Thoughts from the SF Gateway

On This Day: Mariner 2 Was Launched

27 August 2015

On this day, in 1962, Mariner 2 was launched by NASA.  In December of the same year it flew past Venus, becoming the first space probe to make a successful fly-by encounter with another planet.

Designed and built by the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech, the probe carried a variety of scientific instruments designed to gather magnetic, temperature and radiation data and transmit it back to Earth.  It passed within 35,000 kilometres of Venus, continuiing on towards the Sun, where it remains in a heliocentric orbit.

This illustration from the NASA website shows the Mariner 2 probe and identifies its main components:

 

 

You can read more about the Mariner 2 mission at the JPL section of the NASA website.

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New Title: The Starry Rift

26 August 2015

Last summer we had the privilege of publishing James Tiptree Jr‘s extraordinary collection, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.  We have a number of other Tiptree titles coming from SF Gateway, the first of which is The Starry Rift, which we published in eBook at the end of July.

 

 

These are the heroes of the Starry Rift, a dark river of night that flows between the arms of our galaxy: a headstrong teenaged runaway who makes first contact with a strange alien race; a young officer on a deep-space salvage mission who discovers an exact double of a woman he thought he’d lost; and the crew of an exploration ship who must plead for the human race to avert an interstellar war.


The Starry Rift is a collection of linked stories that take place in the same universe as her acclaimed novel, Brightness Falls from the Air (coming in November this year in paperback omnibus and eBook editions).

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On This Day: John Brunner Died

25 August 2015

On this day, twenty years ago, John Brunner passed away during the 1995 Glasgow Worldcon.  Brunner was a remarkable writer, whose career seems to divide neatly into two very different streams. To quote The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:

In the end, his name depends on two strands of his output: on his significant contributions to the space-opera redoubt, which he came to look down upon; and the immensely formidable tract-novels about the state of the world published between 1968 and 1975.

But it was not just the content but the style of the books written in this second portion of his career that made his name, someof them written with a Dos Passos-like flair . . .

HIPCRIME: You committed one when you opened this book. Keep it up. It’s our only hope.
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan

COINCIDENCE: You weren’t paying attention to the other half of what was happening.
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan

If you recognise the above quotes, then chances are you’re one of the enlightened souls who’ve read Stand on Zanzibar, his brilliantly fractured 1968 novel, which won the Hugo Award and the BSFA Award. The creation of Stand on Zanzibar alone would be enough to ensure Brunner entry into the pantheon of SF greats, but he produced many other fine and worthy works (which, coincidentally, you can find via his author page on the SF Gateway) such as The Shockwave Rider, in which he predicted the computer virus.



Having read and enjoyed Stand on Zanzibar – albeit many moons ago – we can’t help but winder what John Brunner would make of this world we’ve inherited. . . ?

PATRIOTISM: A great British writer once said that if he had to choose between betraying his country and betraying a friend he hoped he would have the decency to betray his country.
(Amen, brothers and sisters! Amen!)
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan


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The Lathe of Heaven: Now in eBook!

24 August 2015

As we never tire of reminding you, we recently completed a comprehensive agreement to publish almost all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s SF & Fantasy work, including eBook editions of the great Earthsea cycle and adding eBook rights to our existing SF Masterworks The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven.

We’re delighted to announce that the eBook edition of the latter is now available – so get thee to thy ereader and enjoy!

Shortlisted for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1972, our current SFMasterwork of the Week is Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Lathe of Heaven.

Through his dreams, George Orr can make alternate realities real

George Orr is a mild and unremarkable man who finds the world a less than pleasant place to live: seven billion people jostle for living space and food. But George dreams dreams which do in fact change reality ? and he has no means of controlling this extraordinary power.

Psychiatrist Dr William Haber offers to help. At first sceptical of George?s powers, he comes to astonished belief. When he allows ambition to get the better of ethics, George finds himself caught up in a situation of alarming peril.

 

The Lathe of Heaven is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and – now! – a Gateway eBook.  You can find more of Ursula K. Le Guin’s work via her Author page on the Gateway website and  read more about her in her entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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Masterworks Spotlight: The Riddlemaster’s Game

21 August 2015

One of modern fantasy’s most assured and original trilogies – comparable to The Lord of the Rings and The Book of the New Sun in scope and grandeur.



Morgon, Prince of Hed, wants only to rule and work the land of his birth as best he can, but he is faced by a very different challenge from that of his ancestors. The stars have marked him out and he must wander strange, foreign lands full of untamed magic, and confront riddling wraiths and mysterious harpists at the behest of the all-knowing High One. But his is a perilous quest, involving grave danger, to himself, his promised bride, his land and his people.


