Category Archives: Science fiction

Sneak peek: Cover art for the Best SF/F 9

Cover art by Dominic Harman for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine
Cover art by Dominic Harman for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before because I don’t think I’ve ever been in this position before, but here’s a special sneak peek at the cover art for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year:  Volume Nine.  As I said in my post yesterday, I’m only reading for the book now, and it won’t be out till May 2015, but the incredible team at Solaris Books have had Dominic Harman on the job doing something special for the cover and I love what he’s come up with for the book.

Cover for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8

Dom also did the cover for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight, which should be hitting bookstore shelves any day now. It’s already getting some great reviews and I’m delighted with how it’s turned out.

The Best Thing I’ve Read All Week – Lazarus

Lazrus #1
Lazrus #1

Following the release of the Hugo Ballot recently, Grant Watson provided a list of other graphic stories he felt should or could have been consisdered for the Best Graphic Story category.

One of the titles he suggested was Lazarus, a darkly dystopian science fiction series set in a not-too-distant future United States, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.

The setup for the series describes it as being set in a world divided by financial boundaries, rather than be political or geographic ones. Wealth equals power and that wealth is controlled by a series of oligarchical families, who are often at war with one another.

If you are not a Family member then you are one of the few serfs who work for them.  And if you’re not a serf, you’re Waste, one of the countless millions with little or no hope in life. And life is cold out in the Waste. Each Family has a Lazarus, a person genetically modified and trained from birth to defend the Family.  They have every advantage – technical, financial, scientific – that can be bestowed on them.

Lazarus is the story of Forever Caryle, the Lazarus for Family Carlyle. Her life is an unrelenting tale of duty, honour, sacrifice, all to advantage the family and control the Waste.

In the eight issues I’ve read so far, inhaled over the past week, the art has been brilliant and the story compulsive. If I’d read this last year the first story arc would have topped my Hugo ballot, and the second story arc will definitely be there in 2015.

If you have any interest in great graphic stories, especially SF ones, this comes heartily recommended.

 

Call for stories: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 9

Cover for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8

I edit The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year anthology series for Solaris Books. The eighth volume in the series will be published in May 2014, and the ninth will appear in May 2015.

I am currently reading for the 2014 volume, and am looking for stories from all branches of science fiction and fantasy: space opera to cyberpunk, fairy tales to the slipstream, or anything else that might qualify. If in doubt, please send it.

Eligibility

This is a reprint anthology. Stories must have been published between 1 January and 31 December 2014 to be considered.

Deadline

The submission deadline for this year’s book is:

 15 October 2014

Anything sent after this deadline will reach me too late. If a magazine, anthology, or collection you are in or you edit is coming out before 31 December 2014 please send galleys or manuscripts so that I can consider the stories in time.

Format

Where possible, I prefer to receive book-length works in print., but this is optional.  Books, stories etc can be sent to me via email. I prefer ePub, .mobi, .rtf or .doc files. PDFs are acceptable but inconvenient. I strongly suggest that authors check with their publishers that they are sending review copies out to me, as I don’t have the resources to follow-up every publisher to get material.

Postal address

When sending material please put “Best SF/F of the Year” on the envelope.

Jonathan Strahan
PO Box 544
Mt Lawley WA 6929
Australia

Email submissions, recommendations, or information on publications can be sent to me via email at:

jonathan.strahan (at) gmail (dot) com

For publishers

  • I am eager to consider work you are publishing. If you produce a magazine, chapbook, collection or anthology with any original stories in it please let me know. I am happy to accept email submissions. The most important thing is to make sure that I get to consider the best science fiction and fantasy published during 2014.
  • If you are publishing online please email copies of stories to jonathan.strahan (at) gmail (dot) com as early as possible. This is particularly important for stories published between October and December which may otherwise be overlooked.

