Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

BSFA Review – Vector #277

with 5 comments

I’m writing this a few weeks after Loncon 3 and though – with the aid of green vegetables and a few early nights – I’ve kicked the con crud, I still can’t shake the Hugos hangover. This year’s awards were a pretty poor showing for British SF that reflected a mediocre 2013 in terms of what was published. Not so 2014: Wolves by Simon Ings and The Race by Nina Allan are both works of British SF as well as being simply SF by British authors and are two of the best examples in recent years. Allan, in particular, seems like she is hitting the peak of her career, a deepening and coalescing even of the obvious talent on display in last year’s BSFA Award-winning Spin. Of course, neither have a hope in hell of getting anywhere near the Hugos but I’m hoping the Clarke Award judges and BSFA members may look more favourably on them. Being less parochial for minute, I’m going to cheat and cast a pre-emptive vote for work that hasn’t actually finished being published yet. However, on the strengths of the first two volumes, Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy is already a clear award contender. Dan Hartland will be reviewing the series for Vector as soon as the final book is out (although he may have to wait for me to read it first). Short fiction is always harder for me than novels and I need to do much more reading around (or, even, better, I need more people to perform triage for me). I do have one early contender for Best Novella though: ‘Trading Rosemary’ by OJ Cade. A web of memories strung together into a surprisingly satisfying story, it is made b its atmosphere and the steel of its protagonist. I’m really looking forward to reading her latest novella, ‘The Don’t Girls’. In his review of Noir and La Femme, both edited by Ian Whates, Martin McGrath points readers towards some other potential candidates come awards time, including my own favourite stories in the anthology courtesy of Frances Hardinge and Vector’s own Paul Graham Raven. We have quite a few more anthology reviews forthcoming and my own resolution is to check out the online magazines more often. But if I could compel you to go out and read one piece of fiction it would be Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. Best Graphic Story is always a bit of a weak category because the Worldcon membership simply don’t know enough about comics (me included) but this is the real deal. Suzie can make time stop every time she has an orgasm. She thinks she is alone until she meets Jon who has the same ‘gift’. Obviously, they decide to rob a bank. There was so much potential for this to go wrong but Fraction and Zdarsky get it deliriously right. One for your Christmas list. Oh, and if you were at Loncon, I really hope you saw Tessa Farmer’s extraordinary realisation of a wasp factory, one of several tributes to the late Iain Banks. I’ll certainly be nominating it for the BSFA Award for Best Artwork.

Reviews

  • Noir and La Femme, edited by Ian Whates (Newcon Press, 2014) – Reviewed by Martin McGrath
  • Astra by Naomi Foyle (Jo Fletcher Books, 2014) – Reviewed by Jim Steel
  • Aliens: Recent Encounters, edited by Alex Dally MacFarlane (Prime, 2013) – Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
  • Glaze by Kim Curran (Jurassic London, 2014) – Reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller
  • Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall (Egmont 2014) – Reviewed by Anne F Wilson
  • Lupus Rex by John Carter Cash (Ravenstone Books, 2013) – Reviewed by Alan Fraser
  • Martian Sands (PS Publishing, 2013) and The Violent Century (Hodder & Stoughton, 2013) by Lavie Tidhar – Reviewed by Shaun Green
  • The Brick Moon & Another Brick In The Moon by Edward Everett Hale and Adam Roberts (Jurassic London, 2014) – Reviewed by Paul Kincaid
  • Call And Response (Beccon Publications, 2014) – Reviewed by Andy Sawyer
  • The Moon King by Neil Williamson (NewCon Press, 2014) – Reviewed by Kate Onyett
  • The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby (Angry Robot, 2012) – Reviewed by Sue Thomason
  • The Leopard by KV Johansen (Pyr, 2014) – Reviewed by Graham Andrews
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Written by Martin

14 November 2014 at 19:40

Posted in sf

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. Since I wrote this, nominations have opened for the BSFA Awards. I’ve also read a few more books. I haven’t decided by four nominations for the BSFA Award for Best Novel yet but my shortlist is:

    The Race by Nina Allan
    Southern Reach by Jeff Vandermeer
    The Stone Boatmen by Sarah Tolmie
    The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
    Wolves by Simon Ings
    Echopraxia by Peter Watts

    Discarded potential contenders: Bone Clocks (too shit), Mirror Empire (too sloppy), Tigerman (too silly), Broken Monsters (didn’t grab me), Ancillary Sword (not interested)
    Still to read: Lagoon, City Of Stairs

    Martin

    15 November 2014 at 14:40

  2. […] Vectro 277 has been out for a wee while (as you can probably guess) and can be obtained from the BSFA. It has my review of Naomi Foyle’s Astra, and you can find details of the other reviews here. […]

  3. […] for me this year as I’ve read a surprising amount of good, current fiction. Those who read my last BSFA Review editorial won’t be particularly surprised by my […]

  4. […] out again in exactly the same way. However, at the same time, I’ve been increasingly doing my own lobbying as well as mulling over Abigail Nussbaum’s increasingly militant line on awards […]

  5. […] play out again in exactly the same way. However, at the same time, I’ve been increasingly doing my own lobbying as well as mulling over Abigail Nussbaum’s increasingly militant line on awards […]


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