Speculative Fiction 2015 (and Another Ending)

SpecFic2015Book Smugglers Publishing have released the latest (and sadly, final) volume in the Speculative Fiction series. Speculative Fiction 2015 is edited by Foz Meadows and Mark Oshiro and collects over 50 online reviews and essays from the extended SF/F webbersphere. This year's cover art is provided by Kenda Montgomery.

The Speculative Fiction series began with Speculative Fiction 2012, which won a British Fantasy Award and was a Hugo finalist. Each year that followed, as was the intent, the collection changed editors - in order to present a new perspective on the year's 'best' discussion, and showcase the vastness of the online world (and, in some sense, the ridiculousness of trying to sandwich it between two covers). In 2015, the series publishers as well, moving from Jurassic London to Book Smugglers Publishing.

The end of the series is - as the Book Smugglers note - 'bittersweet'. But endings take different shapes and sizes. When Justin Landon and I began curating the first volume at the end of 2012, the relationship between 'traditional' and 'online' reviewing was far more strained. Bloggers, online platforms, even digital publications were still on the outside, looking in.

The first collection was explicitly produced to bridge this gap, to show the brilliant work that only existed online. There was a hint of irony to it, of course: the idea that online work had to be bound into book form in order to achieve respect, as if format equated quality. Especially since, as we noted in the first volume, the circulation of Speculative Fiction was far, far less than the readership of any of its component contributors.

Still,... it worked.

The non-fiction categories of genre awards are now almost entirely digital-first publications, to say nothing of the way that the Hugo Awards' Fanzine, Semi-Prozine and Fan Writer categories have shifted from ignoring digital channels to being dominated by them. There are now more online review venues and more paid online review venues for speculative fiction in all its forms. Online platforms like Tor.com are now recognised as the most effective way of getting short fiction and art in front of audiences - both readers and juries. And major awards, from Spectrum to the Arthur C Clarke Award, are now open to digital or online-only submissions. 

It seems silly to think about now, but in 2012, the online 'scene' was an afterthought; considered second-class fandom and third-rate professionalism. In 2017, this is no longer the case. Speculative Fiction certainly wasn't the cause of the SF/F community eventually embracing the importance of the online world, but it helped make a little noise at the right time, and in the right places. Selfishly, I hope its role as an insolent little pioneer isn't forgotten. 

Is there still a role for a 'best of online non-fiction'? Probably. There will always be readers - consumer and professional - that disproportionately respect the gravitas of the printed word. (Hell, I'm probably one of them.) But the tide has truly turned, and the Speculative Fiction series can end knowing that it helped make a difference.

The Djinn Falls in Love

The Djinn Falls in LoveMy first post-Jurassic book is on its way: The Djinn Falls in Love, co-edited with Mahvesh Murad.

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. 

And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them. 

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

The Djinn Falls in Love contains stories from Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.

Djinn is published by Solaris, and released in both US and UK in mid-March.

It is available for pre-order on Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.

If you're a NetGalley type, you can find an ARC here. And early reviews have begun popping up on Goodreads.

The End!

We're done! Our titles have been delisted as of this morning. 

What's next?

One: Jared says 'bye', in the afterword from The Extinction Event

Two: we're still shipping a ton of The Extinction Event, and will be for several more weeks. (Don't panic!)

Three: some of our books have received interest from other publishers, and may reappear under new management. 

Four: the last email to our mailing list goes out soon, then that goes kerput too.

Five, schemes! Who knows?!

Six: this website/blog will stick around - I'll try to keep it updated with new reviews, awards (knocks on wood), other news. Similarly, jared at jurassic-london.com will remain if there are any questions about orders, rights, royalties, whatever.

Seven: Kilkerran


One week to go!

10702229_10154688548695521_213867787888387444_nWith The Extinction Event behind us, a reminder that extinction itself is only a week away!

Our books are going out of print on 1 November, so if you're looking for some of the universe's actual best fiction1, strike now!

Our list of titles can be found here.

Or on Amazon.co.uk.

Or even on Amazon.com.

Our chapbooks are downloadable for free on Goodreads (and will remain there indefinitely). 


