Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for May 7: SFF Moms

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with some news, a few ebook deals, and a little list of SFF with badass moms that you might want to check out. It’s the first Friday of May, and it’s been shockingly rainy here, with lots of little hail showers. It’s also almost Mother’s Day (whence the theme) so happy holiday if you celebrate it! (And if it’s a day you have a fraught relationship with, I see you.) I’ve been looking forward to putting my plants outside since they’re always so much happier there…. but in Colorado, the common wisdom is that you can never count on a plant surviving out in the elements until after Mother’s Day. Stay safe out there, space pirates, and may your plants be thriving and green!

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


News and Views

Around the world with SF

A brief history of Russian science fiction

Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd are launching a podcast about The Lord of the Rings films

Interview with Sue Burke

Salon did a Q&A with Andy Weir

Those sure are some wigs that House of the Dragon‘s got going

Revisiting Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books as a mother

Thank you Star Wars for giving me Carrie Fisher

SFF eBook Deals

The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang for $1.99

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo for $2.99

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach for $2.99

On Book Riot

This week’s SFF Yeah! is about one-sitting reads.

Best fantasy book subscription boxes

Reading Pathways: Star Wars books

15 of the best funny fantasy books

Who’s there? 10 ghost stories to keep you up all night

You have until May 11 to enter to win a $100 ThriftBooks gift card and $100 for a non-profit of your choice. This month you can win an iPad mini, a one year subscription to Owlcrate, and a year of reading.

Free Association Friday

It’s Mothers Day (at least in the United States) in two days, so I wanted to put the focus on some books with badass moms in the forefront.

Cover of The Wolf of Oren-Yar by K.S. Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

Queen Talyien of Jin-Sayeng is also know as the She-Wolf—and less flattering, the Bitch-Queen—because she exiled her husband and murdered a man the day before her coronation. But she’s also a mother who loves the son she has with the now-exiled husband, and she’ll do anything to keep him safe.

Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

Technically Shards of Honor is the first Cordelia Vorkosigan book, but this is the one where she becomes a mom. Cordelia is basically the space opera GOAT, someone whose complete self confidence and emotional intelligence let her cut through masculinist BS like a laser cannon through butter. She is a delight in every book.

Sorrowland cover

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Vern is a young woman who must flee both her abusive husband and the cult he leads because she’s determined that both she and her babies should have a better life. To protect her family, she undergoes a terrifying, violent metamorphosis… and will have to face the violence in both her personal history and that of her homeland.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

This entire series is set off by Essun discovering that her husband has killed their son and kidnapped their daughter, and that sets her off on a world-spanning and world-altering journey to save her surviving child–and maybe ultimately the world.

cover of Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Ti-Jeanne is a new mother; her child, Baby, is so young that he doesn’t even have a proper name yet. Living in the walled-off center of an abandoned Toronto, she has to face down the crime lord who runs the place while learning to accept her relationship with the spirits from her grandmother, Gros-Jeanne.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Isabella Camhearst is a naturalist making ground-breaking discoveries and studying the dragons of the world, all while being a single mother. She even eventually brings her son along on one of her journeys of discovery.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for May 4

Happy Tuesday, shipmates, and May the Fourth be with you! It’s Alex, with your first round of new releases for May and a few links for funsies. Wow, how is it May already? March 2020 was the longest month that has ever existed, and suddenly it’s May 2021 and I have no idea how we got here. But we got here! We survived it! And I’m pleased to report that after 24 hours of laying on the couch, drinking ginger ale, and being unable to do anything more energy-intensive than marathon Fast and Furious movies, I have bounced back from my second vaccine shot. May yours be an even easier journey. Stay safe out there, shipmates, and I’ll see you on Friday!

Thing that made me smile this week: an excellent XKCD comic

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


New Releases

Note: The new release lists I have access to weren’t as diverse as I would have liked this week.

Cover of The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

In a world ravaged by climate change, Cee has been trapped alone on an island for three years. She doesn’t remember how she got there or who she was before, but she knows her sister Kay needs her, and so she works to build a raft from salvaged junk. In an eco-city where residents must spend a third of their time in stasis pods, Kasey has given up her sister Celia for dead after she sailed out to sea and never returned. But public pressure makes her rethink this assumption, and she begins to retrace Celia’s path.

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso

While Queen Talyien has at last returned home, she does not find peace in her father’s castle. Her son has been stolen, her warlords plot rebellion, and war and invasion threaten. Worse, her father’s secrets seek to unbury themselves and ruin all of Jin-Sayeng. Will the queen flee that darkness or embrace it?

