Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything
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Ecdysis 4

Ecdysis 4 cover The fourth issue of Ecdysis, my science fiction and fantasy fanzine, is now available for download.

It’s late: I’d hoped to get it out in September. Even that would have been a bit of a scramble, after summer vacations and Tamara’s sojourn at Clarion. But then life got in the way in a fairly fundamental fashion, as many of you know.

This issue features my editorial on works that are “not science fiction” appearing on award ballots, Tamara’s adventures at Clarion, the art Jennifer creates during readings, and reviews of work by John Chu, Lee Killough and Karl Schroeder, among other things. Plus graphs. I hope you enjoy it.

Gene Wolfe Interviewed

You know how I feel about sf author Gene Wolfe. Here are two recent interviews: one in the MIT Technology Review; the other in the Barrington Courier-Review (until recently his local paper). Attention must be paid.

Fantasy Maps of U.S. Cities

Fantasy map of Cleveland (Stentor Danielson)

For another example of using fantasy map design language to create real-world maps, here’s the work of geography professor Stentor Danielson, who draws maps of U.S. cities in the style of fantasy maps and sells them on Etsy. Boston, Cleveland (above), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington are available. His Tumblr. Via io9.

Previously: A Fantasy Map of Great Britain; A Fantasy Map of Australia; A Fantasy Map of the U.S.

Open for Submissions Soon: Second Contacts, Tesseracts 19

Submissions will be opening soon for two forthcoming Canadian sf anthologies paying semipro rates:

  • Second Contacts (Bundoran Press), edited by Mike Rimar and Hayden Trenholm, seeks stories that explore “what happens fifty years after first contact, for us, for them, for our shared future.” Open for submissions from September 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015; up to 10,000 words (3,500 to 6,500 preferred); 2¢/word to a maximum of $130.
  • Tesseracts Nineteen (Edge), edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum. Annual Canadian anthology with a different theme each year; this one seeks “any and all permutations of the superhero genre.” Open for submissions from October 30, 2014 to February 2, 2015; Canadians only; up to 6,000 words; $50-160.

Long Hidden

Book cover: Long Hidden I support greater diversity in science fiction and fantasy, and I have to confess that one of my reasons for doing so is selfish: I want more interesting stories to read. The field is at its least interesting when it’s a monoculture (we can’t all be responding to Heinlein and Tolkien); it’s at its most interesting when it includes authors from diverse backgrounds and experiences, who use those backgrounds and experiences to inform their work. It’s a win-win situation: more people see themselves in the fiction they read; readers benefit from being exposed to other backgrounds; the field as a whole gets stronger.

But Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History doesn’t just bring us diverse fiction, though it certainly does that; it brings us fiction from the margins. Let me explain: diverse fiction might include a story from Japan; fiction from the margins might include a story about a Japanese minority like the Ainu.

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Heinlein and His Biographer

Book cover: Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better Volume two of the massive biography of Robert A. Heinlein by William H. Patterson Jr., who died earlier this year, is now out.

I’ve read the first volume, which covered the first half of Heinlein’s life, and found it quite interesting but rather hagiographic. I recall that several critics pointed out the many points at which Patterson muffed the broader historical record, which is problematic for a book series subtitled In Dialogue with His Century: it helps to get the century right.

Alas, Marissa has found that volume two suffers from the same problems: Heinlein’s idiosyncratic take on events being presented as historical fact; Patterson’s idiosyncratic take on Heinlein’s idiosyncratic take being presented as historical fact. Jeet Heer finds in Patterson’s hagiographic approach a failure to address Heinlein’s internal contradictions or to subject his life or work to any proper analysis; he goes into much more specific criticism of Patterson’s books in this blog entry, and has posted a remarkable 37-part Twitter essay on Heinlein and racism.

The book sounds profoundly flawed in ways I can appreciate, having read volume one, but I suspect I’m going to buy it and read it (mindfully, critically, as one always should) anyway.

