- Locus, May 2013
- Lord of the White Hell Book One & Book Two, Ginn Hale
- Ginn Hale et al, Irregulars
New York Review of Science Fiction #296
Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 80
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar
- Electric Velocipede, issue 26
- At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson
- “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
- “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 1/12)
- After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
- “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species”, Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
- “(To See the Other) Whole Against the Sky”, E. Catherine Tobler (Clarkesworld 11/12)
- After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
- Shoggoths in Bloom, Elizabeth Bear (Prime)
- At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
- The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth and Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
- Locus April 2013 (#627), Terry Bisson, Libba Bray, Ken Liu, Caniglia.
- Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 79, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Kali Wallce, Emily C. Skaftun, Kij Johnson, Robert Reed, and David Moles; Ken Liu, Myke Cole, Daniel Abraham, and Neil Clarke.
- Lightspeed Magazine Issue 35, John Joseph Adams, Desirina Boskovich, Hugh Howey, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Robert Silverberg, Anaea Lay, Karin Tidbeck, Bruce Sterling, Christopher Barzak, Jane Yolen, Brandon Sanderson, Nina Allan, and Linda Nagata.
- New York Review of Science Fiction #295
- Nightmare Magazine Issue 7, Marc Laidlaw, Weston Ochse, Elizabeth Hand, Angela Slatter, Sarah Langan.
- Clarkesworld Magazine
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
- Lightspeed Magazine
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies
- New York Review of Science Fiction
- Ginn Hale et al, Irregulars
- Conservation of Shadows, Yoon Ha Lee
- The Human Front, Ken MacLeod
- One Saved to the Sea, Catt Kingsgrave
- A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar
At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson
Check out the dark science fiction stories in Joanne Anderton’s The Bone Chime and Other Stories, one of a number of new Australian collections and anthologies that have just been added from FableCroft, who previously brought us the popular anthology After the Rain.Their two new anthologies are One Small Step, an Anthology of Discoveries edited by Tehani Wessely and Canterbury 2100: Pilgrimages in a New World, edited by Dirk Flinthart.
This week we added issue 3 of Chelsea Station, and for fans of this new magazine of gay writing, the good news is that issue 4 is coming out next week. There are 2 other new CSE titles, a book of essays, Love, Christopher Street by Thomas Keith and Lambda Award winner Tom Cardamone’s Pacific Rimming. I really liked his novella Green Thumb, which was published by Lethe Press. If you want to know what’s coming up from Lethe, check our their catalog here.
There are also two freebies available from O’Reilly: The Human Side of PostMortems by Dave Zwieback and Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything by Jeffrey Needham.
I’m pleased to see Helen Marshall’s collection, Hair Side, Flesh Side, is now available. We were lucky enough to have one of the stories, “The Book of Judgment” (Jane Austen!), in LCRW 28. Speaking of ChiZine books, another debut collection (although not debut!) has popped also up here, Michael Marano’s Stories from the Plague Years. It might be too dark for me, although I like the description: “…lush portraits both terrifying and tender, injecting even the darkest of fantasies with a punk rock sensibility and a touch of the humane.”
And for fans of the horror stories, here’s a freebie from Apex, Sarah M. Harvey’s The Convent of the Pure.
Weightless Books interviews Scott H. Andrews, publisher and editor-in-chief of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a literary adventure fantasy zine.
Q: What are you hoping the reader takes away from Beneath Ceaseless Skies?
A: I hope that the reader, once they finish a BCS story, realizes that at some point during or after that read of what was hopefully an entertaining or awe-inspiring fantasy story, they were also made to think about what it means to be human. The human condition; to think on that universal question of what it means to be who we are.
Some stories I think do that while you’re reading them. By the nature of their characters or theme, you can’t help but ponder such questions in the moment. Other stories I think feel more purely entertainment while you’re reading, but later you realize that there actually was an undercurrent of something more personal and profound woven in beneath the entertainment.
Q: As an editor, how do you know when you have a story that’s right for Beneath Ceaseless Skies?
