Thoughts from the SF Gateway

SF Gateway Welcomes Katherine MacLean and Judith Moffett!

30 April 2014

We are delighted to announce that SF Gateway has recently concluded deals to publish SFWA Author Emeritus Katherine MacLean and Judith Moffett, winner of the 1988 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

We will be publishing Katherine MacLean‘s novel The Missing Man, based on her Nebula Award-winning novella of the same name, as well as two collections: The Diploids and The Trouble With You Earth People.

From Judith Moffett we have acquired rights to her Holy Ground Trilogy – comprising The Ragged World, the James Tiptree Award-shortlisted Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream and The Bird Shaman – along with novel Pennterra and collection Two That Came True.

No publication dates as yet, but keep an eye on the regularly-updated complete schedule [Excel File] over the next few months.

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SF Gateway: the Nebula Winners

29 April 2014

We’ve looked at the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke Awards for best novel and now, with the Nebula Weekend fast approaching (May 15-18), we thought we’d look at the best novel prize awarded each year by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

As with the previous two awards, our showing in the Nebulas is very good. Approximately 50% of the winners were published by Gollancz and/or are now published by SF Gateway. Look!

1966 Dune, Frank Herbert (SF Masterworks hardback | SF Gateway eBook)
1967 (tie) Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1967 (tie) Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1968 The Einstein IntersectionSamuel R. Delany (SF Gateway eBook)
1971 Ringworld, Larry Niven (SF Masterworks paperback)
1972 A Time of Changes, Robert Silverberg (SF Gateway Omnibus | SF Gateway eBook)
1973 The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov (SF Masterworks paperback)
1974 Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1975 The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin (SF Masterworks paperback)
1976 The Forever War, Joe Haldeman (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1977 Man Plus, Frederik Pohl (SF Masterworks paperback)
1978 GatewayFrederik Pohl (SF Masterworks paperback)
1980 The Fountains of ParadiseArthur C. Clarke (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1981 Timescape, Gregory Benford (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1982 The Claw of the Conciliator, Gene Wolfe (Fantasy Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1983 No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1988 The Falling Woman, Pat Murphy (Fantasy Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1990 The Healer’s War, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (SF Gateway eBook)
1993 Doomsday Book, Connie Willis (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1995 Moving Mars, Greg Bear (SF Gateway eBook)
1997 Slow River, Nicola Griffith (SF Masterworks paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
1999 Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman (Gollancz omnibus paperback | SF Gateway eBook)
2006 CamouflageJoe Haldeman (SF Gateway eBook)
2009 Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin (Gollancz paperback | Gollancz eBook)
2011 Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Gollancz paperbacks | SF Gateway eBooks)

That’s 25 out of 49 – an excellent return and as good a reading list of essential SF & Fantasy as you’ll find this side of . . . hmmm . . . this side of the Hugos. I wonder . . .

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SF Masterwork of the Week: The Shrinking Man

28 April 2014

This is one of the seminal texts of 1950’s SF, the novel that inspired the film, The Incredible Shrinking Man – the first film to win a Hugo Award. Indeed, it is hard not to see the title of Richard Matheson’s book without mentally inserting the word ‘Incredible’ into it.  We are delighted to be republishing this classic in the SF Masterworks series, with a new introduction by the Nebula and BSFA Award-winning author, Lisa Tuttle.

While on a boating holiday, Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of radioactive spray. A few weeks later, following a series of medical examinations, he can no longer deny the extraordinary truth. Not only is he losing weight, he is also shorter than he was. Scott Carey has begun to shrink.

Richard Matheson’s novel follows through its premise with remorseless logic, with Carey first attempting to continue some kind of normal life and later having left human contact behind, having to survive in a world where insects and spiders are giant adversaries. And even that is only a stage on his journey into the unknown.

Richard Matheson’s other major work, I Am Legend, is also available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook, and you can read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . . . Clifford D. Simak

25 April 2014

And rounding out a week of Encyclopedic treats: Clifford D. Simak, who died on this day in 1988 . . .

