Dublin 2019 Worldcon Schedule!

I have a schedule! For the week after my wedding! Also I am fancy enough to have a kaffeeklatsch now, apparently! Which I will list first, and thereby end this unnatural series of exclamation marks…

Monday 19th August:

Kaffeeklatsch: Dr Liz Bourke

11:00 – 11:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)


Thursday 15th August:

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Panel: 13:30 – 14:20, Odeon 1 (Point Square Dublin)This latest instalment is rumoured to be the end of the Skywalker saga; what does the subtitle imply? Will Rey turn out to be a Skywalker, despite what Kylo said? Can Sith now be force ghosts, or will Palpatine make his appearance in some other (non-aural) form? Our crack panellists have fun speculating on what will take place, how much of Episode 8 will be retained and what will be retconned.

Nikki Ebright (Nikki Abridged, Shiny Garden) (M), Jackie Kamlot, Dr Liz Bourke (M), Gabriel Petersen.

[According to this programme schedule, we have two moderators. I’m sure it’ll work out just fine on the day, though.]

Friday 16th August:

Star Trek: Discovery season 3

Panel: 10:30 – 11:20, Odeon 3 (Point Square Dublin)We have fun discussing what the show will do, now that there has been a [redacted – insufficient clearance]. Will the show take the chance and freedom afforded by such a [redacted]. Anything is possible: is there still [redacted]?

Dr Liz Bourke, Emily January, Dana Little (University of Glasgow), Sarah Gulde (M), Kelvin Jackson.


[I’m not a Trek fan, in general – I think the only Trek I’ve truly enjoyed is DS9 – but I am a Disco fan. Largely for the performances of Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, and Mary Wiseman – and for Disco’s willingness to fuck shit up in ways that might not make much sense, but, you know, they’re trying not to tread all the same ground over again.]


also Friday:

Orbit are having a meet-and-greet between 1600 and 1700 that I want to drop in on and fangirl compliment some of the authors and editors.

And Titan Books are having a party after 1830 that suggests the possibility of free food as well as many good writers, so I have an intention of dropping in to that.


Saturday 17th August:

Critics talk 2018: the year in books

Panel: 11:00 – 11:50, ECOCEM Room (CCD)Ever struggled to decide what to read next? The number of books appearing every year can be overwhelming and choosing the best of the bunch is like finding a needle in a giant stack of needles. To support you in this pursuit we asked critics to recommend their favourite books from 2018.

Dr Liz Bourke (M), Gary K Wolfe (Roosevelt University), Mari Kotani (SFWJ (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan)), Roz Kaveney.


[Oh god, this means I’m going to have to remember a) what was published in 2018 that I read in 2017 and b) what I read in 2018 that was published in 2018 and c) what I read in 2018 that wasn’t published until this year, doesn’t it? Plus moderate.]


Sunday 18th August:

Hugo finalist rehearsal 2

Rehearsal: 12:30 – 13:00, Auditorium (CCD)Ceremony rehearsal.

Hugo Awards:

Ceremony: 2000 – ?, Auditorium (CCD)

[At both of these I’m standing in for the excellent Foz Meadows, nominated for Best Fan Writer, who has my vote. This does mean my Sunday evening is rather full of commitments…]


Recent reviews and columns at Tor.com

Sleeps With Monsters: Forthcoming (Queer) Novels Starring (Queer) Women:

A few days before I sat down to write this post, I asked a wide range of my acquaintance on the hellsite known as Twitter whether there were any novels or novellas featuring f/f relationships or starring queer women that they knew and were looking forward to in the second half of 2019 or definitely earmarked for 2020. It turns out that there are quite a few—forty-odd, in fact.

More Trouble to Come: Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse:

Rebecca Roanhorse burst onto the SFF writing scene in the last couple of years. Her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience” (Apex, 2017) took home the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Short Story, and she has also won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her debut novel, Trail of Lightning, came out last year to wide acclaim. It has the distinction of being a post-apocalyptic novel by a Native American author about Native American (Navajo, or Diné) characters. The same is true for the sequel, Storm of Locusts, which strikes me as a stronger, leaner novel.


