Category Archives: Reading

SF fan selling his collection

A SF/F fan is selling his collection. Contact Frank Leblanc <punchfrankhard@gmail.com>
 
My sale is on this coming Saturday December 2nd from 10am to 4pm. If you know anyone who might be interested please spread the word.
Thousands of science fiction and fantasy books from the 1940s to the early 2000s. If they can’t make it this Saturday they can contact me to make an appointment to come browse the collection.

SFWA presents another Humble Book Bundle

Don’t miss out! The promotion runs from Wednesday, October 4th, 11:00am Pacific to Wednesday October 18th, 11:00am Pacific.

Copied from the SWFA website, with thanks to File 770 for the tip.

SFWA is delighted to feature another Humble Book Bundle. This time it’s Adventures in Science Fiction presented by Open Road Media.

When you purchase a bundle, you can direct that proceeds be donated to SFWA’s Giver’s Fund, which provides grants to deserving organizations that work in and for the SFF community. Past recipients include the Alpha SFF Teen Writing Workshop, Launch Pad, Clarion West, Northern Illinois University ​Archives, the Parsec YA ​Lecture Series, and more. The Giver’s Fund also supports SFWA’s Emergency Medical Fund and SFWA’s legal support fund.

The promotion runs from Wednesday, October 4th, 11:00am Pacific to Wednesday October 18th, 11:00am Pacific.  Don’t miss out!

The $1 bundle features:

A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason
Expendable by James Alan Gardner
Jaran by Kate Elliott
Vacuum Flowers by Michael Swanwick
The Genome by Sergei Lukyanenko

The $8 bundle includes all of the above, and:

Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes
Orbital Decay by Allen Steele
Midshipman’s Hope by David Feintuch
A Choice of Treasons by J. L. Doty
Echoes of Earth by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner
The Zero Stone by Andre Norton

The $15 bundle includes all of the above, and:

The Forge of God by Greg Bear
The City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison
Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg
Blackcollar by Timothy Zahn
Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling
Starrigger by John DeChancie
Steelheart by William C. Dietz
Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

The $18 bundle includes all of the above, and:

Playing God by Sarah Zettel
The Icerigger Trilogy by Alan Dean Foster
All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman
Orion Shall Rise by Poul Anderson

–––

 

From Humble Book Bundle:

To read will be an awfully big adventure. With this bundle of science fiction titles from Open Road Media, the whole universe is at your fingertips. Explore other worlds from Buzz Aldrin, Octavia E. Butler, Greg Bear, and more!

Pay what you want. All together, these books would cost over $199. Here at Humble Bundle, you choose the price and increase your contribution to upgrade your bundle! This bundle has a minimum $1 purchase.

Read them anywhere. These books are available in PDF, ePUB, and MOBI formats, meaning you can read them anywhere at any time. Instructions and a list of recommended reading programs can be found here.

Support charity. Choose where the money goes – between the publisher and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and, if you’d like, a charity of your choice via the PayPal Giving Fund. If you like what we do, you can leave us a Humble Tip too!

Un coffret littératures de l’Imaginaire au Québec

Un coffret littératures de l’Imaginaire au Québec
Un coffret littéraire pour les fans des littératures de l’imaginaire et les univers Geeks à destination des lecteurs du Québec, ça vous tente ?Le principe de ce coffret est de recevoir chaque mois chez vous une boîte réunissant un ouvrage de littérature de l’imaginaire ainsi que des à-côté geeks (produits dérivés et papeterie).
L’équipe choisit pour vous chaque mois un roman en français d’un auteur francophone ou étranger, selon le genre que vous choisissez et en tenant compte de vos précédentes lectures.

Deux sortes de coffrets seront disponibles :

– un premier coffret contenant :

un roman de poche en français, au choix de la fantasy, de la science-fiction ou du fantastique*
un sachet de boisson chaude (ou glacée pour l’été)
un objet de papeterie en partenariat avec des artistes et des éditeurs
une friandise artisanale

– un second coffret contenant :

un roman de poche en français, au choix de la fantasy, de la science-fiction ou du fantastique*
un produit dérivé d’univers geek (film, roman, BD, comics, manga, jeu vidéo, télésérie)
un sachet de boisson chaude (ou glacée pour l’été)
un objet de papeterie en partenariat avec des éditeurs et des artistes
une friandise artisanale

Il vous sera proposé un coffret mensuel sans engagement, ou bien des abonnements pour 3 mois, 6 mois ou 12 mois avec des réductions en conséquence sur le prix du coffret.

Nous nous engageons au maximum à vous faire découvrir des oeuvres originales et de qualité correspondant à vos goûts.

