All posts by Jonathan Strahan

A Kaleidoscope of fantasy…

I am good friends with World Fantasy Award winning editor and independent press publisher Alisa Krasnostein. I’ve followed her work since she started publishing and have been deeply impressed by her energy, her commitment and her good taste in fiction.  That’s why I was excited to hear that she was joining up with Julia Rios to co-edit and publish Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Fantasy.

Alisa and Julia’s goal is to publish an anthology of great YA fantasy fiction created by a truly diverse range of writers that presents a range of viewpoints and experiences that more closely match the rainbow coloured world we live: one that encompasses as many viewpoints and character types as possible.

To help with publishing this important book Alisa and Julia are running a Pozzible campaign to help raise the money to pay writers full professional rates and to create the kind of physical book that this project deserves.

If you love fantasy, if you love YA Fiction, if you think we need a broader range of voices heard in science fiction and fantasy, please consider supporting the campaign. Every little bit helps.

Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl has died. If you’re reading this and wonder why this is important, there’s a clue or two here. Pohl started publishing in 1937, attended the first Worldcon in 1939, and was part of pretty much everything interesting in science fiction for the next 60 years.

As a writer he co-wrote some of the best satire the field has seen with C.M. Kornbluth, and one of the greatest space adventures too. His fiction was sharp and smart and dark and sometimes sly.  There’s a taste of what he could do in his short fiction. He was also an incredible editor, editing Galaxy and If magazines, the influential Star anthology series and novels like Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren and Joanna Russ’s The Female Man. He  was instrumental in publishing Cordwainer Smith, R.A. Lafferty and many others. Pohl was an influential literary agent, a Hugo Award winning blogger, and even wrote for the Encyclopedia Brittanica back when that really meant something.

I had a chance to talk to Pohl once. I was at the launch for Scot Edelman’s SF Age at the 1993 WorldCon in San Francisco. The event was held in a large room with big circular ottomans that people were sitting on.  I was sitting on one with Jeremy Byrne, when I noticed an elderly couple sitting on the other side of the ottoman (about six or eight feet away). It was Pohl. I was so overcome I couldn’t say anything. I remember whispering in an awed voice to Jeremy “that’s Fred Pohl!”. I couldn’t imagine actually talking to him. I wish I had, because then I could have thanked him for the many hours of pleasure his work gave me, how much I’d loved The Space Merchants and Gateway and Man Plus and The Years of the City. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.

My old friend Charles Brown said the thing that made Fred Pohl so impressive was that he constantly interested in and engaged by the world. He travelled extensively, often with Charles, and that was reflected in his work. With his passing, I think the first great Golden Age of Science Fiction has finally ended. Vale.

Subterranean shines with new issue

Subterranean Magazine
Subterranean Magazine

There are many reasons that I love Bill Schafer and Subterranean Press.  As a book lover, I appreciate the well curated, sharply designed and beautifully produced books that they produce. As an editor who has worked with the press, I am staggered by their professionalism and generosity. Everything is done right, and if there’s a minor issue it’s resolved quickly and easily. And as a reader, I love what they choose to publish. Whether it’s Lucius Shepard’s The Dragon Graiule or the eight volumes of The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg or their recent gorgeous Harlan Ellison reprints – they’re all essential.

And then there’s the magazine. I’ve guest edited an issue of Subterranean Magazine and appreciate the quality and variety of work featured by Bill in the magazine, as well as his excellent taste and careful curatorship.  The twenty eight issues published to date include some of the best short fiction published anywhere over the past five years. His support of K.J. Parker’s short fiction alone makes it essential reading.

The latest issue has just been published and it features:

A major new novella by Lewis Shiner and a terrific novelette by Ted Chiang make it a stand out. I recommend the issue heartily and suggest you take a moment to let Bill and the gang know how much you appreciate what they do. I will be.

Admitting defeat

Last night I received an email from my good friend Ian Mond suggesting that it might be time to wind up the Last Short Story podcast. We’d started it, along with our Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth colleagues, last October in a fit of energy and enthusiasm. We would, we thought, do a monthly podcast devoted to discussing just a single new collected work of short fiction.

It seemed like a good idea. It seemed like a great idea. But there was an underlying truth behind it: we were doing it because we were struggling to keep up with all of the short fiction coming out and many of us were tired and some just wanted to read a novel or two.

We produced a six or seven episodes, and then began to run out of steam. Ian’s email just stated what we all knew and, once he’d said it, we all knew it was time. My sincere thanks to Ian, Tansy, Alex, Tehani, Alisa, and everyone else. It was fun to do, but we’ve closed the podcast. It’s now offline, though we may look for some kind of repository for the episodes in future.