(1904-1988) US writer whose primary occupation 1929-1976 was newspaper work, and who worked full-time for the Minneapolis Star from 1939 until his retirement, when he became a full-time writer of sf, some years past his early prime. He was in fact a prolific and increasingly popular sf figure – after some stories in the early 1930s – from the true beginning of his career in 1938, remaining prolific from that date until his death. His first published stories, beginning with “The World of the Red Sun” for Wonder Stories in December 1931, were less individual than his later work; significantly, however, that first tale deals with Time Travel, which became his favourite sf device for the importation of Aliens into rural Wisconsin, always his favourite venue. Other early work of interest included “The Voice in the Void” (Spring 1932 Wonder Stories Quarterly), about the desecration of a sacred tomb on Mars which possibly contains the relics of a Messiah from Earth; “Hellhounds of the Cosmos” (June 1932 Astounding), in which defenders of Earth who, in order to fight a Monster in another Dimension, combine into a gestalt; and The Creator (March/April 1935 Marvel Tales; 1946 chap; exp with critical commentaries 1981 chap), in which humans and other races travel by Time Machine in order to combat the creator of the universe, who has become bored with his/her handiwork.

You can read Clifford D. Simak’s full entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and find his books via his Author page at the SF Gateway website.

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From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . . . Daniel Defoe

24 April 2014

From the virtual pages of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Daniel Defoe, who died on this day in 1731 …

(?1660-1731) UK merchant, professional spy and man of letters born Daniel Foe, becoming Defoe in the 1690s after he began to write; the extremely prolific author of many works of various kinds, though the huge canon of unsigned works once attributed to him has been convincingly diminished (to somewhere slightly in excess of 300 titles). He is best known today for his novel The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner (1719) and its sequels [for fuller details, see Checklist], which, while not sf, provided a fundamental model for many sf stories (> Robinsonade). . .

Read the full entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . . . Paul McAuley

23 April 2014

As noted yesterday, this week’s posts are courtesy of the essential Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and are all date specific entries. Today: A very Happy Birthday to one of British SF’s premier writers, Paul McAuley.

(Born April 23rd, 1955) UK biologist and writer who began publishing work of genre interest with “Wagon, Passing” for Asimov’s in June 1984; his best shorter work has been assembled as The King of the Hill and Other Stories (coll 1991), The Invisible Country (coll 1996), Little Machines (coll 2005) and the comprehensive A Very British History: The Best Science Fiction of Paul McAuley (coll 2013), ranging with a sharp but loyal eye through various ways of telling sf, more frequently than with his novels in terms of Satire. He has also written under the name Sean Flynn (> Games Workshop). With his first novel, Four Hundred Billion Stars (1988), he launched conspicuously into the far-reaching Re-United Nations sequence (sometimes known as the Four Hundred Billion Stars series) which, combining Space-Opera plots and cosmological speculations, fruitfully amalgamated influences from both US and UK traditions: H G Wells and Larry Niven consort, if sometimes uncomfortably, in these tales of interstellar warfare, world-building and universe-creation. Further volumes are Of the Fall (1989; vt Secret Harmonies 1989) and the very substantial Eternal Light (1991), which best exemplifies to date McAuley’s control over the instruments of 1990s Hard SF: Wormholes; Faster Than Light travel, agathics to attain various versions of Immortality, Genetic Engineering and Cosmology on the hugest scale. The series itself ostensibly concerns the attempts of an almost fatally wearied corporation-run Earth – reminiscent of Cordwainer Smith – to fend off the panicked aggressions of an ancient starfaring species, itself hiding from enemies of its own ilk; but the pleasures of this ongoing sequence seem more and more to lie in the increasingly comprehensive physical history of the entire Universe adumbrated in Eternal Light (> Transcendence).

You can read Paul McAuley’s full entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and find his books via his Author pages at the SF Gateway and Orion websites.

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From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . . . Damien Broderick

22 April 2014

Partly because holidays – but mainly because, dammit, everyone should be consulting it regularly – this week’s posts will all be taken from the 4 million-plus words of authority and erudition that are The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Today: Damien Broderick . . .

