December 09, 2016

December News

* Overheard in the store:

"Alright, then! Let's hear it for characters that aren't dumb!"

"It's a fire-juggling Santa-clown.  I hate clowns but I love fire.  I'm kind of having a crisis right now."

"Gee, who knew that writers were so moist?"

"I wish the cyberpunk dystopia that we actually live in had more ninjas and Day-Glo colors."

* Please help keep SF in SF at the American Bookbinders' Museum.  We've been working with SF in SF (Science Fiction in San Francisco) for a decade now, and they are wonderful people who have presented dozens of brilliant authors.  We received the following from Madeleine Robins; local author, sponsor, and Operations Manager for the ABM: ". . .[I]n 2016 the ABM became the new home for SF in SF, hosting eleven monthly readings and discussions in our beautiful museum space.  We hope to be the program's home for 2017 and beyond, but to do so we are asking for your support.  The ABM is a relatively new museum, filled with equipment, archives, and ephemera that tells the history of bookbinding--particularly of binding and the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.  In addition to telling this story, the American Bookbinders Museum is committed to supporting the book community in the Bay Area: this year, in addition to SF in SF, we have hosted events for Litquake, Quiet Lightning, and the Lantern Review.  In order to continue doing so, and to continue to provide programming to reach and enrich our community, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses. . . ." If you'd like to help support the American Bookbinders Museum and help ensure a home for SF in SF, you can use this link to donate to the ABM:

* Renowned author Jane Yolen recently became the 33rd person to be named a SFWA Grand Master, which honors a lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.   You can find SFWA’s full profile on Yolen here:

* Both Analog and Asimov’s magazines are moving to a bimonthly schedule.  Locus Magazine has more details here:

* James Whitbrook over at Gizmodo has given us his own personal list of hopeful science-fiction.  (Just in case you, like many of us, are looking for some reason to be hopeful for the future):

* Author N.K. Jemisin reviews some of the most recent hot speculative fiction books in The New York Times:

* If you’re interested in some new reading material, the wonderful Indigenous Reads podcast's current book is a speculative collection by Drew Hayden Taylor.  Check it out here:

* Inverse makes a very compelling argument for why interest in Chinese science fiction is growing, and why it just might be the future of science fiction as a genre, using the new Invisible Planets anthology as an example.

* Jagadish Chandra Bose, recently granted the dubious honor of a Google doodle for his scientific achievements, was also a very early writer of science-fiction.  Read all about it here:

* The Guardian has an interesting and thorough look at all the great sf/f that came out in 2016 from diverse voices at various stages of their writing careers.  Check it out:

* Check out Alternative Nation’s list of the top 10 Underrated Sci-Fi movies of the 1970s.  The inclusion of Westworld makes us inclined to trust it, but the last movie on the list makes the whole thing suspect:

* Paste Magazine tackles the question of "Does TV’s Science Fiction Need to Be So Grim?". Spoiler: they come down on the side of yes, but check out their nuanced reasoning, and their hope for a future where we can return to hopeful science fiction:

* The U.S. Army hosts a science fiction short story contest, which sounds like the beginning to a real dark science fiction story.  Check out the full information here:

* Comic fans of all ages are excited for the upcoming America Chavez solo series and the writer/artist team has just been announced:

* Signature lists 5 authors they think you should read now if you’re interested in science fiction for social change.

* After ten long years we are finally getting another Justice League cartoon on the air.  Check out how the concept went from solo Batman cartoon to a Justice League series with over one hundred rotating characters.

* An excellent article on how fantasy fiction will often used the trappings of race without acknowledging race at all.  Zeba Blay traces this trend through the new film "Fantastic Beasts," to "X-men," and beyond.

*  The makers of The Guardians of the Galaxy film know how to give us what we want in the trailer for the sequel: Baby Groot!

