Sunday, November 15, 2020

Holly Wade Matter's Damned Pretty Things


 Aqueduct Press is pleased to announce the release of Damned Pretty Things, a debut novel by Holly Wade Matter, in both print and e-book editions. You can purchase it now from Aqueduct Press at

Fortune is an itinerant musician without a past who braids memories into her hair. Maud is a sheltered small-town girl and an unwitting heir to the notorious McBride family magic. The two young women meet when Fortune is commissioned to bring Maud to a rich man whose grandson she cursed. United by their love of music and their hunger for the road, Fortune and Maud form a friendship…one that is threatened not only by Fortune’s mission but also by their mutual desire for a man called Lightning. 



Advance Praise

“Sweet as vanishing dreams, tender to the touch as new memories, wise as nursery rhymes, tasty as blueberry pancakes, Holly Wade Matter's Damned Pretty Things is a wondrous redemption tale of the triumph of love and friendship over pain and difference."
 —Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair and Filter House

"Damned Pretty Things is beautiful and wise, haunted and haunting. Sui generis. Brilliant. Enjoy."
 —Cynthia Ward, author of the Blood-Thirsty Agent series 




This is a road trip story and a coming of age story and a love story and a buddy story and a fantasy. Two women set out on a trip involving a cursed family and other wonders, and they're pretty magical themselves, although in different ways. They quickly become friends, but that is in jeopardy when they both fall in love with the same man. It is primarily a novel of character, of course, given the premise, and it delivers two strongly likeable people whose world is enhanced by a good deal of subtle detail about the people they meet and the things that they see. I had never heard of the author before, but this was a very pleasant surprise, and I have no doubt we will hear of her again. The ending is bitter sweet.  
  —Critical Mass, Don D'Ammassa

Down-on-her-luck traveling bard Fortune meets the devil on the road and sells her soul for a magical guitar and a fast car. Well, sells her soul and her memories, though she didn’t really consent to that last part.

She travels from town to town, trying to scrounge enough money to buy food and maybe a decent place to sleep. Itinerant and listless and searching for her past, when she meets a strange old man with demands that Fortune deliver him a girl named Maud, Fortune accepts. How can she not, when he offers to pay off her debt to the devil once Maud is in his hands?

....Mystery and danger and friendship weave together like the ‘memories’ in Fortune’s hair. It’s sweet, and creepy, and funny, and wholesome, and in a summer of COVID, makes for a great road trip book (for the road trips none of us get to have right now).  (Read the whole review)
  — J.S. Fields, November, 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

E-book Editions of Nine Books by Suzy McKee Charnas



I'm pleased to announce the release by Aqueduct Press of e-book editions of nine books by Suzy McKee Charnas. Among these, the collection Stagestruck Vampires and Other Phantasms (originally published by Tachyon Publications in 2000) has not previously appeared in an e-book edition. The other titles include the Sorcery Hall Trilogy, consisting on The Bronze King (1985), The Silver Glove (1988), and The Golden Thread 1989), as well as The Vampire Tapestry (1980), The Kingdom of Kevin Malone (1993), The Ruby Tear (1997), Music of the Night (2001), and My Father’s Ghost (2002).  You can purchase all of them now at


  I've been a great fan of Suzy's fiction since the early 1980s, so it gives me particular pleasure that Aqueduct can now offer e-book editions of so much of her work. The Vampire Tapestry (1980) is one of those books that I every now and then just have to reread. Here are some of the pull-quotes we've found for it:

 “Probably the best vampire novel ever written.” 
  —Oxford Times

“…Charnas’ view of her protagonist is unswervingly unsentimental, and…her denouement is savage and intense and brilliantly satisfying.

“…Charnas’ writing is also rich and impressive: she seems equally at home on a college campus, in the office of a professional therapist, in the emotions of a 14-year-old boy, and in the music and story of Tosca. The novel works on many levels — as pure adventure, as social description, as psychological drama, and as a passionate exploration of the web that links instinct, morality, and culture. It is a serious, startling, and revolutionary work, and I recommend it to all comers.” 
  —Washington Post

“Told in five interlocking novellas that form a single chronological narrative, this is the story of a seemingly immortal figure… His academic specialty is dream research, but his true nature compels him to seek intimacy with ‘colleagues, students, and social companions’ who then become his admirers and eventually his victims.

“…It’s a fascinating conception, handled with masterly skill. Charnas’ characters are boldly drawn and memorably complex, her prose is alive with energy and wit, her narrative inventions ingenious and atmospheric. Nothing better has been done in this, er, vein since Bram Stoker’s legendary Dracula in 1897. And, as a pure piece of writing, Charnas’ deeply intelligent, disturbing novel may actually be the superior book.” 
  —USA Today

Suzy hasn't written a huge amount of fiction in shorter form, but it's all intensely engaging and memorable. Most of it is collected in Stagestruck Vampires and Other Phantasms. 

