Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Nebula Award winners announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have announced the 2011 Nebula Award winners for work published in 2010. The awards were presented today in Washinton, D.C.

Novel: Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)

Novella: "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window", Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’10)

Novelette: "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made", Eric James Stone (Analog 9/10)

Short Story (tie) "Ponies", Kij Johnson ( 1/17/10) and "How Interesting: A Tiny Man", Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)

Ray Bradbury Award (Dramatic Presentation) Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)

Andre Norton Award (Young Adult) I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)

I've read "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" and have already written here that it was one of the best novellas of 2010 (novella discussion). I am halfway through Blackout/All Clear and will reserve judgment. In the film category, Inception was disappointing (film review).

Related link:
Locus Online's report on all the Nebula Award winners and nominees

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reading Resolution

This year I’ve resolved to read more books in the actual year they are published rather than play catch up all the time. So far this has worked out quite well for 2011 books:

Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor Books)
Home Fires by Gene Wolfe (Tor Books)
Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 5 by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)

Each book has been rewarding and enjoyable. If I ever get around to reviewing them they would each get a thumbs up. Each for different reasons. That last one is a bit of a cheat, I suppose, since it is an anthology of stories that were first published in 2010.

Next up in 2011 books is Embassytown by China Miéville (Del Rey).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Links to thinks

Neil Gaiman writes about Gene Wolfe
"... Gene Wolfe remains a hero to me. He's just turned 80, looks after his wife Rosemary, and is still writing deep, complex, brilliant fiction that slips between genres. ... He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy – possibly the finest living American writer. Most people haven't heard of him. And that doesn't bother Gene in the slightest." Read the article.

SF Signal Mind Meld: Which challenging SF/F stories are worth the effort to read?
Some wonderful recommendations, including works by Gene Wolfe, Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany, Neal Stephenson, Cordwainer Smith. As Cat Rambo writes in the comments, add Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, John Crowley, Justina Robson, and Peter Watts. Who would you add? Read the article.

Ursula K. LeGuin reviews Embassytown by China Miéville
"If Miéville has been known to set up a novel on a marvelous metaphor and then not know quite where to take it, he's outgrown that, and his dependence on violence is much diminished. In Embassytown, his metaphor ... works on every level, providing compulsive narrative, splendid intellectual rigor and risk, moral sophistication, fine verbal fireworks and sideshows, and even the old-fashioned satisfaction of watching a protagonist become more of a person than she gave promise of being." Read the article.

Rob Latham on J.G. Ballard
"I believe that, with the possible exception of Philip K. Dick, postwar SF has produced no finer writer, and certainly none more attuned to the perplexities and pitfalls of the modern technoscientific world." Read the article. (Edited: link updated.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Joanna Russ (1937-2011)

Despite being inactive in fiction and criticism for many years, the loss of Joanna Russ is a significant one, a major voice in science fiction and fantasy silenced. She makes my list of top ten most influential United States science fiction authors of the past 50 years. Among her novels, especially notable are We Who Are About to . . . (Dell Books, 1977) and The Female Man (Bantam Books, 1975). Her short fiction was her greatest strength. Perhaps her best known is the Nebula Award winning short story, “When It Changed” (1972).

Graham Sleight, in his excellent essay on Russ’s short fiction that appears in On Joanna Russ (Wesleyan University Press, 2009) edited by Farah Mendlesohn, concludes:
For sheer inventiveness, formal range, and emotional force, I can think of only a few bodies of short SF to rival it: perhaps those of Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree, Jr., and Gene Wolfe. 
Russ’s essays and criticism were similarly extraordinary. Most recently published is The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews (Liverpool University Press, 2007).

Related links:
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Russ, Joanna
The New York Times: Joanna Russ obituary
Timmi Duchamp: Remembering Joanna
Kathryn Cramer: Goodbye, Joanna
Rose Fox: RIP Joanna Russ
Joanna Russ: When It Changed
Teresa Nielsen Hayden: Remembering Joanna
Brit Mandelo: Queering SFF: The Female Man
Brit Mandelo: How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ
Annalee Newitz: How to Remember and Discover Joanna Russ
Jeff VanderMeer: Joanna Russ and The Weird