That time again folks!

2014 is already shaping up to be a great year for Angry Robot Books and this week’s mega round up is taking a look back over the last couple of months to see what you guys have thought about the books we’ve brought to you so far.

January saw the release of Andy Remic’s new novel The Iron Wolves, which grabbed the fantasy community by the throat until it begged for more books!

Before the Iron Wolves come after us too, here’s what people had to say:

The Iron Wolves by Andy Remic

The Iron Wolves by Andy Remic“I found Remic’s latest fantasy novel to be an engaging, almost hypnotic, opus of foul sorcery and violence. I mean that in the best way possible… If you like your fantasy really really dark wherein the only vibrant color is blood red than you should definitely give The Iron Wolves a shot.” – King of the Nerds!

“Holy crap, but The Iron Wolves was a hell of a lot of fun! What Andy Remic has pulled together here is absolutely genius. If you’ve read the cover blurb then you have some idea of what to expect but, like me, you probably wondered if he really could pull it off. Well, I am here to tell you to wonder no longer – pull it off he does . . . and then some!” – Beauty in Ruins

Andy Remic brings grit and realism to the fantasy genre in a fascinating and addictive way. This book is well worth a read and I’m already looking forward to the next part.” – Tony’s Thoughts

The Iron Wolves is a perfect introduction to a new hardcore fantasy series. It feels like we’re getting the band back together. I suspect we’ve only just begun when it comes to unleashing bloody mayhem. Based on the evidence displayed, you can count me in. Bring it on!” – The Eloquent Page

“I loved this book. Very violent and dark, fast paced, with a hugely imaginative world and creatures. There were also major plot twists and turns which were enjoyable as so many fantasy books don’t use this element. Great cast of characters who were all very interesting and unique and several were able to make me care about their stories and what happens to them. Tons of ultra powerful magic and sorcerers and a great backstory is weaved in throughout the book which will appeal to readers who enjoy these elements as do I. The writing was excellent and right to the point, in classic sword and sorcery style.” – Grimdark Reader

“If Quentin Tarantino read alot of Heavy Metal comics and played Dungeons and Dragons and decided “hey, I’m gonna write a book!”, this is what he would write. The Iron Wolves is a vicious, over the top violent, and throughly vulgar ripping bloodfest of a fantasy. If you wonder “is this the kind of thing I want to read?” I will answer that question for you, because I’m that kind of guy. YES. This book grabs you by various body parts and then punches you in the face when you try with all your weak little might to get loose.” – Kdawg91 (Goodreads) 

In March, Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina was released, becoming the the first book in the Majat Code Series.

Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina

Blades Of The Old Empire, by Anna Kashina“In another great book from Angry Robot, Blades of the Old Empire follows Prince Kythar and Kara, a member of a secretive society of assassins through the tumultuous return of an old enemy. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for anyone who likes a good swashbuckling storyline.” – Alex McGilvery

“This is a magnificent work of literature. You get fast paced travel with political intrigue and danger, amazing martial arts fights of extreme skill, cultural immersion from around the world, and a little hint of romance without ruining the tough fighter feel… I really cannot express enough times how highly I recommend this story to everyone.” – In Pursuit of My Own Library

“This book is action packed from the very first page, and is a good start to a series that I will look forward to reading more of.” – Avid Fantasy Reviews

“The writing is so vivid that I could actually see all the scenes when I read. I think this book would make a superb movie. If you are looking for a light, fast-paced read, don’t miss this book.” – Lu 

“I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of romance-themed novels. I feel it is for those who want more romance in their fantasy while also getting a hefty dose of action, adventure, and intrigue… it was a good book, and well worth the read. I’ll be reading this one again” – R.J. Blain

“Each scene is very well written.  Action and dialog keep the story moving at a fast clip.  The fight scenes were especially well written making it easy to see what was happening. Now I want to see what happens in the next book.” – Mixed Book Bag 

“I thought the book was, on the whole, really well-written. There were quite a few scenes that I could picture really easily in my mind and there were several moments where I found it really intense and wanted to see what was going to happen. At some point, I definitely intend/want to read the other books in this series.” – Sarah 

“Both Kyth and Ellah are likeable characters and it is a joy to follow their stories. A solid start to what looks to be an exciting series.” – British Fantasy Society