Testing the King Hypothesis

Ken Schneyer conducted an online survey of writers’ and non-writers’ reading habits to test Stephen King’s hypothesis that too often the audience for short fiction “happens to consist of other writers and would-be writers who are reading the various literary magazines (and The New Yorker, of course, the holy grail of the young fiction writer) not to be entertained but to get an idea of what sells there.”

Ken found that writers and non-writers read novels at roughly the same frequency, but writers tended to read short fiction more often than non-writers.

But what’s really interesting is the difference among writers: while 56 percent of short-story writers reported reading short fiction daily to a few times a week, only 10 percent of novellists did so — to quote Ken, “novel writers read short fiction even less frequently than nonwriters do.”

Maybe King is right, and short story publications are largely supported by people trying to publish in them — or maybe, as Ada Hoffmann argued in Ken’s comments, the people who choose to write short stories do so simply because they love reading them.

Previously: Science Fiction Magazines and Aspiring Writers.

Four More Map Stories

Four more fantasy stories about maps to tell you about.

To begin with, two short stories by Beth Cato, both published in Daily Science Fiction, both available to read online. In the first, Cartographer’s Ink (August 24, 2012), cartographers “peddle in ink, earth and war”: boundaries drawn on maps with magic ink have real-world effects. The second, simply titled Maps (February 14, 2013), is a brief, quietly horrific tale of a young girl, Christina, whose left hand, against her will, draws maps that predict the future. Both belong to that group of map stories that deal in the tension between map and territory, between representation and reality.

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Game of Thrones Map Marker Set

Game of Thrones Map Markers (Dark Horse) Dark Horse has released a Game of Thrones map marker set, based on a map and markers briefly seen in the first season of the HBO TV series. What surprises me is how much more the map resembles a real-world medieval map, in its use of symbols and text, than do the usual fantasy maps, including those for Westeros (though, as I’ve argued before, real-world medieval maps were much more information-dense, and covered in text). At $200, it’s not cheap, but the markers are up to six inches in height, and the map is made of fabric and roughly four by three feet in size. It’s available for purchase at Amazon and ThinkGeek, among others.

Questionable Practices

In his afterword to Eileen Gunn’s earlier (and sadly, only other) collection of short stories, Stable Strategies and Others (Tachyon, 2004), Howard Waldrop calls her “about the only writer I know who turns out stories even more slowly than I do, which is a rare thing in this damn field.” Ain’t that the truth. In a field that holds up making your daily word count as a virtue, that often valorizes a pulplike prolificity, writing slowly is practically an act of rebellion. And yet slow writers can produce some of the most distinctive works of fiction we have: writers like Ted Chiang, Howard Waldrop, Peter Watts — and yes, Eileen Gunn.

Slow writers tend to get my attention. I have an affinity for slow writers, partly because I am one myself, partly because of what they produce. A quality vs. quantity argument can sometimes be made.

And I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t paid close enough attention to Eileen Gunn. Rectifying that now.

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2013 Nebula Awards

Last night the 2013 Nebula Awards were handed out in San Jose, California, which meant that watching the livestream required staying up Way Past My Bedtime. I think I nodded off at a couple of points but got to see the tchotchkes handed out.

For the current issue of Ecdysis, Tamara and I contributed some short essays on the Nebula short fiction nominees, but they were thematic in nature, rather than talking about which stories should or shouldn’t win. I wasn’t trying to dodge the question; I just think that handicapping the awards is one of the least interesting things we can talk about in this field.

That said, I was very happy to see Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” and “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard win for best short story and best novelette, respectively. Swirsky’s story hit me the hardest of the category’s nominees: some might quibble about its science fictional content, but this prose poem’s use of science tropes to tell its story more than qualifies it in my opinion. De Bodard continues to develop her Xuya universe in new and (in this case) horrific ways, creating a future history that is strange and detailed and very much alive. The novella winner, “The Weight of the Sunrise” by Vylar Kaftan, wasn’t my first choice, mostly because I got sucked in by the prose of other finalists, but it’s a damn good bit of alternate history, a story involving an Inca empire that never fell, the American Revolution, and a smallpox vaccine.

