The Science Fiction Writers of America have announced the 2017 Nebula Award winners, including two of my favorite books of 2016: Charlie Jane Anders's wonderful debut All the Birds in the Sky and Seanan McGuire's outstanding novella, Every Heart a Doorway.
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In Soupy Leaves Home
, writer Cecil Castellucci and artist Jose Pimienta expand the borders of young adult graphic novels, telling a moving, inspiring tale of Depression-era hobos, identity, gender, suspicion, solidarity, and the complicated business of being true to yourself while living up to your obligations to others.
In Spill Zone
, YA superstar Scott "Uglies
" Westerfeld and artist Alex Puvilland tell the spooky, action-packed tale of Addison, one of the few survivors of the mysterious events that destroyed Poughkeepsie, New York, turning it into a spooky, Night-Vale-ish place where mutant animals, floating living corpses, and people trapped in two-dimensional planes live amid strange permanent winds that create funnels of old electronics and medical waste.
"Your first doomsday machine is a malevolent, inscrutable wristwatch.”
The Please Don't Tell My Parents series
, by Richard Roberts, is a wonderful young adult series of novels about Penelope Akk and her two friends Claire and Ray. They are normal middle school kids just hoping their superpowers will kick in soon. Read the rest
Lauren McLaughlin is no stranger to hard-hitting, unflinching young adult novels: her debut, Cycler
(and its sequel, Re-Cycler
) was about a teenaged girl who turned into a boy for four days every month; Scored
was a class-conscious surveillance dystopia; now, in The Free
, McLaughlin sheds any fantastic or futuristic elements and mainlines a pure, angry, relentless and stripped-down story about a kid whose desperate circumstances become almost unbearable when he takes a fall for a car-theft and goes to juvenile prison.
is a new dystopian science fiction YA graphic novel from Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro that tells the story of Angela Swiff, a teen who refuses to go along with the "Guarantee," a totalitarian philosophy that demands that everyone work, play and (especially) shop as quickly as is humanly possible.
Victoria Jamieson's 2015 graphic novel Roller Girl
won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award and it's easy to see why: Jamieson's story of a young teen's interest in roller derby is the perfect vehicle to explore the difficult and even traumatic way that girls' friendships change as they become teenagers, while never losing sight of the core story, about personal excellence, teamwork, and hard-hitting, girl-positive roller derby.
I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking
, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona
, which was collected and published by Harper Teen
Che Taylor is 17 and his little sister, Rosa, is 10 -- and she's a psychopath. His itinerant parents are relocating the family -- again -- to start (another) social enterprise, this one in New York, and Che knows that when the plane from Bangkok touches down, Rosa will resume her secret campaigns of psychological torture and ghastly cruelty, and that he'll be the only one who can see through the cherubic, charismatic, ringleted facade to the monster underneath. If only he didn't love her so much...
Last week, the National Coalition Against Censorship
honored Rainbow Rowell for her refusal to be back down
on the frequent challenges to her multiple-award-winning, bestselling 2013 novel Eleanor & Park
. I was there, and got a copy of the novel, and have read nothing since, and now that I've finished it, I find myself profoundly moved.
Banned Books Week has come and gone but we can be sure of one thing: the coming year will be marked by challenges to the same kinds of books that were controversial this year, and in years past.
Roald Dahl spent the last of his days in a special armchair that he modded to help him with back pain from a WWII injury; now, in honour of the Dinner at the Twits interactive theatre events, the craft 40FT Brewery has swabbed some yeast from Dahl's chair and cultured it to brew Mr. Twit's Odious Ale, which will be served at the event.
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I discovered The 13 Clocks
by reading Neil Gaiman's introduction to the 2008 New York Review of Books edition (which I found in The View from the Cheap Seats
, a massive collection of Gaiman's nonfiction), where he calls it "Probably the best book in the world" -- how could I resist?
The next SF in SF event features Cecil Castellucci (previously), author of books as varied as Odd Duck and Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure and Ben Loory, author of The Baseball Player and the Walrus and many other titles.
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5 Worlds is a young SFF project that's been a hard secret to keep these past years! It's a five book series, 250 pages each, full color. It has five worlds and there are five of us working together on it. The story involves an impossible quest to light these ancient beacons left behind by an older civilization of Feline gods. The heroes are Oona Lee, a clumsy practitioner of a magical dancing art, An Tzu, a little boy from the toxic slums, and Jax Amboy, a superstar athlete known to everyone in the five worlds. And as they're thrown together they and their worlds go through some surprising transformations.
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Books one and two of Lumberjanes
introduced us to the characters and setting of the awesome, women-run, girl-positive comics: the girls of Roanoke cabin at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types are Lumberjanes, being trained in the badass arts. Book three -- collecting comics from a kind of victory lap of the title after its amazing success -- turned the series' reins over to some of the best writers and illustrators in comics-dom for a series of vignettes. Now, with Out of Time
, the fourth book, the original creative team are back at the helm, telling a long-form story that illuminates the Lumberjane backstory and introduces one of the best, scariest monsters of cryptozoologica.
For the past couple years, the "new, hipster
" Archie has been pushing the envelope on what can be done within the confines of an old, beloved (and outdated) media brand: there was Kevin Keller, a gay character
; Jughead coming out as asexual
; a seriously scary zombie story
; Sharknado spinoffs
; a breast cancer storyline
; even a guest appearance by Jaime "Love and Rockets" Hernandez
: but Chip "Sex Criminals
" Zdarsky's run on Jughead, illustrated by Erica Henderson and just collected in a trade paperback
shows just how much fun
the new normal of Archie can be!