As you likely know, the Hugo Awards were announced yesterday. I was invited to be on the Hugo-nominated Coode Street Podcast for their annual Hugo ballot rundown with hosts Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, as well as guest Tansy Rayner Roberts.

That episode is now live. Listen to The Coode Street Podcast Episode 186: Hugo Awards 2014 with John DeNardo and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Jonathan Strahan has has posted the table of contents for his upcoming anthology The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight:

Here’s the book description:

The best of the year’s Science Fiction and Fantasy stories as selected by the multiple award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan. The series moves to its new publishing home, Solaris, with this eighth annual volume of the celebrated and popular series.


The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume eight and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents.

Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.

With this volume the series comes to a new home at Solaris, publishers of Jonathan Strahan’s award-winning original Infinities SF anthologies and the and Fearsome fantasy anthologies.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Editor Jonathan Strahan has posted a call for stories for the upcoming (9th) edition of his anthology series The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year.

Press release from Jonathan follows:
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A note from Editor Jonathan Strahan, who is accepting story submissions for volume 8 of The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year anthology series…
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Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for his upcoming anthology The Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy:

Here’s the book description:

A brand new series brignig you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre! The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch,Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker.
An amazing array of the most popular and exciting names in Fantasy are set to appear in the first in a brand new series of Fantasy anthologies featuring original fiction, from the master editor Jonathan Strahan. The authors Daniel Abraham, Saladin Ahmed, Elizabeth Bear, Trudi Canavan, Glen Cook, and Scott Lynch are just a handful of the exciting names lined up to appear in this collection.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for his upcoming anthology The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Seven being published by Night Shade Books on March 5, 2013.

Here’s the book description:

In print and on-line, science fiction and fantasy is thriving as never before. A multitude of astonishingly creative and gifted writers are boldly exploring the mythic past, the paranormal present, and the promises and perils of myriad alternate worlds and futures. There are almost too many new and intriguing stories published every year for any reader to be able to experience them all. So how to make sure you haven’t missed any future classics?

Award-winning editor and anthologist Jonathan Strahan has surveyed the expanding universes of modern sf and fantasy to find the brightest stars in today’s dazzling literary firmament. From the latest masterworks by the acknowledged titans of the field to fresh visions from exciting new talents, this outstanding collection is a comprehensive showcase for the current state of the art in both science fiction and fantasy. Anyone who wants to know where the future of imaginative short fiction is going, and treat themselves to dozens of unforgettable stories, will find this year’s edition of Best Science Fiction and Fantasy to be just what they’re looking for!

Here’s the table of contents…
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REVIEW SUMMARY: Editor Jonathan Strahan buttresses his core argument about the next generation of SF with a strong set of Solar System-set Science Fiction stories


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 18 stories from the likes of Elizabeth Bear, Alastair Reynolds and James S.A. Corey, all based around the idea of up to date views about living in the Solar System

PROS: Strong writing, a dream line up of authors
CONS: A couple of the stories skate the boundaries set out by the editor
BOTTOM LINE: A book that effectively lays down a marker for Fourth Generation Science Fiction.

In the 1960’s, Science Fiction, already having gone through a couple of changes in the century but seemingly running a bit long in the tooth, runs into the New Wave, where authors like Harlan Ellison and Michael Moorcock bring new sensibilities and wonders and points of view to the genre. In the 1980’s, science fiction, again seemingly moribund and worn out, was transformed by William Gibson and the Cyberpunk movement.  In 2012, I see plenty of articles and chatter that science fiction is insular looking, more concerned with the past, unwilling to engage a future. That science fiction is getting “tired”, and science fiction authors are getting tired, or horrors, are fleeing into the kingdoms of fantasy. Sounds like awfully familiar rhetoric to me.  Are we due for another change? Jonathan Strahan and a host of heavyweights in the genre say ‘yes’.

