The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (1863)

Let us understand a man by creating him.

The Water Babies
The Water Babies

We'll need a work space. A busy street-corner will do. There we'll study him as he studies others. London, why not. In the mid 19th century. Popular enough to easily picture; distant enough to give perspective.

Cobble together the corner of Fleet and Bridge. Drop St. Paul's Cathedral down the road. Thump! Spray the stench of the sewer-river Thames. Add a touch of horse shit, man-shit, fire-smoke, fresh bread. Now add noise! Wheels rattling on brick, hooves clattering on cobble, costermongers shouting, dogs barking, trains rumbling. Don't forget the church bells, the glorious church bells.

Excellent. Now we begin our Adam. Shape him on the curb, don't put him in cart traffic. Mold a tall thin fellow, leaning against a tall thin lamppost. Mutton-chop whiskers, sardonic smile. But that's mere container. What fills our man in? His stuffing must suit the time and place.

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Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)

Howls Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle

I didn’t discover Diana Wynne Jones (DWJ) when I was a kid. Perhaps I got my timing wrong; DWJ’s first children’s book was published in 1973, but many of her works were quickly out of print, only returning decades later on the back of JK Rowling inspired popularity for all things wizard. Which, given JK and many other writers, including Phillip Pullman, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, cite DWJ as inspiration, would be ironic if it didn’t show how publishing skews the very markets it creates.

Howl’s Moving Castle (published in 1986, by which time I had already moved on from fantasy to science fiction and, um, Agatha Christie) did slow business on its initial release, winning the Phoenix Award twenty years later, a couple of years after Studio Ghibli turned it into a box-office success as an animated film.

I am only now making amends, with the lame and utterly transparent excuse that my teenage nieces are the real audience I’m eagerly snapping up DWJ’s books for.

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Fantasy Fridays

The Devouring Gray
The Devouring Gray

A new William Blake exhibition is coming to Tate Britain this fall.

The Game of Thrones tapestry in the Ulster Museum.

Three young adult fantasy authors, Christine Lynn Herman, Sarah Maria Griffin and Adrienne Young, join forces in Nottingham... and again in Norwich.

The British Museum's manga exhibition wraps up in a month.

MCM ComicCon Manchester is this weekend.

Joe Abercrombie goes on tour this fall for A Little Hatred - tickets on sale now/soon, including this shindig at Foyles London.

 


World Fantasy Awards - 2019 Shortlist

Lifetime Achievement

  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Jack Zipes

Novel

  • In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)
  • Witchmark by C. L. Polk (Tor.com)
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press)

Novella

  • The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
  • The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard  (Subterranean Press)
  • “The Privilege of the Happy Ending” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Aug. 2018)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)

Short Fiction

  • “The Ten Things She Said While Dying: An Annotation” by Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare Magazine, July 2019)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)
  • “Ten Deals with the Indigo Snake” by Mel Kassel (Lightspeed, October 2018)
  • “The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “Like a River Loves the Sky” by Emma Törzs  (Uncanny Magazine, March-April 2018)

Anthology

  • Sword and Sonnet, edited by Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler (Ate Bit Bear)
  • The Book of Magic, edited by Gardner Dozois (Bantam Books US/HarperVoyager UK)
  • Best New Horror #28, edited by Stephen Jones (Drugstore Indian Press UK)
  • Robots vs. Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Saga Press)
  • Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, edited by Irene Gallo (Tor.com)

Collection

  • The Tangled Lands, by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell (Saga Press/Head of Zeus UK)
  • Still So Strange, by Amanda Downum (ChiZine Publications)
  • An Agent of Utopia: New & Selected Stories, by Andy Duncan (Small Beer Press)
  • How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Phantom Limbs, by Margo Lanagan (PS Publishing)

Artist

  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • Jeffrey Alan Love
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess

Special Award - Professional

  • C. C. Finlay, for F&SF editing
  • Irene Gallo, for Art Direction at Tor Books and Tor.com
  • Huw Lewis-Jones for The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands (University of Chicago Press)
  • Catherine McIlwaine for Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition (The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford)
  • Julian Yap, Molly Barton, Jeff Li, and James Stuart for Serial Box

Special Award - Non-Professional

  • Mike Allen, for Mythic Delirium
  • Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny Magazine
  • E. Catherine Tobler, for Shimmer Magazine
  • Terri Windling, for Myth & Moor

More here


British Fantasy Awards - 2019 Shortlist

More details here.

