridging Infinity)
  • “Afrofuturist 419”, Nnedi Okorafor (Clarkesworld November 2016) “Sixteen Questions for Kamala Chatterjee”, Alastair Reynolds (Bridging Infinity)
  • “That Game We Played During the War”, Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com March 16, 2016)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com March 2, 2016)
ANTHOLOGY
  • Winner: The Big Book of Science Fiction, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage)
  • Children of Lovecraft, Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Mikki Kendall & Chesya Burke (Crossed Genres)
  • Tremontaine, Ellen Kushner (Serial Box; Saga)
  • Invisible Planets, Ken Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe (Saga)
  • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
  • Bridging Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
  • Drowned Worlds, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
COLLECTION
  • Winner: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • Sharp Ends, Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)
  • Hwarhath Stories: Twelve Transgressive Tales by Aliens, Eleanor Arnason (Aqueduct)
  • A Natural History of Hell, Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer)
  • The Complete Orsinia, Ursula K. Le Guin (Library of America)
  • The Found and the Lost, Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga)
  • The Best of Ian McDonald, Ian McDonald (PS)
  • Dreams of Distant Shores, Patricia A. McKillip (Tachyon)
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean)
  • Not So Much, Said the Cat, Michael Swanwick (Tachyon)

 

NON-FICTION
  • Winner: The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley (Tor) Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981-1990, Mike Ashley (Liverpool University)
  • Octavia E. Butler, Gerry Canavan (University of Illinois Press) Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction, André M. Carrington (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, Ruth Franklin (Liveright)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline)
  • Time Travel: A History, James Gleick (Pantheon)
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books 2000-2016, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • The History of Science Fiction: Second Edition, Adam Roberts (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)

For complete information about additional awards, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, the Awards Weekend, and anything Locus Magazine related, be sure to visit the Locus Magazine website.




Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION Wins Campbell Award

[Featured image courtesy lavietidhar.wordpress.com]

The 2017 John W. Campbell Award ceremony was held this past weekend in Lawrence, Kansas at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, takes that honor home this year.

Central Station has been accumulating praise and accolades since  publication in May of 2016 by Tachyon Publishing. An NPR Best Book of 2016 and a Guardian Best SF & Fantasy Book, it also made the long list for the British Science Fiction Award, as well as a nomination for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The other nominees included:

  • Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter: The Medusa Chronicles
  • Don DeLillo: Zero K
  • Kij Johnson: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
  • Paul J. McAuley: Into Everywhere
  • Nisi Shawl: Everfair
  • Tricia Sullivan: Occupy Me
  • Tade Thompson: Rosewater
  • Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
  • Aliya Whiteley: The Arrival of Missives
  • Rick Wilber: Alien Morning
  • Ben Winters: Underground Airlines
  • John Nicholas Wood: Azanian Bridges

Author Tidhar was unable to attend the conference; Gunn Center administrator and 2017 jury member Christopher McKitterick was in attendance to accept the award on Tidhar’s behalf.




“Saving the World Through Science Fiction”- John W. Campbell Award Nominees

[Featured image courtesy the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at Kansas State University]

The finalists for the 2017 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel have been announced by Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Award Banquet will take place Friday, June 16, at this year’s Campbell Conference.

The finalists are as follows:
Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter: The Medusa Chronicles
Don DeLillo: Zero K
Kij Johnson: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Paul J. McAuley: Into Everywhere
Nisi Shawl: Everfair
Tricia Sullivan: Occupy Me
Tade Thompson: Rosewater
Lavie Tidhar: Central Station
Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
Aliya Whiteley: The Arrival of Missives
Rick Wilber: Alien Morning
Ben Winters: Underground Airlines
John Nicholas Wood: Azanian Bridges

The John W. Campbell Award was created in 1973 by Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (since changed to Analog). Campbell is considered by many in the field as the father of modern SF.

This year’s Conference, held in the Lawrence, Kansas University Student Union, will feature the celebration of James Gunn and the mission statement of the Gunn Center, “Saving the world through science fiction.” It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Theodore Sturgeon and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards will be presented.

