Tag Archives: paul kincaid

Shagreen, or chagrin: the shadows begin to gather

Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,

And he shows them pearly white

I’m going to try keep the shark references to a minimum over the next few months, not least because my fellow Shadow Clarke Award judge, Vajra Chandrasekera, is already staking out that piece of territory quite nicely, but that snatch of song just popped into my head. ‘The Shadow knows!’ flitted through my brain as I finished that sentence; I have no idea why, as I’d mostly been preoccupied with thinking about Babylon 5 until that point. Sometimes, the early-morning brain is a startling mish-mash of cultural fragments. But now, after a cup of tea, it’s time to work.

A week ago, Nina Allan announced that a group of writers, critics, readers and Clarke-watchers have come together to form a shadow jury for the 2017 Arthur Clarke Award. As Nina goes on to say:

We will be following the Clarke Award right from the beginning, selecting our ideal shortlists from the submissions, reading and reviewing those books and picking our own winners. Then, when the official shortlist is announced on May 3rd, we’ll be reading and reviewing those books, too, before having our own virtual judgely huddle and selecting the shadow winner of the Clarke Award, to be announced, in the honourable tradition of most shadow juries, the day before the unveiling of the official winner.

Other awards have shadow juries – the Booker, for one, and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for another. But I can’t think of an sff award that has had a shadow jury before. (And yes, I am aware of the Not-the-Clarke panels at Eastercon, but I’m obviously going to argue that this is a different kind of project.) I did carry out my own informal shadow project on the Clarke Award a few years ago (The Shortlist Project), which was something of an eye-opener. I enjoyed the process on some levels but missed the discussions with other people and didn’t do it again. Which is one reason why I’m so glad to be involved in the Shadow Clarke jury this year. More people to talk to, and such people!

But more seriously, Nina’s initial post raised some important points, I’d like to reiterate here:

To survive and thrive, every branch of literature needs a robust, engaged and diverse critical hinterland. I’ve been concerned for some years that the discussion around science fiction literature in general and the Clarke Award in particular has not been as robust or as challenging as it might be …

I’ve shared Nina’s anxieties for some time, arising from my own reading, and from conversations with Nina herself. But how to articulate that feeling of dis-ease? It’s very easy to jump up and down and shout ‘what was the jury thinking? Was the jury even thinking?’ but that is unfair to each individual Clarke jury. They set their terms anew each year and go about their business as best they can. I’ve been a Clarke judge myself and it is no picnic. I’m sure a lot of people imagine it’s all ‘wow, free books’, but a look at the submissions list will tell you that the jewels are accompanied by a lot of dross – and yes, let’s be blunt about this, dross. This is not unique to the Clarke Award, by any means. I’ve been a Tiptree judge, and witnessed a Campbell Award judge at work; it goes with the territory. But while it’s worth being mindful of the fact that one woman’s dross is another man’s treasure, some dross is just dross …

If there is a problem, with the Clarke and other juried awards, it’s that … actually, there are two problems. One is that the jury’s deliberation is private, and indeed it should be, but as a result we have no access to the debate and can never know what prompted them to make certain decisions. There is probably horse-trading some years, and publishers are not always willing to have their titles submitted if they’re trying to market a book a certain way that is emphatically not science fiction. We don’t know, we can only guess, and it makes things difficult when a book doesn’t appear on a shortlist, and we ask ‘why didn’t they put that on?’ not knowing that the publisher couldn’t or wouldn’t submit. Judges can ask for books but that doesn’t mean they’ll arrive.

But the other problem is that when the shortlists roll out, ‘what were they thinking?’ is a quick and easy response, because it’s really hard to come up with anything else, in the absence of prior debate. And too often this becomes a veiled attack on the competence of the judges, which is not fair on them. They were asked to judge and they did their best in the circumstances. The one thing I will say is that it has seemed to me in recent years that the organisations who nominate judges have tended not to nominate practising critics, which means that one particular approach to sf has been neglected. And that may look like special pleading, but critics have their place in the ecosystem too, alongside the readers.

Which is the other reason I’m glad to be a part of this project: the freedom it affords to have a wide-ranging discussion about the whos, whats, whys and wherefores of science fiction in 2017, and how they pertain to the Arthur C. Clarke Award. I can’t speak for anyone else involved, but I’m taking it as an opportunity to test everything I’ve ever thought or felt about science fiction, using the submissions list, and the shortlists (ours and the actual Clarke Award shortlist) as bench marks.

