A Smugglerific Cover (& Giveaway): A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne
Today we are super delighted to unveil the cover for A Hero at End of the World, Erin Claiborne’s debut novel. The book comes out on November 11 2014 and it’s the first release from a new publishing venture called Big Bang Press, dedicated to publish original fiction by emerging talent from the fan writing community. A Hero at End of the World has already earned a starred review from Kirkus! But enough from us.
What are you waiting for? Go HERE to see the Smugglerific Cover and to enter the giveaway!
Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary is an anthology that celebrates online science fiction and fantasy non-fiction and its influence on the community. Each year, a collection of the anthology will be curated by rotating editors. Last year, Ana and Thea from The Book Smugglers created Speculative Fiction 2013, which is out now!
The 2013 edition contains an afterword written by us, which explains what we’ll be looking for as the conversation surrounding SF continues throughout 2014. As we edit, we will follow those stated guidelines:
We will continue the work of previous editors in finding symmetry between long term, ongoing debates and original discussions spurred by new developments in genre culture, both in creative content and fan response.
We will embrace the rich diversity of voices both from within SF fandom and beyond, with the recognition that important genre conversations are happening outside standard literary SF community culture and its platforms.
We will do our best to strive for parity in gender, sexuality, race, and nationality in recognition that as a fandom, SF is stronger when it includes the perspectives that may lie outside U.S. and U.K. cultural narratives.
What we’re looking for in 2014:
We’re looking for non-fiction reviews, essays, and criticism (“works”) with speculative fiction at their core. This can include science fiction, fantasy, horror, and topics that fall under or align with those topics.
We welcome works about all forms of media, including but not limited to: books; film; television; all forms of games from tabletop to games next-gen consoles; and comics and manga.
The work must have a publication date between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
Anyone is eligible for inclusion: authors, fans, bloggers, critics who blog, bloggers who are authors, etc.), and all identifications are welcome, from full legal names to fannish pseudonyms.
Everyone is welcome to submit any link they find interesting even if they are not the author (we’ll ask permission of the authors before including anything).
There is no limit on nominations. If you see five relevant posts, we’ll take them! If you see 50, we’ll take those, too.
We’re aiming for pieces between 800 - 1500 words, but longer pieces are absolutely welcome.
Submitted works can be from anywhere in the world, although we do need an English translation for consideration.
SPECIAL NOTE: we are very interested in receiving commentary on speculative fiction from the young adult community, media fandom (mainstream film/television), academia, and less represented fandoms, such as anime/manga, as well as content on a wide array of platforms, including tumblr and other nontraditional writing spaces.
With our goals in mind, we’re happy to announce that we’re open for submissions! Send us the best reviews, commentaries, and other non-fiction works using this form. Thanks! :D
Monthly signal boost! Looking for awesome SF-related reviews, meta, and commentary from January 1, 2014 up until now. If you’ve read (or written!) something about a science fiction/fantasy canon or fandom, feel free to submit it. :D
They’ll talk about diversity and anti-racism, but will interpret people pointing out whiteness and straightness as an insult rather than a fact. They’ll see it as an attack, because they’re used to comfy invisibility-as-default. They’ll praise “colorblindness” as though it’s something to aspire to. “Colorblindness” as an ideal has been criticized at length by many, many smart people—let’s listen. Don’t strive to make the marginalized invisible; strive to make the privileged visible.
It’ll make people uncomfortable. Trust me. They’ll live. The least the privileged can do is be aware of it.
Notice. Again and again and again, until it drives you to frustration because it’s everywhere. Until it drives others to frustration because they’re starting to notice, too, and now they can’t stop either.
Do not allow the barrage of majority narratives to pass unremarked upon.
Attending LonCon 3? Well, have I got a deal for you! It’s called Blogger Voltron, and it’s going to rock.!
