Monday, August 24, 2015

"The genre would have been very different without her": a notable centennial



Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alice Bradley Sheldon, aka James Tiptree Jr., aka Raccoona Sheldon (August 24, 1915 – May 19, 1987). Since the revelation in late 1976 that James Tiptree Jr. was a 5' 8" sixty-one-year old woman, Tiptree has been a figure of interest more for what Tiptree biographer Julie Phillips calls Sheldon's "double life" than for Tiptree's work. I'm always a little sad to re-discover that many people who know what the Tiptree Award is haven't actually read Tiptree's work. And so I'd like, on this occasion, to quote Jo Walton on that work:

Tiptree was constantly pushing the boundaries of science fiction. “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973) prefigured cyberpunk—it’s one of the three precursor stories, with John M. Ford’s Web of Angels and John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider. “Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death” made a space for Octavia Butler’s later writing about aliens and sex and identity. “And I Awoke and Found me Here” did the same for Varley—-- for a lot of the writers who came into SF in the later seventies and the eighties Tiptree was part of their defining space, and the genre would have been very different without her. Science fiction is constantly a dialogue, and her voice was one of the strongest in the early seventies, when everything was changing. She wasn’t a New Wave writer, and in many ways she was very traditional, “And I Have Come Upon This Place” could have been written by Murray Leinster, except for the end. She wrote what she wrote and expanded the possibilities for all of us. Science fiction would be very different without her. (What Makes This Book So Great, p. 318.)

To mark the centennial of this great writer, Twelfth Planet Press is releasing Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce.The volumes includes contributions from 35 persons (who, by the way, number several Aqueduct authors), archived letters from Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon, excerpts from The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms by Helen Merrick, an excerpt from The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier, and an essay by Michael Swanwick.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Armadillocon, with interview

Two weeks ago I attended Armadillocon 37, as the Editor Guest, in Austin, Texas. I had a wonderful, busy time and lots of interesting conversations. On Thursday evening, on arrival I was greeted with warm Texan hospitality and a delicious meal, met my fellow Guests, including Artist Guest Rocky Kelley (who designed the Program Book cover, from which the cool figures on our badges were taken), and was pleased to discover from some of the members a long-running Austin book club that they had read Alanya to Alanya earlier in the month. Friday started early for me, for the con takes their writing workshop, run by Marshall Ryan Maresca, very seriously, and devotes most of a day to it. All the Guests who were writers (Stina Leicht, Ken Liu, James Morrow, and myself) were instructors in the workshop, along with several other writers and critics. The workshop featured, in addition to the usual critique sessions conducted by two instructors and four or five students, three lively panel sessions in which all of the instructors discussed narrative structure, when to shift directions in or jettison writing projects, and, closing out the workshop, aspects of the business of writing.

On Friday evening, the con held its opening ceremonies, during which Toastmaster Stina Leicht introduced the other Guests and delivered a heartfelt speech on the importance of diversity for science fiction. Saturday, at noon, I joined Nancy Jane Moore, Cynthia Ward, and Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Publications in a panel titled "How to Sell a Book to Aqueduct Press"; the four of us talked a lot about independent-press publishing in general, as well as Aqueduct Press in specific. Saturday mid-afternoon, I participated in a game-show format pitting "Pros" against "Fans." I was certain the Fan team would wiped the floor with us--but no. To my astonishment, we routed them. As Stina, who hosted the game, warned us, our job was to guess the answers written on the surveys con-goers had filled out, which needn't actually be "correct." It was a weird experience, I can tell you, when for the category of "Feminist SF Writers," the number-one answer was...me. (Ursula Le Guin was number 2.) In my penultimate programming item, Chris Brown and Madeleine Rose Dimond interviewed me. (See below.) And on Sunday afternoon, I read a portion of "A Question of Grammar" from Never at Home and--because I'd been allotted an entire hour for my reading--had the pleasure of engaging in a fascinating conversation with my small audience.  

The programming was rich in readings, I'm happy to say, even if most of those I attended didn't attract large audiences, not least because there were often two readings going on at the same time, in addition to panels. Of the panel programming, I was most interested in attending the panels on feminist sf (which were well attended)-- one on "classical feminist sf," another titled "Badass, Babe, or None of the Above; Are Women's Archetypes Evolving (or Not) in SF/F Literature?" and "New Feminist SF." In two of these Marguerite Reed adopted the role of contrarian, which nudged the discussion into unexpected places. I also especially enjoyed the panel on Alternate History, with Chris Brown, Madeleine Rose Dimond, C.J. Mills, Katharine Eliska Kimrbiel, and Howard Waldrop.

And of course, as always happens at cons, I enjoyed numerous conversations in the lobby, halls, dining room, con suite, and at the bar in the lobby, filling my head with thoughts I carried back with me to Seattle.  

