We Need Diverse Books Talks True, Political, Global Diversity in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

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We Need Diverse Books Presents In Our World and Beyond BookCon 2015

A year after its establishment, the We Need Diverse Books movement brought two engaging panels to BookCon 2015, partnering with bestselling authors to address the need for greater diversity in sci-fi and fantasy and children’s literature. In the panel In Our World and Beyond, SFF authors Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, and Daniel José Older, along with Saga Press Executive Editor Joe Monti, discussed the obstacles to depicting full representation of marginalized characters in SFF.

The panel discussed whether SFF should be political, and even tackled the term “diversity” itself—how politically correct it is, and the difference between a U.S.-centric diversity movement and the adoption of more global perspectives. Read on for the highlights!

Diversity is Truth

From the start, Older (author of Half-Resurrection Blues) established that “diversity is about the truth. When we’re not writing books that show the [truth] of the world, we’re lying. A lot of the history ...

Cover Revealed for The Winner’s Kiss

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Winner's Kiss Cover (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Marie Rutkoski’s third and final book in the Winner’s trilogy. We’ve embedded the full image for The Winner’s Kiss jacket design above—what do you think?

According to Bustle, the story continues the story of a young girl named Kestrel who “sees marriage not as white fluffy dresses and champagne parties but as a prison, trapped by her own obligations as the empire’s general’s daughter.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint at the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, has set the publication date for March 01, 2016.

By the Sword: The Tower

This post is by Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content

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This section is a classic.

There are a lot of books where a character runs away from home and sells their sword. There are a lot of books where a teenage character finds a mentor. The world of fantasy is full of magical artifacts that compel characters into interesting and improbable situations. And people fall in love and then back out of it every day of the week.

And then there’s this section of By the Sword, which has all of those things in the best possible way.

The section we dealt with last week was structured around questions at the crossroads. As Kerowyn rode to rescue Dierna, Tarma asked her why she dared, and as Kerowyn left the Keep to ride to the Tower, Tarma asked what took her so long. Tarma comes to the forefront in this section. Readers familiar with Oathbound and Oathbreakers will remember that ...

Novelist says she was wrong to oppose Charlie Hebdo PEN award

This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian

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Jennifer Cody Epstein says it was a mistake to question freedom of speech honour, and that magazine’s articles ‘sprang from satire, not hate’

The American novelist Jennifer Cody Epstein has said that she “fundamentally misunderstood Charlie Hebdo’s mission and content” when she put her name to a letter condemning PEN’s decision to honour the magazine with an award.

Epstein was one of more than 200 writers who signed a letter disassociating themselves from PEN American Center’s choice of the French satirical magazine, where 12 people were killed by gunmen in January, as winner of its “Freedom of Expression Courage award” last month. The writers, who also included Peter Carey and Michael Ondaatje, argued in their letter that the choice of winner was “not simply conveying support for freedom of expression, but also valorising … material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the western world”.

The 1st ...

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8 “Hardhome”

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After last week’s dramatic meetings and departures (and boobs, always boobs) Game of Thrones brings its all-new plot developments Beyond the Wall, where Jon goes on a diplomatic mission even stupider than Jaime’s in Dorne, but at least contains exciting things like White Walkers and jerky Thenns and my pretend soul mate Dolorous Edd. So I’m not even mad.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than last week’s. Stuff happened. Despite no one being raped or almost raped. A golden dragon egg for you, Game of Thrones.

I still think ...

My bad, King Crow.
tyrion meets dany

EL James to publish Fifty Shades sequel telling story from hero’s point of view

This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian

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Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told By Christian will be published in June, author has announced

Holy crap! Christian Grey, the enigmatic, dominating protagonist of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, is about to tell the world his own story, from how he became a successful entrepreneur by the age of 27 to why he has a “Red Room of Pain” on hand for his lover.

