Bad news: On the way home, my car hit a curb with such force that the entire wheel came loose, including the suspension. So that's probably the end of the line for my small blue thing, aged ten and just beginning to feel it.
What's worse than losing one's car is the impossible struggle to get anybody, body-shop consultant or insurance person on the phone or anybody, to explain what the course of events will be before you commit to following it. Afterwards they'll happily tell you many things, but you can't eke an outline out of them beforehand. Consequently you have to make decisions in a state of ignorance or even of misleading partial information.
Adventurer! Many talented designers of tabletop roleplaying games have joined to celebrate the Bundle of Holding's sixth birthday with this 2019 Birthday Bundle charity benefit. You can find all these terrific RPGs free elsewhere around the web (links below). But, for just a small donation, you get convenient access to them here on your Wizard's Cabinet download page -- and your entire donation (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the RPG Creators Relief Fund. The RCRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity founded to provide financial assistance to tabletop roleplaying creators suffering hardship due to medical emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophic situations.
More details here.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Witchmark by C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
Fire Ant by Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi)
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing)
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly (Tor.com 7/11/18)
An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births by José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed 1/18)
The Rule of Three by Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
Messenger by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and R.R. Virdi (Expanding Universe, Volume 4)
Interview for the End of the World by Rhett C. Bruno (Bridge Across the Stars)
The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
Going Dark by Richard Fox (Backblast Area Clear)
And Yet by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 3-4/18)
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/6/18)
The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch by Charlie Brooker (House of Tomorrow & Netflix)
The Road to Canterbury by Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
God of War by Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, and Adam Dolin (Santa Monica Studio/Sony/Interactive Entertainment)
Rent-A-Vice by Natalia Theodoridou (Choice of Games)
The Martian Job by M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram
Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
A Quiet Place, screenplay by John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, and Scott Beck
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
Sorry to Bother You, written by Boots Riley
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt; Macmillan)
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
A Light in the Dark by A.K. DuBoff (BDL)
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (Random House)
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (Henry Holt)
A number of things I might say about the performance would merely feel redundant after the review, so I'll just add here that the remarkable thing about attending a concert in San Jose in the company of one of the local Master Gardeners (a public education job, basically) is how many Master Gardeners attend chamber music concerts in San Jose. I think she knew more people there than I did.
And it was appropriate they be there, for the Dovers grew a luxurious garden of music.
(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)
* Novella: The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.
Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.
* Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.
As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.
* For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones
But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.
* Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
* Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer
In the quest fantasy Tides of the Titans, part of Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer's extraordinary Titan's Forest series, trees loom large as skyscrapers, mortals can be reborn as gods, and a young man travels to the far reaches of the land and beyond to unlock the Forest's hidden secrets...
Courtier, explorer, thief: Leaper is a man of many skills, but none of his talents satisfy the yearning in his heart for the Queen of Airakland, the ruler of a thunder-clashed kingdom.
Their affair is cut too short, however, when she is murdered. But who was the assassin? A political rival? The jealous king? Or, perhaps, the god of thunder who oversees them all?
* Cast in Oblivion by Michelle Sagara
Kaylin wasn’t sent to the West March to start a war. Her mission to bring back nine Barrani might do just that, though. She traveled with a Dragon, and her presence is perceived as an act of aggression in the extremely hostile world of Barrani-Dragon politics. Internal Barrani politics are no less deadly, and Kaylin has managed—barely—to help the rescued Barrani evade both death and captivity at the hands of the Consort.
Before the unplanned “visit” to the West March, Kaylin invited the Consort to dinner. For obvious reasons, Kaylin wants to cancel dinner—forever. But the Consort is going to show up at the front door at the agreed-upon time. The fact that she tried to imprison Kaylin’s guests doesn’t matter at all…to her.
* Cicada by Shaun Tan
From the visionary Shaun Tan, an inspirational story for older picture book readers and beyond
Cicada tells the story of a hardworking little cicada who is completely unappreciated for what he does. But in the end, just when you think he's given up, he makes a transformation into something ineffably beautiful. A metaphor for growing up? A bit of inspiration for the unappreciated striver in all of us? Yes, yes, and more.
* The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
From New York Times bestselling author Yangsze Choo, an utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee. Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.
Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
* Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss
In these eight stories and twenty-three poems, World Fantasy Award winner Theodora Goss retells and recasts fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, always lyrical, the works gathered in Snow White Learns Witchcraft re-center and empower the women at the heart of these timeless narratives. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Jane Yolen, in her introduction, proclaims that Goss “transposes, transforms, and transcends times, eras, and old tales with ease. But also there is a core of tough magic that runs through all her pieces like a river through Faerie . . . I am ready to reread some of my new favorites.”
