To Shape the Dark now available


Just a heads-up that Athena Andreadis’s fabulous anthology of female scientists, To Shape the Dark, is now available from Candlemark and Gleam.

Contains my Xuya short story “Crossing the Midday Gate”, about intergalactic plagues, vaccine developments, and the cost of pride and principles…

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A very belated Mancunicon report


A very belated Mancunicon report

So… didn’t get around to this earlier because fatigue hit me pretty badly, but I had a great time at Mancunicon. It was my first time as a Guest of Honour (and, in time honoured fashion, I was 7 months pregnant, just like Finncon 2013 ^-^).

I arrived in the UK on Wednesday and had a great night out with the BSFA–many thanks to the BSFA, Andrea Dietrich, Chad Dixon, and especially to Ed Cox for the great interview!

Then met up with Zen Cho, who was travelling with me, and we got into Manchester easily (I love trains. So much easier than planes), and we chilled out until the con got into gear Friday midday.

The cooking demo

Things I learnt, in no particular order:

  • Got to visit the kitchens of the Hilton Deansgate–my first time in a professional kitchen. Wow, had no idea, that was very cool
  • Deliveroo is really awesome for takeaway food (eating in the room is really neat when fatigue levels are close to crashing). And many many thanks to Zen Cho for keeping my sugar levels up and my anxiety levels down.
  • Kari Sperring is an awesome interviewer–engaging and effortlessly keeping me talking (which is no mean feat when the room is full)
  • Apparently there’s a strong correlation between my having failed to prepare a speech (was too busy worrying about the cooking demo and completely failed to realise the awards were the same day) and my actually winning said awards. Kind of still flabbergasted at this one
  • Programming was very strong, only regret I didn’t make it to more panels. Also, Kari Sperring and I shouldn’t be on a panel about history together, we kind of encourage each other ^-^
  • The Saturday cooking demo was great–I was a bit worried because I’d never done that before, but it was well attended and we made a beautiful salad! Also, Zen Cho and I have a future as a comedy cooking duo if all else fails us
  • Mancunian weather apparently includes hail and horizontal rain. Which, even on the 23rd floor of a hotel, is something quite striking (and makes you glad you’re not under it. I’m given to understand Ian McDonald and a few others were, er, in the wrong place at the wrong time and got the brunt of it in their faces  °_°)
  • Manchester doesn’t seem to have good Vietnamese restaurants (makes sense, there isn’t a big community there), but it does have awesome dim sum, yummmmm
  •  1847 makes great vegetarian food

To everyone whom I hoped to run into/who hoped to see me–I hope I managed to be at enough of the con that I could be grabbed/chatted with/listened to.  I was always more tired than I expected, and being able to rest in the room made a big difference to levels of fatigue (yes, I know. Anyone could have told me I would be more tired than on a normal day. I’m possibly the only optimist who thought the, er, incubating would make little difference).

Going back took me most of Tuesday, but that was because I paced myself and allowed three hours’ changeover at St Pancras where I could sit and relax between trains.

My deepest thanks to the Con Committee, the con organisers/volunteers and the hotel staff for a great con; and to Gollancz for taking good care of me (and shipping my awards home, didn’t know what I’d have done otherwise!). Thanks as well to everyone who attended (and everyone who voted in the BSFA awards). It was a super experience. And now I get to sleep for the next two months before sleep becomes a thing of the long-ago past…

Announcing: the Librarian


Announcing: the Librarian

Just in time for this new April month: I’m now officially on leave. Yesterday was my last day at work and it was a bit weird, as I’m not returning until after summer’s end.

You’ll be asking why (or, if you were at Mancunicon, you will not be asking why).

The H and I are working on a sequel to the snakelet, called the librarian (as in, “baby going to be born in the year of the monkey” => “ape” => Terry Pratchett because of course always Pratchett). Delivery deadline is end of May, just in time for a wonderful summer of not sleeping…

For those wondering: The House of Binding Thorns has shifted a bit due to, erm, the wonders of the first trimester, but hopefully nothing major (sayth she, knocking on major bits of wood). I’m also looking like a beached whale at the moment and seriously considering two months of non stop Netflix streaming (alas, I’ve got a few things to do. But it’s tempting!).