Although I took notes on the panels I attended, when I got home I discovered I couldn't sufficiently decipher my own hurried scrawl to make sense of them. But, though I can't offer you cogent summaries of the panels I attended, I can offer you the recording Chris Brown made of my Editor Guest interview-- or, rather, a link to it. (Although it is easy to post videos on this blog, audio recordings are something else...) You can find the recording of the interview on my website, here: http://ltimmelduchamp.com/ltimmelduchamp.com/interview-Armalillocon.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Cascadia Subduction Zone Vol. 5, 3

The Summer issue of the Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. This issue features an interview of Celeste Rita Baker by Amal El-Mohtar, discussing the uses of dialect in written fiction, poetry by Alicia Cole, Bogi Takács and Sonya Taaffe, an essay on Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17 by Tananrive Due, art work by Sharon Sutton, and reviews by Rachel Swirsky, Karen Burnham, and others.

In case you've forgotten or don't know, all but the last two issues are available for free download from the CSZ's archives. The new issue is available as a pdf for $3, or a print copy (in the US only) for $5. Subscriptions are $10 for the pdf edition and $16 (in the US only) for the print edition.

 Here's the new issue's table of contents:

 ol. 5 No. 3 — July 2015
Essay
The Importance of Dialect:
An Interview with Celeste Rita Baker
  by Amal El-Mohtar
Poems
Stream
   by Alicia Cole

Travel-charm
   by Bogi Takács 

The Drowning of the Doves
   by Sonya Taaffe

Grandmother Magma
Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
   by Tananarive Due

Reviews
Accessing the Future, edited by Djibril al-Ayad and Kathryn Allan
   reviewed by Rachel Swirsky

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, edited by adrienne marie brown and Walidah Imarisha
   reviewed by Maria Velazquez

Things We Found During the Autopsy, by Kuzhali Manickavel
  reviewed by Karen Burnham

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science & the World, by Rachel Swaby
  reviewed by Victoria Elisabeth Garcia

Persona, by Genevieve Valentine
  reviewed by Kristin King
 
Featured Artist
Sharon E. Sutton

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Letters to Tiptree

 Today Twelfth Planet Press released the list of contributors to their forthcoming anthology, Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, and The Los Angeles Review of Books published The Women You Didn't See: A Letter to Alice Sheldon by Nicola Griffith.You can check out the star-studded list and preorder the book at http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/products/ebooks/letters-to-tiptree. The book is scheduled for release on the centenary of Sheldon's birth, August 24.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Photos from WisCon 39

I tend to forget to take photos at WisCon, except for those I've gotten in the habit of doing-- chiefly of the Aqueduct Press-organized readings. Partly this is because I don't like to take photos without first getting permission from those who will be clearly identifiable in the photo (which pretty much rules out most candid photos), partly because I tend to get so caught up in talking to people that I forget. On our first night at WisCon, I remembered to take a photo of the window of Room of One's Own (which I of course stared admiringly at before entering the store), and a photo of Kath, Arrate, Nisi Shawl, and Margaret McBride at dinner. (Tom was leaning in back in his chair, & so, like me, who was talking the photo, is invisible.)
Hmm. Actually, you can see Tom's arm, the napkin in his lap. The food was Peruvian, and we were all in an exuberant mood and rejoicing at being all together again and attending another WisCon.

Friday, I took a picture of our tables in the Dealers Room. Kim Nash took the photo so that all four of us could be in the photo: this is what it the center part of the table looked like before the doors to the Dealers Room were opened:
Reading on Saturday were Anne Sheldon (who read several poems and an excerpt from Adventures of the Faithful Counselor, Mary Anne Mohanraj (who read from the introduction of The WisCon Chronicles Vol 9: Intersections and Alliances, Jackie Hatton (who read from Flesh and Wires, which Aqueduct Press will be releasing later this year), Andrea Hairston (who read from a novella), and me (who read a portion of "The Forbidden Words of Margaret A., which has just been reprinted in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's Sisters of the Revolution):

And reading on Sunday were Eleanor Arnason (who read from The Daughter of the Bear King, which Aqueduct recently released in an ebook edition), Nancy Jane Moore (who read from The Weave), Therese Pieczynski (not an Aqueduct author, but one who writes very much in the spirit of Aqueduct and who read a teaser from a story that had everyone on the edge of their seat), and Lisa Shapter (who read from her novella A Day in Deep Freeze, which Aqueduct published this spring, and who prefers not to be photographed).



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I want to sing Jacques Brel and read you a passage of lesbian steampunk romance adventure from my forthcoming novel, Everfair.  All you have to do is show up at Gay City in Seattle on Thursday, July 2, 7 p.m. and listen.

