A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.
by A.C. Wise
Amal El-Mohtar is a poet, author, and the editor of Goblin Fruit. There are many places one could start with her work, but my recommended starting point is “Hollow Play” from the anthology Glitter & Mayhem (an also available in an audio version from Podcastle). In addition to the positive portrayal of trans* and gender queer characters, El-Mohtar deftly portrays how painful, beautiful, complicated, and messy human relationships can be. “Hollow Play” both is and is not a happy-ending story, with characters finding their own way to peace despite broken hearts and loss. The mythical elements are beautifully woven into the story, allowing both the mundane and the magical worlds to shine. El-Mohtar’s language and imagery are gorgeous as well, making it one of the strongest stories in an overall very strong anthology.
SYNOPSIS: A teenaged girl in 1979 deals with her witch of a mother, faeries, a difficult boarding school life, and the joys of discovering science fiction and fantasy.
PROS: Very personal first person past tense epistolary narrative puts the reader in Mor’s mindset.
CONS: Readers not in the target age group will have difficulty engaging the book.
VERDICT: A milestone in Jo Walton’s oeuvre.
There are books that defy easy categorization and analysis. They are audacious, complex and stunning pieces. Trying to summarize such books for others is difficult. These books dazzle, and your words feel inadequate. That is the central problem in engaging with Among Others, the latest novel from Jo Walton.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
One of the hallmarks of genre is the way we distinguish books by means of awards. So we asked this week’s panelists…
Here’s what they said…
I think awards are valuable in two different ways. In the present tense, they can draw attention to books and writers that deserve more attention — as when China Mountain Zhang was nominated for the Hugo. The Philip K. Dick award manages to find something I like and hadn’t noticed pretty much every year. This is good for readers who pay attention to them, and it can be good for a writer’s career — if they get award notice a publisher might decide to stick with them even though they don’t have great sales.
Secondly, they’re valuable as part of the historical memory of the genre — the awards of a year give a kind of snapshot of what people at the time thought was good. They judgements of awards are not always the judgements of posterity — I certainly saw that when I did my Tor.com “Revisiting the Hugos” series and looked at every year from 1953 until 2000. But they remain interesting. And what’s interesting to me isn’t ever the winner, it’s the shortlist. One book is one datapoint, a shortlist is a spread. The question I asked was not “did the best book win” so much as “do those five books give a good picture of where the genre was in that year”.
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On Seattle’s An Evening with show…Nancy Pearl interviews Welsh-Canadian fantasy and science fiction writer and poet Jo Walton.
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @PopCultureShock: Mike Mignola Talks About 15 Years of Hellboy, B.P.R.D. & More |
- @Tor.com: Artist Keith Thompson.
- @Agony Column Podcast: Margaret Atwood.
- Frederik Pohl on fandom (part 5).
- Ellen Datlow reports on the The Funeral (that should have been) for Edgar Allan Poe.
- @Tor.com: Erika Nelson reviews Octavia Butler’s Adulthood Rites.
- Neil Gaiman and BBC will let you Twitter a story for them.
- BenBella Books has posted Chris Roberson’s essay “An Angel on His Shoulder, A Devil on Hers“, one of the essay in Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica edited by Richard Hatch.
- Three Words: Zombie Marvel Superheroes
- John Anealio has written a cool song for Jeff VanderMeer’s Last Drink Bird Head. [via Ecstatic Days]
- EVENT: Forbidden Planet hosts a signing by horror legend Clive Barker Thursday 15th October 6:30 – 7:30pm. Clive will be signing his new DVD The Midnight Meat Train at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR.
- Bibliophile Stalker is maintaining a List of Speculative Fiction Anthologies for 2010 to which you can contribute.
- @Tor.com: Top Steampunk Media.
- @io9: Top 10 Greatest Space Zombies Of All Time.
- @AbeBooks: The Top 10 Most Depressing Reads. A couple of genre titles make the list. [via Lit Lists]
- @Mental FLoss: B-Movie Monsters
- Kevin Maher lists 5 Music Videos About Werewolves.
- @SciFi Scanner: The Best and Worst Comic Book Movie Lairs.
- Jo Walton reviews Zenna Henderson’s Ingathering.
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @SciFi Wire, Paul Di Filippo asks: Could a sci-fi writer win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
- Gareth L Powell discusses The Role of Science Fiction.
- Nancy Kress talks about The New Publishing Model.
- At Tor.com, David Pucik looks at Steampunk Gaming
- Meanwhile, Sci-Fi Fan Letter offers this Steampunk Reading List.
- Just a quick reminder that Free Speculative Fiction Online has been catching up with posting some links to free fiction that’s been around awhile. Check out their new additions.
