fantasy and science fiction book reviewsLists and awards

And to think I used to live my life blissfully unaware that bloggers and awards committees were out there busily compiling lists of excellent books.

First, the awards news: Sofia Samatar has won the Crawford Award for an outstanding first fantasy novel, A Stranger in OlondriaThe Bram Stoker Award has also publicized their preliminary ballot, which is great for non-me people who read and love horror (I don’t do horror; I watched The Sixth Sense in 5th grade and it literally haunts me to this day and yes I am aware that most people don’t even consider it a horror movie).  The Clarke Awards have also released a list of all their female award submissions. This feels a little…condescend-y, and doesn’t at all make up for their all-male shortlist last year.

But oh, we’re not finished. The Kitschies have released their shortlist, which might be my favorite award because they give you a tentacle-trophy and a bottle of rum if you win. And here’s a nice semi-interviewed list of authors and stories eligible for the Campbell Award. And Apex readers have elected their favorite story of 2013, which is typically Apex-ian (exceptionally good and visually wild and idea-driven).

As far as new books, here’s’s list of upcoming speculative fiction in February.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsArticles and such

Articles this week are strictly in the fun and the-more-you-know categories. Here’s a cutesy list of the nine women who shaped science fiction and fantasy, which is great except where are Atwood and Butler. For more fun, here’s i09’s list of all the characters that have said “I’ll hold them off” and actually survived. Not to be a downer, GRRM conspiracy theorists, but Syrio is totally dead. Unlike certain BBC series about brilliant detectives (curse you Sherlock), GRRM plays for keeps. I also just ran into the Mighty God King’s photoshopped versions of the books he read as a teenager, which are amazing. Okay, this was posted in 2008 but I just found it and as Link Tzar I can do this kind of thing

My favorite article this week, though, was Kameron Hurley‘s excellent post about common world-building mistakes in epic fantasy.

Writing and publishing

Dudes, have I talked about this yet?  It feels unbelievable that I haven’t talked about this yet. Lightspeed Magazine has set out on a noble mission to destroy science fiction — by letting women write it. They started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a special issue edited and written entirely by women. They blew their original goal out of the water, and now they only need a little more to issue a special Women Destroy Horror issue. And if you’d like to submit to the special issue, you’ve still got seven days.

And if you’d like to skip the short story stage and go straight to a bestseller, Science has discovered the secret formula. Also in the works: pills that let you let you eat without gaining weight and a magic powder that stops your pets from shedding.

Pretty things

These are a few of my favorite things:


  • Alix E. Harrow

    ALIX E. HARROW, who retired from our blog in 2014, is a part-time historian with a full-time desk job, a lot of opinions, and excessive library fines. Her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Strange Horizons,, Apex, and other venues. She won a Hugo Award for her fiction in 2019. Alix and her husband live in Kentucky under the cheerful tyranny of their kids and pets. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Susanna Clarke.