That’s Sam Sykes’ A CITY STAINED RED (Orbit); Liane Merciel’s DRAGON AGE: LAST FLIGHT (Tor); Alastair Reynolds’ ON THE STEEL BREEZE (Orbit); and Greg Bear’s WARDOGS (Orbit).
The World SF Blog with Editorial: The Hugo Awards:
And the thing is this – this is perhaps the first year in the award’s history (and the Campbell, a “Not a Hugo” award) where we see such a strong representation of international voices. I’m not sure I can highlight this enough. Saladin Ahmed‘s Throne of the Crescent Moon, for instance, is the first novel by a Muslim writer ever to be nominated for a Hugo. The first by an Arab-American, for that matter. (And this is when being Muslim in SF is still cause for a lot of nasty sniping, to put it mildly). Ken Liu, a Chinese-American author doing amazing work, amongst others, in translating Chinese science fiction into English, is nominated for Best Short Story. Aliette de Bodard, a French author of Vietnamese ancestry, is nominated for both Best Novella and Best Short Story, while Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a surprise nominee with a translated story in the Best Novelette category.
Even more exciting, the Campbell Award, recognising emerging writers, has author Zen Cho as a nominee – the first time a Malaysian author is so recognised.
The Hugos are changing, I think. Or SF as a whole is changing. The surprise is not that popular American writers are nominated for a Hugo – but that diversity is increasingly represented on the ballots.
Sam Sykes, who surprised me with his thoughtful contribution to the “grimdark” swings and roundabouts, talks about the weight of violence in the new Tomb Raider:
The violence was horrifying. Like, I say this as an unapologetic fanboy of God of War. It was more shocking than personally gouging out the eyes of someone (whose eyes you happen to be looking through) because the tone was different. This violence was presented as unexpected, horrible, out of the norm. God of War’s violence is…trivial isn’t the right word I’m looking for, but it’s close. It’s more like it’s procedural, it’s how you get from point A to point B, which is fine for the kind of story that God of War is telling. But Tomb Raider’s violence is telling a different story, something about the price of blood, the cost of violence, the measure of a human life and human suffering. Tomb Raider’s violence was different.
It had weight.
…When I talk about the weight of violence, I mean the impact it has on the story, the way it affects the characters, the way it shapes the world and the way it makes the outcomes of each conflict mean something.
(The more I hear from people who’ve played the new Tomb Raider, the move I want to give it a shot myself.)
Jim C. Hines, Bigots, Bullies, and Enablers:
People complained about the Locus piece because it was hurtful. This wasn’t an example of the court jester speaking truth to power. While the author claims he was trying to write satire, what he actually wrote was another in a long line of jabs toward people who are already disproportionately targeted for a broad range of abuse in this culture.
It was bullying.
That’s what people are defending. They’re attacking Locus for not giving this person a platform with which to bully those he doesn’t like, based on an incident that happened several years ago. They’re telling the targets of ongoing bigotry that the best solution is to just ignore it.
That doesn’t work for the target of bullying. It only works for the bystanders who don’t want to deal with it. It’s a cowardly, ineffective, and downright shitty “solution.”
New Statesman: Hungary is no longer a democracy.
And some poetry, for poetry’s sake:
Drinking Alone with the Moon
Li Bo, trans. Vikram Seth
A pot of wine among the flowers.
I drink alone, no friend with me.
I raise my cup to invite the moon.
He and my shadow and I make three.
The moon does not know how to drink;
My shadow mimes my capering;
But I’ll make merry with them both —
And soon enough it will be Spring.
I sing — the moon moves to and fro.
I dance — my shadow leaps and sways.
Still sober, we exchange our joys.
Drunk — and we’ll go our separate ways.
Let’s pledge — beyond human ties — to be friends,
And meet where the Silver River ends.