Yesterday, the finalists for this year’s Locus Awards were announced, and we’re very happy to report that four of our clients are among them! Winners of the awards will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend, to be held in Seattle, June 28th-30th. Here are the details…
In the Best Sci-Fi Novel category: UNHOLY LAND by Lavie Tidhar. Published by Tachyon Publications, here’s the synopsis…
Lior Tirosh is a semi-successful author of pulp fiction, an inadvertent time traveler, and an ongoing source of disappointment to his father.
Tirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa. But Palestina — a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century — has grown dangerous. The government is building a vast border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in Ararat City is growing. And Tirosh’s childhood friend, trying to deliver a warning, has turned up dead in his hotel room. A state security officer has identified Tirosh as a suspect in a string of murders, and a rogue agent is stalking Tirosh through transdimensional rifts — possible futures that can only be prevented by avoiding the mistakes of the past.
UNHOLY LAND has racked up an impressive range of commendations and nominations since its release. Here, too, are just a few of the great reviews…
‘… will leave readers’ heads spinning with this disorienting and gripping alternate history… Readers of all kinds, and particularly fans of detective stories and puzzles, will enjoy grappling with the numerous questions raised by this stellar work.’ — Publishers Weekly (PW Picks: Books of the Week, October 15, 2018)
‘Lavie Tidhar is a genius at conjuring realities that are just two steps to the left of our own — places that look and smell and feel real, if just a bit hauntingly alien. UNHOLY LAND develops slowly. It begins with banal strangeness (this Palestinia, so like and unlike modern-day Israel) and leans gently into it… This is a story that gets weirder the deeper you get into it; that cultivates strangeness like something precious. It has three narrators: Investigator Bloom, Tirosh and a woman, Nur, who works as a field agent for the Border Agency. There are echoes of Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union in it, wild strains of P.K. Dick and Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber. But UNHOLY LAND is its own thing. Something that no one but Tidhar could’ve written. Gorgeous in its alienness, comfortingly gray in its banality, and disquieting throughout.’ — NPR
‘[O]ne of those lovely books that starts out presenting itself as one thing, and mutates into another almost without you seeing it… a game-player of a writer who uses the spectrum of science fiction canon for his pieces… a grand game of alternate worlds cast like jewels on the sand. The long second act is all dust and blood and madness and glory, and the fast third act comes down on you like a sharpened spade… Lavie Tidhar is a clever bastard, and this book is a box of little miracles.’ — Warren Ellis
In the Best Fantasy Novel category: LIES SLEEPING by Ben Aaronovitch. Published by Gollancz in the UK and DAW Books in North America, here’s the synopsis…
Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run.
Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice.
But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan.
A plan that has its roots in London’s two thousand bloody years of history, and could literally bring the city to its knees.
To save his beloved city Peter’s going to need help from his former best friend and colleague – Lesley May – who brutally betrayed him and everything he thought she believed in. And, far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch…
As with all of Ben’s Peter Grant novels, LIES SLEEPING was met with a veritable tsunami of praise. Here’s just a taste…
‘[F]unny… laugh-out-loud prose… fans will delight in this outing.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘[R]ecounted with deadpan British wit and irony… packed with fascinating historical detail… Lively and amusing and different.’ — Kirkus
‘Peter Grant’s London has depth, breadth, and a complex array of recurring characters, and every one of the novels can be relied on to start with a bang… Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant has a distinctive voice, one that makes even the bureaucracy of regular police work engaging and compelling… Aaronovitch writes a tense, compelling police procedural with magic. As usual, Grant’s voice is striking, and the action gripping and intense.’ — Tor.com
There are two Zeno clients in the Best Novella category: First, THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE by Aliette de Bodard, published by Subterranean Press in North America and JABberwocky elsewhere in English, here’s the synopsis…
Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appearance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.
A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.
As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past — and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars…
Set in Aliette’s Hugo Award-nominated Xuya universe, this novella was praise far and wide upon release (and continues to receive many great reviews)…
‘[A] delicate, gender-bent recasting of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in the far future of her Xuya universe, the gorgeously mannered space opera setting of celebrated novellas… a window onto a beautifully developed world that widens the meaning of space opera, one that centers on Chinese and Vietnamese cultures and customs instead of Western military conventions, and is all the more welcome for it.’ — New York Times
‘A science-fictional ode to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, where the Holmes figure is a sharp and biting disgraced aristocratic scholar with a solid core of empathy, and the Watson-figure is a mindship with post-traumatic stress disorder from her war experiences… This is a measured, almost stately story, right up until a conclusion that explodes in fast-paced tension. It preserves the empathy and the intensity of the original Sherlockian stories, while being told in de Bodard’s sharp prose and modern style. The worldbuilding… sparkles. The characters have presence: they’re individual and compelling. And it ends it a way that recalls the original Holmes and Watson, while being perfectly appropriate to itself.’ — Tor.com
‘De Bodard revisits her far-future Xuya universe setting with this gripping novella about damaged characters driven to search for the truth… De Bodard constructs a convincingly gritty setting and a pair of unique characters with provocative histories and compelling motivations. The story works as well as both science fiction and murder mystery, exploring a future where pride, guilt, and mercy are not solely the province of humans.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘As a classical blend of far-future SF and traditional murder mystery, THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE should satisfy readers unfamiliar with the Xuya universe, but at the same time it’s an intriguing introduction to that universe, much of which seems to lie just outside the borders of this entertaining tale.’ — Locus (Gary K. Wolfe)
Second: TIME WAS by Ian McDonald. Published by Tor.com, here’s the synopsis…
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.
In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.
Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.
As with the other titles mentioned above, Ian’s novella has been met with widespread praise. As reported in February, the novella has also been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award! Here are just a few of the reviews the book has received since release…
‘[E]ntrances readers with this multigenerational novella of two time-crossed lovers who can only meet for brief moments separated by several years… beautiful writing… Fans of science fiction who enjoy a dash of history and legend will savor this tender story.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘This slender, poignant queer romance incorporates time travel and hints of hard science into a story as devastatingly sad—which isn’t to say bleak—as anything you’ll read this year.’ — B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog (Best SFF Books of the Year So Far, 2018, Honourable Mention)
‘TIME WAS… a peculiar story of time, mystery, books, love, and war, compact as a parable, layered like a complex metaphor… and in some ways, strikingly unsettling… very well put together, and gorgeously written.’ — Tor.com
‘Throughout his career, Ian McDonald has demonstrated a remarkable versatility of style and language. His recent fiction has ranged from the YA sense-of-wonder exuberance of his parallel-world Everness series to the efficient social melodrama narration of the Luna novels, but he’s always been equally capable of great lyricism, and his new novella, TIME WAS, is a persuasive and gorgeous example of it. Essentially a timeslip romance in which the romance is evoked not by dramatic clinches but by a heightened sensuality, an acute awareness of nature, and a haunting sense of imminent loss, it nevertheless introduces enough chatter about quantum indeterminacy to work as SF. In a fascinating way, the two “time-crossed lovers,” Ben and Tom, come to represent the dual aesthetic of any good SF romance: Ben is a physicist working on a complex new experiment with his “Uncertainty Squad,” while Tom is a poet and part-time amateur actor who, when we meet him, is working for the Signal Corps. Early on, Ben confesses that he doesn’t have the soul of a poet, and Tom admits he doesn’t “have the soul of a scientist,” but, as McDonald well knows, you need both to tell a story like this… one of the most purely beautiful pieces of writing McDonald has given us in years.’ — Gary K. Wolfe (Locus)
Congrats to Lavie, Ben, Aliette and Ian on their very-well deserved nominations!