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Night Shade Books Announces the Launch of Eclipse Online

Beginning October 8, 2012, the award-winning Eclipse series edited by Jonathan Strahan will be available to readers online and free of charge at

From the press release
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Subterranean Press has posted the table of contents for the upcoming collection Magic Highways: The Early Jack Vance, Volume 3 edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan:

Here’s the book description:
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Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for his upcoming anthology Edge of Infinity, a direct follow on from last year’s Engineering Infinity, but this time is focused on “hard SF/adventure set in an industrialised, settled pre-starflight solar system”:

Here’s the book description:

“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. Those were Neil Armstrong’s immortal words when he became the first human being to step onto another world. Edge of Infinity is an exhilarating new hard SF anthology that looks at the next giant leap for humankind: the leap from our home world out into the Solar System. From the slow turning, eccentric inferno of Mercury to the farthest chunks of ice and rock skimming our heliosphere, every inch of our Solar System is the stage for the greatest adventure in humanity’s history. Set to feature stories by Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Pat Cadigan, Gwyneth Jones, Paul McAuley, An Owomoyela, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, Bruce Sterling, Peter Watts, John Barnes, and James S.A. Corey, Edge of Infinity is hard SF adventure at its best and most exhilarating.

Here’s the table of contents…
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: Which non-fiction books about science fiction should be in every fan’s library?
Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short fiction. He’s the author of 71 novels, over 250 stories, and 3 screenplays, and the editor of 41 anthologies — and he’s the Guest of Honor at this year’s Worldcon.

For a history of our most important magazine, you can do a lot worse than A Requiem for Astounding, by Alva Rogers. Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow, both by Sam Moskowitz, aren’t all that well-written, but he knew just about every one of these giants personally. Brian Aldiss’s Billion Year Spree is a nice, serious history of the genre. Much more fun is Damon Knight’s The Futurians, the history of the late 30s/early 40s New York fan group, and except for Pohl, Wollheim, Asimov, Knight, Blish, Merril, Kornbluth, Lowndes, and Kidd, why, they hardly produced any major figures at all.

Speaking of Knight, his In Search of Wonder remains one of the best critical collections, along with Blish’s The Issue at Hand and More Issues at Hand (both written as “William Atheling, Jr.”). Also worth a look are Benchmarks by Algis Budrys, and Science Fiction at Large, edited by Peter Nichols.

If you’d like to read every word of every speech and panel given at the 1962 and 1963 Worldcons, try The Proceedings: Chicon III, edited by Earl Kemp (it’s being reprinted for Chicon 7), and The Proceedings; Discon, edited by Dick Eney. Noreascon I also did a Proceedings, though I think we were multi-track by then and it just covered the main track. A nice catch-all book was Sprague de Camp’s Science-Fiction Handbook, which he later revised and updated.

The best biographies are Fred Pohl’s The Way the Future Was, Jack Williamson’s Wonder’s Child, and the wonderful 6-bio catchall, Hell’s Cartographers. And then there’s E. Hoffman Price’s wonderful Book of the Dead, which covers his experiences with Lovecraft, Howard, Kuttner, Clark Ashton Smith. et al. And don’t overlook Bob Silverberg’s Other Spaces, Other Times, or Eric Leif Davin’s Pioneers of Wonder: Conversations with the Founders of Science Fiction. John Campbell deserves a shelf of his own, and you can begin filling with the first two massive volumes of The John W. Campbell Letters, and his Collected Editorials from Analog. There are endless indices to the magazines, but only one truly thoroughgoing history of them: Mike Ashley’s wonderful 3-volume The History of the Science Fiction Magazine.

