Horizontal Connections 04.08.11

Posted by Niall Harrison

Time for our fortnightly roundup of links to writing and discussions about sf elsewhere online. The observant among you may notice that I'm not Jonathan, but I'd like to reiterate the point he always made, that I can't read everything, and that if you come across a piece of writing you think everyone else should know about, please let me know. And, of course, thanks to Jonathan for getting Horizontal Connections up and running over the last six months.

Now, the links:

  • What can sf tell us about God? Answers in The Guardian from Roz Kaveney, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams, Francis Spufford and Gwyneth Jones
  • Linda Nagata's personal career reflection "What's In A Name?"; read alongside Judith Tarr's "Girl Cooties: A Personal History"
  • Awards news: lots of good things on the World Fantasy Awards ballot (and there's an sf novel on this year's Booker Prize longlist; also some thrillers, which doesn't impress Philip Hensher: "the liveliness and extravagance of current genre writing in fantasy and science fiction, such as China Miéville’s remarkable novels, make the field a much more plausible candidate for literary exaltation than the rule-bound thriller")
  • Gord Sellar on The Happy Policeman and other work by Patricia Anthony
  • Adam Roberts has been reading a lot of Ian Watson, and rounds up links to his various reviews here; he's also written a PowerPoint review of Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad
  • Martin McGrath's essay "Against Utopia: Arthur C Clarke and the Heterotopian Impulse", from Vector 267
  • Nic Clarke on With Her Body by Nicola Griffith
  • An interesting book being published this month in the UK is Hari Kunzru's Gods Without Men. Alexander Linklater in The Observer thought it was a bit of a mess, but Annie Proulx in the Financial Times, and particularly Theo Tait in The Guardian, make it sound rather interesting: "As a virtuoso performance, changing gears and styles every 20 pages or so, encompassing 18th-century friars and Hoxton hipsters, it will appeal to fans of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas."
  • At Clarkesworld, there's a two-part round table on epic fantasy, featuring contributions from NK Jemisin, Elizabeth Bear, Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, Juliet McKenna and Patrick Rothfuss, among others. See also discussions at the Locus Roundtable blog on recommendations for readers who like George RR Martin, and fantasy genres in general
  • Aliette de Bodard on SF and simplicity (which was sparked by Kari Sperring's post "On History", which was itself a follow-up to Kari's reaction to Blackout/All Clear)
  • Brian Aldiss on the British Library's "Out of This World" sf exhibition; also in the TLS, Alastair Reynolds reviews Michio Kaku's Physics of the Future
  • And finally: the world sf blog has announced and is seeking donations for the world sf travel fund, the first recipient of which will be Charles Tan. Those who donate could also be in with a shot at some good prizes.
  • EDIT: Bonus review: Jonathan Fenby on The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung: "Its central conceit – that collective amnesia overtakes the entire country – is an all-encompassing metaphor for today's looming superpower and the question that lies behind its material renaissance since the 1980s"