- Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria
- Naomi Mitchison, Travel Light
- Mike Allan, ed., Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
- Lynne M. Thomas, ed., Glitter and Mayhem
- Scott H. Andrews, ed., Ceaseless Steam: Steampunk Stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies Online Magazine
- Apex Magazine - Issue 56
- Locus - January 2014 (#636)
- Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 88
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 6
- Lightspeed Magazine - Issue 43
- New York Review of Science Fiction
- Clarkesworld Magazine
Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
- Apex Magazine
- Lightspeed Magazine
- Locus Magazine
- Ginn Hale et al, Irregulars
- Rich Horton (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013
- Mary Anne Mohanraj, The Stars Change
Apex Magazine, #55 Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Ken Liu, Sandra McDonald, Rachel Swirsky, Daniel José Older, Amal El-Mohtar
Desirina Boskovich (ed.), It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction
- Clarkesworld Magazine
- Lightspeed Magazine
- New York Review of Science Fiction
- Apex Magazine
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
- Zen Cho for “The House of Aunts”
- Zen Cho for “起狮，行礼 (Rising Lion – The Lion Bows)”
- Minister Faust for The Alchemists of Kush
- Tenea D. Johnson for R/evolution
- Yoon Ha Lee for “Ghostweight”
- An Owomoyela “All That Touches the Air”
- Nisi Shawl for “Black Betty”
- JoSelle Vanderhooft for Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
Quick: pick them up here: eight Lambda Award finalists from Lethe Press are on sale for just $4.99 each.
The Padishah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic novella
In a Turkish prison on the Black Sea coast, a lifer known as Yamyam “the Canniba” whiles away tedious days and nights retelling old folk tales to the other inmates. … More
Like Light for Flies
A young boy is horrified to discover what his brother is really doing in their father’s work shed. An old man whispers a word that sets his victim on the road to madness. A Victorian… More
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street chronicles the remarkable life of Boston-born, New York City-reared author Richard Bowes. Bowes’s childhood and adolescent brushes with … More
The Rest of Us: Stories
Guy Mark Foster
A remarkable collection of short stories that embrace the breadth and depth of being a gay African-American, The Rest of Us approaches life from the angst of youth and first love … More
My Dear Watson
One of the most famous partnerships in literature yields, over time, to a peculiar romantic triangle. Sherlock Holmes. Dr. John Watson. And the good doctor’s second wife,… More
Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy
Sleep deprivation does funny things to your head. Steeped in the romance of Renaissance Italian literature, Ben Lansing isn’t coping well with the routines of his first… More
Death by Silver
Melissa Scott et al.
In Death by Silver veteran authors Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold introduce a Victorian London where magic works, influencing every aspect of civilized life, and two very appealing… More
How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery
Archer Barron is rebuilding his life after hiding from it for years. Once he had grand expectations—graduating law school, donning drag to express his feminine aspects, and… More
I hadn’t expected to find a horror story in the first issue of Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, but there it was. In “The Yellow River” by Elka Ray Nguyen, a young Vietnamese serviceman travels to a haunted part of the jungle. More than anything, this Lontar story sticks with me, perhaps because the rather innocent characters in it are compelled to complete military service in a setting very different from their normal lives. I didn’t know military service is compulsory in Vietnam. Maybe the bit about the ghost is true, too.
Learning real things about a region of the world relatively unknown to me is an unexpected bonus of the great stories in Lontar. With each tale, I was allowed a view through the eyes of someone whose experiences and orientation are so far separated from my own and yet so similar that the journey is wondrous.
In “Philippine Magic: A Course Catalogue,” Paolo Chikiamco offers a proposed line of academic study that includes FLK 401, a semester about Barang Barang, “a type of magic where the sorcerer sends insects or animals to appear inside the body of the victim.” In RLC 103, the mythology and iconography of anting-anting will be discussed, including “the letters ‘AEIOU’ to represent the secret names of Atardar, the whale-like dragon that is a symbol of evil.” The thrust of Philippine magic had been unknown to me, but I thought I was familiar with the name “Becca.” I was wrong. In RLC 403, the prospective student can learn about “symbols associated with Becca (Lucifer) and other evils.”
