Five Weird Books by Women

A “weird tale,” Ann and Jeff VanderMeer tell us in their compendium The Weird, is “fiction in which some other element, like weird ritual or the science fictional, replaces the supernatural while providing the same dark frisson of the unknown.”

Though writers such as Lovecraft have become the face of the Weird tale, many women have written such stories: Joyce Carol Oates, Caitlín R. Kiernan and Shirley Jackson, to name a few. My five selections cannot encompass the whole breath and variety of such writers but I hope they are a delicious samples of the uncanny.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Ann Leckie Talks About Tea, Radchaai Sympathy, and Ancillary Mercy!

Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, Locus, BSFA and Golden Tentacle Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice, the BSFA and Locus Award-winning sequel to that, Ancillary Sword, and the conclusion to the trilogy, Ancillary Mercy, which is available now! Leckie took to reddit to answer fan questions about gender, her writing process, and the vital importance of tea, and to explain exactly why she once typed out an entire C.J. Cherryh novel. You can read the AMA here, and we’ve rounded up highlights below!

[Justice, Swords, and Mercy!]

Welcome to the Neighborhood: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, collected by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Joe Hill, has a very important job: it must bring our rocketships, our magic, our monsters, and our hearts to the rest of the reading world. But it has to be more than an olive branch to the world of readers who want to know more about the state of American science fiction and fantasy; it has to be a welcoming present to the neighborhood. And what a present it is: together, Adams and Hill have run through the collective summer forest of our community, coaxed twenty bright, beautiful, and ethereal fireflies into a jar, and given them to the world to enjoy in this collection.

Is one firefly brighter than the others? Does one story cut deeper, or make you feel larger or smaller in your existence? Maybe. All mileage may vary, in the end, but at the core of this collection, Adams and Hill have crafted a wonderful welcome-to-the-neighborhood collection of short stories.

[Read more]

How D’Ya Like Them Potatoes?

In The Martian, stranded astronaut Mark Watney has to rely on a fragile potato crop for survival, making him the loneliest spud boy. In a truly inspired piece of cross-promotion, Fox Studios partnered with Mail a Spud, you know, that company that sends potatoes through the mail, so that 1000 lucky fans can send each other potatoes with Mark Watney stamps on them. Now, we realize you may ave some questions. First, yes, Mail a Spud is real. Second, if you receive such a potato, do not eat it: “We do not recommend you consume the potato after it has travelled across the country inside of trucks, planes, and postal service bags,” the site’s FAQ pronounces. “It has touched a lot of germs by the time it arrives.” Third, doesn’t this waste food? Well, yes. But Mail a Spud figures it’s OK because “each spud shipped is bringing more awareness to the beauty of the potato.” Fair enough.

Afternoon Roundup brings you the odd naming conventions of Star Wars, thoughts on J.G. Ballard, and could there be new life for Flatliners?

[Plus Hap and Leonard news!]

Jaws 19 Gets a Trailer as Back to the Future Part II Nears

In the year 2015, Marty McFly encounters hoverboards, young Elijah Wood, dust-repellent paper, and a cinema playing the latest blockbuster Jaws 19.

Now, at least one of those things is finally real. Universal Pictures has assembled a trailer for Jaws 19, leading up to the October 21 date in which Marty and Doc (and Jennifer) arrive in the future during the events of Back to the Future Part II.

Who knew the Jaws mythos was so rich? We would watch at least 14 of these movies.

[You gotta check this out, Doc.]

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 19

It’s the Wheel of Time Reread Redux, where the term “cloak and dagger”… er, would be applied a little more literally than in some cases. But the segue is, espionage! Capers! Really wild things!

Yeah, I swear this was going to be a wittier intro (or at least one that made actual sense), but then my brain defected… to the Soviets. Look, I got nothing. Sorry!

BUT ANYWAY, today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 32 and 33 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on

The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!

All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[“Look, we all go way back and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I’ll never forget it.” “That was our pleasure.” “I’d never been to Belize.”]

Are You 1337 Enough for these Cyberpunk Tales?

Cyberpunk literature lit up sci-fi in the early 80s, promising a glowing future of virtual realities and Singularities. From Vernor Vinge and William Gibson’s early foundational forays through recent offerings from Hannu Rajaniemi, James Cambias, and G. Willow Wilson, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite stories.

Forget those losers who still live in meatspace! Come with us and jack into the glorious world of the Net/Matrix/Metaverse/Other Plane…

[Check out the whole L157!]

Dreamquest, Take 1: “Celephais”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “Celephais,” written in November 1920 and first published in the November 1922 issue of Rainbow. You can read it here.

Spoilers ahead.

[“Kuranes had awaked the very moment he beheld the city”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

The Shootout Solution

Leah Tang just died on stage. Well, not literally. Not yet.

Leah’s stand-up career isn’t going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she’s offered employment with the mysterious Genrenauts Foundation, she soon discovers that literally dying on stage is a hazard of the job!

Her first assignment takes her to a Western world. When a cowboy tale slips off its rails, and the outlaws start to win, it’s up to Leah – and the Genrenauts team – to nudge the story back on track and prevent a catastrophe on Earth. But the story’s hero isn’t interested in winning, and the safety of Earth hangs in the balance…

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from The Shootout Solution, episode one of Michael R. Underwood’s new novella series, Genrenauts—available in paperback, ebook, and audio format November 17th from!

