Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for March 26

Happy Friday, shipmates–and happy Leonard Nimoy day if you’re in Boston!! We’re getting close to the end of March 2021, I promise. It’s happening. Just one more newsletter (a last round of new releases coming your way on Tuesday) and then we can escape the longest continuous month in recorded history. It’s Alex, and I’ve got the Andre Norton finalists for this year (and a few winners of years past) for you, and some news items that caught my eye. Stay safe out there, and I will see you on Tuesday!

Here, this made me smile: my favorite cat tweet of the week

Let’s make 2021 better than 2020. A good place to start? The Okra Project and

News and Views

Peter S. Beagle has regained control of the rights to his work. THANK GOODNESS.

Fantasy Magazine has an interview with Charles Yu

New life and new civilizations: socialism, progress, & the final frontier

C.L. Clark wrote a The Big Idea feature of Scalzi’s blog

Maria Haskins’s quarterly short fiction roundup at Strange Horizons

When does a bad movie become great? Well, maybe pretty-good. Okay, weirdly compelling.

On Book Riot

This week’s SFF Yeah! is about heroes and villains.

A beginner’s guide to SFF novelettes

An introduction to the solarpunk genre

9 of the best fantasy maps in books

This month you can enter to win a $250 gift card at Barnes & Noble, your own library cart, a $250 gift card to Powell’s Books, and/or a Kindle Oasis.

Free Association Friday: Andre Norton Award Finalists

I talked about the 2020 Nebula finalists for novel and novella last week, but this week I wanted to shine a spotlight on the Andre Norton Award finalists. The Andre Norton award is specifically for SFF middle grade and young adult novels. At the end of the list, I’ve thrown in the last three winners as well.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Tarisai was raised in strict isolation without the normal warmth of a family by a demanding and distant mother she knows only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to compete to join the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven, a body that is joined through the magic powers of the Ray in a bond deeper than blood. But what seems like a dream for lonely Tarisai becomes a nightmare when The Lady demands that she murder the Crown Prince, and she must choose between loyalty and her own deepest wishes.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Mona is a fourteen-year-old wizard who can’t control lightning or shoot firebolts but instead has a way with bread and pastries. Her familiar is a sourdough starter, and she’ll need all of her magic and baking skills when the victim of an assassin ends up dead on the floor of her bakery–and Mona’s the next target.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe (but you can call her Ellie) is a Lipan Apache teenager who can raise the spirits of dead animals–including her dog, Kirby, her best friend for life. She lives in an America just a little stranger than ours, where the paranormal is every day, and her goal is to someday be an investigator. When her cousin dies in an apparent car accident, she knows it was murder–because his ghost told her. This is her first case to solve, and it puts her up against an entire town of wealthy white people in Texas.

A Game of Fox & Squirrels by Jenn Reese

Sisters Samantha and Caitlin are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they’ve never met after their family life is shattered by the revelation of abuse. Their aunt gives Sam a card game called “A Game of Fox & Squirrels” and it seems like innocent, delightful fun until one day the trickster fox of the game shows up with an offer: if Sam finds the Golden Acorn, she can have anything she desires.

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Sheetal is the daughter of a human and a star, and she spends her life trying very hard to pretend she’s a normal mortal. But when she accidentally loses control of her starfire and puts her father in the hospital, only the power of a star—like her mother, who left long ago—can save him. Sheetal must journey into the heavens if she wants to save her father, but she’s not prepared for the magic or the politics she’ll find there.

Riverland by Fran Wilde

2019 winner. Sisters Eleanor and Mike hide in a secret place under Eleanor’s bed when things are going wrong in their house and their father is angry. When their father breaks a glass witch ball that is a fairy heirloom, they are swept into a river that appears under Eleanor’s bed and must find a way to fix the fantastic world they find themselves in, where nightmares are trying to break into the real world.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

2018 winner. Zélie comes from a people who were slaughtered by a ruthless king who feared their magic and wanted it suppressed. Now she has one chance to bring the magic back with the aid of a rogue princess. Together they must outwit the crown prince, who would eradicate all magic for good.

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

2017 winner. Matt is surrounded by food and always hungry, because he’s discovered the longer he deprives himself of sustenance, the more powers he seems to gain. And he needs those powers if he’s going to figure out how a band of high school bullies drove his sister away.

See you, space pirates. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.