“In ‘Listening to Brahms’ Charnas proves that she can take global tragedies and extract the most minute yet potent seed of hope from the rubble. Three linked stories comprise a nuanced portrait of her vampiric antihero Dr. Weyland. With its Leiberesque love affair with the stage, this entertaining volume deserves to run as long as Cats.” 
  —Asimov's SF, Paul di Filippo

“An intoxicating mix of exhilaration and terror…every story will have an effect on your psyche, thanks to Charnas’ magnificent style. Her writing is almost poetic in its beauty, but damning in its subject; similar to chocolate-covered arsenic. “ 

Another, slimmer volume collecting Suzy's short fiction is Music of the Night. These four tales of mythic monsters, who embody our deepest and most secret desires, evoke wilderness and wonders lurking below the familiar surfaces — splendid, coarse, or startlingly every day — of modernity.

“From the moment of reading the ‘true’ story of the Phantom of the Opera…I was drawn into a deep, dark, yet highly erotic world that Suzy Charnas brings to life. I enjoy reading all things paranormal, but this book delves deep into the emotions of the characters… Each story is deep, slightly dark, and on some level it hits where we think our darkest thoughts, though most of us never act upon them. Suzy Charnas has tapped the deepest parts of our lives and brought them out in these stories… What a wonderful collection, that I recommend to anyone who wants something different!” 
  —In the Library

“The Hugo winning, Nebula nominated short story ‘Boobs’ is one story I find myself re-reading over and over again. …a young girl, having come of age over summer break, begins 8th grade and is ridiculed for her new adult body by her fellow students… This story is so well written that I found myself cheering her on as she gets revenge against the immature boys she has to go to school with.” 
  —Fantastic Reviews


 The Kingdom of Kevin Malone is YA Fantasy:  Amy, brooding on a family crisis, retreats to Central Park—from the frying pan straight into the fire! Out of her past swoops her old arch-enemy Kevin Malone, the neighborhood punk who used to bully her. Angrily chasing him now through an arched passage under a park roadway, she emerges into another world. Kevin's feverish imagination has transformed Central Park into the Fayre Farre, a land of danger, magic, and heroic adventure. Here, among castles, elves, monsters, wild men, battles, and prophecies, Kevin is a Prince and a legendary champion. He's also still a self-centered jerk with a chip on his shoulder, and he's lost control of his magnificent creation: chaos and destruction are sweeping the land. Despite Kevin's bravado, Amy sees that he desperately needs her help. Will she risk her life in such a thankless job, or just leave him to sort out his own mess? And either way, where will that leave her?

“…the author’s sly digs at the heroic fantasy genre are on the mark, and Kevin makes an unusual hero. He's whiny, sullen, and self-centered, but also a tragic figure with a nascent sense of responsibility… Readers can sift through the whimsy for serious themes or not, as they choose.” 
  —School Library Journal

“…a perfect example of the mixing of genres (contemporary fiction and high fantasy)… Underneath the plotline…is the more serious story of the protagonist's coming to terms with her favorite cousin’s death, and it's the touching way Charnas handles that story, along with her engaging characters and smooth prose, that makes this novel so successful…” 
  —Mystery Scene


 The Ruby Tear is a standalone novel originally written under the pseudonym of Rebecca Brand. 

The Ruby Tear is a fun contemporary vampire story revolving around a theatrical production entitled “The Jewel.” The author, Rebecca Brand, writes smoothly and plays well with the conventions of the gothic, which isn’t too surprising when one realizes that Ms. Brand is a pseudonym for Suzy McKee Charnas, who obviously enjoyed writing this book. You’ll enjoy reading it.” 
  —Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

“A highly theatrical novel about highly theatrical characters…There’s some comfortably warm sensual writing, as well as a candid treatment of real sex. Characters who at one time came across as not terribly deep gain another level of interest. And the climax of The Ruby Tear will modestly rip your heart out.” 


My Father's Ghost is Suzy's memoir of her father. 