**And if you were one of the many who loved Blades then keep your eyes peeled for important Majat Code news next week!**

And finally March brought with it not only Spring, but also The Book of the Crowman, the fantastic sequel to Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey

The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’Lacey

TheBookOfTheCrowman-144dpi“Holy shjtsnacks this was a good novel. It is a dance between worlds of existence that overlap in surprising ways. There are moments within the novel that send clear messages about living in our current state of unawareness or choosing awareness for the sake of diminished ego by sacrificing our desires. The author weaves this message into the good vs. evil idiom on the macro scale while elevating the inner diametric towards enlightenment.” – Koeur’s Book Reviews 

D’Lacey once again brings so much skill to his story: gorgeous prose, Gordon’s dangerous and exciting survival story, and the drawn-out mystery of who the Crowman really is.” – Books, Bones & Buffy

“There is an exceptionally short list of genre books that have had a profound effect on my way of thinking. One day I may even tell you what some of the others are. Currently however, all you need to know is that Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman have just been added to that list. Smart insightful fiction that challenges preconceived notions and makes a reader properly think is a truly wonderful thing. This is flawlessly executed fantasy that I can’t recommend highly enough. I’ve said it before, and I hope I get the opportunity to say it again, Joseph D’Lacey is an author who everyone should be reading.” – The Eloquent Page 

D’Lacey’s stories access terror and beauty, combining to produce something exquisite. It’s poetry and it’s in my soul.” – And Then I Read a Book

D’Lacey has created a beautifully written book that is in part an apocalyptic tale, and also a story with fantasy elements. Whether you love Sci-Fi or Fantasy, this is a book that lovers of all types of speculative fiction will enjoy… Overall I would give this book an 8.5/10, which is the highest rating I have given so far! It is an amazing book, and I highly recommend it.” – Avid Fantasy Reviews

“The author, as in the previous book, once again excels at painting a believable and followable sense of not just impending doom but the breakdown of the Earth itself. He can set a scene with minimal waste and satisfying freshness and bring it to life in a way that only the best storytellers can. While that alone would justify my recommendation, the well-drawn characters, masterful action, and genuinely dreadful scenes of horror that wrap themselves into this well-paced plot are selling points with just as much weight. Add in a memorable ending and this is one of those books that I just can’t recommend enough.” – After the Last Day 

So yes, 2014 has so far proven a great year for Angry Robot, and we can promise you this, it only gets better.

Categories : Angry Robot, Round Ups
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Nexus, by Ramez Naam
We already knew that Nexus by Ramez Naam was shortlisted for the Kistchies Red Tentacle Award.

Last week we discovered that Nexus was is also shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award.

And this morning, we were told that both Nexus and its sequel Crux have been shortlisted for the Prometheus Award!

Come on, Ramez – give some other folk a chance!

Anyway, to celebrate the awesomeness that is both Nexus and Crux, we have decided to have a time-limited HALF-PRICE offer on the ebooks.

Crux by Ramez Naam

From now until the end of the month:
Kindle readers in the UK can pick up a copy of Nexus and Crux at Amazon.co.uk for just £2.74 per book! (List price is £5.49).

Kindle readers everywhere else, and those who use non-Kindle ebook readers can pick up a copy of Nexus and/or Crux for the same price at the Robot Trading Company.

(£2.74 at the Robot Trading company equates to approximately US$3.70, so not quite half price, but pretty darned close!)

Go get them now, while the price is low!

 

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Listen up Robots, we’re celebrating two book birthdays today, which means two shiny new ebooks for all you hard working robotic readers!

That’s right today is launch birthday of two new Angry Robot books, Last God Standing by Michael Boatman and Sunstone by Freya Robertson!

Happy birthday to both! And in case you haven’t already left to go and buy them or you can’t get on the Robot Trading Company website yet, here’s a description and a sample chapter of each book to let you know what’s in store!

Happy reading guys!

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Last God Standing by Michael BoatmanCreator. Supreme being. Stand-up comic…?!

When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.

Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.

Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.

How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

 

The Ultimate in Divine Comedy…

North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company

Sunstone by Freya Robertson

Sunstone, by Freya RobertsonThe Incendi elementals that dwell beneath the mountains have found a way to tap into the Arbor’s roots, which stretch not only across the land but also through time, and King Pyra is determined to crush the ancient tree.