Jurors this year include Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Paul Kincaid, Pamela Sargent, and Lisa Yaszek, as well as McKitterick.

The Conference takes place on June 16-18.

 





Studios Are Going Book Shopping

It’s a continuing process to keep audiences entertained, whether with films or with television series. A popular way for the studios to get these new projects is to adapt books. They are always on the search for that next big idea, from new authors to established authors, books that were released years ago and one not yet on the shelves. Here is a look at some of the future projects the studios have fought and paid for.

 

Collaborative Kings

Anonymous Content should be excited to have acquired the rights to Sleeping Beauties, new supernatural/suspense novel from Stephen King and his son, Owen King. Together, the three will develop the book into a television series.

Due to be released on September 26 by Simon & Schuster’s Scribner, the story takes place in the near future in a small Appalachian town whose main employer is a women’s prison. However, something strange happens to the women: when they go to sleep, they become wrapped in a cocoon-like gauze and become feral and violent if the wrapping is disturbed or violated, or they are woken. But when they are asleep, they go to another place. The men are alone and abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. Yet one woman, the mysterious Evie, is immune, but is it a blessing or a curse? Is she a medical anomaly to be studied or a demon who must be destroyed?

Michael Sugar (Spotlight) and Ashley Zalta will executive produce for Anonymous Content. Currently they are working together on Netflix’s The OA and Maniac.

This is the first full length collaboration for the father and son team. Owen King says he dreamed up the idea over dinner one night and when he mentioned the idea, the elder King “brightened right up and insisted we write it together.”

Stephen King has several projects coming out this year, including the remake of It and The Dark Tower. He also has two series that will both be released for Hulu with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, 11.22.63 and Castle Rock.

Owen King is currently developing an original script, Fade Away, with his brother Joe Hill, for a television series for Miramax and Miguel Sapochnik. King is also co-writing with Mark Poirier Alien Invasion for Constantin Film Based on their graphic novel.

Check out the video below for an interview with the King’s on their upcoming book.

 

A Duplicated Man

Next up is also a first novel for author Tal M. Klein called The Punch Escrow. Currently Lionsgate is in advance talks to acquire the book, first published by InkShares.

The novel’s high concept and strong lead role has drawn interest. The protagonist, Joel Byram, lives in the year 2147, a time of peace on Earth, with the Last War ending a half century ago. The human race has found ways to purify the air with mosquitoes feasting on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending pollution. They have also cured most ailments, including aging. Travel is now done with teleportation, handled by the world’s most powerful privately held company. Joel is accidentally duplicated in a transportation incident, which exposes a flaw in the established nirvana. Now he must outsmart the organization that runs the teleportation, outrun the religious sect that wants to destroy him, and find a way back to the woman he loves in a world that has two of him.

Klein describes it as a sci-fi thriller with a love story at its heart; he wrote it as a text book from the future. “I wanted to write a story set in the future that addressed a lot of questions I’ve had about where our world is going—not dystopia or the apocalypse, just a credible world a century-plus from today in which our relationship with technology continues to evolve at its current pace.”

The pitch from Klein received strong interest when he submitted it the online publisher. Authors post a sample or pitch and if their project receives 750 or more pre-orders, the website will publish it, providing editing, design, and distribution services like a traditional publishing house. Adam Gomolin, head of InkShares, remembers his first impression, stating, “I saw the property in high def immediately. It’s one of the most clearly constructed near-future worlds since Gattaca, and the man-against-the-machine backbone hits the notes of the Tony Scott thrillers I grew up on like Enemy of the State.”

The Punch Escrow will be published this summer.

 

Re-Discovering America

Moving onto an already established book, Netflix has acquired the film rights to the 1981 sci-fi novel Hello America by J.G. Ballard. Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh, and Michael Pruss will produce.

A century after America’s financial collapse and most of the citizens escaping to Europe and Asia, a group of explorers leave behind England in a steamship to unravel the mystery of what made North America unlivable. They uncover secrets, surprises, and scoundrels in the post-apocalyptic America, culminating in a showdown with a “charismatic leader” calling himself President Charles Manson, who controls an arsenal of nuclear weapons and will use them against anyone who threatens his power.

