The exploration and expansion of gender: the 2016 Tiptree Awards for fantasy and science fiction

The 2016 winners of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award have been announced, top honors went to When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, with further honors going to some of my favorite books of 2016: Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway, Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, and Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky. Read the rest

Frostgrave, the popular fantasy skirmish game, gets a devilishly-good supplement

Last year, I had the pleasure of exploring “the Frozen City” of Felstad, aka Frostgrave, the ridiculously fun, retro-reminiscent fantasy miniatures game from Osprey. Designer Joseph McCullogh and Osprey have followed up the highly-successful Frostgrave book with a series of excellent supplements. The latest of these is Forgotten Pacts.

Frostgrave is a very psycho-geographical game, where the ancient, ruined, and magic-saturated city of Felstad is really a central character in the game. One of the things each follow-up book does is shine a light into some new corner of that dark and ruined world. And with that light is also illuminated new stories of the city’s past, new wizard and warband types, new magic, treasures to unearth, and new monstrous adversaries.

Forgotten Pacts accomplishes two goals in advancing the game and the setting of Frostgrave. It introduces a new region, the northern reaches of Felstad, and the barbarian tribesmen who have come down from the hills to plunder and explore there. The book also introduces a new magical discipline for courageous wizards to attempt: demonic summoning using pacts. Demon summoning was de rigor in this region of the city during its heyday and the barbarians have re-rediscovered the lost art of it among the temple ruins and incorporated the practice into their way of life. Venturing into this region, players’ wizards get the opportunity to find a demon’s True Name (basically an unpronounceable name rendered as a sigil) among the ruins, and with that name, attempt to conjure and forge a pact with a demon. Read the rest

The BBC will air a docudrama on Terry Pratchett's life and his struggle with Alzheimer's

Paul Kaye plays Pratchett in Back in Black, based on Pratchett's unfinished autobiography; it will air on Saturday. Read the rest

Snow White's cottage for sale

Built in 1982, this 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home based on Snow White's cottage is for sale in Olalla, Washington. It's 2,800 square-feet on 7.52 acres and listed at $925,000. From Realtor.com:

There's not a square corner anywhere. Each door was hand built with extensive iron work. Wood beams were hand carved, stained glass windows are everywhere, and the walls appear to more like a magical cave. Perfect for a B & B or a wedding business.

Read the rest

Cryptomancer: RPG based on real crypto fundamentals

In Cryptomancer, players inhabit a fantasy world populated with elves, dwarves and humans, but they win out by designing and undermining cryptographically secured networks of magical gems that allow different factions to coordinate their actions over distance. Read the rest

Epic fantasy in the scary woods, The Vorrh

The Vorrh is Brian Catling, an accomplished visual artist's, first foray into novel writing. It is a magnificent display of world building, and perhaps sheer madness.

The Vorrh is a vast, perhaps endless, forest. Inside the Vorrh live all sorts of magical creatures and mystery. No one has every transversed the Vorrh and lived to tell the tale, until now.

This novel is an adventure in and of itself. Catling adopts a prosaic style that initially I thought was going to be pretty difficult to read, but it isn't. The text doesn't fly by, but I was absorbed and quickly fell into a rhythm where it worked.

This isn't a novel to start lightly, there is a Finnegan's Wake-like element here.

The Vorrh by Brian Catling via Amazon Read the rest

Prosthetic elf-ears with built-in earbuds

If you're heading into the Council of Elrond disguised as an elf, but you're reliant on a kind of Elvish Cyrano to whisper advice in your (lily-white) ear so you don't blow your cover, look no further than the Twisted Melon Spirit E666 Elvish Ear earbuds, which cost about $10. Now I know what to get the Beschizzas for Xmas! (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Nimona: a YA graphic novel that raises serious, unanswerable moral quandries with snappy dialog and slapstick

I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking, brilliant comic Lumberjanes, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona, which was collected and published by Harper Teen in 2015.

Diverse fantasy writers of non-European-derived worlds: Tor.com opening for novella submissions

Submissions open on Oct 12 for at least three months; they're considering 20,000-40,000 novellas "that fit the epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, high fantasy, or quest fantasy genres, whether set on Earth or on an original fantasy world" but "will only be considering novellas that inhabit worlds that are not modeled on European cultures" and the editors "actively request submissions from writers from underrepresented populations." Read the rest

Gorgeous pulp-fiction editions of Gaiman's Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and American Gods

Now there are three: Neil Gaiman's best-loved novels are being re-released with gorgeous pulp covers; back in August, it was American Gods, in a month you'll be able to marry it up with the stupendous Anansi Boys, to be followed in November by Neverwhere (painted by Robert E McGinnis, lettering by Todd Klein). (via Neil Gaiman)

Update: Ooh, Stardust, too! Read the rest

Mighty Jack: a new series from Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke

Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl trilogy was one of the best kids' comics of the new century (and it's headed to TV!), and he's been very productive in the years since, but his new series, Mighty Jack feels like the true successor to Zita: a meaty volume one that promises and delivers all the buckle you can shake a swash at, with more to come.

Parasitic Souls: what if there was a tech bubble, but for magic?

[Editor's note: Kater Cheek was one of my Clarion 2007 students, and has been vigorously writing and publishing ever since. She has graciously offered us the opportunity to publish the opening chapter of Parasitic Souls, her latest novel -Cory]

Report on the dismal state of black sf/f writers in the short fiction markets

Pablo Defendini writes, "Fireside Fiction Company has released a report detailing the dismal state of representation of black writers in the science fiction and fantasy short fiction market . Despite increasing efforts to boost representation of people of color generally, the prospects for black writers, specifically, have not been improving. According to the data (which is available in a publicly accessible Google spreadsheet ), out of 2,039 stories published in 2015, only 38 were written by black authors. The report is accompanied by a series of essays in reaction to the report by Nisi Shawl , Troy L. Wiggins , Mikki Kendall , Justina Ireland , and Tobias Buckell ; as well as an interview with N.K. Jemisin . Fireside's editor, Brian White, has also written an editorial detailing some steps that Fireside is committed to taking to counter our own biases and help fix this huge problem." Read the rest

100 African science fiction writers you should be reading

Canadian/British science fiction and fantasy author Geoff Ryman, author of the incredible novel WAS, has begun a series in which he profiles 100 working science fiction and fantasy writers in Africa, place by place, starting with Nairobi. Read the rest

Neil Gaiman's next book: a "novelistic" retelling of the Norse mythos

Some of Neil Gaiman's finest work has sprung from classical mythology, from American Gods to Odd and the Frost Giants: now, in a new nonfiction book for WW Norton, Gaiman will retell the Norse myths in novelistic style. Read the rest

The Perdition Score: Sandman Slim vs the One Percent

It's been seven years since Richard Kadrey blew the lid off urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, a fresh, funny, mean and dirty supernatural hard-boiled revenge story like no other. Now, with the publication of book seven, The Perdition Score, Kadrey forces his antihero to confront his fiercest-ever opponent: his own violent nature.

Locus Award 2016 winners: your summer reading!

The readership of Locus magazine have chosen their favorite fantasy and science fiction works of 2015, and the winners make for a very exciting summer reading list indeed! Read the rest

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