Not about new books

(but really, it is)

this is not a review

not a book I am reviewing

The Silverblood Promise by James Logan comes out this week.

Because of Ethics in SF/F Journalism, I’m not comfortable doing a Proper Review. But I would be doing myself AND THE WORLD a disservice by not mentioning that it is an absolutely brilliant book. I’ve adored it since I had the opportunity to read a very early draft many years ago. #humblebrag

Silverblood is fantasy that loves fantasy, which feels like a naff thing to say, but feels like a rare and special treat. Contemporary fantasy veers towards the cynical, or, in a backlash against the cynical, to the twee. The most commercially successful offshoots - romantasy or LitRPG - are formulaic crowd-pleasers, compulsively tapping the button for trope-based endorphins. I’m not knocking any of these things. There should be subversive fantasy and comfortable fantasy, and there should be books that don’t challenge or surprise you, and simply make you happy.

I also think fantasy is still a special genre, that can be filled with wonderful and wondrous things. It is always a joy to pick up a fantasy that unironically, enthusiastically loves being a fantasy, and where the author’s own love for the form bleeds through. The Silverblood Promise is a book that reminds me of reading fantasy for the first time. It is an adventure and a story and an escape, and I highly recommend it.

this is not a new book

not a new book

The Big Book of Cyberpunk is released in the UK next week.

Here’s what’s new or different for the UK edition:

  • It is two volumes, hardcover and single-column, rather than one volume, softcover, and double-columned.

  • Added a new introduction for Volume 2

  • Added a recommended reading (and viewing and listening and playing)

  • The ‘Society’ section is now the ‘System’ section, this is basically semantic, but ‘System’ is a better word for the ‘level’ addressed by this subset of stories. It also pairs well with the ‘Challenge’ section in that same volume

  • A revised section introduction helps explain the above. Two stories, Cory Doctorow’s “0wnz0red” and Harry Polkinhorn’s “Consumimur Igni”, have moved into this section from their original homes

  • The ‘Post-Cyberpunk’ section has been split across the two volumes, loosely themed around ‘AI’ and ‘Futures’, with revised introductions for each

  • Very slightly revised introductions everywhere else - mostly updating the snark in the footnotes

  • One of the stories, Nicholas Royle’s “D.GO”, has a different ending. One of the fabulous UK editors remembered the original publication and mentioned it had a different final line. I had a conversation with Royle, and we decided to reinstate the original. If someone remembered it for thirty-five years, it was clearly a great line

  • Updated the acknowledgments — and I still forgot people

  • Volume 2 has a new epigraph (thanks, Salvage)

  • Some typos got fixed and bibliographic errors corrected

I’ve put the whole table of contents online here, for ease. With the new material, the anthology now contains a shade less than 20,000 words of editorial matter. Less than 3% of the total word-mass of The Big Book of Cyberpunk.

Here’s where to find it:

Or, best of all, your local independent bookshop.

no, wait, it is

  • Anne and I contribute a column on publishing and scandal to ParSec, which is always good fun. The magazine is currently on a bit of a tour, with various reviewers going through the whole back catalog. Here’s the review of the first issue, and it also comes with a discount code…

  • A deep dive into the regulation of social media data, and the stakeholders that require it. It is a conundrum that I’m always interested in, privacy vs safety is at the heart of it - but that’s confounded by related issues of corporate misuse and surveillance. How much do social media networks give a shit about your privacy (given they make their megabucks by leveraging your data) vs how much are they scraping dodginess under the rug (but who decides what is dodgy?). The debate often distils down to ‘which institution do you distrust the least?’ and I can’t say that kind of max-min approach is appealing.

  • “Wherever we go, we change as individuals.” This is a very personal essay about the ‘divided self’, but it touches on a really critical dimension of identity. Not only that that we have multiple, layered identities, but that they are informed by (and triggered by) (and created by) our environment. Who we are depends on where we are.

  • How do you improve life satisfaction? A review of hundreds of research studies found the strongest evidence supported interventions around psychological therapy, emotional skill development and exercise. It also found there was no evidenced link with practices such as visualisation. Alas, poor Secret.

  • Want to write about Dungeons & Dragons? 

  • Last week, I wrote about the experience of watching Melrose Place and how my nostalgia for the show has absolutely nothing to do with the actual show. Here’s a piece that goes the extra mile, and talks about the long-term bonding experience of hate watching a show. (Also on the topic: Anne’s latest on TV as a family ritual.)

Tag yourself. (I’m ‘Cattle Plague’.)

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