“From [Suzy] Charnas, a true and tender account of caring for her aging father from the time of his truculent arrival at her home to his irascible last illness and death… The author makes good use of entries from [her father’s] journals, full of amusing, brittle, sad, and hopeful anecdotes and musings, epigrams, and reflections on art and life…to capture the mix of guilt, longing, impatience, and empathy that characterizes their relationship. Anyone who has cared for aging and ill parents will recognize and perhaps be comforted by this frank delineation of the mixed emotions called up by the death of a father.” 
  —Kirkus Reviews

“…a moving, thoughtful… never sentimental account of how daughter and father get to know each other in middle and old age…Robin’s unique combination of eccentricity and strength speaks for itself… Charnas’ story is bound to be a guidebook and an inspiration for anyone caring for aging parents.” 
  —USA Today


And finally, we have the Sorcery Hall Trilogy.What if your home town was invaded by wild magic spilling over from a sorcerers' war on distant battlefields? What if no one notices or realizes what's happening, but magic wakes and sings in your own blood, and unlikely warriors seasoned in an ancient struggle demand your help. What if you were born to be one of them? This is the story of Valentine Marsh, a New York kid faced with the call of an impossible destiny; of her divided family, her enemies both home-grown and far-flung, and her awed and unlikely fellow-adventurers who, with Val in the lead, battle their way to the lofty gates of Sorcery Hall. 


  The Bronze King: Sorcery Hall Book 1.

As a teenager, music — on radio and records — was the unfailing touchstone to my true, inner feelings. This story of heroes, punks, a dragon, and a girl fighting for her city’s life alongside a violin prodigy and a street fiddler (aka, ancient wizard) is my tribute to the power of music and those who make it.

“…A breathless and fast moving fantasy… The details are exactly right, from the wizard as busker, to the three messengers of evil as young hoods in jackets emblazoned ‘Prince of Darkness’, to a splashing, roaring final showdown…in Central Park…” 
  —Library Bulletin

“The tensions and startling switches in developments, as well as the author’s realistic evocations of metropolitan life, result in an unforgettable novel.” 
  —Publishers Weekly 


The Silver Glove: Sorcery Hall Book 2

“…sinister Dr. Brightner…is installed as the new school psychologist the same day Val’s magic Gran runs away from her nursing home. A renegade wizard, Brightner is after souls, and he’s been trying to get Gran to his clinic for ‘research.’ Val is horrified to find that he is trying to seduce her mother, who has long denied Gran’s magic and doesn’t see the threat. This is a book to relish: told in Charnas’s nearly perfect first-person narration, Val’s engaging personality of savoir-faire and innocence is judiciously mixed with a flying carpet, a deliciously scary Indian witch and a wonderful final confrontation in Central Park.” 
  —Publishers Weekly

“Charnas excels at making magic a believable part of her city, and her characters real city dwellers…magic is well handled: the good forces can’t use their magic directly against the evil Dr. Brightner and his minions, but must turn Brightner’s own attempts to hurt them back on him. It’s a clever, believable book.” 

 The Golden Thread:
Sorcery Hall Book 3

“With her beloved sorceress grandmother in a coma and hospitalized, 14-year-old Valentine Marsh…is assigned to assist a strange foreign exchange student, Bosanka, who reveals that she is a powerful, magical ruler of another world and…demands that Val and her friends use their power to find her misplaced subjects. Val fears Bosanka’s people may subdue and misuse humankind, yet she dreads to refuse the royal commands.

“Charnas shows the adventures of a typical high-school girl who just happens to have inherited some degree of white magic talent. In so doing, she touches on a host of contemporary issues, the most important of which is her ecological message that we are one people and must use technology to preserve the earth rather than destroy it. If all this seems a ‘stretch,’ it isn’t. Charnas neatly ties seemingly disparate pieces together into an exciting, absorbing, contemporary romp.” 
  —School Library Journal

“The third in Charnas’s series about a girl gifted with wizardly power in contemporary Manhattan, this may be the best. The characters are real, and the struggle between good and evil transcends the usual clichés.” 
  —The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Monday, October 12, 2020

Raven Nothing by Som Paris


I'm pleased to announce the release, in both print and e-book editions, of Raven Nothing, a debut novel by Som Paris. It's available now from Aqueduct Press at Read a sample from the book.

Raven, a trans girl from south London, wakes on a piece of ice floating on a frozen ocean. Adap, who has lived his whole life in a dying village just off the coast, finds her and brings her home. When she is told she must travel to the Golie Mountains, at the center of the world, Adap volunteers to take her. Together they navigate around a resurgent soviet-esque state that is at war with an ancient culture of gender-wild shamans. As they travel, she realizes that there is no one in this magical world who is not black, like her, and that every place they go seems uncannily familiar. 

 Anya Johanna DeNiro, author of Tyrannia and Total Oblivion, More or Less, writes: "Raven Nothing is a portal story desperately needed for our times. Raven, the protagonist, is a “crossover” in more ways than one, and the novel reveals how these different crossings—with gender, space, and psychology—intersect. Urgent, poignant, and lyrical, Raven Nothing expands the possibilities of fantasy literature."