This is the second deal between Scott Free and Netflix. Recently, they partnered up on War Party, the Andrew Dominik-directed film that will star Tom Hardy.

 

Bugs and Sex for Teens

For a change of pace, New Regency is in the final talks to pick up Andrew Smith’s young adult novel Grasshopper Jungle. The book was a 2015 Michael L. Printz Honor Book and the winner of the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction.

The story takes place in Ealing, Iowa and follows a sexually confused and bi-curious teen name Austin. Along with his best friend Robby and girlfriend Shann, they accidentally trigger a possible apocalypse, spreading a virus that happens to turn anyone infected into a giant praying mantis who have an insatiable appetite for food and sex. Together he has to find a way to maneuver through his sexual feelings for both his friends while trying to stay alive.

The project had previously been set up at Sony but now Edgar Wright has his eyes set on it, directing with Matt Tolmach, producer Nira Park, and writer Scott Rosenburg.

Wright has a loyal following due to his hits Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs, the World.

And just like the craziness of a six-foot hungry and horny praying mantis? The book came to Wright’s attention through a Facebook comment.

 

Paradigm Shift

And finally, a company that has decided they want to change the way of pitching their project. Normally a studio pitch would have the screenwriter(s) talking up their plans for a project while peppering their presentation with those key words or using visual props, like storyboards or concept art. Producers may even have some footage from other films to give backers and idea of how their money will be spent.

However, DMG Entertainment, the Chinese media company behind Looper, Priest, and the recent Point Break has decided to step up their game. They have spent “seven figures” to create a 15-minute virtual reality experience to push their big screen adaptation of Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy Novel series Cosmere.

The company didn’t just get one of his books, they bought the rights to the entire Cosmere universe, a vast group of interconnected sci-fi and fantasy stories. Compared to the equivalent to Stephen King’s Dark Tower or J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth universes, the Cosmere’s spans more than just a single trilogy but multiple novels and series. Each can be read alone, but they all include references and clues to a bigger picture. Currently there are 11 known worlds.

DMG has committed to spending $270 million which will cover half what is needed to back the first three movies from the series. It will use the virtual reality experience for the potential business partners, but they plan on offering the experience to consumers. It is being produced by Arcturus, an interactive media division DMG recently launched.

Sanderson stated that he has seen some of the VR experience and is impressed how they adapted his fantastical worlds he created. However, it’s not surprising due to the extensive research DMG did on him when they came courting. “I thought maybe they’d want to option one book or story, but they told me they’d dug into everything I’d ever published. It stop me in my tracks. They’d read my whole canon. Nobody had ever done that.”

Currently they are fast-tracking an adaptation of The Way of Kings, the first in The Stormlight Archive with Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan writing. DMG founder Dan Mintz will produce with Sanderson and Joshua Blimes serving as executive producers. DMG will simultaneously adapt the first book in the Mistborn series with F. Scott Frazier writing.

It is quite the mix of stories that will be told over the next year or so with this current batch of planned projects. It should be interesting to see if they will be as well received by the audience as they are by the studios.




Awards Roundup May 2017

[Banner image courtesy Official James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award Facebook page.]

Spring is in the air and awards ceremonies are in full bloom. Recently a number of award winners have been announced, with the official ceremonies to follow over the 2017 Memorial Day weekend.

 

Image courtesy Official Baltimore Science Fiction Society website.

First off, the Compton Crook Memorial Award ceremony will take place at Balticon 51, Baltimore Maryland. Added to the event is the special citation of the Robert A. Heinlein Award. The Crook Award is voted on by the members of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the best first English language science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel from the previous year.

The winner/nominees are as follows:

Winner:

  • Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer (Tor)

Finalists:

  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Sleep State Interrupt, T. C. Weber (See Sharp)
  • Sleeping Giants, Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey)
  • Sword and Verse, Kathy MacMillan (HarperTeen)

The Heinlein Award was established by the Heinlein Society in 2003 “for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings to inspire the human exploration of space.”