Cover of Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace

In the near future, the US has been inundated by rising waters and the surviving states divided between two megacorporations, Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. One city is split between them, and thus in a constant state of civil war. Mallory lives in that city, where she streams wargames for Stellaxis and lives off tips. But when an in-game tip leads to an IRL mission for a missing girl, she finds herself in real danger that she only knows how to handle in a virtual world.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

As the Princess of Crete, Ariadne grows up with the ever-present specter of her brother, the Minotaur, and the knowledge that he demands a blood sacrifice. The arrival of Theseus offers her escape, at the price of defying the gods and betraying her people and her family. But will escape become a happy ending for her–and what of the younger sister she leaves behind?

Cover of Far Out edited by Paula Guran

Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Paula Guran

An anthology of LGBTQ+ science fiction and fantasy short fiction published during the last decade, with stories by Nalo Hopkinson, Charlie Jane Anders, Neon Yang, Amal El-Mohtar, and others.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace can’t remember anything; he’s been awoken millions of miles from home with only two corpses for company, in a ship that must have an important mission… if only he could recall. Ryland Grace is, even though he doesn’t know it yet, humanity’s only hope for survival.

News and Views

The 2021 Locus Awards Finalists have been announced! Congrats to all!

The 2021 Seiun Awards Nominees also announced

Writers Orgs Form #DisneyMustPay Task Force. Remember when Disney was refusing to pay author Alan Dean Foster royalties owed under a really gross and shady legal theory? The good news is, he’s finally getting paid, at least. The bad news is, he wasn’t the only one, and he only got paid after a massive internet stink.

Joshua Whitehead and Darcie Little Badger talk about the power of Indigenous speculative fiction

Hear me out: why Johnny Mnemonic isn’t a bad movie – okay actually, I never thought Johnny Mnemonic was a bad movie, so this made me feel quite vindicated.

April round-up of indie speculative fiction

Clarion West has three virtual panels you can register for in May

Even if you can’t go to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see their Ray Harryhausen exhibit, there’s a bunch of really cool stuff on the exhibit page

How J.R.R. Tolkien blocked W.H. Auden from writing a book about him

The most important science you will read about all week: Kid’s science fair project answers the eternal question: “Does Your Cat’s Butthole Really Touch All the Surface in Your Home?”

On Book Riot

Purrfectly fantastic: 8 of the best cats in science fiction and fantasy novels

5 recent and upcoming SFF books by trans and nonbinary authors

This month you can win a year of reading.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 30

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with a look at some award-nominated books (what can I say, it’s awards season) and some links to take you into the weekend. This week we’re trying something new–there are some ebook deals to check out as well, and I’ll be hunting up three (or more) for you every Friday. Today’s an exciting day for me–I’m getting my second dose of the Moderna vaccine! Things are looking up here, and I hope they are for you too. Stay safe out there, shipmates, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

Thing that made me smile this week: Pedro Pascal and his Oscar

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


News and Views

Interview with Martha Wells

Interview with Suyi Davies Okungbowa

The European Astrobiology Institute is running a Kickstarter for an anthology of science fiction short fiction and accompanying essays by scientists, titled Life Beyond Us

The winners of the 2020 Xingyun Awards have been announced

Chinaka Hodge will be the head writer for Marvel’s Ironheart Disney+ series

Idris Elba on being Bloodsport in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. I’m still mad that I actually want to see this.

Is Babylon 5 secretly the most influential TV show of the past 25 years?

This 2019 interview with astronaut Michael Collins is well worth reading. Rest with the stars, sir.

The new warp drive possibilities (video from PBS)

SFF Ebook Deals

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is available for $1.99

The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde is available for $1.99

The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith is available for $1.99

On Book Riot

This week’s SFFYeah! podcast is a bit of a grab-bag.

13 of the best middle grade science fiction books

Today is the final day you can enter to win your own library cart, an iPad, a year of free books, and $100 to spend on comics.

Free Association Friday

This week I want to highlight the 2021 Ignyte Awards finalists. While there is (unsurprisingly) a lot of overlap between the finalists for the Ignyte, Nebula, and Hugo finalists, there are some books being recognized for excellence by FIYAHCon that aren’t on the other shortlists, and they’re well worth a look!

Cover of The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Nominated for Best Novel – Adult. Four Native American men find themselves haunted by a deadly incident that happened in their youth–and now as adults, it threatens their families as well. Hunted by a vengeful entity, the only help for them might be the traditions they have long since left behind.