"Paris successfully builds the tension with descriptions of the strange, monstrous creatures populating this off-kilter world and moments of high-stakes danger for the protagonists—as when a nefarious shaman drugs Raven and Adep. The worldbuilding boasts well-developed political structures and intercultural conflict, and the all-Black cast shines. Paris’s sensitive approach to both race and gender is sure to impress; readers will be excited to see what this promising author does next."   (Read the whole review)
  —Publishers Weekly, Sept 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hal Y. Zhang's Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms


I'm pleased to announce the release of Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms, in both print and e-book editions, as the seventy-seventh volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series.You can read a sample of the book or purchase a copy (or both!) now at

Women with knives and loves travel through time and space in Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms, the first full-length collection of Hal Y. Zhang. In personal, lingering poems and a short story, Goddess Bandit details the ways—fantasy, escape, insurrection, deification, transcendence—women and often unheard voices can overcome oppression and become bright lights against the darkness.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Sarah Tolmie's Disease


I'm please to announce the release of Disease, a fiction by Sarah Tolmie, as the seventy-sixth volume in our Conversation Pieces series, in both print and e-book editions. 

Bodily life is an uneasy business. The terror of disease is a ubiquitous one. New diseases are being discovered all the time. This book collects twenty contemporary diseases — privacy, for example, or innovation, or involuntary compassion — and presents their primary symptoms and etiologies. It presents sufferers’ anecdotes: Owen wakes up one day made of glass. Deirdre is allergic to tourists. A middle-aged diabetic is haunted by the feet of a Kurdish refugee child. Apples develop a persistent tremor, and peanuts plot underground. Human resilience is tested in dramatic new ways in Disease

You can purchase it now from Aqueduct at

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The WIsCon Chronicles, Vol. 12

I'm pleased to announce the release, in conjunction with WisCONline, of the twelfth volume of the WisCon Chronicles, Boundaries and Bridges, edited by Isabel Schechter and Michi Trota. It's available now in both print and e-book editions at

 Read a sample from the book.

The twelfth volume of The WisCon Chronicles explores our understanding of boundaries and bridges, and what they mean for us as individuals and for our communities. This collection includes essays from first-time WisCon attendees and former Guests of Honor, fans and Tiptree/Otherwise Award-winning authors and editors, cis het and LGBTQ+ attendees, affluent and less well-off, abled and disabled, white and POC, young and old, parents and child-free, English speakers and Spanish speakers, and hopefully more than just these categories can capture.

Structural changes in the convention that break down barriers to attendance and participation are important, and some of the essays recount the process and struggles of creating space and programming for POC attendees, access for disabled attendees, and affordability for all attendees. The words we use matter, as essays that talk about feminist terms, gendered language, and even the name of the Tiptree/Otherwise award (which is almost inextricably identified with WisCon) demonstrate. The definition of “community” is also examined, both within WisCon and beyond, as it spills out into the wider world — including online spaces.


Jess Adams • Charlie Jane Anders • Nancy Bird
Kristy Anne Cox • Katherine Alejandra Cross
Alexandra Erin • Nivair H. Gabriel • Sarah Gulde
Lauren Jankowski • Inda Lauryn • Elise Matthesen
Gabriela Damián Miravete • Chimedum Ohaegbu
Otherwise Board • Julia Rios • John Scalzi • Nisi Shawl
Monica Valentinelli • G. Willow Wilson

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Cassandra Rose Clarke's Sacred Summer

I'm pleased to announce the release of Sacred Summer, a novella in verse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke, in both print and e-book editions. Sacred Summer is the seventy-fifth volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series. You can purchase it now at

In the empty halls of a house on the edge of the woods, a dancer faces the aftermath of a career-ending injury and subsequent divorce. Twenty years earlier, on the land where her house would be built, two boys died violently and mysteriously while recording a music video for their band, leaving one survivor. Something sleeps in the woods beyond the house, and when the dancer finds the last musician, it will start to wake…

 Read a sample from the book.

 Read "Ballet, Suburbia, and Death Metal: An Interview with Cassandra Rose Clarke" by T.D. Walker here.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Lesley Wheeler's Unbecoming

I'm pleased to announce the release of Lesley Wheeler's debut novel, Unbecoming, from Aqueduct Press in both print and e-book editions. Readers may remember the author's Conversation Pieces volume The Receptionist and Other Tales (2012), which appeared on the Tiptree Award Honor List. The book is now available through Aqueduct's website:

 Read a sample from the book.

What if women gained uncanny power at middle age? In Unbecoming, Cyn’s family is shattering, and she is at war with her own body. Then, when her best friend flies off on a mysterious faculty exchange program, a glamorous stranger takes her place—Fee Ellis, a Welsh poet who make it all look easy. But it may be costly to welcome this charismatic outsider to their little college town. Cyn’s best friend, meanwhile, communicates only in ominous fragments.

Advance Praise

“Lesley Wheeler’s Unbecoming is a delightful, beautifully written 21st-century gothic novel set at a Virginia university and also in the borderlands between the literal and the metaphorical, between the realistic and the fantastic. Like all universities, this one is a school for wizards and conjurers. Professors offer portals to undiscovered countries and enchanted lands. Portals lead to demons and horror and death too. Cynthia has recently become English Department Chair. She’s perimenopausal and coming into her blood-magic, witch woman power. The English Department is a tiny realm, fighting other more powerful realms at the University that would swallow any beleaguered humanities discipline. How do we survive each other, resist the demons or easy escape to a deadly realm that could destroy us? How do we conjure a path to the world we want? Lesley Wheeler says, ask the poets and the painters!”
 —Andrea Hairston, author of Will do Magic For Small Change and The Master of Poisons

“The story of a woman leading an ordinary life who discovers within herself extraordinary powers, Unbecoming is sage, funny, and warm, like a long conversation with your best friend about all the strange and wonderful things that have been happening to her lately. Lesley Wheeler’s writing is so deft and magical that I’m convinced that she must have learned it from the fairies. This smart, beguiling debut fantasy casts a spell that readers won’t want to break.”
 —Emily Croy Barker, author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic and How to Talk to a Goddess



A middle-aged college professor taps into her magical ability in the midst of personal and professional chaos in this excellent feminist fantasy from Wheeler (The Receptionist and Other Tales). Cynthia’s world is falling apart. She’s suffering through hot flashes, her husband’s off in North Carolina, her teenage children are testing their wings, and her best friend, Alisa, has left on a mysterious faculty exchange program with a remote college in Wales. Stepping into Alisa’s professorial role at Cynthia’s small liberal arts college in Virginia is the oddly charismatic Sophia “Fee” Ellis, whose strange behaviors (sleeping outside, causing dogs to bark, looking right at anyone whispering about her even when she couldn’t have overheard) quickly become the talk of the English Department. As the bizarre happenings around Fee grow more extreme and Alisa proves impossible to reach, Cyn realizes that everything she wishes for, intentionally or no, seems to be coming true. Cyn will need help to understand what’s happening to her, but can she trust the secretive Fee for guidance? Wheeler’s prose is gorgeous and her characters are marvelously detailed. Cyn is by turns sarcastic and serious but always empathetic, and the mysterious Fee is surprisingly down-to-earth for all her arcane knowledge. Readers will be taken with this powerful and deeply satisfying tale. (Starred Review)    —Publishers Weekly, April 2020

Lesley Wheeler is an accomplished poet and a named professor at Washington and Lee, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that her first novel is peppered with striking language (‘‘She was already a ghost of linen and warm air’’; kids ‘‘flock and wheel’’) and shrewd portraits of some familiar denizens of academia. Wheeler’s major previous venture into fantasy, the narrative poem ‘‘The Receptionist’’ (in The Receptionist and Other Tales, also from Aqueduct Press) cleverly and at times hilariously borrowed the language of high fantasy to describe academic politics and misbehavior, and it not only ended up on the Tiptree honor list, but drew praise from the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin and Gwyneth Jones. Her first novel, Unbecoming, is also framed largely as a satirical academic tale, but one leavened with more than a bit of witchery and magic, principally the notion, which begins to haunt the narrator, that certain women entering middle age somehow develop magical powers. We’re told early on that Cynthia (or Cyn) Rennard, the chair of English at a respected Virginia university, is perimenopausal (a condition which she describes as ‘‘more taboo than serial killings, less plausible than vampire tales’’), and not long afterward she seems to psychokinetically prevent a car from striking her teenage son. Of course, she begins to wonder if there might be a connection

But there are broader hints of mythical pow-ers afoot. Cyn’s closest friend Alisa is off to Wales on an exchange professorship, and the Welsh professor who arrives in her place is a rather mysterious and glamorous figure named Sophia Ellis, who settles in a bit too quickly and enthralls fellow faculty, to the point where one eventually proposes to her. Not too subtly, she calls herself Fee (and later we’re reminded that Cynthia’s last name, Rennard, also carries some folkloristic weight, underlined when she decides to dress as a fox to attend a costume party being thrown by Fee). Meanwhile, Alisa’s increasingly sparse communications from Wales begin to take on a vaguely ominous tone, while some odd little watercolors in Alisa’s house – now occupied by Fee – seem to assume some magical, portal-like qualities. And Cyn’s own possible ‘‘blood magic’’ (as Fee calls it) apparently begins to have darker results. Is Fee in fact a ‘‘changeling professor,’’ as her local nickname has it? Is Cyn’s blood magic real, along with the hints of shape-shifting and portals to other realms? --Gary K. Wolfe, Locus, May 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

Award annoucements

This weekend two awards we're particularly fond of were announced.