I have not yet read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, the novel winner, but I plan on fixing that soon: I ordered it today. (It’s been nominated for the Hugo, and there has been some whinging from some quarters about the fact that its publisher, Orbit, will only be including excerpts of its nominated novels in the Hugo voter’s packet. I figure that if having to buy books sends you into paroxysms of outrage, you’re probably not cut out to be a Hugo voter.)

So that’s my take on the Nebula results. What’s yours?

Ecdysis 3

The third issue of Ecdysis, my science fiction and fantasy fanzine, is now available for download.

Cover of Ecdysis 3 This issue was nearly crushed to death under the weight of its own ambition. As I said, this was intended to be a special issue focusing on awards in science fiction and fantasy.

The problem is that awards are a moving target. Much of material I’d assembled to talk about awards was dated before I could finish the issue: every week brought news that changed the parameters of the discussion. I was able to incorporate the controversy about the Hugo nominations into my editorial, but had I taken any longer to finish this issue I’d be confronted with this morning’s controversy about the voter’s packet. And I was running out of time: discussing the Nebula nominees had to be done in advance of the awards actually being handed out, which takes place this Saturday.

Lesson learned: don’t try to be so timely.

In the end, though, we still have many interesting things for you. Tamara and I discuss some of the Nebula nominees — about half the novels, plus most of the short fiction — with art contributed by Jennifer that illustrates some of the stories. Zvi and Tamara talk about Samuel R. Delany, who’s this year’s recipient of SFWA’s Damon Knight Grand Master Award. And I start everything off with a ridiculously long piece exploring why awards matter so much to the field. Plus graphs, of course.

The next issue will probably be out in late summer: August or September.

The Only Fantasy World Map You’ll Ever Need

The Only Fantasy World Map You'll Ever Need

The Only Fantasy World Map You’ll Ever Need by Jake Manley isn’t the first map of its kind that I’ve seen (see also the map in Diana Wynne Jones’s Tough Guide to Fantasyland); still, it’s clear that fantasy maps are a proven vehicle to satirize and critique the genre. (And be satirized and critiqued.) Via @scalzi.

The Geology of ‘Game of Thrones’

The Geology of Game of Thrones

In The Geology of Game of Thrones, a group of geologists has created a geologic map of Westeros and Essos, as well as an invented geologic history of the planet on which George R. R. Martin’s epic takes place. Via io9.

This isn’t the first time a fantasy world has been looked at through a geologic lens. Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle-earth took a reasonably rigorous look at the landforms of Middle-earth. And Antony Swithin — a geologist in real life under his real name, William Sarjeant — created a geologic map of his invented island of Rockall (see previous entry).

Previously: Review: The Lands of Ice and Fire.

Lockstep

Book cover: Lockstep In science fiction, faster-than-light travel is a narrative convention that allows you to move standard human beings over interstellar distances cheaply. But if you want to do science fiction rigorously — with the net up, as Gregory Benford calls it — you have to go without FTL (it’s not an engineering problem; it breaks known physics). They’re mutually exclusive. The problem is, you can’t have an interstellar civilization without FTL, can you?

My father and I have been debating this back and forth for years. On the face of it it’s intrinsically impossible: if you can’t have FTL, the distances and costs involved in travel make trade and communication prohibitive. To accelerate goods and people to relativistic velocities would be insanely expensive, and it would still take decades to get there. Hardly anything would be worth the shipping costs: it would be easier and cheaper to synthesize what you need rather than import it. Transmutation is less expensive than interstellar trade. (No doubt this is why sf focuses on rare goods, from melange to unobtanium.)