* Bustle gives a list of their 8 best fiction books out this December that spans all genres:

* A wonderful article on the science fiction that was written before knowledge of science was widespread, or the province of more than the privileged few:

* Listen to the latest episode of Wired’s Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast, where Aimee Bender talks about the way fairy tales influenced, and continue to influence, her writing.

* We may have reached "peak San Francisco": we now have a BitCoin ATM in the Cafe.

* We'd like to bring your attention to TREMONTAINE, which we'll have in book form next year! Set in the world of the SWORDSPOINT books, "In a city that never was, sex, scandal, and swordplay combine in deadly fashion.  Enter a world inspired by Elizabethan London, 18th century Paris, and 1980s New York where your wit must be as sharp as your steel.  Intrigue is afoot when a Duchess, a scholar, a swordswoman, and a genius, are brought together by long-buried lies and truths that cannot be denied."  "TREMONTAINE is a team-written serial presented by Serial Box.  Created by Ellen Kushner (SWORDSPOINT), she is joined by authors Tessa Gratton, Joel Derfner, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Malinda Lo, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Racheline Maltese, Patty Bryant, and Paul Witcover.  TREMONTAINE is currently in its second season and is available at, in the Serial Box app, or at all major eBook retailers.  A print edition of Season 1 will be available in 2017 from SAGA Press."

* Brandon Sanderson is doing an absolutely gorgeous signed & numbered, leather-bound limited edition of MISTBORN, and we'll be getting copies!  Please reserve yours now, since our copies of the leather-bound ELANTRIS sold out very quickly, and then they were gone.  More details on the lovely book here: Copies are $100 each.  Email to reserve.

* If you happen to be heading to NYC anytime soon, check out this list of 8 literary hotspots you should explore while there.

* Writer and sponsor Katrina Woznicki (who wrote an excellent article last year about Borderlands' Sponsor program for Guernica Magazine that can be found here <>) wanted everyone to know about the Cuba Writers Program <>.

From Katrina: "A Writer’s Paradise in Cuba, by Katrina Woznicki - Picture it: those mid-century cars, palm trees, colonial architecture, music in the streets.  Yes, it's exactly like that.  This past May, I had the privilege to visit Cuba as part of the inaugural Cuba Writers Program, an innovative writers’ retreat founded by Tim Weed and Alden Jones, two New England-based authors with extensive experience in both publishing and traveling.  The Cuba Writers Program is now accepting applications for 2017, and I encourage you to not miss this unique mix of writing and cultural exploration.  Maybe you think group tours aren't your thing, which is how I often thought about them, but Tim's knowledge of Cuba is encyclopedic -- and everyone in Cuba knows Tim.  What do I mean by that?  We visited a Santeria priest in Trinidad, a World UNESCO Heritage site, who was also a friend of Tim's.  Our bus pulled over on this country road in central Cuba to sample the honey at a fruit stand run by a local farmer who happened to know Tim.  Get an inside look at Cuba you never thought imaginable.  And bring a journal and plenty of pens, because in between sightseeing you'll want to write about your experiences. Who knows?  What you see, hear and do may become future fodder for your novel or short story.  Work directly with critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Hood, author of the recently-published "The Book That Matters Most," and author of "The Italian Wife" and "The Knitting Circle."  Or have your piece workshopped by Alden Jones, author of "Unaccompanied Minors," which recently won the the New American Fiction Prize, and of "The Blind Masseuse," a travel memoir.  Both authors give one-on-one feedback and provide constructive criticism to move your writing forward.  I enjoyed it so much that I plan to go back next spring, a decision that feels increasingly relevant now given the current political vitriol in our country. America's divisiveness makes it even more important to engage with the outer world; travel inspires new points of view, shared experiences, community and tolerance -- takeaways that will last longer than any souvenir you bring home.  Hope to see you there!"

Award News
* Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, an alternate history where the underground railroad is an actual, physical railroad, won the National Book Award in fiction.

* For any bilingual speculative fans - the Ignotus Awards, which are the Spanish equivalent of the Hugos, have announced their winners for this year.  Go here to get some new reading material:

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