Monday, April 28, 2014

2013's gender & race statistics of sf/s reviewing

Strange Horizons has just posted Niall Harrison's annual count of review publications in the sf/f field. This year's count looks at race as well as gender, which I'm glad to see. I'm not glad to see, however, that the statistics for 2013 reviews of work by women and women reviewers has remained pretty much flat in comparison with those for 2012. By this point, the gender disparity is becoming hard to explain without reference to internalized sexism. 

Check out Niall's count here:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Andrea Hairston's Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays

I'm pleased to announce Aqueduct Press's publication of Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays by Andrea Hairston. Feminist sf readers primarily know her as the author of Mindscape (winner of the Carl Brandon Society's Parallax Award and shortlisted for the James Tiptree and Philip K. Dick Awards) and Redwood and Wildfire (winner of the James Tiptree Award and Carl Brandon Society's Kindred Award). Those who've attended WisCon, IFCA, and Readercon will also know she writes (and performs) fabulous essays, eight of which appear in this collection. The speech mentioned in the title is her GoH speech for WisCon. Andrea has long been a writer, director, and performer of plays as well, and Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre and Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies at Smith College. Not surprisingly, given Andrea's interests and cast of mind, her plays are science fictional, and two of these, "Hummingbird Flying Backward" and "Lonely Stardust," are included in the collection.

How to sum up the collection as a whole? I can only try:  Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays brings us the texts of nine marvelous works of scholarly performance as well as two works of drama in which the fantastic shows us the way through despair. In several of the pieces here, Andrea's sharp, visionary eye examines Hollywood blockbusters and finds a great deal to think about, even as she impatiently slices through hackneyed received views that do popular culture and its fans no favors. Taken together, these essays and plays broadcast a message of hope and intelligence that defiantly insists that our ability and desire to tell stories defines our humanity and is one of our most valuable resources.

This collection, for me personally, is an exceedingly valuable resource. Andrea's vision, though infused with hope and love, never ever pulls its punches. I can't tell you how happy I am to be publishing it.

Aqueduct will be selling Lonely Stardust through our website at a reduced price until June 1, 2014, its official date of release. The e-book edition is also available there now.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vol. 4, 2

The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. Brit Mandelo leads off with "Revisiting In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction by Sarah Lefanu"; Minister Faust gives us this issue's Grandmother Magma column; Mark Rich, Sona Taaffe, and Bogi Takács offer us poetry; and Victoria Elisabeth Garcia, Caren Gussoff, Gord Sellar, Cynthia Ward, and Tom Foster review books by Eileen Gunn, Bart R. Leib, Patrick Ness, Gail Simone and Walter Geovanni, and Sarah Tolmie. The issue also features the art of Dale McBride.

Table of Contents

Revisiting In the Chinks of the World Machine:
Feminism and Science Fiction
by Sarah Lefanu
   by Brit Mandelo

The Swooning
   by Mark Rich

The Etruscan Prince
   by Sonya Taaffe
Autonomous, Spacefaring
   by Bogi Takács

Grandmother Magma
On Angela Davis’s An Autobiography
   by Minister Faust

Questionable Practices, by Eileen Gunn
   reviewed by Victoria Elisabeth Garcia

Fierce Family, edited by Bart R. Leib
   reviewed by Caren Gussoff

The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness
  reviewed by Gord Sellar

Red Sonja, Volume 1: Queen of the Plagues,
by Gail Simone and Walter Geovanni
   reviewed by Cynthia Ward

The Stone Boatmen, by Sarah Tolmie
   reviewed by Thomas Foster

Featured Artist
Dale McBride

You can purchase the issue at for $3 or a year's subscription for $10. And like all issues of the CSZ, it will be available for free download six months from the date of publication.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sheila Finch's Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction

I'm pleased to announce the release of the 39th volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series, Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction: Ancient Roots of the Literature of the Future, by Nebula-award winning Sheila Finch.It's available now through Aqueduct's website in both print and e-book editions, and will be soon be available in all the usual places.  Here's a bit from the introduction:

"The great myths seek to explain us to ourselves--our exploits, passions, triumphs, and failures. They can be found all over the world, often displaying remarkable similarity.

"Nobody--scientist, seer or science fiction writer-- can reliably predict what will happen two days from now, let alone two millennia. Science fiction is really about us as humans--living, loving, fighting, raising families-- but set in another place and time so that the message may get through without being censored by the self-protective function of our egos."

“This welcome discussion of the connections between future fiction and stories about human inception emphasizes how mythic roots contribute to the emotional power of narrative. Finch investigates the inexplicable awe and wonder that emanates from close encounters between myth and science fiction. This juxtaposition emphatically indicates that science fiction is the predominant mythic metaphor of our time.” –Marleen S. Barr, author of Feminist Fabulation and Oy! Pioneer

James Gunn, author of The Listeners and Transcendental, writes: “The gifted writer Bob Sheckley once told me that when he was hard up for a story idea he opened his book of fairy tales. Now the gifted and insightful Sheila Finch tells us why.”