Absent that trade, there’s no rationale for having an interstellar civilization. Even if you were able or willing to colonize other planets (though again, the cost of sending a colony ship is of a magnitude that many in science fiction fail to grasp), the colonies would be on their own. With no reason to trade, how would the investment in a colony ship be recouped? And what purpose would there be for an interstellar government — Empire, Federation, whatever — if there was no trade for it to regulate?

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Unlikely Cartography ToC

The table of contents for the Journal of Unlikely Cartography, Unlikely Story’s single-issue special featuring science fiction and fantasy stories about maps (see previous entry), has been announced; the issue will be out in June.

Ecdysis Editorial Posted

On account of the fact that it is relevant to an argument that erupted online this week even though it was written weeks in advance, I’ve posted my editorial from the second issue of Ecdysis in the Articles section. So if you’re somehow adverse to downloading the ebook or PDF version, you can read it here. It talks about sf fandom as a high-context culture and reading the classics as a barrier to entry.

Its relevance to Toni Weisskopf’s screed, and the responses by John Scalzi, Ana Grilo and Foz Meadows, among others, is kind of scary. Which says something about the issue: it’s been with us for a while.

Ecdysis 2

The second issue of Ecdysis, my science fiction and fantasy fanzine, is now available for download.

This issue is out about a month earlier than originally planned; between us, we’re producing enough material that it looks like we’ll be putting this thing out on a bimonthly rather than quarterly schedule.

This issue has two main themes: classic science fiction and dinosaurs.

For the former, Tamara has a long essay discussing The Science Fiction Hall of Fame 50 years after its first publication, and how well the stories contained therein hold up today. I also have an editorial that discusses why it can be a problem when people insist that certain classics be read.

For the latter, I look at two sf/fantasy novels set during the Bone Wars and the phenomenon that is dinosaur erotica; Tamara has two dinosaur poems that are pastiches of some well-known classics.

I also have a short, funny story in which a serpent god is summoned in place of a toilet snake. Plus letters of comment responding to the contents of our first issue. All ably illustrated by Jennifer; the dinosaur bits also get decorated by early paleontological illustrations that have since lapsed into the public domain.

Issue three should be out in late April. It will be a special issue, focusing on sf/fantasy awards. The plan is to (1) discuss awards’ sometimes-problematic nature, (2) review this year’s Nebula nominees, and (3) write about this year’s Grand Master, Samuel R. Delany. It’s going to be a big issue, and I’m looking for additional people who would be willing to contribute. Let me know if you’re interested.

Previously: Introducing Ecdysis.

The New Yorker on Maps and Literature

Go read Casey N. Cep’s essay, “The Allure of the Map,” on the New Yorker’s website: she explores the relationship between maps and literature on several fronts, including the role of maps in the creative process and the relationship between mapmaking and reality. Also quite a bit on the recurrent meme of the 1:1 map — the map as large as the thing being mapped — from Carroll to Borges to (I did not know) Gaiman (Swanwick and Eco too, if I’m not mistaken: more could indeed be said). Anyway: relevant to our interests. Go read.

The Journal of Unlikely Cartography

When it comes to maps and fantasy, I’m particularly interested in the ways that maps are used in the course of a story, as opposed to appearing at the front of the book for reference purposes. I’ve posted many examples over the past few years and have a bunch more in my to-read pile.

It looks like next year will add considerably to that list: Unlikely Story is publishing a single-issue Journal of Unlikely Cartography. The call for submissions:

From pirate maps leading to buried treasure to painstakingly-drawn maps of continents that never were, there are endless unlikely possibilities in the world of cartography. Send us your story of a rogue GPS taking a driver down non-existent roads, show us what lies in those unexplored territories labeled “here there be monsters,” give us haunted globes, star charts written in disappearing ink, and spiraling lines on crumbling parchment leading to the center of the labyrinth. As always, we want gorgeously-told tales, gripping characters, and unique worlds to explore. Genre doesn’t matter to us, along as your tale involves maps or cartography in some integral way.

