Just a brief notice, as it says in the subject line: we're going to be closing to fiction submissions for the month of April, so if you've been meaning to send us a piece, now's the time. (The deadline for applying to be one of our first readers is the end of this month, too!) Fiction will be back open again in May, and other departments remain open as usual.
'tis the season for awards shortlists, so a few congratulations: David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetry chapbook "SETI Hits Paydirt" has been nominated for an Elgin Award; Lisa M. Bradley's "Una Canción de Keys", from SH a year ago, has been nominated in the Rhysling Long Poem category; and Gwynne Garfinkle's "It's a Universal Picture" is also up for a Rhysling. Meanwhile, Sweet Poison, by Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo, has been nominated for the Elgin and a Stoker Award, and contains the poem "Eolian Conscientia" which is up for a Rhysling. And as previously mentioned, our "State of British SF symposium" from last July is nominated for a BSFA Award, up against Paul Kincaid, Edward James, Jonathan McCalmont and Karen Burnham, all of whom have contributed to SH at some point. Elsewhere on that ballot, congratulations to Octavia Cade, whose "The Mussel Eater" is nominated for Best Short Fiction, and to Nina Allan, whose The Race is up for Best Novel (and also nominated for a Kitschies tentacle shortlist). Then there are the Aurealis Awards, which include Liz Argall's story "Falling Leaves", from Apex Magazine. And congratulations to all the Nebula nominees -- no SH stories on the ballot this year, but a number of past contributors, including Usman T. Malik for "The Vaporisation Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family" (also on the Stoker ballot!), Alyssa Wong for "The Fisher Queen", Sarah Pinsker for "A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide", and Carmen Maria Machado for "The Husband Stitch", which is lovely to see.
After all that, a light month for new books: Cecil Castelluci's Stone in the Sky, a sequel to Tin Star, is out from Macmillan, while Mike Revell's debut novel Stonebird is out from Quercus; it's a middle-grade novel about a boy and his gargoyle.
New stories: The new issue of Unlikely Story is out, co-edited by AC Wise. Two poems translated by Lawrence Schimel were featured at And Other Poems: an excerpt from Care Santos' Dissection, and a poem by Jordi Doce. Susan Jane Bigelow has a new story at Apex, "The Best Little Cleaning Robot in All of Faerie." Carmen Maria Machado's "Descent" is in Nightmare Magazine, as is "The Garden" by Karen Munro. Aidan Doyle's story "Naoko's Dragons" was in Orbit Magazine. This month's Lightspeed includes "And You Shall Know Her By the Trail of Dead" by Brooke Bolander. The February Clarkesworld includes Rich Larson's story, "Meshed"; and Rich also had a story in Beneath Ceaseless Skies at the start of the month, "The King in the Cathedral." And Mythic Delirium showcased stories by two SH alums: "A Shadow on the Sky" by Sunny Moraine, and "Visitation of the Oracle at McKain Street" by Sheree Renée Thomas.
A busy month for new poetry: Deborah P Kolodji is the featured poet in the February 2015 issue of Silver Blade, with an interview as well as some poems. Laura Walton Allen's "Andromeda" is in Tinderbox. Adrienne J. Odasso's "Queen of Cups" is at Inkscrawl, and "The Memory Thief", co-written with Dominik Parisien, is in Ideomancer, along with "Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments" by Bogi Takács. The first issue of Cherry Tree includes Jeannine Gailey's poem, "Pinned." Peg Duthie has two poems in new anthology Toasts. Rachael K. Jones' story "Who Binds and Looses the World with Her Hands" appeared as an audio original at Podcastle. And not quite a poem, but Jessy Randall had a list at McSweeny's.
Non-fiction: Some interesting essays this month. Sabrina Vourvoulias had a piece at Tor.com looking at US Latino/a writers and stories. Abigail Nussbaum and Renay ponder Jupiter Ascending. SL Huang's essay, "Why I Want More Unlikeable Female Characters" appeared at New Statesman. Carmen Maria Machado wrote about Kelly Link's new collection Get in Trouble for the LA Review of Books. Rose Lemberg wrote on the privilege and necessity of writing. Erin Horáková has a chapter on fanfiction as labor and play, and on Britpicking and cultural imperialism, in Play, Performance and Identity: How Institutions Structure Ludic Spaces, from Routledge. And at The Mary Sue, Tom Speelman wrote about Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.
