• fjm

From Paul Kincaid

(NB: anyone can join this community and post direct to this journal).

The Shortlist Project by Maureen Kincaid Speller (http://paperknife.maureenkincaidspeller.com/2012/05/shortlist-project.html), which is simply one of the best pieces of sustained criticism I've seen;

and Cowardice, Laziness & Irony by Jonathan McCalmont (http://ruthlessculture.com/2012/10/03/cowardice-laziness-and-irony-how-science-fiction-lost-the-future/), polemical, short tempered, and a wonderfully invigorating piece of criticism.
  • fjm

Not Your Grandmother’s Epic Fantasy: A fantasy author’s thoughts upon reading The Cambridge Companio

by Steven Erikson.

It's actually a flat out attack on me and Edward that is pretty upset we didn't use the term Epic Fantasy, and doesn't seem to notice that we actually have two chapters on it (Quest fantasy and Series Fantasy) and doesn't like that we don't cover some of the major newish authors (A, it's a text book and b) Martin wasn't that big when the book was submitted--academic publishing is *slow*) but it is worth reading (even if my current response to the cry "why don't academics talk about epic fantasy is "Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Erikson"*)

[I actually think Martin Lewis nails the real issues more neatly: http://everythingisnice.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/the-rich-poor-relation-of-genre-fantasy/]

*Actually, Mr. Erikson is actually Lundin PhD and a specialist in archaeology so technically, if he is writing about epic fantasy, then academics are considering it.
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The Widening Gyre: 2012 Best of the Year Anthologies -- Paul Kincaid

A discussion of the current state of sf. See Here.

I don't actually agree with all of it, and I can't help but notice that those bemoaning the current state of sf are of a particular demographic (there is a reason the golden age of sf is 13), but if you are going to read one State of the Nation report, this is the one to go for. Cogently argued and grounded in a clear sampling. This is the best piece of criticism I've read this year.
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Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep: Seo-Young Chu

Worth reading despite my criticisms

She clearly knows her sf, but she seems to treat sf criticism with disdain. There is a quick round up of prior critics, whose indexes she has checked and found lacking, about four citations to Friedman and Ronay and a short discussion and rejection of Suvin. Then she proceeds to try and reinvent sf criticism from whole cloth -- completely forgetting on the way that she claimed to want to centre poetry and lyricism-- only to end with an epilogue that uses the term cognitive estrangement at least ten times with complete unself-consciousness and comes to the same conclusions as the rest of us.

The author is a weird kind of brilliant, but the book, while proclaiming its radicalness, mostly serves as a scientific experiment in proving results through duplication.

Rather brilliant chapter on the way Korean diaspora writing is influenced by trauma.
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Nonficawards for 2011

Dear All

I have been pretty much absent this year, and ninebelow's post does draw attention to the need to reactivate this site.

If people have suggestions for books they've heard of that would be worth someone blogging, please post them here during 2011. I will take responsibility for either reading it or hassling someone to read it and to comment.

BSFA Non-Fiction Award

Some Waffle

Nominations for the BSFA Award have just opened so I thought I would start an open thread for potential nominees. This is particularly needed because so far this year this community has had just one recommendation:

Robin McKinley: Girl Reader, Woman Writer by Evelyn M. Perry

Other eligible books I can think of include:

Bearings by Gary Wolfe
Animal Alterity by Sherryl Vint

And it is not just whole books. Have there been any particularly notable papers in Foundation? Reviews in Interzone? Chapters from books such Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp? Suggestions in the comments please. I will edit the main body of this post as they come in.

The Rules

The Best Non-Fiction award is open to any written work about science fiction and/or fantasy which appeared in its current form in 2010. Whole collections comprised of work that has been published elsewhere previous to 2010 are ineligible.

Works published by the BSFA, or in association with the BSFA, are ineligible for a BSFA award.

A List

Notes From New Sodom by Hal Duncan
Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp
80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbi Notkin
The WisCon Chronicles: Volume 4, edited by Sylvia Kelso
Blogging The Hugos Decline by Paul Kincaid
Beyond Cyberpunk: New Critical Perspectives, edited by Graham J Murphy and Sherryl Vint
Review of With Both Feet in the Clouds by Abigail Nussbaum
From Utopia to Apocalypse by Peter Y Paik
Robin McKinley: Girl Reader, Woman Writer by Evelyn M. Perry
Review of Wheel Of Time by Adam Roberts
H.G. Wells: Another Kind Of Life by Michael Sherborne
Yesterday's Tomorrows by Graham Sleight
Defined By A Hollow by Darko Suvin
Animal Alterity by Sherryl Vint
Bearings by Gary K Wolfe
Evaporating Genres by Gary K Wolfe
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Is this blog dead?

I hope not.

I've spent the past six months moving house so buying new books has been a non-starter. I would be really grateful if other people were posting because otherwise I'll have no idea what I need to catch up on.
  • fjm

Locus recommended non-fiction

Non-Fiction / Art Books

* Powers: Secret Histories, John Berlyne (PS Publishing)
* The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, Mark Bould & Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts & Sherryl Vint, eds. (Routledge)
* Canary Fever: Reviews, John Clute (Beccon Publications)
* Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary, Jane Frank (McFarland)
* Imagination/Space: Essays and Talks on Fiction, Feminism, Technology and Politics, Gwyneth Jones (Aqueduct Press)
* Starcombing, David Langford (Cosmos Books)
* Cheek by Jowl: Essays, Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct Press)
* The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, Farah Mendlesohn (McFarland)
* On Joanna Russ, Farah Mendlesohn, ed. (Wesleyan University Press)
* Hope-in-the-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees, Michael Swanwick (Temporary Culture)
* This Is Me, Jack Vance!, Jack Vance (Subterranean Press)