Twenty-two years after the defeat of the Darkwater Lords, Chonrad’s widow Procella and their three children are drawn back to Heartwood to investigate the rumour of strange fires springing up across the land. Across three separate timelines, the heroes must battle to join together their ancient sunstones, to overcome the Incendi threat, and to protect the Arbor and make earth victorious once more.

 

North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company

Categories : Angry Robot
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ALL the award nominations. We want them ALL.

Ramez Naam Ramez Naam is certainly doing his best to bring them to us. We recently had Nexus  in The Golden Tentacle category at the Kitschies, and Nexus is also shortlisted for the soon-to-be-announced Arthur C. Clarke Award. We are delighted to now announce that both Nexus AND Crux have been shortlisted for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel.

Here’s the full shortlist:

Homeland, by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books)
A Few Good Men, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books)
Crux, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
Nexusby Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer)

The awards will be presented during Loncon 3, the 72nd annual World Science Fiction Convention August 14-18, 2014, in London.

Congratulations to everyone shortlisted, with a special great big WOOOOT to Ramez Naam!

Crux by Ramez NaamNexus, by Ramez Naam

 

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Angry Robot Books is excited to announce our latest acquisition, World Rights from Sam Copeland (Rogers, Coleridge and White Literary Agency) for Susan Murray’s The Waterborne Blade (October 2014), the opening volume of an intriguing medieval fantasy series for fans of Trudi Canavan, Karen Miller and Gail Z Martin.

Angry Robot Books is delighted to have obtained Susan’s wonderful debut novel, in which an exiled queen must protect her unborn child during a civil war by drawing on dark powers she can neither understand nor control. The as-yet untitled sequel will be released in summer of 2015.

Susan Murray: “I’m thrilled to find myself working with the dynamic team at Angry Robot. With so many talented authors on their list I imagined my novel’s chances of acceptance lay somewhere between slim and none. Never have I been more happy to be wrong.”

The Waterborne Blade:

The citadel has long been the stronghold of Highkell. All that is about to change because the traitor, Vasic, is marching on the capital. Against her better judgement, Queen Alwenna allows herself to be spirited away by one of the Crown’s most trusted servants, safe from the clutches of the throne’s would-be usurper.

Fleeing across country, she quickly comes to learn that her pampered existence has ill-equipped her for survival away from the comforts of the court. Alwenna must toughen up, and fast, if she is even to make it to a place of safety. But she has an even loftier aim – for after dreaming of her husband’s impending death, Alwenna knows she must turn around and head back to Highkell to save the land she loves, and the husband who adores her, or die in the attempt.

But Vasic the traitor is waiting. And this was all just as he planned.

Susan Murray photo 11 3 14About Susan: After spending her formative years falling off ponies Susan moved on to rock climbing, mountains proving marginally less unpredictable than horses. Along the way she acquired a rugby-playing husband, soon followed by two daughters and a succession of rundown houses. Cumulative wear and tear prompted her to return to study, settling unfinished business with an Open University Humanities degree. She lives with her family in rural Cumbria where she writes fantasy and science fiction with occasional forays into other genres.

Welcome Susan on Twitter: @pulpthorn

 

 

Rights Queries: Please contact Rights Executive Ellena Johnstone for all rights queries: ellena.johnstone@ospreypublishing.com

Categories : AR Authors
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Mar
22

Angry Robot Squares Game

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squares

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past month or so, you’ll have seen variations on the 2048 squares game.

Here, then is the Angry Robot version. Click on the image to play this at usvst3m.com.

HOW TO PLAY: Use your arrow keys to move the tiles. When two identical tiles touch, they merge and become the next level of tile. Get a tile to the eleventh level to win.

Enjoy… :-)

Categories : Angry Robot, Game
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Afternoon fellow robots!

Today we’re bringing you a round up of what people have been saying about the ultimate divine comedy: Last God Standing by Michael Boatman.

When we announced our signing of the actor and writer back in June of last year it was genuinely difficult to tell who was more excited. So it is with great pleasure that we can start bringing you some reviews of his fantastic book!

Have a look at what people said and when you’ve read it too, leave us a comment to let us know what you thought.