Voici un questionnaire pour nous aider à mener ce projet à bien, merci à tous pour vos réponses.

Attention, ce coffret est à destination du Québec et ne sera pas vendu en France.

Voici un questionnaire pour nous aider à mener ce projet à bien

2017 Mythopoeic Awards

From File 770, the Mythopoeic Awards

Personally glad to see the award go to McKillip’s Kingfisher. Great story!   –Cathypl

The Mythopoeic Society has announced the winners of the 2017 Mythopoeic Awards.

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature

  • Patricia A. McKillip, Kingfisher (Ace, 2016)

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature

  • Adam Gidwitz, The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and their Holy Dog (Dutton, 2016)

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies

  • Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies

  • Richard Firth Green, Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)

Alexei Kondratiev Award

  • Brittani Ivan, “Countries of the Mind: The Mundane, the Fantastic, and Reality in the Landscapes of Diana Wynne Jones’s Hexwood and Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Series”.

Municipal Fantasy

Adventures in literary taxonomy

On defining a new subgenre

Some years back, I attended a panel on urban fantasy at ConCept. The panelists discussed the urban aspect, and they discussed the fantasy aspect, and when they were finished, there were still ten minutes left on the schedule. And they said, well, it looks like we’ve discussed both components implied by the name, I guess we can leave early!

And I realized… no, there’s a third component. There’s urban, and there’s fantasy… and there’s the space between them. An enforced separation between the modern world – the urban environment – and the magic.*  They’ve developed separately over the years (which is typically shown as leading to a certain degree of stagnation in the magic). The magic is hidden from the science and technology, and so it does not advance while they do.

This is what characterizes – or has characterized – the vast majority of works of urban fantasy over the years: the Masquerade, the Veil, the Cover-up, the Blindness. Magic exists, in the background, but the general population has no idea. The good guys lie, and erase memories, and their biggest danger is the general public finding out that they exist. When there’s an epic battle between good and evil, the forces of good also have to ensure that it’s wiped from the record. There is magic, and there are muggles; they know about us, but we don’t know about them. They may benefit from our progress, but we remain forever unaware.

But what if this weren’t so?

In the early 18th century, Girolamo Saccheri revolutionized mathematics by taking one of the fundamental axioms of geometry, and examining what would be implied by its opposite.** What happens if we apply that principle to urban fantasy? What if the supernatural magical paranormal fantastical elements, and modern society… are NOT forcibly separated?

Let’s start by examining the justifications for the separation. One common excuse is that people would panic. As per Agent K,  we’re “dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.” But panic doesn’t last. We very quickly accept massive changes in the world as “the new normal”. That’s why the phrase “new normal” exists.

And we’re clever monkeys, we are; when we know that something is real, we adapt. And we begin to use it. We exploit it. We make allowances for it. We take it apart to see how it works, and we tinker with it to see what else we can make it do. As per Phil Foglio (who was paraphrasing a line misattributed to Larry Niven, which was itself an inversion of Arthur C. Clarke), “any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from technology”.

Another rationalization is that humanity is too dangerous for the supernatural: magical creatures would be harmed, hunted down, enslaved, exterminated. And, granted, when you look at human history, that’s not so difficult to believe. But in general, we’re past the age of the pogrom. If you’re an intelligent race living secretly among modern humanity, you know how to hire lawyers and PR firms. You can lobby for legislation.

If we undo those justifications… if we assume their opposite… we get fantasy where magic has openly come back into the modern world, or been revealed to the general public to have been here all along. Or, alternately, magic has openly been around long enough that an equivalent to our modern technological society has developed. And, perhaps most importantly, that magic is an issue of public policy.

I propose that this subgenre be called: “MUNICIPAL FANTASY”.

“What’s the difference between ‘municipal’ and ‘urban’?”, you might be wondering. “Don’t they mean essentially the same thing?” And in a way, they do, but synonyms are never exact. They both refer to cities… but ‘urban’ is a general feeling, an environment, a mood. ‘Municipal’, conversely, implies more of a system, with regulations and public services. ‘Urban wildlife’ is raccoons eating your garbage and ‘urban legends’ are just stories you heard about a friend of a friend of a friend, but “municipal wildlife” feels like the raccoons are only eating the garbage because it’s their job, and “municipal legends” feels the story won’t be told outside city limits.

So, now that we’ve begun to establish what municipal fantasy is, let’s see if we can refine our definition. A good way to start is by examining pre-existing works and assessing whether or not this new label applies to them. At this point, I’d like to remind you that ultimately taxonomy is arbitrary, and that literary taxonomy is even more so: it’s tough to use a dichotomous key when there’s no physical entity!

Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: When Buffy goes out to kill vampires, all she needs is a stake. The world in general has no idea what she’s doing, or that vampires exist. Urban fantasy.

Laurell Hamilton’s “Anita Blake”: When Anita goes out to kill vampires, she needs a warrant. And instead of avoiding the police, she has to coordinate with them. Municipal fantasy.

Jim Butcher’s “Harry Dresden”: openly a wizard, but most people have never heard of him and nobody believes this is real. Urban fantasy.

Mike Carey’s “Felix Castor”: openly a freelance exorcist, and the existence of ghosts and demons became undeniable by the general public at some point about the year 2000 – no one’s quite sure when, but Parliament has started debating what to do about zombies. Municipal.

Seanan McGuire’s “October ‘Toby’ Daye”: she’s a private investigator who’s magically transformed into a koi and abandoned in a pond for 17 years (not a spoiler; it happens in the prologue to the first novel). When she’s rescued, her life is ruined, because even when she goes back to her husband and daughter, she can’t tell them that there’s any such thing as magic.  Urban.

Ben Aaronovich’s “Rivers of London” and Paul Cornell’s “Shadow Police” are both about the branches of British law enforcement that deal with magical things, and in both cases there’s a substantial bureaucracy, but in both cases it’s secret to the general public. Same in Harry Potter with the secret Ministry of Magic, and the hidden departments in Mur Lafferty’s “Shambling Guides”. All urban.

Charlene Harris’s True Blood novels: vampires have “come out of the coffin”, and now there’s arguments over their legal rights. Municipal.

Mercedes Lackey’s SERRAted Edge: elves are driving race cars and rescuing abused children, but elvishness is secret. Urban.

Holly Lisle’s “Devil’s Point” books, where God announces publicly that demons will be allowed to take physical form within the borders of North Carolina, and land surveyors use this to settle disputes about where precisely the borders of North Carolina are (if the demon takes three steps to the left, it is forcibly discorporated; therefore, the border is two steps to the left), and even if individual demons try to pass as human, that demons exist is now a known and publicly accepted fact. Municipal.

And then there’s Ilona Andrews’ “Kate Daniels” series, and Wen Spencer’s “Tinker”, and Andrew Swann’s “Dragons of the Cuyahoga”, and Geoff Landis’s short “Elemental”, and the Shadowrun RPG and associated novels…. all municipal.

A particularly intriguing phenomenon happens when a series starts as urban fantasy, and then transitions into municipal. This happens in Jim Hines’ “Magic Ex Libris” , for instance – in the first book, “Libriomancer”, magic is a tightly-kept secret and the general public has no idea, but by the time they hit book 4, “Revisionary”, they’ve blown the masquerade to bits and have to deal with the consequences that they can no longer hide. This is also what happens in Charlie Stross’s “Laundry” novels: as CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN progresses, and the stars are right, eventually, the incidents become too big and too involved, and there are too many witnesses… and too much stuff gets uploaded to the internet. And you can’t mindwipe everyone who has access to Twitter and Youtube. Carrie Vaughan’s “Kitty Norville” series begins with Kitty revealing magic to the world.

What all these works I’ve cited thus far have in common is that they’re municipal fantasy of the first type: set in our world (or what was, until recently, our world), with magic. The second type is, as I’ve already mentioned, a world where magic has been around from the very beginning – and yet, people haven’t let it stop them from developing technology. There’s been actual progress. Max Gladstone’s magnificent “Craft” sequence (a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Series) is an excellent example of this type of municipal fantasy, one of the strongest I’ve found: magic corporations and contracts and loans, and urban planning that takes into account the presence of gods, and a police force that uses golems, and water purification plants powered by deals with otherworldly entities and a global economic system based on souls and commodified worship. Or Robin McKinley’s “Sunshine”, about a world several years after the “Voodoo Wars”, but there’s still TV and motorcycles and the Internet and license plates and blood tests to detect if someone is magical and electric fences and vampires and shapeshifters and the fact that nobody’s yet figured out a proper ward to keep mice out of your house.

This does raise the question, though, of what counts as “equivalent to our modern society”? What about Felix Gilman’s Ararat, China Miéville’s Bas-Lag, Graydon Saunders’s Commonweal, Poul Anderson’s “Operation Chaos”, Randall Garrett’s “Lord Darcy”, Dave van Domelen’s “Academy of Superheroes”? What do we need for a setting to be recognizably modern? Bureaucracy? Mass production? Labor unions? Printing? Telecommunications? Evidence-based medicine? Peer-reviewed journals? Fiat currency? Representative government? Do any of Steven Brust’s “Dragaera” novels fit the description? What about Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld”? Melissa Scott’s “Five Twelfths of Heaven”? Alter S. Reiss’s “Recalled to Service”? The term “gaslamp fantasy” has been used to describe mid-to-late-19th-century-equivalent societies with magic (certainly Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell” would be better described as “gaslamp” than “municipal”, for one… although it rather antedates the gaslamp era!); where does ‘gaslamp” end and “municipal” begin? And what counts as “magic”, anyway? And how much detail do you need?