A brace of British awards announce their shortlists yesterday: you can find the (juried) Kitschies shortlists for "progressive, intelligent and entertaining" speculative literature here, and the (popular vote) British Science Fiction Association Award shortlists here. We're very pleased to have the "State of British SF" symposium we published last summer -- with essays by Juliet E. McKenna, Kari Sperring, Nina Allan, Dan Hartland, Martin Lewis, and Maureen Kincaid Speller -- nominated in the Best Non-Fiction category, up against a strong and typically eclectic field that includes work by Paul Kincaid, Jonathan McCalmont, Edward James and Karen Burnham. Other nominations that make me particularly happy: the double-nod for Nina Allan's The Race, and Tessa Farmer's artwork nomination for The Wasp Factory.
It's more than a little tempting to ask what these shortlists say about The State of British SF, since one of the themes running through our symposium was that it is at present a little rudderless. Sticking to novels, the raw demographics are (I think) four Brits across the ten nominees for the two Kitschies categories, and six of eight on the BSFA list (with Allan shortlisted for both awards). So far as the BSFA goes, it's pleasing to see Frances Hardinge and Claire North (aka Kate Griffin, aka Catherine Webb) receive their (overdue?) first nods, after several years of increasing praise for their work. This is also the first year the main BSFA list has recognised more books by women than by men, which fits with my sense that we are at the start of an overdue rebalancing of the British market in that respect. The most striking British omission is either Adam Roberts (although he was a judge for the Kitschies, and having had two novels out last year, may have split his vote for the BSFA) or the collective absence of almost any writers associated with the British Boom; the most striking omission overall, though, is Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach, effusively praised by Adam in our pages, by far the most-cited book in our year-in-review, and hoovering up enough general kudos to top Chaos Horizon's attempts to predict both the Hugo and Nebula shortlists. Without having read it myself, I still expect to see VanderMeer on the Nebula list, but I wonder if this dents his Hugo momentum very slightly; in theory BSFA members are better-represented within the Hugo voting population than usual, thanks to carry-over from Loncon. (Not that the BSFA list had much predictive value last year, mind you.) I also think the British shortlist presence might not translate to wins: I'll be surprised if the Kitschies main prize goes to anyone other than Okorafor, and the size of the BSFA shortlist -- which in itself indicates a lack of consensus about the most significant novels of the year -- may give the advantage to the books that have been most widely read already, which makes it a race between Leckie and North.
Artistically, which is the more important criterion in the end, it's hard to divine any unifying themes among the British nominees, although there are a few I have yet to investigate: Williamson, Wiles, and perhaps most intriguingly, Hermione Eyre's Viper Wine, from the Kitschies debut list. But The Race and Wolves, much though I have issues with the latter, do feel like ambitious attempts to write a contemporary British SF. We have, of course, one more UK award still to come; my sense is that 2014 was a year with a good depth of potential award nominees, so it will be interesting to see whether this year's Clarke Award emphasises the picture that's emerged so far, or takes us in another direction. In addition to those already nominated, we might consider David Mitchell, Michel Faber, Emily Mandel, EJ Swift, and Johanna Sinisalo: add in either VanderMeer or Roberts and you have a perfectly creditable shortlist with no overlap whatsoever.
Time for our first contributors' new round-up of 2015! A quick congratulations to Carmen Maria Machado to start, whose SH story "Inventory" took third place in this year's Million Writers Award, and who will have two stories in The Year's Best Weird Fiction 2: "The Husband Stitch" and "Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa". Also in that anthology will be Usman T. Malik's "Resurrection Points". And if you're looking to catch up on 2014 material, there are a lot of SH contributors (and stories) on Tangent Online's Recommended Reading List -- too many to list separately.
And if you're in Portland (Oregon), Tina Connelly's "mind-bendy futuristic YA play" Box opened this week.
On to new books: Daniel José Older's Half-Resurrection Blues, first in his new urban fantasy series, is out from Roc and picking up good reviews. Jo Walton's The Just City is out from Tor, and you can read an interview with her by Liz Bourke on that very topic in this week's issue. Also from Tor is Greg van Eekhout's Pacific Fire, follow-up to California Bones. Adam Roberts' latest short story collection, Saint Rebor, is out from Newcon Press in the UK. Faith L. Justice's collection Slow Death and Other Tales is out from Raggedy Moon Books in print, ebook and audio. Rachael Acks has a collection of Captain Ramos novellas out from Musa Publishing: Sausages, Steam, and the Bad Thing. And Jenn Grunigen's serialized novel Skyglass is up to Chapter 8 at Sparkler Monthly.