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman“Reading this book was definitely an interesting experience. If you are a someone who likes to read about gods, gods fighting, zombies, parallel worlds, voodoo and so forth, this is definitely a book for you.” – Open Book Society 

“For me, “Last God Standing” was an enjoyable book which, while not being perfect, marks Boatman as an interesting author with a huge potential. It’ll be interesting seeing where he goes next. One thing is certain – I’m sure it’ll be mad as hell.” – upcoming4.me 

“I really could not put this novel down. Not for the internal questions that arise out of religious processes or the characters or the story line but it was just plane funny. I love sarcastic wit and Lando does a great job delivering. I look forward to more from this author and perhaps more challenging discussions.” – Koeur’s Book Reviews

“There is, needless to say, quite a lot going on but it is to the author’s credit that at no point does it feel rushed or crammed. There are moments that will make you chuckle, touching moments and one’s to make you laugh out loud (the restaurant scene with his girlfriend and her family is a work of comedy genius in my opinion). The other plus for me is that although the main character is God the book itself is not overly religious or preachy – just a good fun read that I will happily recommend to anyone.” – Andy Angel 

“In all honesty, I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but if you enjoy a bit of comedy, a bit of divinity, a bit of gratuitous carnage and some general silliness in your reading, I would recommend giving this one a go.” – The Book Shelf Gargoyle 

“It’s a fun read and God is relatable for the first time. He’s a young man in love, wanting to follow his dream and just once make his parents proud.” – Elizabeth Amber Love (Goodreads)

The Sequel to Last God Standing, Who Wants to Be the Prince of Darkness? Comes out in 2015

Categories : Angry Robot, Round Ups
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This month we talk to Adam Christopher about Russian dopplegangers. As well as his new book, Hang Wire.

Hang Wire Buying Info:

UK Print & Ebook
Amazon.co.uk | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith

North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company

Categories : AR Authors, Podcast
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Nexus by Ramez Naam

The shortlist of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award was announced this evening in London, and we’re absolutely delighted to announce that – yet again – we have a book nominated.

NEXUS by Ramez Naam joins a very strong shortlist, which also includes God’s War by new Angry Robot author, Kameron Hurley.

The full shortlist is:

~ Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
The Machine by James Smythe (Blue Door)
Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie (Orbit)
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday May 1st at the Royal Society, London, and will be presented with a cheque for £2,014 (approx US$3,338) and the award itself, a commemorative bookend. But especially the cash.

Congratulations to all the finalists (especially Ramez and Kameron, of course).

It appears we have not lived and fought in vain!

Categories : AR Authors, Awards
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Back in February Andy Remic offered a free Wolf Pack to reviewers and bloggers who had reviewed his fantastic fantasy novel The Iron Wolves.

The pack included a lollypop, five bookmarks, a signed photo and an Iron Wolves t-shirt! (Modelled very impressively at the time by Mr Remic himself).

Wolf Pack Promo

Now the Wolf Pack has begun to return to their leader (with bloggers and reviewers receiving their t-shirts) and we can bring you first photo of one being worn by someone who didn’t write the book: Phil Witvliet of Grimdark reader with his dog Pluto!

Phil Witvliet & Pluto - wolf pack

Hopefully we’ll see more wolves returning home in the future so we can bring you photos of the entire pack, but for now we think Phil and Pluto set a high bar for the others!

*Once again we use the term “Modelled” in the broadest possible sense*

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Two of our Angry Robot authors, Joseph D’Lacey and Rod Duncan, will be giving readings at the ‘Tastes and Tales’ event in Rugby on the 22nd March and there are still a few tickets left!

Taking place at the Delish Deli and Kitchen from 7.30pm, the event promises to be “an evening of tasty treats and gruesome tales” that you won’t want to miss!

Check out the event poster below for all the information.

TasteTalesPoster

And just in case you can’t get a ticket, make sure to get yourselves over to Joseph and Rod’s author pages for information on when their new books are coming out.

Categories : Angry Robot
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If you’ve seen our recent hints, you’ll know we’re pretty excited about this cover and revealing it to you. Craig had some fantastic promos created, and just to tease you before the big reveal, here’s a quick peek at them again:

 

The Shadow Master

July 2014

In a land riven with plague, in the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control – the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…

TheShadowMaster-144dpi

Cover art by Steve Stone.

{ click to see the full loveliness }

Categories : Angry Robot, Cover Art
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Today’s International Women’s Day Post is written by Kameron Hurley, hope you all enjoy!