I am a slightly late arrival, as ever, to the introductory posts-party. Nina Allan has already posted about the Shadow Clarke on her own blog, while Paul Kincaid laid out his stall over at Through the Dark Labyrinth. David Hebblethwaite isn’t blogging much at the moment, but he’s posting on Facebook and on Twitter and is well worth following in both those places. Megan AM, known to some of us on Twitter as @couchtomoon, has opted for a classier level of punning, invoking Gene Wolfe, and has posted about her involvement with the Shadow Clarke at her own blog, From Couch to Moon. Megan and I talked about the Clarke Award 2016, with Jonah Sutton-Morse, on his Cabbages and Kings podcast here and here, so I’m particularly pleased to be working with her again on this project. Jonathan McCalmont blogs at Ruthless Culture but hasn’t said anything about the Shadow Clarke there as yet; you can also find him being pithy at @apeinwinter (I said pithy). Victoria Hoyle gives her thoughts on the Shadow Clarke here, with moving pictures and all (but don’t expect that from me as it isn’t going to happen. I have an excellent face for podcasts). And Nick Hubble can be located at @contempislesfic on Twitter. You already know where to find Vajra’s blog but he is also on Twitter at @_vajra

But most important of all, this project is taking place under the auspices of the shiny new Anglia Ruskin Centre for Research into Science Fiction and Fantasy, based in Cambridge, and run by Helen Marshall. This is incredibly exciting, not least because we hope it will bring even more people to the discussion. We’ll be publishing our thoughts there as well as on our blogs, and talking on Twitter (#shadowclarke).

I’ll also try to collate material from the internet about this project on Paper Knife as we go along.

File 770 has already covered the launch of the Shadow Clarke; some of the comments were interesting, especially from people who had never encountered the notion of a shadow jury before. And I utterly refute the Puppy comparisons.

Also, we have no influence whatsoever on the actual Clarke Award, as people have asked. We don’t get to put any titles on the shortlist. I rather hope the Clarke judges will entirely ignore us until it’s all over.

But that’s all for now. The Arthur C. Clarke Award submission list is out later today, so the work will begin in earnest.

Two final thoughts.

Sharkskin is also known as shagreen, and was once used as an abrasive to achieve a fine finish on wood. I’m not quite sure what that means here, but it feels significant.

And lastly, to finish off the verse I quoted at the beginning of this post,

Just a jack-knife has Macheath, dear

And he keeps it out of sight.

I mention it only because this is of course Paper Knife.

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A month of things read, things watched – January 2017

It’s hard to think straight at the moment, given I seem to be living in every pessimistic sf novel I’ve ever read.  The nightmares of my teens and twenties have all come true in the last ten days and writing this seems excessively indulgent when other things need to be attended to. At the same time, I remind myself that I do all the other things in order to carry on doing this, so it would be pointless to stop now.

So, here’s a round-up of things I read and watched in January 2017.

Books:

black-and-britishDavid Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History (2016) is linked to the recent BBC series of the same name. It’s a good basic introduction to the history of black people in the UK, if you’re new to the subject: my historical interests in the last few years have been such that I already knew something about most of the pre-20th century material (and quite a lot about Granville Sharpe and Thomas Clarkson’s anti-slavery work – I recommend Adam Hochschild’s Bury These Chains, if you want to read more), though there was enough new detail to keep me interested. I was less familiar with the late nineteenth/early twentieth-century and post-war material so that took up most of my attention. The book did show some signs of being published in a hurry – there are more editorial mistakes than I thought seemly – but it does have a decent critical apparatus. It also reminded me to buy Peter Fryer’s Staying Power, which I’ve been intending to read since forever.

the-ash-treeI’m nothing if not eclectic in my reading (actually, I’m not – it’s pretty much equal parts history, various kinds of nature writing, fiction – predominantly science fiction and fantasy, and criticism these days) so next is Oliver Rackham’s The Ash Tree (2015) one of the Little Toller Monograph series. I find these to be something of a mixed bag (Iain Sinclair’s The Black Apples of Gower was entertaining, though possibly not for any reason he intended; my favourite by far is Adam Thirlwell’s On Silbury Hill). I was eager to read this because, well, I like ash trees, but the book felt rather leaden and dully fact-heavy until, towards the end, Rackham started taking a pop at various authorities over the ash dieback crisis.