James, who has sold more than 125m copies of her books that detail the burgeoning BDSM relationship between shy student Anastasia Steele and businessman Grey, made the announcement on Twitter on Monday. The book will be called Grey, and will be published on 18 June – the character’s birthday.

Continue reading...

Five Books About Exploring and Communicating with Alien Cultures

This post is by Martha Wells from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content

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Many of my favorite stories in science fiction and fantasy deal with exploring an alien culture. I really like to see different species learning to communicate with each other, or an alien viewpoint on a more familiar human culture. It often requires the writer to step outside the box and create a point of view that takes into account different physical and mental abilities, a different environment, a different way of thinking.

I’ve always been drawn to these kinds of stories, especially the ones that are told through alien viewpoints, especially non-human aliens. I’ve always liked getting into the point of view of characters that are different from me, and seeing the world through their eyes.

There are a number of SF/F books and stories that deal with these themes, but below are five(ish) older works that were big influences on me, and that explore alien-human communication from different angles.



Will He Have to Defeat the Seven Evil Veronicas?

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Scott Pilgrim as Archie

Comic Book Resources recently posed a fun challenge to the internet: send us your Golden Age version of modern comics! All of the entries are great, but our favorite is this Archie-ied version of Scott Pilgrim, from cartoonist Rachel Ordway. We think she captures the epic awkwardness of both characters beautifully!

Morning Roundup brings you news of the Ninja Turtles, more thoughts on Tomorrowland, and a breakthrough in the printing of human skin.

  • Maybe the inclusion of Rocksteady and Bebop will transform the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies into enjoyable works of, if not art, at least fun popcorn fare?
  • We had our issues with Tomorrowland, but we agree that its original vision should be supported!
  • Designing video games should be exhilarating, not exhausting, right?
  • 3D-printed skin.
  • And speaking of how we all live in the future now (at least for the moment) one constant problem with using ...

Dread of literary parties led Philip Larkin to shun Oxford poetry professorship

This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian

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In letter to colleague, poet wrote that he dreaded post’s ‘sherry-drill with important people’ and that he would be ‘entirely unfitted’ for the job

A vision of the “hell on earth” that is a literary party and revulsion for “a lot of sherry-drill with important people” drove Philip Larkin to rule himself out of consideration as the Oxford professor of poetry, according to an unpublished letter recently discovered in a college safe.

As Oxford graduates prepare to vote for the next incumbent this June, with a spat breaking out over Wole Soyinka’s suitability for the post, the archivist at St Hugh’s College in Oxford has stumbled across a letter from Larkin declining a nomination.

Related: Wole Soyinka dismisses claims he is too grand and old for Oxford poetry chair

I could spend half my evenings, if I wanted,
Holding a glass of washing sherry, canted
Over to catch the ...

Why my retelling of Oliver Twist for teens is about a paedophile ring

This post is by Steve Tasane from Books | The Guardian

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When Steve Tasane set out to write Nobody Saw No One, a modern day thriller based on Oliver Twist, he found it impossible to dodge the issue of institutional child abuse that was dominating the news with Jimmy Savile and Operation Yewtree. Here’s why he thinks it’s so important to tell it and tell all – and not run scared

“Could there be a YA novel about a subject like Operation Yewtree, the investigation into sexual abuse?” Patrick Ness was asked this question at last year’s Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC). “Good luck pitching that to a YA publisher,” was his reply.

Yet, this week Walker Books are publishing my novel Nobody Saw No One, a thriller for ages 12 up to adult, which revolves around an establishment paedophile ring.

Related: Why we're glad Bunker Diary won the Carnegie

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The Book of the People: How to Read the Bible review – not your standard academic tome

This post is by Peter Stanford from Books | The Guardian

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AN Wilson’s tribute to the Bible – and to a late acquaintance – is an erudite pleasure but suffers from a muddled narrative

This is a two-for-the-price-of-one book. The real prize within its covers is an erudite, elegant and quietly impassioned plea from AN Wilson for us all, believers or not, to read the Bible more. The modern generation is missing out, he says, on the magnificence of its prose, the power of the stories it tells, and its extraordinary track record for inspiring the best and worst of human endeavours.