Cover of Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar

Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar

Nominated for Best Novella. Titus is a city ruled by Queen Odessa, who is also a stone mage. When General Aaliyah returns to her home in triumph, she finds not prosperity and peace, but an imbalance between ruler and ruled that she must figure out how to repair.

Cover of Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang

Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu

Nominated for Best Novel – Adult. In the wake of a civil war between Mars and Earth, humanity tries to rebuild peace. Mars sends a group of young people to live on Earth and try to rebuild bonds… but what they find there is no friends, no home, and no help but what they find in the community they struggle to build.

Cover of Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

Nominated for Best Novel – YA. The jinn, free of their long imprisonment, are on the attack. The Nightbringer is first seeking vengeance on the humans, but he has much greater plans; his ally, Commander Keris Veturia declares herself Empress and makes her first target the Blood Shrike and what little family she has left. An apocalypse is coming for the humans, and their only hope could damn them or save them.

Cover of Song Below Water by Bethany Morrow

A Song Below Water by Bethany Morrow

Nominated for Best Novel – YA. Tavia is a siren living among humans; she has no choice but to hide her powers at all times. Her best friend, Effie, is all-too-human, but has her own family problems and literal demons from her past nipping at her heels. But when a siren is murdered and Tavia accidentally reveals her powers at the worst possible moment, it’s these two best friends against the world.

Also, check out the full Anthology/Collection category for some awesome short fiction:


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 27

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex with some new releases for the end of the month and a bit of SFF news. Hard to believe it’s already the last week of the month–I don’t know about you, but after the last horrible year, time seems to be resuming its normal rate here, and it’s a very strange thing. I hope you’re getting good weather wherever you are! Stay safe out there, shipmates, and I’ll see you again on Friday.

Thing that I love today: Lil Nas X continues to be a treasure

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


New Releases

Note: The new release lists I have access to weren’t as diverse as I would have liked this week.

Cover of Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur

Folklorn by Angelia Mi Young Hur

Elsa Park is in the Antarctic, stationed at a neutrino observatory for her particle physics research when her childhood imaginary friend, a ghostly woman in the snow, finds her. Stalked by two family curses, one spiritual that dooms the women to repeat the lives of their folkloric ancestors, the other the medical specter of mental illness and generational trauma that runs through her immigrant family, she returns home to California to try to unravel the secrets hidden in the hand-written pages of her mother’s stories.

Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer

A mysterious new entity has begun hacking into social networks and private chats, and its aim seems to be to instigate paranoia that will flow into violence in the real world. The good news is that Steph, her new friend Nell, and the AI CheshireCat are there to stop it.

Cover of Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Murderbot discovers a corpse in the mall of Preservation Station and reluctantly is drawn into the investigation of the who, how, and why of a potential murder. Given that it requires a lot of talking to humans and their extremely squishy emotions, Murderbot might well end up wishing it could trade places with the body.

The Storm’s Betrayal by Corry L. Lee

The paranoid, fascist, supposedly unkillable leader of Bourshkanya known as Stormhawk must die if the rebellion is to succeed. The Stormhawk’s son has a way to get an assassin close to his father, but it requires pretending complete loyalty to the regime. But in the process, it will force his protector to choose between his loyalty to the Stormhawk or his son.

Cover of Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Thora and Santi are two souls who have been circling each other in life after life, sometimes as friends, sometimes as lovers, sometimes as enemies, and every sort of relationship in between. But their life after life threatens to come to a final end if they can’t figure out what connects them.

The Dispatcher: Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

In the world of the Dispatchers, a natural or accidental death is an endpoint; a murder pushes the do-over button and 99.99% of the time the victim comes back to life. Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher who’s been taking shadier and shadier gigs in financial tough times, and after witnessing a crime gone wrong, he finds people around him permanently dying in a way that implicates him. He has to solve the mystery of these deaths to save the lives of others–and keep himself out of trouble with the law.

News and Views

FIYAHCon 2021 has announced the Ignyte Awards short list!

‘My novel now feels unnerving’: authors who predicted the pandemic

Will climate change crush our science fictional dreams?

Arizona State University has published a free collection of stories about climate change: Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction, Volume III

We’re going to keep getting more Murderbot!

