The latest Humble Bundle features the books of the most excellent Tachyon Press, with a who's who of my favorite SF writers and collections, from Ellen Klages and Jeff Vandermeer, to Bruce Sterling and Peter Watts, to Patricia McKillip and Brandon Sanderson, and even me!
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The always-excellent SF in SF reading series continues tonight with three excellent writers reading from their debut novels: Ellen Klages, David D. Levine & Robyn Bennis. Doors open 5:30PM at San Francisco's American Bookbinders Museum, and the $10 fee (which benefits the museum) is waived for people who can't afford it. Read the rest
When the wonderful science fiction writer Ellen Klages (previously) tells a fantastic tale about a shuttered library where seven eternal librarians tend the shelves, it doesn't come out reminiscent of Borges's library, nor Pratchett's -- rather, like all of Klages's work, it becomes a story about human affection and destiny. Read the rest
Brilliant SF writer and hilarity merchant Ellen Klages writes, "Last year, I told the story of my father's scary ham. Now it may become a short film. Take a look at the video. If you laugh, please contribute or help spread the word. Read the rest
Science fiction writer Ellen Klages is a wonderful storyteller; as Toastmaster for the Nebula Awards, she held an audience spellbound with the delightful, terrifying story of her late father's prized Scary Ham. Read the rest
Jill writes, "The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's 49th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend is May 15-18, 2014 at the San Jose Marriott.
You do not need to be a SFWA member to attend.
We are delighted to announce that Samuel R. Delany will become SFWA's newest Grand Master. We're also pleased that Frank M. Robinson will be a Special Guest and that Ellen Klages is our Toastmaster." There's also an evening with Delany and Daryl Gregory that's free for attendees; otherwise it's $10 at the door. Read the rest
Ellen Klages' young adult novel White Sands, Red Menace is quiet, magnificent, heartbreaking and inspirational. It's the story of Dewey and Suze, two girls growing up in Alamogordo after the end of WWII. They are both the children of atomic scientists from the Los Alamos project, and have found themselves in a period of weird and fragile peace after V-J day.
But the peace is only a skin stretched thin over a hundred bubbling tensions: Suze's mom has formed a league of atomic scientists against nuclear proliferation while her father has gone to work on the space program, ready to forgive the Nazi scientists he's working alongside if it means that he gets to play with giant sexy toys and fight Commies. Dewey -- a girl-inventor whose delightful ingenuity is the progeny of Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and a Cherry Ames novel -- is forced into "girl" classes at school and has to come to grips with her bespectacled awkwardness. Suze befriends a Mexican girl from Little Chihuahua and is delighted by the family's old artist grandmother, who tutors her on craftmaking; but she is also forced to confront the racial inequality in whitewashed New Mexico.
Set in the fascinating period right after the war, when "atomic" meant "new and exciting" and when empowered women had yet to be shoehorned all the way back into their kitchens, White Sands, Red Menace has the sweet and evocative nostalgia of Ray Bradbury; the ingenuity and sprightly pace of a Heinlein juvenile; and the sneaky and thought-provoking politics of PD James. Read the rest
Eileen Gunn, writing on behalf of Seattle's Clarion West Writers Workshop, sez,
Clarion West knows how hard it can be to raise money for a writer's workshop, and after last year's laptop theft we know how generous our grads and supporters can be.
So when we saw the notice that Clarion South needs help, we decided to pitch in.
We're issuing a challenge to grads and supporters of the US workshops, Clarion and Clarion West. For every dollar a C/CW grad or supporter sends to Clarion South, we'll send a dollar too, up to a total of US$500.
Here's how it works: go to http://www.clarionsouth.org/donate.htm and make a donation. Then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, telling them how much you sent and that it's for the Clarion West challenge. That's all. They'll check the info and pass it on to us, and we'll send them money.
Grads of Clarion South include Ellen Klages, Cat Sparks, and other exciting new writers. It's the only Clarion-style workshop in the southern hemisphere. It deserves to live!
PS: The three workshops are:
Donate to Clarion South
Financial crisis for Australia's Clarion South - Boing Boing Read the rest
My editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, rang me yesterday to talk about a weird little phenomenon: people who were going to stores looking for my newest, Little Brother, were walking away unfulfilled because they were looking in the science fiction section, not the young adult section. Many of us grew up in an era before the young adult section -- when the kids' section in the store was just picture books and some 400-volume sharecropped series like Sweet Valley High. No longer -- practically every bookstore now sports a large (and growing) YA section filled with some of the most amazing work being done in any literary genre today.
