After the Flare nominated for 2018 Philip K. Dick Award

I was thrilled to learn that After the Flare was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, a major prize sponsored by the Philip K. Dick Trust and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. The award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.

Here is the full list of nominees. Some of these are my favorite scifi writers!

  • The Book of Etta, Meg Elison (47North)
  • Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
  • After the Flare, Deji Bryce Olukotun (The Unnamed Press)
  • The Wrong Stars, Tim Pratt (Angry Robot)
  • Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
  • Bannerless, Carrie Vaughn (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com)

And if you’re not familiar with him, the late Philip K. Dick was a prolific science fiction writer whose work has been adapted for film and television over a dozen times. His ideas continue to influence our understanding of technology and society today.

After the Flare makes ‘best of’ lists on Washington Post, The Guardian, Tor, Kirkus, Syfy, more

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Thank you to all the reviewers and readers who have enjoyed After the Flare. You can get the novel here (Amazon) and here (indie bookstore).

Washington Post  Best Science Fiction and fantasy to read this month (December) | Reviewer: Everdeen Mason

The Guardian  Best Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2017 | Reviewer: Adam Roberts

Syfy.com  Best Science Fiction Books of 2017 | Reviewer: Swapna Krishna

Tor.com  Reviewers Choice: the best Books of 2017 | Reviewer: Jared Shurin

Kirkus Reviews  Best Books of 2017

Ink and Paper Blog  7 Books that surprised me in 2017 | Reviewer: Russell

The Millions  Most Anticipated Books of September (2017) | Reviewer: Lydia Kiesling

 

The changing faces of science fiction: notes from my event with PEN America

Thanks to PEN America for hosting a thought-provoking event at KGB Bar. Over the course of two hours, I joined Maria Dahvana Headley (the Magonia trilogy) and Haris Durrani (Technologies of the Self) for a fascinating discussion about science fiction and fantasy.

We discussed African, Queer, and Muslim perspectives on writing, including what excites us and terrifies us as authors. I especially enjoyed their thoughts on world-building, which as a writer is one of the most enjoyable and difficult aspects of crafting a speculative fiction story. You’ll be able to find the rich catalog of stories we referenced during our discussion on the event page at Pen.org. And I recommend you check out Maria and Haris’s stories. They’re good.

Lead photo credit by Bayo Olukotun

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photo credit: PEN America

Lessons from my event with Cuban sci-fi writers and translators

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On Wednesday, I joined a group of stellar writers and translators to discuss Cuban science fiction at the Bronx Museum. We covered a lot of ground over the two hour discussion, which finished off with a sumptuous meal of empanadas, wine, and beer. Here are some takeaways:

  1. Cuban science fiction is a mature and fascinating field. According to scholar Yasmín S. Portales-Machado, the genre has gone through several waves in Cuba, which began in the 1950s with pulp fiction and carried over into the 1960s before being crushed in a cultural clampdown in the 70s. Writers re-emerged in the 80s to begin pushing forward the genre again. We’re now in a golden era of writing with authors such as Yoss and Erick J. Mota, among many others.
  2. Many Cuban science fiction writers are deeply trained in science. A quick scan of the biographies of the authors in Words Without Borders’ May issue reveals that several authors studied physics or biology. In my opinion, this has led to sci-fi literature that is both lyrical and technical — an extraordinary mix that is rarely seen.
  3. Cuban artists are concerned about copyright. Authors have benefited from being able to read and watch sci-fi content at very affordable prices, giving them access to the latest explorations in the genre. (An expensive book costs $3, and the current government salary is $20 per month.) If copyright sharks swarm in and start cracking down on file sharing and piracy, there’s a risk that authors may be isolated in the short term from great content. Maybe publishers could promote Creative Commons licensing in the meanwhile as a stop-gap measure.
  4. It’s still not easy for Cuban authors to travel to the U.S. The visas of Yoss and Erick J. Mota were delayed by the U.S. embassy in Cuba, and they were only able to visit the U.S. after our event. This is unacceptable and violates their right to seek, receive, and impart ideas — a cornerstone of free expression. The U.S. needs to step it up.

Thanks to Esther Allen, Hillary Gulley, Yasmín S. Portales-Machado, and Karen Phillips for a lively discussion.

What does a black stormtrooper mean for creators of color?

I published a piece for Slate: FutureTense on Afrofuturism. In the article, I take a look at various trends unfolding within black thought and culture on science fiction and fantasy. Are black characters in scifi merely window dressing, or are they part of an emerging movement?

I interviewed Nnedi Okorafor, Ytasha Womack, Lisa Lucas, and Lionel Queen — all creators and publishers of color who are doing amazing work.

You can read the article here.

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