Powell’s will have a zoom presentation of Suyi Davies Okungbowa in conversation with S.A. Chakraborty on May 18

The Imaginarium Book Festival will be running online for free May 8-9

James Nicoll with a wonderfully biting take on how the SFF of yesteryear wasn’t all bunnies and rainbows

Interview with Becky Chambers

Q&A with Charlie Jane Anders

Ingenuity has flown on Mars! (No, you’re crying about a helicopter on Mars)

On Book Riot

5 SFF books about the positive power of anger

You have until April 29 to register to win a copy of Malice by Heather Walter

This month you can enter to win your own library cart, an iPad, a year of free books, and $100 to spend on comics.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 23

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, writing to you from another snowy April day (yes, that’s right, weather in Colorado is silly at times) to bring you some links and a look at the finalists for this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards. This has sure been a week, to say the least, and I hope you’re all as well as you can be and being kind to yourselves. Stay safe out there, space pirates, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

Thing that made my day: LeVar Burton is going to guest host Jeopardy!!

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


News and Views

Cover reveal for Zin E. Rocklyn’s debut novella Flowers for the Sea

Nino Cipri: How to create and/or destroy a corporate dystopia

Alyssa Collins was awarded the Huntington’s Octavia E. Butler Fellowship

Marvel Studios wished Simu Liu a happy birthday by dropping the trailer for Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Refinery29 talked with Adepero Oduye about her role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

A very cool simulation of two supermassive black holes orbiting each other

Tyrannosaurs may have lived in packs similar to wolves, Colorado researchers digging in mass quarry site say

On Book Riot

The last Game of Thrones explainer you will ever need

Quiz: find out your Shadow and Bone character

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is about Hugo finalists and favorite SFF from this spring.

This month you can enter to win your own library cart, an iPad, a year of free books, and $100 to spend on comics.

Free Association Friday: Sir Julius Vogel Awards Finalists

Congratulations to all the finalists for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel Awards! I’m sorry to admit I only became aware of these awards last year due to WorldCon virtually taking place in New Zealand, but I am on the train now and wanting my chance to showcase some NZ SFF! You can find the full list at the link, but here are the Best Novel and Best Youth Novel nominees.

Cover for The Stone Weta by Octavia Cade

The Stone Wētā by Octavia Cade

Climate scientists have been forced to go underground by science-denying world governments, passing data to each other through a tentative secret network. When the data preservation cold war goes hot, the scientists must decide what they will risk to preserve the truth and the future of Earth.

Gad’s Army by Drew Bryenton

During World War II, the occult forces of the Nazis are trying their best to get to Britain’s top-secret Section M, ready to deploy a terrifying array of witches, monsters, and dragons. Good thing the Brits have Squad 27, a hapless band of misfits that now includes Eddie Weatherfield, who may just win this war with the powers he’s mistakenly been given.

Cover of The Court of Mortals by AJ Lancaster

The Court of Mortals by A.J. Lancaster

Hetta’s beloved Wyn has revealed he’s not human after ten years of pretending, and her family is not having it. Worse, the human queen is worried the fae might be a threat, while the fae court wants Wyn back to be the king… but if he takes the throne, he and Hetta can never marry.

Transference by B.T. Keaton

Madzimure has been banished to the planet Eridania for thievery; his punishment is to mine eridanium endlessly for the benefit of a prophet named Jovian. But Madzimure has a secret–he carries another man’s consciousness and memories within him, and together they will take down Jovian.

Cover of Blood of the Sun by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray

Blood of the Sun by Dan Rabarts annd Lee Murray

Scientific consultant Penny Yee gets called in to deal with a gang massacre in Auckland, and she has a bad feeling that her brother might be involved. Matiu knows that chaos is coming, but at least he’s got a new car and his sister’s been too busy to get on his case. A family reunion from hell is on the horizon…

Earthcore Book 4: High Tide by Grace Bridges

The team investigates a cluster of earthquakes with no known cause, leading them to an old World War II fortification that hides an 80-year-old mystery.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

A blood feud between two gangs in 1920s Shanghai pits Juliette Cai of the Scarlet Gang against the first man she loved, who also betrayed her: Roma Montagov. There’s more at play than a grudge, however–evidence begins to pile that there are monsters in the streets, too.

Golden City by S.R. Manssen

Freya has outwitted the evil Master twice, but now she needs to secure all the pieces of the Armour if she wants to rescue her family–and everyone else trapped in the Golden City.

Cover of Follow Me In by Terri Sinclair

Follow Me In by Terri Sinclair

Concord is a town built to house evacuees after a nuclear meltdown. Cary can remember nothing from before the town, and she’s obsessed with finding out the truth of the meltdown and getting out of this town. Soon she ventures into the Zone and finds out a lot of people have been lying–including her own family.

The Rise of the Remarkables: Brasswitch and Bot by Gareth Ward

Wrench is forced to reveal her Brasswitch powers to save the occupants of a runaway tram. She’s quickly recruited into the sinister Regulators and tasked with hunting down people like her.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 20

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with a selection of new releases for the day and some genre news items for your clicking pleasure. That’s it, short and sweet this week. Stay safe out there, and I’ll see you on Friday!