Best Fantasy Novel (Robert Holdstock Award)

  • The Bitter Twins, by Jen Williams (Headline)
  • Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri (Orbit)
  • Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • The Green Man’s Heir, by Juliet E McKenna (Wizard’s Tower Press)
  • The Loosening Skin, by Aliya Whiteley (Unsung Stories)
  • Priest of Bones, by Peter McLean (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best Horror Novel (August Derleth Award)

  • The Cabin at the End of the World, by Paul Tremblay (Titan Books)
  • Little Eve, by Catriona Ward (W&N)
  • The Way of the Worm, by Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
  • Wolf’s Hill, by Simon Bestwick (Snowbooks)

Best Newcomer (Sydney J Bounds Award)

  • Tomi Adeyemi, for The Children of Blood and Bone (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Cameron Johnston, for The Traitor God (Angry Robot)
  • RF Kuang, for The Poppy War (HarperVoyager)
  • Tasha Suri, for Empire of Sand (Orbit)
  • Marian Womack, for Lost Objects (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Micah Yongo, for Lost Gods (Angry Robot)

Best Novella 

  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • Breakwater, by Simon Bestwick (Tor Books)
  • The Land of Somewhere Safe, by Hal Duncan (NewCon Press)
  • The Last Temptation of Dr Valentine, by John Llewellyn Probert (Black Shuck Books)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)

Best Short Fiction 

  • Down Where Sound Comes Blunt, by GV Anderson (F&SF March/April 2018)
  • Her Blood the Apples, Her Bones the Trees, by Georgina Bruce (The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism)
  • In the Gallery of Silent Screams, by Carole Johnstone & Chris Kelso (Black Static #65)
  • A Son of the Sea, by Priya Sharma (All the Fabulous Beasts)
  • Telling Stories, by Ruth EJ Booth (The Dark #43)
  • Thumbsucker, by Robert Shearman (New Fears 2

Best Anthology

  • The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea, ed. Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books)
  • Humanagerie, ed. Sarah Doyle & Allen Ashley (Eibonvale Press)
  • New Fears 2, ed. Mark Morris (Titan Books)
  • This Dreaming Isle, ed. Dan Coxon (Unsung Stories)
  • Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5, ed. Robert Shearman & Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)

Best Collection

  • All the Fabulous Beasts, by Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)
  • The Future is Blue, by Catherynne M Valente (Subterranean Press)
  • How Long ‘til Black Future Month?, by NK Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Lost Objects, by Marian Womack (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Octoberland, by Thana Niveau (PS Publishing)
  • Resonance & Revolt, by Rosanne Rabinowitz (Eibonvale Press)

Best Non-Fiction

  • The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T Barbini (Luna Press Publishing)
  • The Full Lid, by Alasdair Stuart (alasdairstuart.com/the-full-lid)
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror (www.gingernutsofhorror.com)
  • Les Vampires, by Tim Major (PS Publishing)
  • Noises and Sparks, by Ruth EJ Booth (Shoreline of Infinity) 

Best Independent Press

  • Fox Spirit Books
  • Luna Press Publishing
  • NewCon Press
  • Unsung Stories 

Best Magazine / Periodical

  • Black Static
  • Gingernuts of Horror
  • Interzone
  • Shoreline of Infinity
  • Uncanny Magazine 

Best Audio

Best Comic / Graphic Novel

  • 100 Demon Dialogues, by Lucy Bellwood (Toonhound Studios)
  • B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Vol. 1, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, Tyler Crook & Dave Stewart (Dark Horse)
  • Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories, Vol. 1, by Mike Mignola and others (Dark Horse)
  • The Prisoner, by Robert S Malan & John Cockshaw (Luna Press Publishing)
  • Saga #49-54, by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Widdershins, Vol. 7, by Kate Ashwin

Best Artist

  • Vince Haig
  • David Rix
  • Daniele Serra
  • Sophie E Tallis

 
Best Film / Television Production

  • Annihilation, Alex Garland
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely 
  • Black Panther, Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
  • The Haunting of Hill House, Mike Flanagan
  • Inside No. 9, series 4, Steve Pemberton & Reece Shearsmith
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman