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Showing posts tagged: novellas click to see more stuff tagged with novellas
Fri
Aug 22 2014 5:00pm

Among Myths: Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew review

World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar has it that Benjanun Sriduangkaew may be “the most exciting new voice in speculative fiction today,” and on the basis of Scale-Bright, he might be right. A love story set in heaven and Hong Kong arranged around a troubled young woman’s belated coming of age, it’s the longest and most involved tale Sriduangkaew has told to date, and considered alongside The Sun-Moon Cycle, it represents an achievement without equal.

“An orphan who spent seven years hating equally the parents that died and the extended family that did not,” Julienne, when we join her, lives what you might describe as a quiet life with her adoptive aunts, Hau Ngai and Seung Ngo. The fact that they’re myths in mortal form complicates things a little, admittedly.

[Read More]

Wed
Aug 20 2014 5:00pm

Short and to the Point: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

We Are All Completely Fine Daryl Gregory review We Are All Completely Fine, recently released by Tachyon Publications, is a fresh novella from Daryl Gregory—clocking in at under two-hundred pages, it’s more or less an afternoon’s reading. The conceit of the piece is that the characters are all part of a therapy group for the “last survivor” (read: Final Girl, Final Boy) of supernatural catastrophe or violence; it’s a fairly metafictional mashup between a Lovecraftian universe and the more staid/predictable world of horror film.

I’m generally pleased to see presses—generally independent or small, like Tachyon—tackling the work of publishing stand-alone novellas; it’s an interesting length and form that doesn’t get as much show-room as it could use. So, while I’m perhaps outside of the general audience for much straight-up horror fiction, I thought I’d give this one a look; the story’s self-referential slyness and Gregory’s talented prose were also motivating factors.

[A review.]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 12:30pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: The Man Who Was A Monster

Stephen Volk Whitstable

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.

Seems like Spectral Press has been in the news a whole lot lately; at least, the news I read—and write. A few Focuses ago we heard about The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, an exciting new anthology inspired by the cult classic Pan and Fontana annuals of the 60s and 70s. Simon Marshall-Jones’ indie outfit was also acknowledged by the British Fantasy Society with a number of award nominations, most notably for Best Small Press—this for the third time in a row, I think—but also for several stories by Steven Volk.

You might not know the name—he hasn’t written a whole lot of prose fiction—but Brits in particular will be familiar with his notorious Halloween hoax show, Ghostwatch, as well as the tremendous ITV series Afterlife. Afterlife’s cancellation was a Bad Thing, believe you me, but it did come with something of a silver lining: in the aftermath, Volk took to the short fiction form like a fella possessed. To wit, this week, we’re going to be reading Whitstable, his British Fantasy Award-nominated novella.

[Read More]

Wed
Jul 16 2014 2:00pm

Voting the Categories: A Guide to the 2014 Hugo Novella Finalists

Hugo Awards The Hugo ballot is officially open, and the time has come to perform the laborious task of deciding among excellence. And, while much of the attention of the voting community tends to concentrate on the Best Novel finalists, we at Tor.com all felt that this year’s short fiction field was equally deserving of attention. I’ve decided to help guide readers through the short story, novelette, and novella finalists in preparation for voting. You can find the short story discussion here.

This week I discuss the novella category. The five finalists display an impressive range of styles and genres, and since two of the entries were also nominated for both the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award, the competition is fierce.

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 6 2013 2:00pm

The Elric Reread: “Elric at the End of Time”

Michael Moorcock Elric at the End of TimeWelcome back to the Elric Reread, in which I revisit one of my all-time favorite fantasy series: Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga. You can find all the posts in the series here. Today’s post mostly discusses the novella “Elric at the End of Time,” originally published in 1981.

Outside of what we’ve treated as the core novels of the Elric saga, Michael Moorcock has also written a number of short stories and novellas about Elric. “The Last Enchantment,” written in 1962, was originally intended as the final Elric story, but was put aside in favor of the stories that eventually made up Stormbringer and wasn’t published until 1978. “A Portrait in Ivory” was written in 2007 for the Logorrhea anthology, inspired by the word “insouciant.” 2008 saw the publication of “Black Petals” in Weird Tales, and it was followed in 2010 by a sequel, “Red Pearls,” in the Swords and Dark Magic anthology.

[Read More]

Thu
Nov 21 2013 4:00pm

Like a Shadow: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough The Language of Dying

In my review of Mayhem, published this past spring, I suggested that generations hence, people will revere this as the year of Sarah Pinborough. With six of her books published in the six months since, I think my argument still stands. There was Poison, Charm and Beauty too—a trio of neat novellas riffing on familiar fairy tales with such warmth and wit that Once Upon a Time seems shallow and artless in comparison—whilst the final volume of her first trilogy, The Forgotten Gods, will be re-released in North America in early December, as the previous books in said series have been throughout 2013.