Congratulations to Sarah Pinsker, whose Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea was awarded the Philip K. Dick Award, and to Sarah Tolmie, whose The Little Animals was awarded a special citation. Here's the official press release:

April 10, 2020
For Immediate Release

2020 Philip K. Dick Award Winner Announced

It was announced on Friday, April 10, 2020 at Norwescon 43, in (virtual) SeaTac, Washington,
that the winner for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first
time during 2019 in the U.S.A. is:

Pinsker (Small Beer Press)

Special citation was given to:

THE LITTLE ANIMALS by Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct Press)

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for
distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States. The
award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is
sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society. The 2019 award was given to THEORY
OF BASTARDS by Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions) with a special citation to 84K by Claire
North (Orbit).

The judges for the 2020 award were Thomas A. Easton, Karen Heuler, Mur Lafferty, Patricia
MacEwen (chair), and James Sallis. This year’s judges are F. Brett Cox, Brendan DuBois, Cynthia Felice, Tim Pratt, and Jessica Reisman.

The virtual award ceremony can be found online at:

For more information, contact the award administration: Gordon Van Gelder (201) 876-2551,
John Silbersack (347) 787-7445, and Pat LoBrutto (301) 460-3164

For more information about the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society,

The second award announced was the Otherwise (previously known as the James Tiptree Jr.) Award. And for this award, congratulations go to to Akwaeke Emezi.
Here is Pat Murphy's email announcing the award:

Right now, we seem to be living in a dystopian science fiction future. Despite that, the Otherwise Award (originally the Tiptree Award) is still here —  still searching the world for speculative works that challenge us to think in new ways about gender. We are still celebrating those creators who are inventing new and better futures (which the world certainly needs right now). 

I am pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Otherwise Award: Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

“Akwaeke Emezi's Freshwater is beautiful, complicated, magical, challenging, and sometimes vividly cruel,” writes juror Edmond Y. Chang. “Told from multiple, overlapping, and often conflicted perspectives, the novel tells the story of Ada, who is caught between worlds, trying to navigate family, education, migration and immigration, Catholicism and Igbo spirituality, and what it means to be a self, a person.  The novel does not shy away from explorations of gender nonconformity (particularly for people of color), sexuality, toxic masculinity, race, mental illness, and trauma.  There are no easy paths or answers for Ada (or the reader), and therefore the novel imagines alternative, even radical forms of identity and most importantly survival.”

The 2019 Honor List celebrates nine exceptional and thought-provoking works:  

For the jury's comments on all these works, please visit the Otherwise Award website. The Award winner and Honor List often become my reading list for the next year. If you need a break from the daily news barrage, from tending to the needs of family, from worrying about the state of the world we live in, from sewing face masks (my current preoccupation), consider allowing yourself some time to read and explore other worlds. 

As always, if you spot a work of fiction that you want to call to the attention of the 2020 judges, please post it on the recommendation page of the Award website. We count on the community to let us know what's out there. On the website, you can also read more about past winners and donate to help fund the award. (We count on the community for that too.)

I'd like to commend the 2019 jury (Debbie Notkin, Mariana Calderon, Edmond Y. Chang, Trish Salah, Bogi Takács.) for completing their task during such difficult times. The Award only exists because of  the support of our community. Thank you all. 


Pat Murphy
For the Otherwise Award Motherboard

PS We are working on plans for a  (possibly virtual) celebration of the winner and the Honor List. The winner will receive $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (of course) chocolate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, 10, 1

The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. This issue includes short fiction by Gwynne Garfinkle, poetry by Colleen Anderson, A.L. Blacklyn, and T.D. Walker, a Grandmother Magma column by Pat Murphy, Karen Burnham's Dust Lanes column, and reviews of books by Arley Sorg, Misha Stone, and others. This issue's featured artist is Ruby Rae Jones. You can purchase single issues ($3 for a pdf or $5 for a print issue) and 4-issue subscriptions ($10 for an electronic subscription or $16 for both print and electronic subscription) at