(Born April 22nd, 1944) Australian writer, editor and critic; he has a PhD in the semiotics of fiction, science and sf with special reference to the work of Samuel R Delany. He has edited four anthologies of Australian sf: The Zeitgeist Machine (anth 1977), Strange Attractors (anth 1985), Matilda at the Speed of Light (anth 1988) and Centaurus: The Best of Australian Science Fiction (anth 1999) with David G Hartwell. As a critic deeply involved in Postmodernism and SF and in attempts to reconcile academic understandings of the field with his own transparent love of the works themselves, he is well known for Transrealist Fiction: Writing in the Slipstream of Science (2000) and x, y, z, t: dimensions of science fiction (2004 pod), which can be read together as a kind of diptych of informed critical takes and thrusts. His most widely influential study, however, may be Reading by Starlight: Post-Modern Science Fiction (1995), where he introduced the term SF Megatext, taken over from fantasy criticism, to designate the pool – it might be described as a kind of global index – of story forms, terms, associations, turns of phrase, references, tropes and Memes that marks or stains almost every sf story written. The very rare story that may have been written with no conscious knowledge of this intricate conversation will probably reflect unconscious influences, and/or reinvent the wheel: that is, repeat sf situations and solutions already laid down, perhaps frequently (> Adam and Eve; Clichés). More recently, Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 (2012) with Paul Di Filippo was written as a deliberate continuation of David Pringle‘s Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: 1949-1984 (1985); some omissions and eccentric inclusions are justified by its authors’ intelligent presentation of the texts selected. Their conviction that sf as literature continues to flourish shines throughout.

You can read Damien Broderick’s full entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction site, and two of his books are published by SF Gateway; you can find them via his Author page.

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SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: D G Compton

17 April 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the beguiling work of the critically acclaimed D. G. Compton.

 

Trade Paperback | eBook

 

D.G. Compton is best known for his prescient 1974 novel, The Continuous Katherine Motenhoe, which predicted the 21st century’s obsessions with media voyeurism and ‘reality television’. It was filmed as Death Watch in 1980 by Bertrand Tavernier. This omnibus collects three of his incisive SF novels, Ascendancies, Synthajoy and The Steel Crocodile.

You can find more of D. G. Compton’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website, and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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SF Masterwork of the Week: Jem

16 April 2014

A cynical and compelling tale of politics, exploitation and colonisation on another planet from the Hugo and Nebula-winning Grand Master, Frederik Pohl.

The discovery of another habitable world might spell salvation to the three bitterly competing power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but when their representatives arrive on Jem, with its multiple intelligent species, they discover instead the perfect situation into which to export their rivalries.

Subtitled, with savage irony, ‘The Making of a Utopia’, Jem is one of Frederik Pohl’s most powerful novels. This new edition includes an introduction by award-winning author Lisa Tuttle.

Jem is available as an SF Masterworks paperback. You can read more about Frederik Pohl in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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The Unsinkable Ship

14 April 2014

102 years ago today, the most famous of all maritime disasters occurred: the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg south of Newfoundland. The Titanic’s hull containing sixteen separate airtight compartments, causing some to refer to it as ‘unsinkable’, but the iceberg opened five of these compartments to the ocean and the rest is history: it sank, five days into its maiden voyage, resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives.

The Titanic has fascinated explorers, historians and writers for over a century, now, prompting salvage expeditions, films and, of course, novels. All very interesting and timely, but none of this would usually be considered fodder for a site dedicated to classic SF – unless one of those novels was written by one of the all-time greats of science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

It is 2010. In two years’ time it will be the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. Two of the world’s most powerful corporations race to raise the vessel but there are other powers at work, and chaos theory comes into play as plans progress – and six preserved bodies are found.

This novel incorporates two of Arthur C.Clarke’s passions – deep sea exploration and future technology – in a fast-moving tale of mystery and adventure. As operations proceed, the perfectly preserved body of a beautiful girl is found. She was not on the ship’s passenger lists.

The quest to uncover the secrets of the wreck and reclaim her becomes an obsession . . . and for some, a fatal one.

 

The Ghost From the Grand Banks was written in 1990, when the Titanic centenary was still a dozen years in the future, and Clarke approaches it with the rigour and imagination we’ve come to expect from a Hugo Award-winning Grand Master. It’s a book that is often overlooked among the more straightforwardly SFnal of his works, but we think it’s stood the test of time – as, indeed, has the strange allure of the tragic event that inspired it.

The Ghost From the Grand Banks is available as a Gollancz paperback and an SF Gateway eBook.

 

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