QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: The Woman Who Loved the Moon by Elizabeth A. Lynn

I started the QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics series with books I really enjoyed, but I want to cover as much terrain as possible, and be honest about what did or did not age well. I expected to likewise enjoy The Woman Who Loved the Moon, Elizabeth A. Lynn’s first short story collection—with the title story a World Fantasy Award winner in 1980. I’d heard good things about this book, and while it has been long since out of print, it is generally recognized as a queer classic.

I had mixed feelings. I felt this book was uneven (even beyond the unevenness that can be expected from a collection). While the secondary-world, epic fantasy stories were striking and memorable, the science fiction fell short in unexpected ways.

[The collection starts on a high note…]

Legendary Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

Legendary, the sequel to Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, is available today from Flatiron Books—and to celebrate, we want to send you a prize pack! Three lucky readers will each receive copies of Legendary and Caraval, a poster, a set of buttons, and a chocolate!

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets … including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval … the games have only just begun.

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 May 29th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on June 2nd. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: A Civil Campaign, Chapter 16

I wrote about three chapters last week so that I could get to this one faster. A Civil Campaign is an infinite series of meetings, and the best one is in the Library where Lady Vorkosigan slays the Koudelkas with a couch.

A really quite terrible one is at the Vorthys’s house where Hugo Vorvayne and Vassily Vorsoisson confront Ekaterin about her relationship with Miles. I don’t know what Vassily does in the military, but here he is a human instrument of torture. He and Hugo are colluding to act as the arbiters of Vor Social Propriety, and they are assholes. This is a great example of how seemingly nice people can turn against you in horrible ways if they decide that control is more important than caring. Vassily, who Ekaterin has met briefly twice and who has never had a conversation with Nikki, has an informant who has sent him intelligence suggesting that Ekaterin is being manipulated by the mutant Lord Vorkosigan, who, the informant also states, is known to have murdered her husband. (Picture a lot of whisper-screaming here—AN INFORMANT COMMUNICATED INTELLIGENCE ABOUT TIEN’S NOT-MURDER!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!)

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Revealing The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens…

From Samantha Shannon, bestselling author of The Bone Season, and Bloomsbury Publishing comes The Priory of the Orange Tree, an epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons—and the women who must lead the fight to save it. We’re excited to reveal the stunning cover below, illustrated by Ivan Belikov and designed by David Mann.

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Worlds Beside Themselves: Andre Norton’s Star Gate

Long before McGyver ran through a big rattly circle into strange worlds in the beloved TV series with an almost-identical title, in 1957, Andre Norton had a go at gates between worlds—in this case, parallel worlds. My copy happens to have been slapped together with Sea Siege, but it’s not immediately obvious why. Star Gate is a different kind of story in every way. All it has in common with Sea Siege is a set of late and passing hints that the Star Lords came from Earth. The two books are completely different in voice, style, setting, and characterization. They are literally not even in the same universe.

If I were going to put Norton books together in sets, I would hook up this one with The Jargoon Pard or possibly The Crystal Gryphon. Star Gate reads like proto-Witch World. It has the odd, archaic style and the low-tech setting with hints of higher tech: medieval-like cultures clashing with and invaded by aliens with machines that allow them to travel not only through space but between universes. [Read more]

Vicious

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveal an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Vicious, the first novel in V.E. Schwab’s Villains series, is a masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, and superpowers—a new edition is available now from Tor Books.

[Read more]

Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, Part VII

At this stage of James’ Tour of Disco-Era Women SF Authors, we have reached M. Certain letters are deficient in authors whose surnames begin with that particular letter. Not so M. There is an abundance of authors whose surnames begin with M. Perhaps an excess. In fact, there are more authors named Murphy than the authors I listed whose names begin with I. Efforts to address this, by providing authors with exciting new initials, perhaps involving the exclamation mark or ampersand, have thus far been greeted with something less than enthusiasm by the powers-that-be.

For readers who have just joined the tour: there are several previous instalments in this series, covering women writers published in the 1970s with last names beginning with A through F, those beginning with G, those beginning with H, those beginning with I & J, those beginning with K, and those beginning with L.

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Westworld: Season 2, Episode 6 “Phase Space”

After a string of episodes following one main host’s journey, Westworld brought the whole band together again tonight. Kinda. But not really. Everyone is still on their own loops, and that led to a lot of goodbyes, some sadder than others.

As we move into the back half of season two, we’ll hopefully see some more reunions.

