A dark fantasy about Jeoffry, a cat who fights demons, a poet, who is Jeoffry’s human confined to an insane asylum, and Satan, who schemes to end the world.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Orbit) has been announced as the 33rd winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction literature.
Rosewater—Thompson’s second novel—follows Kaaro, a government agent and a “sensitive,” meaning he can read the thoughts and emotions of other people. He lives in Rosewater, Nigeria—a community at the edge of an alien biodome rumored to have healing powers. When Kaaro learns that others like him are being killed off, he must search for an answer, facing his own dark past and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.
This week, we’re reading Ng Yi-Sheng’s “Xingzhou,” first published in the July 2019 issue of Clarkesworld. Spoilers ahead—but read it yourself first; you won’t be sorry!
Series: The Lovecraft Reread
It’s been 50 years since the Apollo 11 mission sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon, fulfilling the dreams of many star-gazing scientists and civilians alike. The New York Times ran coverage this Sunday honoring the historical event, and sci-fi authors Mary Robinette Kowal and Ken Liu contributed columns reflecting on space travel and its place in shaping American culture and history, past, present, and future.
When Pentagon bio-terror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.
Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy. Only Diaz knows how to stop it.
He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother. Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again. All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor. Will that be enough to save all of humanity?
David Koepp’s Cold Storage publishes September 3rd with Ecco. Read an excerpt below!
The Adventure Zone returns this week with capers, magical items, and goofs galore. In the second volume of the series, we find Magnus, Taako, and Merle in a mystical world of exposition, followed up by an epic murder mystery slash train heist to retrieve a dangerous artifact. As always, though, it’s the comedic beats and the characters that drive the engine on this particular train. From the introduction of beloved podcast characters like Garfield the Deals Warlock and Boy Detective Angus McDonald, to the virtual demolishment of the fourth wall, Murder on the Rockport Limited delivers on every possible expectation. Fans of the original podcast will not be disappointed; in fact, if they’re like me, they will make embarrassing whoop-ing sounds while reading it in public.
All of this is to say that the McElroys still got it. But the real star here is artist Carey Pietsch.
Today we’ll start discussing our second trilogy for the summer: Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis, also published as Lilith’s Brood. (The first trilogy featured was Daniel Heath Justice’s The Way of Thorn and Thunder.) Even though there have been a variety of science fiction books with three- or more-gendered aliens before this novel, Dawn—originally published in 1987—is one of the most prominent works to feature this trope before the current wave of trans speculative fiction.
We often dream of traveling to other worlds, but what if space is your world? What if the ship you live on and the walls that contain you are the only society you’ve ever been exposed to? Science fiction is full of great big rockets that function like planets—transplanting the best and often the very worst of their homeworlds to the stars—and shepherd civilizations among the stars. Here are some of the most thought-provoking examples that we can’t stop wondering about.
As I reread these Pern books, I keep asking myself, how does this all work? I’m not just talking about the dragons, although many of the questions often left unexplored by the series are associated with dragons. For instance, how, exactly, is a planet regularly whacked by massive environmental and habitat damage supporting so many huge apex predators? Why do the people of Pern so frequently fail to utilize all of the abilities of said apex predators? And beyond the dragons—really, just how does a world of people and dragons work?
I can’t say that The White Dragon helps all that much with answering any of these questions—although it does show us several glimpses of actual farm work, somewhat unusual for this series. It also gives us a pretty solid look at the health care system on Pern.
And I gotta say, I’m unimpressed.
Series: Dragonriders of Pern Reread
I came of age as a horror-head in the 80s. I exited that dizzying decade as a disaffected teenager with a Gordon Gekko collar… no, probably a Chip and Pepper shirt. I grew up in the greatest boom of horror books North America has likely ever seen. Stephen King was at the height of his powers—though he was no slouch in the ’70s and hasn’t waned since. But not only King. Koontz, Barker, Simmons, Straub, McCammon, Rice, and others hit highs. It was perhaps too crowded a marketplace, and as such some writers may have gotten lost, as unfortunately happens.
