Friday, August 19, 2016

Puppy Powers, Liberal Machinations, and the Hugo Awards

 Rabid Puppies of Pelennor Fields

I’ve joined the LitReactor team as a columnist for the site’s online magazine, and my first article, “The Rabid Puppies of Pelennor Fields” just went live. It’s about the politicization of the Hugo Awards and whether or not the Puppy Powers were right that a cabal of liberal insiders were rigging the results.

Here’s an excerpt:
The trolls weren’t just at the gate. They’d knocked the damn thing down.
But wait…What makes them the trolls in this story?
The message announcing the Sad Puppies 2015 campaign claimed the establishment had turned the Hugos into an “affirmative action award” that was given to authors just because they belonged to, or wrote about, an “underrepresented minority or victim group.” This premise is an open invitation to challenge the legitimacy of any Hugo awarded to anyone who doesn’t happen to be a straight, white man. Meanwhile, the leader of the Rabid Puppies refers to women’s rights as an “evolutionary dead end,” and the recipient of five of the eight Castalia House Hugo nominations openly rants against the queer community. It’s a perfect recipe for weaponizing the comments section of articles about Anita Sarkeesian.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Recommended Reading: "The Bones of the Matter"

The Bones of the Matter” by Cassandra Khaw (See the Elephant)

Unsure of her lover’s fidelity, Mei Fong asks her mother for a little magical insurance in this tale about the intrigues of love, cooking, and maternal wisdom. The premise of this tale is a familiar one: Mei’s girlfriend has been spending a lot of time with a guy, and the thought of being cheated on is killing Mei. Khaw’s protagonist is a perfect mess: insecure, fatalistic, and desperate to be wrong. Mei’s mother is precisely none of those things. 

I should warn you: this isn’t a story to read on an empty stomach. 

I should also warn you that Khaw is a siren. The music of her writing will lure you in. It will lure you in, and you will drown, blissfully sinking into the depths of its textures, scents, and flavors. Truly, the poetry of this story’s prose is an embarrassment of riches.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Recommended Reading: "The Wolf and the Tower Unwoven"

When a feral wolf in human form turns up outside Cresa's house, the humanity that she once sought threatens to become the chain that binds her, and she is forced the weigh the balance between her heart and her freedom. Sandoval’s command of voice and empathy are on full display as she weaves this tale of intrigue, divinity, and destiny into a vivid tapestry of captured affections and bittersweet resignation. While Sandoval’s evocative style has always drawn me to her work, this one made me fall in love with her storytelling, too. The plot is clockwork smart, and her reimagining of classic mythological characters feels both faithful to their antiquity and freshly imaginative. "The Wolf and the Tower Unwoven" easily became a favorite among favorites. 

PS: Dear Universe,
The world needs an audio version of this story. Pretty please?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hugo 2016 Recommendations

I'm still undecided on a number of categories, but with the window for voting on the 2016 Hugo Awards closing tonight at 11:59 pm (Pacific), I thought I’d share a few of my recommendations for my fellow undecided voters. 

Best Novelette
"The Great Leap of Shin" by Henry Lien (Analog)
"Twelve and Tag" by Gregory Bossert (Asimov's)
*Audio version via StarShipSofa - Story Begins at 4:30

Best Short Story
"In the Queue for the Worldship Munawwer" by Sara Saab (Clarkesworld)
"Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight" by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld)
Naomi Kritzer can has Hugo
omnomination, plz?
"Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld )
"Today I Am Paul" by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld)

Best Semiprozine

Best Editor (Short Form)
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow

Best Related Work
by Michi Trota

Best Fan Writer

Monday, March 21, 2016

Where am I going, Where have I been?

It's been a busy few months. After a stint as a fiction editor, I've taken over as editor-in-chief of the Harpur Palate literary journal in addition to continuing as a submissions editor for Uncanny: a magazine of science fiction and fantasy. Toss in teaching a couple of composition classes, and you've got a recipe for a neglected blog. Hopefully, I can breathe some new life into this place with interviews, reviews, and some insider perspective from the other side of the slush pile. 

In the meantime, check out: Things to Read on a Rainy Day in Eden. The stories there are among my favorite works by some of today's best SF&F writers.