Vol. 10, No. 1 (2020)Vol. 10 No. 1 — 2020

Flash Fiction
We Gotta Get Out of This Place
by Gwynne Garfinkle
Poems by
Colleen Anderson
A.L. Blacklyn
T.D. Walker

Grandmother Magma
Eleanor Arnason’s
Daughter of the Bear King

   reviewed by Pat Murphy

Dust Lanes
Short fiction reviews
   by Karen Burnham

Book Reviews
The Rampant
by Julie Day
   reviewed by Arley Sorg
Meet Me in the Future
by Kameron Hurley
   reviewed by Laura A. Gilliam
The Future of Another Timeline
by Annalee Newitz
  reviewed by Misha Stone

Sisters of the Vast Black
by Lina Rather
  reviewed by Joanne Rixon

Featured Artist
Ruby Rae Jones

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lambda Award Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Finalists

Congratulations to Marlon James, Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes, Jac Jemc, Samantha Shannon, Julie C. Day, Craig Laurance Gidney, Matthew Bright, and Nina McLaughlin, this year's finalists for the Science Fiction/Fanasy/Horror category of the Lambda Award! We are, of course, honored that a volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series, The Rampant, by Julie C. Day made this very fine list.

Here's the list:

Finalists will be celebrated and winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang the evening of Monday, June 8, 2020 in New York City.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Jean LeBlanc's Ancient Songs of Us

I'm pleased to announce the release of Jean LeBlanc's Ancient Songs of Us, a new collection of poetry, as the seventy-third volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series. It's available now in both print and e-book editions through Aqueduct's website (

Read a sample from the book.

The poems in Ancient Songs of Us suggest that no song is “ancient,” that every story crosses time and transcends place to remind us what it means to be human. Love, hatred, fury, longing, ennui, sadness—these states of heart and mind in all their nuance hues overflow from these poems.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Cynthia Ward's The Adventure of the Naked Guide

I'm please to announce the release of The Adventure of the Naked Guide by Cynthia Ward as the seventy-fourth volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series.It is available in both print and e-book editions on Aqueduct's website (www.aqueductpress.com

The Adventure of the Naked Guide is the third novella in the author's Blood Thirsty Agent series.
The earth is hollow—a trackless primordial wilderness. It's also the new front in the Great War. Here, the British spy Lucy Harker—Dracula's daughter—must locate Britain's missing vampire slayer—her own mother. Then she's separated from her lover, the vampire spy Carmilla and captured by Germany's most brilliant scientist, the sinister Dr Krüger. Now, Agent Harker may discover her most dangerous opponents are on her own side.

Cynthia Ward’s Lucy Harker novellas give the modern reader an updated frolic through avant-garde genre fiction, a frolic frosted with a myriad of clever fandom-esque references sure to delight adventurous readers.  (Read the whole review)
  —Tangent Online, Michelle Ristuccia,  February 14, 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

Anya Johanna DeNiro's City of a Thousand Feelings

I'm pleased to announce the release of City of a Thousand Feelings by Anya Johanna DeNiro, the seventy-second volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series, in both print and e-book editions. The book can be purchased now at

The City of a Thousand Feelings doesn't let certain people inside its walls. It's a place where emotions can become visible, but it flees the approach of a makeshift army who want to enter. Two of the trans women in this army forge a deep, complicated, and at times contentious friendship spanning thirty years. They must come to terms with not only the City's literal and figurative gatekeeping, but also other, even more sinister forces that use necromancy against them. As the narrator and her friend's lives are sundered apart, they must come to terms with what it means to not have a home, and what it means to be queer and aching for such a home. A sword and sorcery tale with emotional resonance, City of a Thousand Feelings brims with both the visceral and the allegorical, allowing the two trans women at the center of the story to claim their own space.

Advance Praise

“Anya DeNiro’s City of a Thousand Feelings is a huge fantasy epic with a deeply intimate relationship story at its heart. I love these heroic trans characters and their struggle to find, or build, a better world. This story left me with a renewed faith in our collective ability to make it through the wilderness and the assaults of undead angels, and to create better families as we do so.
 —Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky



Surreal and lyrical, if opaque, this profound fantasy from DeNiro (Tyrannia) explores the struggle for acceptance. An unnamed trans woman narrator meets the fellow trans woman to whom the book is addressed, whose name changes over the course of the novel from Melody to Mystery to Mercy, when they both join a ragtag army of exiled women intent on storming the city that excluded them. The army falls and 15 years of loneliness pass before the two women reunite. Together they decide to sneak back into the city to steal the city’s blueprints and use them to build a new, inclusive home of their own. While the setting is successfully atmospheric, readers learn little about the characters. DeNiro’s imagistic style leads to moments of beauty in lines such as “My heart is a flock of swallows blown out of a barn by a gale,” but can also make it difficult to parse whether fantastical elements are meant to be read metaphorically. While some readers will struggle for a foothold in this strange, cerebral story, others will be gratified by the poetic writing and powerful themes of belonging.
  —Publishers Weekly, November 2019