Indeed, a quick browse through Boing Boing's archives turned up this (incomplete) set of links to my YA section, the young adult books I've loved and blogged here -- most of them are not available on the science fiction shelves of your local store, only in the YA section:
Scott Westerfeld: Pretties/Uglies; Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm: Good As Lilly; Daniel Pinkwater, Scott Westerfeld, Peeps, Jonathan Strahan (ed), The Starry Rift; John Varley: Rolling Thunder, John Varley: Red Thunder; John Varley: Red Thunder; Scott Westerfeld: Uglies, Michael de Larrabeiti: The Borribles; Justine Larbalastier: Magic's Child; Justine Larbalastier: Magic or Madness; Ragnar: Got Your Nose!; Philip Pullman: Northern Lights trilogy; Scott Westerfeld: So Yesterday; Scott Westerfeld: Midnighters trilogy; Kathe Koja: Going Under; Ellen Klages: Portable Childhoods; Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Jane Yolen (eds): The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens; Changeling, a fairy tale of contemporary New York (Delia Sherman);
Living in a space that no one watches too closely is one of the secret ways that people get to do excellent stuff. Read the rest
Ellen Klages is the kind of sf writer that comes along about once a decade -- a
short-story-centered writer who produces just one or two brilliant stories a year, stories that end up on practically every awards-ballot in the field. Another in this mould is Ted Chiang, and, like Ted, Ellen is also such an all-fired mensch that it shines through in her work.
Portable Childhoods is Ellen's first book-length collection of short stories, a book that was a decade in the making. I remember many of these stories' initial publications, because Ellen Klages stories make an impression when you read them. They're the kind of stories that make you remember where you first encountered them, little life-changing events, like a Shuttle disaster or a major promotion.
Klages's stories are infused with Bradbury-like nostalgia, and her recurring young girl character is clearly some version of her own childhood, studious and funny, a little introverted and enchanted with the world. This is a Madeline L'Engle heroine, a Philip Pullman heroine, utterly likable, but also drawn with enough honesty that she's anything but a benign cherub.
These stories are mostly very short -- half the stories in the book run just a few pages -- and the very short ones have the feel of the best of the golden age of science fiction, like stories from Avram Davidson. They're funny and witty and have great skiffy conceits that'll turn your head around.
But the real treasures are the handful of longer stories. Read the rest
Last Saturday I attended the 40th Nebula Awards ceremony -- my first novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was a finalist for best novel -- in Chicago (the winners were Lois McMaster Bujold, Walter Jon Williams, Ellen Klages, Eileen Gunn, and The Return of the King). Neil Gaiman was the toastmaster and gave a doozy of a speech, which he has subsequently blogged:
Forty years on and we're now living in a world in which SF has become a default mode. In which the tropes of SF have spread into the world. Fantasy in its many forms has become a staple of the media. And we, as the people who were here first, who built this city on pulp and daydreams and four-colour comics, are coming to terms with a world in which we find several things they didn't have to worry about in 1965.
For a start, today's contemporary fiction is yesterday's near-future SF. Only slightly weirder and with no obligation to be in any way convincing or consistent.
Gaiman speech Link, Official results, Nebulas tag on Flickr
(Thanks, Tommy!) Read the rest
I heard Ellen Klages -- nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell and other awards seemingly within seconds of the publication of her first story -- read the story "The Green Glass Sea" a couple of years ago at Potlatch, a roaming west-coast sf convention that was being held in San Francisco.
"Green Glass Sea" is about Trinity, where the first bomb was dropped, and trinitite, the faintly radioactive fused green glass from the Trinity site that can be had in small or large pieces on eBay, even to this day.
The story is a memoir of the life of the small daughter of an atomic scientist, who recounts the events leading up to and following Trinity in heartbreaking Klages style:, simple, subtle, emotionally powerful writing that will knock you on your ass again and again as you read it.
Now "Green Glass Sea" is on Strange Horizons, the excellent online sf magazine, and free for all to read. If you haven't read Klages before, you're in for a treat.
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In the summer of 1945, Dr. Gordon was gone for the first two weeks in July. Dewey Kerrigan noticed that a lot of the usual faces were missing from the dining hall at the Los Alamos lodge, and everyone seemed tense, even more tense than usual.
Dewey and her father had come to the Hill two years before, when she was eight. When he was sent to Washington, she came to live with the Gordons. They were both scientists, like Papa, and their daughter Suze was about the same age as Dewey.