Here’s a new installment of The Week That Was: an overview of SF&F-related articles and reviews I considered interesting and/or well written this week. As always, I want to emphasize that this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive summary of everything that happened, but instead just a quick look at some things I want to share in case you missed them!
Justin at Staffer’s Musings is on a roll lately with some great posts. Here’s another one, in which he compares SF&F publishing to baseball. I just kept nodding as I was reading this article, because it really matches my experience. I even realized I’d mentioned similar things in my reviews, e.g. when I pointed out that Angry Robot tends to publish genre-bending books and felt that Giant Thief, which I reviewed here this week, was an uncommonly straightforward fantasy for that publisher. Or when I felt that I was posting a LOT of reviews of Night Shade Books titles lately: they are indeed, as Justin points out, releasing a lot of work by brand new, exciting authors, and that’s simply the kind of thing I like to review. All of this is a result of the trend Justin describes in his article. (Justin has several other interesting articles up this week, but I really can’t turn this entire section of my blog over to Staffer’s Musings, so I’ll just urge you to take a look at the other things he posted.)
I’ve never been a big Wheel of Time fan. I read the first seven and a half books in Robert Jordan’s opus, but like many fans back then, I got stranded in book eight and never got back to the series. Adam at the excellent Wertzone blog is doing a Story So Far-type series of posts to lead into the long-awaited release of the final book. If you’re a WoT-fan and want a refresher, take a peek here. Based on this first post, I got really motivated to pick up the series again – if only I had the time to read them! (By the way, in a tactic similar to a pusher’s “here you go, the first one is free”, Tor is currently offering the first installment of the series for only $0.99 here.)
I purchased my Supporting Membership for WorldCon this week. I’m motivated in part by last year’s very attractive Hugo Voter Packet (which I wrote about here) and in part by a genuine desire to be an active member of the fan community and make my voice heard by nominating and voting in the Hugo Awards. If either of those factors apply to you, and I think this may very well be the case if you read this and other SFF blogs regularly, why not consider buying a Supporting Membership too?
So. All that being said, there’s a bit of a controversy going on right now about the eligibility of blogs in the Best Fanzine category of the Hugo Awards. You can get a basic run-down of the situation in this post at Aidan’s A Dribble of Ink blog. Needless to say, I strongly feel that blogs should be eligible. I have a great amount of respect for print fanzines, but I also believe that many SFF blogs deserve the same amount of respect. People who don’t think that SFF blogs make a valuable contribution to the community may not have read very many of them on a regular basis. We have to move with the times, folks. Just like ebooks are here to stay, SFF fan-writing will continue to move online. Bloggers don’t use copiers and don’t put stamps on their writings, but that doesn’t make their contributions any less insightful or valuable. The best examples deserve to be honored along with their more traditional, printed brethren. And sistren. I, for one, will be nominating several blogs. (I’ll devote a full post to my Hugo nominations later on, once I’ve, well, made up my mind about what to nominate.)
I make it a point to avoid reading reviews of books I still plan to review myself, but I do peek around once my own review has been posted. This week, I found a great review of Planesrunner by Ian McDonald on the excellent Speculative Scotsman blog. Niall and I seem to agree that this is a great YA novel. If you want to compare, my own review can be found here.
Locus is an institution in the SFF world, and this week they released their Recommended Reading List for 2011. This list has by now been the subject of lots of bickering and “this should have been included” and “this didn’t deserve to be on it” and so on. Whatever the case may be, it’s not a bad reading list, if you want to read some excellent SF and fantasy from 2011.
I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I’m a big fan of Ted Chiang, whose Stories of Your Life and Others I reviewed here. This week, Suvudu posted an interesting interview with Chiang, conducted by author Peter Orullian. Worth a read if you like Chiang’s work, or if you just want to read a wide-ranging conversation between two people who have given a lot of thought to SF as a genre.
My review of Giant Thief by David Tallerman just went up at Tor.com this past Tuesday, so I can’t post it on this site quite yet, but for now here’s a little taste: a fun interview with the author at The Qwillery (love that name). David also called my review “impressively thorough” on his blog, which made me happy happy.
Finally, some bittersweet personal news: after two and a half years, I have decided to leave Fantasy Literature. It was a great experience working with the FanLit team, and I wish them the best of luck. I will still occasionally contribute guest reviews to their site, but right now I mainly want to focus on this blog and my other writing work.
And that’s it for this week!