What about new stories? The new Lackington's includes stories by A.C. Wise, Polenth Blake, JY Yang, Cassandra Khaw and others. Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam's latest story, "Everything Beneath You", appears at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Octavia Cade's "Palimpsest" is in the latest Bards and Sages Quarterly. Daily Science Fiction has new stories by JY Yang ("Cold Hands and the Smell of Salt"), Kate Heartfield ("I'm Lonely: Immune to Apraxia, Toronto Doctor Refuses to Give up on a Cure"), Michelle Ann King ("Wrong Word)") and Sarah Pinsker ("Beauty and the Baby Beast"). James Dorr's short, "Flightless Rats", appeared at T. Gene Davis's Speculative Blog. Cecil Castellucci's "The Sound of Useless Wings", prequel to her novel Tin Star, appeared at Tor.com. Uncanny's new issue includes Sam J. Miller's "The Heat of Us: Notes Toward and Oral History," plus Ken Liu's translation of "Folding Beijing" by Hao Jingfang. Lisa Nohealani Morton's "To Fall, and Pause, and Fall" is in the latest Fireside. Tiffani Angus' "Bundle of Joy" can be found at Pornokitsch. Mythic Delirium has Swapna Kishore's story "The Absence of Words." Aidan Doyle's SF story "Undeleted" appeared in Cosmos. Andrew Kozma's flash, "God Closed Down the Store", is at Grievous Angel. Rachel K. Jones' "Makeisha in Time" appeared at Podcastle. And Peg Duthie had five tweet-stories at 7x20 in the week of 12th January.
Fancy some poetry? Dreams & Nightmares issue 100, edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel is out! Including Daniel Ausema's "Seasons in a Moon Ocean", Laura Walton Allen's "Dream", and more. Details at his blog, or email for details ($8 for print, $1 for PDF). Lawrence Schimel has translated two poems by Galician poet Yolanda Castaño at Talisman. Poetry editor Adrienne J. Odasso has three of her own works elsewhere this month, two poems at Battersea Review, plus "Orbital" at Farrago's Wainscot. Margarita Tenser's "I have painted" appears in Breath and Shadow. The latest Goblin Fruit includes a number of SH alumns and staff, including poetry editor Sonya Taaffe ("After the Red Sea"), Rose Lemberg ("The Law of Germinating Seeds"), M. Sereno ("Mananaggal"), Ada Hoffmann ("Pyromancer"), Mari Ness ("Demands") and Neile Graham ("The Alchemy"). Neile also has a poem in Liminality: "The Lark, The Peat, The Star, and Our Time." Jeannine Hall Gailey's poem "A Primer for Reading 23 Pairs of Chromosomes, or, Introduction to Your Own Personal Genome Project" is in the January Mythic Delirium. And Elizabeth Barrette's January poetry fishbowl theme was "Earn Your Happy Ending."
In non-fiction, a couple of staff appearing elsewhere: senior reviews editor Maureen Kincaid Speller is part of a round-table on the value of negative reviews at Nerds of a Feather. And fiction editor An Owomoyela had a spotlight interview in Locus. Jeannine Hall Gailey has an essay, "Growing Up in the Atomic City" at the Next Best Book Club Blog. Foz Meadows has a long celebratory essay about fanfic at The Booksmugglers. Deborah P Kolodji is interviewed about her haiku and other work at Colorado Boulevard. And Jessy Randall had a list feature at McSweeney's: New Pay-Per-View Channels.
There are, as I type, just a few hours left in our 2014 Readers' Poll -- your chance to tell us what you liked best from the magazine this year. We always love to see what's struck a chord, so do consider submitting a vote for your favourites.
Time for the last round-up of news for 2014! What have SH contributors been up to elsewhere in December?
Publishing and awards: Joanne Merriam's Kickster for How to Live on Other Planets is underway, aiming to be the first science fiction anthology to focus exclusively on the immigrant experience. It includes work by a list of SH contributors to long to bring over here -- so click over there. Carmen Maria Machado's "Inventory" is a finalist for the Million Writers Award (vote for your pick here). And Zen Cho has sold her first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown -- details here.
