A combination of day-job travel and fund-drive admin means that this round-up is a couple of days late: so let's dive straight in and catch up on new books from September. Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown, a historical fantasy set in Regency London, is out from Ace in the US and Macmillan in the UK. Cecil Castelluci has written a middle-grade Princess Leia novel: Moving Target, set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. William Alexander's latest is Nomad, sequel to Ambassador, which stretches "from a detention center in the center of the Arizona desert to the Embassay in the center of the galaxy." Orrin Grey's second collection, Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts is out any day now from Word Horde: three of its thirteen stories are new, plus it has an introduction by John Langan. Nnedi Okorafor's Binti is one of the first titles in Tor.com's new novella line: a young woman leaves her people and her planet to study at the most prestigious university in the galaxy. Christopher Barzak's Wonders of the Invisible World is a supernatural YA set in rural Ohio. Alter S. Reiss's debut novel is Sunset Mantle, about a wandering warrior who defends a settlement. Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant (or just The Traitor in the UK) is a dystopian epic fantasy generating lots of discussion (see the end of this post). Greg van Eekhout's Dragon Coast continues the story begun in California Bones, and features an improbable theft, a daring rescue, and all sorts of other shenanigans. Octavia Cade's latest novella, The Ghost of Matter -- about ghosts, grief, and Ernest Rutherford -- is out from Paper Road Press. Michael R. Underwood's third Ree Reyes urban fantasy, Hexomancy, is out from Pocket Star. Targeting Telepathy is the concluding volume of the Telepath Trilogy by Stefon Mears, out from Thousand Faces Publishing. And last but not least, Nina Allan's previously unpublished novella The Harlequin has won the Novella Prize and will be out from Sandstone real soon now.
And what about new stories? Rose Lemberg has a new story, "Geometries of Belonging", in the Beneath Ceaseless Skies seventh anniversary double-issue. S. L. Huang's "Fighting Demons" was published by the Booksmugglers. Natalia Theodoridou has a piece of interactive fiction at sub-Q: "Sleepless." Rachael K. Jones' "The Law of the Conservation of Hair" appears in the latest Shimmer. Ken Brady's "Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth" appears in the November Analog, which through the miracle of print cover dates is available now. Andrew Kozma's "The Apple Falls Upward" is in the most recent Third Flatiron Anthology Ain't Superstitious. Lightspeed reprints "Estella Saves the Village", a Miss Havisham story by Theodora Goss, and Carrie Caughn's "Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution." Sara Norja has a flash piece, "Memory", at the Flash Fiction Press. Aidan Doyle's "Remembering the Dragon" appeared at Every Day Fiction. Jason Erik Lundberg's story "Lion City Daikaiju" has been reprinted in the retrospective anthology UNION: 15 Years of Drunken Boat, 50 Years of Writing From Singapore. Charles Payseur has a poem forthcoming with us, and a story out from Torquere Books now: "The Assistant's Contraption", a steampunk/fantasy erotica piece. Kelly Jennings' story "What Happened to Lord Elomar during The Revolution" can be found in the Fall 2015 issue of The Sockdolagar. Michelle Ann King's SF story "Smash and Grab" can be found in the latest Kzine; and Nin Harris' "The Faerie-Maker" can be found at GigaNotoSaurus.
On the poetry front: Jessy Randall has two beetle-y poems in Concis, a new online journal. Peg Duthie's "Nowhere to Go" is in Moonsick Magazine. David Kopaska-Merkel's "Habital Zone" is an SF rengay that can be found in Chrome Baby 38. James Door's "On the Other Hand", about King Kong and Ann Darrow, is at Urban Fantasist (scroll down a little). Naru Sundar, meanwhile, has a story forthcoming with us (cf Charles Payseur above) and a poem out now (cf Charles Payseur above): "Origami Crane / Light-Defying Spaceship", in the Autumn 2015 issue of Liminality, alongside Lynette Mejia's "The Garden Wild." Sally Rosen Kindred has two poems in the autumn issue of Faerie Magazine, "Rose Red in the Alders" and "Ghazal for Snow Whites Ever-Afters." Deborah P. Kolodji's "Wild Parrots" appears in Haibun Today. Finally, Elizabeth Barrette had a sale and posted some new Frankenstein's Family poems.
