The best story in the March Clarkesworld, and one of the best stories published so far this year, is “The Persistence of Blood” by Juliette Wade. This is a novella set in the midst of a complex alien culture made up of several different, rigidly enforced castes (as far as I can tell, no humans appear in the story), with the protagonist, Selemei, a member of the aristocratic First Family, wife to a high government official, Xeref. The aristocrats have iron-bound traditions about birthing, believing nothing is more important than passing on their blood to the next generation, but in spite of these tradi­tions, or maybe because of them, their numbers keep falling. Selemi herself was crippled and nearly killed by her last childbirth, and knows that giving birth to another child will probably kill her.

— “Gardner Dozois Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and F&SF” in Locus Online


Time Cracks Open

My favourite opening of any book ever is the first paragraph of Richard Rhodes’s masterful nonfiction giant, The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Whenever I am asked about my favourite books, I read it aloud. You should do the same. Go on. I’ll wait.

In London, where Southampton Row passes Russell Square, across from the British Museum in Bloomsbury, Leó Szilárd waited irritably one gray Depression morning for the stoplight to change. A trace of rain had fallen during the night; Tuesday, September 12, 1933, dawned cool, humid and dull. Drizzling rain would begin again in early afternoon. When Szilárd told the story later he never mentioned his destination that morning. He may have had none; he often walked to think. In any case another destination intervened. The stoplight changed to green. Szilárd stepped off the curb. As he crossed the street time cracked open before him and he saw a way to the future, death into the world and all our woe, the shape of things to come.

— Hannu Rajaniemi, “Time Cracks Open for Leó Szilárd in Richard Rhodes’s The Making of the Atomic Bomb”, at

July 4th Crit Mass: The Expanse

Andrew looks at the first four novels of The Expanse, which he claims isn’t real SF — by which he means it doesn’t deal with deep, interesting philosophical questions — and Roman reviews the TV series, and suggests it raises several real questions.
Don’t miss this discussion! 6:45 for a 7pm start, at Kappy’s, 22 Compton St, Adelaide, near the central market.

Discovery devolved…

“…what began as agreat work of feminist SF soon devolved into a reactionary mess. The rot began to set in when a moment of intellectual arrogance compounded by bizarre feelings of parental attachment resulted in Martin-Green’s character murdering an alien religious figure […] Since then, Star Trek: Discovery has  indulged every right-wing fantasy from the moral necessity of torture through to the inevitability of what is effectively metaphorical racial holy war.”

— from Jonathan McCalmot’s Future interrupted column in Interzone 274

Trolls ahoy!

TrollBridgeInspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, “Troll Bridge” isn’t like most other films – it’s spent over a decade in production, and is entirely fan-made. Such a project may sound like it’s cursed to remain in limbo forever, but the film now has a trailer and is being submitted to festivals around the world. Between this and the upcoming Good Omens adaptation, it appears 2019 may be Pratchett’s time to shine. In the meantime, “Troll Bridge” is available for pre-order thanks to crowdfunding – but a Blu-ray is going to set you back $85.

“Trailer Surfaces For Fan-Made Discworld Film”,  Tom Blunt, signature

The Expanse overcomes Expense reports

Break out the celebratory lasagna—The Expanse has been saved! The show will move over to Amazon’s streaming service after its third season ends on Syfy. Jeff Bezos made the announcement himself last night, after a panel at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference, which featured three of the show’s stars, Steven Strait, Wes Chatham, and Cas Anvar, along with showrunner Naren Shankar.

Anvar, who has been especially vocal in the #SaveTheExpanse campaign, filmed the announcement and posted it on Twitter.

More details

June 6th Crit Mass: What’s new in SF

We’re going to try a discussion about what’s new and old in SF. We will also look at the resurgence of the novella.

We ask you to:
(a) select something new (post 2010) that’s interesting SF,
(b) to pick something pre 1970 that’s worth (re)visiting

and be ready to talk about your selection for two (2) minutes.

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We suggest people have a listen to the discussion on novellas in the first 11 minutes of the recent Coode St Podcast ( to prepare for the Critical Mass. As usual, 6:45 for a 7pm start on the first Wednesday at kappys, 22 Compton St near the central market.

Miéville on BBC TV

The BBC have produced a TV series from China Miéville’s novel The City and The City, in which a murder is committed across two intersecting/intertwined cities.

The City and the City

The City And The City TV series was scripted by Tony Grisoni and directed by Tom Shankland: China Miéville served as consultant. Bringing Miéville’s setting to the screen presented the challenge of showing two distinct worlds co-existing, and to let the viewer share its inhabitants’ point of view. This was achieved by differentiating the cities through architecture, clothing and décor, and by colour and lighting. In Besźel, a “1970’s Istanbul look”, coloured with soft yellows and browns is used, while Ul Qoma has modern skyscrapers, and bright red with blue or blue-white dominate.

The series runs to four episodes of around 70 minutes.

Locus turns 50!

In 1968, the legendary anthologist and editor Charles N. Brown created a one-sheet fanzine about news of the science fiction field. Brown’s intent was to use it to help the Boston Science Fiction group win its Worldcon bid. Brown enjoyed the experience so much that he continued the magazine through Noreascon I, the 29th Worldcon held in Boston in 1971 (where Locus won its first Hugo award). Brown continued to be the steward of Locus until his death in 2009. In that run, Locus won thirty Hugo awards, and for good reason.

— Paul Weimer,  Celebrating 50 Years of Locus Magazine on