A: A big part of it for me is the richness of the fantasy setting. Lush and awe-inspiring worlds are a personal favorite of mine and a hallmark of the magazine. In short fiction, of course, it’s harder to develop and display such a world than in a longer work. But an interesting world, and a writer who has made skillful choices about what of the world to show in the limited space of a short story, always engage me.
Yet alongside that I also need to feel a character who resonates with me. Maybe it’s their personality or attitude. Maybe it’s what they’re striving for or trying to avoid, or trying to solve or come to terms with or understand. Maybe it’s a tone or quirk in the voice that the author has crafted for that character’s narrative. The world is important to me, but without a person whose story is taking place in that world, then for me it doesn’t feel alive.
A: A recent favorite would be “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow, from this past January. It’s a lush and interesting setting, a rich and droll voice, and I think it speaks very well to many aspects of what it means to be human.
It’s hard to single out just a couple from over two hundred stories, but a few past favorites include “Thieves of Silence” by Holly Phillips, a story of seduction by belonging, and “The Isthmus Variation” by Kris Millering, which features personal dynamics among a company of players performing a fascinating live-action tableau that has a hidden purpose.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone thinking about starting an zine?
A: Starting a zine, and then keeping it going, is a colossal time commitment. The last decade of F/SF short fiction is littered with zines that lasted only a couple issues because the editors didn’t realize what they were getting into; for example, didn’t understand that they would be deluged with hundreds of submissions a month.
For any aspiring editors out there who aren’t dissuaded by that , my main piece of advice would be to treat everything thoroughly professionally. Be prompt in replying to people and unfailingly polite. Be organized, so things won’t slip through the cracks. Plan well for how you’re going to handle things (like that deluge of hundreds of submissions a month) both now and in the future.
Q: You’re a writer, too. How has that fact influenced your interactions with people who submit stories to Beneath Ceaseless Skies?
A: My experiences as a short fiction writer are a huge influence on my interactions with writers who submit to BCS and who I buy from.
The most prominent example is that every rejection we send is personalized with comments. I know of no other magazine that does that. It takes a lot of extra time, but I know that many up-and-coming short fiction writers are eager for a few thoughtful comments on why their story didn’t work for one particular magazine. We often hear from writers that they used the comments from our personalized rejection when they revised the story and it later sold to Realms of Fantasy or F&SF or another equally top-level magazine.
I also think my experience as a writer makes me better able to interface with BCS writers on revisions or rewrites. I know what that process is like from the writer’s side of things, and that I think helps me to work within their vision for the story while tweaking it in the ways that I think it needs in order to fit with BCS.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a 2012 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine, is available for DRM-free purchase from Weightless Books. Scott H. Andrews is shown at right in a dog-faced bascinet.
The May issue of Locus was last month’s bestseller, no doubt helped by the focus on indie publishing (yay!). You can read more about it here. Ginn Hale, superstar, took 2nd and 3rd place—and The Rifter popped up again on the Subscription List: maybe I missed some kind of Ginn Hale news? The books were followed mostly by magazines: props to the new issue of Electric Velocipede for making the list! Wearing my (nonexistent, maybe I should get one?) Small Beer Press hat, it’s heartening to see Sofia Samatar’s dense and beautiful debut novel A Stranger in Olondria and Kij Johnson’s very different At the Mouth of the River of Bees on the list.
In subscriptions Clarkesworld once again had a heck of a month—surely powered by all those awards and nominations—and their 80th issue was packed with all the goodies. At the moment, Clarkesworld is also the most popular magazine on Weightless.
The stories in Issue 48 of Apex Magazine don’t always look like horror when they begin. They might even start on the bright side of a field on the outskirts of Topeka, Kansas. But somewhere in the middle of the story, chances are the heroine is going to be at least metaphorically hanging over a gaping chasm in the earth with a ghost nibbling at her toes and a maddened ostrich-tamer threatening to flay her fingers from above.