1: This is completely true. I'll totally provide references in, like, early November. Until then, just take my word for it.

The Extinction Event - Next Steps!

Thank you all for supporting one last, amazing shindig - the launch/farewell party was a blast! The auction/sale raised almost £400 for charity, we got to chat with a lot of terrific people, and we met a small French Bulldog named Batman! Successful night all around.

What's happening next:

  • Checking with the 'pick up' list (people who bought The Extinction Event, without shipping) to make sure they all got their books.
  • Emailing people who bought on the evening with their invoices.
  • Emailing auction winners and sale table purchasers their totals, with links to a few of our favourite charities.
  • Shipping! Infinite shipping. As the attendees of the night can attest, this books are big. I hope to get them all out in the next two weeks, much to the chagrin of the local post office.
  • think there are a few copies left to sell, but I won't know for sure until I confirm the first two steps, above.

And, amidst the shipping & the mayhem... a reminder that all the other Jurassic books are going out of print at the end of the month.  

Upcoming Events

Over the next few months (with more to be added):

Friday, 15 July - Aleriel at the Royal Astronomical Society's Courtyard Late. Marek Kukula will be giving a talk about Mars in literature, and we'll be manning a wee Martian table, with copies of Aleriel and The Brick Moon for sale. (Details.)

23-25 September - FantasyCon by the Sea. We'll be manning a table in the dealer room, selling... I genuinely don't know what..., plus participation in other programming. (Details)

Thursday, 13 October - The Extinction Event AMA. The contributors to our final volume will be participating in a massive Ask Me Anything session at r/fantasy. (Details to come.)

Thursday, 20 October - The Extinction Event! Our last launch party. You're all invited. (Details to come.)

Monday, 31 October - Extinction! This is it! The last chance to buy any of our books!

"The Last Escapement" on Pseudopod

I do not know how many times I am to try this: to create a time-keeping device that will hold its measure on a journey across the sea. Every day, the same thing: a task as simple as steadying a pendulum, the rock of left to right; of making it sturdy, able to take the yoke of a storm and hold it still. Time is regular, this is the crux of the problem, and when travelling the seas, time is lost. It evaporates, like salt-water from a deck — though time, of course, leaves no trace. It is such an intangible thing that we try to measure.

James Smythe's deliciously harrowing "The Last Escapement" is now available as a free audio story on the award-winning Pseudopod.

"The Last Escapement", first published in Irregularity, is narrated by Paul Jenkins. One of our very favourite stories, it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

If you like your stories read to you (and who doesn't?), you can find more (free!) audio fiction here.

British Fantasy Society - Horizons #3

British Fantasy SocietyI'm the guest editor for the next issue of Horizons - the British Fantasy Society's journal of fantastic fiction. 

I've selected 13 stories that showcase the full range of the British fantastic: everything from the epic to the horrific; contemporary thriller to sword & sorcery; literary-goofy to pulp-Weird. 

Jurassic readers will recognise a few familiar names, like Sarah Lotz, Den Patrick, Tiffani Angus, Tim Major, Archie Black and Rose Biggin. They're joined by Aliya Whiteley, E. C. Hibbs, Simon Kewin, Jen Williams, Chikodili Emelumadu, D. J. Tyrer and the great Amelia Edwards.

Plus, cool art from Jeffrey Alan Love, Vincent Sammy and Vincent Holland-Keen. And poetry, as selected by Ian Hunter.

It is only available to the British Fantasy Society, so if you're interested in Horizons and the Society's other publications, check out membership in the BFS.

For those that love trees (and need shelf space), there's a new 'paperless' option for membership as well, with all the goodies arriving in digital form. Horizons #3 will be shipping this summer.

When Undeath Imitates Art

Robert Sharp on The Good Shabti and the ReAnima Project:

...the process is called Triple-R: Reinvigoration, Reingnition, Resuscitation.  The scientists first inject the brain and other parts of the body with a patented solution that invigourates the organs; then they jump-start the dead brain by reconnecting synaptic connections.

The limited edition is indeed (very) sold out, but ebooks of Robert's novella (a Shirley Jackson Award finalist!) are available through Sabrina Press.