wolf-borderSarah Hall’s The Wolf Border turned out be less than I was expecting, after a promising start.  I was hoping for something a bit more wolfish than I ended up with. I did not expect to get what is, to all intents and purposes, a contemporary version of the Gothic romance of the 1970s. Hated them then, really don’t like them now, even with a fresh spin. All the really interesting stuff was going on in the novel’s interstices, where we and the protagonist could only glimpse it. As a novel about national identity, it seemed have a lot to say about pregnancy. Exquisitely written, exquisitely frustrating.

weird-and-eerieI was only dimly aware of the existence of Mark Fisher as a writer, and it took his death to draw my attention to his last book, The Weird and the Eerie, which came out last year. I’ll not say much about it now as I’m planning to reread it and write about it, but I will note that I did not expect to read a piece of work published in 2016 that was so white and so male in its critical approach. Only three texts by women were discussed, and a lot of the material discussed was old. The section on Alan Garner focused on ElidorThe Owl Service and Red Shift, as though Strandloper,  Thursbitch and Boneland, all equally pertinent to the discussion, had never been written. I’m also not sure whether Fisher realised that Yvonne Rousseau’s Murder at Hanging Rock (which he discusses in the section on Picnic at Hanging Rock, bu unforgiveably does not mention in the bibliography) was intended as spoof scholarship. And yet, there was much about the basic critical thesis that I found very useful, hence much of my irritation with the text.

loveLast but not least, I read Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology, edited by Hope Nicolson. I’ve a review of this coming up in Strange Horizons so I’ll link to that when it appears.

 

 

 

 

Chiang.jpgI also read (possibly reread) Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Lives as I was going to see Arrival and wanted to read ‘Story of Your Life’. Ted Chiang is an excellent writer of a particular kind of sf that I happen to like, so job done.

 

 

 

book-cover-green-knowe Other rereads were Alison Uttley’s The Country Child and A Traveller in Time, and Lucy M. Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe. I’ve never much cared for A Country Child as a story, but see now that’s because it isn’t, not really. To my adult eyes, the descriptions of landscape and country ways are beautifully done; Susan Garland remains annoyingly priggish. For that kind of thing I would rather read Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford.

 

 

Films/TV:

We went to see both Arrival and Rogue One, both very well done. I’ve already written about Arrival  so I won’t repeat myself here. Rogue One is, in many respects, everything I missed from The Force Awakens. Diverse cast, women flying X-fighters, enough nods to the original without being overwhelmingly cloying and sentimental in its fan service, funny, sarcastic, genuinely tragic, bizarrely life-affirming. This is my favourite Star Wars film.

We also went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of The Tempest. The general view seems to be that the special effects probably work better if you’re in the theatre; they do not come over well on broadcast relay. (N.B., for anyone who has ever asked me what it’s like to have no depth perception without glasses, if you saw this play as a relay broadcast, now you know.)

Much as I have always loved Simon Russell Beale as an actor, I’m forced to the conclusion, reluctantly, that he now does Simon Russell Beale in a play rather than the character he’s playing. His Prospero was … okay, better than his god-awful Lear and the so-so Timon for the Royal National Theatre, but I’d been expecting more and I did not get it. Ariel and Caliban were far better, and that set me thinking about them as physical embodiments of the two aspects of Prospero’s character. Miranda was also rather gutsier than I’m used to, which is good, and Ferdinand was wet, as usual.

I’ve written about watching the BBC productions of The Children of Green Knowe and A Traveller in Time on DVDChildren has fared well over the years, Traveller not so much. I’m glad to have the DVD but the production has entirely lost its magic for me.

I’ve also just finished catching up on the BBC’s fourth series of Father Brown, which I continue to regard as alternative history, in a Britain where the Reformation never happened. The series bible now seems to be firmly stuck around about August 1953, though the background culture is quite clearly changing constantly. I’ve been struck in this series by the sudden influx of actors of colour, and not all of them playing villains, for a wonder. The only way to cope with the series is to entirely forget about G.K. Chesterton and think of it as Midsomer Murders in the Cotswolds, with a Catholic priest, though the last episode of the series featured John Light’s disturbing Sexy!Flambeau. The writers of this episode seemed to have some slight understanding of the complexities of the relationship between Flambeau and Father Brown, for a wonder, and it was rather enjoyable in its own funny, fuzzy way. There must surely be a spin-off series called Flambeau! any moment now.