“Come to My Arms, My Beamish Boy” by Douglas F. Warrick was my favorite new story in Apex Magazine this month. The narrator, Cotton, is dying. He isn’t too happy about his impending demise. “Every organism on earth had this crazy seizure of energy and emotion for a short period, had the chance to change everything, and then fizzled out and died.” He’s also worried about how his diminished faculties leave him unable to communicate with anyone but Professor Eisley, the only other person who can see the lampreys closing in on Cotton. “He could see the shiny wet head of one of the shadowy things, the lamprey-children, the sucker-babies, just cresting over the metal guardrail of the bed.” This is a disturbing little story.
Apex Magazine also offers a Joe R. Lansdale double-feature—a classic story and an interview. Lansdale’s “Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back” tells of a man who feels guilty about his role in a nuclear holocaust. The first worst part of the tale is that the narrator’s wife is helping him pay for his sins. “Never once did I complain. She’d send the needles home as hard and deep as she could, and though I might moan or cry out, I never asked her to stop.” I wanted to stop reading this story just the way I want to stop reading every great horror story I encounter, but instead, I just hoped whatever image the story left me with was one I wouldn’t see in the bathroom mirror in the middle of the night. The thing with the needles is creepy and weird. Then the second worst thing happened in the story. Hint: it begins with a “z” and rhymes with “nombies.”
Maggie Slater interviews Lansdale about “Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back” and about writing in general in Issue 48. Lansdale is an eight-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. His writing is a gift to the reader. His Apex interview is a gift to the writer. If you like to write, read this interview for advice that comes from long experience.
Nominated for a Hugo this year for Best Semiprozine, Apex Magazine is published on the first Tuesday of every month. DRM-free subscriptions (including Issue 48 with stories by Lansdale and Warrick) or individual issues can be purchased on Weightless Books.
Congratulations to all the writers who received Nebula Awards last night in San Jose, Ca! I loved Kim Stanley Robinson‘s 2312 and am very happy to see it win. Andy Duncan won for “Close Encounters” (novelette) and Norton Award winner was E.C. Myers for Fair Coin. Winners here on Weightless:
Novella After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress
Short Story “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
The full list of winners is on Locus.
This week we added the first 50 or so titles from 2000+ O’Reilly Media titles we’ll be adding this month. O’Reilly are the ne plus ultra of computing books and we are very happy to be able to bring their excellent (and excellently made) DRM-free ebooks to Weightless. I used to love stocking the O’Reilly catalog—all those gnus and aardvarks and all kinds of animals! I know we have some readers who lean towards reading manuals for fun and hope that you’ll be tempted to pick them up here. (If any computational-minded readers want to write about O’Reilly books for us, drop me a line!)
New this week from the great north, Helen Marshall’s Hair Side, Flesh Side. LCRW readers will remember her Jane Austen story, “The Book of Judgement,” although I fear the book might be too spooky for me!
To change things up, we also have with Nicky Garrett’s tasty-looking Mango and Mint: recipes inspired by the foods of the Arab world, India, and North Africa, such as Baba Ghanoush, Red Pepper Bulgur Salad, Spinach Pies, Harissa, Donuts in Syrup, and Indian favorites such as Apple Soup, Peanut Vada, Chana Masala with Green Chiles, and Mango Rice.
Electric Velocipede has a new issue out, #26. Subscriber copies went out a couple of days ago and you can get yours here for just a buck ninety-nine.
Award season, or at least finalist season, is in full flow so congratulations to more award finalists are due: first to R. A. MacAvoy whose Death and Resurrection is a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award finalist and and then the finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award have been announced. Below are the ones you can read here. Note that you can download the issue of Lightspeed with Ken Liu’s “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” free.
Coincidentally, you can read a short essay by Aliette de Bodard at the Book Smugglers this week on “Dragons, heroes and spaceships: pushing against received narratives.”