You’ll get to meet me, and Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review, and Ana Grilo & Thea James of The Book Smugglers, Jared Shurin and Anne Perry, too! In fact, pretty much every cool blogger will be there, and, as everyone knows, we run the show, so it’s best to keep us feeling good about…
“My point was that in a country that has become so extraordinarily diverse, we still imagine a white writer as the universal writer – and that absurdity is becoming almost unsustainable. I visit high schools all the time. When I look at the kids that are coming up, they look nothing like the writers that we’re all running around calling the voice of this country. Despite what we would like to think, the lag time between what a culture recognizes as its country and what the country is, my brother, is quite extraordinary. Outside of a few strains, I feel like the literary apparatus still thinks of this country very much in the 1950s.”—Junot Diaz, Salon.com (via richincolor)
Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary is an anthology that celebrates online science fiction and fantasy non-fiction and its influence on the community. Each year, a collection of the anthology will be curated by…
The beauty of any “best of” collection is that it allows the reader to experience the full expanse of the author’s writing and story telling. And, if the collection is indeed worth its (literal) weight, then the book will hopefully have some small treasure, a story unfamiliar to the reader, even if the reader is one of the author’s biggest fans. That was true of The Very Best of Tad Williams (see my November 13, 2013 blog post); and it holds true on my most recent project, The Very Best of Kate Elliott, both from Tachyon Publications.
This is a lovely post whose kind words I much appreciate, but I’m actually re-blogging this because I cannot get over how unbelievably fabulous this piece by Julie Dillon is — no matter how many times I see it and even though it is my wall paper on my desktop AND I have a framed print of it hanging in my house AS WELL (you can get a framed print also at Julie’s INPRNT store), it just blows me away the way she uses color, light, and the flow of line to spectacular effect.
This is Lexie Madison’s story, not mine. I’d love to tell you one without getting into the other, but it doesn’t work that way. I used to think I sewed us together at the edges with my own hands, pulled the stitches tight and I could unpick them any time I wanted. Now I think it always ran deeper than that and farther, underground; out of sight and way beyond my control.
This much is mine, though: everything I did. Frank puts it all down to the others, mainly to Daniel, while as far as I can tell Sam thinks that, in some obscure and slightly bizarro way, it was Lexie’s fault. When I say it wasn’t like that, they give me careful sideways looks and change the subject — I get the feeling Frank thinks I have some creepy variant of Stockholm syndrome. That does happen to undercovers sometimes, but not this time. I’m not trying to protect anyone; there’s no one left to protect. Lexie and the others will never know they’re taking the blame and wouldn’t care if they did. But give me more credit than that. Someone else may have dealt the hand, but I picked it up off the table, I played every card, and I had my reasons.
”—The Likeness by Tana French. SO awesome (and reviewed here).
At one point when reading Barricade it struck me how there were only but a few women present in this narrative. The three main characters (two men, one woman) travel around Britain for weeks and they meet dozens of people and barely any of those are female. This world seems to be populated mostly by “he” (soldiers, survivors, fighters, scientists, workers, heroes and anti-heroes ) with the occasional “she” (pleasure “bots”, incompetent supervisors, victims, a kindly old woman, a dead wife and one rapist) thrown in for good measure.
Where are all the women in this world, I asked myself, how can you imagine a whole future and not imagine women in it?
Too often, using dialects or foreign languages in fiction is demeaned as a trick. Often, the implication is that those words are optional and that the writer can simply remove them or water them down without doing harm to the story. That view gives short shrift to the experience of anyone who understands the dialect or foreign language in question.
What’s actually happening when a story spans multiple dialects is much more interesting. To explain, at least by way of a parallel, I’m going to talk about the history behind the orchestration of The Carousel Waltz from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel:
In American musical theater, the composers rarely orchestrate their own scores. Even those composers who have the skill rarely have the time while they are writing a show. More often than not, they hire orchestrators to turn their score into something that instrumentalists in a pit can play.
The great Robert Russell Bennett was originally supposed to orchestrate the whole of Carousel. He orchestrated parts of the score, including the 8-minute long Carousel Waltz that opens the show, before dropping out due to prior commitments. Don Walker took over. He did the much of the remaining work himself as well as farming out pieces of the score to other orchestrators. Carousel has a lot of music.
Months after the show opened on Broadway, Richard Rodgers asked Don Walker to reorchestrate the parts of the score that Robert Russell Bennett had originally orchestrated, including the Carousel Waltz. Walker would eventually replace most, but not all, of Bennett’s work with his own. Some of Bennett’s work still remains in Carousel but not his orchestrations for the Carousel Waltz (which is now lost).
