Datlow Shares Cover for Best Horror of the Year Volume Fourteen

Editor Ellen Datlow has unveiled the cover for The Best Horror of the Year volume Fourteen.

With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this light creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.

It will be released October 4. Available for pre-order at many outlets, links on the official publisher page here.

Table of Contents

  • Summation of the Year 2021—Ellen Datlow
  • Redwater — Simon Bestwick
  • Caker’s Man — Matthew Holness
  • Black Leg — Glen Hirshberg
  • The Offering — Michael Marshall Smith
  • Fox Girl — Lee Murray
  • Shuck — G. V. Anderson
  • The Hunt at Rotherdam — A. C. Wise
  • Dancing Sober in the Dust — Steve Toase
  • The God Bag — Christopher Golden
  • The Strathantine Imps — Steve Duffy
  • The Quizmasters — Gerard McKeown
  • All Those Lost Days — Brian Evenson
  • Elephant Subjected to the Predations of a Mentalist” – Dir. B.S. Stockton, 1921
  • And Ol’ Will’s Birthday Bash and Dither Family Reunion” – Dir. Various, 1952.
    • Jonathan Raab                                                                                
  • Three Sisters Bog — Eóin Murphy
  • The Steering Wheel Club — Kaaron Warren                                     
  • The King of Stones — Simon Strantzas
  • Stolen Property — Sarah Lamparelli
  • Shards — Ian Rogers
  • Chit Chit — Steve Toase
  • Poor Butcher-Bird — Gemma Files
  • Trap — Carly Holmes
  • I’ll Be Gone By Then — Eric LaRocca
  • Jack-in-the-Box — Robin Furth
  • Tiptoe — Laird Barron
  • Honorable Mentions
  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgment of Copyright
  • About the Editor

Call for Submissions: The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume Two

By Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki: The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume Two anthology is now open to submissions until the end of the year. This next volume of the series is a dual Year’s Best anthology, covering work published in 2021 and 2022. It will be published with a release date of early 2023 under the Caezik SF & Fantasy imprint of Arc Manor, an award-winning press run by Publisher Shahid Mahmud and his Associate Publisher, Lezli Robyn.

GUIDELINES. We welcome submissions of all reprint works of speculative fiction, from any genres and sub genres, including fantasy, dark fantasy, science fiction, horror and genre blends, up to 17,500 words, published by Africans or authors of African descent in 2021 and 2022. This means all flash, short story, and novelette fiction is eligible, if the rest of the parameters are met.

Send your submissions as a Word document file with your name, country of origin, email address, word length, first publication date and venue, to yearsbestafricansf@gmail.com

We will be receiving submissions until midnight 31 December 2022, but are already compiling the book—so please get in early so we have more time to consider your work.

If your work is not yet published, but is upcoming this 2022, you can also submit it and tell us the anticipated publication date, so we can consider it early.

This year’s volume will be guest edited by Eugen Bacon and Milton Davis, alongside the series editor, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

Authors will be paid 2c per word in USD, up from the past year’s 1c per word for a reprint.

A LITTLE HISTORY. This line of Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthologies was created, for the first time in the genre’s decades-long history, to draw attention to the works of Africans and people of African descent. This was intended to address visibility and other marginalizing barriers that exist for Africans and people of African descent on the global stage.

Volume One took on this task, with some critical success, despite the long line of obstacles that came with publishing on and from the African continent. These obstacles included the pandemic and related vaccine-hoarding policies, the Endsars protests and subsequent Lekki Massacre, and a Twitter ban by the Nigerian government. Slur-slinging racists, harassing trolls, Goodreads review-bombing, an Amazon KDP ban and seizure of funds for country of origin, and the same from Smashwords and Draft2Digital, also matched every step forward with another step back.