“The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi was my favorite story in Lontar’s first issue. Nominated in 2009 for both a Nebula and a Hugo Award, “The Gambler” tells of a Laotian refugee, Ong, in the near future. Ong’s having trouble adjusting to life in the U.S.A. He’s landed a good job as a journalist for an online paper similar to others that grew up in “the smoking remains of the New York Times Company,” but Ong’s compelled to write stories about the failures of government. No one wants to read his stories. “I am drawn to them, as though poking at the tiger of the American government will somehow make up for not being able to poke at the little cub of New Divine Monarch Khamsing.” To me, “The Gambler” was about communication. For the Laotian protagonist, “Real news was too valuable to risk in public.” Ong struggles with this particular conviction, especially when his career as a journalist is given a public chance for success in the company of a world-famous starlet.
Lontar’s first issue is filled with interesting and thought-provoking stories. It’s worth a read, and it’s available DRM-free from Weightless Books.
Let’s raise a glass and say L’Chaim to Shimmer 18!!
L’Chaim, which means To Life, is a toast I heard quite often growing up. Later in Hebrew school I learned a bit more behind the magic of this phrase.
Being a numbers kind of a gal (in addition to letters, I must admit), I was intrigued by the system of numerology called Gematria. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a numerical value and these numbers give words their power and also provide more insight into language.
The Hebrew word Chai, which means Life, corresponds to the number 18. Issue 18 has great new stories from Annalee Newitz, Ben Peek, Rachel Marston, Ramsey Shehadeh, Ben Godby, Christine Schirr, Dustin Monk and Jeff VanderMeer (yes, that’s right – a little bit of nepotism here but I am allowed once in a while. This new story by Jeff is kind of a precursor to his new Southern Reach series).
So, yes! This issue of Shimmer Magazine #18 should be celebrated TO Life!
Happy new year to all the bestsellers: Sofia Samatar, Apex Magazine, and the New York Review of Science Fiction! This is the second month where the bestsellers were ruled by the weekly sale titles (sign up here). Maybe I’ll give them a different chart next month. After all, if the NYTimes can keep changing their charts, so can we. Readers do love those sales! Some of the titles there are still pretty bargain priced, for example Glitter and Mayhem is only $4.99!
Apex Magazine is a real dark horse: the subscriptions are just about always on the charts, although this might be the first time an individual issue has topped the charts. Congrats to the editors, old and new, for building a growing powerhouse.
And then the subscriptions moved around a bit post-holiday. A lot of NYRSF subs had to come in to knock perennial fave Clarkesworld Magazine off the top. January was a busy month, and I am curious to see what happens this short February.
January 2014 Books
Don’t miss the new ish of Locus: the annual Year in Review issue with essays, the 2013 Recommended Reading List, and all the other stuff. The recommended list is also here and the the Locus awards ballot (open to anyone) is here.
December is always busy here: there are lots of ebook gifts and gift certificates, lots of people giving and renewing subscriptions, and lots of northern hemisphere readers hiding from the snow and southern hemisphere readers hiding from the heat! Add to all that the Weekly 1-day, 1-book sale, and the bestseller chart did some churning since last month.
This shall be known as the dark blue bestseller list!
December 2013 Books
What sold first? What sold last? I was looking at the 2013 bestsellers and realized I’d meant to post these:
Lightspeed Magazine Annual Subscription
Desirina Boskovich (ed.), It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction
Rich Horton (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
New York Review of Science Fiction #303
And: Ceaseless Steam includes a story by Dean Wells, “To the Gods of Time and Engines, a Gift,” which is set in the same world as his new story “Evensong, Having Been Answered” out in today’s new issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Lovely!
Another tidbit. I bought more products from and through your site than from all other sites combined last year. Your vendors would have gotten no sales without Weightless to introduce them.
In return I’ve learned an amazing amount on topics that I did know existed, been introduced to authors that have held me spellbound for hours and hours at a time, and had the pleasure of being introduced to other sites like Weightless where “unknown” authors have a forum for their voices and their work.
Thanks for a great year of excellent reading. I’m looking forward to an an even better 2014.
That reminds me I haven’t posted a Bestseller list for either December or 2013, better get cracking on that. (Hmm. So, Thursday, then?)
To tide you over: FableCroft just dropped the price of the anthology One Small Step from $9.99 to $7.99.
I’m a big fan of ebook subscriptions and I can see that ebook serial fiction is a huge and growing part of reading — I swear half of the NYTimes bestseller list is usually serial mysteries — and I’m curious about how ebook subscription services such as Oyster will do. (Weightless has no plans in this arena!)