- Can’t get enough of those genre-fied clasics? Jeff VanderMeer has your next dose.
- Damien G. Walter now has his own domain name.
- @Roberson’s Interminable Ramble: Episode 17 of Gary the Cylon. Hilarious!
- What do you get when you cross Green Lantern with your favorite breakfast cereal? This.
- @SCI FI Wire: Sci-fi’s sexy scientists ranked by hotness/plausibility
- Fandomania has a nice gallery of H.P. Lovecraft Fan Art.
- Codex Pictures (the folks who brought you Bionicle DVD movies) announced making a CG DVD movie based on Warhammer 40,000 called Ultramarines, a “70-minute sci-fi thriller that will use CGI and state-of-the-art animation production techniques”. The film’s website is pretty bare right now…for now you can read Tim’s list of 5 Reasons Why You Should Read a Warhammer 40,000 Book. [via Topless Robot]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- Jo Walton reviews C.J. Cherryh’s The Pride of Chanur.
- Matthew Sturges (who, acting on his own behalf, sold the German rights for both Midwinter and Office of Shadow to Verlagsgruppe Lübbe) shows off the great new cover of Office of Shadow
- Tired of the plethora of vampire shows? This Twilight spoof is for you.
- There’s a new season/series of The Sarah Jane Adventures coming soon. I still think Young Doctor Who is a good idea.
- Gary Westfahl reviews FlashForward
- Are you insured against an alien invasion? Didn’t think so.
- Rwo words: Zombie bunny.
- Gunaxin lists 10 Science Fiction Concepts Ruined by Human Nature.
- JOhn Scalzi lists The Best and Worst Television Adaptations of SciFi Classics.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- Iain M. Banks is interviewed by Time, The Independent, and the Scotsman.
- Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf interviews Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker.
- The latest episode of Cult Pop features a video interview with Marcus Sakey.
- Harry Connolly is featured on John Scalzi’s latest Big Idea post.
- Joseph Mallozzi’s blog readers throw questions at actor Brian J. Smith (Stargate Universe).
- Wanna interview John Scalzi? John Scalzi is fielding questions about his involvement in Stargate Universe.
- Authors reviewing authors:
- Norilana Books will be publishing 7 Tanith Lee titles, including two reprint trilogies (The Birthgrave Trilogy and The Wars of Vis sequence) an one original sequel.
- Here’s a nice Flickr gallery of vintage sf paperbacks.
- Adaptation of the Day: Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid”. [via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine]
- ABC’s FlashForward is making references to Lost. [via SciFi Scanner]
- AMC’s The Prisoner remake gets a start date: Sunday Nov. 15.
- 50 years later, Twilight Zone bridges time: “Rod Serling’s veiled commentary remains as soul-baring today as it did a half-century ago…”
- @SCI FI Wire: 7 years after Firefly: Where are they now?
- Speaking of Stephen King, Jigsaw’s Lair lists Part 1 of Best Stephen King Adaptations
- Neatorama reprints 10 Sci-Fi Books That Even Non-Geeks Would Love from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into the Universe.
- @BestScienceFictionStories: 6 Science Fiction Stories Containing Altered Human Bodies
- There are several genre titles in Topless Robot’s list of The 5 Best and 5 Worst Book & Record Story Sets.
- Can You guess which classic science fiction novel made Bookstove’s list of 10 Dirty Books You Should Read?
- @Tor.com, Jo Walton reviews Larry Niven’s A Gift From Earth.
- Farah Mendlesohn: Why feminism is as relevant as ever, and why I think there may be a problem with the Hugos.
- Audio File from Odyssey Workshop: Catherine Asaro on developing a scientific novum for your story.
- Suite101 offers A Brief Overview of the Dystopian Science Fiction Sub Genre.
- Google Books has an sf fandom article from a 1951 Life magazine. [via Gary Farber]
- On the lighter side: The Help Wanted Ad That Snagged Chewbacca.
- io9 lists 14 Reasons Why TV And Superheroes Don’t Mix.
- BlueSunCorp’s Top 10 Science Fiction Novels. A couple of surprising inclusions…
- This is either cute or sad, depending on whether you are a Star Wars fan and/or a dog lover: A Gallery of Dogs in Star Wars Costumes. Woof.
- Slice of SciFi podcast-interviews Robert J. Sawyer.
- LA Times covers Ray Bradbury’s 89th birthday celebration. [via Locus Online]
- Vonda N. McIntyre on Hunting the Wily Cover Blurb.
- Jo Walton reviews Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean.
- Marooned is looking for stories about Mars written by women writers to complete the table of contents for the free-fiction anthology The Mammoth e-Book of Mindblowing Mars SF, Volume II.
- Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person Review 9.