Here are the details.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 10-- Call for materials


 Call for Materials


 The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 10:  Social Justice (Redux), will be edited by Margaret McBride. She has issued the following call for materials:

"One thing I admire in Ursula K. LeGuin's writing is her willingness to publicly examine and change her way of seeing the world and her fiction (as in Tehanu, published almost 20 years after The Earthsea Trilogy or the 1976 "Is Gender Necessary?" followed by the 1989 "Redux" version of that essay). I hope The WisCon Chronicles 10 Social Justice (Redux) authors will have the same attitude, for we seem to bring up problems of social injustice so often.  Mary Anne Mohanraj, who edited The WisCon Chronicles 9,  focused on social justice issues in her introduction, as did several included essays. The fiction and WisCon 39 guest-of-honor speeches by Alaya Dawn Johnson and Kim Stanley Robinson focused on multiple aspects of social justice: environmental collapse, need for reduced population, and climate change; violence against women; racial inequality in publishing and elsewhere; gender issues, including reproductive rights; inequality of income and power; etc. Yet current newspapers or blogs about Ferguson or gay marriage or our own science fiction community show that we must continue to address such issues in fiction and elsewhere (I hope in WisCon Chronicles 10!). The "redux" aspect of the volume might include essays on how terms used in debates about social justice could be problematic.

"I am particularly interested in how science fiction is addressing social justice, especially the idea that environmental programs need to include equality for women and minorities. Essays examining the fiction of any past guest of honor at WisCon or Tiptree Award winner or any science fiction that looks at environmental concerns or diversity issues would be appropriate, also. 2016 will be the 40th year for WisCon, so personal memories from guests of honor, committee members, and also people new or long-time to WisCon will be considered, even if not linked directly to social justice issues.

"Please submit essays, personal remembrances, poetry, short fiction for consideration by September 30, 2015 to mcbride@uoregon.edu."




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Metamorphosis by Alaya Dawn Johnson and Kim Stanley Robinson



I'm pleased to announce the release of Metamorphosis, a little paperback book that Aqueduct Press issued in conjunction with WisCon 39. Metamorphosis offers a taste of work from WisCon 39 Guests of Honor Alaya Dawn Johnson and Kim Stanley Robinson, as well as an interview of Johnson by Justine Larbalestier and an interview of Robinson by Jeanne Gomoll. In Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," the narrator, who regards humans (their brains, especially) as a primary food source, must cope with conflicting impulses when one of the most appetizing humans he's ever met is also really, really hot. In "A Song to Greet the Sun," a family reels when a father puts honor before love. Robinson's "The Lunatics," deprived of memories, toiling for their truncated lives deep below the surface, walk in the nerves of the moon, tearing out promethium under the lash of the foremen. While in "Zürich," the narrator's desire to be the first Ausländer to make an impression on an inspector notorious for not refunding cleaning deposits leads to extraordinary effects on the city he is preparing to leave.

Metamorphosis was printed in a limited, numbered run of 150; but this year, in response to popular demand, we've also issued an e-book edition of the book. You can purchase it here.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 9: Intersections and Alliances

I'm pleased to announce the release of The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 9: Intersections and Alliances, edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj. As with the seventh volume of the Chronicles, the electronic edition of Vol. 9 includes a good deal more material than the print edition, and will be available gratis to everyone who purchases the print edition. 

"In this volume of the WisCon Chronicles, we find ourselves considering what it means to live at the intersections of various identities, some of them more privileged than others. We ask how we can function as good allies to each other in often challenging situations. We're living through an intense time of social change, and a variety of questions arise as we have these often difficult conversations about feminism, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and more. Among them are questions about what leads to positive social change and how best to effect such change in our communities."
 —from the Introduction by Mary Anne Mohanraj

The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 9: Intersections and Alliances, edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj, includes a mix of essays, fiction, poetry, and roundtable discussion by Nisi Shawl, Samuel R. Delany, Vandana Singh, Kelley Eskridge, Sheree R. Thomas, Michi Trota, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Tobias Buckell, and others.You can purchase it now from Aqueduct's website.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Nancy Jane Moore's The Weave

I'm pleased to announce Aqueduct's publication of The Weave, a debut novel by Nancy Jane Moore. The Weave brings us a first-contact story in which humans, seeking to exploit the much-needed resources of a system inhabited by creatures they assume are "primitive" and defenceless, discover their mistake the hard way. Human Caty Sanjuro, a seasoned marine and dedicated xenologist, and native Sundown, a determined astronomer, struggle to establish communication across the many barriers that divide their species, at first because they share a passionate interest in alien species, but finally because they know that only they can bridge the differences across species threatening catastrophe for both sides.

Vonda N. McIntyre, author of Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun, writes of The Weave: "Unique protagonists. Unique aliens. Unique war. Nancy Jane Moore's remarkable first novel drew me in and kept me reading and left me, at the end, knowing that Caty Sanjuro and Sundown the Cibolan continue their work and their lives and their friendship. My favorite kind of novel."