And to finish, some non fiction. You will find lots of familiar names in the new Twelfth Planet book Letters to Tiptree, including Sarah Pinsker, L. Timmel Duchamp, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Rose Lemebrg, Brit Mandelo, Nisi Shawl, Bogi Takács, and others. There's also been a fascinating conversation about Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant rolling around: see: Foz Meadows, Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley, Arkady Martine, Amal El-Mohtar, Heather Rose Jones, and Rocket Talk episode 65. And I'm sure others that I've missed. Elsewhere, Abigail Nussbaum wrote a long post about Hannibal, and Tom Speelman reviewed The Perfect Guy for The Mary Sue. And Adam Roberts' Rave and Let Die, a noble if foolhardy attempt to review as much of 2014's (UK-published) SF as possible, is out from Newcon Press.
This has been a good week for the fund drive! As we head into the weekend, with just over two weeks left on the clock, we've raised $9,000. As well as being the half-way mark, of course, it's also our next tier for bonus material, which means we're bringing you a new column by the mighty Clute, tackling new collections by China Mieville and Nalo Hopkinson:
After Railsea, his eighth novel this century, all of them taxing, it may have been fair to expect that China Miéville, who has not published a novel for almost four years, had hit the buffers, the TikTok Magus Within calling a halt; but this did not happen. Miéville's external silence seems to have marked a beat, that edge-of-the-utterable-world held-breath pause that gives room for the Ansatzpunkt, for the prehensile leap or volta into the ecstasy of a new comprehension: Three Moments of an Explosion, forget the merciless postmodernismish title, may be the most radical assembly of new work to be published in its field—which I take to be fantastika in its most all-absorbing sense—this century. Of its 28 stories, some of them long, only two seem to have been published before the release of Railsea in 2012; the bulk of the remainder—certainly by page count, several short-shorts having been in print for a bit—is new to this volume, and must be presumed recent. The feel they give is of a grasping of the new only possible if the author has been able to take a breath. Some of the shorties were I thought disposable; not one of the longer tales should ever be forgotten.
It's been listed as one of the rewards in this year's fund drive from the start:
Everyone who donates at least $10 by any route (including Patreon, at any level) will also receive an eBook copy of Strange Horizons: The First Fifteen Years at the end of the fund drive. This ebook includes stories by Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, Vandana Singh, and many others, plus a history of the magazine.
But we thought it was time to give you some more details: specifically, the cover and table of contents!
The ebook itself includes 15 stories and 7 poems -- some well-known, some lesser-known, all of them favourites of current or past editors -- from, as the title says, the first fifteen years of the magazine. It was utterly agonizing trying to filter 800+ stories and poems into that thimble, and there are any number of writers I can't quite believe are not in the book. But on the other hand, the selection that are in the book are all among the best of the magazine's output, and collectively, I think, give at least a flavour of what we've been up to here. (Albeit with no non-fiction! Maybe a project for a future year...)
Anyway, after all that agonizing, here's what we've ended up with:
There might be one or two more pieces that sneak in before the end of the fund drive, we'll see. As an added bonus, about two-thirds of the pieces also come with new afterwords by the authors -- and I'm currently putting together a big oral history of the magazine, with contributions from dozens of former and current staff. The story of SH has never been collected in this before; it feels like it was about time.
So there you have it -- yet another reason to donate this year, along with the prize draw, and all our bonus material, and (hopefully not least of the reasons) another full year of SH. We're getting close to 50% of our goal, and we've got just over two weeks left! Every little helps. Thanks.
It is all happening today! We've reached our $7,000 tier, which means we've posted new stories by Yukimi Ogawa and Roshani Chokshi; we've published this week's issue, which includes essays by Cheryl Morgan and Renay, a Jupiter Ascending round-table, poetry, our poetry podcast, and reviews; and then we've had a few more donations, taking us up to the 40% funded mark!
You can see all of the new material here, but to pull out those two stories in particular:
And after you've read them, check out the two authors in conversation about those pieces, and culture, and storytelling in general.
I should also note that our excellent podcast editor, Anaea Lay, has arranged for two brilliant guest readers for these stories, both from the Escape Artist family of podcast. So, special thanks to:
And just in case you had forgotten about our other fund drive story, which happens to be by Kelly Link (and you really want to read it, so go on, donate now!), that will be read by Graeme Dunlop. We are very grateful to all three of them!