Trouble on Silicon Isle: Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan:

Chen Qiufan is a Chinese science-fiction author whose works have won a number of awards. His short fiction has appeared in translation in Clarkesworld and Lightspeed, among other publications. His first novel, The Waste Tide, was published in China in 2013. As Waste Tide, it’s now been translated into English by Ken Liu, whose translation of Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and whose fiction has won awards in its own right.

Sleeps With Monsters: Forests, Kingdoms, and Secrets

A new post over at Tor.com:

This week I want to talk to you about two very different books: Joan He’s debut fantasy Descendant of the Crane, set in a world which draws inspiration from Chinese history and culture; and Jaime Lee Moyer’s Brightfall, a fresh new approach to the Robin Hood mythos set in a medieval Sherwood Forest filled with Fae lords and magic.

RAGGED ALICE by Gareth L. Powell

A new review over at Tor.com:

Ragged Alice is a low-key contemporary fantasy. DCI Holly Craig has had a successful career with the London Metropolitan Police, albeit one marked by her isolation from colleagues, her lack of meaningful relationships, and her alcoholism-as-coping-method. Orphaned young, she was raised by her grandfather in the small Welsh coastal village of Pontyrhudd, a place she left as soon as she could—a place where a brush with death-by-drowning on the eve of her departure for university gave her the ability to see the shadows on people’s souls.

AMNESTY by Lara Elena Donnelly

A new review over at Tor.com:

Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough series, which began in 2017’s Amberlough, continued with last year’s Armistice, and concludes (it seems) in this latest volume, Amnesty, has always focused on complicated people whose ethics are at best extremely flexible and at worst practically non-existent. None of these characters are good people: most of them are fundamentally selfish, frequently ambitious, and guided primarily by what they want, rather than any idea of their responsibility to other people. (Even their love affairs are, at root, fundamentally selfish.)

So it’s quite a triumph of craft that, nonetheless, Donnelly is able to make many of her characters understandable, relatable, and even sympathetic.

Sleeps With Monsters: Two Uneven SF Sequels

A new column over at Tor.com:

This week I’m going to talk about two sequels, one of which I liked a lot better than the other. Part of this is down to my enjoyment of the characters, but part of it, too, is that one of the novels is advertised as the second part of a duology, but it closes on a note that raises as many questions as it answers. The other novel makes no claims to completing its series arc, but it finishes in an emotionally satisfying place, even if it does leave a wide-open door for “further adventures”—and terrible threats.

THE LUMINOUS DEAD by Caitlin Starling

A new review over at Tor.com:

[The] setup looks, in a nutshell, like survival horror: Gyre striving to survive in an inimical environment and fighting to maintain her autonomy against a handler who should be on her side.

Fortunately for us, Starling has written a deeper, richer, and more complicated story. The Luminous Dead is a story of two isolated people who have been defined (and who have defined themselves) by traumatic losses in their childhoods as they open up to each other in the darkness of a cave whose depths may prove unsurvivable.

Sleeps With Monsters: Brief and Complementary Tales

A new column over at Tor.com:

I’m sitting here, friends, trying to think of how to frame this week’s column. Because sometimes you read two books that seem complementary, but you’re not sure if you can put the reasons behind that feeling into words. For all its variety and flexibility, language occasionally falls short when it comes to articulating intangibles.

Rude of it.

Hugo Nominations

Hugo nominations for Dublin 2019 are closed now. Despite being rather swamped by… well, everything… I still managed to nominate a few works and people.



  • In the Vanishers’ Palace; Aliette de Bodard
  • Swordheart; Ursula Vernon
  • The Phoenix Empress; K. Arsenault Rivera
  • The Wild Dead; Carrie Vaughn
  • Deep Roots; Ruthanna Emrys


  • The Tea Master and the Detective; Aliette de Bodard; Subterranean


  • The Black God’s Drums; P. Djeli Clark; Tor.com
  • The Barrow Will Send What It May; Margaret Killjoy; Tor.com
  • The Descent of Monsters; JY Yang; Tor.com
  • A Glimmer of Silver; Juliet Kemp; The Book Smugglers

Short Story:

  • She Still Loves The Dragon; Elizabeth Bear; Uncanny
  • The Rose McGregor Drinking and Admiration Society; T Kingfisher; Uncanny