Michael Bishop, author of A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, writes, "In this accomplished first novel, Nancy Jane Moore dramatizes at least three great speculative themes: first contact, telepathic communication, and earthlings and aliens at war. In so doing, Moore narrates the compelling struggle of a brave human xenologist, Caty Sanjuro, to wring interspecies harmony from the chaos of interspecies misunderstanding and mistrust. Like Ursula Le Guin, Moore never settles for pat or clichéd extrapolations. Further, she treats each of her archetypal themes with adult thought-experiment thoroughness and all her characters, human and alien, with insight, respect, and compassion. Aficionados of real science fiction will love and celebrate this remarkable debut."

"Moore (Changeling) effortlessly weaves together first contact, corporate exploitation, and space adventure on a planet 40 light-years from Earth in this anticolonialist science fiction fable.... Moore realistically and enjoyably describes the excitement of scientific exploration, corporate greed, conspiracy, telepathic conflict, and the desperation of natives determined to defend their home against invasion.--Publishers Weekly

The Weave is available now through Aqueduct's site in both print and e-book editions. It will be officially released on July 1, when it will be available elsewhere. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

Tanith Lee died this week. I'd begun the long drive home from WisCon when I heard the sad news. All the many notices of her death I've been reading characterize her as a "prolific" writer. She was, of course, that--having produced an enormous output of short fiction as well as novels, totaling more than 90 books. A glance at my bookshelves tells me I've read dozens of her books over the last four decades, not including the scores of her stories I encountered in magazines and anthologies. For a fairly comprehensive bibliography, check out the Tanith Lee page at the isfdb (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?105). That will give you an idea of just how staggering her oeuvre is. I should probably add that she won the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, and the Nebula Award multiple times.

More important to me, though, than that adjective "prolific" is the fact that her continual production was not repetitive, but a mining of particular thematic veins, which is, of course, what artists do. Her Birthgrave trilogy was among the first books of fantasy I ever read, and, along with C.J. Cherryh's Morgaine series consequently shaped my idea of what fantasy ought to be (which meant that most other fantasy I encountered simply did not measure up). And of course her few science fiction novels formed part of my feminist sf reading foundation along with Russ, Butler, Charnas etc.

You might be able to imagine, then, how I felt when a manuscript arrived in the mail from Tanith, here at Aqueduct a few years ago. I was surprised to learn that she still worked with a typewriter--because electronic screens triggered her migraines. For that reason, her husband mediated email communications for her, and we had to do the editorial process the old-fashioned way, via snail mail to England. Kath and I were happy to do so, for she was a joy to work with and we loved her stories.  

I will be rereading some of her work this summer, I think--as well as reading work that will be new to me. Her status as "prolific" is a great blessing. 

I'll conclude with the words now up on her website:

Though we come and go, and pass into the shadows, where we leave
behind us stories told – on paper, on the wings of butterflies, on the
wind, on the hearts of others – there we are remembered, there we work
magic and great change – passing on the fire like a torch – forever
and forever. Till the sky falls, and all things are flawless and need
no words at all. --Tanith Lee

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Call for Submissions: LETTERS TO TIPTREE

The great James Tiptree Jr was born sometime in 1967, a little over forty-eight years ago. Fifty-two years earlier Tiptree’s alter-ego, the talented, resourceful and fascinating Alice B. Sheldon was born. And somewhere in there, about forty years ago, poet Racoona Sheldon showed up.

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Sheldon’s birth, and in recognition of the enormous influence of both Tiptree and Sheldon on the field, Twelfth Planet Press is publishing a selection of letters written by science fiction and fantasy’s writers, editors, critics and fans to celebrate her, to recognise her work, and maybe in some cases to finish conversations set aside nearly thirty years ago.

LETTERS TO TIPTREE will be a collection of letters written to Alice Sheldon, James Tiptree or Racoon Sheldon; a set of thoughtful pieces on the ways her contribution to the genre has affected (or not) its current writers, readers, editors and critics.

Edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein, we are looking for two types of submissions.

Firstly, letters that are between 1000 and 2000 words, exploring personal and/or literary reflections on Tiptree/Sheldon.

Secondly, briefer responses addressing questions such as:
Does it make a difference, reading James Tiptree Jr’s work, knowing that Tiptree was Alice Sheldon?
Who is James Tiptree Jr to you?
Why do you care about James Tiptree Jr?
What impact has reading James Tiptree Jr’s fiction had on you?

We are paying 5cpw up to $USD100 to be paid on publication. We are looking for World First Publication in all languages, and exclusivity for twelve months. LETTERS TO TIPTREE will be published in August 2015.