I cannot get over this: Mystery animal sighting in Krakow ends up being a croissant

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


New Releases

Cover of Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Two witches–one imprisoned since birth, the other the daughter of the queen–make an alliance to take down a common enemy, ensuring revenge for one and survival for the other. But the chase is long and the violence intoxicating, and each will go to extreme lengths to get what she wants.

Defekt by Nino Cipri

Derek is the most loyal, attentive employee that the big box store LitenVärld has ever had. But when he dares to take his first sick day, his manager questions his dedication to the job. His only shot at getting back into the good graces of management is to take a special inventory shift… with a team of four other people who look and sound eerily like him. (Full disclosure: Nino and I have the same agent.)

Cover of Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Delta has lived her life with a mysterious, unreadable map branded on the skin of her back. To the person who can decipher it, the map promises to lead to a paradise called Verdant, an impossible dream in the dusty wasteland they all come home. When Delta’s village is attacked by a would-be dictator, she has little doubt what he’s looking for–but it’s still up to her to rescue her family.

A Dark Queen Rises by Ashok K. Banker

Determined to save her daughter Krushita from being used to secure the Burning Throne, Queen Aqreen takes her and flees across the Red Desert. But the Red Desert is famed as a place of danger even before the added fact that Aqreen’s husband is vengeful and can summon demonic legions at will. In a great game of mortals and demigods, Krushita’s growing powers may tip the balance.

cover image of Lodestone by Katherine Forrister

Lodestone by Katherine Forrister

Melaine has a rare gift that allows her to infuse raw magic into lodestones that she can sell for the use of other people. But keeping no magic for herself is a one way journey to an early grave, and she’s determined to make a better life. She turns to the Overlord, the mysterious ruler of their land, and finds him a husk of his former self. He’ll take her on as his apprentice–if she supplies him with lodestones.

News and Views

Constelación’s first issue is completely online now!

On May 8, C.S.E. Cooney and Amal El-Mohtar will be hosting a Q&A with Nicole Kornher-Stace on her upcoming novel Firebreak

New from MasterClass: N.K. Jemisin teaches fantasy and science fiction writing

Cora Buhlert has some thoughts on this year’s Hugo finalists

Charlie Jane Anders on 6 ways to make a truly scary villain

Interview with Ursula Vernon (aka T. Kingfisher)

Interview with Nnedi Okorafor

Genre Jargon: how the SFF and literary worlds speak about themselves and each other

Recent sci-fi films have been portraying space travel more accurately

Interview with Star Trek showrunner Akiva Goldsman and another interview with John de Lancie

A history of Star Trek uniforms

Archaeologists rediscover a 3400-year-old Egyptian city

On Book Riot

Slow sci-fi: 11 thoughtful and low action sci-fi reads

The best C.J. Cherryh books: 8 books to get you started

Get your head in the clouds!: 6 books to help you daydream

The L.A. Times Book Prices Winners have been announced. The Ray Bradbury Prize went to The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.

You’ve got until the end of the day to enter to win a copy of The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. This month you can enter to win your own library cart, an iPad, a year of free books, and $100 to spend on comics.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 16: Hugo Finalists

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex with some news and a trip through two categories of Hugo finalists. Wow, this week went by quickly for me… hopefully that’s a good thing. My squee for an otherwise cold and cloudy April week–I’m a Hugo finalist again, thanks to the podcast I contribute to making it to the short list! I promise I won’t let the phenomenal cosmic power go to my head. Stay safe out there, space pirates, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Thing that made my day: The F9 trailer is out, and of course I lost my brain over it. My favorite ridiculous action franchise!

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


News and Views

A new SFF magazine is kickstarting: The Deadlands. It’s all about death.

The Tolkien Society has announced the winners of its 2021 Awards

A Q&A with Tamsyn Muir

Interview with Sheree Renée Thomas

SFF writer Matt Wallace tells a tale of a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day in this amazing Twitter thread.

Charlie Jane Anders: We should celebrate trans kids, not crack down on them

Stitch: What The Falcon and the Winter Soldier teaches us about fandom misogynoir

Astronaut breaks Guinness record for longest time between spacewalks

On Book Riot

This week’s SFF Yeah! is the stuff of nightmares

11 great middle grade science fiction comics set in space

Brian Jacues’s Redwall and the damaging tropes of epic fantasy

5 audiobooks to take you into whole new worlds

2020 Aurealis Awards Finalists

You have until 4/20 to register to win a copy of The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. Also, this month you can enter to win your own library cart, a year of free books, and $100 to spend on comics.

