- A bit of housekeeping first. First, per Jed’s suggestion, I’ve updated the short story club schedule with links to the discussions that have taken place so far. Second, I have started collating and analyzing the responses to the survey. I have 60,000 words of responses from 82 authors, and I need to write the whole thing up by mid-October. So it’s going to take a large chunk of my time over the next few weeks. (I should note that if there are any authors who meant to respond but haven’t yet, there’s still time! I can integrate a few late responses without trouble. Emails to the usual address.)
- Graham Sleight reviews Mike Ashley’s much-discussed Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF
- Abigail Nussbaum reviews Sylvia Kelso’s Amberlight and Riversend. I’m disappointed that nobody’s responded to this one; I’d like to see more discussion of these books.
- Matt Cheney interviews Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr, author of The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (which, remember, you should all read)
- Reviews of Iain Banks’ Transition: James Walton in The Telegraph, Doug Johnstone in The Independent, and David Hebblethwaite; and there’s an interview in The Guardian today.
- More District 9 views, mostly negative: Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Nnedi Okorafor, Jonathan McCalmont
- More on The Year of the Flood: Jane Shilling in The Telegraph, Robert Macfarlane in The Times, Philip Hensher in The Observer and, most punchily, Fredric Jameson in the LRB: “Atwood can now be considered to be a science-fiction writer, I’m happy to say, and this is not meant to disparage”
- Paolo Bacigalupi in discussion at the Borders Babel Clash blog: “If you don’t have a model or archetypal pattern of a highly functional society that deals with drought or peak oil or global warming it makes it difficult for a rational dialogue to commence about how to create an adaptable society.”
- The women in sf reading club reaches Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time
- Tim Holman’s graphs of the commercial rise of what we are now calling urban fantasy; see also Paula Guran’s notes on the origins of the label.
- Adam Roberts asks, “Is sf handwritten?” [pdf]
- Nader Elhefnawy’s essay, “The problem of belonging in Robert A Heinlein’s Friday“, first published in Foundation, summer 2006
- Excerpts from a Locus roundtable on fantasy and history, with Cecelia Holland and Guy Gavriel Kay
- io9 graphs sf TV since the seventies
- Scott Lynch joins the ranks of writers serializing projects online: Queen of the Iron Sands.
- Richard Larson reviews The New Space Opera 2, and Paul Jessup’s Open Your Eyes
- Abigail Nussbaum on Defying Gravity
- Toby Litt on Generation A by Douglas Coupland
- Lisa Tuttle’s latest sf roundup in The Times
- David Hebblethwaite considers Penguin’s Robert E Howard collection
- Martin Lewis discusses a review of Eric Brown’s Xenopath
- And in The Guardian, Eric Brown reviews The Hurricane Party by Klas Ostergren:
In an impoverished post-apocalyptic future, in an unnamed northern European city, Hanck Orn makes a living refurbishing ancient typewriters, a cherished commodity in an age bereft of manufactured goods. [...] The novel details the slow, sensitive blossoming of a man from a loveless unit in a totalitarian state to someone whose account of his emotional travail might, it is suggested, change the heart of society.
On the downside, a 50-page digression at the mid-point of the novel, recounting the Edda of Norse mythology, seems extraneous.
My only problem with this is that The Hurricane Party is the latest in the Canongate Myths series, a fact that you can’t help thinking should have been mentioned somewhere in Brown’s review. Specifically it is — you guessed it — a rewrite of Norse mythology. Which makes the above digression seem a little less extraneous, although of course that doesn’t mean it’s well-integrated into the narrative. (On a side note, I’m a little surprised to see so many people on the Canongate site bemoaning the lack of a hardback edition of this book. I had the impression that most readers preferred paperbacks.)