The elephant in the room is licensing. I use Netflix streaming and half the time I look for something, it’s not there. Which doesn’t exactly encourage me to go back. As I understand it, movies disappear because the movie studios would like a higher payment from Netflix and Netflix are stuck, because if they pay one studio more, then all the rest will be clamoring for higher payments.
So while Spotify and iTunes Radio and so on seem to be very well, it does make me wonder which way ebook subscription services will fall out: movies (limited selection, things come and go) or music (even the old standouts sign up eventually)? I figure by the end of the year, we’ll have a pretty good idea!
Weightless Books interviews Apex Magazine’s publisher Jason Sizemore and new editor-in-chief Sigrid Ellis.
1. How do you know when you have the right balance of science fiction, fantasy and horror for an issue of Apex Magazine?
Sigrid Ellis: Hah! Well, I’m new at this. The proof is yet to come. As your readers are probably aware, I am taking over Apex Magazine from Lynne Thomas and Michael Thomas. Whether or not I know the right balance remains to be seen!
At the moment my managing editor, Cameron Salisbury, and I have selected and organized fiction for our first four issues of Apex. Our conversations have focused on questions of tone, length, and how the works relate to each other. Is one lighter than the other? Too light? Are they thematically linked? Too linked? Do they have things to say to each other? What about point of view? First person, third? Tight narration or omniscient? Is one more descriptive than the other? Does that work?
I could go on.
Whether a piece is science fiction, fantasy, or horror has not so far been my chief concern. That may change, of course, in the future! I look forward to the feedback from our first issues, and what that may teach us.
2. What’s changed in short fiction since Apex Magazine started in 2005, and how have you responded to it?
Sigrid Ellis: It is my observation that genre short fiction has been served notice, a notice declaring that diversity is no longer sufficient. What we as readers, fans, and decent human beings call for now is representation. Cat Valente, Lynne Thomas, and Michael Thomas made Apex Magazine a force for representation. I hope to continue that work.
Jason Sizemore: We joined the fracas right as the tide of electronic books hit the genre. It has been an interesting ride!
The most obvious change is the general presentation and distribution of the work. Podcasts, eBook issues, and online content have all expanded while the print industry has shrunk.
In terms of aesthetics, I think the biggest shift in short fiction is toward darker and bleaker work. We’ve always published dark work (the original name of Apex Magazine is Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, after all), but over the years we’ve grown more experimental in what is published.
3. Name a recent favorite Apex Magazine story and one from more than a year ago.
Sigrid Ellis: My favorite recent story is Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” from issue 46.
Looking further back, Genevieve Valentine’s “Armless Maidens of the American West” in issue 39 is a favorite.
What stands out for me in both of these stories is how adroitly the authors pull off an exceptionally difficult task, that of writing in the second person. Second person narrative is not to be toyed with lightly!
However, let me note, very clearly, that what I find impressive is the use to which they each put that narration. Both of these stories are intensely emotional. They are grounded in character and detail. They each raise somewhat painful questions, about wildly different topics. Valentine’s piece looks at complicity in exploitation, and the right or ability of a person to own and alter that complicity. It’s a story about the tangle of autonomy. Swirsky’s story is a parable of the pain of love. It’s a fable describing the joy and rage and helpless fearful grief that are all, inextricably, part of loving another human being. And it is a revenge fantasy against the damage caused by blind injustice.
Jason Sizemore: A recent favorite would be “The Performance Artist” by Lettie Prell (issue 44). Lettie’s story might be the best deconstruction of society’s fascination with reality television and self-spectacle that I’ve encountered. And the end of the story is a gut punch.
A favorite from the archives would be “The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar (issue 18). This was our first Nebula nominated work. Amal did an incredible job creating a short story that is a bit House of Leaves and a bit Twilight Zone.
4. Your author interviews are packed with information. Have you ever been surprised by something uncovered in one of them?
Sigrid Ellis: All author interviews are a bit of a surprise! While I know the work of many of Apex’s authors, I don’t particularly know them personally. I find myself clicking on the interviews with excitement, looking forward to meeting the human being behind the story just as much as our readers.
5. Apex Magazine started podcasting recently. Is that because you decided to stop sleeping and needed something more to do?
Sigrid Ellis: Hah, well, I already don’t sleep. But, no, podcasting is simply a part of the new models of fiction consumption. Readers – myself included! – are becoming accustomed to having fiction available across platforms and media formats. I can buy a novel from Amazon, start to read it on my laptop, go listen to the audio version in my car while I drive home, then pick up my tablet and continue reading after dinner. The more formats we provide, the more people will find the format that works for them. And that leads to more people enjoying the work.