This year, author Robert J. Sawyer has been honored with this award for his (so far) lifetime body of work.

 

Image courtesy Tiptree.org.

 

The James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award is an annual literary prize for works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender. The ceremony will also be held Memorial Day weekend at Wiscon 41 in Madison, Wisconsin.

This year’s winner/nominees are as follows:

Winner:

  • When the Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLemore (Thomas Dunne)

Honor List:

  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo (Grove/Black Cat)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)
  • Hwarhath Stories, Eleanor Arnason (Aqueduct)
  • “The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles”, Rachel K. Jones (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7 Jul 2016)
  • “Opals and Clay”, Nino Cipri (Podcastle 12 May 2016)
  • Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer (Tor)
  • Will Do Magic for Small Change, Andrea Hairston (Aqueduct)

The Tiptree was created by science fiction authors Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler in February 1991.

For more details on the conventions hosting these ceremonies, visit SciFi4Me.com’s Events Calendar.

 

 




Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominees Announced

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, located on the campus of the University of Kansas, has announced the list of finalists for this year’s Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction.

Director Christopher McKitterick made the news public today in a press release. The Sturdeon award, along with the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, will be presented on Friday, June 16th, as part of the annual Campbell Conference. This year’s conference celebrates the career of Dr. James Gunn, noted science fiction author and founder of the Center.

 

The nominees:

Nina Allan, “The Art of Space Travel,” Tor.com, 27 July 2016
Amal El-Mohtar, “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, eds. Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, Saga Press, 2016
Carolyn Ives Gilman, “Touring with the Alien,” Clarkesworld, April 2016
Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom, Tor.com, February 2016
Ian R. MacLeod, “The Visitor From Taured,” Asimov’s, September 2016
Sam J. Miller, “Things with Beards,” Clarkesworld, June 2016
Dominica Phetteplace, “Project Empathy,” Asimov’s, March 2016
Catherynne M. Valente, “The Future is Blue,” Drowned Worlds, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris Books, 2016
Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey, Tor.com, 13 October 2016

Theodore Sturgeon’s heirs helped Dr. Gunn establish the award in 1987 to recognize the best science fiction short story of each year. Sturgeon himself was known for his award-winning short fiction.

Winners will be the Guests of Honor at a reception following the conference. For more information about the Gunn Center, click here.

 




Dr. Bashir Fights Google For CONTROL In Section 31 Outing

Section 31: Control
Written by David Mack
Published by Pocket Books (March 2017)
Mass paperback, 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501151705

That’s exactly what it is: Dr. Julian Bashir and his cohorts are up against a galactic Google that started as a surveillance program on Earth and has since morphed into a hot mess of an Evil A.I. that we all know Google will become one day.

It’s kind of a political thriller, kind of a cautionary tale, and to be honest, it’s a little disappointing.

David Mack is, in my book, one of the better Trek writers in the cabal at the moment, but the Section 31 stories are feeling less and less like Star Trek and more like James Bond vs. Hydra in Spaaaaace! The way Julian Bashir has evolved as a character, too, has become less and less interesting. Is it just me? Am I just getting old? I find I have less patience than I did for stories that just don’t feel like they gel.

Not to say it isn’t well-written. It is. Mack is still a very very good writer, and the craft of the book is top notch. Plus, he’s very good at getting the character voices right. Not only Bashir, but also Garak, Data, and Lal. But it’s the story that didn’t really engage me much. The idea of an over-reaching computer program that gains sentience has been done several times in Trek, and by now it’s become a tired trope. In addition to that, it was very easy for me to bounce out of the story and equate the Uraei program with the pernicious Google A.I. that reads our e-mails, watches the web sites we visit, and calls up advertisements based on our online behavior.