Despite all these obstacles, Volume One made the Nerds of a Feather and Locus recommended reading lists. The book and stories were well-received and reviewed by venues and reviewers such as Arley Sorg (co-editor of Fantasy Magazine) in Lightspeed, Brandon Crilly of Black Gate, Matthew Cavanagh of Runalong The Shelves, Mark Walter or Ginger Nuts of Horror, Adri Joy of Nerds of a Feather, Sarah Deeming of British Fantasy Society, T.G Shenoy of Locus Magazine, Fiona Moore of the British Science Fiction Association and many more who helped shine a light on the incredible fiction we had showcased.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to them all, and also to our copy editor Joshua Omenga, and the amazing authors in the anthology itself, including Tlotlo Tsamaase, Sheree Renée Thomas, Tobi Ogundiran, Pemi Aguda, Tendai Huchu, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Craig Laurance Gidney, Eugen Bacon, and everyone else who worked on the project. We are that much closer to our goal for all their efforts.

ACCOLADES FOR VOLUME ONE. The editor for Volume One, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, is a Hugo Award finalist for best editor short form, and is the first Black African finalist for that category. The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume One is also a finalist in the World Fantasy Award, and the first African anthology to be a WFA finalist, in addition to being a finalist in the Locus and British Fantasy awards. The anthology’s cover, by Maria Spada, was a British Science Fiction Award finalist as well.

Volume One is free to download in all formats on the Jembefola Press website. Jembefola Press was founded to publish the first anthology of The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction and other works like it. You can also find the Bridging Worlds Pan-African Non-fiction Anthology free to download in all formats there/here as well.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

EDITORS. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is an African speculative fiction writer, editor & publisher in Nigeria. He has won the Nommo award twice, and an Otherwise and British Fantasy award. His novelette “02 Arena” won the Nebula award, and is a Hugo award finalist, making him the first African to be a Nebula best novelette winner and Hugo best novelette finalist. The thought-provoking piece was also a finalist for British Science Fiction, British Fantasy and Nommo awards. He edits The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology series, which he’s the first African Hugo award best editor finalist for Volume One. He’s the first BIPOC to be a Hugo award finalists in fiction and editing categories in the same year, and The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume One anthology he edited and published is also a Locus, British Fantasy and World Fantasy award finalist. His works of fiction and non-fiction have appeared, and are forthcoming, in Asimov’s, Tordotcom, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, and more. He co-edited the Dominion anthology, Africa Risen anthology, and is a guest of honour at the forthcoming 2022 Cancon and 2023 International Conference for the Fantastic In The Arts (ICFA)

Eugen Bacon

Eugen Bacon is an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections. She’s a 2022 World Fantasy Award finalist, and was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for “doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction.” Eugen’s short story collection, Danged Black Thing by Transit Lounge Publishing was a finalist in the British Science Fiction Association, Foreword Indies, Aurealis and Australian Shadows awards. Her creative work has appeared in literary and speculative fiction publications worldwide, including Award Winning Australian Writing, Fantasy Magazine, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction. Her books in 2022: Mage of Fools (novel), Chasing Whispers (collection) and An Earnest Blackness (essays). Visit her website at eugenbacon.com and Twitter @EugenBacon

Milton Davis

Milton Davis is an award winning Black Speculative fiction writer and owner of MVmedia, LLC, a publishing company specializing in science fiction and fantasy based on African/African Diaspora history, culture and traditions. Milton is the author of thirty novels and short story collections: his most recent the Sword and Soul adventure Eda Blessed II. Milton is also a contributing author to Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, published by Marvel and Titan Books, and coauthor of Hadithi and the State of Black Speculative Fiction with Eugen Bacon.  He is the editor and co-editor of ten anthologies; Terminus: Tales of the Black Fantastic from the ATL; Cyberfunk!; The City, Dark Universe and Dark Universe: The Bright Empire with Gene Peterson; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology, the Steamfunk! anthology, and the Dieselfunk! anthology with Balogun Ojetade. Milton’s work had also been featured in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology and Rococoa published by Roaring Lions Productions; Skelos 2: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy, Steampunk Writers Around the World published by Luna Press; Heroika: Dragoneaters published by First Perseid Press, Bass Reeves Frontier Marshal Volume Two, and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade won the 2014 Urban Action Showcase Award for Best Script. Milton’s story “The Swarm” was nominated for the 2017 British Science Fiction Association Award for Short Fiction and his story, “Carnival,” has been nominated for the 2020 British Science Fiction Association Award for Short Fiction. His story, “The Monsters of Mena Ngai,” appears in the Marvel Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda anthology. Milton is a 2022 recipient of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention Lifetime Pioneer Achievement Award.