- Maxim offers a NSFW Star Wars Episode Flow Chart. [via TheForce.Net]
- io9 lists 10 Of Our Favorite Space Cases.
- Humor at The Science Creative Quarterly: How I got out of writing an essay on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.
- And finally, for your viewing enjoyment…here’s Dr Horrible’s recent appearance at the Emmys:
- Interviews & Profiles:
- Fantasy Book Critic interviews Gary Gibson (Nova War).
- The Future Awaits interviews Tobias Buckell.
- Tor Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden on ebooks, Star Trek fanfic, and the future of publishing. [via Tor.com]
- In the Australian paper The Age, Scott Westerfeld and China Miéville are quoted on the public image of science fiction. [via Bibliophile Stalker]
- @Paraoddity: Catherine Asaro. [via Saving my Sanity]
- SF Universe interviews Wil Wheaton.
- Authors reviewing authors:
- Jeff VanderMeer presents an overview of Steampunk at FilmFocus.
- @SF Gospel, Gabriel McKee is wondering Where’s the love for Defying Gravity? So, where is it, huh?
- Jason Sanford asks: Is the term SciFi still derogatory?
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers another installment of her Freelancer’s Survival Guide with Patience.
- From LifeHacker: Owners of Sony eReaders, users of the Stanza iPhone book reader, and anyone else with a device that reads the ePub format can now grab more than 1 million works from Google Books’ archives.
- Here’s a mesmerizing visualization of time travel plots in various films and TV programs. [via Information Is Beautiful]
- More chart fun: Here’s a nice poster of Jocks vs. Nerds at the Box Office by the folks over at MovieFill. Short version; Nerds rule the box office. [via Screen Rant]
- The Stargate Universe trailer hits theaters today before Halloween II and The Final Destination 3D. Hands up if you’re tempted to leave after the trailer…
- Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person Review District 9.
- The Prisoner is coming out in a sexy Blu-ray edition.
- Rob Zombie will remake The Blob.
- Real Science: Suicidal planet seems on death spiral into star. [via BBT Magazine]
- Website: Moonbase Central is an offbeat chronicle of the past, present and future of lunar exploration.
- Here’s 20 Outstanding Examples of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Origami. Is it me, or does the Jedi look the Scarecrow from the Batman comics?
- James Long lists his own 7 Essential Second-Step Fantasies.
- Cinematical lists The 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Deaths Ever.
- Mary Robinette Kowal lists Fantasy’s Ten Best Treks.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- GalleyCat asks; What’s Urban Fantasy? What’s Paranormal Romance?
- Free excerpt: Underland Press has posted a lengthy excerpt of Jeff VanderMeer’s Finch. [via Jeff VanderMeer, who also eveals other cool Finch extras...]
- Jo Walton’s love/hate relationship with funny fiction: “I hate things that are trying to be funny, rather than letting the humour bubble up from underneath.”
- Joseph Mallozzi’s October Book of the Month Club Selection is…Open Your Eyes, by Paul Jessup (which I happened to like.)
- Jim C. Hines tells us The Hugo Awards are shaped that way for a reason.
- Reactions to recent Gender discussions from S.M. Duke and OF Blog of the Fallen.
- Super Punch shares H.R. Giger’s ads for Pioneer.
- Summer Glau is better than my girlfriend.
- At AMC, John Scalzi will undoubtedly ignite even more nerdgassing over his new article, Epic SciFi Design FAILs – Star Trek Edition.
- @Rotten Tomatoes: Respectable Horror Sequels
- @io9: The Science Fiction Sitcoms That Never Were.
- @SCI FI Wire: 12 weird sci-fi statues you can buy for your garden.
- @BestScienceFictionStories: 5 Great Science Fiction Stories that Contain Talking Animals.
- Niteblade interviews Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, editors of Troll’s Eye View.
- Suvudu has posted a video-interview with Max Brooks, author of World War Z.
- Green Man Review presents a special edition about Kage Baker. [via Locus Online]
- Over at BSC, Sarah Zettel discusses Harry Potter and the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
- Jo Walton reviews John Brunner’s The Crucible of Time: “The amazing thing about The Crucible of Time isn’t that it does an alien point of view, or a point of view of such very alien aliens, or that it covers such a huge span of time as the alien planet suffers so many disasters–it’s that it does them all together and makes it work as a coherent story. It’s fun.”
- David Herter has posted the cover to his forthcoming novel October Dark, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. [Thanks, Christopher!]
- Print on Demand: A New Future for Our Print Magazines?
- Paul Cornell discovers uses for a spare Tom Baker head. He’s got a spare?!?
- Cracked lists 5 Amazing Buildings of the Future (And How They’ll Kill You).