But no reappearance can be quite as surprising as the one that ended this episode. Spoilers, obviously.

[“Meet the ghost in the machine…”]

Sleeps With Monsters: The Intriguing World of Ilana C. Myer’s Fire Dance

Ilana C. Myer’s first novel, Last Song Before Night, was a well-written variation on a traditional quest narrative: the problem of restoring magic to a realm without it. Its sequel, Fire Dance, takes a much more innovative approach. It deals with the consequences, political and personal, of that restoration—along with who benefits, and who suffers, from the change.

Except more twisty and intriguing even than that sounds.

[Read more]

Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Reading the Wheel of Time: Almost Everything Finally Gets Explained in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 15)

And so we arrive at Week 15 of Reading The Wheel of Time! It’s a wordy one this week, lots of exposition, and my fingers are tired from typing it all out! Still, despite these chapters being a bit of an info dump, it’s been really nice to get some clarity on certain events, and I am quite happy to see the gang all back together again.

[Onward to the recap.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Gardner Dozois, 1947 – 2018

We at Tor.com are deeply saddened to report the passing of Gardner Dozois on May 27, 2018.

Dozois was an author and editor whose career spanned fifty years, and shaped contemporary science fiction and fantasy. Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1947, Dozois later said he began reading science fiction and fantasy as an escape from life in his small town. After a stint as an Army journalist, he moved to New York, and had his first major publication when Frederik Pohl chose one of his stories for If in 1966.

He was the founding editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies, as well as editor of Asimov’s from 1984 until 2004. His editorial work earned more than 40 Hugo Awards, 40 Nebula Awards, and 30 Locus Awards, and he was awarded the Hugo for Best Professional Editor fifteen times between 1988 and his retirement from Asimov’s in 2004. In 1977, Dozois authored an in-depth look at the fiction of James Tiptree, Jr., and a solo novel, Strangers, was published in 1978. Two of his stories, “The Peacemaker” and “Morning Child”, won the Nebula Award for Short Story in 1983 and 1984, respectively. In 2001, Old Earth Books published Being Gardner Dozois: An Interview by Michael Swanwick, in which Dozois and his friend and collaborator Michael Swanwick discussed his entire career in fiction. The book was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book.

Throughout the 2000s, Dozois collaborated with George R.R. Martin on a series of themed anthologies, including Songs of the Dying Earth, a tribute anthology to Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series, Old Mars, an anthology featuring retro stories about Mars, Dangerous Women, whose stories revolve around female warriors, and Rogues, a genre-spanning anthology starring a variety of rogues. Dozois was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011.

Of course these are all just facts. The more important truth is that Gardner Dozois was a vital and beloved member of the science fiction and fantasy community. We will share more tributes to him in coming days. His contribution to our community cannot be overstated, and he will be greatly missed.

Top image: Photograph of Gardner Dozois at ClarionWest in 1998 by Ellen Levy Finch, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Roci will Fly Again! The Expanse Picked Up by Amazon

Break out the celebratory lasagna—The Expanse has been saved! The show will move over to Amazon’s streaming service after its third season ends on Syfy. Jeff Bezos made the announcement himself last night, after a panel at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference, which featured three of the show’s stars, Steven Strait, Wes Chatham, and Cas Anvar, along with showrunner Naren Shankar.

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Don’t Underestimate the Genius of “The Deep” on This Year’s Hugo Ballot

Clipping (often styled as clipping.) are Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes. After starting out as a remix project, they’ve evolved into an experimental, industrial rap act that combines a vast enthusiasm for their field and what happens at its edges with Diggs’ fiercely literate, playful lyrics. If you like and are familiar with rap, picture the centre of a Venn diagram where the overlapping circles are labelled “De La Soul,” “Michael Franti,” “A Tribe Called Quest,” “Dr. Dre’s production style,” and “The Bomb Squad.” If you don’t like or aren’t particularly familiar with rap, then the Venn diagram reads something like “Nine Inch Nails,” “Stockhausen,” “Gil Scott-Heron,” and “early Leftfield.” Their work is massive and precise, compassionate and architectural—at times intensely funny, and at others deeply horrific. They are, by far, one of the best things happening not just in rap but in music at the moment.

The fact that Clipping been nominated for a Hugo for two years running speaks to that. Last year’s science fiction concept album, Splendor & Misery was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form. This year, their song, “The Deep,” has followed it.

This is fantastic news, not just for the group, but for the Hugos.

[Read more]

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