Short fiction: Terraform has had stories by Cassandra Khaw ("Disconnect") and upcoming SH contributor Alison Wilgus ("King Tide"). The December 2014 Worlds Without Borders is an nternational YA issue and includes an excerpt from Ricardo Chávez Castañeda's The Book of Denial, translated by Lawrence Schimel. Tor.com has a new story by Sabrina Vourvourlias, "Skin in the Game", and has reprinted Ken Liu's "Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon", from Kaleidoscope. The new issue of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, co-edited by AC Wise, includes Polenth Blake's "On Shine Wings" and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro's "Miranda's Wings", among others. Lightspeed reprints NK Jemisin's "Valedictorian", from After, and has a new story by Vandana Singh, "Wake-Rider" (and will be posting Rachael Acks' "They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain" at the end of the month -- though of course you can buy the whole issue now). Natalia Theodoridou's "The Ravens' Sister" appears in the Winter 2015 Kenyon Review Online. Michelle Ann King's "Born Under a Lucky Star" appears at Unsung Stories. M. Bennardo's "Now Dress Me in My Finest Suit and Lay Me in My Casket" is at Clarkesworld. Marissa Lingen has a story in the latest Beneath Ceaseless Skies, "A House of Gold and Steel", while John Zaharick's "Anthracite Weddings" is in the latest Apex. Escape Pod has podcast Sarah Pinsker's Asimov's story from earlier this year, "The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbits of Mpumalanga Province", and Rachael Jones' story "The Mercy of Theseus". Print zines: Aida Doyle's "A Kingdom for a Horse" is in the December issue of Penumbra, while David C. Kopaska-Merkel's "The Anemone Garden" is in Cyaegha 11, and James S. Dorr's "Flute and Harp" is in the British Fantasy Society journal 12, a special issue on LGBT fantasy. And the new issue of Space and Time (due any day now) will include Jennifer Pelland's "The Kindest Cut."
A quiet month for books, but you can buy Sonya Taaffe's new collection Ghost Signs from Aqueduct; and Lawrence Schimel has published a new Spanish-language children's book, ¿Cómo se dice?, illustrated by Romina Pernigotte: "a playful and fantasy-filled look at good manners and a love of reading."
Poetry: The December Ideomancer is a special poetry issue, including Alexandra Seidel's "The Star Reader's Almanac", Bogi Takács' "Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments" and Mary Soon Lee's "The Matter of the Horses", among others. Meanwhile, Ting Gou has two poems in Chest: The Official Publication of the American College of Chest Physicians (!), "Home Visits with the Storyteller" and "Family Portrait as Fruit Flies." Jessy Randall has a series of visual poems in a special issue of Truck, guest edited by Chris Lott. Peg Duthie's "Lining up" is at Poetry Storehouse. And Jenny Blackford's "I made myself a lover" appears in the first issue of new Australian journal Gargouille.
We have one more issue to come this year, but this week was our last story of the year, and a couple of people have asked us for a handy index of 2014 SH material. You can of course read through the fiction archive (and search the full archive), but for convenience, here's the run-down:
We also had three reprints:
I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that I am the newest Senior Fiction Editor at Strange Horizons. I’ve been a member of the editorial team since 2011, when I came on board as a first reader, and I’ve enjoyed my work with that group immensely. I’m a 2011 graduate of Clarion West and my fiction has appeared in Futures from Nature, Ideomancer, Realms of Fantasy, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. I’m also residential staff at the Alpha Young Writers Workshop, which is hugely energizing and lets me see the effects of changes in the genre fairly directly. Strange Horizons was one of the first places I read short fiction I spent a month or two in 2002 reading the archives and have kept up fairly well since and I am proud to be part of its longstanding tradition of publishing great speculative fiction that expands the boundaries of our genre.
As Niall has announced, I'm stepping down as senior fiction editor. Life has gotten rather full in the past while, and I've been running lower and lower on the time I need to be able to put in to do the best work I can on the magazine – so, it's time for me to offer up this position to someone else and step aside. I'm confident that the person taking over for me, Catherine Krahe, will do a fantastic job: she's been with us as a first reader since I started, and her dedication to the field (and to Strange Horizons!) is impressive. I look forward to seeing the stories the team chooses in the future, and I have to say, it'll be a lot of fun to be able to just read Strange Horizons every week again.
Overall, it's been a wonderful ride. I've appreciated every moment of time spent on this magazine, from the slush to the responses from readers. When I was offered the position, I had only edited a single anthology and didn't know if I was even "qualified" to do this kind of work – but I knew I wanted to give it the best I could, because the mission of the magazine and the work they'd published both spoke deeply to me. Teaming up with writers both new and familiar to put out the best possible versions of their work has been immensely satisfying; it's something I'll always appreciate having been given the chance to do, and I hope that passing this position along to someone else will continue that cycle of opportunity and growth.