Besides Star Trek — with Vejur and the Borg and Nomad — there’s also The Terminator‘s Skynet, Minority Report‘s PreCrime division, Battlestar Galactica‘s Cylons, Ultron, Mycroft, HAL9000, Hex, all giving us massive pieces of technology that infiltrate our lives and spy on us “for our own good”. We even just got a version of it with AIDA becoming human and losing her marbles over on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is it a sign of the times? Are we collectively trying to warn ourselves against the Coming of the Google?

It never ends well.

There are plenty of moral dilemmas here. Bashir is so fixated on taking down Section 31 that he doesn’t really think through the possible consequences of his actions. And it would seem his days as a doctor are past, as he doesn’t really act like one in this story. Plus, there’s the question of what happens if/when Uraei is disabled. Or can it be removed from the galactic network? Is it so ingrained in the Federation’s computer systems that there’s no beating it? And who’s in charge, Uraei or Section 31? What happens if you cut off the head of the secret Evil Organziation? Do they fall apart? Go to ground? Regroup around a new leader? Come back stronger?

Bottom line: read it for the enjoyment of reading David Mack’s work, not for the wholly original concept of a vast network of artificial intelligence digging into every part of our lives.




2016 Nebula Award Winners Announced

On May 20, 2017, the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America converged in Pittsburgh to hand out the  annual Nebula Awards as part of the 51st annual Nebula Conference. The Nebula Banquet was hosted by NASA astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren.

Included in the honors were the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, among others.

Here’s the list of winners, followed by their fellow nominees:

Novel:

  • Winner: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox GambitYoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)

Novella:

  • Winner: Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • ‘‘The Liar’’, John P. Murphy (F&SF 3-4/16)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)

Novelette:

  • Winner: ‘‘The Long Fall Up’’, William Ledbetter (F&SF 5-6/16)
  • ‘‘Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea’’, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 2/16)
  • ‘‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories’’, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/17/16)
  • “The Orangery“, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/8/16)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • ‘‘You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay’’, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

Short Story:

  • Winner: ‘‘Seasons of Glass and Iron“, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies’’, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
  • ‘‘Sabbath Wine’’, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
  • ‘‘Things With Beards’’, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 6/16)
  • ‘‘This Is Not a Wardrobe Door’’, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine 1/16)
  • ‘‘A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers’’, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 3/2/16)
  • ‘‘Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 3/16)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation:

  • Winner: Arrival
  • Doctor Strange
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’
  • Zootopia

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

  • Winner: Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Dawson)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

 

2017 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD: Jane Yolen

KATE WILHELM SOLSTICE AWARD:  Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous), Toni Weisskopf

KEVIN O’DONNELL JR. SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD: Jim Fiscus

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Charlie Jane Anders also won the Crawford award earlier this year. You can read the SciFi4Me article here.

For more information on the Nebula Awards and the Conference, visit the SFWA website.

 




HBO Heads for LOVECRAFT COUNTRY with GET OUT Director Jordan Peele

[Banner image courtesy HarperCollins Publishers/Jarrod Taylor]

If you read Mindy Inlow’s SciFi4Me article a few weeks back, you already know that HBO is preparing for the end of Game of ThronesSeveral thousand (OK, four five) GoT spinoffs are now being developed. But thanks to Get Out director Jordan Peele, there’s going to be at least one horror adaptation among the fantasy epics.

Earlier this week, Deadline Hollywood reported exclusively that Peele and HBO, working with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros Television, are adapting Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel Lovecraft Country as an hour-long drama. According to the article, the producers are aiming to make “an anthological horror series that reclaims genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.” Misha Green, co-creator of WGN’s historical drama series Underground, will write the pilot episode and serve as series showrunner.

Lovecraft Country begins as a road trip story in a slightly off-kilter 1950’s America.  Atticus Black comes home to Chicago from a tour of duty in Korea. He discovers his estranged father is missing, and the few clues remaining lead him on a journey to Ardham, Massachusetts … and Lovecraft Country.

Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country © 2006 Michael Hilliard/MHHM

If the television version of Lovecraft Country aims to tell stories in an anthology format, there’s a wealth of folklore to tap into. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after the series tells the story in Ruff’s novel. Will the series continue to explore a Lovecraftian inspired mythos specific to the novel? Or will it move into folklore-inspired stories based on the African-American experience – like the paths taken in movies such as To Sleep With Anger (1990, Dir. Charles Burnett), Eve’s Bayou (1997, Dir. Kasi Lemmons) or Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, Dir. Benh Zeitlin)?

Jordan Peele’s Get Out maintains a 99% Fresh Rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (image courtesy Get Out Official Facebook page)

Howard Philips Lovecraft (1891-1937) has, to put it mildly, a complicated legacy in the horror genre. Alongside his undeniable imagination and creative energy is a clear record of unabashed racism.  Perspectives on HPL vary wildly; passionate defenders like anthologist S. T. Joshi (visit his blog and scroll down to the 11-24-15 entry) contrast with authors like Daniel Jose Older, who launched the petition that ultimately moved the World Fantasy Convention to drop  HPL as the image of their award in 2015.

Joshi protested the decision by returning the awards he received from the group. You can check our article on the new award design here.

Perhaps it’s easier to deal with the views of an author when they’re safely removed from our own time by a hundred years. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), my favorite Great American Novelist, created the quintessential heroine in Hester Prynne and acted as a higher-brow creator dark gothic tales along with his contemporary Edgar Allan Poe. Hawthorne also held the deeply racist views of his time.

Richard Klayman, in his essay “What Should We Make of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Racism?” quotes Hawthorne biographer Philip McFarland about the discomfort in admiring the superlative work of people who have very real faults. “We would prefer that those we admire be admirable in every way.”

Unlike Hawthorne, HPL is of our time. He is intimately connected to the changes in society in 20th and 21st century America. Books like Lovecraft Country specifically address his complex legacy and movies (like Get Out) telling socially relevant stories through the lens of the horror genre insure that we’ll be debating HPL for some time to come.

 

 




THE BLACK WITCH – Superior YA Fantasy with Real World Echoes

The Black Witch
Written by Laurie Forest
Published by Harlequin TEEN (May 2017)
608 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0373-212-316

(Cover image courtesy Harlequin TEEN; Author Photo – Beltrami Studios )

 

 

 

Confession time – I am a charter member of the “I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie” Club, especially if that doorstop of a book is in the Fantasy genre.

  • Maps in the front? Yes, please.
  • Lists of characters helping me keep track of who’s who? Bring it!
  • “Book One of the Something Something Chronicles?” I am so there!

I did read an advance copy of The Black Witch without the second item – so I made my own list of characters. Even without this tool, Laurie Forest’s debut novel makes it pretty easy to keep track of who is doing what. Teen and adult readers looking for their next Harry Potter or Chronicles of Shannara may find it in The Black Witch Chronicles.

In true “Harry Potter” fashion, young Elloren Gardner has spent her life tucked away in a remote corner of prosperous Gardneria, tending to the plants she feels so connected to. Luckily for Elloren, her uncle Edwin is a marked improvement over the Dursley family.

 

 

Elloren is soon whisked away from her sheltered existence to begin a formal education in the apothecary arts at the fabled (and distant) Verpax University. As her education progresses, we learn along with Elloren that the reality of her world, and her place in it, is far different than the comfortable assumptions of her childhood. Forest does an admirable job of drawing parallels between the issues of our world (racism, prejudice, fundamentalism) and the papered over conflicts that simmer beneath the surface of Gardneria.

Author Laurie Forest

As the first novel in a series, The Black Witch spends a lot of time establishing the world our heroine lives in – then revealing the hidden (and ugly) truths about that world. Even if I found some of the sections a bit stretched out, I enjoyed learning, bit by bit, the intricate (and interconnected) landscape Laurie Forest has built around her heroine.

It’s a good bet you will as well. Laurie Forest seems like an author who’s put an immense amount of effort in combining a vividly imaged world filled with interesting characters. The Black Witch ends on a cliffhanger (of course!); I for one will be waiting on Volume Two of The Black Witch Chronicles.