Submissions Website address: arcmanorbooks.com/yearsbestafricansf

Clarion West Announces 2023 Six-Week Summer Workshop Instructors

The instructors for Clarion West’s 2023 Six-Week Summer Workshop have been named.

The workshop will take place from June 25–August 5, 2023. Applications for the 2023 Summer Workshop open in December 2022. Each year, Clarion West is able to provide full and partial scholarships to a significant number of applicants, thanks to their generous community of donors and sponsors.

Founded in 1971, Clarion West holds a six-week workshop each summer geared toward helping writers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) at the beginnings of their professional careers. Each workshop is limited to 18 students, and each week features a different instructor, a highly-regarded author or editor offering a unique perspective on the field. Applicants and students come from everywhere in the world, and graduates frequently go on to professional success.

[Based on a press release.]

Apex Magazine 2023 Kickstarter Appeal

Apex Magazine has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their 2023 issues. The campaign continues until August 26, allowing backers to buy a single issue or a subscription for the year 2023 at a discounted price. 

Upon funding, Apex Magazine promises stories from a star-studded cast of award-winning genre writers such as Jordan Kurella (I Never Liked YouWhen I Was Lost), Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Son of the StormWarrior of the Wind), Christopher Rowe (These Prisoning Hills, The Navigating Fox), Sarah Hollowell (A Dark and Starless Forest), Sara Tantlinger (To be DevouredNot All Monsters), and Aurelius Raines II (Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia ButlerBlack Power: A Superhero Anthology).

Apex Magazine is an industry leader in the science fiction and fantasy literary magazine world and is headed by co-editor-in-chief Jason Sizemore and his new co-editor-in-chief Lesley Conner. Marissa van Uden, Rebecca Schibler, ZZ Claybourne, and Maurice Broaddus work as additional editors for the bi-monthly publication.

The Kickstarters can be found here.

Apex Magazine is an online and digital zine of fantastical fiction publishing works over the last eleven years that is available in three forms: an every-other-month ebook edition, a free serialization of the issue’s content over a two-month period on their website, and a monthly podcast of narrated original short fiction.

[Based on a press release.]

Uncanny Magazine is Kickstarting Year Nine

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are launching a Kickstarter for Year Nine of their five-time Hugo Award-winning professional online Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine: Uncanny Magazine.

Each issue contains new and classic speculative fiction, fiction podcasts, poetry, essays, art, and interviews. Uncanny Magazine is raising funds via Kickstarter to cover some of its operational and production costs for the ninth year, with an initial goal of $20,000, plus added stretch goals of three original covers and a special double-sized issue 50. The Kickstarter launched today, July 21, and runs through August 22: “Uncanny Magazine, Year 9: To Fifty … and Beyond!”

Uncanny features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, and provocative nonfiction, with a deep investment in our diverse SF/F culture. We publish intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and vision, from writers from every conceivable background. With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine has delivered everything as promised (or is in the middle of delivery) with our Years One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight Kickstarters. This year, the magazine has been recognized as a Hugo Award finalist, six stories have been recognized as Hugo Award finalists, five stories have been recognized as Nebula Award finalists (with one winning), and two stories plus the editors-in-chief have been recognized as World Fantasy Award finalists. We are deeply honored and grateful,” nine-time Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas says. 

“We couldn’t have done all of this without the amazing support of our Kickstarter community, who we call the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps after our logo mascot. This is also their magazine; their support makes it possible for us to make all of this amazing content available for free on our website. We still feel Uncanny‘s mission is important, especially in these times. And hopefully, we will meet the stretch goals and be able to create a double-sized milestone 50th issue,” six-time Hugo Award-winner Michael Damian Thomas adds.

For the special double-sized milestone 50th issue, Uncanny has solicited original short fiction from Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award-winning and nominated authors and bestselling authors including: Aliette de Bodard, Christopher Caldwell, P. Djèlí Clark, A.T. Greenblatt, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Sarah Pinsker, Catherynne M. Valente, Fran Wilde, John Wiswell, Caroline M. Yoachim, and E. Lily Yu. (There will also be numerous slots for unsolicited submissions in the other 5 issues.) For the special double-sized milestone 50th issue, Uncanny has also solicited original essays by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Sam J. Miller, Annalee Newitz, Diana M. Pho, Elsa Sjunneson, Arley Sorg, and Michi Trota, and solicited poetry by Betsy Aoki, Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Theodora Goss, Brandon O’Brien, Terese Mason Pierre, Abu Bakr Sadiq, Sonya Taaffe, and Ali Trotta.