Pays 5¢/word on publication, deadline February 1. I have had considerable difficulty in submitting to anthologies in the past (I write fiction very slowly; the story never quite gels in time for the deadline), but I really, really, really need to submit something to this.

Introducing Ecdysis

This morning, the first issue of Ecdysis, my science fiction and fantasy fanzine, went live on its new website. It’s available for download in iBooks and PDF formats.

Ecdysis 1 cover I’ve wanted to do a fanzine for some time, but I wanted to do it differently. Not just in format or design, but in terms of content. A lot of fanzines run in the narrow band from nostalgic to curmudgeonly; I wanted to focus not so much on fan culture, or on personalities and events, but on the art the field produces: the books, the movies, and so forth. Anyway, I go on about this at some length in the first issue’s editorial.

I call this “my” fanzine, but that’s not strictly correct. I’ve had help in the form of contributions for which I am profoundly grateful. My partner Jennifer provided artwork that I challenged myself to write a story around: “Clockwork Fish” is the result. (I suspect we’ll be doing something similar for each issue: she draws something, and I try to figure out some text to accompany it.) And our friend Tamara shared a long essay on the operatic nature of Pacific Rim and a collection of correspondence whose origins are, shall we say, not from around here. The issue is much better for it.

My own pieces run the gamut: they include an introduction to snakesploitation movies, a meditation on listening to an audiobook, and an explanation of the problem of nautical navigation in Middle-earth.

If all goes well, we’ll be continuing this on a quarterly basis. We already have some ideas for the next issue.

Literary SF Gets Noticed

Ted Chiang gets noticed by an Economist blogger. Kim Stanley Robinson gets reviewed by a New Yorker blogger. And small-press short-story collections by Cat Valente and Howard Waldrop get reviewed in the New York Times. What’s going on here? Science fiction and fantasy doesn’t get noticed by the high end of mainstream media. It’s like Canada in the international press: we’re used to operating under the radar. And that goes double for literary science fiction and fantasy of the sort written by these folks. Not that I’m complaining: I’m delighted. But I’m very confused.

How to Make a Fantasy Map

Map from The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley; map by Isaac Stewart

So today Tor.com posted something very much relevant to my interests: a piece by illustrator Isaac Stewart that describes his process for creating a map for a fantasy novel. In this case, The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, who very helpfully provided a sketch from which Stewart could work.

This is utterly fascinating for me, because a significant gap in my research into fantasy maps has been the process of creating them. It’s sort of left me feeling like a wine taster that has no idea how wine is made. Stewart (who has also done work for Brandon Sanderson’s novels: his maps for The Alloy of Law have already caught my attention) takes us through every step, from inspiration through Photoshop.

Earlier this year I published an article pointing out that the main difference between historical and fantasy maps was information density: a real medieval map is full of detail, because cartographers don’t dare waste vellum; fantasy maps are relatively sparse — largely, I suspected, because only so much detail can legibly fit on a map printed for a mass-market paperback. That was an educated guess on my part; it’s interesting to see it confirmed:

A map meant to fit in a hardcover book (and subsequently a paperback) can’t be as detailed as a real-world map and still be legible. Even though I treat the map as a product of its fantasy world, it has to be understandable to modern audiences. Usually this means I can’t copy the exact style of my reference, but I can use it for inspiration.

I’ll be referring to Stewart’s post often, I think.

Horse of a Different Color

Book cover: Horse of a Different Color Horse of a Different Color is, by my count, Howard Waldrop’s seventh collection of previously uncollected stories, and collects stories that first appeared between 2003 and 2010. This is a slim volume; Howard was never prolific, and his stories have never come easily to him, but during this time he also had some pretty serious health issues to deal with, which cut into what productivity there was.