Books on and about science fiction that belong on most writers’ shelves include Barry Malzberg’s Breakfast in the Ruins and Norman Spinrad’s Staying Alive and Science Fiction in the Real World. Half a century ago Advent gathered Heinlein, Bester, Kornbluth and Bloch for The Science Fiction Novel, then assembled Heinlein, Campbell, Doc Smith, and four others for Of Worlds Beyond. The Panshins wrote Science Fiction in Dimension, a very nice follow-up to the more limited Heinlein in Dimension, then won a Hugo for The World Beyond the Hill. Kingsley Amis’s New Maps of Hell remains a classic. And there are a couple of fine compendiums edited by Reginald Bretnor: The Craft of Science Fiction and Science Fiction Today and Tomorrow. Two charming books containing some serious and a lot of hilarious fanzine articles by Robert Bloch are The Eighth Stage of Fandom and Out of My Head. And on the subject of fandom, the best is Fancyclopedia II, with many more entries than the original. And of course there are the histories of fandom: The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz; Up to Now by Jack Speer; and All Our Yesterdays and A Wealth of Fable by Harry Warner, Jr. Finally, I’ll mention some of my own: a trio of Hugo nominees, Putting it Together, I Have This Nifty Idea…, and (with Barry Malzberg) The Business of Science Fiction.

I realize that I haven’t mentioned some of the very popular recent “must-have” books like the Nichols/Clute Encyclopedia and similar, but that’s because I assume anyone reading this Mind Meld already has them or at least knows about them.
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Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for Wings of Fire, the upcoming anthology he co-edited with Marianne S. Jablon:

  1. Stable of Dragons [poem], Peter S. Beagle
  2. “The Rule of Names” by Ursula Le Guin
  3. “The Ice Dragon” by George RR Martin
  4. “Sobek” by Holly Black [original to this anthology]
  5. “King Dragon” by Michael Swanwick
  6. “The Laily Worm” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  7. “The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath” by Patricia A McKillip
  8. “The Bully and the Beast” by Orson Scott Card
  9. “Concerto Accademico” by Barry Malzberg
  10. “The Dragon’s Boy” by Jane Yolen
  11. “The Miracle Aquilina” by Margo Lanagan [original to this anthology]
  12. “Orm the Beautiful” by Elizabeth Bear
  13. “Weyr Search” by Anne McCaffrey
  14. “Paper Dragons” by James P Blaylock
  15. “Dragon’s Gate” by Pat Murphy
  16. “In Autumn, A White Dragon Looks Over The Wide River” by Naomi Novik
  17. “St Dragon and the George” by Gordon R. Dickson
  18. “The Silver Dragon” by Elizabeth A. Lynn
  19. “The Dragons of Summer Gulch” by Robert Reed
  20. “Berlin” by Charles de Lint
  21. “Draco, Draco” by Tanith Lee
  22. “The Dragon on the Bookshelf” by Harlan Ellison & Robert Silverberg
  23. “Gwydion and the Dragon” by C.J. Cherryh
  24. “The George Business” by Roger Zelazny
  25. “Dragon’s Fin Soup” by S.P Somtow
  26. “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule” by Lucius Shepard

The big news last week was the Amazon/Macmillan eBook Disagreement, so we asked this week’s panelists:

Q: What’s your take on the Amazon/Macmillan eBook price disagreement and Amazon’s move to delist Macmillan books? What does this mean for publishers, authors and readers? Does this signal a change in the eBook market, and if so, what do you think is on the other side of this dispute?

Here’s what they said…

Nick Mamatas
Nick Mamatas is the author of two novels, and his third, Sensation, will be published by PM Press in 2011. With Ellen Datlow, he is the editor of the forthcoming anthology Haunted Legends, to be published by Tor (an imprint of Macmillan) in September 2010. His short story collection You Might Sleep… was called the work of “an amazing writer with a singularly unique (i.e. twisted) imagination” by the Barnes & Noble blog Unabashedly Bookish.

Same as it ever was. Amazon did this before, delisting various Print on Demand titles in an attempt to get those authors to sign up for its internal POD service. We also saw something similar with Apple, when music labels tried to pressure that company to do price maintenance. The “big issue” has less to do with ebooks or readers than with the simple fact that e-commerce allows for instant manipulations of pretend inventory. Ultimately, Amazon will start selling Macmillan books again. They’re not Dumpstering the books already in their warehouses, they’re just refusing to fill orders and will probably only do it for a few days. Amazon pays taxes on its real inventory even if pretends on its site that no such inventory exists.