DeNiro packs an entire epic fantasy into this very short book from Aqueduct Press, and it is a testament to what a skilled writer can do with a hybrid form.
  —Buzzfeed, Wendy J. Fox,  January 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2020 Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced

Congratulations to Aqueduct's Sarah Tolmie, as well as to Ada Hoffman, Megan E. O'Keefe, Susan Palwick, Sarah Pinsker, and Tade Thompson, for their nominations to the 2020 Philip K. Dick Award. The books on the final ballot are:
THE OUTSIDE by Ada Hoffmann (Angry Robot)
VELOCITY WEAPON by Megan E. O'Keefe (Orbit)
ALL WORLDS ARE REAL: SHORT FICTIONS by Susan Palwick (Fairwood Press)
THE LITTLE ANIMALS by Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct Press)
First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 10, 2020 at Norwescon 43 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Plesures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2019, pt. 28: Arrate Hildago

2019 Pleasures
by Arrate Hidalgo

2019 has been, just as 2018, full of the chaos that comes with organizing a feminist SF festival in one’s hometown with not much organizing experience to speak of. This means that I have kept buying books but have finished far fewer of them than usual. Still, maybe that is why I have really enjoyed just sitting and reading a book this year, whenever I could. Below are some of the few books I have been able do that with in 2019.

My Tiptree (now Otherwise) award juror reading bled into the summer, when I had the chance to stop and really enjoy some of the books Gretchen sent me (thank you, Gretchen and publishers). One of those books is Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn, a queer ghost story which is much more than that and which really spoke to me in many ways, possibly due to my Catholic upbringing, among other reasons. The book bursts with sparkling language and yet manages to convey exactly what it is like to live with a lifetime of things unsaid.

I have been obsessed with CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner cycle since my friend and colleague Lawrence Schimel gave me the first book in the series. He has ever since kept providing me with volumes, and last summer I finished the first trilogy with Inheritor. One of the things I love the most about these books, apart from everything else, is the fact that as an overworked translator with anxiety I could not hope for a more relatable protagonist. I keep looking at the next three books on my shelf with longing. Maybe in February.

To be honest, if I were to highlight anything about my reading life in 2019, that would be the fact that I have kept delving deeper into contemporary women’s lit in Basque, and it has been a ride. Two of the titles that have had a greater impact in my head have been Kontrako eztarritik [“Down the wrong pipe”] collected by Uxue Alberdi, and Amek ez dute [“Mothers do not”] by Katixa Agirre.

Kontrako eztarritik is a collection of directed interviews conducted by bertsolari and author Uxue Alberdi with other women bertsolaris, which were then de-kernelled into classified topics relevant to feminism. Bertsolaritza or “bertso practice/making” is a Basque oral poetic tradition, performed in public, in which bertsolaris are given a subject and sometimes a metre and they must come up with an improvised, sung-on-the-spot string of verses that both rhyme and have a punchline at the end. Bertsolaris can be put in competition or cooperation with one another, depending on the moment, and they are important public figures in Basque folk and political culture. The same goes for contemporary feminist circles. Uxue Alberdi’s book is a pioneering attempt at X-raying the circumstances of women in the field by looking at concepts such as body, humor, Basqueness, and money and the way in which they all interrelate. (If you’re curious about this Basque thing, here is a thread by me on queer and trans representation in contemporary bertsolaritza, via legend Maialen Lujanbio’s outstanding work.)

On the other hand, Katixa Agirre’s Amek ez dute is a visceral look into the act of creation, both from the mother’s and the writer’s perspective, by merging both identities in the novel’s protagonist. After hearing the news that a woman near her hometown has drowned her infant twins, and finding out that the woman is actually someone she once met when she lived in England as an exchange student, the writer and rookie mum protagonist sets out to obsessively research the case and turn it into her next novel. To say it was a gripping read would be an understatement, and I was very surprised to be so sucked into a story with a plot summary that I would have definitely passed on, had my friends not recommended it to me. The author has translated herself into Spanish (Las madres no), if anybody out there is interested. It is very intense and, strangely, very enjoyable.

Among other things,  Arrate Hidalgo is Associate Editor at Aqueduct Press. She is also an English to Spanish translator, an founder and organizer of a feminist sf con, and an amateur singer. Visit her website at