Submissions are open between May 18 and June 8.

Please send your essay to contact@twelfthplanetpress.com

- See more at: http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/submissions#sthash.oUnof8el.dpuf


Monday, April 20, 2015

Stories for Chip


An indiegogo campaign to support Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany begins today. Just to give you an idea of how fabulous (perhaps even kick-ass) this anthology is, I'll post the table of contents below. I'll also note that the editors are Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell, and that several other Aqueductistas either have pieces in the book or are  providing special perks to donors. Go here to get all the details:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stories-for-chip-a-tribute-to-samuel-r-delany




THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction by Kim Stanley Robinson
Eileen Gunn   Michael Swanwick and Samuel R. Delany at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area, March 2005
Nick Harkaway  Billy Tumult
devorah major   Voice Prints
Isiah Lavender, III   Daily Encounters: Or, Another Reason Why I Study Race and Racism in Science Fiction
Anil Menon   Clarity
Ellen Kushner   When Two Swordsmen Meet
Chesya Burke  For Sale: Fantasy Coffin (Ababuo Need Not Apply)
Haralambi Markov   Holding Hands with Monsters
Carmelo Rafala   Song for the Asking
Kit Reed   Kickenders
Walidah Imarisha   Walking Science Fiction: Samuel Delany and Visionary Fiction
Alex Jennings   Heart of Brass
Claude Lalumière   Empathy Evolving as a Quantum of Eight-Dimensional Perception
Jewelle Gomez   Be Three
Ernest Hogan   Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song
Hal Duncan   An Idyll in Erewhyna
L. Timmel Duchamp   Real Mothers, a Faggot Uncle, and the Name of the Father: Samuel R. Delany's Feminist Revisions of the Story of SF
Junot Díaz   Nilda
Benjamin Rosenbaum   The First Gate of Logic
Thomas M. Disch   The Master of the Milford Altarpiece
Sheree Renée Thomas   River Clap Your Hands
Roz Clarke   Haunt-type Experience
Fábio Fernandes   Eleven Stations
Kai Ashante Wilson   "Legendaire"
Michael Swanwick   On My First Reading of The Einstein Intersection
Kathryn Cramer   Characters in the Margins of a Lost Notebook
Vincent Czyz   Hamlet's Ghost Sighted in Frontenac, KS
Tenea D. Johnson   Each Star a Sun to Invisible Planets
Alex Smith   Clones
Geetanjali Dighe   The Last Dying Man
Geoff Ryman   Capitalism in the 22nd Century
Nalo Hopkinson & Nisi Shawl   Jamaica Ginger
Chris Brown  Festival

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Caren Gussoff, Cat Rambo, and Julie McGilliand Reading in Seattle



On Wednesday evening, April 8, Caren Gussoff will be reading with Cat Rambo and Julie McGilliand at University Bookstore in Seattle. Caren will be reading from her newly released CP volume, Three Songs for Roxy, Cat will be reading from her debut novel Beasts of Tabat and Julie from Waking Up Naked. Books will be available for purchase! Authors will be happy to sign them! And I will be there in the audience, cheering. Do come, if you can.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lisa Shapter's A Day in Deep Freeze


I'm pleased to announce the release of a new volume in Aqueduct Press's Conversation Pieces series, A Day in Deep Freeze, a novella by Lisa Shapter, in both small trade paperback and e-book editions. The story takes place in an alternate 1963, in which. Emran Greene is a successful corporate accountant, a hopeful soon-to-be-father, and an unremarkable husband--except, that is, for the lingering effects of an experimental wartime truth serum, his ex-boyfriend, the impossibility of his conceiving a child, and all of the other secrets he keeps from his wife and his employer. One of these, the secret of the lonely grave he visits regularly in Riverport's Castleview Cemetery, holds a tragedy that just won't stay gone...

You can purchase the book in print and e-book editions now through Aqueduct's website. It will be available soon through other venues.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2014 James Tiptree Jr Award