It falls to The Language of Dying to bring the year of Sarah Pinborough to a conclusion, and the postscript it presents is both bittersweet and truly beautiful. It’s a life-affirming short novel about a tired old man waiting to die and the family of five that come together to bid him goodbye, and though I did not enjoy it at all, from first to last I admired The Language of Dying wholeheartedly.

[Read More]

Fri
Nov 8 2013 6:00pm

The Road of Souls: Still Life by Tim Lebbon

Still Life Tim Lebbon

Jenni and Marc have it all, almost. A relaxed relationship, equal parts attraction, affection and respect. They enjoy their youth to the full, and look forward to growing old together, too—but not before they’ve made a small army of babies to take care of them later.

And what better place to start a family than the idyllic little village they live in? It is “a beautiful, safe place, but sometimes beautiful and safe isn’t enough for Marc.” Sometimes, sadly, Jenni espies a look in his eyes that speaks of his “need for fear. [His] delight in danger.” So when one dark day the enemy emerge—whether from the heavens or the earth, even now no-one knows—he’s one of the first people to volunteer.

[Read More]

Mon
Nov 4 2013 12:30pm

A Duo Divided: Balfour and Meriwether in the Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs by Daniel Abraham

Balfour and Meriwether

In recent years, the adventures of Balfour and Meriwether have been a rare yet redolent pleasure. Daniel Abraham’s dashing duo have appeared in only two tales to date—“The Emperor’s Vengeance” and “The Vampire of Kabul”—both of which I reread this week, the better to be ready to review what is certainly their best and most complex quest yet.

I really needn’t have—happily, no prior knowledge is required by The Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs—though it was a pleasure to immerse myself again in said secret histories, and this novella’s revelatory resolution did prove particularly potent on the back of those stories.

[Read More]

Thu
Sep 19 2013 4:00pm

“Different stars. Different sky.” Elizabeth Bear’s Book of Iron

Book of Iron Elizabeth Bear This is a jewel of a book.

Elizabeth Bear is a versatile author as well as an award-winning one. Book of Iron, her new novella from Subterranean Press, is the latest addition to an extensive and varied bibliography. Set in the same world as Range of Ghosts, albeit many centuries after, it forms a prequel—of sorts—to another of Bear’s Subterranean Press novellas, the acclaimed Bone and Jewel Creatures. It’s also connected to one of her earlier short stories, “Abjure the Realm”

Bijou the Artificer is a Wizard of Messaline, the City of Jackals. Together with the Bey’s second son, Prince Salih, she and Kaulas the Necromancer solve problems of a magical nature. They’re adventurers in the prime of their lives and partnership.

[Read More]

Tue
Apr 9 2013 5:00pm

High Homage: The Guiding Nose of Ulfänt Banderōz by Dan Simmons

Book Review The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz Dan Simmons

Truly, few milieus stand the test of time in the way the wonderful, whimsical world of the Dying Earth has. It can be condensed to a simple premise—a planet about to expire—but exemplary execution, imagination and iteration made these stories something so much more; something elegant and indelible; something very, very special.

The many and various tales about this breathtaking place and its uniquely appealing people—and creatures—have enthralled generations, and inspired, in the erstwhile, innumerable imitations. Jack Vance basically remade the face of fantasy fiction in one fell swoop with these books, and as The Guiding Nose of Ulfänt Banderōz shows, there’s a proliferation of life left in the Dying Earth yet.

Then again, the world is still ending. And this time, those who use magic are being blamed... quite rightly, as it transpires!

Wed
Jan 23 2013 5:00pm

A Novella About “Nothing”: Tim Powers’ Salvage and Demolition

A Novella About “Nothing”: Tim Powers’ Salvage and DemolitionRichard Blanzac works in salvage and demolition—or at least, that’s what he tells Sophia Greenwald when he travels back in time to destroy her life’s work. Mere hours before that, he had read Greenwald’s manuscripts alongside Ginsburg and Kerouac, but the beats are the least of his worries when he arrives in 1957; Blanzac must stop a mythic organization from using Greenwald’s work to open up the proverbial wormhole that will suck all of mankind into non-existence. That’s right—not destruction or even death, but to the state of never having existed in the first place.

Tim Powers’ upcoming novella, Salvage and Demolition has all of the elements of an entertaining, rainy-afternoon read: time travel, evil religious sects, action, romance, and enough whiskey and cigarettes to give Mad Men a run for its money. It lacks a heap of essential development, though, so if you’re looking for plot and character growth, you’d best go elsewhere for your two hours of reading. For hijinks and entertainment, however, do read on.

[Read more]

Thu
Feb 16 2012 10:00am

Solar Surfing in Strata: A Novella by Bradley Beaulieu and Stephen Gaskell

Strata by Bradley Beaulieu and Stephen GaskellIn the 22nd century, resource depletion and Earth’s ever-increasing energy demands have led humanity to a brand new frontier: huge platforms circle the Sun and draw energy directly from its surface. In the past, corporations offered enticing contracts that included free transfer to the platforms in order to motivate workers to join the solar workforce and leave an often dire existence on Earth, but what they neglected to mention was carefully hidden in the fine print: transfer back to Earth is insanely expensive and not included. The result is a class of indentured servants, toiling away in unpleasant and dangerous conditions, trying to earn passage back to Earth while their corporate masters grow ever richer.