* Preorder Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion.
Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.
* Preorder The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
* A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
In these tumultuous times, in our deeply divided country, many people are angry, frightened, and hurting. Knowing that imagining a brighter tomorrow has always been an act of resistance, editors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.
* Fog Season by Patrice Sarath
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn't he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything's more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter...
* The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-price paradise, where citizens want for nothing and even the dregs of society are distinctly unwilling to revolt.
Everyone seems happy, except for the old Gurkha soldier Bhan Gurung. Knife saint, recidivist, and mass murderer, he is an exile from Kathmandu, pursuing a forty-year-old vendetta that leads to the very heart of Karma. Pushed and prodded by Gurung, Melek Ahmer finds himself in ever deeper conflicts, until they finally face off against Karma and her forces. In the upheaval that follows, old crimes will come to light and the city itself will be forced to change.
* Dreams of the Dark Sky by Tina LeCount Myers
The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters.
But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived.
While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth.
There is sadness this week, as NASA's Opportunity Rover Mission on Mars Comes to End. Oppy's last transmission amounted to “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”. Several songs have already been written; I'll almost certainly try to write one of my own. Probably from Oppy's POV; I seem to enjoy anthropomorphizing AIs and other inanimate objects.
Not a whole lot has been getting done this week. I did manage to run some errands Thursday and Friday, with the car on the street. Pulled back into the driveway Friday after things were done, anticipating that the predicted good weather would make it possible to get up again the next time I need to. Fingers crossed.
I started working on the potential writing (tutorials) gig -- we'll see whether $editor likes my proposal. Not many notes Friday and Saturday as a result. Not sure I'm working fast enough. That remains to be seen; it's going slower than I'd like but that may just be because I'm working on the outline.
The Murderbot Diaries: Exit Strategy is up for a British Science Fiction Association Award for short fiction!
Congrats to all the other nominees!
Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Dawn (Solaris)
Yoon Ha Lee – Revenant Gun (Solaris)
Emma Newman – Before Mars (Ace Books)
Gareth L Powell – Embers of War (Titan Books)
Tade Thompson – Rosewater (Orbit)
Best Shorter Fiction
Nina Allan – The Gift of Angels: an Introduction (Clarkesworld)
Malcolm Devlin – The Purpose of the Dodo is to be Extinct (Interzone #275)
Hal Duncan – The Land of Somewhere Safe (NewCon Press)
Ian McDonald – Time Was (Tor.com)
Martha Wells – Exit Strategy (Tor.com)
Liz Williams – Phosphorus (NewCon Press)
Marian Womack – Kingfisher (Lost Objects, Luna Press)
Nina Allan – Time Pieces column 2018 articles (Interzone)
Ruth EJ Booth – Noise and Sparks column 2018 articles (Shoreline of Infinity)
Liz Bourke – Sleeps With Monsters column 2018 articles (Tor.com)
Aliette de Bodard – On motherhood and erasure: people-shaped holes, hollow characters and the illusion of impossible adventures (Intellectus Speculativus blog)
Adam Roberts – Publishing the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance (Cambridge University Press)
Ben Baldwin – wraparound cover for ‘Strange Tales’ slipcase set (NewCon Press)
Joey Hi-Fi – cover for ‘Paris Adrift’ by EJ Swift (Solaris)
Sarah Anne Langton – cover for ‘Unholy Land’ by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications)
Sing Yun Lee and Morris Wild – artwork for ‘Sublime Cognition’ conference (London Science Fiction Research Community)
Likhain – In the Vanishers’ Palace: Dragon I and II (Inprnt)
Bede Rogerson – cover for ‘Concrete Faery’ by Elizabeth Priest (Luna Press)
Del Samatar – artwork for ‘Monster Portraits’ by Sofia and Del Samatar (Rose Metal Press)
Charlotte Stroomer – cover for ‘Rosewater’ by Tade Thompson (Orbit)
That what Max Richter was doing with Vivaldi was conceptually identical to what Luciano Berio used to do with Schubert, Monteverdi, et al, despite the very different compositional styles, is something that occurred to me while listening to it. The next thought, of course, was that I like Richter's way of doing it much better. The line about Berio just getting grubby fingerprints all over his betters' music comes from a comment I once made to a post on Berio by the late Alan Rich. He replied that he admired the quality of Berio's mind. I don't; but I do admire the quality of Richter's.