2017 Winners of the National Book Award: Kudos to these Authors!

2017 #Winners of the National #Book #Award: Kudos to these #Authors!


National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Award
Website: http://www.nationalbook.org/

from the story on NPR:
“[F]our writers emerged with one of the world’s most illustrious literary prizes, the National Book Award:
—Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” won for fiction;
—Masha Gessen’s “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” for nonfiction;
—Frank Bidart’s “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” for poetry; and
—Robin Benway’s “Far from the Tree,” for young people’s literature.

“In addition to a bronze medal and statue, each winner receives $10,000 with the distinction. That said, the finalists don’t go home bereft — each author gets $1,000 and a bronze medal of their own.

“…Annie Proulx [is] the novelist who won the medal for distinguished contribution to American letters, the National Book Foundation’s slightly verbose name for their lifetime achievement award.”

FMI: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/11/16/npr-books-national-book-awards?utm_campaign=The+Thread_20171117&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sfmc_Newsletter&utm_content=The%202017%20National%20Book%20Award%20winners%20are…

2017 WINNERS and FINALISTS, National Book Award

Fiction
Jesmyn Ward
Jesmyn Ward: Sing, Unburied, Sing = WINNER

Ward’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jesmyn-Ward/e/B001JOW9NW/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Ward’s Publisher Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Jesmyn-Ward/547648874

FICTION FINALISTS:
Elliot Ackerman: Dark at the Crossing
Lisa Ko: The Leavers
Min Jin Lee: Pachinko
Carmen Maria Machado: Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

Nonfiction
Masha Gessen; Photo: © Tanya Sazansky
Masha Gessen: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia = WINNER

Gessen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Masha-Gessen/e/B001H6MBXK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Gessen’s Publisher’s Website: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/9953/masha-gessen

FINALISTS:
Erica Armstrong Dunbar: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
Frances FitzGerald: The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
David Grann: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Nancy MacLean: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

Poetry
Frank Bidart; Photo from Sigrid Estrada
Frank Bidart: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 = WINNER

Bidart’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Bidart/e/B001H6W2N4/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Bidart’s Publisher’s Website: https://us.macmillan.com/author/frankbidart

FINALISTS:
Leslie Harrison: The Book of Endings
Layli Long Soldier: WHEREAS
Shane McCrae: In the Language of My Captor
Danez Smith: Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems

Young People’s Literature

Robin Benway: Far from the Tree = WINNER

Benway’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Benway/e/B001JP7ZO4/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Benway’s Publisher’s Website: https://www.harpercollins.com/cr-115402/robin-benway

FINALISTS:
Elana K. Arnold: What Girls Are Made Of
Erika L. Sánchez: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Rita Williams-Garcia: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Ibi Zoboi: American Street

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Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

I can’t afford to buy books and almost never buy fiction because I never re-read it. BUT, I am a life-long, semi-weekly borrower from public libraries and frequently request purchases, which they often honor, so I do my part.

I used to read upwards of 8 books a week, plus magazines, newspapers and other materials; more when I was getting my Master’s and doctorate degrees. But, after not reading at all during my first 6-week meditation retreat, other than assigned excerpts from the Buddhist text our teacher was using, I lost the habit. For a while, I didn’t read much fiction at all and mostly read short articles or Buddhist non-fiction.

In the early 2000s, I gradually began to read fiction, but I no longer read a lot of it and often do not finish books. I have no interest in or patience with stories whose plot or characters I do not care about, or those that display bad writing or poor editing (FAR too many, even from trad publishing houses).

Also, I mostly don’t care about the topics that many authors and publishers are obsessed with: too much violence, too many billionaires seducing women, etc. Life is already too dystopian for me to want to read “for pleasure” most stories of disasters, diseases, dysfunction and/or defeat. Furthermore, I am refusing to read any more addiction pseudo-bios, cancer or other “survival” or “elegant death” scenarios (lost too many friends and relatives to those already), chronic illness depictions (same), “can’t have a baby” stories, adultery fantasies, or glamorizations/gritty details of endless wars (look around!). I also won’t pick up a series anywhere but the beginning, so mid-series installments of series I haven’t read are out.

I won’t even pick up, much less read, many of the books listed on the original pages of Bookish.com‘s site. Therefore, the abbreviated list I am sharing, here, has books I do plan to read. But, recognizing many readers do not share my limited tastes, I’m including the links to each category’s page so you can make your own choices. There are many other lists, too, so look around.

What’s on YOUR “To-Read” list? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post!
LINK to Bookish.com main page of lists: https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-2017/

The following suggestions and review snippets are mostly gleaned (I add others, too) from the lists compiled by Bookish.com and are in categories of their design with which I do not always agree and from which some are missing (e.g., historical fiction, graphic novels and short stories are combined with Fiction; some novels whose main character is a teen are NOT listed in either category of YA; there are no art books; there are no Indie authors), but here they are.

FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-fiction-2017/

I mostly do not read “modern” fiction, any more. So, only one of these made my list:
1) Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (already the recipient of one Pulitzer Prize)
The main character is “Anna Kerrigan, a child living in New York City in the 1930s” whose “father disappears…. [Y]ears later when she encounters an old business acquaintance of her father’s…she more fully comprehends what his life must have been like.” (quotes are from the review on Bookish.com)
Available October 3, 2017

NON-FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-nonfiction-books-2017/

I like books about many science topics, Buddhism and a few other non-fiction subjects, so I was hoping some new books would capture my attention. Alas, none did, from THIS list.

