Tag Archives: anthology

Book Review: Strange California (anthology)

4 Aug

California is a big state, and occupies an even bigger place in our imaginations, so it’s only to be expected that a collection of stories exploring what makes it so special — so strange — makes for a big book. Which is to say, a promise of value, of bang for one’s buck, is made right up front. Continue reading


Book Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2017

14 Jul

Since the Nebula Awards’ inception some combination of its winners and nominees has been annually published together in a collection edited by a major genre figure. Unlike typical anthologies or collections, the content isn’t chosen by the editor, but by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Therefore the responsibilities of the editor (this year Julie E. Czerneda) appear minimal, mainly to write the introduction and decide on which category might have its nominees included. Individual stories also include introductions by the authors providing insight into the creation of their work.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 thus offers an ideal and affordable digest for seeing what members of the speculative fiction field view as its current best representations. For readers who somehow manage to keep up with all corners of the genre, the collection provides a nice summation and reminder of the current vibe, views, and insights that have gained notice. For the casual or new reader, it offers an opportunity to discover some talented writers and powerful stories. Continue reading

My Superpower: Tansy Rayner Roberts

23 Jun

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Tansy Rayner Roberts.


My superpower is making extra work for my publisher.

When your publisher is one of your best friends, and you’re invested in her success almost as much as your own career, it’s a very different relationship than when they are a distant, shiny corporation in a big city somewhere in the world.

I’ve had quite a few publishers over the last 19 years as a professional author, and I am very attached to many of them, but Twelfth Planet Press feels like my baby almost as much as it belongs to its publisher, Alisa Krasnostein. I’ve been there from the beginning; watched her projects and aesthetic evolve. I was there as the idea for ‘hey what about monthly collections by female authors’ developed into a massive, sprawling 4 year project. Continue reading

Book Review: Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli

2 Feb


Tropes get a lot of bad press even as we crave them. People expect the Happily Ever After for a romantic comedy, but the fiftieth inevitable betrayal by the mentor in an action movie gets seen as being cliched. Movie after movie gets made, and makes box office, with a Chosen One, especially as an origin story, and at the same cry decry it as being more of the same. The website TV Tropes is a time suck, as one can get lost for hours following links on various tropes in movies, books and more, falling into a rabbit hole of storytelling conventions.

So what can be said that is new about tropes? How can they be used, subverted, and rearranged? Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, a diverse anthology and essay collection edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli, sets out to do just that. Continue reading

Book Review: Galactic Empires, edited by Neil Clarke

26 Jan


In the 1970s Brian Aldiss published a seminal anthology of SF stories. Called Galactic Empires, it was a two-volume set of over two dozen stories set in such realms, with authors ranging from Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Poul Anderson to A.E. Van Vogt and Clifford Simak. The age of the stories spanned from the 1940s to the 1970s, not only showing a wide range of themes and ideas revolving around Galactic Empires, their rises, heights and falls, but also showing the breadth of style changes in the genre over that period. It was not only a snapshot of the subgenre, right at the time that Star Wars was dominating the cinema and changing SF forever, but a look backward to the roots of the subgenre as well.

Now, in 2017, Neil Clarke has stepped into the very large shoes that Aldiss has left, and created his own anthology called Galactic Empires. Clarke’s collection of stories have the same remit as Aldiss’: To show the Galactic Empire, in all of its forms, and with a wide range of voices, styles and authors. Clarke’s choices all date from the 21st century. While this does mean that Clarke’s anthology misses the 1980s and ’90s, he does manage to capture more recent eras in glorious diversity. For all of how important the Aldiss anthology was and is, Aldiss’ general overlook of half of the SF field and having an entirely American/British viewpoint was a weakness in his anthology. Only one female author, Margaret St. Clair, was included in Aldiss’ two-volume collection. By comparison, out of the stories Clarke has gathered, nearly half are by women. Further, Clarke’s choices includes significant contributions from the likes of Yoon Ha Lee, Tobias Buckell, and Aliette de Bodard.  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: