Thoughts from the SF Gateway

The Arthur C. Clarke Award Special Offer!

13 July 2018

In honour of the one of the biggest awards in science fiction taking place on Wednesday night, SF Gateway is dropping the price of all of the previous winners on our list to an amazing £2.99! 

Air by Geoff Ryman

Synners by Pat Cadigan

Black Man by Richard Morgan

The Sea and the Summer by George Tuner

Dreaming in Smoke by Tracy Sullivan

Nova Swing by M. John Harrison

Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman

The Separation by Christopher Priest

Fools by Pat Cadigan

Fairyland by Paul McAuley

Unquenchable Fire by Rachel Pollack

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Harlan Ellison 1934-2018

29 June 2018

We were saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Harlan Ellison yesterday. Often controversial, always unequivocal and forever one of our finest writers, Harlan Ellison will be missed.

During the course of an illustrious career he wrote over 1700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, essays, anthologies and novels. He won seven Hugos, three Nebulas and, in 2005, was named a SFWA Grandmaster.

He was one of the defining authors of New Wave SF, and was close contemporaries with such notable writers as Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Michael Moorcock, Samuel R Delaney, Damon Knight, and Philip Jose Farmer to name very few. His most notable works crossed genre boundaries with such familiar titles as I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream, Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman. His work for TV – including the classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever and work consulting on Babylon 5 – was hugely influential. His most famous anthology, Dangerous Visions, remains a seminal collection.

Harlan Ellison (1934-2018). Rest in Peace. Please don’t sue us.

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Remembering Kate Wilhelm

27 March 2018

“Unlike many of her colleagues, she straddled genres, between futuristic fantasies and enigmatic mystery novels.”

The SF Gateway team is sorry to hear that Kate Wilhelm has passed away. Ms. Wilhelm was an author of many crime and SF novels, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, a Gateway author, with a title in the Masterworks series – WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS SANG – and someone who had been published by Gollancz in various formats since the late seventies. Together with her husband, author and critic Damon Knight, she has had a profound influence beyond her writing, through the Milford Science Fiction Writers’ Conference and its offshoot, the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. She will be missed.


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Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin

24 January 2018

News of the death, at 88, of Ursula Le Guin, has been extensively reported in the media today. She had been in poor health for a while.

Ursula joined the Gollancz list in 1971, and has been with us ever since, making her our longest serving author by some distance, and we are proud to be publishing two new books from her this year:  DREAMS MUST EXPLAIN THEMSELVES, a selection of her best non-fiction, and THE BOOKS OF EARTHSEA, an omnibus edition of her famous Earthsea novels, illustrated by award-winning artist Charles Vess.

During her publishing career she collected almost every honour possible, most recently the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, awarded by the National Book Foundation. Her acceptance speech – typically generous and feisty – is here, and is well worth a few minutes of your  time.

She was an SFWA Grand Master, and was awarded a World Fantasy Award for life achievement.  She won many awards for specific works, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for the third Earthsea novel, THE FARTHEST SHORE, and both the major sf awards – the Hugo and the Nebula – for her two best known sf novels, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and THE DISPOSSESSED, both available in our SF Masterworks library.

Those of us who had the pleasure of working with her will remember her as a gracious and good-humoured woman with an iron will, gently expressed.  She was by common consent one of the greatest – if not the greatest – contemporary sf and fantasy author.

This is a very sad day.


Le Guin books

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Happy Birthday, Walter Koenig!

14 September 2017

Today, Gateway wishes a very happy birthday to everyone’s favourite Russian helmsman, Pavel Chekov – or, more to the point, the actor who brought him to life on the big screen and small, across five decades: Walter Koenig.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was keen to add a younger face to his bridge crew, allegedly to take advantage of the popularity of The Beatles and The Monkees, at the time – indeed, it’s said that Walter Koenig won the role because of his resemblance to Monkees front man, Davey Jones. Ironically, Koenig was thirty at the time, with hair already beginning to recede and so a ‘moptop’ style hairpiece was developed for him.

Adding a Russian to the bridge crew of the USS Enterprise was an audacious move at the height of the Cold War, but Rodenberry’s insistence on emphasising the international (indeed, interplanetary) nature of the crew proved to be a masterstroke, and no doubt contributed to Star Trek‘s enduring popularity.

Like all of his USS Enterprise alumni, Koenig will for ever be identified with his Star Trek character, but he has had a long and productive career as actor, writer, director and producer, including roles in Babylon 5, Futurama, Columbo and Ironside, to name but a few.

Walter Koenig turns 81, today, but to millions of SF fans around the world, he will always be the young, wide-eyed Ensign Pavel Chekov.

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When I’m 64: The Hugo Awards

6 September 2017

According to the inexhaustible fount of knowledge that is The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, the venerable Hugo Awards were first presented sixty-four years ago, today, at at Philcon II (the second Philadelphia Worldcon).

The Guest of Honour was Willy Ley and a young fellow by the name of Isaac Asimov was the toastmaster. The inaugural Best Novel Hugo went to Alfred Bester for his extraordinary first novel, The Demolished Man.