 

 




Review – SID THE SASQUATCH by Wendy Elliott

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Sid the Sasquatch - cover
Sid the Sasquatch | Copyright Wendy Elliott, 2016

Sid the Sasquatch
Written by Wendy Elliott
Illustrated by Joseph Cowman
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing (July 2016)
36 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1507826126

A few weeks back, during our live coverage of Planet Comicon in Kansas City on SciFi4Me, I snuck down to the convention floor to chase down a few leads on a story I want to look into. While I was out there, a kids-looking Sasquatch book caught my eye. Unfortunately, my wallet was back at the livestream stage and most vendors don’t take business cards for payment.

Fortunately, my colleague Maia was interviewing author Wendy Elliott about her new children’s book, which – just my luck! – was that same book. The convention gods had smiled upon me! Before I knew it, I was ready to sit down with my daughter and a brand new book to share.

Make no mistake, Sid the Sasquatch is a great book to share.  The story, which follows a curious and playful Sasquatch child named Sid, is written in a rhyme.  This creates both predictable pacing and a chance to let my daughter guess what happens next in the story. We see Sid’s family and world from his point of view, with its similarities and differences in clear and amusing illustrations by Joseph Cowman. Quite apart from the way I’ve always thought of a sasquatch, Sid and his family enjoy a downright cozy existence, always careful to remain out of view of the dangerous humans. But, just like my favorite mermaid Ariel, Sid’s curiosity about the world of humans constantly gets the best of him.

Sid the Sasquatch high in a tree
In a world of supernatural wonder, humans still capture Sid’s fancy | Copyright Wendy Elliott, 2016

Having watched about ten thousand hours of Disney movies, I was immediately sure I knew exactly where this was going. Sid watches the humans from afar but internalizes the warnings from his parents that humans are dangerous. When faced with a human quite by surprise in the forest, though, he is pleasantly surprised by the boy Ollie’s kindness. As a parent, I was even more pleasantly surprised at Elliott’s nod to the subtle surveillance that all parents do when their children are playing: Sid looks back to his mother, who had been quietly trailing him, for assurance that this situation was safe.

From there, the book shows an immediate and apparently steadfast bond between Sid and Ollie. Each boy has something to teach the other, while the children reading along are able to see cooperation and friendship between two who were taught to fear the other. As an adult, this seems a little heavy-handed at times, but it’s a message that is clearly understood by my 5 year old.

After the initial read – difficult, at times, by some awkward stretches in the rhyme scheme – I put down the book and asked my daughter what she thought this book was supposed to teach us. (This is a familiar tactic that children of educators are subjected to, so she put on her characteristic thinking face). “Well,” she said slowly, “I think…it’s definitely about being good to people.” I nodded encouragingly. “And about how even when you think somebody is going to be scary or mean, maybe they’re not and you should try to be friends.” Then she smiled, and added, “If I take off Ollie’s skin and Sid’s skin, they have the same skeleton!”

This is an important, if macabre, message to take away. Under our very different looking skins, we’re basically the same. Sid the Sasquatch takes a new angle to that same old lesson, and in a way that speaks to children without exasperating adults. Between the melodic writing and the beautifully illustrated pages, I can see this joining the regular rotation of reading at our house.

I’m a friend of Sid. How about you?

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11th Annual Scribe Award Nominees Announced

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers has announced the list of nominees for the Scribe Awards for 2017.

IAMTW is a professional organization for authors who write fiction based on established story universes. This can include licensed works in television, movies, gaming, or comic books. The fiction can be original works set in an existing franchise, or adaptations of stories that have appeared in some other format.