But included in there, too, is a distracting, half-formed eulogy to a shadowy would-be biblical scholar, a “sad gypsy”, more an acquaintance than a friend of Wilson’s, referred to only as “L”, who led an unhappy life and died prematurely and unfulfilled.

Related: Once upon a life: AN Wilson

Related: All Eben Alexander proves is that there is a longing ...

Poem of the week: All Day It Has Rained by Alun Lewis

This post is by Carol Rumens from Books | The Guardian

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The relaxed details of a slow Sunday at a military training camp in ‘Edward Thomas country’ mix with foreboding about what will follow

All Day It Has Rained

All day it has rained, and we on the edge of the moors
Have sprawled in our bell-tents, moody and dull as boors,
Groundsheets and blankets spread on the muddy ground
And from the first grey wakening we have found
No refuge from the skirmishing fine rain
And the wind that made the canvas heave and flap
And the taut wet guy-ropes ravel out and snap.
All day the rain has glided, wave and mist and dream,
Drenching the gorse and heather, a gossamer stream
Too light to stir the acorns that suddenly
Snatched from their cups by the wild south-westerly
Pattered against the tent and our upturned dreaming faces.
And we stretched out, unbuttoning our braces,
Smoking a Woodbine, darning dirty ...

The 100 best novels: No 89 – Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)

This post is by Robert McCrum from Books | The Guardian

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The novel with which the Nobel prize-winning author established her name is a kaleidoscopic evocation of the African-American experience in the 20th century

I first read Toni Morrison in 1977 when a proof copy of her novel, Song of Solomon, was on offer to the then-independent publisher, Chatto & Windus, for whom I was working as a young editor. Part of my background reading for this, her third book, involved discovering, and falling in love with, her debut, The Bluest Eye (1970), and its successor, Sula (1973). Since then, I have followed most of Morrison’s subsequent fiction, notably Beloved and Jazz, but I remain a diehard fan of the novel that established her name. From 1977 on, she only grew in stature as a contemporary writer of extraordinary power and vision, ultimately becoming, in 1993, the first African-American woman to win the Nobel prize for literature.

Song of ...

Top Twelve Books of the Decade 6/1/2015

This post is by Delanceyplace from Delanceyplace

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The Delanceyplace.com Top Twelve Books of the Decade:

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of delanceyplace.com, and to celebrate we are doing three things. First, we are announcing our top books of the decade--all listed below. Second, we have tabulated all the many votes we received from our readers for best selections of the decade, and will be emailing them one-by-one in a countdown over the next couple of weeks. Lastly, we've randomly drawn ten names from among all those who submitted their choices, and will be sending a copy of all of our top books to each of the winners.

I've read roughly 1500 books in the past decade, but since Google tells us there have been 129,864,880 books published in modern history, it seems like the smallest possible drop in the bucket. I tried over the last couple of months to narrow down these 1500 books into ...

My inspiration: Jon Mayhew on Jules Verne

This post is by Jon Mayhew from Books | The Guardian

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The author of the Monster Odyssey series explains how the genius of Victorian sci-fi master Jules Verne – who wrote Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Centre of the Earth – took his writing to a whole other world…

The Monster Odyssey series is the ongoing story of Prince Dakkar, son of an Indian rajah who has been sent to England for an education. It is 1814 and what few schools there are find Dakkar’s rebellious spirit too much to cope with. Finally, Dakkar is placed with the mysterious Count Oginski, a genius inventor with a dark past. Dakkar soon finds out that Oginski is waging a war against an evil organisation called Cryptos, who are set on ruling the world. But nothing is as straight forward as it seems and Dakkar is drawn into a world of monstrous adventure.

Related: Sharon Gosling's top 10 children's ...