The Demolished Man

The inaugural Hugos were a lot more streamlined than they are today, with just seven awards being given out. In addition to Best Novel, Hugos were awarded for the Best Professional Magazine (a tie between John W. Campbell‘s Astounding and H. L. Gold‘s Galaxy), Best Interior Artist (Virgil Finlay), Best Cover Artist (a tie between Ed Emshwiller and Hannes Bok), Best New Author or Artist (Philip José Farmer), Excellence in Fact Articles (won by GoH Willy Ley) and #1 Fan Personality, which was won by the inimitable (and, perhaps, inevitable!) Forrest J. Ackerman.

Inaugural Hugo-winner The Demolished Man is, of course, available as an SF Masterwork. We’ve noted before that Gollancz and Gateway have a proud record as far as the Hugo Awards go, and you can find that record here.


Happy Birthday, little rocket ship!

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Gateway Essentials: Samuel R. Delany

25 August 2017

Samuel Ray ‘Chip’ Delany, Jr was born in Harlem in 1942, and published his first novel at the age of just 20. As author, critic and academic, his influence on the modern genre has been profound and he remains one of science fiction’s most important and discussed writers. He has won the Hugo Award twice and the Nebula Award four times, including consecutive wins for Babel-17 and The Einstein Intersection.  He has recently retired as professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he had been Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program since January 2001.

Those wishing to explore Delany’s extraordinary body of work are advised to start with his SF Masterworks:


. . . and then move on to his Gateway Essentials titles: The Jewels of Aptor, The Einstein Intersection, Tales of Neveryon, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand and Aye, and Gomorrah.

You can find more of Samuel R. Delany’s works via his Author page at the SF Gateway website and read more about him in his  entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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Brian W Aldiss: an Appreciation by Malcolm Edwards

24 August 2017

I first met Brian Aldiss in 1969, when I was still an undergraduate.  He’d come to give a talk at my university.  I was travelling down to London the next day, and spotted him on the station platform.  After the talk he had gone off to stay with Kingsley Amis, and a long evening ensued.  I’m sure the last thing he wanted that morning was to be accosted by an enthusiastic young student, but — being Brian — he was welcoming, and we travelled together.  By the time we reached London he had promised me a short story — commissioned by the TLS but then rejected — for an amateur magazine I was planning.  Two days later, the story arrived.  Two days after that, came a follow up letter:  Had I received it?  What did I think of it?  Over the years I came to see this whole episode as typical of Brian:  hugely welcoming, enormously generous, but with a smidgen of writerly insecurity.

Flash forward twenty years.  I had become Brian’s editor at Gollancz, initially for the greatly expanded second edition of his definitive history of science fiction, Trillion Year Spree, and then for his fine autobiographical novel Forgotten Life.  I sent out proofs of the latter to writers I thought might appreciate it, and almost by return appreciative quotes came in from William Boyd, Anthony Burgess, Iris Murdoch, William Trevor.  It was clear that he was a writer greatly admired beyond the realm of SF, with which he was inevitably identified, being its most prominent British practitioner.

For his 65th birthday, in 1990, Frank Hatherley (a BBC producer who had become Brian’s film and TV agent), Margaret Aldiss and I put together a festschrift, A Is For Brian, to be sprung on him as a surprise present.  We sent out 43 invitations and got back 38 contributions, an unbelievable hit rate.  I’ve been looking through it this morning.  Contributor after contributor, in addition to admiring the range and accomplishment of his work, attests to his enormous joie de vivre. Doris Lessing writes about an on stage conversation she attended between Brian and fellow writer Robert Silverberg at a conference in Florida:  “I didn’t want to miss a single word.  I didn’t want it to end.”  Kingsley Amis says:  “I think he is the only man I know whom I admire and respect both as a writer and a toper.”

I’ve deliberately concentrated here on writers not particularly associated with SF.  But in that world he was a colossus: arguably the greatest British writer since H.G. Wells.  And for more than sixty years he was the life and soul of the party.  Everyone who spent time with him came away with great memories and an anecdote or two.  He was – and I don’t say this lightly – a great man.

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Gateway Essentials: Lucius Shepard

23 August 2017

Lucius Taylor Shepard was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1947. He travelled extensively in his youth, and has held a wide assortment of occupations in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, including rock musician and night club bouncer. He attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in 1980 and made his first commercial sale a year later. His work covers many areas of fantastic fiction and has recently encompassed non-fiction, as well. For over a decade, he has contributed a regular column on SF cinema for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Lucius Shepard has won numerous prizes for his work, including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon and International Horror Guild awards. He died in Portland, Oregon, in 2014.

We recommend that readers wanting an introduction to Lucius Shpeard’s work start with his Fantasy and SF Masterworks, The Dragon Griaule and Life During Wartime:

or his story collection The Jaguar Hunter:

You can find more of Lucius Shepard’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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Brian Aldiss 1925 – 2017

22 August 2017

Last Friday we posted an appreciation of Brian Aldiss on the day of his 92nd birthday. Yesterday we learned that he had died the very next day.  All at Gollancz and SF Gateway are saddened by his passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

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