Sunday Links for February 19, 2012

Sometime in the past couple of weeks, I gave you a link to Locus’s recommended list for books and stories published in 2011. Now Locus has given us a more specialized list: stories, novellas and novelettes available online. It’s an excellent resource for those who want to catch up on the best in short fiction.

Nominees for the best vampire novel of the century have been announced by the Horror Writers Association. My vote would probably go to Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, which I think is a stunning work. No matter what you might think of Rice’s later work, this first novel in the Vampire Chronicles is really marvelous.

The Horror Writers Association has also announced nominations for the Bram Stoker Award. I was inspired to haul out Locke & Key, Volume 3: Crown of Shadows and Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom HC (the latter of which has been nominated in the graphic novel category) by this list of nominated works – and I’m also going to the library very soon, as well as paying a visit to my good friend Amazon.

Why do we women have to keep pushing to get ourselves recognized? Bad enough that a U.S. House of Representatives met to consider birth control without involving a single woman last week. But it affects every arena of life, including panels at science fiction, fantasy and horror conventions. Paul Cornell has announced that he will no longer appear on panels that aren’t gender balanced. Good for him! And boo for the men (it’s always the men) in the comments section who are full of excuses for why women can’t participate in equal numbers. Tor.com wrote on the same issue.

I love graphic novels, as readers of this blog probably recall even though it’s been some time since I reviewed any (there’s a long post in the works). I am not, however, overly fond of superheroes. So this list caught my eye: graphic novels without superheroes. I’m particularly interested in Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alice Bechdel. It’s off to the library for me – again!

Jedediah Barry, author of the weird and interesting The Manual of Detection, was on the jury that selected the finalists for the Hammett Prize. Not surprisingly, there were quite a few books that were very good that didn’t make it to the ballot. Barry lists some of his favorites. I’ve read The Sisters Brothers, and while I thought it interesting, I didn’t share Berry’s enthusiasm for it, and would never have thought to compare it to Samuel Beckett’s work. I guess that’s why there are different reviewers for every taste.

Since I started reviewing magazines at Fantasy Literature, I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction and fantasy poetry than ever before. It seems to me to be particularly difficult to write poetry on such themes – and given that poetry is difficult in the best of circumstances, that’s saying something. io9 offers its list of the best books of science fictional poetry. I confess I’ve heard of none of the poets listed; it sounds like I have some reading to do.

The post-apocalyptic setting seems to apply more to science fiction than to fantasy, but lately fantasy is partaking of the end of the world with enthusiasm (perhaps because of the success of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy – and I’m sure looking forward to that movie in March!). The top 17 fantasies of a post-apocalyptic world are discussed here. To my surprise, I’ve heard of few of them. And any list that includes Terry Brooks as the top entry warrants my skepticism. Still, there are some books here that sound interesting; and a list that includes Gene Wolfe has to have some value.

Lev Grossman, the author of The Magicians and The Magician King (read the first and loved it; have yet to read the second), offers his reviews of two very different but very good books: Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand and At Last by Edward St. Aubyn. The former arrived on my doorstep a few days ago, and I think I’d like to get my hands on the latter as well. That’s what a good book reviewer can do to you: make you want to read everything, and then some.

When the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists decides to run an article on science fiction, it tends to be somewhat old hat for those of us who read SF/F/H regularly. But it’s cool to read a paragraph encouraging scientists to take up their pens, as Laura H. Kahn, the author of this article, does, concluding, “The world needs more stories with scientist-heroes, not more scientist-villains.” I agree.

Oh, those clichés. We reviewers need to avoid them like the plague and never let them darken our door! (I did those two on purpose.) Some clichés are specific to book reviewing, including the much beloved “The pages turned themselves.” This clip is amusing, and also a warning.

Mark Grist is a spoken word poet, which is why (I assume) I couldn’t find the text of this poem anywhere online. But it’s definitely worth listening to in any event, and perhaps all the more fun for being declaimed aloud. It’s about how girls who read are superior to any other sort of girl. I know my husband would agree.