Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Philip K. Dick Award Nominees 2009

2009 Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced

The judges of the 2009 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, are pleased to announce seven nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:

BITTER ANGELS by C. L. Anderson (Ballantine Books/Spectra)
THE PRISONER by Carlos J. Cortes (Ballantine Books/Spectra)
THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO by Eric Garcia (Harper)

THE DEVIL’S ALPHABET by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian McDonald (Pyr)
CENTURIES AGO AND VERY FAST by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)
PROPHETS by S. Andrew Swann (DAW Books)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 2, 2010 at Norwescon 33 at the Doubletree Seattle Airport Hotel, SeaTac, Washington.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society.  Last year’s winners were EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD by Adam-Troy Castro (Eos Books) and TERMINAL MIND by David Walton (Meadowhawk Press).  The 2009 judges are Daniel Abraham (chair), Eileen Gunn, Karen Hellekson, Elaine Isaak, and Marc Laidlaw.

For more information, contact the award administration:

David G. Hartwell (914) 769-5545.

Gordon Van Gelder (201) 876-2551

For more information about the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society,

Contact Gary Feldbaum (215) 665-5752

For more information about the Philip K. Dick Trust:

For more information about Norwescon:

Contact NorthWest SF Society: (425) 686-9737

Childrun Online

Every Friday, has been posting selections from Year’s Best Fantasy 9.  Today, my story “Childrun” is among them.  (Howard Waldrop and Paul Parks, too!)  Meanwhile, the latest story “Songwood” is in this month’s issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and I’m waiting to see if my preparation of “Dankden” shows up at F&SF’s website to run along with it.   If so, I will provide a link.

World Fantasy Convention 2009

At the end of this month, I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention for the first time in many years.  I am scheduled for two events:

Friday, 5 P.M. – A Reading.  Location TBD.  I will probably read “Songwood,” before its appearance in the Jan.-Feb. issue of F&SF.

Saturday, 8:45 PM – 10 PM.  Crystal Room.  Group reading to celebrate the publication of Lovecraft Unbound, with Ellen Datlow and the following authors reading selections from their stories:  Laird Barron, Amanda Downum, Brian Evenson, Nick Mamatas, Michael Shea, Anna Tambour, and me.

Lovecraft Unbound – Dead Reckonings Review

Ellen Datlow sent along the text of a review of Lovecraft Unbound. It is will appear in a forthcoming Dead Reckonings.  We’re permitted to use excerpts, so I’ve dug out some that relate to my story:

More Than Just Tentacles

Martin Andersson

HENRIK SANDBECK HARKSEN, ed. Eldritch Horrors: Dark Tales. Odense, Denmark: H. Harksen Productions, 2008. iv, 306 pp. €19.60 ($25.30) tpb.

ELLEN DATLOW, ed. Lovecraft Unbound. New York: Dark Horse, 2009. 421 pp. $19.95 tpb.


The two present volumes are among the latest additions to the jewels in Cthulhu’s treasury. Both anthologies share the ambition of highlighting the “Lovecraftian”—the nebulous quality of weirdness and mood that is so much more than monsters from Outside and strange little New England towns. Marc Laidlaw puts it best when, in his comment on his story in Lovecraft Unbound, he writes, “Learning from Lovecraft, without leaning on him, is the challenge.” And in this, both anthologies succeed remarkably well.


An adventurous mycologist looking for a missing expedition visits a certain Asian plateau in Marc Laidlaw’s “Leng.” This is one of the more subtly disturbing stories of the book in its depiction of bodily invasion and the subversion of self; certain properties of the unique fungus located by the mycologist remind me of Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seed from the Sepulcher.” It is also a good example of how names from Lovecraft’s mythos can be dropped as part of the background for a story, not taking centre stage as in some pastiches of doubtful quality.

Of Mushrooms and Metroids

Game imagery is so pernicious that it is starting to invade science fiction novel cover art.  Here, from Jeff Vandermeer’s forthcoming FINCH, which almost certainly contains mushrooms galore, is some architecture that appears to have come straight out of Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom.  My kids saw only this much and thought these were Mario mushrooms:


Yes, that cover really is beautiful.

Meanwhile, from Ed Lerner’s forthcoming SMALL MIRACLES, a novel of nanotechnology gone awry, a bookjacket covered with a bunch of iconic Metroids:


Here is a real Metroid for comparison purposes.


And here is a mushroom.


Please do not rely on this guide in the field.  Speak to an expert before consuming any wild-caught mushrooms or Metroids.

Childrun in Year’s Best Fantasy 9

Year’s Best Fantasy 9, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, is available now, but not in stores. This is’s first publication, and exists as a POD-only venture to be followed shortly by an ebook.  It’s 475 pages, priced accordingly, available direct from Tor and from the usual Amazonian marketplace.  I think the POD model is an interesting one for books, especially when they have the full force of a professional publisher behind them (good editors, skilled proofreaders, experienced production staff, etc.).  This bodes well for the future.


The Leng Extract

Expeditionary Notes of the Second Mycological Survey of the Leng Plateau Region

Aug. 3

No adventurer has ever followed lightly in the footsteps of a missing survey team, and today’s encounter in the Amari Café did little to relieve my anxiety. Having arrived in Thangyal in the midst of the Summer Grass Festival, which celebrates the harvest of Cordyceps sinensis, the prized caterpillar fungus, we first sought a reasonably hygienic hotel in which to stow our gear. Lodging accomplished, Phupten led me several blocks to the café—and what a walk it was! Sidewalks covered with cordyceps!  Thousands of them laid out to dry on tarps and blankets, the withered little hyphaeriddled worms with their dark fungal stalks outthrust like black mono-antennae, capped with tiny spores (asci).  Everywhere we stepped, an exotic specimen cried out for inspection.  Never have I seen so many mushrooms in one place, let alone the rare cordyceps; never have I visited a culture where mushrooms were of such great ethnic and economic importance. It is no wonder the fungi are beloved and appreciated, and that the cheerful little urchins who incessantly spit in the street possess at their tongue-tips (along with sunflower hulls) the practical field lore of a trained mycologist; for these withered larvae and plump Tricholoma matsutake and aromatic Boletus edulis have brought revivifying amounts of income to the previously cash-starved locals. For myself, a mere mushroom enthusiast, it was an intoxicating stroll. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like for my predecessors, treading these same cracked sidewalks ten months ago.

Phupten assured me that every Westerner in Thangyal ends up in the cramped café presided over by the rosy-cheeked Mr. Zhang, and this was the main reason for our choice of eatery. Mr. Zhang, formerly of Lhasa, proved to be a thin, jolly restaurateur in a shabby suit jacket, his cuffs protected from sputtering grease by colorful sleeve protectors cut from what appeared to be the legs of a child’s pajamas. At first, while we poured ourselves tea and ate various yak-fraught Tibetan versions of American standards, all was pleasant enough. Mr. Zhang required only occasional interpretive assistance from Phupten, and my comment on his excellent command of English naturally led him to the subject of his previous tutors—namely, the eponymous heads of the Schurr-Perry expedition.

Here, at a moment that could have been interpreted as inauspicious by those inclined to read supernatural meaning into random events, the lights dimmed and the power went out completely—a common event in Thangyal, Phupten stressed, as if he thought me susceptible to influence by such auspices. Although the cafe darkened, Mr. Zhang’s chapped cheeks burned brighter, kindling my own excitement as he lit into a firsthand account of the last known days of Danielle Schurr and her husband, Heinrich Perry.

The full tale appears in Ellen Datlow’s Lovecraft Unbound.