WINNERS OF THE 2014 JAMES Tiptree, Jr. AWARD ANNOUNCED 
The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council (www.tiptree.org) is pleased to announce that the 2014 Tiptree Award has two winners: Monica Byrne for her novel The Girl in the Road (Crown 2014) and Jo Walton for her novel My Real Children (Tor 2014). The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is presented annually to works of science fiction or fantasy that explore and expand gender roles. The award seeks out work that is thought-provoking, imaginative, and perhaps even infuriating. It is intended to reward those writers who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.
Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road is a painful, challenging, glorious novel about murder, quests, self-delusion, and a stunning science-fictional big idea: What would it be like to walk the length of a few-meter-wide wave generator stretching across the open sea from India to Africa, with only what you can carry on your back? With profound compassion and insight, the novel tackles relationships between gender and culture and between gender and violence. It provides a nuanced portrait of violence against women, in a variety of forms, and violence perpetrated by women. Through the eyes of two narrators linked by a single act of violence, the reader is brought to confront shifting ideas of gender, class, and human agency and dignity.
Jo Walton’s My Real Children is a richly textured examination of two lives lived by the same woman. This moving, thought-provoking novel deals with how differing global and personal circumstances change our view of sexuality and gender. The person herself changes, along with her society. Those changes influence and are influenced by her opportunities in life and how she is treated by intimate partners, family members, and society at large. The alternate universe trope allows Walton to demonstrate that changes in perceptions regarding gender and sexuality aren’t inevitable or determined by a gradual enlightenment of the species, but must be struggled for. My Real Children is important for the way it demonstrates how things could have been otherwise — and might still be.
Honor List
In addition to selecting the winner, the jury chooses a Tiptree Award Honor List. The Honor List is a strong part of the award’s identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list. This year’s Honor List (listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name) is:
Jennifer Marie Brissett. Elysium (Aqueduct Press 2014) — A masterfully layered tale of star-crossed lovers, ambiguously situated before, during, and after a devastating alien invasion. Adrian/Adrianne and Antoine/Antoinette move through a liminal, re-creative space that tells spooling variations of an original story we might never see, but can reconstruct. Variously lovers, siblings, and parent and child, these relationships change in subtle and overt ways that are tied to the gender of the characters in each looping iteration.
Seth Chambers, “In Her Eyes” (Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2014) — This excellently written and evocative story is about a woman who is a polymorph, capable of drastically altering her body. It’s told from the point of view of the man who loves her. Each week she becomes a different woman for him, until she changes her gender, then her very self.
Kim Curran, “A Woman Out of Time” (Irregularity, edited by Jared Shurin, Jurassic London 2014) — A fictionalized version of Joanna Russ’s classic How to Suppress Women’s Writing, based on a true history (with very mild adjustments). Time travel paradoxes, complexity theory, and alien intervention are beautifully interwoven in this lyrical exploration of the gendering of scientific discovery. The story’s epigraph will tempt readers to explore what is known of the life and work of Emile Du Chatelet, a contemporary of Voltaire and the translator and commentator of Newton’s work, and to undo the disservice she has been done by history.
Emmi Itäranta, Memory of Water (Harper Voyager 2014) (published in Finnish as Teemestarin kirja, Teos 2012) — This beautifully crafted novel, written simultaneously in English and Finnish, uses a delicately-told coming-of-age tale to examine a future replete with water crises, a totalitarian police state, and suffocating gender roles.
Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ascension (Masque Books 2013) — A fun, fast-paced space opera with surprising heft. Its beautifully diverse cast of characters explores intersections of gender and race, class, disability, and polyamory, all while racing to save the universe from certain destruction.
Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, editors, Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press 2014) — An anthology of young-adult stories about diversity, many featuring queer or trans characters or gender issues. This is a book that should be in every middle and high-school library!
Pat MacEwen, “The Lightness of the Movement” (Fantasy & Science Fiction, April/May 2014) — A solid, well-told alien-contact story about a xeno-anthropologist studying an alien species. The alien’s gender roles are well described and very alien. Though the story never enters the aliens’ minds, MacEwen does a fabulous job of making it clear how the aliens think.
Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (Hodder & Stoughton, 2014) — This gloriously chaotic look at the day after aliens land in the lagoon off of Lagos, Nigeria’s coast approaches gender with a diversity that intersects with many aspects of modern Nigerian life: age, religion, social class and politics, among others. The character Ayodele, an alien who takes the form of a human woman to make first contact, is particularly noteworthy in how her chosen gender exposes fault lines across the panoply of characters that drive the narrative.
Nghi Vo, “Neither Witch nor Fairy” (Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, Crossed Genres, 2014) — Two orphaned brothers try to get by in 1895 Belfast. The story focuses on the younger brother, who thinks he’s a changeling. He asks the fairies to tell him what he truly is. (Saying anything more would be telling.)
Aliya Whiteley, The Beauty (Unsung Stories 2014) — A piece of disturbing, thought-provoking horror that explores what happens to a small community of men when sentient mushrooms spring from the graves of women who died years before from a deadly fungus infection. These mushrooms, called “Beauties” by the storytelling narrator, gradually and inexorably shift their roles over the course of the narrative, starting as supposedly mindless providers of comfort and ending with roles more traditionally masculine: inseminating, caring for the male mothers, and engaging in violent battles to protect their progeny. Allegorically explores a variety of aspects of the human experience, including gender and sexuality.
It was a particularly good year for gender-exploration in science fiction and fantasy. In addition to the honor list, this year’s jury also compiled the following long list of other works they found worthy of attention:
The Tiptree Award winners, along with authors and works on the Honor List and the long list will be celebrated during Memorial Day weekend at WisCon (www.wiscon.info) in Madison, Wisconsin. Monica Bryne will attend the ceremony at WisCon, May 23-26, 2015 (www.wiscon.info); Jo Walton is unable to attend WisCon, but will be feted at an alternate celebration in San Francisco in August. (The Tiptree Award Motherboard firmly believes that you cannot have too many celebrations.) Each winner will receive $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (as always) chocolate.
Each year, a panel of five jurors selects the Tiptree Award winner. The 2014 jurors were Darrah Chavey (chair), Elizabeth Bear, Joan Haran, Alaya Dawn Johnson, and Amy Thomson.
Reading for 2015 will soon begin. The jury panel consists of Heather Whipple (chair), Jacqueline Gross, Alessa Hinlo, Keffy Kehrli, and N.A. Sulway.
The Tiptree Award invites everyone to recommend works for the award. Please submit recommendations via the Tiptree Award website at www.tiptree.org, where you can also read more about the award, about works it has honored, and about past winners.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Back, Belly, and Side: True Lies and False Tales by Celeste Rita Baker