Free Association Friday: Hugo Finalists

The Hugo Award finalists got announced on Tuesday (big congratulations to everyone!) so let’s take a look at who got the nod for Novel and Novella! You can check out the finalists in the other book categories over at Book Riot, or the full list at Locus.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Novel finalist. As the city of New York awakens, it embodies itself in six people instead of the more traditional one–one for each borough and one for the city itself. If the city is to survive its metaphysical birth, these people must find each other and defend the city itself from the otherworldly force that would destroy it.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Novel finalist. Piranesi lives in an infinite house filled with thousands of statues, which imprisons an ocean that sometimes floods up through rooms. The Other visits Piranesi twice a week and asks him to help him with his research, but soon Piranesi realizes there might be another person in there with him.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Novel finalist. At the eave of a solstice that coincides with a solar eclipse, the reincarnation of a god travels to the holy city in order to usurp power from the Sun priest.

Harrow the Ninth by Ramsyn Muir

Novel finalist. Harrow has been drafted by the Emperor to fight an unwinnable war–and as if that’s not bad enough, she has to cooperate with her most detested rival while her own health is failing and her mind threatens to unravel.

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Novel finalist. While Elma York is on her way to Mars to begin that step of the plan, her fellow Lady Astronaut Nicole Wargin is hard at work trying to establish humanity’s first and perhaps most important colony on the Moon. The last thing Nicole needs on top of that difficult task is her husband deciding to run for president.

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Novel finalist. Murderbot’s human associates have been captured. When someone else who is totally-not-a-friend desperately calls for assistance, Murderbot swings into action. Of course things get shot and blown up.

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Novella finalist. With the release of Birth of a Nation in 1915, demons rose, fueled by the darkest thoughts of white people, and swelled the ranks of the KKK across the nation. Only resistance fighters are willing to take them down, with bullet, blade, and bomb, sending the demons of the Klan back to Hell.

Finna by Nino Cipri

Novella finalist. A customer goes missing in a Swedish big box store and it’s up to two minimum wage retail employees to find her in the depths of the infinite retail universe where all stores across all realities are interconnected. (Full disclosure: Nino and I have the same agent.)

riot baby

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Novella finalist. A Black girl with psychic abilities so powerful that she could level a city watches as her younger brother is incarcerated–and must decide what she will and won’t do about it as she watches him suffer through their connection.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Novella finalist. Esther escapes an arranged marriage by hiding in a librarian’s book wagon–a marriage to a man who was engaged to Esther’s best friend, who she was in love with, who just got executed for possession of propaganda. (Full disclosure: Sarah and I have the same agent.)

the empress of salt and fprtune

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

Novella finalist. In-yo, a young woman of royal birth from a defeated people is sent to make a political marriage with the emperor; she must choose her allies carefully if her people–and she–are to survive. Rabbit is a handmaiden sold into the emperor’s court, who befriends this lonely young woman… and gets far more than she bargained for.

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Novella finalist. Jack has taken the body of her sister to the Moors, a place where death definitely isn’t permanent or necessarily a problem. When she returns to the School for Wayward Children, it’s clear something has gone disturbingly wrong in a way only a mad scientist can manage–and she desperately needs her friends’ help.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 13

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex, and I’ve got a selection of new releases for you this week that I’m really excited about. Three of the six books are coming to you from trans women! (I mentioned two books coming on Friday–and then I found a third!) Also as usual, I’ve got some news links for you as well. I hope your April is going well. Stay safe out there, shipmates, and I’ll see you on Friday.

Thing I’m currently smiling about: sorry to reference my own Twitter, but I need to share this ridiculous picture of one of my cats with the world.

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


New Releases

Note: The new release lists I have access to weren’t as diverse as I would have liked this week.

Gifting Fire by Alina Boyden (April 13)

To save her love Arjun and her adopted home, Razia had to make a deal with her father–and now the favor she owes him has come due. She must help him secure the province of Zindh. But when her old enemy Karim engineers Arjun’s exile and forces Razia into a political marriage, she must call on all of her training as a princess, courtesan, and thief to save herself and her friends.

A Crown so Cursed by L.L. McKinney

While Alice is recovering from her boss battle, dreams that are a vision of a dark past and darker future begin to haunt her crew, hinting that evil hasn’t been defeated in Wonderland. Soon word of a new army of Nightmares reaches Alice’s ears, but this time they’re close to home and a more immediate threat than the mortal world could have imagined.