Adapted – General and Speculative
Assassin’s Creed by Christie Golden
Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins
Suicide Squad by Marv Wolfman

Audio
Dark Shadows: Blood & Fire by Roy Gill
Torchwood: Broken by Joseph Lidster
Torchwood: Uncanny Valley by David Llewellyn
Doctor Who: Mouthless Dead by John Pritchard

General Original
24: Trial by Fire by Dayton Ward
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Missile Intercept by Michael Black
Murder Never Knocks by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn by Ace Atkins
Tom Clancy’s True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney

Short Fiction
“A Dangerous Cat” by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
X-Files “Drive Time” by Jon McGoran
X-Files “An Eye for an Eye” by George Ivanoff
X-Files “Love Lost” by Yvonne Navarro
X-Files “XXX” by Glenn Greenberg

Speculative Original
Assassin’s Creed Heresy by Christie Golden
Warhammer 40,000 Warden of the Blade by David Annandale
Star Trek Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward
Supernatural Mythmaker by Tim WaggonerWinners will be announced at Comic-Con in San Diego, day and time to be determined.

 




Sony picks up WHEEL OF TIME rights

The Karaethon Cycle had it wrong, after all. Sony Pictures has thrown in its hat along with Red Eagle Entertainment and Radar Pictures on a television adaptation of Robert Jordan’s prolific fantasy Wheel of Time series.

The series nominally follows Rand al’Thor, a humble farm boy from the distant edge of Andor who is unwittingly thrust towards his destiny. As the Dragon Reborn, a reviled and widely feared savior who would battle the Dark One Shai’tan for the fate of the world, thus ushering in a new age. Also of great importance are his friends Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al’Vere, and Nynaeve al’Meara, all young people from the same village who find their own place of importance in the swifly shifting world.

This move by Sony marks the first update since legal issues were resolved in April of 2016, and details surrounding the project will probably be some time in coming. Fans of the book series – 15 books in total, 3 of which were completed by Brandon Sanderson with Jordan’s notes after the author’s 2007 death – eagerly await any hints ahead of production.

The Wheel of Time has been enticingly teased in both television and film formats since 2000, when NBC first gave us hope of a miniseries of the series. In 2008, interest flared up again as Universal acquired film rights a short time after Robert Jordan’s death. While neither of these projects came to fruition, each whisper of possibility renews hope.

The Karaethon Cycle, the Prophecies of the Dragon, claimed he would be reborn on the slopes of the Dragonmount. I suppose, in an Age that once was – an Age that is yet to be – that must’ve been what the people called Sony.




BSFA Award Winners Announced

[Banner image courtesy British Science Fiction Association]

The British Science Fiction Association held their annual awards ceremony April 14-17, 2017, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole during “Innominate,” the 68th Eastercon in Birmingham, UK. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Novel: Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Winter  (Solaris)
  • Best Shorter Fiction: Jaine Fenn – “Liberty Bird”  (Now We Are Ten, NewCon Press)
  • Best Non-Fiction: Geoff Ryman – 100 African Writers of SFF (Tor.com)
  • Best Artwork: Sarah Anne Langton – Cover for Central Station by Lavie Tidhar  (Tachyon Publications)

The BSFA Awards are based on a vote of association members and members of the British national science fiction convention Eastercon. In each category, the BSFA  awards aim to recognize the most worthy examples in each category, promote science fiction as a genre, and most importantly, get people reading, discussing and enjoying all aspects of contemporary science fiction.

Check Sci-Fi4Me’s Calendar of Events for the next Eastercon as well as other conventions and shows scheduled in your area.

 




Philip K. Dick Award Winner Announced

The 2017 Philip K. Dick Award has a winner.

It was announced Friday, April 14 at Norwescon 40 that The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper has won the award for distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time in 2016.

Set thirty years in the future, the story follows a former soldier Allen “Mercy” Quincy, survivor of the third world war. Mercy suffers from PTSD, and he’s haunted by survivor’s guilt along with mnemectomy — the process of putting unwanted memories outside of self in an attempt to degrade them. After meeting a dancer named Ruby and starting to move on with his life, Mercy’s brother reappears with news that Mercy’s missing sons have been spotted, and the two begin a search for the children in a journey north to the family cabin on Vancouver Island.

Special citation went to Unpronounceable by Susan diRende.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust, and is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society with the award ceremony sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society. This year’s judges were Michael Armstrong, Brenda Clough, Meg Elison, Lee Konstantinou, and Ben Winters.

You can see the presentation here (thanks, Don!):