This month in Locus there is a great section on THE SMALL & INDEPENDENT PRESS which includes many of our favorite publishers—many of which are also on Weightless (and some aren’t that we hope to add). It’s a fascinating cross section of a moment in publishing. Five years ago most of these publishers were around, except ChiZine (founded 2008) and Twelfth Planet Press and Cheeky Frawg (both circa 2011). How about five years from now? Who knows? (And if you do, drop me a line!) Check it out, it’s a fun piece. Links below go to books on the site.
(Here’s a full list of publishers on Weightless.)
Michael Haynes, whose story “The Barber and the Count” can be found in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 119, answers a few questions for Weightless Books.
Q: How did you first know science fiction and fantasy were for you?
A: My love of science fiction and fantasy short stories stretches back across most of my memory. I come by my affinity for the genres naturally. My parents both have read science fiction and fantasy and when I was young I went along with them to some science fiction conventions. (The 1979 NASFiC was, as far as I know, my first con.) By the time I was ten or so, I was reading and collecting old (mostly 1950′s/60′s) SF/Fantasy anthologies.
Q: Have you found a way to incorporate your love of hockey into your writing?
A: Only in very minor ways. I’ve had a character or two that were hockey fans in stories, but I haven’t written any hockey stories yet. If I did, it would probably be just as likely to be a non-speculative fiction mystery story as SF. I’m also a baseball fan, and when I got really serious about my writing a couple of years ago, one of the first stories I wrote was a baseball SF story titled “Out With the Crowd.”
Q: What’s your favorite place to write?
A: I’m content to write just about anywhere that I can have quiet time to think and compose text — which can be a bit hard with kids around the house! Still, I’ve gotten lots of writing done at a desk in my bedroom or sitting on my bed. I’ve written in coffee shops (Yes, I can be one of those writers!) and in libraries. I’ve even written in the notepad feature of my phone when I had time to kill and no computer at hand.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies is available for DRM-free purchase from Weightless Books. Michael Haynes lives in Central Ohio where he helps keep IT systems running for a large corporation during the day and puts his characters through the wringer by night. An ardent short story reader and writer, Michael had over 20 stories accepted for publication during 2012 by venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and Daily Science Fiction. He is the Editor for the monthly flash fiction contests run by Kazka Press and an Associate Editor for the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology series.
April was busy! I decided to add a magazine list this month, since there is a bit of difference between the subscriptions and the individual issues. The book list is interesting, too, as it’s quite different from the March 2013 Bestsellers.
Soon, even more DRM-free books! Hints, don’t they drive you crazy? Ok, today there was one magazine, New York Review of Science Fiction #296. Those people there have been working hard to catch up to their deadlines and they’re very happy that the April 2013 issue is going out in April.
Also: today two Small Beer Press ebooks came out:
Anyway, Locus, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and I don’t know what else drop new issues tomorrow. Saw a Holly Black story I haven’t read in Lightspeed, so I may have to pick that up. Andrea Pawley will be back soon with her monthly magazine spotlight—drop us a line if there’s something you want to see more—or, er, less of.
Better get back to adding more books!
Quick fingers will save you $$$ now: on May 1st the new issue of Galaxy’s Edge is coming out with stories by Ken Lui and many others and subscriptions are going from $9.99 to $14.99, with individual issues moving to $3.99.
We also have five new titles from PM Press, including a new Michael Moorcock and the latest in the Outspoken Authors series, New Taboos by John Shirley. The previous book in this series, Ken MacLeod’s The Human Front has proved very popular. And of course I love the Ursula K. Le Guin one, the interview by Terry Bisson is amazing.
We have big news for people who like a technical book or two coming in the next couple of weeks!
Catt Kingsgrave’s One Saved to the Sea is set against the tumultuous backdrop of World War II on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Mairead, a lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, has long been fascinated by the selkie girls who dance on the promontory, little knowing that one of them is fascinated with her, too. Their paths finally cross when a local man tries to capture himself a selkie wife and Mairead decides it’s up to her to stop him.
We are happy to have an interview with Cat from our friends at Circlet Press in which Cat talks about her mythological and historical inspiration and her feelings about the book’s reception.
