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I am still on a bit of a posting holiday, apparently. A lot is happening here at Chez J, but it’s all ruminative on the writing front, nothing to see here… yet. Before you head off to what I hope is a terrific summer day, though, have a slice of on-point social commentary from a master of speculative fiction, in conversation with DEATH (who, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about this business of life).

[tl;dr: be excellent to each other, or what’s the point?]

“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

“So we can believe the big ones?”

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

“They’re not the same at all!”

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”

MY POINT EXACTLY.”
― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

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In case you missed it this weekend, the winners of the 2016 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy have been announced.

While none of the winners for best novel, novella, novelette or short story are available to all, check out the list. Some nominees are still free to read. Examples include:

Enjoy!

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I’m happy to report that while it is a Monday (on this side of the planet, anyway), that fact is completely outweighed by the yay that is a new publication:)

The Peculiar Grace of Bees” is free to read, and it is available now from the ever effervescent Flash Fiction Online.

Enjoy!

 

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The finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards have been released! As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re interested in some of the best new science fiction today, or you’re looking to pad your reading list, the Hugo roster is a great place to start.

You can find some links to the nominated stories at Locus Online. For more on the list and the rule changes for this year’s award (including the new Best Series category), check out this column at Book Riot or this post on the WSFS updates. If you’re interested in voting for any of this fine fiction to win a Hugo, you’ll need an active membership to Worldcon 75.

Tor.com and Uncanny are killing it this year. The Locus list is light on short fiction links, so have a few (mostly free) links to the shorter works:

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

I do love a full To Read list. Enjoy!

 

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Hello, and a quick update to say that I’ve got a new story out in the new issue of Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. “The T-4200” is a science fiction adventure featuring a regular guy just trying to save his dimension-hopping tortoise (and oh yes, end a galactic war). As one does!

Given the dynamics of the marketplace, it tends to be much harder to place longer pieces. I’m very happy to have found a home for this novelette, which began life at over 12k and now runs just over 9,000 words.

While ASM is subscription-based (sorry, free fiction lovers!), this entertaining Australian speculative fiction magazine publishes everything from science fiction to fantasy, humor to horror. If you’re in the market for an excellent new source of fresh fiction, check them out, and enjoy!

ASM Issue #66 Cover Image

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Today is what is known among nerdy/supercool circles as Pi Day (March 14th, or 3.14). Now, normally I’d be making a pie, because, well, pie. Through a twist of dessert-related fate, however, I find myself with a surfeit of same, and the thought of adding to the current cache of cookies (chocolate brookies and oatmeal toffee), cinnamon-sugar twist bread and ice cream makes my pancreas shudder in fear.

Instead, today we have two examples of that equally delightful treat, free fiction.

First we have Event Horizon 2017. This is an anthology of authors eligible for the John W.Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and it will be available until July 15, 2017 to anyone willing to part with an email address.

The second batch of goodness comes in the form of the 2016 Nebula Awards Ballot. Not every item is free (books and longer stories, for example, tend not to be), but the list is a great place to start expanding your to-read roster. It also includes links to the short fiction nominees, many of which are free.

Check it out, and enjoy!

 

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It’s International Women’s Day and while there are a lot of related events taking place, I’d like to highlight one with particular interest to writers. Tor.com has put together a short fiction collection spotlighting women, justice and persistence.

Here’s an excerpt from Tor’s announcement:

In collaboration with colleagues Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Lee Harris, Liz Gorinsky, Marco Palmieri, and Miriam Weinberg, we have assembled this flash fiction collection featuring several of the best writers in SF/F today. Together these authors share unique visions of women inventing, playing, loving, surviving, and – of course – dreaming of themselves beyond their circumstances.

Look forward to stories from:

Charlie Jane Anders
Brooke Bolander
Maria Dahvana Headley
Amal El-Mohtar
Kameron Hurley
Seanan McGuire
Nisi Shawl
Catherynne M. Valente
Carrie Vaughn
Jo Walton
Alyssa Wong

The stories are inspired by the words “Nevertheless, She Persisted” and will roll out starting May 8th.

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Happily, I’ve had two stories accepted this month. I’m particularly pleased on both fronts: one story is a bit peculiar, a flash of magical realism that may not fit into a convenient category, but (hopefully) captures the essence of an emotional experience. The second story is a rollicking sci-fi romp that’s one of my favorites, but its length (it started life at ~12,000 words) made it a hard sell. I’m delighted to have found homes for both stories!

I’ll post specifics when they are available, but celebrating is always fun. Yay!

Here’s hoping that you have things to celebrate this weekend too:)

 

 

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Tor.com has put together a selection of its short fiction from 2016. If you’re interested in an e-book of same (rather than reading the material online) it’s available free for the next few days.

We are very excited to offer a free download of the 2016 edition of Some of the Best from Tor.com, an anthology of 25 of our favorite short stories and novelettes from the last year. Readers worldwide can download the ebook for free by signing up for the Tor.com Publishing newsletter from midnight EST on January 10th until 11:59 P.M. EST on January 17th.

Free fiction. Mmm, tasty.

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