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The recently announced Locus Awards are awarded every year by a readers poll done by Locus Magazine. These have been going since 1971, and are often an influencial precursor to the Hugo awards, which will be awarded later this summer.
It’s only these last couple years that I’ve been blogging that I’ve paid much attention to awards. Honestly, for the most part, a list of award nominees more often than not elicits a mostly “eh” response from me. Maybe I’ve heard of the authors, maybe I haven’t, and there’s a decent chance I haven’t even read any of the books or short stories that are up for an award.
Good thing I have a scifi/fantasy blog, and have pretty much been reading nothing but scifi and fantasy for the last little while! For the first time, ever, I’ve actually read a small chunk of these. Ok, maybe not a respectable amount, but way more than in previous years. For the first time, ever, my mind is responding with a “sweet! I’ve read that!” or at least a “I’ve heard of that, and I really want to read it!” instead of “meh”.
Here are this years Locus Award winners (bolded) and nominees. If I reviewed the piece, I’ve linked to it. A few questions for you to contemplate as you peruse the list: how many of these author, works, editors, authors and publishers have you heard of? How many of them have you read, or are interested in reading?
The 2012 Locus Awards, as announced in Seattle Washington, June 15-17th 2012:
Science Fiction Novel
Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
11/22/63, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton as 11.22.63)
Rule 34, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK)
Snuff, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz)
Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (Crown; Century)
God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade)
Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh (Night Shade)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime)
Published in 1964
Where I got it: bought used
This little known Silverberg title from 1964 gives the impression it was written on a lark, perhaps after a visit to the 1964 World’s Fair. Funnily enough, the plot of Regan’s Planet isn’t all that different from the true story of the development of the ‘64 World’s Fair in New York, from its focus on American innovation and space exploration, the need for private financing and sales of bonds to finance the whole thing, the disaster of international participation, the hopes of Vatican artwork, and the need to maximize attendance and ticket sales as to break even at the end of the whole show.
So, as you may have guessed the overarching theme, the plot of Regan’s Planet follows Claude Regan, a self described Machiavellian scoundrel as he attempts to create a World’s Fair such as the world has never seen before. A highly successful financier with an addiction to power, Regan has the sociopathic tendencies of Donald Trump alongside the innovative yearnings of Richard Branson. Regan has been convinced by the President of United States to take control of developing the 1992 World’s Fair, a celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America.
Because I just can’t help myself, you know? Nature abhors a vacuum like my credit at my favorite local bookstore abhors not being spent. Who cares that I just got a half dozen books from the library? Bookstores are my kryptonite! Even more so after one of the employees let slip they’d just gotten in a ton of vintage SF.
teh new goodies:
from bottom to top, we’ve got:
A Feast for Crows, by George R R Martin. I got this out of the library a few years ago, I wish I’d thought to buy it before they changes the cover art to the “new” style. now my Martin covers don’t match! :( I can’t decide if I’m going to buy into the hype and purchase Dance with Dragons in hardback, or just get it from the library and wait to purchase until it’s in paperback.
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I’ve never read any Willis, but I keep hearing really good things about her.
Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg. Another one I’d gotten from the library a few years ago, it was my first Silverberg. After I finished it, I remember my husband asking me what I thought of it as this is one of his favorites too, and I expressly remember saying that not only did I want to learn how to juggle, but if we ever had a son, I wanted to name him Valentine.
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Midnight Riot, and I’ve been hearing this 2nd one is just as fun too.
Stalking the Unicorn, by Mike Resnick – it just looked fun. and the acknowledgement pages makes some reference to a friend of Resnick’s who is the “God emperor” of something, which made me chuckle. and that brings us to . . .
The Heaven Makers, by Frank Herbert. You wouldn’t know it by skimming the review index, but I am a HUGE Frank Herbert fan. I think I’ve read maybe a dozen books by him, and I know most of his discography by sight. But this is one I have never even heard of! Anyone know anything about this title?
The Seventh Shrine, Vol 1. Written by Robert Silverberg, artwork by Anders Finer
Published in 2005
where I got it: purchased new
If it’s got Robert Silverberg’s name on it, I’ll probably read it. A master of sci-fantasy, Silverberg has written dozens of novels and short stories. I adore his original Valentine stories, and even though The Mountains of Majirpoor didn’t do much for me, I’ve always got my eye out for anything Silverberg. Which is why my eyes lit up like supernovas when I saw his name on the front of a Valentine graphic novel. Quick like a fox, that book was going to be mine!
With painterly full color art complimenting Silverberg’s short story, The Seventh Shrine is more an illustrated story. I have no idea if this is a “rare” book, but it sure feels like one. Valentine Pontifex has escaped the dreariness of the Labyrinth to investigate a strange murder at an archaeological dig. The Pontifex is not supposed to leave the Labyrinth, but Valentine has always been one to bend royal rules to fit the life he wants to lead.
