Cambridge History of Science Fiction is Out!

I received my contributor’s copy of The Cambridge History of Science Fiction this week.

This book is a thorough, thoughtful collection of essays about key developments in the history of SF worldwide. Gerry Canavan and Eric Carl Link have done a splendid job in making this project happen and editing the edition. My essay on American Edisonades (19th-century “proto-steampunk” inventor tales) is just one of 46 chapters in over 800 pages(!) taking science fiction from antiquity to today.

It’s comprehensive, which is often publishing speak for very big and somewhat expensive. If you can’t buy it, ask a local library to pick up a copy for everyone to access.

Photos (with help from my office staff, Sam and Ed) are below:

ScienceFictionCambridgephoto

SFCambridgeopen

 

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This Year’s Sturgeon Short-Fiction Award Nominees

One of the coolest things my alma mater’s Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction does is facilitate the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best SF short story of the year. They announced nominees this week.

Named for the phenomenal author who bridged pulp SF and highbrow literary complexity, the Sturgeon Award is aimed specifically at short fiction: anything from flash to novella.  I’m copying the list of finalists from the Center’s Facebook page below:

This year’s finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction story have been selected. The award will be presented this year during the Campbell Conference Awards reception on Friday, June 21, 2019.

Our 2019 Finalists Are:

“Freezing Rain, A Chance of Falling,” 
L.X. Beckett.
Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 2018.

“The Only Harmless Great Thing,”
Brooke Bolander.
Tor.com Books

“The Secret Life of the Nine Negro Teeth of
George Washington,”
P. Djèlí Clark.
Fireside Fiction, Feb 2018.

“Umbernight,”
Carolyn Ives Gilman.
Clarkesworld, Feb 2018.

“Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,”
Daryl Gregory.
tor.com, Sept 2018.

“When We Were Starless,”
Simone Heller.
Clarkesworld, Oct 2018.

“The Starship and the Temple Cat,”
Yoon Ha Lee.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Feb 2018.

“When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis,”
Annalee Newitz.
Slate.com, Dec 2018.

“Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach,”
Kelly Robson.
Tor.com Books

“On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog,”
Adam Shannon.
Apex, Dec 2018.

“Yard Dog,”
Tade Thompson.
Fiyah, July 2018.

Congratulations to the nominees!

And just to clarify, I’m on the advisory board of the Gunn CSSF, but I’m not on the Sturgeon Committee or involved in the nominations process in any way. That task is reserved for a dedicated group of pros with a collective publishing experience that spans more than six decades and hundreds of works, that includes Kij Johnson, Andy Duncan, Elizabeth Bear, the center’s founder and namesake James Gunn, and trustee of the Sturgeon estate, Nöel Sturgeon.

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This Year’s Nebula Finalists

Just a quick note that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced nominees for the Nebula Awards this week.

I’m posting a link to the full list. I just want to commend Andy Duncan, Tina Connolly, and Mary Robinette Kowal on their nominations. (That’s just based on my prior reading; I need to book up and read some of the other nominees, esp. in short fiction categories).

Probably most related to this blog, however, is the nod Janelle Monáe got for her album, Dirty Computer. Sci-fi music turns up in the Nebula and Hugo awards for media/related categories more and more frequently. That’s a good thing.

SFWA is a fantastic organization that works very hard to help speculative writers get opportunities (for good-paying story sales, for representation, etc.). I’ve been an Associate Member since my first professional sale.

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New Review of Gears and God

U of Alabama Press just recently sent me a copy of a forthcoming Gears and God review by John Rieder that will be appearing in the next issue of Science Fiction Studies. I’ll try to get permission to excerpt it here, but for now you can read it on the book’s Amazon site (they’ve added it to the blurbs under “Editorial Reviews”).

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The Updates Before Christmas

The quarter at UC Davis is over, and I’m spending most of my time revising a 4,000-word entry on “Science and Technology” for Mark Twain in Context, a book forthcoming from Cambridge U Press. It’s a joy to read/re-read some of the famous moments in Twain’s life, especially now that we have all three volumes of the Autobiography out (thanks, Berkeley!) So I find myself writing about Tesla, vivisection, patent law, steamboat safety, and other things Twain was interested in.

On the fiction front, not so much luck. A rejection last week. Only one story currently making the rounds. I just don’t have the time to do the Twain entry and revise a couple of stories in progress to the level they really need to be before submission.

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Projects from Steampunk Freshman Seminar 2018

This week, students in my Fall 2018 “First-Year Seminar” on steampunk turned in their first round of creative projects.

The assignment asks them to “steampunk a common object.” As you can see from the photo below, I got some clever responses including steampunk “blue books” for final exams, hair salon fixtures, water bottles (with analog temperature gauge), and light sticks (for those Victorian EDM raves).

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I have a particularly smart and fun bunch of first-year students this year, though I wish we’d had more time; two sessions of the class were canceled due to smoke from the Northern California fires.

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Gears and God Signing at Avid Reader

I’m doing a reading/signing for my book, Gears and God, at the Avid Reader in Davis this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Please share with friends who like Mark Twain, science fiction, or U.S. history!

avidreaderpromo

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