Uncanny Magazine issues are published as eBooks (MOBI, PDF, EPUB) bimonthly on the first Tuesday of that month through all of the major online eBook stores. Each issue contains 5-6 new short stories, a reprinted story, 4 poems, 4 nonfiction essays, and 2 interviews, at minimum.

Material from half an issue is posted for free on Uncanny’s website (built by Clockpunk Studios) once per month, appearing on the second Tuesday of every month (uncannymagazine.com). Uncanny also produces a monthly podcast with a story, poem, and original interview. Subscribers and backers will receive the entire double issue a month before online readers.

[Based on a press release.]

SFWA Launches Indie Pub 101 Resource Hub

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has launched the first wave of resources for Indie Pub 101, a new section of the SFWA.org website. Developed by the SFWA Independent Authors committee, Indie Pub 101 provides up-to-date resources for independent authors, so they can improve their craft, produce professional books, and promote their work competitively in the digital marketplace.

Whether veterans of traditional publishing or brand-new authors with debut books in hand, independent authors, also known as self-publishing authors, must take on the multiple roles of designer, publisher, and publicist, which can be daunting. Indie Pub 101 will help. Its first three sections are now available at SFWA.org

  • Making the Book delves into the nuance of turning written text into an actual product.
  • Sales Channels walks authors through how and where to sell their product.
  • Marketing the Book primes authors for the daunting task of driving interested readers to their work. 

These resources draw from the varied and expansive knowledge of the members of the SFWA Independent Authors Committee. Future installments will include resources that help indie authors design and draw attention toward their author websites and share the benefits and challenges of becoming a small business themselves. 

For questions, email indie-authors@sfwa.org.

[Based on a press release.]

Astra Publishing House Acquires DAW Books

Sheila Gilbert and Betsy Wollheim at the 1995 World SF Convention in Glasgow. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter

Astra Publishing House has acquired DAW Books. The deal was announced today in a press release run at Amazing Stories and elsewhere.

DAW, although it has a distribution relationship with Penguin Group and is headquartered in Penguin USA’s offices in New York City, was editorially independent and formerly was closely held by its current publishers, Betsy Wollheim (Donald A. Wollheim’s daughter) and Sheila E. Gilbert.

Leying Jiang, President and CFO of APH said, “We’re so thrilled to have DAW Books and its talented team joining Astra Publishing House. It feels like we are adding another bright star to our growing program. And so this acquisition marks a new milestone to Astra’s journey to a successful future.”

DAW co-publishers Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert said, “We are extremely pleased by Astra’s enthusiasm, and thrilled that we will be the sole SFF imprint of their company (a first for DAW!). We think this is the perfect fit for us, and it’s exciting and refreshing to be an integral part of a new and growing company. It speaks volumes about Astra’s respect for our company that they have included our entire staff. We’re very happy.”

DAW, previously distributed by the Penguin division of Penguin Random House, will be distributed by the Penguin Random House Publisher Services division which distributes all of Astra Publishing House books.

Astra Publishing House, as Shelf Awareness reported in 2020, was formed by combining established and new publishing operations as a subsidiary of Thinkingdom Media Group. With headquarters in Beijing, China, TMG specializes in literary fiction, nonfiction and picture books. TMG is also associated with publishers in Japan, France and Germany. Founded by Chen Mingjun in 2002, Thinkingdom Media Group is the only non-state-owned publishing company to go public in China and has published more than 4,000 titles in that country.

APH’s newly-added DAW Books page outlines the imprint’s history: “Founded in 1971 by veteran paperback editor Donald A. Wollheim, along with his wife, Elsie B. Wollheim, DAW Books was the first publishing company ever devoted exclusively to science fiction and fantasy. Now over 50 years and 2,000 titles later, under the direction of co-publishers Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, DAW has a well-deserved reputation for discovering and publishing the hottest talents in the industry.”