BSFA Awards shortlists

Two shortlists in one day, as the BSFA Awards shortlists were also announced yesterday. Another interesting set of nominations. And for the second time, Paul Kincaid, Karen Burnham and I are all up against one another in the Best Non-Fiction category.

Best Artwork:

Richard Anderson for the cover of Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, published by Angry Robot Books.

Blacksheep for the cover of Bête by Adam Roberts, published by Gollancz

Tessa Farmer for her sculpture The Wasp Factory, after Iain Banks.

Jeffery Alan Love for the cover of Wolves by Simon Ings, published by Gollancz

Andy Potts for the cover of Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall, published by Egmont

Best Non-Fiction:

Paul Kincaid for Call and Response, published by Beccon Books

Jonathan McCalmont for ‘Deep Forests and Manicured Gardens: A Look at Two New Short Fiction Magazines’

Edward James, for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers and the First World War

Strange Horizons: Nina Allan, Dan Hartland, Martin Lewis, Juliet McKenna, Kari Sperring, Maureen Kincaid Speller for The State of British SF and Fantasy: A Symposium

Karen Burnham for Greg Egan, published by University of Illinois Press

Best Short Fiction:

Ruth E J Booth for “The Honey Trap”, published in La Femme, Newcon Press

Octavia Cade for The Mussel Eater,  published by The Book Smugglers

Benjanun Sriduangkaew for  Scale Bright, published by Immersion Press

Best Novel:

Nina Allan, for The Race, published by Newcon Press

Frances Hardinge, for Cuckoo Song, published by Macmillan

Dave Hutchinson, for Europe in Autumn, published by Solaris

Simon Ings, for Wolves, published by Gollancz

Ann Leckie, for Ancilliary Sword, published by Orbit

Claire North, for The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, published by Orbit

Nnedi Okorafor,  for Lagoon, published by Hodder

Neil Williamson, for The Moon King, published by Newcon Press

 

Things I read on the internet 10/2/2014

APB

Publishers Taylor and Francis have made a bundle of articles entitled Gothic Origins free to view online until the end of March. Also, and almost more interesting, they are downloadable too.

People Writing About Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Weird

Paul Kincaid writes about Boon, a little-read but much-cited novel by H.G. Wells.

Tom Pollock talks about Keeping It Real in a passionately argued piece.

Steve Rasnic Tem on Southern Gothic and the Appalachian Weird

World SF

Islam and Science Fiction is currently running a series on Pakistani SF

Urban Studies

Geographically correct subway maps

Clips and Stills

The Importance of Winston T Zeddemore in Ghostbusters.

First aerial photograph of Lower Manhattan

Salvador Dali’s last Film: Impressions of Mongolia (the search for a giant hallucinogenic mushroom

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, with narration by Orson Welles

Visual Static

R. Crumb illustrates Philip K. Dick’s religious experiences

Saint-Exupery’s original watercolours for The Little Prince

Paper Studies

I’d feel a lot better about my book-buying habit if I could use the packaging in my garden.

Dept of Wait! What?

Scientists strap fake tails to chickens to figure out how T Rex walked. I think the moral of this is, don’t keep chickens, ever.

Fifty Shades of Wrongness

Five Things To Consider About Science Fiction by Steve Davidson. I don’t even know where to start with this piece, which seems to boil down to ‘guys, you just don’t understand’. On the basis of some of this, no, I don’t think I do, and I’m not sure I want to.

Nine Amazing Books That Feature Magic Realism – only part of that heading is accurate.

Archaelogical Digs

Virginia Woolf visits Stonehenge

Last Thoughts

The Periodic Table of Storytelling – not because I necessarily agree with it but because I like periodic tables.

I would dispute whether The Dreadnought Hoax is the greatest hoax in history, but it’s an interesting one.

Ghosts of a Parisian apartment frozen in time

The Secret Lives of Action Figures in Imaginary Everyday Scenarios

Archive – James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon – Julie Phillips

Another Interzone review, from August 2006. The reviews editor at that time had the idea of asking Paul Kincaid and me to write a pair of linked reviews of Julie Phillips’ biography of James Tiptree, Jr. Paul has kindly agreed to put up his review of the same book at his own blog, Through the Dark Labyrinth, and we’ve linked them, so you can read both parts of the diptych.