The Mountains of Majipoor, by Robert Silverberg
written in: 1995
where I got it: library
why I read it: Silverberg rocks my world.
On my last library jaunt, I was hoping to find Robert Silverberg’s Lord Valentine’s Castle, or Majipoor Chronicles. Alas, the library only had the third book in the series, Valentine Pontifex. And who wants to read just the third book? I’ve read them all, but I wanted to start at the beginning. Then I happened upon The Mountains of Majipoor, a stand alone that does take place on the massive planet of Majipoor, many generations after Valentine. How could I say no?
Thanks to an innocent accident in his youth, young Prince Harpirias finds himself banished from the Castle Mount, given a useless bureaucratic post out on the edge of civilization. Slowly losing contact with his friends, and realizing his hometown has forgotten him, he becomes bitter and angry.
The quest part of the story comes along fairly quickly when Harpirias learns that an archaeological team of scientists has been taken hostage by an even further northern tribe. At first angry that responsibility to save the team falls on him, Harpirias soon realizes if he negotiates the release of the scientists, he can look forward to a Hero’s welcome back home at the Castle Mount.
Just so you know, this is a super long post with a funny at the end. Not unlike an epic quest. . . .
I describe this website as offering Science Fiction & Fantasy reviews. But going through my list of reviews, I’m seeing far more fantasy than science. Maybe I should just describe it as a fantasy review site? Or a gateway to fantasy review site?
When I was a kid, I was an adamant SF fan. Much of my youth was spent building spaceships out of legos and watching PBS shows about astronomy. I craved scientific explanations for everything. I wanted to know how everything worked.
While my friends were reading Lloyd Alexander, I was reading Interstellar Pig. As they moved onto Tolkien and Raymond Feist and Katherine Kurtz, I moved onto David Brin and Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert.
To me, Fantasy was wizards with long beards, royals who went on quests where their soldiers and magical armor protected them, and elves and dwarves who spent the first half of the conversation telling you their lineages, and embarassingly rediculous cover art. really nothing else. I had no understanding that “high fantasy” was only the tip of the iceberg of the genre. My limited experiences with high fantasy let me know quickly that I didn’t care for it.
And then I started reading manga, a form famous for mixing genres. Cyborg mechas using laser guns against a castle and fighting flesh and blood dragons that guarded hoards of treasure? no problem. Kids who get wisked away from their regular life to fight demons and spirits and collect magical shards? piece of cake. Vampires, martians, aliens, dragons, time travel, often in the same series. And it worked, like magic.
Wait, wasn’t this, um, fantasy? It sure was fantastical, and it sure wasn’t hard scifi. Read the rest of this entry »
I read about this book on a blog a few weeks ago, and of course I can’t remember where! So if I posted on your post about The World Inside, please let me know who you are. And Thanks for the great recommendation!
One of the strangest books I have ever read, Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside requires an open mind.
Written in the early 70’s, when so many science fiction writers were writing speculative stories about population booms, and limiting births and concern for how we were going to feed and house billions of people, Robert Silverberg asked himself what if humanity decided to go the absolute opposite direction? What if we decided our goal was to have as many people living happily on the planet as possible, and society was formed around housing, feeding, and taking care of billions of people? The vignettes of The World Inside is what he came up with.
This future includes vast, huge, vertical arcologies of 1,000 floors, housing 800,000 people, in “constellations” of 40 or more buildings. Estimated population of the earth is over 75 billion. 80% of the earth’s landmass is given over the farming, and the Urbmon’s tower over all. Imagine the entire population of Dayton OH living in one gigantic apartment tower. Most residents never leave the “Urbmon”, why would you want to, everything you need is there. Your floor is your neighborhood, the 20 floors or so around you are your city, lifts get you anywhere you need to go and there is no reason to leave. Outside means danger, loneliness, and death. The only thing more rampant that forced sharing in the Urbmon is propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »
Dying Inside is the intimate memoir of David Selig, who had the power to read people’s minds.
As a young child, David realized he could do something other people couldn’t. A bored child, he used his powers to see what girls were thinking, to spy on his parents, and to confuse the school psychologist. We’re so used to stories where a protagonist with special powers is drawn to use their powers for good, it was refreshing to read about a mutant who doesn’t use his powers for good, or bad, or anything except occasional mostly harmless fun. David eased his way through school (he could find the exam answers in the teacher’s mind), through dating (he really knew what women wanted), through many jobs, trials of life, etc. And it’s made him lazy. Why work when you can freelance a little here and there for money? Why stay in a relationship when you know your partner is no longer interested, but you don’t know how to tell her you know? How can you ever have a normal conversation or a normal life when you always know exactly what the person is thinking? He hasn’t been surprised by anything in a long time. He can count on one hand the people he has shared his secret with.
Soon David will be forced to have a “real” relationship with someone, to have a “real” conversation with someone, to enjoy the surprises in life, because his mental powers are waning. Some days he gets static, some days he gets nothing, and he has never been so scared in his entire life.
Read the rest of this entry »