I’ll Make the Pancakes: On Opting In – and Out – of the Writing Game

A doodle of The Author, Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley

I’ve been loudly asserting my opinion on the internet and in print for fifteen years, and it never gets any easier.

It gets better.

Not the treatment, no– there will always be trolls, shitty emails, digs at appearance, calls for sources and “evidence” to back up your expertise (which only counts if it comes from dudes), folks who assume you write genres you don’t; there will be fewer opportunities for reviews; colleagues on panels who start conversations with “I don’t want to be sexist but…”, and covers for your gritty SF book that come out looking like a Tampax ad. Those things are going to be there for some time, to some extent. And every few years, you’ll fight for respectability and a voice from a new generation of folks who don’t know your work or credentials and thus judge you exclusively on gender and appearance as determined by whatever the media machine says you are. And you’ll have to prove yourself all over again.

It sucks. It’s hard. If you stay in the game, though, I promise you’ll get very good at it. You’ll get pretty good at writing, too. And business.  Those are the parts that get better.  You get tougher, and more jaded, and angrier as you become a better, more vocal and more respected writer.

But you’ll also get pretty tired

I don’t judge women who leave this game. I knew a lot of feminist bloggers from the early days of blogging who closed up shop after wave after wave of abuse, stalkers, threats, and real life incidents where “internet threat” became “in your fucking face threat.” I know women who wrote hard SF or epic fantasy who threw in the towel, or went to genres like urban fantasy or romance that were far more welcoming to women authors. I know women who shrugged and just went through buckets of male and gender-neutral pseudonyms, and then snickered at everyone behind their hands.

So I’m not going to tell you to stay in this game.

Instead, I’m going to tell you I know it’s hard.

And I’m going to tell you why, despite that bullshit, I’m still here.

#

I was at WisCon, a big feminist SF convention, in May 2006 when Joanna Russ did what I believe was her last public interview. Russ was in ill health, so did the interview over the phone with Sam Delany. By this time, Russ was one of my heroes. I found her to be the most angry and vehement of the feminist SF writers I’d read; compared to Russ, LeGuin was boringly conservative.

Russ expressed the white-hot rage I felt at realizing the game was rigged against me from the start, and that no matter how equal I believed I was, the world was going to treat me like a woman, whether I liked it or not. The Female Man is so raging, teeth-gnashing nuts that I couldn’t get through it the first couple of times I tried. The title also gave voice to something I felt all the time – that I was a human, a man – not in the sense that I felt disassociated from my female body, but in the sense that I, too, had bought that women were somehow “other” and I wasn’t “other” so I must be a man, a real human too, right? I’d internalized an astonishing amount of misogyny growing up that I didn’t even recognize until my early 20s

I bought a lot of divide-and-conquer politics when I was younger, putting women into camps: here are the butch, strong women. Here are the weak, feminine, useless women, the kind they showed on TV as always needing rescuing. I was never Willi; I was always Indiana Jones.  I strove to be part of the “human” camp of women, the strong, butch ones. But because my body was coded female, I was never, ever assumed to have the kind of knowledge or credibility that a man would have. To those who didn’t know me, no matter how much I butched up, or tried to “prove” my geek credentials, or masculine sensibilities, I was always just a woman on first blush. I got passed up for raises. I got relegated to admin jobs. I got money offers less than that of male colleagues.

What I learned was that I had to work harder than the guys. I had to assume that when people looked at me, they’d automatically give me crappier offers. They’d assume I was stupider than I was. They’d pay attention to me less.  They’d judge me by gender, by looks, by weight, before anything else. I automatically started every interaction at a disadvantage.

In some ways, realizing this made things easier. I no longer worked on the assumption of equality. I always assumed I was starting ten steps behind. I learned I had to fight harder, shout louder, and demand more just to get five extra steps ahead, so I wasn’t starting quite so behind in the eyes of those who passed judgment on me, from bosses to colleagues to new friends. Even in my writing career, people made certain assumptions. I remember being asked at a baby shower once if I wrote children’s books. I found it difficult to even respond to that, because I’d just published a science-fantasy noir book about a bisexual bounty hunter who lops off people’s heads for a living. There is of course nothing wrong with writing children’s books, but I couldn’t help but wonder what that person would assume I wrote if I presented as a dude.

