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Previous SFF Author: Marjorie B. Kellogg

SFF Author: James Patrick Kelly

James Patrick Kelly(1951- )
James Kelly grew up in Mineola, New York. He began publishing in the 1970s. Kelly attended Notre Dame University and graduated cum laude. He has won two Hugos, one in 1996 for “Think Like a Dinosaur” and one in 2000 for “1016 to 1”, and a Nebula in 2007 for his novella “Burn.” He is an alumnus of the Clarion fiction workshops. Currently he teaches at the University of Southern Maine. Learn more at James Patrick Kelly’s website.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE BY JAMES PATRICK KELLY.



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Burn: This Nebula winner was inspired by Walden

Burn by James Patrick Kelly

James Patrick Kelly’s Burn (2005) was a finalist for the Hugo Award and won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2007. As Kelly explains in the afterword, the story was inspired by his dislike of Henry Thoreau’s Walden which depicts a pastoral utopian society where simplicity is valued and technology is shunned.

In Kelly’s version of Walden, an entire small planet has been purchased and terraformed into a forested utopia in keeping with Thoreau’s vision.


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The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol 2: More disturbing than Vol 1

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2 edited by Gordon Van Gelder

I read the first volume (The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, published 2009) before I tackled this one, published in 2014. It’s only been five years, but I detected a darkening of the tone. Maybe I’m imagining it, maybe it’s just me, but it seemed to me that the earlier volume contained stories that set out to go to strange places and, as a consequence, were sometimes disturbing,


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King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats: Uplifted dogs and cats

King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats by James Patrick Kelly

In James Patrick Kelly’s novella, King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, we visit a backwater planet called Boon where humans live with uplifted dogs and cats.

Our protagonist, Gio Barbaro, is the clone of the man who created the government, called The Supremacy, generations before. Gio’s job is to maintain the family’s position and power in the senate.

The Supremacy, though, is losing control as dogs are walking off the job and cats are forming unions.


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Magazine Monday: Nebula Nominated Novelettes

The novelettes nominated for the Nebula Award this year are so dissimilar that it’s going to be difficult for the judges to compare them and make a decision. Ranging from hard science fiction to the softest of fantasy, these stories are a testament to the breadth of the field. Ruth Arnell and I teamed up to take a look at the seven nominated stories.

One of the nominees is from the pages of AnalogEric James Stone’s “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made.” Its central character is Harry Malan,


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Magazine Monday: Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2012

The April/May 2012 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction is full of some of the best short fiction I’ve read in a while. The best story is a subtle novella by Rick Wilber called “Something Real.” It helps if you know a little bit about the baseball player and World War II spy named Moe Berg, an actual if little known historical figure who is brought vividly to life in this alternate world tale. The Moe Berg of this story is just as talented as the fellow who lived in our world,


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Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, October/November 2012

Sheila Williams, the editor of Asimov’s, says that the annual October/November issue is “slightly spooky.” There are a few frights in the magazine, as well as some solid science fiction, but overall, I was generally disappointed in this double issue.

Alan Smale’s novella, “The Mongolian Book of the Dead,” was not one of the disappointments; to the contrary, it is a nicely imagined tale of what might happen if the Chinese decide to mount a military invasion of Mongolia — an independent landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China.


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Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, February 2013

The February 2013 issue of Asimov’s is a delight from cover to cover. This time around, it’s the longer pieces that really given it is heft.

“The Weight of the Sunrise” by Vylar Kaftan is a fascinating alternate history novella that offers a pointed perspective on American history, serving as a sort of bookend to the recent film, “Lincoln.” Slavery was an evil obvious even to those who practiced human sacrifice and saw nothing wrong with incestuous marriages of royalty, as did the Incas, as Kaftan makes clear.


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Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, April/May 2013

The April/May 2013 issue of Asimov’s leads off with a difficult but exciting novella by Neal Asher entitled “The Other Gun.” It portrays a complicated universe in which humanity has found itself at war with a race called the prador, which is ruthless, merciless and completely uninterested in compromise. It has already exterminated several species when it runs into humans, and a survivor of one of those wars, a member of a hive species, has allied itself with humans. The narrator of this tale is a parasitologist and bio-synthesist who was working on a biological weapon to be used against the prador when he was reassigned to work for the Client,


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Magazine Monday: Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, Inaugural Issue

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine is a new bimonthly publication appearing in both paper and electronic forms. The March 2013 issue is the first, and I purchased a copy of the electronic version as soon as it came to my attention. However, compared to Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and F&SF, among others, it is a mediocre collection of mostly reprints.