Related Work:

Dramatic Long:

  • Black Panther

Editor Long:

  • Gillian Redfearn, Gollancz
  • Devi Pillai, Tor


  • Uncanny
  • Strange Horizons
  • Lightspeed


  • LadyBusiness

Fan Artist:

John W. Campbell (Not-A-Hugo) New Writer:

  • Rivers Solomon
  • K. Arsenault Rivera
  • Vivian Shaw



Round-up of published things

My ability to stay on top of everything has slid significantly lately. (Planning a wedding is stressful, guys! Everyone wants to sell you shit and you have a budget here!) I’m doing my best with that on top of the usual strains, but my best is significantly less great than I’d like.


But! Here are my three most recent posts on Tor.com:


Sleeps With Monsters: Intimate Space Operas

An Explosive Debut: The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore

A Shaky Resolution: Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald

THE VELA by Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, S.L. Huang, and Becky Chambers

A new review over at Tor.com:

The Vela is the latest in Serial Box’s slate of speculative fiction offerings. This one’s space opera, with an approach to politics ever so slightly reminiscent of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse. Its concept is credited to Lydia Shamah, Serial Box’s director of original content, but its execution is down to an award-class writing team: Becky Chambers, Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huang. All of their individual talents combine to make The Vela a potent brew.

ALICE PAYNE RIDES by Kate Heartfield

The latest review over at Tor.com:

I’m coming to the conclusion that Kate Heartfield may be the author whose work proves the exception to my “time travel stories never satisfy me” rule. Time travel is messy, and in a story where time travel is the focus, a classic linear narrative never quite works out. But in Heartfield’s Alice Payne novellas—first in last year’s Alice Payne Arrives, and now in its sequel, Alice Payne Rides—the mess is part of the point. The false starts, the paradoxes, the putative dead ends: these are part of the time war that the characters are either fighting or have got themselves caught up in.


I managed to miss when this went live over at Tor.com, but hey! I’m linking now!

When I heard of Chronin: The Knife At Your Back, the first in a time-travel graphic novel duology, I was intrigued. A comic set in 1864 Japan, featuring a time-travelling female college student from our future, disguised as a male samurai and stuck in the past? Sounds interesting!

Sleeps With Monsters: Intrigue, Espionage, and Capers

I’m behindhand in crossposting. Here’s the latest column over at Tor.com:

I’ve been waiting for a follow-up to Amanda Downum’s Kingdom of Dust for years. Downum’s first three novels, The Drowning City, The Bone Palace, and Kingdom of Dust were rich, detailed works involving plenty of magic and even more intrigue. Now she’s published The Poison Court, an excellent novel of murder and palace intrigue, and it’s every bit as good as I’d been hoping for.


A new review over at Tor.com:

The last standalone epic fantasy of significant length I read was Jacqueline Carey’s magisterial Starless (2018), a novel told from the perspective of its sole narrator, and one so deftly paced that it seems precisely as long as it needs to be, and no longer. Samantha Shannon is a younger and less experienced writer than Carey, and The Priory of the Orange Tree is her first published epic fantasy and her first published standalone novel. It may be unfair of me to judge them by the same standards, but while The Priory of the Orange Tree does eventually get its legs underneath it for a satisfying endgame, it remains something of an unbalanced, unwieldy beast.

THE AFTERWARD by E.K. Johnston

A new review over at Tor.com:

Every so often, a book comes along that I fall in love with entirely. A book that hooks its fingers into my heart and soul and nests there. Last year the novel that did that to the most precise, complete point was Aliette de Bodard’s In the Vanishers’ Palace. Although they’re very different books, this year it looks like E.K. Johnston’s The Afterward is a strong contender.


A new post over at Tor.com:

If there’s one thing one can say for sure about Ann Leckie, it’s that so far in her career she shows no signs of settling into a rut. All her novels have been ambitious in their own separate ways, and they’ve played with gender, language and identity to fruitful, thought-provoking ends. (Let’s be honest, I’m a fan.) That ambition continues to show in The Raven Tower, her first novel-length published fantasy—and shows itself in some interesting, unconventional narrative choices.