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Speculative Fiction 2014: Announcement and Call for Submissions!



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!


This year, we’re pleased to say that we — Shaun Duke from The World in a Satin Bag and Renay from Lady Business — will be editors of Speculative Fiction 2014.

The first volume of Speculative Fiction, released in 2012, collected 52 pieces from authors, bloggers, and critics, and is nominated for the 2014 Hugo Awards in Best Related Work. The second volume, Speculative Fiction 2013, collects 53 pieces. All profits from the sales of Speculative Fiction will be donated to Room to Read. Each edition is published by Jurassic London.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

It’s October! Time to submit all your favorite September reviews, commentary, and meta to Speculative Fiction 2014! :D

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How to properly pet animals by Adam Ellis

started dying after fish lmfao

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The deathly hallows (x)

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Book Smugglers Raises Rates and Opens Submissions for Spec Fiction Stories - Pays 6 cents/word



Book review blog Book Smugglers (est. 2008) has issued an open call for submissions to find the best original speculative fiction short stories based on the theme of “First Contact.” Founders and publishers Thea James and Ana Grilo plan to publish at least three stories, connected to the main theme, between April and June of 2015. Original artwork by a commissioned illustrator will accompany each story.

Read More

Signal boost

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Lovecraft Apologists and the World Fantasy Award


About three years ago, World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor wrote an essay about Lovecraft’s Racism and the World Fantasy Award Statuette. Earlier this year, author and editor Daniel José Older started a petition to change the World Fantasy Award trophy to Octavia Butler. There’s been plenty of other discussion, but those are two of the pieces that stood out to me, and seemed to generate a lot of awareness and debate.

There is now a counter-petition to keep Lovecraft and fight back against the forces of the Social Justice League, or something like that.

I’m not sure we should make Octavia Butler the new WFA statuette, in part because I’m not sure any specific individual is the best image for an award meant to represent the world of fantasy. But I am 100% on board with getting rid of the trophy we have now.

WFA TrophyFirst of all, I’m sorry, but I find the trophy to be almost obscenely ugly. I get that it’s intended to be a caricature, and artist Gahan Wilson is obviously a skilled sculptor and artist. But Wilson’s style is described as “fantasy-horror” and “playful grotesque,” and I just don’t think one of the top awards in our field should be embodied by the word “grotesque.”

As numerous others have pointed out, there’s a deeper level of grotesqueness. Lovecraft undeniably influenced the fantasy and horror genre. He was also undeniably racist. In Nnedi’s blog post, she quotes Lovecraft’s 1912 poem “On the Creation of Niggers“:

To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.

This isn’t the only example of racism in Lovecraft’s work, though it’s one of the more blatant. Phenderson Djeli Clark has an essay examining Lovecraft’s racism at Racialicious.

Steven Stevenson disagrees, and posted a counter-petition to “Keep the beloved H.P. Lovecraft caricature busts (‘Howards’) as World Fantasy Awards trophies, don’t ban them to be PC!

The very first sentence describes Lovecraft’s “racism” in scare quotes — because sure, the guy’s writing was full of references to “subhuman swine” and the “negro problem” and “sneering, greasy mulattos” and how blacks are “vastly inferior” and “negro fetishism” and a cat called “Nigger Man” and so on. But let’s not leap to conclusions and label such things racist.

Stevenson admits that some of Lovecraft’s personal views were “less than ideal.” But he quickly explains that Lovecraft was a product of his time.

This excuse is, to use the technical term, bullshit.

Lovecraft was a product of his time, and spewed an awful lot of hateful, racist shit in his fiction and in his personal writing. There are a lot of other authors who were a product of that same time, and they somehow managed to avoid dousing every page in fetid, over-the-top racism.

This isn’t to say Lovecraft’s contemporaries were perfect. L. Frank Baum wrote a nasty editorial regarding the Sioux nation. I could barely finish Edgar Rice Burrough’s first Tarzan novel. But while it is important to acknowledge historical and cultural context, Lovecraft’s bigotry is pretty extreme, even when examined within that context.

Samuel Bowers co-founded the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and was convicted of murdering several civil rights leaders. He was a product of his time. You know who else was a product of that exact same time? Mister Rogers. Any given time will produce a whole range of people, from amazing, kind, compassionate human beings to frightened, hateful cowards.

There’s no need to deny that Lovecraft was an influential writer. And nobody’s saying you’re not allowed to read or even enjoy his stories. (Though you might want to check out How to Be a Fan of Problematic Things.) But let’s not pretend the man didn’t hold and espouse some despicable views on race.

Stevenson hits other tired buzzwords and phrases in his petition. It’s just the “humourless PC crowd” who want the trophy changed. Arguing for that change is suggested to be a “fascist act.” He also throws in an attack on “the misandry … promoted by many self-described ‘feminist authors’.” Because if you’re going to play Defensive Apologist Bingo, you want to fill the whole damn board!

The complaints about Lovecraft and the World Fantasy Award aren’t about “diminish[ing] him for being male and Caucasian.” It’s about wanting something other than the bulging decapitated head of an over-the-top racist to embody one of the highest honors in our genre.

So yeah, if I haven’t made it clear before, add my voice to the crowd calling for a change. I don’t know that the trophy should be any specific individual, but at this point, I think just about anything would be an improvement. (Please don’t take that as a challenge.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Reason #574 why I love rainbowrowell and why you should follow her on twitter

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Neil deGrasse Tyson is not impressed with all your sexism.

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Harry Potter Travel Posters - Created by The Green Dragon Inn

Prints are available for sale on Etsy. Check more of their travel designs here.

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People assume that I’m daddy’s helpless little girl, but I can handle myself. 

always reblog Asami

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My mother taught me to shoot, but it was Auntie Rosa who bought me my first rifle. It was long and sleek and shiny, varnished wood and brass and just my size. I fell in love at first sight.

“Isn’t she a trifle young for a firearm?” said my mother.

“Too young? Ha. Seven is almost too old,” said Auntie Rosa. She reached down and ruffled my hair as I ran my fingers along the stock over and over again, marveling at the living smoothness of the wood. “Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.”

I spent more time with Auntie Rosa growing up than I did my mother. I loved my mother—and I was certain she loved me—but she was a reserved woman. Aloof.

I wondered sometimes how she and Auntie Rosa had become so close. Auntie Rosa was an enormous presence, tall and big-boned with a personality to match. Sometimes, when they were together, I saw my mother laugh.

Maybe it wasn’t that my mother didn’t know how to express love, but that she didn’t know how to interact with a child, other than teaching me how to hunt and fish and lay in stores for the winter. My earliest memory is my mother placing a firm hand across my lips as we crouched in the dry leaves on a hillside, her rifle slung from her shoulder, her lean frame alert and arrow-straight and her black eyes flicking down through the woods. In my memory I am very, very still, though I remember to raise tiny hands and press them against my ears as hard as I can as my mother eases her rifle up to her shoulder and tilts her head behind the sights. The roar when she pulls the trigger is devastating, the thunder and flame of Heaven and Hell, and my mother’s blade-thin silhouette is backlit by the setting sun and she looks like a god. And I love her.

Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang. Read the short story for free HERE.