Just a quick update on the state of the fund drive. This week we've gone reached (and gone past) one-third of our fund drive goal raised, the fastest we've ever achieved that -- so a huge thank you to everyone who's donated. But there is still a long way to go -- another $12,000 in fact -- so if you haven't donated, all contributions are still very much welcomed!
We need just under $500 to reach our next bonus content: stories by Yukimi Ogawa and Roshani Chokshi. Maybe short extracts will tempt you? Here's the opening of Ogawa's "Hundred Eye":
Eyes, eyes, eyes. So many eyes on my long arms.
And here's the start of Chokshi's "The Wives of Azhar":
If you want to read more, you know what to do.
... and also a new issue, so we've combined two updates into one. The new issue first: this week we have a story by new writer James Robert Herndon, "Bodies Are the Strongest Conductors"; a poem by Florence Lenaers; and reviews of books by Jo Walton, Joe Abercrombie, and Elizabeth Hand. On top of that, since we've reached $5,000 we've posted Vanessa Phin's interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro:
Vanessa Phin: Regarding the Red Scare, I was struck by the connections you drew in the constraints of capitalist concerns on academia, which have resonance with the plight of university workers today. When writing so close to the present, do you freely use and comment on the connections you see, or is it a temptation you try to resist in favor of the worldview of the time period you are representing?
Read the whole thing. Oh, and we've got a new batch of prizes, including books by the likes of Ann Leckie, Stephanie Saulter, and Genevieve Valentine, on the off-chance that you like that sort of thing.
Next up in our special issue is a fiction double bill: new stories by Yukimi Ogawa and Roshani Chokshi, when we hit $7,000. You can donate via PayPal, Network For Good or, of course Patreon -- our September ebook will be released on Patreon next Monday, so make sure to get on board by then. Thanks!
We've hit our second milestone! $3,000 for us means three new poems for you in our fund drive special. And they are:
"The Truth of Briars" by Jane Yolen:
Here is what I know about briars:
"The Changeling's Gambit" by Sasha Kim:
they don’t tell you
And "Saturn Devouring His Young" by Carlos Hernandez:
I leave the face for last. It's ethical.
Read and savour. There's more poetry coming later on in the fund drive, but our immediate next target is $5,000, which unlocks a new interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Not donated yet? Make a one-off donation here, or support us at Patreon. Thanks!
It's always nice when we get off to a good start, and this year we've raised our first $1,000 in less than 24 hours. Thank you!
To mark the occasion, here's the first piece of bonus content from our fund drive special: Gautam Bhatia's review of Hard to be a God by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Although Hard To Be a God was written four years before Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to "correct" the natural progression of history, the allegory is unmistakable. But perhaps what saves the novel from remaining just that is that the parallels are not limited to one historical situation. Within the genre, the theme itself is a familiar one (although the Strugatskys probably got to it first). As Ken Macleod points out in his Introduction, the Noon Universe "anticipates Star Trek and Iain M. Banks' Culture novels" (p. vi). And the way the Strugatskys write, the book could just as well be a wry take on contemporary debates around humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect, or a critique of colonialism's "civilizing mission." Like Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians, it could be located in any time, any place, and in the history of any culture. And because it could be everything and nothing, it becomes easier to read Hard To Be a God as a good science fiction yarn than an unsubtle critique of Soviet hubris.
Read the whole thing here.
This year's fund drive is underway! The full details are here, and expect to hear much (much) more about it here over the next few weeks, but the headlines are as follows:
Convinced? Then step right this way to donate!
(We regret to report that fearless podcast editor Anaea Lay has, through no fault of her own, been stranded in a parallel universe in which this year's fund drive -- that magical time of year when we remind you that Strange Horizons is a donation-supported non-profit, and ask for you to help fund another twelve months -- has already begun. As part of our attempt to realign the time-streams, we can confirm that anyone else who finds themself in the same universe and donates this week will be counted as a 2015 donor, will be entered into the prize draw, and will receive the other fund drive goodies we have up our collective sleeve. Anyone experiencing anomalies may wish to consult this recent guide to living across timelines. We hope to complete the realignment by this time next week at which point, as Douglas Adams wrote, anything you still can't cope with will be your own problem. Thank you for your attention.)