I'm pleased to announce the release of Back, Belly, and Side: True Lies and False Tales, a collection of stories by Celeste Rita Baker, as a volume in Aqueduct Press's Conversation Pieces series.

"Celeste Rita Baker brings us smack down into the islands with her vivid and raw rhythms and use of dialect, and reminds that the Caribbean has long had a strong claim to the magic that makes genre so imaginative."--Tobias Buckell, author of Hurricane Fever and Halo: The Cole Protocol


"Back, Belly & Side is full of Celeste Rita Baker's special story magic. With tales of wisdom, wonderment, and new world lore, she creates characters that speak and leap off the page to deliver the best gift of all--deep belly laughter."
 — Sheree Renée Thomas, Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems

"Celeste Rita Baker's stories balance heartache and hilarity with poetic, uncompromising prose. This collection sings ancient songs with a modern beat. It is fully alive."
 —Daniel Jose Older, author of Salsa Nocturna and editor of Long Hidden from History

"...this collection is worth a read. The characters are beautifully drawn and the situations they find themselves in are, simultaneously, real and far-fetched. Wonderful use of language and explorations of parenthood, reality, and love."
 —Kate O'Connor, Abyss & Apex

You can purchase Back, Belly, and Side from Aqueduct's website in both print and e-book editions. It will soon be available elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, vol. 5, 2






The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. This issue features a Grandmother Magma column by Delia Sherman, poetry by Anne Carly Abad and Terry A. Garey, an essay the so-called "Genre Apocalypse" by me, and reviews of work by Caren Gussoff, Gwyneth Jones, Daniel Jose Older, and Ernest Hogan. The issue's featured artist is Richard O. Baker.

Vol

 




   Volume 5, number 2--April 2015

Essay
A Few Thoughts about Critics, Legitimacy, and Comfort
   by L. Timmel Duchamp
Poems
This is How You Teach a Bird to Walk
  &
The Weight of Forgiveness
   by Anne Carly Abad

It’s Been Some Time, Now
  &
Women as Hunters and Gatherers
   by Terry A. Garey

Grandmother Magma
The Logic of the Elements
   by Delia Sherman

Reviews
Three Songs for Roxy, Caren Gussoff
   reviewed by Victoria Elisabeth Garcia

Cortez on Jupiter, by Ernest Hogan
   reviewed by Cynthia Ward

The Grasshopper’s Child, by Gwyneth Jones
  reviewed by Joel A. Nichols

Half-Resurrection Blues, by Daniel José Older
  reviewed by Uzuri Amini
 
Featured Artist
Richard O. Baker

Subscriptions and single issues are available here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

2014 SF Count

Niall Harrison has posted his annual SF count for 2014 at Strange Horizons. This is the fifth year he's been compiling a statistical count for gender and race representation in sf reviewing, an issue dear to the Aqueductista heart:
The aim is to draw attention to imbalances in literary coverage.
As the title indicates, the immediate inspiration for this series is "The Count" by VIDA, which started in 2010. Within SF, antecedents include the Broad Universe reviewing statistics calculated for 2000 and 2007, the Lady Business counts of coverage on SF blogs for 2011, 2012, and 2013 and, further back, Joanna Russ' counts as reported in How to Suppress Women's Writing (1983).
This article presents the results of the SF count for 2014. Previous counts are available for 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.
You can check out this year's count here. His summary is neither surprising nor encouraging: "As in previous years, in the majority of the SF review venues surveyed, review coverage disproportionately focused on men and books by white writers. A majority of reviews were written by men in two-thirds of venues, and by white people in all venues. Analysis of 2010-2014 gender data shows that despite year-to-year variation within individual venues, there is no evidence for an overall increase in coverage of books authored or edited by women. However, there is some evidence for a small increase in the proportion of reviews written by women."