This volume contains The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Hugo and World Fantasy Award-shortlisted Harpist in the Wind – all available as individual eBooks – the complete Riddle-Master trilogy, which is among the most respected and popular fantasies of recent years.



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Happy Birthday, Greg Bear!

20 August 2015

Multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Greg Bear turns 64 today. The author of such seminal Big Dumb Object novels as The Forge of God and Eon, bio-thriller Blood Music, claustrophobic space adventure Hull Zero Three and Stapledonian epic The City at the End of Time was born on this day in 1951.

Bear has moved Mars, tuned in to Darwin’s Radio, built on Asimov’s Foundations and pretty much mastered every subgenre he set out to explore. He is very much a giant of the modern field and we at Gollancz and SF Gateway are delighted to be his publishers.

And in addition to his own prodigious and decorated output, Greg Bear has another connection to SF Gateway: he is the son-in-law of the late great Poul Anderson, author of such SF classics as the Flandry of Terra novels, The High Crusade, the Psychotechnic League, the Time Patrol . . . we could go on but this post is supposed to be about Greg Bear not Poul Anderson, so we’ll keep that powder dry for another day.

Happy Birthday, Greg Bear – may you keep us in great books for many years to come!

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On This Day: Hugo Gernsback Died

19 August 2015

 On this day in 1967, Hugo Gernsback, one of the most influential figures in the history of science fiction, passed away in New York.

How influential? Well, he launched the first fully-dedicated SF magazine, Amazing Stories, first coined the phrase ‘scientifiction‘, which later became the term we know and love; he appended ‘PhD’ to the end of a young Edwin Elmer Smith‘s by line to give us ‘Doc’ Smith, and the premier award of the science fiction field is named after him. Influential enough for ya?

His various SF magazines gave us ‘Doc’ Smith, Jack Williamson and Stanley Weinbaum, and it could be argued that he began the tradition – perhaps unique to the SF field – of the editor as curator and shaper of literature. Certainly, other fields have had their major editorial figures, but we’d argue that there is no lineage in any other area of fiction to match the likes of Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Donald Wollheim, Judith Merril, Michael Moorcock, Judy-Lynn del Rey, Damon Knight, Cele Goldsmith . . .



Influential enough for ya?

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Happy Birthday, Brian Aldiss!

18 August 2015

Two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, five BSFA Awards, a John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame living inductee.

SFWA Grand Master.

The IAFA Award for distinguished scholarship.

World Fantasy Special Award.

The Prix Utopia Award for lifetime achievement.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Author of the most widely-respected, critically acclaimed history of SF.

Writer of the short story behind Steven Spielberg‘s AI: Artificial Intelligence.


Not a bad CV, by anyone’s standards, but those are only selected highlights from the glittering career of the great Brian W. Aldiss, who turns ninety today.

Brian Aldiss’s extraordinary body of work, stretching back some sixty years, encompasses a wide range of writing, from the fantastic to the literary, via non-fiction and poetry. He was an important figure in SF’s New Wave and stands alongside fellow Britons  Michael Moorcock and J G Ballard as writers accepted and praised equally by the genre and literary worlds.

We are lucky enough to publish three of his books in the SF Masterworks series: Non-Stop, Greybeard and the epic Helliconia trilogy. We recommend them all.


 

Happy ninetieth birthday, Brian!

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Happy Birthday, Rachel Pollack!

17 August 2015

Gateway wishes a very happy to 70th birthday to Rachel Pollack, born on this day in Brooklyn, New York.  She is well known as a science fiction writer, comic book writer and expert on divinatory tarot, and for her influence on the women’s spirituality movement and on women’s SF. Her novel Unquenchable Fire won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1989.

SF Masterworks paperback | Gateway eBook


You can find more of Rachel Pollack’s work via her Author page on the Gateway website and read about her in her entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.


Happy Birthday, Rachel!

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Masterworks Spotlight: Dark Benediction

14 August 2015

The second of this month’s Masterworks spotlights is Dark Benediction, an essential collection of short fiction from the Hugo Award-winning author of A Canticle For Leibowitz.


paperback | eBook


Walter M. Miller Jr is best remembered as the author of A Canticle For Leibowitz, universally recognized as one of the greatest novels of modern SF. But as well as writing that deeply felt and eloquent book, he produced many shorter works of fiction of stunning originality and power.

His profound interest in religion and his innate literary gifts combined perfectly in the production of such works as ‘The Darfstellar’, for which he won a Hugo in 1955, ‘Conditionally Human’, ‘I, Dreamer’ and ‘The Big Hunger’, all of which are included in this brilliant and essential collection – now with a new introduction by Hugo- and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Pat Cadigan.

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