[Have you never heard a way to find the sun?]

Fri
Jul 22 2011 3:12pm

The 2011 Hugo Awards Nominees for Best Novella

The 2011 Hugo Awards Nominees for Best NovellaNovellas! Who doesn’t love them? Don’t get me wrong, I love short stories (probably more than any other format, actually) and read a fair share of novelettes, but a novella is always something special. To me, a novelette feels like a short story that’s been given a bit more room to breathe, whereas a novella feels like a novel in miniature: it has just enough space to develop plot and characters fully without taking over your entire backyard. The novella is, in Parks and Recreation terms, the Li’l Sebastian of the literary world.

Here’s a brief look at the five novellas on this year’s Hugo Awards ballot.

[On to the stories...]

Wed
Jan 12 2011 4:05pm

Tor.com’s Hugo- and Nebula-Eligible Stories

Eligible Tor.com content for the Hugo and Nebula AwardsNominations are open for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and wouldn't you know it, Tor.com had the honor of publishing some eligible works in 2010!

The Hugo and Nebula Awards are presented each year to outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or related fiction genre published during the previous year.

Hugo winners are selected by the members of Worldcon. This year’s convention is Renovation, in Reno, NV, but members from last year are also eligible to nominate; you need to buy at least a supporting membership for Renovation by January 31 in order to nominate.

The Hugo nominations period is open through Saturday, March 26th, 2011. The ballot is here, and you may nominate up to five works in each category.

The Nebula Awards are voted on by active members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA for short). Nebula nominations are open through Tuesday, February 15, and the form is here; you must be a SFWA member, and logged in, to nominate.

[See our eligible novelettes, short stories, graphic stories, and editors below the fold]

Fri
Aug 7 2009 10:32am

Steampunk novellas from Kage Baker and James P. Blaylock

Just out from Subterranean Press are two steampunk novellas, James P. Blaylock’s The Ebb Tide and Kage Baker’s The Women of Nell Gwynne’s. Both take place in Victorian England. Both have great illustrations from J.K. Potter. In both stories the protagonists are trying to keep anti-gravity devices from the hands of evildoers. One is pretty good; the other is really good.

James Blaylock’s The Ebb Tide reprises his hero, Langdon St. Ives, adventurer, scientist and member of the Explorers Club, and his narrator, Jack Owlesby, who is really the star of the show. St. Ives first appeared in “The Ape-Box Affair” in 1977, and, thus, Blaylock can be considered one of the founding fathers of the steampunk movement in fantasy and science fiction. Although there have been several other St. Ives stories, The Ebb Tide is the first new adventure in nearly 20 years.

The tale begins as Owlesby, St. Ives and their friend Tubby Frobisher await dinner at their favorite pub, The Half Toad. An acquaintance comes in with a copy of Merton’s Catalogue of Rarities. Listed for the reasonable price of two pounds six is a “hand-dawn map of a small area of the Morecambe Sands, the location not identified.” The mention of a small letter K followed by a figure-eight drawing of a cuttlefish leads the trio to suspect that this may be the long-missing map fashioned by Bill “Cuttle” Kraken which may lead to one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the age.

Dinner is forgotten as the three adventurers begin a quest that will take them to the an underground laboratory containing a Nautilus-like submarine and an amazing diving bell apparently created by the nefarious Dr. Hidalgo Frosticos.

[More about The Ebb Tide and The Women of Nell Gwynne’s after the break...]

Fri
Jul 3 2009 10:24am

Joe Hill’s Gunpowder, my pick for best novella

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Joe Hill’s Gunpowder is on the short list for the British Fantasy Award.  If there is any justice, this great science fiction novella will win, and other awards will follow from this side of the pond.

I like novellas best. I have friends who just love to sit down with big, fat novels and who become addicted to series. I have other friends who love short stories, who say they just don’t have time to devote to a “whole book.” Of course, I have other friends (curse them) who don’t read at all. I read short stories and big books and even, occasionally, series, but I like novellas best.

For me, 20,000-25,000 words is just the right length for a science fiction or fantasy story, long enough for the author to establish a plot and develop a charismatic character, or even several, but short enough that I haven’t forgotten those characters’ names as I approach the climax. I can usually read the tale in one sitting, so I don’t let the vicissitudes of life get in the way. And I know that, when I reach the end, I won’t be surprised to discover that I need to read the next volume to find out what happens to those characters.

Unfortunately, it seems most major publishers don’t agree with me. And, in these economic times, many book buyers are even more concerned with the cost per page than the quality of what they read, so the fiscal reality is that not many novellas see print, except those published by (all gods bless them) small presses.

[Just a bit about Gunpowder below the fold...]