Archive for ‘links’

December 23, 2013


I’m refusing to make any proper “best of 2013″ lists until at least January (if then) but here I am at The Booksmugglers’ blog talking about some of the best translated works I read this year. Of the three books I chose to talk about, only one was published (in translation) in 2013. I didn’t read nearly as much work in translation as I’d have liked to this year–I know of a number of works that I missed out on from India alone–so consider this post a plea for recommendations as well.

September 29, 2013

Strange Horizons is a good thing

I feel the need to point this out because they’re entering the final stages of their yearly fund drive.

I sometimes write for Strange Horizons. This year I have a review in their bonus fund drive issue (the full issue can be found here) and a piece in their forthcoming issue on Indian science fiction. But when I linked to the fund drive a couple of weeks ago on twitter, I said that while I would like the magazine to continue as one of its occasional writers, it’s as a fan that I’ve found it most vital to me, and it’s as a fan that I’m speaking of it here.

Other people have written about the fiction that the magazine publishes, and obviously a lot of it is very good (See this and this and this). Lots of places publish good SFF short fiction though*. What I really value about SH are the nonfiction parts–the reviews, articles and columns, which are often brilliant. (I’ve been unforgivably late with my own reviews for them in the past, simply because having a standard to live up to is unnerving and makes me want to curl up and read fanfiction instead).

SH is the sort of place that will review mainstream literary fiction which has elements of SF, or epic fantasy from a major publisher, or self-published work, or academic work on SF, or translated fiction, or My Little Pony (before it became a Thing), or the occasional video game, and it is always taken for granted that all of these are worthy of serious thought, and that engaging with things is an enjoyable activity. Sometimes they publish academic work. Recently a review linked to a cat gif.

It’s also the sort of place where it is almost taken for granted that lots of contributors (both fiction and nonfiction) will be from outside the USA, will come in skin colours other than white, and gender identities other than male. Conversations about diversity within fandom often make me feel uncomfortable; here, I don’t particularly stand out and it’s great.

There isn’t any single conversation around books and films or other media on the internet or off it; it’s always a set of overlapping sub-conversations (stating the obvious here, sorry). The set of conversations and (I just wrote “reader-book interactions” and deleted it because *shudder*) that make up Strange Horizons has felt sometimes like coming home. I’m rarely sure of my ability to contribute something of value to the conversation, but this is a literary (and fannish?) culture that I value and want to be a part of.

I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to think through half-formed ideas, and feeling inarticulate and not very bright. If you don’t read Strange Horizons and you do read this blog, and if any of the sort of writing I want to be doing is coming across at all, it’s possible that you will also find SH valuable and important.

Plus, there are prizes to be won.


*Or so I assume; I’m very lazy about reading short fiction.

August 24, 2013


(I should have mentioned this in my last post, but I was half asleep at the time) Larry from the OF Blog is doing a series of posts in which he tortures with fiendish rodents interviews people who blog about books. His interview with me is over here; I recommend some children’s literature, extol the virtues of mocking and abusing books, and say a number of things about Indian publishing that are probably completely wrong.

August 24, 2013

Pride and Platypuses

Not the latest Austen mashup, or not that I know of. The nice people at Duckbill books are having a Pride and Prejudice celebration week on their blog. I’ve written a little P&P timeline thing for them, which you can read here.

The John Kessel story I mention is here.

Persuasion is still better, though.

July 26, 2013

Creepy uncles and Sixteen

I have a piece at FirstPost in which I talk about why one of the central plotlines of Raj Purohit’s Sixteen freaked me out. I may have used the phrase “creepy uncle gaze”. I may have linked to a song from The Sound of Music. I may have mentioned a Dev Anand film the world would prefer to forget.

July 10, 2013

Some prize-related news

First, the winner of this year’s Caine Prize has been announced, and it is Tope Folarin for “Miracle”. As I said in my last Caine post, “America” was my favourite of this year’s shortlist, but I can certainly see why Folarin’s story won. You can read the story itself here (links to a pdf), and my post on it is here.


And the shortlist for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards (of which I am a member of the jury) has been announced and can be found here. Obviously I have favourites; obviously I’m not going to declare them here just yet. But it’s a very good collection of books and short stories, and I’m glad to have had the chance to read them.

June 28, 2013

John Freeman (ed), Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4

I have a short review of the most recent Granta in the current issue of Time Out Delhi, and you can read it online here.

March 26, 2013


A short post at The Hooded Utilitarian about Jhangir Kerawala’s Timpa comics, here.

Possibly relevant, this post from last year about one of the weirder Tintin comics.

December 12, 2012


I have a (much delayed, this is entirely my own fault) review of Nick Jackson’s The Secret Life of the Panda over at The Future Fire. I’ll admit I asked for the book mainly on the strength of that unusual cover – which you can also see, along with a blog post by the artist, here. Chomu Press have brought out some beautifully designed books and this may be my favourite out of those I’ve seen.

Jackson’s stories are good too, though occasionally in a rather gruesome way (it is possible that I am squeamish) – dark and controlled. More details at the Future Fire website, but if you’re too lazy to read the whole thing, know that I approved of this book.

February 22, 2012

Shiny things that people might like to own

While at Comic Con India (distinguished from all other comics conventions by being a place where you can also buy saris, momos and kahwa) I found myself joining Deepa D in an attempt to find exciting things to auction for Con or Bust - a venture fraught with peril as we negotiated small children singing the Chhota Bheem theme song, a Superman who had neglected to wear underpants either underneath or on top of his costume, and the like.


Deepa has posted to the community with all the loot thus obtained. Here is a collection of comics and graphic novels – for those of you who know him, the lettering for Auto Pilot was done by Aditya Bidikar.

But the lovely people at Blaft provided these copies of the hilarious Kumari Loves a Monster. And (I may have screamed a little) this amazing, beautiful thing.


Other exciting objects related to science fiction and the world outside the UK and the USA – the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards are having a fund drive, and they have a bunch of very shiny books as prizes. The list is here.