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Armadillicon 37

It's my pleasure to announce that I'll be the Editor GoH at this year's Armadillocon, which will take place in Austin, TX, July 24-26, 2015. Stina Leicht will be the Toastmaster, and John DeNardo the Fan GoH. Nancy Jane Moore tells me she plans to attend, and I suspect at least a few other Aqueductistas will, also. I'd love to see a lot of Aqueduct's friends there. If there's any chance you might be able to attend, here's your heads-up!

Update: I'll be one of the instructors for the writing workshop. 

Second Update: Ken Liu will be the Author GoH.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Louise Cavalier Levesque's The Prince of the Aquamarines



I'm pleased to announce the release, in both trade paperback and e-book editions, of The Prince of the Aquamarines as the forty-fourth volume in the Conversation Pieces series. It collects a pair of fairy tales by eighteenth-century author Louise Cavalier Levesque, translated by Ruth Berman, and an essay by the translator on the tradition of early modern French fairy tales and Levesque’s contribution to that tradition.

Louise Cavelier Levesque was born in Rouen, November 23, 1703, and died in Paris, May 18, 1745. She was one of the eighteenth-century writers who continued the tradition that had begun in the decade before her birth of creating new versions of fairy tales. Her two fairy tales were reprinted in 1744 and again as part of the Cabinet des fées. A much-abridged translation of "The Invisible Prince" was included in Andrew Lang's The Yellow Fairy Book (1894), but "Le Prince des Aigues Marines" has not appeared before in English.

In "The Prince of the Aquamarines," the Prince is cursed by a Bad Fairy with the gift of the death-dealing glance. The heroine, the Princess of the Island of Night, is likewise condemned by a Fairy to live alone in the Dark Tower, until freed by a monster whose sight brings death. In "The Invisible Prince," the curse is a prophecy delivered by the priest of Plutus, the god of wealth, who announces that the young prince will undergo assorted dangers that will, however, lead in the end to good fortune. The Prince's guardian fairy gives him the stone of invisibility in the hope that it will help get him safely through the intervening dangers. Both tales are all-out adventure stories featuring princes, princesses, bad fairies, shipwrecks, magical gifts, and dark towers.

The Prince of the Aquamarines is available now from Aqueduct's site, and will soon be available elsewhere.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Three early novels by Eleanor Arnason

I'm pleased to announce that Aqueduct Press has just issued e-book editions of three, out-of-print novels by Eleanor Arnason: The Sword Smith, To the Resurrection Station, and Daughter of the Bear King. Each includes a new afterword by Eleanor.


The Sword Smith tells the tale of Limper, a master sword smith running from an oppressive boss-king who forced him to make expensive junk, and Nargri, his young dragon companion. Written in the early 1970s, and published in 1978 by Condor, The Sword Smith is an anti-epic fantasy. In a new Afterword written for this edition, Arnason describes the characters as "mostly fairly ordinary people, rather than heroes, wizards, and kings. Their problems are ordinary problems, rather than a gigantic struggle between good and evil. There is no magic. The dragons are intelligent therapod dinosaurs, and the trolls are some kind of hominid, maybe Neanderthals. In many ways, it is a science fiction story disguised as a fantasy."

 To the Resurrection Station, Arnason's second novel (written in the 1970s), was first published in 1986. On a planet far from our Earth, it begins a Gothic tale: a moldering mansion full of secrets, a disturbing master of the house, a young and innocent heroine, and the mansion's robot servant, who drives the story. A motley crew escapes to Earth (now overrun by interesting intelligent machines, except for a clearly crazy spaceport) where they land and begin exploring the ruins of New York City.

In a new Afterword written for this edition, Arnason describes Resurrection Station as about people who can't fit into social roles. "Claud can't be a traditional Native. Belinda can't be a straight young woman or a traditional heroine. Shortpaw is not an acceptable giant mutant rat. Without being especially heroic, they all refuse to give in or give up."


 Not your everyday fantasy, Daughter of the Bear King clearly arises from Second Wave Feminism. A middle-aged woman discovers that she has a role in an epic struggle between shoddiness and integrity. And her battle flows across time and universes.

On a Monday morning, Esperance Olson is suddenly transported to another world where dragons fly and wizards divulge her heritage: daughter of the ancient Bear King, she is a shape-changer with magical powers. This strange world runs on magic, and the wizards have summoned Esperance to fight a creeping and shadowy menace. Her epic journey transports her back and forth between her birth world and Minneapolis, where the magic and monsters follow, wreaking havoc.

Samples of each book are available for free download at Aqueduct's site, where the books are available in both epub and mobi formats for $7.95.