Q: One Saved to the Sea has been getting a lot of recognition: it won the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Paranormal Fiction, and it’s made the finalists lists for a Lambda Literary Award and a Golden Crown Award. Were you surprised by the attention the book has gotten?
A: Honestly, yes I was, and continue to be as it rolls along. Novellas don’t usually do as well as longer works, from what I’ve seen, so I’m shocked, thrilled, and awed all at once by how well it’s been received.
Q: There are many legends about selkies–are there any in particular that you drew on in writing One Saved to the Sea?
A: I wanted to use the oldest mythos I could find for them, which basically wound up being from the folktales of the Orkney Islands, where the selkie myths seem to have originated. Obviously that also informed my choice of setting, and in particular, the folktale from which I took the book’s title is relevant here. Briefly, it’s about a landsman who finds a selkie pup and gives it back to its mother. Then, when his three children are in danger of drowning, they are saved by two dark eyed women, who tell them it’s a repayment of their debt to the father: one saved to the sea is three saved to the land.
Q: There are strong themes of female empowerment running through the book. How does that tie into the selkie myth? Is there something about the myth that lends itself particularly well to telling a feminist (and/or lesbian) story?
A: On the surface of it, selkies seem to be about female disempowerment, with the girls being so often being taken as wife-prizes, but they always seem to escape in the end, and happily return to the sea, even if they’ve come to love their captor. They cannot be owned, or even mastered, merely caged for a time, and they never stop trying to escape. They never give up on freedom.
Q: One thing that stands out about the book is its strong sense of time and place. What inspired you to set a story in the Orkney Islands during World War II?
A: Once I’d decided on the Orkney Islands as my setting, the timing was really an organic decision to follow. The Orkneys were strategically important then as they defended the Scapa Flow from German submarines. The music and dance of the period were a strong allure as well, and I suppose I also wanted to have a go at fairy tale creatures in such a not-at-all-fairy-tale historical backdrop, too.
Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your readers?
A: I want to thank each and every one of them for taking a chance on my book. I’m aware what a glut market it is out there, and I’m grateful that they chose to spend their entertainment money, and precious time with me and my work.
More than a dozen new titles from Circlet Press.
Arachnophobes beware: this month’s Clarkesworld, Issue 79, has spiders. Not the big scary Moche-type that demand human sacrifices in order to be appeased. Well, not exactly. In Kali Wallace’s “No Portraits on the Sky,” Rela’s spider colony does her bidding even when she tells them to heal a man who has fallen through the treetops into her world. “No Portraits on the Sky” is a sublime work of original fiction that almost makes me want my own spider companions to nip and click at the back of my neck (without killing me!)
Post-apocalyptic garden gnomes also lurk in this month’s Clarkesworld. Emily C. Skaftun’s “Melt With You” is dominated by the vicious critters. The apocalypse has happened. Any inanimate object with a face now contains the soul of someone who used to be human. Our hero in the story is a pink plastic lawn flamingo. As to the garden gnomes, “They were united by their psychotic belief in the true Christian apocalypse, the crusade they’d undertaken to kill everyone on Earth to bring it about.” A bloodless battle ensues, killing many. Garden gnomes are terrifying. They deserve their own sub-genre. That’s the only way to appease them.
Kij Johnson’s “Spar (Making Bacon Version)” is another standout. The original version (“Spar”) was a 2009 Nebula Award Winner. Johnson wrote an alternate version for Baconthology: The Sweet and Savory Science Fiction Anthology. Clarkesworld reproduces the bacon version in the new issue. I recommend reading the original first, if you haven’t done so already, before taking in the awesomeness that is the bacon version.
The World Science Fiction Association nominated Clarkesworld five times for the 2013 Hugo Awards. In Issue 79, editor Neil Clarke answers the question “How Did This Happen” a non-fiction piece that explains his interest since childhood in science fiction and the role Readercon (coming up this year July 11-14) played in his life. Published monthly since October 1, 2006, Clarkesworld is available for purchase here on Weightless.