James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon – Julie Phillips
St Martin’s Press, 480pp $27.95 hb

Even before she was a person, Alice Hastings Bradley was a fictional character. At the age of six, she featured in a children’s book, Alice in Jungleland, written by her mother, Mary, a well-known author and society hostess. Here, Bradley described how, during a sea voyage to Africa, the young Alice was dressed as a doll and placed in a wooden box, after which she was carried into a fancy-dress party. Much to everyone’s surprise, when the box was opened Alice remained perfectly still, ‘just like a real doll in a box’.

The sense of relief contained in that anecdote is almost palpable, as well it might be, for Mary Hastings Bradley had a great deal invested in her daughter’s good behaviour. The expedition which she had helped to fund was headed for the Congo, to film and shoot gorillas. Bradley had been publicly criticised over her decision to take her daughter with her and she knew that she would be permitted to take on the role of explorer only if she could also demonstrate that she was a competent mother at all times. Thus the young Alice Bradley became the unwilling centre of attention, required to appear immaculately dressed and well-behaved at all times, conforming to society’s demands in order to support her mother’s claim to a life beyond what society deemed proper. All the while young Alice was, as she later acknowledged, the baggage on the trip, denied the adventures her mother craved because she was too young

The irony of this was surely not lost on the adult Alice, whose lasting fame rests not on her work as a research psychologist, nor even on her career within the CIA, both carried out in her own name, but for her creation of another fictional character. James Tiptree, Jr. was the by-line who unexpectedly came to life, achieving a strong and vivid existence on the page, and providing Alice (Alli) Sheldon, his progenitor, with a voice for all those things she felt she couldn’t say as a woman. As it turned out, Tiptree’s existence was to prove as fragile as that of Alice in Jungleland. When Tip’s true identity was accidentally revealed in 1976, it effectively robbed Alli Sheldon of her voice, while young Alice proved not to be a beautiful doll, but a troubled little girl who struggled hard to come to terms with life as an adult.

The story of how James Tiptree, Jr was revealed to be Alice Sheldon, ‘nothing but an old lady in Virginia’, is now well known, but the territory between Alice in Jungleland and James Tiptree, Jr has so far been little explored. Julie Phillips’ ambitious, multi-layered biography now reveals that the life of Alice Sheldon was every bit as strange and exotic as the life she bestowed on Tip; and more to the point, that much of his life was indeed her own.

For much of her life Alli was tortured by the sense of not knowing who she really was. A confusing childhood left her with, on the one hand, a very well developed sense of her own artistic and intellectual abilities (among other things she was an accomplished artist and an excellent mathematician) but on the other, an inability to apply herself to her work in order to improve her skills. She wanted to make her own way, but was reluctant to give up the comforts of her parents’ house and money. Yet she was stifled by her adoring mother; and for many years Allie associated love with possession. More than once she described her mother as a ‘queen bee’, needing to always be the centre of attention, but it is clear that the bond between mother and daughter was very strong throughout their lives

Alli’s acquaintances – almost everyone interviewed for the biography seems to start by saying ‘I didn’t know her very well’ – clearly regarded her as a strong woman who conducted life on her own terms. However, her journals suggest that she was very uncertain about her gender identity and her sexual orientation. She could not come to terms with her wild crushes on women, none of which seem to have been entirely reciprocated, nor reconcile these with the fact that she preferred the company of men as friends, although all her sexual partners appear also to have been male. She could ride a horse, fire a gun, fish as well as anyone she knew; she puzzled over how a woman might reconcile such skills with motherhood and managing a home. In an unfinished essay, ‘Femininity and Society: A Discussion from the Standpoint of the Atypical Woman’, she wrestled with this dilemma, concluding that male and female were cultural categories, and that the sexes are really divided into men and mothers, and that the female reproductive system was a ‘vampire’, themes she would often return to in her stories. In the light of this, her eventual decision to more fully ‘inhabit’ her by-line is perhaps not so surprising, in that she was finally able to give voice to a part of herself that had remained suppressed for so many years.

One might wonder why Sheldon needed Tiptree as much as she seems to have done, considering the remarkable variety of things she tackled during her life. She had an impressive war-time career in the CIA, working on the interpretation of surveillance photographs. Later, she helped her second husband to run a chicken farm, work that turned out to be far more time-consuming than they initially supposed. Later still, she went back to university, finally becoming Dr Alice Sheldon, research psychologist. However, as Phillips shows, the work always came between Sheldon and her artistic side, rather as motherhood had got in the way of writing and exploration for Mary Bradley. Becoming James Tiptree gave Alli permission to write, providing her with a space as well as a voice. Whereas Woolf advocated that women should have rooms of their own in which to work, Alli Sheldon literally took this a step further, and created a persona in which to work. Having said this, I think that Phillips perhaps misses a trick in not considering that having attempted to present Alli as a feminist (I’m not always entirely persuaded of the argument in favour of this), she never really addresses the fact that Alli transforms herself into, effectively, a male version of her own mother, or even, the man her mother would have most liked to be.

