Posts Tagged: Science Fiction

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If it wasn’t for unconventional publishing, that would have been the end of the road for Hollow World.

Publishing today is a complicated business full of many options and proponents on different sides vocalizing their path is “the right one” with full-throated conviction. For the record, I see the advantages (and disadvantages) of each. I also don’t think there is a “universal right choice,” just a choice that is going to best fit on an author by author basis.

Currently I’m a ‘hybrid author‘ because I have works available both through self-publishing and traditional routes. What’s more, my traditional routes include both big-five and small presses and there is a world of difference between them.

I think Hollow World, my latest novel, was probably produced in one of the most unconventional ways possible. First it was submitted to my publisher, Orbit. My editor loved the book, but the marketing department didn’t. They need to focus on what sells (and I don’t begrudge this mindset) and currently they think that means military science-fiction and space operas. A classic-style, social science fiction novel such as those written by Asimov or Wells just didn’t fit the bill.

If it wasn’t for unconventional publishing, that would have been the end of the road for Hollow World, and I know far too many authors who have shelved books because they couldn’t get them picked up (or were offered too little). But from past experience, I knew a closed door just means I should look around for an open window. Read More »

Speculative Fiction 2013, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

With the release of Speculative Fiction 2013 looming, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James have announced the duo responsible for assembling the 2014 volume of the non-fiction essay collection: Renay and Shaun Duke. Excellent choices, if I do say.

One of the major components to the SpecFic collection series, as originally envisioned by creators Justin Landon and Jared Shurin, was to ensure a fresh take on online SFF conversation by featuring rotating editors every year. Renay and Duke mark the third pair of editors to work on the series. Grilo and James feel that their unique backgrounds offer a compelling opportunity for the series. “We strongly believe that Renay and Shaun’s different backgrounds – fandom and academia – can make for a really interesting editorial dynamic,” they said in the announcement.

Renay has been writing SF and fantasy fan fiction, criticism, and commentary since the early 1990s. She serves as staff within the Organization for Transformative Works, co-edits a media criticism blog, Lady Business, and writes columns for speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons.

Shaun Duke is an SF/F writer, a critic, and a PhD. student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, Caribbean literature, and postcolonialism. He currently blogs at The World in the Satin Bag, and is a host on The Skiffy and Fanty Show, an SF/F podcast which is currently running its World SF Tour.

“We selected Renay and Shaun as editors for several reasons that go beyond their awesome bios,” said The Book Smugglers, editors of the 2013 volume. “Namely, we admire their writing and the thoughtful ways that they engage with the speculative fiction community. We’ve been following Renay’s online endeavors for years and it’s safe to say that she’s been an incredible source of inspiration for The Book Smugglers and the way we engage in criticism. Similarly, Shaun never fails to impress us with his thoughtful, well-researched and articulate take on SFF books, films, and his contributions to important SFF community discussions.”

Art by Julie Dillon

I would see queer romance in a different, more nuanced light, complete with a historical perspective that both undercut Card’s work and crystallized the notion of real-world men who loved each other with their bodies as well as their minds.

Hello A Dribble of Ink! I am David Edison, author of The Waking Engine and editor of GayGamer.net, and I am dribbling my ink all over you. Aidan has asked me to talk about my experiences with inclusivity in the gaming world, which is a great chance to look at the differences and similarities with the equivalent challenge in the world of speculative fiction. I’ll apologize in advance for being unscholarly and scatterbrained: these are, of course, sprawling and complex dynamics, and a genuine analysis is beyond both the scope of a blog post and the capabilities of yours truly.

Let’s start with the idea of finding yourself reflected in the creative works you consume. From my personal experience: I encountered a representation of my own queerness in speculative fiction well before I encountered it anywhere else in our culture, especially games. Orson Scott Card’s Songmaster hit me like a ton of bricks at nine, maybe ten years of age. (There is irony to be found there, of course, which is its own post, methinks.) The pedophilia went right over my young head (paging Alanis Morissette and her 10,000 not-actually-ironic spoons, and yet another blog post), but what mattered to me then, as now, was the love. Only a few years later, when I read Mary Renault’s stunning historical novels like Fire from Heaven, The Mask of Apollo, and The Persian Boy, I would see queer romance in a different, more nuanced light, complete with a historical perspective that both undercut Card’s work and crystallized the notion of real-world men who loved each other with their bodies as well as their minds.

