Posts Tagged: Science Fiction

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My, my, my.

Many things could be said for of Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, a self-published success story that Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch described as “a joyous, optimistic space opera […] progressive but not worthy and filled with warm and endearing characters”, however, the original cover art – which could be lauded for its enthusiasm, if nothing else – was not a showstopper. So, alongside a new publishing deal from Hodder & Stoughton and a Kitschie nomination for Best Debut, comes a gorgeous new cover for Chambers’ debut. Isn’t it just lovely?

The crew of the Wayfarer, a wormhole-building spaceship, get the job offer of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel at the centre of the galaxy. The journey will be time-consuming and difficult, but the pay is enough to endure any discomfort. All they have to do is survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But every crewmember has a secret to hide, and they’ll soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

“I fell in love with Becky’s universe the moment I started reading The Long Way,” Anne Perry, Chambers’ editor at Hodder & Stoughton, said after revealing the deal on the publisher’s official blog. “The world she creates is warm and wonderful and so involving that I found myself resenting any time spent not reading the book. I was thrilled to learn about the Kitschies shortlisting so soon after agreeing the deal with Becky – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an incredibly assured debut and I am absolutely delighted be working with her at such an exciting moment in her career.”

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet will be released by Hodder and Stoughton as an eBook on March 16th, 2015, followed by a hardcover release August 13th, 2015.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Publisher: Knopf - Pages: 352 - Buy: Book/eBook
Buy Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

We live in a world of fast-moving moral panics. A world where information moves literally at the speed of light, crossing oceans and wrapping the world in mere moments. Technology connects us all, but it is also a tool, willing or unwilling, that embeds in us a fear of the world we live in. Turmoil in a country thousands of miles away plasters our social networks, convincing us that our own corner of the world is meant for similar fates, though even ten years ago we would not have heard rumblings of the news for hours, fifty years ago it might have taken days, and before that weeks, years. Information and panic sweeps through us as quickly as keystrokes are entered into a social network.

What if an deadly illness moved that so fast? What if it was as bad as we all feared? What if it was worse?. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven ponders that question. An illness sweeps through a society wracked by their own fears and doubts. The world that awaits the few survivors, a world without advanced technology, societal borders, and laws, is recognized not for what it promises but for what was lost. “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth,” opines Dr. Eleven, a comic book character who dwells on the titular space station, early in novel. Regret lies heavy at the heart of Mandel’s post-apocalyptic tale. But, beside it — a beacon of hope — is nostalgia. Read More »

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I seldom felt that this fiction resonated with my experience of South Africa

South African speculative fiction is single-handedly responsible for getting me interested in my own country’s fiction. If you’re from the US or UK you’ve probably never thought of the novels from your country as being largely monolithic or just completely avoided all of them on the assumption that they would be dreary. But that’s exactly how I felt.

Because we were in school after the change in government, many people in my generation seem to have grown up thinking of local fiction as synonymous with the kinds of depressingly tragic political books you were forced to read for class. Books about racism, poverty, apartheid  – that’s how I’ve often heard them described. South African books were grim, weighty things. Important and well-crafted maybe, but they offered no pleasure or entertainment. For the few who liked reading (we don’t have a strong reading culture) all the books you could actually enjoy came from somewhere else. Read More »

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The Indispensable Prostitute

“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!”

Hi! I’m Elizabeth Bear, the author of Karen Memory, and I’m here to talk about the fine art of avoiding some of Western literature’s most tired sex-worker tropes, such as The Disposable Prostitute and The Hooker with a Heart Of Gold.

On The Hooker with a Heart of Gold… words to strike dread into the hearts of… well, everybody who ever consciously tried, in their work, to avoid a stereotype. Any stereotype. And it’s not the only—or worst—stereotype—of sex workers around!

“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!” Read More »