In the ten stories that make up this collection, the usual Waldrop themes are on display. Easily the field’s most eccentric and idiosyncratic writer, Howard fishes the most obscure streams of history and popular culture, blending them in a gonzo but laconic fashion that rewards the informed reader. But that’s not to say that Howard’s stories are pure fun. Sure, my favourite story of the book is “Avast, Abaft!,” where the Pirates of Penzance meet Captain Hook in the surreal and brain-explodey fashion of such Waldrop stories. But the quieter stories can pack considerable emotional heat. Take “The Wolf-man of Alcatraz,” which mashes up exactly what you think it does, or “Ninieslando,” a devastating story about Esperanto-speakers on the front lines of World War I.

In Howard’s stories, forgotten character actors appear in alternate worlds whose difference is so subtle, mentioned in passing five pages ago, that you probably missed it. A classic example is the title story, “The Horse of a Different Color (That Your Rode in On),” which features a sixth Marx brother (who in real life died in infancy), vaudeville, pantomime horses, and the Grail quest. Along with “Why The Ile Fit You,” which opens the collection and also features one of Howard’s beloved character actors, or “The Bravest Girl I Ever Knew …,” which invents a post-Kong life for Ann Darrow, the meat of the story is well below the surface: you have to watch carefully or you’ll miss it.

That hey-wait-what-just-happened-here also takes place “The King of Where-I-Go,” a terribly sweet story of a brother and sister that starts with polio and ends somewhere quite different. At an emotional level it’s arguably the most effective story in the book.

The stories of Horse of a Different Color don’t all have the firepower of my favourite Waldrop stories, but there’s still some very good stuff here. It’s not a good entry point, though. If you’re new to Waldrop, you might start with his first collection, Howard Who?, or the two-volume best-of collection from Old Earth Books: Things Will Never Be the Same (short stories) and Other Worlds, Better Lives (novellas). Everything else is, alas, out of print.

See Paul Di Filippo’s review. Jonathan Strahan has compiled a Waldrop bibliography.

Horse of a Different Color
by Howard Waldrop
Small Beer Press, November 2013
Buy at Amazon (Kindle) | Buy at Weightless Books | publisher’s page | Goodreads | LibraryThing

Glitter and Mayhem

Book cover: Glitter and Mayhem You know, I shouldn’t have liked this anthology as much as I did.

Small-press anthologies can be hit or miss in terms of quality, but the editors of Glitter and Mayhem, John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, have assembled a crack team of up and coming writers, many of whose work I actively seek out.

Theme anthologies can often misfire: if the theme is too constraining, the resulting stories can be too similar to one another, as though there was only one way to do a story on that theme. Yet this book fairly crackles with diversity and inventiveness. It turns out that the anthology’s writers could do an awful lot with the anthology’s theme of “roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery.” More than anything else, there’s an emotional rawness to many of these stories that’s drawn from the intensity of their settings. Glam as crucible.

(At least one of these stories was bleak and sad and true enough that it made me want to call up the author to see if she was okay.)

And even though that theme doesn’t really speak to me — my eighties were not your eighties: I’m about as far away from glam as you can get on the spectrum (I wear fleece and drive a Subaru, for crying out loud) — I found Glitter and Mayhem to be a blast to read, simply because it was so much fun: funny, sad, sexy, transgressive, defiant stories of all kinds (detective stories, fantasies, horror, and science fiction with aliens) with people of all kinds (rich and poor, men and women, straight and gay, trans and cis, young and old). I didn’t enjoy every story equally, some I liked quite a bit more than others, but on balance Glitter and Mayhem was a pleasant surprise.

I received an electronic review copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Glitter and Mayhem
edited by Lynne M. Thomas, John Klima and Michael Damian Thomas
Apex Publications, August 2013
Buy at Amazon (Kindle) | Buy at Weightless Books | publisher’s page | Goodreads | LibraryThing

The 2013 Hugo Results

Watching the Hugo Awards live on Sunday night was an exercise in frustration, thanks to technical problems at the convention itself (i.e., it wasn’t the hotel, or Ustream). The long and the short of it is that roughly half of the ceremony was not broadcast. I spent the evening grumbling about that — we had friends over to watch the event, so this was disappointing — instead of enjoying and responding to the results. Grumble.