For a while I became smitten with the idea of “power feminism” or the popular “lean-in” culture that passes for mainstream white feminism right now.  We just needed to be smarter, faster, better. We needed to ask for raises, demand better treatment.  Sexism was our fault, for buying into the misogyny ourselves, and operating like we were at a disadvantage.

But what much of that “lean-in” culture doesn’t acknowledge is that we do, in fact, operate at a disadvantage heaped on us by the assumptions of people in power, and thus some are able to “lean-in” more than others. If I’m working a retail job and demand $10.50 an hour instead of $10, in most cases they’ll be happy enough to let me go and replace me with some other hard-up person for $10 an hour. No contest.  That’s the game. That’s how it’s rigged. And this doesn’t even touch on how someone will react to this assertion if you’re also a person of color, or gay, or trans, or an immigrant, or acting “too uppity” for how they believe someone of your “kind” should behave.  In some cases, “acting uppity” will be met not with mere job loss or scowling, but violence.

You can fight all you want for individual wins, and fight to be the “exceptional” woman, but so long as there’s institutionalized oppression, bias, and unregulated, out-of-control capitalism that treats people as disposable objects, you’re an exception, not a rule.  So long as the people with the power – to hire and fire you, approve or deny your loan, or write up your speeding ticket – look at you through the lens of institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other –ism they’ve learned from stories, videos, media, and other biased individuals, a single win means nothing.

We cannot effect true change alone.

#

Every writer is an island.

Often, we get tangled up in thinking our experiences are somehow singular, that no one before us walked this road or tackled these problems or felt this kind of angry woe at the state of the their chosen profession as a writer of fiction, or anything else. One of the things reading Russ gave me was a sense that I wasn’t on my own. When I read The Female Man or On Strike Against God I saw myself as part of something far bigger than myself.  I wasn’t the only person angry. I wasn’t the only person who faced bullshit assumptions about who I was, what I wanted, what I wrote. And I wasn’t the only one often confused by society’s expectations versus what I actually wanted.

The more women writers I read, from Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler to Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Toni Morrison, the less alone I felt, and the more I began to see myself as part of something far bigger than myself.

It wasn’t about one woman toiling against the universe. It was about all of us moving together, crying out into some black, inhospitable place that we would not be quiet, we would not go silently, we would not stop speaking, we would not give in.

#

Joanna Russ died in 2011, the year my first book, God’s War, came out.

I remember sitting and staring at the computer and thinking, “Oh God, now what?” because it hadn’t sunk in yet – oh, I could certainly admit and process the news of her death, but I didn’t know what it meant yet. Russ hadn’t really published much work since the late 90’s, due to illness and, I expect, exhaustion at this bullshit game. It’s hard. It’s brutal. It’s no fun.

But even though she hadn’t been in the game for a while, there was some safety and security in knowing she was still alive. That her voice was there.  It existed. Her work was available. She wasn’t going to be shut up.

With her voice there, I realized, I didn’t feel as much pressure to step up.

She was there to do it.

I didn’t have to.

But in that moment, I looked at my book on the shelf, which hadn’t moved many copies yet, or won any awards. It was just my little niche feminist SF book.  I expected it would sell 3,000 copies and disappear.

That did not happen.

But I didn’t know that at the time.

All I knew is that there was no more Joanna Russ, and I was going to have to find another angry, truth-telling, no-bullshit voice that I could count on to rage at the world.

It’s easy to pass this buck, when it occurs to you. It’s easy to point to other writers and say, “Hey, you should do/be that voice.” Or “Hey, why don’t you take up this mantle?” or “You should really…” or “Writers X, Y and Z already have this covered,”  but the fact is that this is a hard gig, and a lot of people drop out of it, and you never know how long they’ll stick around.

I realized I could continue passing the buck, and just point to other writers speaking truth to power, because there were indeed a lot of them.

But there was another option.

Instead of just telling other people to step up…. Well… I could be the one to step up. I could be one of those voices.

Because, shit: I’ve been screaming on the internet for ten years. What’s forty more?

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I don’t have a lot of spoons for handling this bullshit game, some days. I’ve got a chronic illness. I have a day job. I have book deadlines and marketing calendars and convention appearances. But one thing Russ’s death taught me is that you can’t rely on other folks’s voices always being there. Sometimes it needs to be your voice. Sometimes, if no one else will speak truth to power, or risk speaking out against Big Dude Author X, or say “Fuck my career,” then it has to be you.