Jason Sizemore: There’s an old school PSA commercial where one kid pressures another kid to do drugs…the bad kid says something like “Come on, everybody’s doing it.” It was kind of like that situation. All the top short fiction zines had a podcast, so Apex Magazine needed one!
Of course, I love the podcast format and am happy that we’ve ventured into it. In 2014, I hope to expand our podcast to include all our original fiction ran per issue.
6. Are you on any upcoming science fiction and fantasy or horror convention panels?
Sigrid Ellis: My next convention is Wiscon, in Madison, Wisconsin, over Memorial Day weekend. I pretty much always end up on a handful of panels at that convention and I expect this year will be no different. Look for me there! I’ll probably have things to say about Apex Magazine and about my other editorial project this winter, the comic series Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.
Jason Sizemore: I’ll be doing Confusion in Detroit (Jan 17-19). Then I’m at Millennicon in Cincinnati (Mar 14-16).
7. What are you reading now besides submissions for Apex Magazine?
Sigrid Ellis: The Great Mortality, by John Kelly. It’s a history of the Black Death. Also I am perpetually re-reading my way through the Phryne Fisher mystery series, by Kerry Greenwood. I’m on my, hrm, my fourth re-read of all nineteen books.
Jason Sizemore: Sitting on my nightstand is Skinner by Charlie Huston. The audiobook in my car is Shift by Hugh Howey.
Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Apex Magazine, which is available for DRM-free purchase from Weightless Books, received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012. A new issue of Apex Magazine is available the first Tuesday of every month.
Also of note among all the new magazines that went out somewhat late on January 1st (as expected and no one seemed to mind!): the new ish of Lightspeed has reprints Zhao Haihong’s LCRW story “Exuviation”—which the author translated herself. Plus, they are reprinting Ursula K. Le Guin’s recent Tin House story “Elementals.” Ok, but wait, there’s more! There are interviews with Hyperbole and a Half’s Allie Brosh(!) and Scott Lynch as well as a reprint of M. Rickert’s “The Chambered Fruit” and novel excerpts from Dru Pagliassotti, Chuck Wendig, and my Western Mass. neighbor James L. Cambias (his novel is getting great pre-pub reviews).
Another big seller is It Came From the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction edited by Desirina Boskovich. Who could resist 15 Finnish short stories??
In other news, Happy New Year! At some point I’m going to post the December 2013 bestseller list as well as the 2013 list and the first and last ebook sales for 2012 (here’s First and last for 2012). This week was busy with paperwork (er, not much paper yet): Massachusetts sales tax (paid! thank you Massachusetts readers!); 1099 prep (takes a while), and fourth quarter Weightless royalties—should be paid on Monday or Tuesday. Love sending out monies big and small! Thank you all readers! We had a great year and it was awesome to see how many ebook gifts were sent over the holidays.
Happy weekend and if you’re getting the same seasonal stormy weather as me, here’s our always always applicable storm list from last year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Weightless!
We know there are hundreds of places to get books and magazines around the world so thank you for choosing Weightless for your DRM-free, always available ebooks. We’re always happy to help readers find good books on the site and would love for you to help spread the word.
I have a few quick gifting recommendations before the actual day of Christmas rolls around. The quickest and easiest gifts are gift certificates which you can give in any amount you choose: $0.99 to $999.00 (or more!). The certificate is good for anything on the site and does not expire.
Sending friends and family and fellow readers ebooks is also very easy. Just check the “This is a gift order” button when checking out.
The last issue of Electric Velocipede is a huge, great read.
Want to get rely into the holiday spirit? Try Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran and featuring Harlan Ellison, James Patrick Kelly, Ellen Kushner, Charles de Lint, M. Rickert, Connie Willis, Robert Charles Wilson, and Gene Wolfe, among others.
Happy holidays and be excellent to one another!
So many excellent subscriptions!
The December issue of Locus is flying out the door here and I think it is because it has a great interview with Hugh Howey, author of Wool, etc. Howey’s story is interesting. Wool is not his first, second, or third novel. Read the interview, he’s pretty impressive, although he self-deprecatingly says he was just in the right spot at the right time. Sure!
I’m very pleased to report (aka cut and paste!) the winners of the 2011 Carl Brandon Society awards:
Tenea D. Johnson,
who received the Carl Brandon Parallax Award
for her novel Smoketown
who received the Carl Brandon Kindred Award
for her novel Redwood and Wildfire.