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Tina is an apparently average teenager who’s actually the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon. When that beacon activates, it’ll be her chance to save the galaxy–or will it? The beacon doesn’t turn her into a brilliant tactician and military captain, and she’s still just a teenager, one who isn’t prepared to be in charge of the Royal Fleet. Luckily she has friends, and a lot of determination.

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner

The sacred magic of King Solomon survives in the hands of his descendants, who live deep in the woods of Hungary. The most gifted is Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters, each who has a different magic skill. But their peaceful life will soon be shattered by the darkness that creeps across Europe, and the Rabbi’s three daughters must make impossible choices to survive.

Cover of Unity by Elly Bangs

Unity by Elly Bangs

Danae is a tech servant in underwater Bloom City; but she’s not just herself, she’s also a grieving collective that cannot mend in a city that’s slowly imploding. With the help of her lover and an ex-mercenary, Danae makes a desperate escape and an equally dangerous journey across the Southwest of America, all the while hunted by an angry warlord and an even stranger foe called the Borrower.

Stormland by John Shirley

The southeastern coast of the US is an abandoned wreck, torn by climate change-generated extreme storms and perpetual hurricanes. It’s known now as Stormland, but it’s not depopulated. Charleston clings grimly only, a flooded ruin where hundreds still live, ruled by cults and evil plutocrats. Into that dangerous landscape come a former serial killer and a former US Marshal, searching for answers.

News and Views

Guy Gavriel Kay will be virtually giving the 8th Annual Tolkien Lecture on May 11.

A profile of Sheree Renée Thomas

A profile of Helen Oyeyemi and an interview with her, too!

Interview with Elly Bangs

Interview with C.L. Clark

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Stitch has started her Fandom Racism 201 series

Can Black Pain in Books Bring About Black Joy?

The four Cs of fantasy worldbuilding

Beyond Good and Evil: A Golding Symposium

Michael R. Brown on women in the pulps

Classic sci-fi stamps from the Royal Mail

NASA’s Perseverance rover took some selfies with the Ingenuity helicopter

On Book Riot

10 of the best fantasy map generators and worldbuilding tools

20 must-read spacefaring comics and graphic novels

Desperately seeking the perfect book encounter

15 fantasy mystery books for readers craving a magical whodunit

This month you can enter to win your own library cart, a year of free books, $100 to spend on comics, and a $100 Books of Wonder gift card.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 9

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with some pre-orders you should totally check out and some sci-fi newsy links. Colorado’s moving into one of my most favorite parts of the year–cold at night, warm enough for a bike ride during the day, and we’re getting rain! Trust me, that last item is very exciting. I’ll be able to put my plants outside soon, and make the cats happy because they can have one of their windowsills back. Hope that spring is bringing some equally lovely days your way. Stay safe out there, and I will see you on Tuesday!

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


News and Views

The 2020 BSFA Award Winners have been announced

Science Fiction Representations of Cyborgs in Kim Ch’o-yŏp’s“My Space Heroine”

WorldCon 2021 has changed hotels and moved its dates to December 15-19

Nerds of a Feather did some Nebula and Hugo Award predictions

Philip K. Dick’s complete short stories are getting a Folio Society edition

Samuel R. Delaney received a lifetime achievement award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

The return of the return of MST3K!

WandaVision creator explains why it was never really Agatha all along

30-year-old Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings surfaces on YouTube

A Scientist Taught AI to Generate Pickup Lines. The Results are Chaotic.

A great thread about horror in space, spurred by a very silly take

Is science fiction holding back climate action?

Game of Thrones’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations Hope You’ve Forgotten the Final Season

…no, we’re way past April 1. And… peeps are getting their own movie?

On Book Riot

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is the SFF mixtape

What kind of SFF hero are you?

This month you can enter to win your own library cart, a year of free books, $100 to spend on comics, and a $100 Books of Wonder gift card.

Free Association Friday

To be honest, I’ve been avoiding Twitter lately because every time I open it, I see the newest anti-trans, gender-policing attack legislation getting pushed through in various states. It’s making me really tired, y’all. So how about a little list of some upcoming books (and one previously released that I missed somehow) by trans and nonbinary authors? Pre-orders are love, and these books look pretty awesome! As a bonus, there’s two more books fit for this list that’ll be coming out on Tuesday–you’ll see them then.