There are some days indeed feel like I’m screaming alone on an island, the way a lot of young women writers might feel every time they read the latest bullshit about how they’ll be reviewed less, stocked less, and passed over for more awards than their dude colleagues.

But the fact is I’m not alone. And they’re not either. There’s a huge, angry, passionate group of people who aren’t happy with the status quo, and who actively speak out against it, over 300 of which I follow on Twitter alone. There are massive communities of feminist writers, and no-bullshit writers, men and women and everybody along and outside that continuum, who are speaking up and speaking out.

They are also a lot easier to find today than they were twenty years ago, because the there’s Twitter and Tumblr and Youtube and easy blogging platforms. Access to venues where we can be heard is easier.  It no longer feels like it’s just me lying in bed with a Joanna Russ book, trying to pretend I’m not alone and writing angrily in a notebook. It’s me engaged in active dialogue with like-minded folks – even if we’re often arguing with each other on Twitter, and calling out each others’ shit arguments and blind spots and bullshit.

And just as I take comfort in their voices, sometimes, I realize, it’s my voice that needs to be the comforting one, too. When I can afford the risk, it’s my responsibility to step up. Because if enough people pass the buck, and pretend this is somebody else’s problem, then suddenly it becomes no one’s problem, and we slide backwards, and we go back those ten steps, and we go back to square one.

Sometimes they take the risk; sometimes I do.

We do it together.  We support each other. We argue with each other.

What’s important is that we realize we’re not in this alone.

That’s why I’m still in this game. Because I understand that much of the internet trolling, the shit-flinging, the active and passive acts of oppression, are about pushing me and people like me out. It’s about creating a sandbox narrative that doesn’t include me or people like me.  And I call bullshit.

I can’t guarantee you, young women writers, that things are going to get better. I’m not going to pretend you won’t get trolled, harassed, threatened, or stalked.

But what I can promise you is that you aren’t in this fight alone. You are not speaking out alone, and you and your work and your voice and your passion exists on a long continuum of voices just like yours, who had to fight the same battles you fight, and who are still here, and still in this.

Just like you.

I don’t blame you if it’s too much. I don’t judge you for telling this genre or any other to fuck itself. But if you stay in this, next to me, and next to all the other women and men and all the fabulous plethora of otherwise-identified folks engaged in rewriting the narrative of what science fiction is, we’ll support you, and champion you, and we’ll fight with you.

That’s what I have for you.

Some days, it won’t be enough.

Some days, it’ll be all that gets you up off the floor.

So you pack the guns. I’ll make us some pancakes.

And let’s get back to work.

Categories : Angry Robot
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Part Three of our celebration of International Women’s Day comes from Anne Lyle. Any Doctor Who fans out there are really going to enjoy this one!

Doctor Who Girl

annelyle

Anne Lyle

Last year we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the world’s longest-running SF TV show. We were also treated to a new Doctor in the shape of Peter Capaldi, whose costume and publicity photos owed more than a little to his 70s predecessor, Jon Pertwee. Perhaps because of this, and of course all the nostalgia-laden documentaries shown last year, I found myself looking back fondly at the Doctor Who of my youth.

Of course some of us have been around since the show’s earliest days, even if we were maybe a bit too young to watch it back when William Hartnell made the role his own. I guess I must have become a regular viewer late in Patrick Troughton’s stint, or early in Jon Pertwee’s, because I have vivid memories of hiding behind the sofa (or at least, my granny’s chair) during the opening credits with the rippling tiger-stripe pattern – I was more spooked by the music than by the show itself!

The first episode I actually recall seeing is “The Green Death” (1972), starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, but for me the definitive Doctor will always be Number Four, played by the incomparable Tom Baker. He was the longest in the role, and with his immensely long striped scarf remains the iconic image that even non-fans recognise.

Elisabeth-SladenHowever the element of the Fourth Doctor’s reign that stands out for me is his companions. First, of course, there was Sarah Jane Smith. As the companion of Number Three, she had fitted neatly into his predominantly Earth-based episodes in her role as an investigative journalist. The wider-ranging adventures of Number Four finally gave her a chance to venture further afield, but she remained a down-to-earth young woman who stood up to aliens as boldly as she had to rogue scientists. Sarah Jane was a great role model for girls of my generation, and it’s so cool that she eventually went on to have spin-off adventures of her own. Elizabeth Sladen is sorely missed.
Every companion’s time with the Doctor has to come to an end, though. In 1976, he left her in England when he was obliged to return to Gallifrey. He spent one adventure (“The Deadly Assassin”) alone, then in “The Face of Evil” he encountered a savage tribe, survivors of a shipwrecked survey team, and acquired a new companion, Leela.

