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All Our Wars in Heaven

I saw this on Twitter and it tickled me. Partly because I wrote an entire essay on The Last Resurrection (which must surely be a contender for the definitive specimen of the “teenage story about a war between heaven and hell” genre) and partly because, yes, I was there. I remember that my own adolescent attempt to outdo John Milton went through a number of mutations: it started out as a mythological-creatures-live-among-us urban fantasy and somehow developed into an alien invasion story, based on the premise that the aliens were interpreted by humanity as God’s punishment. My teenage self thought that was a novel twist on the alien invasion theme… until I read War of the Worlds and found that the idea had been part of the genre since the beginning. Ooops.

Midnight Widows Issue 2: One Last Update

The second issue of Midnight Widows is very near completion. Rob Jones has finished lettering it, and all that remains is a final round of artistic tweaks before I can format and compile the issue.

f you would like to obtain a digital copy of Midnight Widows issue 1 and reserve your copy of issue 2, then place a donation via Ko-Fi or Patreon!

The Torture Bus Keeps On Rolling

When this month started, I had no idea that one of the dominant topics on my blog would be a single, largely unremarkable horror story, but here we go. Having already written two posts (here and here) about the attacks on Jason Sanford’s “The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round”, a recent development has led to me writing a third.

To recap: “The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round” is a story with the Addams Family-esque setting of a suburban neighbourhood that’s regularly visited by a yellow bus carrying medieval torture equipment. It has a message about bullying and no graphically-depicted violence; I found it to be very tame by the standards of the horror genre, and when I showed it to a community of horror readers, they agreed with me.

Yet the story is facing a backlash. Why? Because author Jason Sanford also wrote an exposé of violent political rhetoric posted at the official forum of publisher Baen Books. This led to him being subjected to a volley of attacks by various right-wingers; one of whom, Samuel Collingwood Smith, found the Torture Bus story and decided to use it as a stick to beat him with. Smith’s main accusation is that the story (which contains absolutely no sexual content whatsoever) might, hypothetically, be arousing to paedophiles – an obviously absurd assertion that could just as easily be levelled at any other work of fiction which includes children as characters.

Continue reading “The Torture Bus Keeps On Rolling”

Congratulations to the 2021 Nebula Award Finalists!

Although the Nebulas aren’t one of the awards I tend to cover on my annual beat, I’m paying attention this time around for a writing project that covers SF/F published in 2020. I don’t have a lot to say about the latest round of finalists themselves – the only one I’ve read is N. K. Jemisin’s The City we Became – but I do have some thoughts on the general make-up of the ballot.

In particular, I’m wondering how many of these works I’ll be covering when I’m reviewing the year’s Hugo Awards. The Nebula novels tend to have a three-book overlap with the Hugos (at least, they have done the last few years) and it seems a dead cert that we’ll be seeing both the N. K. Jemisin and Martha Wells novels on the Worldcon ballot. The others are up in the air, though. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic has been getting considerable buzz – but bear in mind that the same author’s Gods of Jade and Shadow, which won last year’s Nebula, didn’t even make the Hugo ballot.

Cora Buhlert, more familiar with the finalists than I am, notes some of the recurring traits on the ballot – namely, revisionist takes on Lovecraftian horror and the strong presence of African authors.

Courtesy of File 770, here’s a complete ballot with links to online copies (either full or excerpted) of the stories:

Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2021 Nebula Award Finalists!”