All these are questions for other essays, and perhaps other essayists. Which works of municipal fantasy do you think I’ve omitted?

 

 

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* at this point, you might say “well, wait, that’s not always the case, I can think of works of urban fantasy where that definition doesn’t apply”; that’s the whole point of this essay. I’m arguing that although such works may have been called ‘urban fantasy’, they should not be.

** yes, I’m aware that ‘revolutionizing mathematics’ was not at all what Saccheri had intended, that he was horrified by his results, that he denied them, and that consequently they went largely ignored for another 150 years. That’s not the point.

 

 

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Bibliography for this essay. Sort of.

Voting Opens for Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF Readers’ Choice Award

Voting Opens for Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF Readers’ Choice Award

Today Baen Books released The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Vol. 3, edited by David Afsharirad, and started taking votes for the third annual Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Readers’ Choice Award. The public will pick one of the 15 short stories in the anthology as the award-winner:

  • ”Cadet Cruise” by David Drake
  • “Tethers” by William Ledbetter
  • “Unlinkage” by Eric Del Carlo
  • “Not in Vain” by Kacey Ezell
  • “Between Nine and Eleven” by Adam Roberts
  • “Sephine and the Leviathan” by Jack Schouten
  • “The Good Food” by Michael Ezell
  • “If I Could Give this Time Machine Zero Stars, I Would” by James Wesley Rogers
  • “Wise Child” by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
  • “Starhome” by Michael Z. Williamson
  • “The Art of Failure” by Robert Dawson
  • “The Last Tank Commander” by Allen Stroud
  • “One Giant Leap” by Jay Werkheiser
  • “The Immortals: Anchorage” by David Adams
  • “Backup Man” by Paul Di Filippo

Registration with Baen Ebooks is required to vote. Alternatively, people may send a postcard or letter with the name of their favorite story from this volume and its author to Baen Books Year’s Best Award, P.O. Box 1188, Wake Forest, NC 27587. Voting closes August 31, 2017.

The winning story will be announced at Dragoncon in Atlanta, held over Labor Day Weekend 2017, and at Baen.com. The author will receive an inscribed plaque and a $500 prize.

Where the Deep Ones Are

HP Lovecraft’s story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, retold in a parody of Where the Wild Things Are.

“The Deep Ones croaked their terrible croaks and smacked their terrible lips and rolled their terrible eyes and waved their terrible flippers” Renowned Mythos aficionado Ken Hite retells H P Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” in this parody of classic children’s literature.

After greedily yelling for more fish, young Bobby is sent to his bedroom without any supper at all. But Bobby escapes when the Manuxet River runs right through his room, carrying an old boat that takes him to a magical town full of fish and slimier things … the town of Innsmouth. Will Bobby join the wild rumpus under the sea, and be crowned the most Deep One of all?

Where the Deep Ones Are features 32 pages of full-color illustration by Andy Hopp, and is sure to be a hit with the newest generation of Lovecraft fans and their parents. The first in the Mini Mythos series.

2017 Locus Award Finalists

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2017 Locus Awards.

The awards will be presented at Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle, June 23-25.

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Company Town, Madeline Ashby (Tor)
  • The Medusa Chronicles, Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Saga)
  • Take Back the Sky, Greg Bear (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Visitor, C.J. Cherryh (DAW)
  • Babylon’s Ashes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • 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

  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Summerlong, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Children of Earth and Sky, Guy Gavriel Kay (NAL; Viking Canada; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • 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; Orbit UK)
  • Necessity, Jo Walton (Tor)

HORROR NOVEL

  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, R.S. Belcher (Tor)
  • Fellside, M.R. Carey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Fireman, Joe Hill (Morrow)
  • 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)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • 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; Tor UK)
  • Poisoned Blade, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
  • Burning Midnight, Will McIntosh (Delacorte; Macmillan)
  • Goldenhand, Garth Nix (Harper; Allen & Unwin; Hot Key)
  • Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US ’17)
  • This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab (Titan; Greenwillow)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

FIRST NOVEL

  • 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)
  • Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Infomocracy, Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher

Continue reading 2017 Locus Award Finalists