Counterculture(s) Past: Izumi Suzuki’s Terminal Boredom

The first of two collections of Izumi Suzuki’s (1949-1986) work forthcoming from Verso Books, Terminal Boredom: Stories contains seven pieces appearing for the first time in English translation—in some cases more than forty years after their original release. However, from gender politics in a queer matriarchy to media oversaturation and disaffection, the themes of her fiction still thrum with a resistant, brightly grim tension. Passing decades certainly haven’t dulled the the razor’s cut of her punk sensibilities.

Instead of one translator handling the entire collection, the stories are split between six: Daniel Joseph, David Boyd, Sam Bett, Helen O’Horan, Aiko Masubuchi, and Polly Barton. Across their individual stylistic approaches to Suzuki’s prose, bedrock features come through: crispness edging toward a cruel gloss in the dialogue, emotional saturation (or desaturation) as both literal experience and speculative metaphor, references to American films and Jazz music. The future, or a dream of the future, always arrives alongside struggle for people whose lives don’t match up to the mainstream—who stand a step outside of comfort.

[A review.]

FIYAHCON Announces Shortlist For the 2021 Ignyte Awards

Last year, FIYAH magazine created FIYAHCON, a widely acclaimed virtual convention centering and celebrating BIPOC in speculative fiction. Along with FIYAHCON, organizers created the Ignyte Awards, which “seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”

The winners of the first Ignyte Awards were announced in October—and now it’s time to announce the 2021 finalists!

[Read more]

Gifts From the Gods in The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter

If you took the godly and human affairs of Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy, paired them like a fine wine with the intricate and complex magical mechanics of Brandon Sanderson, and made the main course a Hannibal-esque murder mystery in a well-realized, complex city on the edge of a China Miéville-esque disaster, you would get The Helm of Midnight. The newest novel from author Marina Lotstetter is the first in her new Five Penalties series. Rich with lore and worldbuilding, Lotstetter lets her epic fantasy flag fly in this engrossing, engaging, and dark story of sisters, trauma, magic, and murder.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Survival Instinct”

“Survival Instinct”
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Terry Windell
Season 6, Episode 2
Production episode 222
Original air date: September 29, 1999
Stardate: 53049.2

Captain’s log. Voyager has docked at the Markonian Outpost, a major commercial hub for the sector. Janeway invites several folks on board, and there are many exchanges of gifts—and also some security issues with so many new people on board, to Tuvok’s great annoyance.

[“It’s so quiet.” “I had no idea you were going to say that!”]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

M.O.D.O.K. Struggles With Work/Life Balance in New Trailer

Fair warning: If you watch this trailer, you will have Third Eye Blind stuck in your head for the rest of the day. It’s not just playing over the wacky hijinks of big-headed M.O.D.O.K.; it’s… well, you’ll see. (Doot doot doot! Doot doot doot doooooo!)

M.O.D.O.K. is next up on Marvel’s TV series plate, though the animated show will be on Hulu rather than Disney+. Patton Oswalt voices the titular Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, who’s having a rough go of it on multiple fronts: His family is struggling, his business is bankrupt, and no one took out the trash. How will he bring the world to its knees with all these other problems on his plate?

[Read more]

ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination Releases Free Climate Change Anthology

Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination has been looking at how science fiction can help communicate scientific ideas to the wider public, producing its own anthologies of shorter fiction for the last couple of years.

Its latest is called Everything Change Volume III, an anthology about climate fiction, drawn from entries in a contest that it ran last year. The book is now out, and best of all, it’s free.

[Read more]

Ten Eco-Fiction Novels Worth Celebrating

In most fiction, environment plays a passive role that lies embedded in stability and an unchanging status quo. From Adam Smith’s 18th Century economic vision to the conceit of bankers who drove the 2008 American housing bubble, humanity has consistently espoused the myth of a constant natural world capable of absorbing infinite abuse without oscillation. This thinking is the ideological manifestation of Holocene stability, remnants from 11,000 years of small variability in temperature and carbon dioxide levels. This stability easily gives rise to deep-seated habits and ideas about the resilience of the natural world.

But this is changing.

Our world is changing. We currently live in a world in which climate change poses a very real existential threat to life on the planet. The new normal is change. And it is within this changing climate that eco-fiction is realizing itself as a literary pursuit worth engaging in.

[Read more]

Why Can’t We Be (Just) Friends? — Platonic Love in SFF

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ship as much as the next fangirl. But the most rewarding relationships in my adult life have been those rooted in platonic love. (Outside my husband, who still counts—we’re first and foremost BFFs after all, *hi Dave*.) And yet, these meaningful platonic relationships I’ve built my entire social framework around are conspicuously missing from most of the media I consume.

[Why No Love For Platonic Love?]

Delacorte Press to Publish The Grimoire of Grave Fates in Partnership With We Need Diverse Books

Delacorte Press will publish The Grimoire of Grave Fates, a new YA fantasy novel told in interconnected points of view by 18 acclaimed young adult authors, it was announced today by Beverly Horowitz, Senior Vice President & Publisher, Delacorte Press. Krista Marino, Senior Executive Editor, acquired world rights from Victoria Marini at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and will edit the project.

The Grimoire of Grave Fates follows the untimely murder of a professor at an esteemed wizarding school and the efforts of various students to track down his killer, with each chapter portraying a different character’s perspective. The novel was created by Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky) and Margaret Owen (The Merciful Crow), with the following authors contributing individual chapters: Cam Montgomery, Darcie Little Badger, Hafsah Faizal, Jessica Lewis, Julian Winters, Karuna Riazi, Kat Cho, Kayla Whaley, Kwame Mbalia, L. L. McKinney, Marieke Nijkamp, Mason Deaver, Natasha Díaz, Preeti Chhibber, Randy Ribay, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Victoria Lee, and Yamile Saied Méndez.

[Read more]

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Thirty-Three

Happy Thursday, Cosmere Chickens! This week’s chapter is a very short but heavy read. As The Stormlight Archive does so often, it’s dealing with neurodivergencies and the treatment of such. Kaladin, bless his Windrunner heart, is trying so hard to help those suffering with PTSD and depression (and goodness knows what else), blissfully unaware of the army marching on his doorstep, about to turn his entire world upside down…

[There was more than one way to protect.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

I Don’t Think We’re in Narnia Any More: T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places, Part 4

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we cover Chapters 7-8 of T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places, first published in 2020. Spoilers ahead—but we strongly recommend reading along!

[“We’re in the woods between the worlds and we’ve lost track of which one is ours…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

There Once Was a Ship That Was Put to Sea: In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

Prince Taliesin of Harth has just turned sixteen and is leaving the palace for the first time in years. As a child he and his siblings ran wild through the seaside capital, but once his magic revealed itself, he was shuttered away. Years before, their ancestor used his magic to lay waste to his enemies and competitors. Now, the Kingdom of Harth is in the perilous position of needing to seem penitent for his crimes yet powerful enough to defend their borders. The prince’s magic threatens the stability of peace, so the people were told he was sickly and he was forced to keep the biggest part of himself locked away in shame and self-loathing.

Setting sail on his coming-of-age tour—under the watchful eyes of his naval commander elder brother and a diligent bodyguard—is equal parts thrilling and overwhelming. Those feelings intensify when they come across a derelict ship with a cute yet strange boy chained up inside.

[Read more]

Read the First Two Chapters From P. Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn

Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie…

P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinnavailable May 11th from Tordotcom Publishing. We’re thrilled to share an excerpt below!

[Read more]

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