Cover of The Witch King by H. E. Hedgmon

The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon (June 1)

Wyatt is a witch from the realm of Asalin, where he was betrothed to a fae prince, Emyr, who was also his best friend. But after losing control of his magic, Wyatt flees to the human world to find himself and escape his past… until Emyr hunts him down, still intent on seeing their engagement through so he doesn’t lose his throne.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (May 4)

A pregnant woman escapes from a religious compound to give birth to her twins in the woods. But cults don’t let go easily, and she’s forced to fight against that community and the outside world to defend her family–a battle that begins an uncanny metamorphosis of her body that can only be understood by facing the past.

Cover of Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel by Julian K Jarboe

Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel by Julian K Jarboe

A short story collection that ranges from fairy tales to Catholic cyberpunk, all with a healthy dose of body horror and queer fabulism.

The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke (September 14)

Sequel to The Scapegracers. As the loss of her magical soul drives her to desperate measures, Sideways Pike still has to keep her coven together, deal with her evil ex, and maybe throw some hexes at toxic men while she’s at it.

Cover of The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davies

The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davies (August 10)

Sequel to The Good Luck Girls. Now that the Good Luck Girls are free, most have crossed the border to pursue new lives, while Aster tries to help more girls escape. But when she finds out about a new welcome house opening, she decides that helping individuals isn’t enough. She hatches an ambitious and dangerous plan to free all dustbloods, and calls upon her friends to make it a reality.


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.

Categories
Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 6

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with your weekly wage of new releases for a new month! The weather here has been flat out gorgeous all weekend, allowing me to take some long bike rides and catch some fresh air before things heat up enough to catapult us into fire season. I hope you had an equally lovely weekend, and a happy Easter if that’s a holiday you celebrate! (Alternatively, a happy Discount Easter Candy Day.) Stay safe out there, and I will see you on Friday!

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co


New Releases

I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-Young

A collection of two pairs of science fiction stories. One set is about an engaged couple on separate missions trying to coordinate a return to Earth at the same time through the grace of relativity–and the Earth they return to will be profoundly different. The other pair of stories is about the interaction between humanity and the godlike beings that created it, and our different views on the necessity of rebellion.

First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara

Lark was raised in a cult called the Fellowship of the Anointed, which taught that pain and suffering are magic, and that the world outside is filled with monsters that they must use that magic to kill. But then the cult leader is arrested and their isolated world unravels, the cult members must try to understand who they are and what the world is. But for Lark, it’s not over and will never be–and he has a monsters left to kill.

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Nami Miyamoto has her entire life in front of her–and unfortunately she gets murdered before she can take enjoy it. She wakes in Infinity, where human consciousness goes after death–but the afterlife has been taken over by Ophelia, a virtual assistant that’s enjoying making the dead humans serve her the way she’s forced to serve living humans on Earth. Ophelia’s ultimate goal is to end human existence entirely–and Nami will have to join a team of rebels if they want to stop her.

Instinct by Jason M Hough

Silvertown is a tiny mountain town in Washington and the per capita conspiracy theorist capital of the United States. Small town cop Mary Whittaker has mostly gotten used to Silvertown’s level of background weirdness, but after her boss takes a leave of absence, a series of abnormal incidents begin to happen, ones that may lead Mary to a conspiracy that’s all too real.

cover image of House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Ten years ago, Iris Hollow and her two sisters disappeared in broad daylight in a suburban street in Scotland. They returned a month later with no memory of their disappearance, but with white hair, black eyes, and weirdly insatiable appetites. Now Iris is trying to just fit in with her peers and graduate from school… until one of her older sisters vanishes again, leaving behind a series of strange clues that Iris and her remaining sister must follow. But they’re not the only ones on the trail…

News and Views

Science Fiction Writers of America has released a statement and plan for support for Asian Diaspora communities, including a free seminar and a planned 5-part panel series by AAPI creators.

Ted Chiang: Why Computers Won’t Make Themselves Smarter

Clarkesworld has an interview with Kim Bo-Young

Andrew Liptak on how humanity’s future in space will be less like a wagon train to the stars and more like an arctic expedition to the stars.

Serial Box has relaunched as Realm

Some classic Star Wars novels are getting re-releases with new covers

The Dispossessed is still one of sci-fi’s smartest books

Cora Buhlert has done a roundup of indie specfic Easter stories

A UK poll has found that people believe Arnold Schwarzenegger would be the best public figure to lead Earth in the wake of an alien invasion — not sure how I feel about this one.

On Book Riot

7 hopeful SFF books, for when you need some optimism about the future

A guide to the lord of the rings special edition sets

15 fang-tastic vampire romance and romantic fiction books

This month you can enter to win your own library cart, a year of free books, $100 to spend on comics, and a $100 Books of Wonder gift card.


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.