It was an interesting exercise in being a public persona: the first trimester coincided with my brilliant plan to pack an October month full of events in France and abroad–I didn’t have any major health issues, but fatigue was always a bit of a problem. Also, it turns out that it’s a lot less easy to hide the second time around, making for a careful choice of clothes to make sure I didn’t get odd looks (the Gollancz festival in particular was really interesting as it was showing quite a bit by then ^-^)

ETA: just so we’re clear, this isn’t an April’s Fool in spite of the timing

Last day for Hugo nominations


Just a quick reminder that today is the last day for Hugo nominations (you have until 11:59pm Pacific time, and you can nominate if you’re a member of Sasquan, MidamericonII or Worldcon in Helsinki). You can find the nomination form here.

Please do nominate even if you feel you haven’t read widely enough: if you loved something, just put it on your ballot. This isn’t a quiz on the state of the genre, it’s a vote for things you liked in 2015 (and experience has shown that voters who recuse themselves as “not having read/watched enough” tend to overwhelmingly be marginalised folks, thereby biasing nomination results).

If you’re still looking for stuff to put on your ballot, here is my awards consideration post with stuff by me and a lot of other great people (insofar as I could and it made sense, I’ve included a lot of stuff available online for those last minute reading binges!).

The House of Shattered Wings and Three Cups of Grief by Starlight win BSFA awards


The House of Shattered Wings and Three Cups of Grief by Starlight win BSFA awards

This isn’t the Eastercon report post (will have a longer one when I do get home), and I imagine that by now everyone has seen the news, but just in case 🙂

Delighted (and still a bit shocked, two days after the fact) that both The House of Shattered Wings and “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, have won a BSFA Award.

I’m told by Farah Mendlesohn that this is the first time anyone has walked away with the two fiction awards in the same year (previously Keith Roberts won both art and short fiction in 1986). The Guardian has a lovely piece here, courtesy of David Barnett (and yeah this is me going “OMG I’m in the Guardian” in case you had any doubts).

My thanks to everyone who read and voted in the awards and to everyone involved from the BSFA. I was also honoured to be part of two very strong shortlists and highly suggest you check out the other finalists.

Me with Gillian Redfearn and John Berlyne in the bar shortly afterwards.

“A Salvaging of Ghosts” now up at BCS


Just a heads-up that my Xuya story “A Salvaging of Ghosts” is now up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies for their Science Fantasy month.

Thuy’s hands have just closed on the gem—she can’t feel its warmth with her gloves, but her daughter’s ghost is just by her side, at the hole in the side of the ship’s hull, blurred and indistinct—when the currents of unreality catch her. Her tether to The Azure Serpent, her only lifeline to the ship, stretches; snaps.

And then she’s gone, carried forward into the depths.

Read more/audio

Can haz draft!!!!!!!!


Ok, it sucks, but. At 112,000 words, the first draft of The House of Binding Thorns is now complete.
Now for filling in all the inconsistencies and getting it into shape for beta-readers…

Have a snippet:

In the House of Hawthorn, all the days blurred and merged into one another, like tears drops sliding down a pane of glass. Madeleine couldn’t tell when she’d last slept, when she’d last eaten– though everything tasted of ashes and grit, as if the debris from the streets had been mixed in with the fine food served in porcelain plates–couldn’t tell when she had last woken, tossing and turning and screaming, with pain shooting up her calf and blood seeping from the wound on her right hand, the one that had inexorably tied her fortunes back to those of the House.

I’m off to find copious amounts of chocolate.

BSFA London Meeting

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BSFA London Meeting

Glad to announce that on March 23rd I’ll be interviewed by the fabulous Ed Cox at The Artillery Arms (102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND), as part of the BSFA London meetings. (and ahead of my stint as GoH at Mancunicon)


Start Time: 19:00, room open from 6pm, fans gathering in the bar downstairs from 5pm onwards (I’ll likely be in the bar around 5pm because I’m arriving pretty early in London).

This is a free event, and you don’t have to be a member of the BSFA to take part (non-members are welcome, in fact!). The interview will start at 7 pm.

There will be a raffle (£1 for five tickets), with a selection of sf novels as prizes. I’m also quite happy to sign anything that has my name in it (ok, not blank checks or IOUs, but you get the idea!)

Nebula Awards Nominees


Official SFWA post here. Very very strong ballot: shoutout to Kate Elliott (I kind of wanted BLACK WOLVES on there but COURT OF FIVES isn’t bad :p), Fran Wilde (2x!), Ken Liu, Rose Lemberg, and so many many friends with strong stuff on there. Now I have a lot of reading to catch up on!

(also, Nimona!!! Loved the comic)


Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)


Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Usman T. Malik ( 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (
“Waters of Versailles,” Kelly Robson ( 6/10/15)


“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,” Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story

“Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
“Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
“Damage,” David D. Levine ( 1/21/15)
“When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
“Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)


Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt


Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)