Anyway, with the full knowledge that awards, in Harlan Ellison’s words, “are bullshit” — or, in Charlie Stross’s words, “a beauty contest with arbitrary time-delimited cut-offs. Fun, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously” — here are some thoughts on the Hugo Award results. All in all there were few surprises in terms of the winners, given what we had to choose from on the final ballot. In this post I’m going to delve into the numbers rather than discuss the winners. Warning: excessive voting neepery ahead.

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My New Article on Fantasy Maps: ‘Here Be Blank Spaces’

NYRSF logo My short essay on fantasy maps, “Here Be Blank Spaces: Vaguely Medieval Fantasy Maps” appears in issue #300 of The New York Review of Science Fiction, out today. I wrote it in response to several books I read rather closely together earlier this year: Reinhart’s Art of the Map, Van Duzer’s Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps, and especially Ekman’s Here Be Dragons (links to my reviews). Taken together, these books highlighted a key difference between fantasy maps and their real-world counterparts from medieval and early modern Europe: fantasy maps are full of blank spaces; real-world maps were not.

Issue #300 of the NYRSF should be available to subscribers now. If you’re not a subscriber, you’re in luck: issue #300 is being made available for free (it’s the NYRSF’s 25th anniversary, and the publishers are offering it to celebrate and in hopes that you’ll subscribe). Download it from this page. I’ll eventually have it up in the Articles section as well.

Update 8/28: Read the article here.

On Year’s-Best Anthologies

An interview at Black Gate with four editors of year’s-best fantasy, horror and science fiction anthologies answers a question I’ve often had: how do these editors manage to read all the stories being published today and still have a life? About a year and a half ago I tried doing that myself, but quickly discovered how mad that was: there’s simply too much out there. As David Hartwell explained to me when I asked him about this at Readercon last month, you read every story, but you don’t necessarily finish every story.

A Fantasy Map of Ireland

Fantasy map of Ireland Another data point for our consideration of what people think a fantasy map looks like, from the author of the Maptitude tumblelog: a fantasy map of Ireland, replete with, as you would expect, forests and hills. It departs from the fantasy map paradigm by using colour: red for political boundaries, blue for water. It also uses a vaguely uncial script: something we’ve seen in the movie versions of The Lord of the Rings, but less often in fantasy book maps. Not inappropriate for Ireland, though.

Previously: A Fantasy Map of Great Britain; A Fantasy Map of Australia; A Fantasy Map of the U.S.

Three Original Anthologies

Here are three forthcoming anthologies of original science fiction and fantasy stories that are seeking submissions from writers this year:

  • Long Hidden (Crossed Genres), an anthology of stories from the margins of history edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older. Stories must be set between 1400 and 1920 and contain an SF/fantasy/horror/weird element. 3,000 to 7,000 words, 5¢/word. Deadline (extended to) August 31.
  • Strange Bedfellows (Bundoran Press), edited by Hayden Trenholm, an anthology of political science fiction. 2,000 to 7,500 words, 5½¢/word. Deadline September 30.
  • Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (Exile Editions), edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, an anthology of Canadian stories “set after a great disaster such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, ecological collapse, etc.” Canadians only, 2,000 to 10,000 words, 5¢/word. Submissions open September 1; deadline November 30.

Yes, I have something in mind for each of these. Whether I can get the stories to cohere in time for the deadline — that’s going to be the trick.

Older Entries

2013 Hugos: Novellas
A Fantasy Map of Great Britain
A Fantasy Map of Australia
Redshirts
The Mapmaker’s War
The Best of All Possible Worlds
Fantasy Maps Project Page Updated
Review: Here Be Dragons
The Sixteenth-Century Origins of Fantasy Maps
2312
2013 Hugos: Short Stories
My Own Private Westeros
2012 Nebula Award Winners
2012 Nebulas: Novelettes
2012 Nebulas: Novellas
2012 Nebulas: Short Stories
The Human Division
Without a Summer
Iain M. Banks
Glamour in Glass
Throne of the Crescent Moon
The 2013 Hugo Award Nominees
In Defence of Immortality
A Natural History of Dragons
The Imaginarium Geographica
2012 Nebula Ballot Announced
Red Planet Blues
Ankh-Morpork on the iPad
The Book of Thomas: Volume One: Heaven
Saladin Ahmed on Secondary World Fantasy
Interfictions, Tesseracts
Gene Wolfe, Grand Master
Antony Swithin’s Rockall
Analog and Asimov’s Raise Their Rates
Review: The Lands of Ice and Fire
Let Maps to Others
The World Fantasy Map Panel
Gardner Dozois Ebooks!
Now Out: The Lands of Ice and Fire
Be My Enemy
Caliban’s War
Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy
Two New Online SF Magazines
Space Navies
Roger Zelazny’s Here There Be Dragons
Dung Kai-cheung’s Atlas
The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories
At the Mouth of the River of Bees
Leviathan Wakes
Canadian Calls for Submissions
The High Crusade
P Is for Prunes
Kate Elliott on Fantasy Maps
Embassytown
Write Like the Wind
2012 Hugos: Related Work
A Scholarly Work on Fantasy Maps
2011 Nebula Award Winners
2011 Nebulas: Novels
2011 Nebulas: Short Stories
2012 Aurora Award Finalists
El Viaje de Argos
The 2012 Hugo Award Nominees
The Islanders
2011 Nebulas: Novelettes
The Lands of Ice and Fire: Westeros Atlas Coming in October
2011 Nebulas: Novellas
Above
Christopher Priest vs. the Clarke Awards
Arctic Rising
Planesrunner
A Fantasy Map of the U.S.
Triggers
A Door into Ocean
2011 Nebula Ballot Announced
How Readers Use Fantasy Maps
‘The Maps We Wandered Into as Kids’
Two Writing Workshops
2011 Science Fiction and Fantasy Recommendations
Radio Waves
Four Map Stories
Reading Short SF and Fantasy 3
Incompetent Dwarves and Wizardly Plans
Reading Short SF and Fantasy 2
More Skiffy Bits
Skiffy Bits
Reading Short SF and Fantasy 1
Gopnik on Fantasy and Young Readers
2011 in Short SF and Fantasy
2011 Aurora Awards
Master of the House of Darts
Middle-Earth’s Columbian Exchange
The Farthing Party Map Panel
Maps in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Lifelode
Top 20 Steampunk Books
SF Signal on Fantasy Maps
2011 Hugos: Novellas
2011 Hugos: Novelettes
Gardner Dozois: When the Great Days Come
2011 Hugos: Short Stories
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Dervish House
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Online
She Likes It Dark
Engineering Infinity
Fuzzy Nation
Realms of Fantasy Will Move to Online Submissions
Clarkesworld on the Kindle
Zoo City
2010 Nebula Awards Announced
Michael Swanwick’s Dancing with Bears
Consensus in Science Fiction Awards
Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede
Ad Astra 2011: Top Ten SF Novels
Reading Jules Verne
‘Can’t-Miss’ SF and Fantasy Novels for 2011
Deathless
2010 Nebulas: Novellas
Aliette de Bodard’s Aztec Mystery Novels
2010 Nebulas: Novelettes
‘The Fall of Alacan’ by Tobias Buckell
2010 Nebulas: Short Stories
In Defence of the Tolkien Estate
Writing Space-Based Science Fiction
Prisoners of Gravity Episodes Online
Words in 1907
Copyediting Science Fiction and Fantasy
Analog Goes Digital