For writers

  • I do not need to receive manuscripts from authors of stories from venues that it’s likely I already receive regularly (I get , Analog, F&SF, Interzone, Black Static, Postscripts etc, but not many of the smaller ‘zines and publications).
  • Please do not send an SASE. This is not a submission, and I’m unable to return manuscripts or respond directly to stories sent to me.
  • If I am considering your story for inclusion in  The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, I will be acquiring non-exclusive World anthology rights in English and foreign languages in print, audio and ebook.

Fearsome Magics delivered!

Cover art for Fearsome Magics
Fearsome Magics

I am very excited to announce that I have just delivered Fearsome Magics, the follow up to my 2013 anthology Fearsome Journeys, to my editor Jonathan Oliver at Solaris Books.   It’s scheduled to be published this October, and I’m very happy with the way the book has turned out.

The final table of contents for the book is:

  • Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
  • The Dun Letter, Christopher Rowe
  • Home is the Haunter (A Sir Hereward and Mr Fitz story), Garth Nix
  • Grigori’s Solution, Isobelle Carmody
  • Dream London Hospital, Tony Ballantyne
  • Safe House, K J Parker
  • Hey Presto!, Ellen Klages
  • The Changeling, James Bradley
  • Migration, Karin Tidbeck
  • On Skybolt Mountain, Justina Robson
  • Where Our Edges Lie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  • Devil’s Bridge, Frances Hardinge
  • The Nursery Corner, Kaaron Warren
  • Aberration, Genevieve Valentine
  • Ice in the Bedroom, Robert Shearman

My thanks to all of the authors, who turned in great stories.  I can’t wait for the book to come out so I can hear what you all think of it.

Half a King, Joe Abercrombie

Half a King, Joe Abercrombie
Half a King, Joe Abercrombie

For some reason 2014 has been a slow reading year for me. In between completing various anthology projects – all now happily delivered – I had only read two novels prior to the Easter weekend: Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep and Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon.  For someone who routinely used to read four or five novels a week, this is far off the pace, and far from what I’d like to be reading to keep up with the field.

Anyway, during Swancon this weekend I happened to mention to my friend Stefen, proprietor of Stefen’s Books here in Perth, that I’d had no luck in trying to get hold of a copy of Joe Abercrombie’s forthcoming YA fantasy novel Half a King  when he reached into his bag and presented me with a copy, saying he’d started to read it but I might like to read it first.

I took the copy home with me on Saturday evening intending to get to it “soon”, but after a long, relaxing family Easter lunch it began to look like exactly the right book to read, and I wasn’t too far wrong.

Joe Abercrombie is best known for his “grim dark” fantasy novels set in the First Law universe.  Half a King is a little different.  Set in a world that feels heavily influenced by Viking sagas and the icy windswept Northern corners of our own world, it’s the story of a young prince born with a deformed hand who is thrown unexpectedly into the kingship when his father and brother are killed in battle.

Without giving away more than you’d find on the dust jacket of the book, our hero Prince Yarvi  is betrayed, loses his place in his world, falls to the lowest of lows, and must use his wits to try to fulfil the oath he has made to avenge his father and brother.

Although Half a King lacks some of the darkness and even weirdness of a typical Abercrombie novel, it does have a propulsive plot that drags you forward, a bunch of engaging characters and more than enough twists and turns to make sure you’re constantly engaged. And while it takes a very conventional looking young hero faces adversity to win out in the end kind of story, Abercrombie adds more than enough to it to make keep it interesting.

I admit when I read the back cover of the book and then the opening chapter I wondered if I would find story a bit too generic and predictable, but I fell into the book very quickly and was still reading at 2am,  which hasn’t happened in a long time, and the first thing I did when I woke up was to finish it.  There are twists and turns aplenty and I, for one, can’t wait to read Half a World when it comes out early next year. I’ve not read enough to know if Half a King is a “book of the year” or not, but whether it is or not, it’s definitely a terrific read.

How would I synopsise it? Imagine if Robert E Howard had written David Edding’s The Belgariad, and you might get a hint of it. Fun stuff!

My sincere thanks to Stefen for letting me borrow his copy of the book.