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Hugo & Nebula Winners This is a list of the works that have won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, awarded annually to works of science fiction literature.
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The Clarion workshop began June 25 at UCSD, and the Clarion instructor reading series commences tomorrow night at San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy bookstore — five evenings with leading sff writers working, presented by Mysterious Galaxy and Comickaze comics. Dan Chaon … Continue reading

SF writer Vernor Vinge and architect Niall McLaughlin will speak about Science Fiction Meets Architecture: Designing for an Aging Population as part of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for the Human Imagination’s “London in 2080” debate series on June 29. … Continue reading

The fourth War for the Planet of the Apes trailer is online. The film comes to theaters July 11. In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes … Continue reading

(1) OFF THE TOP OF HER HEAD. In “Nattering Social Justice Cook: Celebrating Rainbow Hair”, Cat Rambo delves into the history and symbolism of the hairstyle. A common adjective in many of the more conservative, alt-right, and other theater-of-outrage rants … Continue reading

The winner of the 2017 James White Award is “The Morrigan” by Stewart Horn. The award, established in 2000, offers non-professional writers the opportunity to have their work published in Interzone, the UK’s leading sf magazine. Commenting on the winning story on … Continue reading

What if I told you that there was more than one Harry Potter? You’d probably roll your eyes but what if J.K. Rowling was the one saying that? The famed author has been talking about “The Potter Family” on Pottermore and has actually said that same thing. Now, before you get all worked up about alternate universes, magic, time travel, or any of the other nonsense that would require this to happen, we’ve learned that our Harry isn’t the only Potter to share that name. Our Harry is actually a descendant of one Henry Potter who went by Harry to his friends. What stands out here, though, is that Henry “was a direct descendant of Hardwin and Iolanthe, and served on the Wizengamot from 1913 to 1921.” Anyone who was wondering about our Harry’s past will suddenly realize that his bloodline was even more notable than we had already thought. In fact, the first Harry was actually ousted from the ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight’ because he so vocally “publicly condemned then-Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, who had forbidden the magical community to help Muggles waging the First World War. His outspokenness on the behalf of the Muggle community was also a strong contributing factor […]

Read original article at: According To J.K. Rowling There Is More Than One Harry Potter?!

Science Fiction

Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, offered to let readers bid for a chance to name one of the characters in his next book to benefit the victims of the recent Grenfell Tower disaster. A teacher is bidding for … Continue reading

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Herstory. Comic Books vs the World offers a Wonder Woman screen history. (2) Fan produced trailer of the 2011 Wonder Woman pilot. This 2011 Wonder Woman pilot stars Adrianne Palicki of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV … Continue reading

(1) MORE, PLEASE. Here’s a provocative (in a good way) question: If one book you love by a living author could get a sequel, what would it be? — Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) June 25, 2017 (2) NOMINEE REVIEWING. Marco Zennaro … Continue reading

By Carl Slaughter: After a hiatus of several years, Elizabeth Moon is back with Vatta’s Peace, a new subseries of Vatta’s War.  The first Vatta’s Peace novel, Cold Welcome, came out in April from Del Rey. Check out the new … Continue reading

Mightier Than the Sword, by K. J. Parker (Subterranean 978-1-59606-817-9, $40, 136pp, hardcover) June 2017

The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, by James Morrow (Tachyon Publications 978-1-61696-265-4, $14.95, 184pp, trade paperback) June 2017

It seems pretty nigh inarguable that novellas are hot right now. Long esteemed as the perfect mode for fantastika–since they allow for plentiful world-building, depth of characterization and density of plot, while still being a relatively quick snack rather than the outsized banquet of a bug-crusher or a trilogy—novellas have found favor with publishers as well as readers. Part of their ascendency is also due to extra-literary reasons: congenial ebook and marketplace parameters.

Whatever has given this format its moment in the spotlight, we readers must rejoice. Especially with two fine examples such as the ones under discussion here.

Having been revealed as Tom Holt, “K. J. Parker” continues to produce his own distinctive style of story, much like Kit Reed or Joyce Carol Oates or John Banville with their alternate identities. This time around, Parker has delivered a spry, cynical, whimsical tale that combines the Howardian savageries he is known for with the breezier stylings of Holt’s comedies. A certain Wodehousian flavor is evident right from the start when we realize we are about to hear the account of a somewhat idle, somewhat foppish, but surprisingly lucky and smart nephew who is acting at the behest of a domineering aunt.

The aunt happens to be the sovereign of the Empire of the Robur (great use of that Vernean proper name, as well as all other cognomens), and her nephew is the heir apparent, our narrator. (We never learn their exact appellations, rendering these personages rather symbolic, atop their colorful individuation.) She commissions the young fellow to track down the barbarian raiders who are despoiling the various monastery communities, all of which center on their libraries. This conceit makes this book one of those somewhat rare bibliocentric fantasies, of which I’ll name just Vernor Vinge’s Tatja Grimm’s World.

