Tag: lauren beukes

Awards eligibility and recs post


Awards eligibility and recs post

He, what would you know, it’s January again (aka, wow, where did all the time go, and arggggggg I am so late on things!). The main thing I published in 2015 was my novel (I know, kind of hard to miss :p), The House of Shattered Wings, aka magical intrigues, deadly creatures and elusive wonders in a decadent turn-of-the-century Paris ravaged by a magical war.

It won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel, as well as being on the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2015. It also got starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal. It’s eligible for the Hugos.

I can’t provide a copy of the complete text, but I have put together a short sampler of the first three chapters: bits and pieces of this have appeared online, but this is the first time that you can actually read all of it (I think? The kindle sampler is shorter than this, ending mid-chapter two). You can download it here in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF (if you need DOC or RTF, drop me a line via the contact form, and I’ll be quite happy to provide a copy. I just am not a big fan of putting Word formats online–too easy to modify them by mistake…).

If you came here wanting whole stories (which I can understand!), I do have a Xuya short story online, “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, which won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction, and  is at Clarkesworld (and is getting reprinted in Dozois’s Year’s Best). You can also download EPUB or MOBI.

And if anyone is interested and a Hugo or Nebula voter, contact me and I’d be quite happy to email you a copy of my novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, which appeared in Asimov’s Oct/Nov and is now a tad hard to find.

And now for the bulk of this, aka, the stuff that I read from 2015 and want to recommend. (this list is a slightly modified and expanded version of one I wrote for the Book Smugglers. I would urge you to go read it: these recs for 2015 are more up to date, but the Book Smugglers post also has my 2016 TBR pile, and it really looks awesome. I made a slight headstart on said TBR pile thanks to friends, and so far I haven’t been disappointed!).

Short stories
“Variations on an Apple”, Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, October). It’s no secret that I love Yoon Ha Lee’s stuff, and this clever retelling of the Trojan war is no exception. Tackles mathematics, desire, and the consequences of decisions that aren’t always wisely made. Also, Illium and Helen are both awesome in different ways.

“Milagroso”, Isabel Yap (Tor.com, August). In a future where food is grown in labs and always perfect, there is still room for the miracles of saints… By turns exuberant and heartbreaking, this is a story of what we take for granted, how we seek to protect our children, and the price we pay.

“The Star Maiden”, Rokshani Chokshi. Tala’s grandmother used to be a star maiden, annd tells her granddaughter stories of longing for the sky. But Tala grows up and starts questioning the veracity of the story–and becomes ashamed of her grandmother’s oddness. There’s nothing really surprising in this one, but it’s very very well done (as in I broke down and cried at the end), and encapsulates the heartache of growing up.

“The Monkey House”, Tade Thompson (Omenana, March). The narrator returns to work after a breakdown–and finds that everything is *almost* normal. I love the sense of creeping unease of this one, the feeling that everything looks almost quite right (and that 1% “not right” that is downright unsettling). I’m not usually much of a reader for horror or dark, but this is perfect.

“If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler”, by Xia Jia (Clarkesworld, Nov). I love Xia Jia’s stuff, and this short story about a poet and her legacy–and how people handle it in the age of the internet and social media–is lovely and sharp.

“City of Salt”, Arkady Martine, (Strange Horizons, March). This one has stuck around in my head since I read it: the story of a man who comes back to a deserted city, to face the woman he once knew and what she has become… Poetic and elegiac in all the best ways.

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Ye obligatory eligibility post, plus asking for story recommendations


So, since everyone is doing it, the obligatory awards eligibility post…

I only published three original pieces of short fiction this year, and of these the one that has the most visibility is this one (it got noticed in Rich Horton’s year-end summary of Asimov’s, among other things):

-“Shipbirth”, published in the February 2011 issue of Asimov’s, best described as “Aztecs in space”. Eligible in the short story category. If you’re interested, I’ve put it online here (it’s in EPUB and MOBI format as well, for ereaders).