The new theatrical orchestration of the Carousel Waltz obviously had to match Carousel‘s existing pit instrumentation, but Rodgers also needed an orchestration suitable for an upcoming concert performance. Rodgers did not want Walker to write two different orchestrations. Rodgers wanted one orchestration which incorporated a set of additional instruments. Without those instruments, the instrumentation matched that of the Carousel pit. With those instruments, the instrumentation matched that of a concert orchestra.
The result had to be an orchestration that sounded complete and satisfying either way. Those additional instruments had to sound integral to the waltz when they were used. The waltz couldn’t sound like it’s missing something when they weren’t used.
Don Walker is quoted as saying, “This was the hardest thing I ever had to do.”
Now, this is just a parallel, not an analogy. Whereas listeners might reasonably experience that orchestration both ways, readers either understand a foreign language or they don’t. However, like how the orchestration of the Carousel Waltz must be compelling in either instrumentation, a story that makes use of dialect or foreign language must be compelling either way. Non-fluent readers must never feel as though something is missing but fluent readers must never feel as though anything is extraneous.
The text tells two different, albeit related, stories. They both have to work for their respective audiences.
Old School Wednesdays: Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor
If you’re craving a middle grade adventure that is original, invigorating, and perfect in just about every way, I implore you to read Zahrah the Windseeker. I loved it very, very much and it is most certainly on my list of favorite old school books read in 2014. Full review
I just can’t blog about this topic anymore. It’s worn me out. But I also can’t muster the reflexive outrage Our Crowd exhibits whenever someone wonders if there’s something weird about civilian adults with a steady reading diet of books for teenagers. There is. But it’s not because these YA books are less complex (a …
Another Children’s Lit Esteemed White Dude “just can’t” blog about this topic anymore and is bored with our “reflexive outrage”… yet says things like “For all its variety and subgenres, YA literature is still more thematically and linguistically narrow than people invested in it like to admit” and “But I think everybody would be better off if we viewed YA as a subgenre of popular fiction for women rather than as a genre for teenaged people.” I hold the Horn Book in very high regard (am practically contractually obligated to due to my graduate school’s relationship with said journal), but please forgive my reflexive outrage as I blog to Our Crowd about this once again. This is getting exhausting.
So I understand that everyone is angry about the John Green thing and his whole girl kissing guy comment, but what I don't understand is a person who has been a fierce advocate for feminism and equality among everyone slips up once and suddenly he's horrible and cocky and just the worst. I genuinely do not understand. If you could explain, that would be lovely. Thank you.
I’m not sure where you saw someone saying he’s horrible, cocky, and just the worst. I mean, I’m sure it’s out there, because people say that kind of thing, but I’ve been lucky enough to miss it.
I have a feeling that once the anger passed, a lot of people were fiercely disappointed. I know I was. When I thought about it more, it wasn’t a feminism or equality thing — it was this: there are two John Greens: the one the media keeps talking about (savior of YA! the only YA author worth reading! etc.) and the actual John Green who had (to my knowledge) never said any of those things, and in fact tried to push away those claims. Which, yay! Because it’d be so easy to fall for what the media says about you.
But this comment read a lot like what the media is always saying, as if he momentarily bought into the hype about himself. So I suspect there are a lot of strong feelings revolving around betrayal in the responses, too.
Think of the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing. John Green has a lot of power in the YA world. He said something careless. If people are calling him “the worst” (or worse!), they’re wrong. He’s far from the worst; his past proves it and one comment doesn’t take that away. But it is fair for people to acknowledge — even publicly — that he said something thoughtless.
There’s also this: for every one person who says “ugh, did he really??” there are five more who defend the comment, insisting it must be a joke, or giving orders to be less sensitive, or saying he’s just really happy about the movie so get over it. (Note that this kind of defense would not have happened for most authors, particularly lady authors.) So I think people are pretty annoyed by that response, too.
Does that help?
And now we’ve hit my max tolerance for internet drama. I will shuffle off to write my book. (She kisses him first.)
Today, we continue our ongoing new series “SFF in Conversation” with two guest posts. Following Aliette de Bodard’s recent Nebula Award for the novelette “The Waiting Stars,” her contribution to the anthology The Other Half of the Sky, we invited the author as well as editor Athena Andreadis over, to talk about women, Science Fiction and memory.