And so off our boy goes, embarking on an exotic odyssey of chicanery, realpolitik, warfare, and eventual marriage to his favorite beloved prostitute. Combining Tom Jones-style picaresque with a genuine mystery McGuffin–who is behind these raids, and what do they want?–the tale offers surprises, laughter, shocks and epigrammatic flair. Parker substantiates his subcreation with a vivid backstory that covers more than a thousand years, and the bookish aspect of the tale remains central without being domineering or mawkish.

Our hero’s self-assessment will ring true to most of Parker’s audience. “Anyone who reads the right book has an ally, an advisor who’s far more clever than he is and can tell him what to do. I have a box of books that goes with me everywhere… Accordingly, I’m damned if I’m going to let the accumulated wisdom of the past perish from the face of the earth…”

Certainly this delightful frolic, composed of dark and light segments in equal measure, is a prime candidate for anyone’s box of literary treasures.

Having done such a delightful job with his previous short novel, The Madonna and the Starship (reviewed in this very venue) James Morrow continues his foray into compactified fables with a book that riffs on a very famous film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Thus, like Parker’s book, it finds inspiration for a new tale in contemplation of the glories of an extant tradition.

Also like the Parker book, this tale derives power from the idiosyncratic first-person narration. Our hero in this case is one Francis Wyndham, a fair-to-middling young artist without much of a career. The year is 1914, just before the outbreak of WWI, and Wyndham sets off to Europe to seek painterly fame and fortune. But he gets nowhere, and, down to his last franc, he takes a job as therapeutic artist-in-residence at the Träumenchen sanitarium run by one Alessandro Caligari. Once ensconced there (and told he may not leave the grounds till his employment is terminated, one way or another), Wyndham is quickly introduced to the unorthodox methodologies of the Doctor; his eccentric staff; and the bizarre patients. One of these latter, Ilona, who fancies herself the “Spider Queen of Ogygia,” will become Wyndham’s lover and co-conspirator in their quest to foil Dr. Caligari and his scheme to turn out super-soldiers for all factions willing to pay, through the use of a mystical canvas.

And so up and down the corridors of the sanitarium, then onto the battlefields of the war itself, our heroes plot and sneak and labor magically, until an ending which removes the book from mortal realms of socio-political realities into a kind of numinous epiphany.

Morrow’s solid, colorful evocation of the era is matched only by his portraiture of the zany cast. Even Wyndham, ostensibly mundane and anchored, soon partakes of the madness-that-is-truth. I was particularly enamored of Ilona’s constant stream of spoonerisms and Carrollian wordplay, but she is not alone in turning out a neat phrase. Some of the dialogue assumes a Ballardian flavor of slightly askew non-sequiturs, gnomically issued. The conceit of the psychically potent artwork fashioned by Caligari brings to mind, of course, Monty Python’s famous “Funniest Joke in the World” skit. But Morrow deftly layers in even more allusiveness. Of course, any madhouse-centric novel in this era has to tip the hat to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But I also detect some kinship with John Barth’s The End of the Road, as well as to some of the Gothic tales of E. T. A. Hoffman. But any such nods are discreet and counterbalanced by Morrow’s own unique conceptions and delivery. The Asylum of Dr. Caligari succeeds in being at once a brilliant rendering of an antique spooky passion play and a timeless lesson about megalomaniacs, art, science and love.

Both these novellas, I would maintain, offer as much pleasure as books three times their size. Snap them up!

Paul Di Filippo has been writing professionally for over thirty years, and has published almost that number of books. He lives in Providence, RI, with his mate of an even greater number of years, Deborah Newton.

The 15th Annual VES Awards were presented by the Visual Effects Society on February  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, despite leading the film field with seven nominations, was shut out. On the other hand, HBO’s Game of Thrones dominated … Continue reading

By  Carl Slaughter: Remember when? If not, think of it as a history lesson. (1) Best and worst of Batgirl (2) The Batgirl suit.  Piece by piece, accessory by accessory. (3) Batgirl meets Wonder Woman  …  Hey, wait a minute!

(1) SIXTY MINUTES. Here’s video of what happened during “Seanan McGuire’s Continuum 13 Guest of Honour Hour.” On Sunday 11th June, 2017, Seanan McGuire hosted a Guest of Honour hour in which she answered questions at Continuum 13. Unfortunately, not … Continue reading

The winners of the 2017 Locus Awards were announced at Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle on June 24. SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus) FANTASY NOVEL All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders … Continue reading

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