content by

Sofia Samatar

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Five Elegant and Moody Fantasies

I love books with a strong atmosphere. I’m always looking to be transported: that’s what draws me to fantasy. It’s not descriptions of imaginary places or intricate magic systems that attract me, really; it’s the evocation of a mysterious elsewhere in language as weird and lovely as its subject. Language is the magic system.

Here are five intensely strange, beautifully written, and transportive fantasies.

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Series: Five Books About…

The Winged Histories

Four women—a soldier, a scholar, a poet, and a socialite—are caught up on opposing sides of a violent rebellion. As war erupts and their loyalties and agendas and ideologies come into conflict, the four fear their lives may pass unrecorded. Using the sword and the pen, the body and the voice, they struggle not just to survive, but to make history.

Available March 8th from Small Beer Press, The Winged Histories is the much-anticipated companion novel to Sofia Samatar’s World Fantasy Award-winning debut, A Stranger in Olondria. It is the saga of an empire—and a family: their friendships, their enduring love, their arcane and deadly secrets. Samatar asks who makes history, who endures it, and how the turbulence of historical change sweeps over every aspect of a life and over everyone, no matter whether or not they choose to seek it out.

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Girl Monsters: An Interview with Sarah McCarry

Sarah McCarry is a writer and publisher whose Metamorphoses Trilogy, a YA series loosely based on tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, was completed this year. The novels—All Our Pretty Songs, Dirty Wings, and About a Girl—follow three generations of a family through a kaleidoscopic whirl of myth, fantasy, goth and grunge. In addition to writing beautiful and addictive fantasies, Sarah publishes innovative writing through Guillotine Press.

The two of us sat down for an online chat one afternoon, me in California, Sarah in New York.

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Entanglement: Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial

Here’s the first sentence of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire that Never Was, translated from the Spanish by Ursula K. Le Guin:

The storyteller said: Now that the good winds are blowing, now that we’re done with days of anxiety and nights of terror, now that there are no more denunciations, persecutions, secret executions, and whim and madness have departed from the heart of the Empire, and we and our children aren’t playthings of blind power; now that a just man sits on the Golden Throne and people look peacefully out of their doors to see if the weather’s fine and plan their vacations and kids go to school and actors put their heart into their lines and girls fall in love and old men die in their beds and poets sing and jewelers weigh gold behind their little windows and gardeners rake the parks and young people argue and innkeepers water the wine and teachers teach what they know and we storytellers tell old stories and archivists archive and fishermen fish and all of us can decide according to our talents and lack of talents what to do with our life—now anybody can enter the emperor’s palace, out of need or curiosity; anybody can visit that great house which was for so many years forbidden, prohibited, defended by armed guards, locked, and as dark as the souls of the Warrior Emperors of the Dynasty of the Ellydróvides.

[I quote it in full because what was I going to do?]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

The Death of Araweilo

Presenting “The Death of Araweilo,” an original poem by Sofia Samatar in celebration of National Poetry Month, acquired for by editor Liz Gorinsky. is celebrating National Poetry Month by featuring science fiction and fantasy poetry from a variety of SFF authors. You’ll find classic works, hidden gems, and new commissions featured on the site throughout the month. Check out the Poetry Month index for more poems!

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Series: Poetry Month

A Stranger in Olondria (Excerpt)

Enjoy this excerpt from A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, out on April 16 from Small Beer Press:

Jevick, the pepper merchant’s son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick’s life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But just as he revels in Olondria’s Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl.

In desperation, Jevick seeks the aid of Olondrian priests and quickly becomes a pawn in the struggle between the empire’s two most powerful cults. Yet even as the country shimmers on the cusp of war, he must face his ghost and learn her story before he has any chance of becoming free by setting her free: an ordeal that challenges his understanding of art and life, home and exile, and the limits of that seductive necromancy, reading.

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