The big thing back then seemed to be making the leap from paperback to hardback. Nowadays hardcovers and paperbacks—trade paperbacks, or French-flapped hybrid paperbacks—may be more commonplace than mass-market paperbacks, depending on the genre. But in the 80s, MMPB was king. Zebra, Pinnacle, Tor, Daw, Orbit, Sphere, Leisure (I think) and others were putting out tons of paperback horror books. Now some writers came out of the gate in hardback, but others had to ascend from the paperback spinning-racks (found at all drugstores and supermarkets) to prove themselves “hardback worthy”. Not all did. Not all of gave a damn about doing so, if it meant writing stuff they weren’t interested in. My sense—and I can only imagine Grady Hendrix and others agree on this—is that while good horror is never a cheap thrill, it is sometimes best enjoyed in its cheapest format. I have my Kings and Barker and Rice hardcovers, sure, but my old paperbacks really show how much they’ve been read, wearing their scars in the creases of their spines, the bald spots on their foil-stamped covers and their rounded edges. Like old dogs, you can see how much they’ve been loved just by looking at them.
We’re pleased to share the covers for all four novels in Sarah Kozloff’s brand new epic fantasy series! Beginning in January 2020, Tor will release A Queen in Hiding, book one of the exciting and sweeping Nine Realms series. The Queen of Raiders will follow in February 2020, with A Broken Queen in March 2020, and the series will conclude in April 2020 with The Cerulean Queen.
With one book a month, readers will be able to indulge themselves—without the wait!
What other authors wrote books with thematic similarities to the books of Andre Norton? Too bad that no one has ever asked me that question. Let’s pretend that someone has asked. Here are five suggestions.
Paul Tremblay’s fiction gets inside your head—sometimes literally: his novel A Head Full of Ghosts is about what may or may not be a demonic possession, and The Cabin at the End of the World centers around a home invasion by a quartet of people who may be menacing invaders, or who may be on a desperate mission to prevent the apocalypse. Tremblay’s fiction pulls off the difficult task of making the ambiguous scary: rather than show you a monster or demon, he creates the barest hint of one, offers an equally compelling mundane explanation, and allows the reader to grapple with which one is more terrifying in its implications.
His latest book is a story collection, Growing Things. In its range and assortment of techniques, it’s Tremblay’s most ambitious book; it’s also a work that abounds with references to his other novels, although prior knowledge of them is not required to make sense of these. (With perhaps one exception, which we’ll get to in a moment.) Given the range showcased here, it may not be quite as successful as some of his other books—The Cabin at the End of the World was, for me, one of the most unsettling novels I’ve read in years—but it’s still got plenty of kick.
Want to know the complete story of how Alien was made, featuring new interviews with Ridley Scott and other production crew, and including many rarely-seen photos and illustrations from the Fox archives? The Making of Alien is a beautifully made hardcover coffee table book celebrates the upcoming 40th anniversary of Alien – and we want to send you a copy!
In 1979 a movie legend was born, as Twentieth Century-Fox and director Ridley Scott unleashed Alien – and gave audiences around the world the scare of their lives.
Although I would very much like to barrel forward with my assertion that Final Fantasy XII is the best Final Fantasy ever made, I am obliged to begin with caveats.
I have not played any of the games in the franchise prior to Final Fantasy X, unless you count the Final Fantasy VII spin-off, Dirge of Cerberus—which you should not. This means that I cannot definitively say that XII is the ultimate iteration of the franchise.
Furthermore, I have not played any of the Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Final Fantasies. I have three good reasons for this. The first is that my old internet connectivity situation didn’t allow for the extravagance of playing online. The second is that my bank balance didn’t allow for the extravagance of monthly subscription fees. The third is that playing MMOs involve interacting with strangers on the internet for fun. Hard pass.
My last caveat is that people are entitled to have differing opinions and criteria by which they judge the merits of a game.
Sooooo the intro to my previous post is now a tad ironic. In related news, getting floodwater out of your car stinks. Literally.
But fear not! No mere water-logged weekend could keep me from your eyes, my lovelies. Behold, a RROK, just for you!
This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.
Today’s post will be covering Chapter 48, “Family Dinner”, and Chapter 49, “Critical Lessons.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.
Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!