Kindle and other dedicated readers are ultimately not going to take off for the simple reason that there aren’t enough people who read books voraciously enough to support a market for readers-they represent a $200 surcharge one must pay to be allowed to read. Publishing makes most of its money on the one or two books a year that people who only buy one or two books a year buy. Those people will skip the next Twilight or Atkins-style instant diet book or other phenomenon if it requires a special machine to read. Amazon’s attempt to save Kindle in the face of smartphones and tablets that do all sorts of things as well as allowing for reading will ultimately work about as well as its attempts to sell short fiction and articles for 49 cents (Amazon Shorts, failed), its attempt to corner the POD services market (not working), its attempt to get everyone to buy Segways (when was the last time you saw one under the feet of a civilian?) etc. Amazon is a company that spent years selling “Zen gardens” via mail order-these gardens were fish tanks full of rocks. It took the firm quite a while to figure out why they had to keep shipping and reshipping these things to customers, who’d end up with a box of shattered glass and just order a free replacement. Amazon STILL sells sledgehammers and ships them for free. Macmillan shouldn’t be overly worried and really neither should anyone else. This is slow news day stuff.

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Editor Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 4:

  1. “It Takes Two” by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
  2. “Three Twilight Tales” by Jo Walton (Firebirds Soaring)
  3. [TBD]
  4. “The Island” by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
  5. “Ferryman” by Margo Lanagan (Firebirds Soaring)
  6. “A Wild and Wicked Youth” by Ellen Kushner (F&SF)
  7. “The Pelican Bar” by Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
  8. Spar” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
  9. “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
  10. “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black (The Eternal Kiss)
  11. Zeppelin City” by Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn (
  12. “Dragon’s Teeth” by Alex Irvine (F&SF)
  13. “This Wind Blowing,” and This Tide” by Damien Broderick (Asimov’s)
  14. “By Moonlight” by Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother)
  15. “Black Swan” by Bruce Sterling (F&SF)
  16. “As Women Fight” by Sara Genge (Asimov’s)
  17. “The Cinderella Game” by Kelly Link (Troll’s Eye View)
  18. “Formidable Caress” by Stephen Baxter (Analog)
  19. “Blocked” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF)
  20. “Truth and Bone” by Pat Cadigan (Poe)
  21. Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky (
  22. “The Motorman’s Coat” by John Kessel (F&SF)
  23. “Mongoose” by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear (Lovecraft Unbound)
  24. “Echoes of Aurora” by Ellen Klages (What Remains)
  25. “Before My Last Breath” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s)
  26. “Jo Boy” by Diana Wynne Jones (The Dragon Book)
  27. “Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson (The New Space Opera 2)
  28. “A Delicate Architecture” by Catherynne Valente (Troll’s Eye View)
  29. The Cat That Walked a Thousand Miles” by Kij Johnson (

Lou Anders has posted the table of contents for Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, the anthology he co-edited with Jonathan Strahan, which will be available June 22, 2010 from Harper Eos:

  • Introduction: Check Your Dark Lord at the Door by Lou Anders & Jonathan Strahan
  1. “Goats of Glory” by Steven Erikson
  2. “Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company” by Glen Cook
  3. “Bloodsport” by Gene Wolfe
  4. “The Singing Spear” by James Enge
  5. “A Wizard of Wiscezan” by C.J. Cherryh
  6. “A Rich Full Week” by K. J. Parker
  7. “A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet” by Garth Nix
  8. “Red Pearls: An Elric Story” by Michael Moorcock
  9. “The Deification of Dal Bamore” by Tim Lebbon
  10. “Dark Times at the Midnight Market” by Robert Silverberg
  11. “The Undefiled” by Greg Keyes
  12. “Hew the Tint Master” by Michael Shea
  13. “In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch
  14. “Two Lions, A Witch, and the War-Robe” by Tanith Lee
  15. “The Sea Troll’s Daughter” by Caitlin R Kiernan
  16. “Thieves of Daring” by Bill Willingham
  17. “The Fool Jobs” by Joe Abercrombie

REVIEW SUMMARY: Space Opera is alive and well.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 19 stories attempting to define the New Space Opera movement.


