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Hugo Award Winners 2015

As many readers will know, this year there has been a concerted effort by a small but vocal minority to "game" the Hugo awards and try and put science fiction back by a few decades. They don't want to see ethnic and gender diversity in "their" science fiction and many of the Hugo award shortlists for this year were full of this small groups short-sighted, predominantly white male fiction.

Thankfully the larger science fiction community has made their voices heard and have chosen "No Award" for five of the Hugo categories including Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor Short Form and Best Editor Long Form.

While this does mean that for those categories many deserving people have missed out on a chance of becoming Hugo Award winners it does also send a message to those racist, homophobic and sexist people. What do the vast majority of science fiction readers want? — well written and engaging fiction, nothing…

Posted by Antony on Aug 23, 2015

Gollancz August 2015 Paperbacks

Gollancz Paperback of the Month August 2015 is John Scalzi's novel Lock In which we reviewed back in January. It's not, as you might expect a novel about late night pub drinking, instead it's a science fiction police procedural which describes a pandemic virus which causes 99% of the population to suffer "flu like" symptoms. The other 1%  become "locked in" to their own bodies, fully awake, but unable to move or respond to stimulus (a real condition known as "locked-in syndrome"). Those locked in become known as "Haden", named after the most famous locked-in survivor, America's first lady.

A huge scientific endeavour follows and two discoveries are made. The first, the creation of a neural net technology that allows the locked-in to transfer their consciousness into robotic avatars (known as Threeps). The second the discovery that a few rare…

Posted by Antony on Aug 10, 2015

Gollancz July 2015 Paperbacks

Gollancz Paperback of the Month for July 2015 is the impressive novel The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, reviewed by our good man Allen Stroud back in September last year. Allen seemed impressed:

Sometimes a book comes along that reminds you of the pleasure of being a reader and/or a writer, a book that you start at the right time and cannot fail to admire...
...an exciting debut from a writer who plainly loves what he has made and I’m looking forward to the sequel already

The Relic Guild is a blend of Steampunk, horror and adventure, a tale ten years in the making and one that shouldn't be missed.

Elsewhere Gollancz is re-publishing the classic Philip K Dick tragicomedy that is Humpty…

Posted by Antony on Jul 07, 2015

On the Origin of Portiids

Children of Time Cover

To celebrate the release of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s SF epic Children of Time, the author has kindly agreed to put some words together in an altogether pleasing arrangement.

Children of Time and Speculative Evolution By Adrian Tchaikovsky

It began with a man named Dougal Dixon.

Probably it began before then, but Dixon was my first introduction to the games you can play with evolution, which led eventually, through twists and turns, to Children of Time.

Children of Time’s premise is that an uplift experiment set up by a human scientist ends up being abandoned (due to a little matter of the end of human civilization as we know it), with the result that the uplift mechanism (mostly in the form of an engineered nanovirus) finds a wholly unexpected beneficiary…

Posted by Antony on Jun 04, 2015

Gollancz May 2015 Paperbacks

Gollancz Paperback of the month for May 2015 is Adam Roberts exceptional story of artificial Intelligence, Bête — which we reviewed last October. Roberts is a writer who seems to improve with each book he writes and Bête is quite simply stunning. It's set sometime in the near future and explores our relationship with the natural world and how that is changing with the steady march of technological progress. Witty and clever, it was one of my favourite books of 2014.

Gollancz is also re-releasing the late Harry Harrison's novel Bill, the Galactic Hero which happens to be one of my all time favourite books and is 50 years old this year (THAT makes me feel old). It has been described by Terry Pratchett as:

Simply the funniest science fiction novel…
Posted by Antony on May 12, 2015

Arthur C Clarke Award Winner 2015

This years Arthur C Clarke award had an impressive shortlist — Dave Hutchinson's incredible vision of a fractured future Europe In Autumn, Claire North's time travel escapade The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, M.R. Carey's haunting thriller The Girl with all the gifts. Michel Faber's science fiction Christianity voyage Book of strange new things and coming of age drama Memory Of Water by Emmi Itäranta.

Each one a gem, each very different and each deserving of the award for reasons different as the books themselves. The winner though was the novel picked out by George RR Martin who nominated it for a Hugo and said of it:

Deeply melancholy, but beautifully written, and wonderfully…

Posted by Antony on May 06, 2015

Dataslate - A Book Review Podcast

Dataslate Cover

For those of you that don't know, I've been pretty involved in the community around Elite: Dangerous the computer game since its successful Kickstarter at the end of 2012 . I wrote one of the official novels, reviewed here by Ant on SFBook and I help run the podcast Lave Radio, that's been following the development of the game since March 2013. 

In the last few weeks we've launched a sister show — Dataslate, hosted by myself and with John Richardson of  StarFleet Comms. On Dataslate we talk books and journey into the unknown to bring you back some reading recommendations. 

The show goes out at 8pm…

Posted by Antony on May 03, 2015

Gollancz April 2015 Paperbacks

This month Gollancz paperback releases include a number of unmissable novels.

Paperback of the month is Peter Higgins Truth and Fear, the superb follow-up to the singular novel Wolfhound Century - SFBook of the year for 2013 and a 21st century classic in the making. Set in an alternative Russia with a vast forest and ancient god-like powers, Truth and Fear continues the story of Wolfhound Century and is everything a follow-up book should be, rich, rewarding and one of the finest novels you could read this year or any other.

This months SF Masterworks and Fantasy Masterworks releases include Tim Powers Expiration…

Posted by Antony on Apr 09, 2015

RIP Hugo and your Awards

The Hugo awards, often considered to be the most coveted and prestigious award within the SFF genre, has always had a political side — this isn't news and to be fair it would be almost impossible to find an award that isn't influenced in some way by those who organise and of course those who vote. I've always tried to stay away from these politics, as a reader and reviewer they don't interest me in the slightest — except when they (as they sometimes do) result in a majority of deserving works not getting the chance over those that really don't deserve the publicity.

The Hugo's have always been pro-american and much less a worldwide award, even such universally recognised, non-american authors such as Terry Pratchett have struggled to find nominations. For a good few years the awards have become even less and less representative, not just geographically…

Posted by Antony on Apr 06, 2015

Review: Such a Dark Thing M. Jess Peacock

M. Jess Peacock has clearly led an interesting life, drawing all manner of examples out of an imaginative childhood for re-examination under the academic’s microscope. This exploration of the vampire archetype and its application in a multitude of fiction highlights several themes, allowing us to view this icon of horror fiction through the discussion of its variations. From Dracula to Lestat, Angel and beyond, we examine a selection of iconic characters and discuss the way in which they have been employed in stories, which makes Such a Dark Thing varied and interesting read. You’ll find examples here that you know and a few you probably don’t.

As an academic text on the Vampire and the mythos that surrounds this icon of horror, Such a Dark Thing is a frustrating beast, in some ways like a gorgeous jigsaw puzzle, missing some key pieces, but retaining a few replacements…

Posted by Antony on Mar 31, 2015