The 2013 final ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards has been announced. I’ll be picking up a bunch of the nominees at the library this week. In addition, Stephen Jones and R.L. Stine have been chosen to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The finalists for the Nebula Award have been announced. This link also provides you with links to the nominated short fiction in three categories. And just look at all the women nominated this year! The ballot has caused me to change my mind about attending Nebula Weekend; I’ll be there after all. I own copies of all the nominated novels, almost by accident. Lots of good reading to get to before the target weekend in May.
The 2013 VIDA Count is out. Some literary outlets have actually started admitting more women into their ranks, which is the good news. The bad news is how many still haven’t budged, or have gotten even worse. It’s difficult to imagine that The London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books can’t find female reviewers to write for them, or books written by women that are worthy of reviews.
If you’d like to fix some of this sexism yourself, you could do a lot worse than to start with this list of books of speculative fiction written by women. I want to read every single one of these — it doesn’t matter who wrote them, they just sound like great books.
Sophia McDougall follows my thoughts with this, writing that she doesn’t want to be a rare successful female writer; she just wants to be a successful writer. How do we break away from the paradigm in which “white, male” is the default for writers, and bookstores stock and publicize far, far more books by white male writers than by any other group? It’s the 21st century! And this is a lot easier than flying cars! Can’t we make this happen?
I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of fantasy that doesn’t use any magic or other extra-human instrumentalities (like precognition) or characters (like vampires) and yet is still unimpeachable fantasy. To me, the most typical of these is Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, which imagines a society that clearly isn’t — and never was — ours, but is a world that could have been under the rules of physics as we know them. K.J. Parker writes some of her novels, like The Company, similarly. This article points to a handful of young adult books in this vein, none of which I’d heard of and all of which I’m now looking forward to reading.
Ten writers speak on the magic of reading. There are some excellent words about reading here, and watching it will make any reader feel happy.
Last week I linked to an article written by Lynn Shepherd, in which she urged J.K. Rowling to stop writing in order to let other writers have a turn. I thought it was silly and tasted of sour grapes, and that Shepherd should not have written it. I’m not the only one who felt that way. And one writer has written a hilarious open letter to Rowling asking her not to stop writing, though suggesting that perhaps he could buy her just a small castle. And Adrian Tchaikovsy writes that his genre, science fiction, doesn’t seem to have the same sort of infighting that Shepherd seems to think populates the mystery genre (though my experience has been that both genres have tightly-knit and very supportive groups of writers, for the most part). Still, it is unfortunate that Shepherd has been savaged on Amazon with a good many one-star reviews from people who are angry about her suggestion to Rowling — people who have not read Shepherd’s books. Perhaps it isn’t true that all publicity is good publicity.
I was dismayed to read this article about how Amazon treats its employees. Is it really better for a business, in any sense, to have ambulances outside a warehouse prepared to rush employees to the hospital after they suffer heat stroke than it is to air condition the warehouse? Really? Because it seems to me that’s a very fine way to lose good customers like me.
Here’s a cool idea: books you should read now based on what you loved when you were a kid. I must have read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time dozens of times, so I’m definitely going to grab a copy of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! at my earliest opportunity.
Do you pretend you’ve read books you haven’t actually read? If so, they’re probably the books that appear on this list. Me, I just admit to having read far less than any former English major should admit to — though I have read a good number of the books on this list. Just don’t ask me about Middlemarch.
“Before you write, you gotta read,” says the introduction to this article about anthologies every author should own. I particularly recommend the anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow, who is one of the premiere editors of our time.
In case you were wondering if io9 and I were off our rockers in suggesting that the television series “True Detective” is calling back to Weird literature, Nic Pizzolatto confirms that he has been inspired by horror writers, specifically naming Laird Barron, John Langan, Simon Stranzas and Tom Ligotti. I’ve read and very much enjoyed (and been scared and horrified by) Barron and Langa; I need to pull Stranzas off my shelf and give him a read. And perhaps I need to give Ligotti a second chance; though he’s never been quite my cup of tea, perhaps I’ve just made the wrong choices. (And if you liked the Pizzolatto interview, you might also enjoy this piece on Tor.com arguing that the series is not genre fiction at all, but more a philosophical discussion of the nature and value of life.)
One thing that “True Detective” has reminded us of is that there is a vast invisible library containing all the books referred to in other books, but which do not actually exist — at least not in our world. A couple of enterprising bloggers have put together The Invisible Library, listing all those books and the novels from which they spring. You could spend days just browsing this list. And when you’re done there, you can spend a few more hours perusing this Periodic Table of Storytelling. Have fun!