TBD: appreciating a catalog of the banal gadgets of tomorrow

David already posted about the amazing TBD Catalog, which is filled with "design fiction" about the devices of the future; but I just read it and I need to rave about it.

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Neil Gaiman on the quiet rage of Terry Pratchett


Neil Gaiman's introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction essays, exposes a little-known side of the writer than many think of as a "twinkly old elf" -- the rage that is Pratchett's engine, driving him to write deceptively simple stories that decry unfairness and make virtue from bravery.

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Man From Mars Radio Hat


It's been three years since we last mentioned the astounding Man From Mars Radio Hat, so here is your triennial reminder that we are a fallen people, our glory years long behind us.

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Revisiting the first Tiptree Award anthology

It's Banned Books Week, and what better way to celebrate than with a review of the first James Tiptree Award Anthology, published in 2004 by the committee who award the Tiptree each year for excellence in science fiction and fantasy that celebrates, explores and expands gender roles?

Lastly, I’d also like to give special “related to short-fiction” mention to the inclusion of “Everything But the Signature is Me” by Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.—the letter that was written after the person behind the Tiptree persona came to light. It’s friendly, jovial, and almost polished to a shine in its style of conversational discourse; it makes the whole situation of masks, gender, and outing seem gentle or trivial. Read in context with the biography of Sheldon and with other primary materials about how strongly she felt about her gender, her sexuality, and her experience with occupying the persona of a man, though… It’s an interesting counterpoint to all of that, a fascinating way of looking at how one person frames their difficult and complex relationships to the world as a gendered subject. And, more significantly, how that frame can differ depending on audience and intimacy. It’s an interesting piece, one I’d recommend giving a look alongside further reading about the enigmatic Sheldon/Tiptree.

As for the first half of this anthology: judging by my reactions, I’d say that the judges for this award and the editors of this volume are correct in noting that the pieces they’ve chosen are designed to provoke thought and conversation more than to be comfortable and easy to take in. I appreciate stories that give me a complex response, and stories that are trying to do hard work with narrative and gender. I do find myself often struck by a desire for them to go further, do more—but there’s room for all the types of stories on the narrative spectrum.

Short Fiction Spotlight: The James Tiptree Award Anthology (Part 1) [Brit Mandelo/Tor.com]

Science fiction fanzines, 1940s-1970s

Over at Thought Catalog, Mark Dery ruminates on Lenny Kaye's legendary collection of science fiction fanzines from the 1940s-1970s, on display next weekend at the New York Art Book Fair.

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Lauren Beukes's Broken Monsters

Lauren Beukes’s latest crime/horror novel Broken Monsters marries the snappy, hard-boiled cleverness of her 2010 novel Zoo City with the visceral horror of 2013’s The Shining Girls and yields up a tale that’s as terrifying as it is contemporary — Cory Doctorow reviews Broken Monsters.

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Homeland wins Copper Cylinder award for best Canadian YA sf novel


The Copper Cylinder Prize, voted on by members of the Sunburst Award Society awarded best YA novel to Homeland; best adult novel went to Guy Gavriel Kay's River of Stars.

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Patrick Rothfuss narrates "The Slow Regard of Silent Things"

The Slow Regard of Silent Things being his next novel, a fantasy title due out at the end of October.

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SF predicting the present: novel anticipated Detroit water crisis

Paul Di Filippo describes Ben Parzybok's new novel, Sherwood Nation: "The book is obviously as headline-friendly as the Ferguson riots, inequality debates, Occupy protests and climate change reports; but there's also a Joseph Conrad-Grahame Greene-Shakespeare style concern with the nature of power, the roles that are thrust upon us, and the limits of friendship and love."

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Free Di Filippo story inspired ancient Italian city of Matera


Author Paul Di Filippo did a residency for Matera, a legendary, ancient Italian city and wrote "Chasing the Queen of Sassi" based on his experience of the region.

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Kickstarting a fund to translate and publish Chinese sf in English


Neil Clarke from the Hugo-winning Clarkesworld writes, "Clarkesworld Magazine has entered into an agreement with Storycom International in China to locate, translate, and publish Chinese science fiction stories in every issue."

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The Red Volume: benefit anthology of stories by Clarion SF/F workshop grads

Lara Elena Donnelly writes, "The Clarion class of 2012--known as the Awkward Robots--want to tell you a story. Or, more precisely, 17 stories. About post-singularity dreamscapes, gentrified haunted houses, and redcaps in the trenches at Verdun."

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Science fiction's Islamic roots


From Ibn Tufail's 12th century Hayy Ibn Yaqzan to Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain's 1905 feminist masterpiece Sultana's Dream, the Islamic world produced some of the earliest proto-sf, which IO9's Charlie Jane Anders rounds up in an excellent post.

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William Gibson reads Neuromancer

It's from the original audio edition of his seminal 1984 novel, which is sadly no longer available, though it's easy enough to find bootlegs online.

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