David Lamb and Susan Reich at Book Advisors brokered the deal for DAW, with Kuo-Yu Liang of Ku Worldwide. Alan J. Kaufman served as DAW’s counsel.

The Last Dangerous Visions Has Release Date

Blackstone Publishing has announced on a brief “coming soon” page that The Last Dangerous Visions will be released September 1, 2024.

When Blackstone announced the acquisition in April at the London Book Fair, J. Michael Straczynski, the executor of Harlan Ellison’s literary estate who is carrying the project to the finish line, said they had bought the rights to republish Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions, as well as the unpublished collection The Last Dangerous Visions.

Straczynski also said at the time the book was “slated for ‘23”. However, Blackstone’s intention is to begin with the reprint of Dangerous Visions, which has its own “coming soon” page and a scheduled release date of September 1, 2023.

Straczynski explained the timeline for File 770:

The reason TLDV is coming out in ‘24 instead of ‘23 is because Blackstone will be publishing all three of the Dangerous Visions anthologies both individually and as a unified edition, and it takes more time to prep three books for release than it does to do just one. They also want to have time to do publicity for the new book, and to get new intros to all of them from writers who were influenced by the DV books and Harlan in particular.

This will then set the stage for the publication of all of Harlan’s back catalog of his anthologies.

They also want to stagger the DV books out in chronological order, from the first DV next year, to ADV then TLDV. Then they will do the unified edition.

[Thanks to John Mark Ockerbloom for the story.]

SFWA Announces 2022-2023 Board Members

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association Board of Directors effective July 1 is made up of the following members:

President: Jeffe Kennedy (2021–2023)

Vice President: John Murphy (2022–2024)

Secretary: Jasmine Gower (2022–2023)

Chief Financial Officer: Erin Hartshorn (2022–2024)

Directors-at-Large: Monica Valentinelli (2022–2024), Jordan Kurella (2022–2024), Remy Nakamura (2021–2023), Christine Taylor-Butler (2021–2023), and José Pablo Iriarte (2021–2023).

The Directors and Officers who left the SFWA Board on June 30 were Nathan Lowell (CFO), Tobias S. Buckell (Vice President), Adam Rakunas (Secretary), and Phoebe Barton (Director-At-Large). Lowell, Buckell, and Barton had completed the terms they were elected to in 2020.

Tor.com Suffers Unexplained Outages

Tor.com usually has up to a dozen new posts a day. However, even while their social media (Twitter, Facebook) continues to announce new posts on the site, when I click on them all links lead to the Newsletter signup page. Nothing else is accessible. No explanation has been given by Tor.com’s social media outlets.

The situation attracted the attention of Reddit’s r/Fantasy forum (“What happens at tor.com?”), where the response suggests that amid the general interruption service has intermittently resumed.

Beginning last week there were reports that Macmillan, of which Tor.com is a part, was the subject of a cyberattack, interfering with some systems, and causing the company to unilaterally shut down many of its other systems. One such report dated July 1 is “US publisher Macmillan confirms cyberattack forced systems offline” from TechCrunch (reposted by Yahoo!)

Macmillan spokesperson Erin Coffey told TechCrunch that the company recently experienced a “security incident” that “involved the encryption of certain files on our network.” The attack struck the company on June 25, according to reports, and also impacted its U.K. branch, known as Pan Macmillan.

While the company declined to answer further questions on the nature of the incident or how its systems were compromised, the use of encryption by the hackers indicates that it was ransomware. The attack has not yet been claimed by any major ransomware groups, and it remains unclear whether any sensitive data was stolen.

“As a precautionary measure, we immediately took systems offline to prevent further impact to our network,” Coffey added. “We are working diligently with specialists to investigate the source of this issue, understand its impact on our systems, and to restore full functionality to our networks as soon as possible.

“Customers and other third-party partners may notice that certain systems are unavailable while these efforts are underway. Please know that the Macmillan team is working around the clock on this restoration and installation of additional network safeguards.”

Macmillan editor Grace Kendall tweeted on June 27 that the company also closed its virtual and physical offices in New York.

Here are several tweets showing when people have raised questions about Tor.com being interrupted, or being back online.