So, thanks to the readers and the writers and the folks who've commented on our stories over the years. Thank you for the awards nominations (and wins!) for short stories we've published; thanks especially to my awesome co-editors, Julia Rios and An Owomoyela, for being kind and brilliant and so good to work with. Thank you to the previous team who brought me on; thanks to the editors of other departments and the webmasters and the proofreaders – and everyone, really – who've brought together Strange Horizons to make it what it is.
It's been a pleasure. I look forward to seeing what comes next.
Time for the penultimate round-up of SH contributor news this year:
Some new books you may wish to investigate: Ken Liu has translated The Three Body-Problem by Cixin Liu; see reviews in the WSJ and NY Yimes, and this episode of the Coode Street Podcast. Susan Jane Bigelow's novel The Seeker Star, a story about sisters, aliens, and abandoned planet, is out from Candlemark & Gleam. Ursula Pflug's latest book is Motion Sickness, a novel in flash with illustrations by S. K. Dyment. And Daniel Ausema's steampunk fantasy serial, Spire City, is just beginning its second season, while Jenn Grunigen's serialized SF Skyglass has reached chapter 6.
A bumper crop of new stories! Several SH alums appear in the latest Interfictions; Lavie Tidhar with "The Rise and Fall of the Simian Empire", Genevieve Valentine with "Vulturism", Carmen Maria Machado with "Mothers", and Alex Dally MacFarlane with "Pocket Atlas of Planets" (plus see poetry, below). Octavia Cade's "The Mussel Eater" was published by the Booksmugglers (read a short essay on the origins of the story here). A.C. Wise's "From Stone and Bone, From Earth and Sky" is the latest featured story at GigaNotoSaurus. Sara Norja's "Chrysopoeia" appeared in Quantum Fairy Tales. The latest issue of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet includes Jessy Randall's story, "You Don't Even Have a Rabbit", while the latest Interzone includes Tom Greene's "Monoculture", and E. Catherine Tobler's "Oubliette". Erin Horáková has a story in this year's Jurassic London Stocking Stuffer. Jason Erik Lundberg's flash piece, "Fragment From a Eulogy", appears in the anthology A Luxury We Cannot Afford from Math Paper Press. Lightspeed has "What Glistens Back" by Sunny Moraine, and reprints Roz Kaveney's "Instructions." Margaret Ronald's "Sweet Death" appears in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Orrin Grey's "Lovecraftian Goetic demonology story set in Jazz Age Kansa City", "The Lesser Keys", appears (where else?) in Jazz Age Cthulu, from Innsmouth Free Press. Rich Larson's "Brute" and Marissa Lingen's "The New Girl" are in the latest Apex. Wendy Rathbone's "I Keep the Dark That Is Your Pain" is in Darke Phantastique from Cicatrix Press (ebook to follow next year). The current issue of The Future Fire includes "Seven Bridges" by Francesca Forrest. Rachael Jones' "Wine for Witches, Milk for Saints" appears in the November Inter Galactic Medicine Show. Robert Reed's "Pernicious Romance" appeared in Clarkesworld. And John Zaharick's "Leiden Jar" is in the latest Plasma Frequency.
On the new poems front, more from Interfictions! Gwynne Garfinkle's "Witches of Childhood", and M Sereno's "Ahas, Tala." There's a new issue of Goblin Fruit, and it includes Neile Graham's "Chant for Summer Darkness in Northwest Climes", C. S. E. Cooney's "Little Sally and the Bull Fiddle God", plus work by Sara Norja, Mari Ness, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, and others. The latest issue of The Heron's Nest includes a haiku by Deborah P Kolodji. David C. Kopaska-Merkel's collection SETI Hits Paydirt is out from Popcorn Press. James S. Door had five vampire poems in the November Bloodhound, and two werewolf poems in the Source Point Press anthology Lycan Lore. And Elizabeth Barrette's latest poetry fishbowl theme was "winning without defeating anyone."
Non-fiction: Liz Bourke reports from the inaugural INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair (more on her blog). Abigail Nussbaum has thoughts on Interstellar. At Clarkesworld, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro interviews Jo Walton and looks at drugs in SF. Renay has thoughts at Lady Business about Black Widow (part of a superheroes theme week). And Adam Roberts' continuing reviews overload continues with, among others, The Peripheral, Wolf in White Van and, perhaps as an antidote to our 10,000 word book club discussion, a short post on Tigerman.