Galaxy’s Edge appears to be aimed toward those who miss the old pulps or want more hard SF that reads like the present Analog.


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Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, Issue 80

“Soulcatcher,” the opening story in the May 2013 issue of Clarkesworld, is one of James Patrick Kelly’s best stories. His protagonist, Klary, is the owner of an art gallery who has lured xeni-Harvel Asher, the ambassador from the Four Worlds, into her establishment. The xeni is “embodied” as a human male, but he retains the charisma that causes some to liken his species to the human legend of faeries; he is nearly irresistible. But Klary has been on a regimen of emotion, and besides, this xeni ruined her life,


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Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, September 2013

Issue 84 of Clarkesworld begins with “Mar Pacifico” by Greg Mellor, which I found to be one of the two best stories in this issue. It’s hard to resist a story that starts, “A pale dawn spread across the Pacific as my dead mother emerged from the waves.” The first person narrator’s mother is formed by a bloom of algeron. Algeron developed from nanotech built by humans “to bring the carbon cycles back into balance and enhance the power of the oceans to absorb more carbon from the polluted air.” But as it evolved,


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SHORTS: Dickinson, Sanderson, Hill, Kelly, Valentine, Simak

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we’ve recently read. 

“Please Undo this Hurt” by Seth Dickinson (2015, free at Tor.com, Kindle version)

This is a really beautiful story about compassion, pain, and what it means to burn out. “Please Undo This Hurt” seems very realistic and not so much fantasy for a little while. I spent some time at the beginning waiting for the other shoe to drop.


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Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology: An examination of what defines the genre

Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology edited by Bruce Sterling

There are a handful of people who have/had their finger on the pulse of cyberpunk. Love him or hate him, Bruce Sterling has perhaps two. In 1986 he decided to pull together a collection of stories he felt were representative of the sub-genre. Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology is both broad in scope yet largely encompasses the idea of what the average sci-fi fan’s expectations are for the form. Though Sterling’s agenda is his own, some stories will be immediately recognizable for their mood and voice,


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Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology

Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology  edited by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel

Is there really any difference between post-modernism, interstitial fiction, slipstream and New Weird? Does anyone know? James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel try to outline the boundaries of slipstream with their anthology, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, particularly by including a learned introduction and excerpts from a discussion that took place on the subject on a blog a few years ago. Ultimately, like so many things literary,


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The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011: Sample the best SFF

The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 edited by Kevin J. Anderson

The Nebula Awards are one of the great institutions in science fiction and fantasy. Each year since 1965, the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have voted for the Best Novel, Novella (40,000-17,500 words), Novelette (17,500-7,500 words), and Short Story (less than 7,500 words) in SF and fantasy. Compiling a list of the nominees and winners for all those years would get you an excellent reading list and a comprehensive cross-view of the best that can be found in the genres.


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The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014: An enjoyable collection

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014 edited by Rich Horton

I’ve been reading a lot of anthologies lately, including another of the several “Year’s Best” collections (the Jonathan Strahan one). I was pleased to find that, unlike some of the others, this one matched my tastes fairly well for the most part.

I enjoy stories in which capable, likeable or sympathetic characters, confronted by challenges, confront them right back and bring the situation to some sort of meaningful conclusion. I was worried when I read the editor’s introduction and saw him praising Lightspeed and Clarkesworld magazines,


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International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Part Three

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Lunch on Friday included a presentation by the scholar guest of honor, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. His talk was entitled “Undead,” and was a meditation on the meaning of that word — or, in other words, on zombies. Undead does not, Cohen noted, mean that the undead thing is alive; it is a restless state from which monsters arise. What is behind the shift in our literature from ghosts to zombies? Zombies pose no challenge to our minds, as ghosts do, but just want to eat our brains,


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Next SFF Author: Lee Kelly
Previous SFF Author: Marjorie B. Kellogg

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