On a not-so-selfish note, meanwhile, here’s the stuff I read this year that was awesome:
Short stories:
-Nancy Fulda, “Movement” (Asimov’s March issue). OK, I’m biased. I read an early draft of this and loved it. But Lois Tilton and Jason Sanford also think it’s a great story, so I’m not the only one. It’s in the point of view of a child with temporal autism and a unique outlook on life–but what happens when her parents want to cure her of her “disease”?
-Yoon Ha Lee, “Ghostweight” (Clarkesworld, January 2011). I’m a big Yoon Ha Lee fan, and this story is awesome. It’s about a woman (and an entire people) who carry the souls of the dead, and how far she’s willing to go to get revenge against the empire that destroyed her home. It’s also about origami, and war-kites, and change. Wonderful from beginning to end.
-Ferrett Steimetz, “Run, Bacri Says” (Asimov’s October 2011). The premise is goofy (what if you could save your life like in videogames, and then rewind to the save point); the story is anything but, taking the reader along with it, and raising hard questions about the worth of actions. Good, in a very disturbing kind of way. And also recommended by Lois Tilton.
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, “Return to Paraiso” (Realms of Fantasy, October 2011). A wonderful piece, set in a fantastical version of the Philippines, with a rebel returning to her home in a cage, and the effect she has on the community. Chockful of detail, with a strong voice reminiscent of the best magical realists. Track it online and read it, you won’t regret it. Plus, it has an awesome illustration.

-“The Man Who Ended History: a Documentary”, Ken Liu (available online here at Ken’s website, originally published in Panverse Three). Ken had a lot of very good stories this year, but this one is my favourite (narrow tie between this and “Paper Menagerie in F&SF, though). It deals with a novel method of observing history–about what this means for memory, for the victims of atrocities and their descendants, and for history as a discipline. It’s a harrowing look at a dark episode in the history of Asia, too, and will definitely make you think.

Zoo City, Lauren Beukes. It won the Clarke Award, and deservedly so–a rich thriller set in a world where criminals acquire an animal familiar who gives them supernatural power, the novel follows Zinzi December through Johannesburg and the titular slum–and her attempts to make sense of the mysterious disappearance of a singer. Bursting at the seams with wonderful world-building and a sharp eye for details and voice, this should make final ballots if there’s any justice.

-Zen Cho (qian on LJ) is eligible for the Campbell! You should totally read her Malaysian-vampire novelette, “The House of Aunts” in Giganotosaurus, and her short story (?) about lion dancers and exorcisms, “起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion—The Lion Bows)” in Strange Horizons.

Other than that… I haven’t been reading much short fiction or recent novels lately. What’s out there that’s award-worthy? I still have ten days (for the BSFA), and a couple of months (for the Hugos and Nebulas) to catch up on stuff… Any recs much appreciated (feel free to plug yourself, too). Thanks in advance!

ETA: Ken’s novella is actually available on his website (thanks to Dario Ciriello for the link). Go check it out!

Zoo City and the Clarke Award


Huge congrats to fellow AR author Lauren Beukes for winning the Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City.

And, while you’re at it, you can go read her post on Writing the Other over at the World SF blog.

Writing The Other is a sensitive topic. It should be. Not least because it’s so often been done so very, very, badly.

But the truth is that unless you’re writing autobiography, any character you write is going to be The Other.

I am not a serial killer. (Unless my multiple personalities are hiding something from me.) I am also not a 50s housewife, a parking attendant, a car-jacking reality TV star, a Ugandan email scammer, a Tokyo mecha pilot, or a future-world stubborn-as-heck gay anti-corporate activist. And even though my novelist friends Thando Mgqolozana and Zukiswa Wanner like to joke that I’m a black girl trapped in a white girl’s skin, I’m not Zoo City’s hip, fast-talking, ex-journo, ex-junkie black Joburg girl protagonist, Zinzi.

(you can also see Lauren on the Hugo Awards shortlist, where she’s up for a Campbell Award)