PROS: 15 entertaining stories, 4 of which were outstanding.

CONS: 4 stories were mediocre or worse.

BOTTOM LINE: A very good collection of space opera stories for a modern audience.

I missed out reading the first edition of this series, so I made an extra effort to read The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan. (Browse inside.) As per their introduction, it attempts to help define a new literary movement, one resulting from the evolution of space opera from being the “true heart of science fiction” to a genre that adds more rigorous science, more character depth, better writing and sensitivity to political realities. Based on this definition, does the anthology succeed?

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Short fiction anthologies come in many flavors: some contain original fiction and some are comprised of reprints; they can be themed or non-themed; they may restrict themselves to a certain sub-genre of speculative fiction… But one thing they all have in common is that it’s Editors that put them together.

This week, we asked a handful of Editors the following question:

Q: Can you describe what goes on behind the scenes – from conception to publication — when creating a short fiction anthology?

Read on to see their illuminating responses…

(See also Part 2 and Part 3)

Jeff VanderMeer
World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and has had fiction published in over 20 countries. His books, including the bestselling City of Saints & Madmen, have made the year’s best lists of Publishers Weekly, LA Weekly, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. He reviews books for, among others, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, and the Barnes & Noble Review, as well as being a regular columnist for the Omnivoracious book blog. Current projects include Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer, the noir fantasy novel Finch, and the forthcoming definitive Steampunk Bible from Abrams Books. He maintains a blog at

This is a tough question, because almost every anthology I’ve done with Ann or by myself or with someone else has been different from the others. Even Steampunk and New Weird involved completely different methodologies–in the case of the former, we were trying to identify iconic stories and in the case of the latter we were mapping/documenting the legitimacy of a “movement” that I’d been around to witness the inception of. Our current project, Last Drink Bird Head, is a flash fiction antho for literacy charities with over 80 contributors. Fast Ships, Black Sails was a straightforward commercial pirate story anthology. The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases played around with the whole idea of what’s fiction versus nonfiction and indirectly charted the life of its titular character. The Leviathan anthologies focused on surreal and proto-New Weird or post-New Wave fiction, but each with a different theme and focus. Album Zutique was unabashed Decadent and Surrealist-inspired fiction. Being guest editors for Best American Fantasy was another kind of challenge, because we’d never done a year’s best before, and that carries with it a different set of responsibilities. Our upcoming Clarion charity anthology, The Leonardo Variations, is both an anthology of fiction and a teaching anthology that, through its stories and nonfiction in the back, should be of great use to beginning writers. That poses its own challenges. I guess the point is, behind the scenes each of these books has gone through a different process, both in terms of its creation and in terms of the process of preparation. This keeps things fresh and interesting–I’m not particularly interested in repeating myself with regard to books, whether my own fiction or the anthologies I create with Ann, and I don’t think Ann is, either.

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SF Tidbits for 9/1/09

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SF Tidbits for 8/23/09

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TOC: Eclipse Three edited by Jonathan Strahan

Editor Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents of his upcoming October 2009 anthology Eclipse Three:

  1. “The Pelican Bar” by Karen Joy Fowler
  2. “Lotion” by Ellen Klages
  3. “Don’t Mention Madagascar” by Pat Cadigan
  4. “On the Road” by Nnedi Okorafor
  5. “Swell” by Elizabeth Bear
  6. “Useless Things” by Maureen F. McHugh
  7. “The Coral Heart” by Jeffrey Ford
  8. “It Takes Two” by Nicola Griffith
  9. “Sleight of Hand” by Peter S. Beagle
  10. “The Pretender’s Tourney” by Daniel Abraham
  11. “Yes We Have No Bananas” by Paul Di Filippo
  12. “Mesopotamian Fire” by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
  13. “The Visited Man” by Molly Gloss
  14. “Galápagos” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  15. “Dolce Domum” by Ellen Kushner

[via Adventures in Reading]