In the wake of this unprecedented coalescence, it is well to remember something that’s often conveniently forgotten: the SF of the late seventies and early eighties was also dominated by women, who did much to shatter the tin and cardboard mo(u)lds of the Leaden Era. Russ, Le Guin, McIntyre, Piercy, to name just a few. It was the time of Pamela Sargent’s indelible Women of Wonder series. It was also the time of “the man to beat”: James Tiptree Jr., whose writing was pronounced “ineluctably masculine” – until it was revealed that James Tiptree was in fact Alice Sheldon, at which point her hitherto-deemed-peerless fiction got shoved into the “feminist” ghetto.
Things have changed in the past decade: they have improved, and are continuing to improve. As a woman author, a new mother (and a woman in STEM), I am all too aware of this. I have been very lucky, and I am thankful to everyone who has supported me this far. It has been an honour to see my fiction recognised in such a strong fashion; and to see the increasing diversity in genre. I wish I could say we have arrived; but the truth is, we still have some way to go.
As proof of this, here is a list of women who vanished from genre, for a short or longer while, and for a variety of reasons. Some are still writing today; others are not. But they all deserve to be read. Go find their stuff; and talk up a storm.
Gill Alderman. Gertrude Barrows Bennett. Joanne Bertin. Pat Cadigan. Sonia Dorman. Theresa Edgerton. Carol Emshwiller. Anne Gay. Patricia Geary. Mary Gentle. Sheila Gilluly. Leigh Kennedy. Jenny Jones. Katherine Kurtz. Karin Lowachee. Elizabeth Lynn. Laurie J Marks. Julian May. Judith Moffett. Pat Murphy. C. L. Moore. Marta Randall. Melanie Rawn. Mary Doria Russell. Justina Robson. Michaela Roessner. Josephine Saxton. Ekaterina Sedia. Alison Sinclair. Margaret St Clair. Tricia Sullivan. Paula Volsky. Elizabeth Wiley. Kate Wilhem. Helen Wright. Mickey Zucker Reichert.
Ana and Thea here, fresh from a weekend of intense weekend of brainstorming and planning (and eating, drinking & geeking). We have some exciting news:
For the past six years we have been reading, commenting on, and sharing our thoughts about stories. After the amazing experience of curating Speculative Fiction 2013, we Book Smugglers want to continue to find and publish the best and brightest voices in SFF. This time, we’re looking for original short stories from all around the world. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories every year, unified by a central theme (that will change each year). Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately.
In 2014, we are looking for subversive fairy tale retellings.
These retellings need not be reimaginings of Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, or Charles Perrault (although we love these fables and are happy to read and consider any retellings); we want a broader pool of stories, traditions, and canons to choose from.
What We’re Looking For:
DIVERSITY. We want to read and publish short stories that reflect the diverse world we live in, about and from traditionally underrepresented perspectives.
Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult audience submissions are welcome. Good speculative fiction is ageless!
Creativity & Subversion. We love subversive stories. We want you to challenge the status quo with your characters, story telling technique, and themes.
Guidelines for Submission: (check out our official page here)
We are looking for original speculative fiction, between 1,500 and 17,500 words long.
These SFF offerings must be previously unpublished; we do not accept simultaneous submissions.
Profanity, sex, and other explicit situations are fine as long as they fit within the context of the story.
Submissions are open now, and will be open through July 31, 2014.
Payment and Terms: We are funding this ourselves because we are passionate about finding new and diverse voices in SFF. We will be paying $0.05 per word up to $500 (although we welcome stories from a minimum of 1,500 words and up to a maximum of 17,500 words long). We plan on publishing these short stories for free in their entirety on thebooksmugglers.com. We also plan on selling these stories in ebook and limited print editions at a 50% net royalty, with possible inclusion in future anthologies (royalty to be negotiated). We ask for exclusive rights for a year, and non-exclusive rights following that.
How to Submit: Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please attach your full story as a document (.doc, .docx, .rtf). Please do not send your story as text in the body of an email. A cover letter is not strictly necessary but welcome, and we would love to learn a little bit about you and the inspiration behind your work (or anything else you think is relevant to your story submission).
We will reply to all authors who have submitted work by August 15, 2014.
We are happy to answer any of your questions - leave a comment or email us (email@example.com), and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. And… that’s it! We hope to be reading your excellent short stories very soon.