Tom Baker Doctor WhoOn the face of it, Leela was clearly designed to appeal to the dads in the tea-time audience, with her skimpy leather tunic and long, long legs, but at the same time she resonated with young female viewers like me. Leela didn’t dress in frills and scream at aliens – she drew a knife and attacked them! She wasn’t just a dumb savage, either. Leela was intelligent and a fast learner, providing a strong foil to the Fourth Doctor’s eccentricities. I confess I was disappointed when the writers chose to end her story by marrying her off to a Gallifreyan guardsman, but at least she got to keep K9!

I’m currently rewatching the Tom Baker episodes from the beginning. Yes, they’re a bit stilted, and the shoestring budget makes for some rather comical moments, but they stand the test of time pretty well. I can only hope that the Doctor’s newest incarnation acquires companions who will serve him as well as Sarah Jane and Leela did.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a nine-foot-long scarf to knit…

The Prince of Lies, by Anne Lyle

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Today’s International Women’s Day piece comes from our Philip K Dick Award nominated author Cassandra Clarke!

“Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth”

The Author, Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cassandra Rose Clarke

It’s a blazingly hot day, June 1993. I’m nine years old and this memory is the only one I have of that particular summer, although I can certainly fill in the blanks with memories from other years—swimming pools and sprinklers and summer camp enrollment designed to keep TV from melting my brain out through my ears. But those memories are generic. This one’s special.

The whole family’s going to the movies. Me, my mom, my dad, my brother. We pile into the car and drive down to the theater for the first showing at mid-morning, arriving nearly forty minutes early. We’re the only people in the theater for at first. This early-arrival-at-a-morning-show is a scheme of my parents, who frequently go to excessive lengths to avoid “the crowds.” (I won’t see the inside of an amusement park until I’m an adult for this reason.) We settle into the best seats in the theater, Cokes and popcorn at the ready, and wait.

The movie we’re waiting for is Jurassic Park.

There are a handful of movies I remember seeing in the theater, and Jurassic Park is one of the earliest, after The Little Mermaid. At nine years old, I was terrified throughout the entire thing, covering my eyes whenever I thought a dinosaur was about to eat someone, but when I walked out of the theater I was completely enamored. Jurassic Park was now my favorite movie; later, it would be my favorite book as well. I dreamed of becoming a paleontologist and wearing kicky high-waisted shorts like Dr. Sattler, and for the next few years, any trips to the dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science were spent ogling up at the big T-Rex skeleton in the entryway, pretending I had a PhD and one of those brushes for dusting dirt away from bones.

Jurassic Park was the first science fiction property to capture attention and earn my love. Like others my age, I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (and putting my headband over my eyes so I could be Geordi), and as a child I caught Star Wars on TBS one dreary Saturday afternoon, although for years afterward I would confuse it with Cocoon.  Science fiction novels weren’t really on my radar unless they made their way to the Newbery Medal nominee list. But Jurassic Park changed all that. There is a sense of wonder present in that movie which has stuck with me—remember the scene when Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant see the dinosaurs for the very first time? I still remember the chill I got when I watched their expressions of shock and delight, and that’s the same feeling I get whenever I experience great science fiction, whether I find it on the page, on the screen, or in my imagination.

I originally intended to write this blog post about Dr. Sattler—how she was given the save-the-day scenes in the movie, and had to face down velociraptors and turn the power back on while Dr. Grant was tasked with the more nurturing role of caring for Hammond’s two grandkids. And that’s worth mentioning, although as a kid I didn’t admire her for being Action Girl and Subverting Gender Expectations. Rather, I admired her because she was smart, and pretty, and a scientist. She was the sort of person I wanted to grow up to be—the sort of woman I wanted to grow up to be.

And no, I never became a scientist. I became a writer instead, a science fiction writer. But I do think in some small way, Jurassic Park—and Dr. Ellie Sattler—helped me find that path. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013

Categories : Angry Robot, Guest Posts
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