For a young queer man, especially a reader, discovering multiple sources of my own nature (which I had realized at a much younger age than 9 years old, though I did not have the words for it) was a lifeline: suddenly I was a part of the world. Moreover, I could decide between different representations of myself and begin building an identity in concert with reality, rather than wondering if perhaps, to my horror, I might be the only one. Read More »

Elizabeth-Bear

Gollancz announced today that they have acquired a two-volume Space Opera from award-winning author (and A Dribble of Ink-favourite) Elizabeth Bear. The first volume is titled Ancestral Night.

“I’m thrilled to be writing long-form SF again,” Bear told me when I reached out to her to find out more about the novels.

“I’ve been looking for the opportunity to get back into science fiction for some time,” she continued. “Ancestral Night is in its own mode, but deeply beholden to the work of Iain Banks, Andre Norton, and C. J. Cherryh. Expect sprawling conflicts, politics, and ancient alien technologies, all wrapped up in a package of gritty, grounded personal drama.”

Details are scant at the moment, but the Gollancz announcement about the acquisition contained an early peek at what readers can expect.

Combining a unique concept with a compelling plot, Elizabeth Bear’s novels imagine the invention of The White Drive: an easy, nonrelativistic means of travel across unimaginable distances. The gripping story follows salvage operators, Haimey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz, as they pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human – and alien – vessels.

“We’re always looking for exciting new voices in SF,” said Simon Spanton, Associate Publisher at Gollancz, “Sometimes that voice is already there but hasn’t broken through in a particular market. Elizabeth’s novels have always fizzed with ideas, passion and character. The chance to publish a new SF novel from her and welcome her to Gollancz is one I absolutely relish.”

Ancestral Night is currently scheduled for a late 2016 release.

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

“This one was an enormous amount of fun. We’re got something for everyone in Rogues,” said George R.R. Martin of the anthology. “SF, mystery, historical fiction, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, comedy, tragedy, crime stories, mainstream. And rogues, cads, scalawags, con men, thieves, and scoundrels of all descriptions. If you love Harry Flashman and Cugel the Clever, as I do, this is the book for you.

“If there’s any bloody justice, some of these stories will contend for awards.”

I’ll say one thing, and one thing only: the Table of Contents is a hell of a lot more impressive than that cover.

  • George R.R. Martin “Everybody Loves a Rogue” (Introduction)
  • Joe Abercrombie “Tough Times All Over”
  • Gillian Flynn “What Do You Do?”
  • Matthew Hughes “The Inn of the Seven Blessings”
  • Joe R. Lansdale “Bent Twig”
  • Michael Swanwick “Tawny Petticoats”
  • David Ball “Provenance”
  • Carrie Vaughn “The Roaring Twenties”
  • Scott Lynch “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”
  • Bradley Denton “Bad Brass”
  • Cherie Priest “Heavy Metal”
  • Daniel Abraham “The Meaning of Love”
  • Paul Cornell “A Better Way to Die”
  • Steven Saylor “Ill Seen in Tyre”
  • Garth Nix “A Cargo of Ivories”
  • Walter Jon Williams “Diamonds From Tequila”
  • Phyllis Eisenstein “The Caravan to Nowhere”
  • Lisa Tuttle “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives”
  • Neil Gaiman “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”
  • Connie Willis “Now Showing”
  • Patrick Rothfuss “The Lightning Tree”
  • “The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother” by George R.R. Martin

With the announcement of the release date for the anthology, Martin also teased fans with information about his own contribution, “The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother.” “[It] will tell the story of the years leading up to the calamitious events of ‘The Princess and the Queen’ during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, with particular attention to the role played by the king’s brother, Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one.” Stop salivating, Westeros fans.

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, is set for release on June 17th, 2014, as is available for preorder.