In Tip, Alice Sheldon seemingly reached her apotheosis, brief as it turned out to be. Critics agree that the stories written after Tip’s identity was revealed were never as good as those before. It seemed that Alli could write only by distancing her creative ability from her physical self; once the distance was removed, her writing began to wither away. With that went her reason for being. Alice Sheldon had all her adult life suffered from depression. She was terrified of old age, and terrified of what it would do to her and her husband, Ting. They had made a suicide pact, but at the point when Alli decided the time had come for them to die, Ting’s only problem was failing eyesight. It seems likely that her depression had convinced her otherwise; consequently, on May 19, 1987, she shot Ting as he lay asleep and then, after ringing a lawyer and her step-son, she turned the gun on herself.

Tiptree’s legacy is well-documented. The discovery that he was in fact she has prompted much critical discussion on how to read masculinity and femininity in writing, and taught a couple of generations of readers to be more careful about making judgements based on the author’s name and supposed gender. The James Tiptree Award is now an institution, promoting work which pushes the boundaries of our understanding of gender portrayals in science fiction; it is supported by one of the most fiercely loyal communities within the sf world.

Alice Sheldon has become very much overshadowed by her own alter-ego, and this biography is therefore a very welcome redressing of the balance. It’s all too easy for us to be admiring of the carefree Tip, pounding out his stories, or to acclaim Alice Sheldon’s audacity in creating this vibrant persona for herself. It’s far too easy to represent the creation of James Tiptree, Jr. as a conscious feminist statement, a thumbing of the nose to the masculine sf establishment. To do so is, I believe, to overlook what it was that drove Alice Sheldon to transform herself as she did. Julie Phillips’ carefully researched account of the life of Alice Sheldon is a stark reminder of what has happened to too many women, not only to writers, who have tried to find a balance between their daily and creative lives. James Tiptree, Jr triumphed but it was Alice Sheldon who fought every inch of the way, and Julie Phillips who brought that remarkable story to our attention.

Bridging the Gaps II

More things I found on the internet

Animated Short Film about the History of Typography

John H. Stevens follows up on Paul Kincaid’s near-legendary article on the ‘exhaustion of sf’, discusses ‘exhaustion as an ever-present part of the artistic process’ and speculates on what happens next.

Worlds Without Ends has a nifty compilation of all the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlists.

And while we’re about the Clarke Award, Tom Hunter, the Award’s director, has gathered together most of the coverage of this year’s award, won by Chris Beckett for Dark Edens here.

Jess Nevins in the LARB on a new edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s Classic Stories, ed. by Roger Luckhurst. I’ve not yet seen the edition but Luckhurst apparently situates Lovecraft as part of the Weird. Nevins disagrees. I’m agnostic until I see the introduction.

And Roger Luckhurst himself on ‘H.P. Lovecraft and the Northern Gothic Tongue’

A short story by Karin Tidbeck, Sing, available at the Tor website, and well worth reading. The below-the-line comments, not so much.

Thought-provoking article at Strange Horizonsfrom Rochita Loenen-Ruiz: So what do you think of my story where I made use of another person’s culture?

Emptying the Inbox

A few links to keep you amused until the next “proper” post …

At last, a full video of Heartwood: Robert Holdstock and Telling the Matter of Britain, held at the British Library on 2nd September 2011, chaired by Graham Sleight, featuring Stephen Baxter, Donald E Morse, Lisa Tuttle and, standing in for Brian Aldiss at the very last moment (like thirty seconds before the event) Paul Kincaid.

The Los Angeles Review of Books is apparently bringing out one of its Digital Editions on Science Fiction. More information here but it looks interesting.

OMNI Magazine available online

Welcome to the Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction, a new online journal from the Eaton Collection at the University of California at Riverside.

Coelacanth genome sequenced – because coelacanths will never be anything but utterly cool.

Also recommended: Channel 4 documentary on the rediscovery of the coelacanth. I can’t describe how happy it made me to finally see film of a living coelacanth.