[Read an excerpt]

The New Trailer for The Good Dinosaur is Here to Make You Weep

As if Inside Out wasn’t enough tear duct exercise for one year, Pixar will give us another “I’m not crying, you’re crying!” opportunity this November, when The Good Dinosaur stomps into our hearts. The new trailer introduces us to the relationship between the dinosaur and his human pet, as they travel across the primordial landscape looking for a new home. Check it out below!

[Check out the full trailer below!]

Sleeps With Monsters: Jaime Lee Moyer Answers Seven Questions

The third volume in Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut trilogy, Against A Brightening Sky, comes out this month. It brings to a close the sequence begun in Delia’s Shadow and continued in A Barricade in Hell. Full of ghosts and consequence, and set in San Francisco in the early 1920s, it’s a fun ride. With murder in.

I thought it might be interesting to ask Jaime a few questions about genre, murder, history, and her attraction to ghost stories. She graciously agreed to answer them.

Onwards to the questions!

[Read more]

Series: Sleeps With Monsters

I Tell Lies About Last Song Before Night

Stories about truth begin with a lie.

Let me tell you a lie: Last Song Before Night is an epic fantasy about a band of young poets on a quest to uncover an ancient secret and save the world from absolute evil.

The archvillain of Last Song is a censor (and he could be nothing else). His trade is the mutilation of truth. I like to think he’d appreciate this lie I’ve told you, just there. It’s a very good lie, because Last Song is about all those things, they’re in the story, it’s true!

[But that is not the true shape of the story…]

The Many Ways the Hero of K.J. Parker’s The Last Witness is Doomed

The main character of K.J. Parker’s new novella The Last Witness has a special ability: he can wipe and transfer…actually you know what? I’ll just let him explain it.

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more. Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…


I’m being silly. There is a complex story behind Parker’s character in The Last Witness, but what I kept coming back to were the astounding number of ways that the main character invited personal misery and certain peril! Ways like…

[Read more]

Is This the Face of a Man Who Just Walked on the Moon?

Why yes, yes it is! The Project Apollo Archive has just uploaded thousands of hi-res photos into their Flickr account, including this endearing shot of Neil Armstrong fresh from his moonwalk. There’s also a Facebook page which you should all go and like and look at forever. Kipp Teague, the founder of the Archive, has uploaded over 8,000 photos so far, and is hoping to get all 13,000 images up soon, and we can’t wait to see every single one of them!

[Humans. In. SPAAAAAAACE.]

Getting Out of Your Headspace at 120 MPH

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to descibe a speciality in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

The truth is writing has always been my passion and I’ve never really found a hobby to do in my down time that competes with it. I am always looking though. Every time I finish a book and have a little breathing space, I try out a different hobby. I’ve tried the more sedate ones like needlepoint, sewing, puzzles, and taking up piano again, but I’ve also tried more exciting things like zip lining as well, which was surprisingly disappointing.

[But I LOVE amusement park rides…]

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 E6: “The Good Man”

The first season of Fear the Walking Dead has been quite the ride. Not an especially good one, mind, but at least I don’t regret giving up 6 hours of my life to it. High praise, indeed. Most of the season arcs were wrapped up in a neat little bow by the end of “The Good Man,” with strong hints to where they’re headed next year. I’ll be there waiting, but not with bated breath.

[“You can get out, but there’s nowhere to go.”]

Old, Familiar Tropes: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night is Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel, out last month from Tor Books. It is a novel of music, magic, and a darkness at the heart of a kingdom. Unusually among debut fantasy novels with an epic bent, it stands alone. And I wanted to like it a lot more than, it turns out, I actually did.

Maybe it’s just that I’m getting more jaded as I get older. Maybe it’s that Last Song Before Night feels like a version of a story I’ve seen many hundreds of times before: a more adult and more elevated version of one of those Mercedes Lackey novels with bards and evil magic. There’s nothing particularly wrong with writing a new story that uses old tropes in familiar configurations. Indeed, in many cases I’m quite fond of them, and Last Song Before Night is confidently written, with a solid touch for evoking believable characters.

[Read more]

Mistborn Map Sweepstakes!

A few months ago, we gave away the Mistborn Trilogy boxed set, which came with a foldout poster map of Luthadel. We’ve got 10 extra maps, and we want to give you one!

In the Mistborn trilogy, Luthadel is the capital of the Central Dominance and of the Final Empire, and the heart of the Lord Ruler’s power. Yet all is not as it seems: Luthadel was once known as Terris, and houses the Well of Ascension. Most interestingly, this updated map comes with a mysterious (and slightly cheeky) note from Nazh, whose writings have appeared in Alloy of Law and Words of Radiance.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 5th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 9th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 252: Cecelia Holland

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week we welcome distinguished historical novelist Cecelia Holland back to the podcast to discuss her new fantasy novel Dragon Heart, her classic SF novel Floating Worlds, the relationships between SF, fantasy, and historical fiction, and historical and political themes in the work of writers like Kim Stanley Robinson and George R.R. Martin.

[Read more]

Series: The Coode Street Podcast

Dobby is A Free Elf (For the Suggested Donation of One Sock)

OK, there’s a lot to unpack here. Apparently the people behind the WB Studios tour decided it was perfectly cool to prop up a dead Dobby in a glass case, because you want people on the tour to burst into unending tears before they’re allowed to go on to the Bug Bunny exhibit or whatever. But, because Harry Potter fans are amazing, people have been leaving socks. For Dobby’s corpse. To free him.

We may need a minute.

Morning Roundup brings you deep thoughts on Lex Luthor’s motivations, an argument for Rick Sanchez’ scientific method, and so much Mars!

[All the Mars. All of it.]