Locus Online signal-boosted the Barnes and Nobel announcement that they were hacked on October 10, 2020.
Also from Locus: I didn’t know Iceland had a biannual SF convention, but it does. They are apparently hoping for an in-person conference in November, 2021.
One commenter with a USA mailing address will get a copy of C.L. Polk’s new fantasy novel The Midnight Bargain.
Books and Writing:
Ah, yes! A Best Of list. Let the arguments begin! Time Magazine asked a panel to curate the 100 Best Fantasy works of all time. N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin and Cassandra Clare comprised the jury.
Here’s one rebuttal post.
The New York Times celebrates the horror anthology.
This “poison book” project is literally about a poison book. (Thanks to File770.)
Publishers Weekly reports that book sales are still trending up.
The Mary Sue explores unconscious racism in Naomi Novik’s latest, A Deadly Education. When the book was released there was instant outcry about her depictions of BIPOC characters. Novik herself has acknowledged missteps and apologized.
The Mary Sue also has a nice video from Cory Doctorow, about bookselling, hope, optimism and pessimism. His new novel is titled Attack Surface.
James S. Murray shares a story about his inspiration for his latest thriller novel Don’t Move, and it’s deliciously scary.
Spaghettification; I thought it was about pasta, or maybe western-style movies of the late 1960s… but no. It’s astronomy!
NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex plans to gather asteroid dust.
Workers at the Nazca Lines uncovered another large line drawing, this time of an animal that looks a lot like a cat.
NOAA scientists predict a colder, wetter La Niña winter this year.
Heed their warning! Over at Kotaku, Ash Parrish admits being addicted to a new Mario game. This is a fun review.
Movies, TV and Streaming:
Ars Technica shares the first trailer (and some previous-season spoilers) of Amazon’s The Expanse, Season 5.
In honor of the upcoming scary holiday, here is Honest Trailers’s take on the classic, Scream.
The Time 100 best list could almost be called laughably bad if it weren’t for the publicity it will get. The recency bias Rich Horton mentioned is huge. By my count, 41 of their best 100 fantasy books ever (or last 1,200 years, at least) were from the last decade (2011-2020). That verges on dishonesty, not bias.
The brontosaurus in the room is that every one of the “panel of authors” that helped Time editors “curate” the list had at least one of their own books on the list, and half had more than one. That smacks of self-promotion. And they appear to be heavily favoring the contemporaries they admire in the best interpretation (or worse, ones who share the same publishers, or worst, ones who are personal acquaintances).
Just to pick 3 of the 41 books that I’ve read: The Black Tides of Heaven, Shadowshaper, and Trail of Lightning. These are all “fair-to-good” books, not even among the very best of their year of publication. They have good aspects but each also has some less satisfactory aspects: the Yang novella is too brief a form to build necessary emotional depth for its characters, the Older is in many ways retreading old urban fantasy ground, the Roanhorse veers too much between arbitrary violence and angsty romance.
Meanwhile there is nothing on the list by George MacDonald, no hint of anything that might shade into horror (like The House on the Borderland) or into magical realism (One Hundred Years of Solitude or House of the Spirits), nothing edgy or formally innovative (like House of Leaves).
Also no Jungle Books or The Wind in the Willows, not even The Hour of the Dragon to represent sword and sorcery, no Jack Vance, no C. L. Moore, no Fritz Leiber. No Ray Bradbury! How can they have Neverwhere and Shadowshaper and not the groundbreaking Moonheart and War For the Oaks? The Element of Fire should be on a top 25 list, never mind top 100, and The Dragon Waiting should at least make a top 50. No Jane Yolen or Patricia McKillip! As Rich Horton says, just leaving off Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Little, Big is shocking all by itself. For Mythago Wood and Lavondyss not to be on there makes this a travesty.
I realize almost all “best” lists like this and most awards are chiefly about marketing and driving book sales, but this list is way too blatant about it.
I was startled that there was no Borges. To be catty, I think there is one person on the panel who wouldn’t know who Borges is. Still, that was a shocker for me.
Like all Best Of lists, the good news is that it will start people talking, and get many good, underexposed books into the limelight.
Marion, I respect that you did not name names, but also, lol. And long live Borges.
Am probably misreading it, but when I see the authors selecting a “top 100” list include 13 of their own works, it just feels…cynical. “Take the money and run,” as the that third-rate Steve Miller song said. (I like Steve Miller, but that one…not so much.)
Well done Paul. What an eye opener.
I won’t share the direct link to my reaction to TIME Magazine’s “list” here. All I will say is, several sub-genres were neglected and there was NO reason for that to happen!
I’m going to say what everyone is thinking but don’t want to admit: eventually, a list will have to be formatted by authors, critics, academics and bookbloggers. It’s the only way to get a “list” with some of everything from all regions and all eras in human history.
Love it! All inclusive. I didn’t want to get off subject, but yeah, were People Of Color included?
What I really wish the Time panel had done is given the list a title such as “100 Fantasy Books You Should Read.” Claiming to be a list of the definitive “best” books was asking for trouble. I do like a lot of their selections, and I did get some new ideas for books I wanted to read, but I, like the writer of the post in the link, am baffled as to why Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell didn’t make the list; it’s good, unique, and influential. I appreciate that there was some attempt made at including more diverse books, but many were relatively new releases, which didn’t really make sense with the title.
However, I can’t say I’m terribly upset about the absence of Little, Big from the list; though it’s well written and many aspects of it are original and interesting, I actually stopped reading it two-thirds of the way through – partly because it was moving rather slowly for me, but also because most of the Spanish scattered throughout the book looks like Italian got mixed in with it by mistake, even though one character is supposed to be a native Spanish speaker (this character actually makes most of the mistakes). Said character was also a little too close to the stereotypical sexy Latina for my liking. I’m a translation student, Spanish>English, so all that quite annoyed me. That being said, one of my friends suggested that perhaps the character spoke such poor Spanish because she was masquerading as a Spanish speaker and had a deep, dark secret – and I never finished the book, so I’ll never know! :)
I don’t like the sound of the synopsis of “The Midnight Bargain”, I hope Beatrice has a third option.
I’m about a third of the way through it, and if there is a third option, Beatrice will find it!
No, Iceland! Don’t have an in-person conference! Bad idea! Stick to eating rotten, decaying urine-smelling shark meat in private, at home! You’ll be happier!
I think they’re hoping for a vaccine by 2021.
Having tasted the infamous “cured shark,” I can’t disagree with your description of it.
Horror lends itself to the anthology format (or vice versa) because the characters don’t have to survive. Literally or figuratively.
The author is James S. Murray, not James A. Warren. I tried to look up the book on Goodreads and got no results at first, until I saw the correct name on the interview.
Fixed. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, and I apologize for the inconvenience.
I love honest trailers! They are too funny.
Paul, if you live in the USA, you win a copy of THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN!
Please contact me (Marion) with your US address and I’ll have the book sent right away. Happy reading!
Paul has declined, so we have another winner! E.J.Please contact me (Marion) with your US address and I’ll have THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN sent right away.