Posts Categorized: Feature Article

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“Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm’s bed. …

Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia’s inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will only last so long.”  — Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

A few things to know before we set out:

First, we’re going up… and (maybe) down, so pack your chutes. Aidan asked me to write a post about worldbuilding in the air — a somewhat non-traditional fantasy setting — because of a few stories I have in the wind. I set both the short story, “A Moment of Gravity, Circumscribed,”1 out this month in XIII: Stories of Transformation (Resurrection House, March 2015), and my upcoming novel Updraft above the clouds. Read More »

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As the Hugo nomination period draws to a close, here are the items that will appear on my final ballot. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the items, I highly encourage you to check them out. 2014 was a wonderful year for genre fiction and art.

Note: If a category doesn’t appear or is incomplete, it’s because I either a) did not make any nominations, or b) will be undecided on some of the final inclusions until the final hour.
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Artwork by Julie Dillon
The Best of
A Dribble of Ink '14

2014 was a banner year for A Dribble of Ink. In addition to all of the fun artwork and news about SFF, A Dribble of Ink published some of its most popular and fascinating essays and reviews. So, to celebrate the best of what A Dribble of Ink published in 2014 (and as a subtle reminder of the site’s eligibility in the “Best Fanzine” category at this year’s Hugo Awards), I’ve gathered together a small collection of essays and reviews that make me particularly proud.

Whether you find something new, or revisit an old favourite, I hope you have fun reading through A Dribble of Ink’s contribution to 2014. Read More »

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“What’s your new book about?” readers ask writers all the time. It’s not such an easy question to answer, Daniel Polansky told me when we started chatting about his new book, Those Above “It’s meant kindly, hardly an unreasonable question given that you did write the damn thing, bound to bring an author to the brink of despair.”

If there are a thousand readers, there are a thousand answers to that question, and Polansky often attempts to find the correct answer to fit the person who’s asking. “There’s the answer that I give to bloggers or interviewers or editors or anyone else who might help generate sales,” he said. “Those Above is the story of a civilization of near-perfect, almost-immortal humanoids who live in a wondrous city at the center of the world, and of the attempts of their enslaved human population to shake off this yoke. There are multiple intersecting viewpoints, there’s political scheming and moral quandaries, there’s sword fights and murder and just enough sex to keep the thing entertaining.” Read More »

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Kate Elliott’s fiction first came to my attention in the mid-’90s. In the age before the rise of massive social media, I discovered authors through publications like Locus, and through things like award nomination lists. When King’s Dragon showed up on the Nebula shortlist for novels published in 1997 (a ballot that also coincidentally included an unassuming novel titled by a chap named Martin), I was excited to try a new author, and one tackling epic fantasy at that! I was pleased to find that King’s Dragon offered deep and intricate worldbuilding, strong female characters, perspectives on issues and facets of epic fantasy worlds that don’t always get much play, and a willingness to go dark when necessary. This was definitely something different than the epic fantasy of the ’80s I devoured as a teenager. I was hooked on Kate’s work. Hard.

I started reading backward into her œuvre, and then forward ever since.

Though also an author of several science fiction novels (Jaran, for instance, might be considered as Genghis Khan meets Jane Austen in space!), Elliott is best known for being one of the cornerstones of epic fantasy writing starting in the mid 90s and continuing strongly to this day. While many of the innovations and style of Elliott’s rising carries through all of her work, the series’ themselves are individual and distinct in manner, matter, and tone. There is a Kate Elliott fantasy series for nearly every taste of reader. Read More »