I am looking forward to the next books from Mishio Kaku, though, or Brian Green, Lisa Randall and other quantum physicists/futurists, so I’ll keep you posted on those!

Meanwhile, check out this list of new #physics books, from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA USA): http://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175935&p=1158686, where I found this gem:

2) Quantum Weirdness, by William J. Mullin
Apparently, this book “focuses on some of the more bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics.” He begins with a discussion of “classical waves,” then goes right into the “latest ideas and experiments , e.g., quantum Bayesianism, weak measurements.” He tries to make it accessible to those of us without doctorates in physics, since he “uses basic high-school mathematics (algebra and trigonometry) to explain quantum mechanics”and employs a “gradual build-up of concepts” (quotes are from the book’s blurb).
Available now (September, 2017).

MYSTERIES/THRILLERS
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-mysteries-thrillers-2017/

I don’t read most “thrillers” (too violent or stressful for me), but I do like bloodless mysteries, especially with female protagonists who are smart, courageous, witty and quirky. Some romance is also all right in these books, for me.

I also used to be a John le Carré fan and heard an interview recently on NPR with him about this new book, so it’s now on my list. I may skip some parts, but will probably read it.

3) A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré
His often-used main character, George Smiley, appears in this novel, for the first time in 25 years. “Smiley works with the British Secret Service (or Circus, as some call it). Smiley calls a retired member of the Circus, Peter Guillam, when the specter of Guillam’s past involvement in the Cold War resurfaces” (quotes from Bookish.com’s review). Apparently, le Carré brings in many familiar characters from previous works, so it could be fun for long-time fans.
Available now (September, 2017)

YA/SCI-FI/FANTASY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-fantasy-science-fiction-2017/

4) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman
How fun! A prequel to His Dark Materials, set in the same world!
“Set ten years before The Golden Compass, this new trilogy will explore how Lyra Belacqua came to live at Jordan College. The tale begins with an 11-year-old boy named Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta. Malcolm is living with his parents near Oxford when he hears that the nuns in Godstow Priory are housing a baby, and he decides to take his boat, La Belle Sauvage, across the Thames to investigate” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available October 19, 2017

YA CONTEMPORARY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-2017/

5) Moxie, by Jennifer Matthieu
This sounds fun. Love the title, too. This could have been my biography, if I had been born 50 years later than I was!
“Vivian Carter never thought she’d be the leader of a movement. She’s always preferred to sit back and go unnoticed, but one day something within her snaps and she decides to take action. Drawing from her mom’s Riot Grrrl zines of the 90s, Viv creates Moxie, an anonymous zine that she begins to distribute around her school, calling out her school’s sexist dress code and preferential treatment of football players. Soon Moxie becomes a movement and begins connecting girls from diverse cliques and backgrounds” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available September 19, 2017


Read any of these or want to recommend others, especially those from Indie/Self-Published authors? PLEASE read my standards before making suggestions; then, please send them along to the comments section of this post: http://www.sallyember.com/blog, post from September 12, 2017. Thanks!


Also, check out the three ebooks and POD paperbacks in my sci-fi/romance series for YA/NA and adults, The Spanners Series: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners First ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.

My birthday is TODAY, August 22! It’s my Birthday and I’ll Discount my #Books if I Want to! #Scifi/#Romance #Paperbacks and #ebooks #Sale!

My birthday is TODAY, August 22! It’s my Birthday and I’ll Discount my #Books if I Want to! #Scifi/#Romance #Paperbacks and #ebooks #Sale!
Now through August 31, 2017.


Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember, age 6

Too much DYSTOPIAN REALITY? Time for some UTOPIAN Sci-fi/Romance!
The Spanners Series’ Volume I #ebooks are permafree; #CreateSpace #paperbacks Vol I, II, III are 25% off!

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See below for links and more info.

The Spanners Series‘ cover art and logo by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

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The Spanners Series first three Volumes of utopian science-fiction/romance by Sally Ember, Ed.D. are on sale NOW! Proud member of Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet

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SpannersVolume1coverfinal
This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

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Spannersvolume2coverfinal
This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

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Spannersvolume3coverfinal
This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

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REVIEWERS: Ask for FREE ebook coupon codes for Volumes II and III on Smashwords any time: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com


For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com

Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, UK, (CRSF) Conference was June 27, 2016

Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, England, UK (CRSF) Conference was Monday, June 27, 2016, at the University of Liverpool!

CRSF logo

Here is their report:

CRSF 2016 Post-conference Report
Posted: 04 Jul 2016 05:26 AM PDT
The sixth annual Current Research in Speculative Fiction [CRSF] conference was held last week on Monday 27th June and was a great success.

As usual, the papers delivered were of a high quality and a diverse range of topics from D&D bestiaries to feminist utopia, ecological disaster to Harry Potter, medieval English horror to Japanese dystopian YA and far more besides. As usual huge thanks go to those who presented a paper: thank you for the enthusiasm with which you approached the task and for the hard work you did preparing for the conference, a conference – no matter how the organising goes – is nothing without its delegates.

CRSF 2016 represents a record year for number of delegates, with non-presenting delegates outnumbering presenters for the first time. This was in no small part thanks to the excellent Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) conference also held in Liverpool on the 28th-30th June, a number of whose delegates came along to see CRSF in action. There were, however, a number of non-presenting delegates, including former presenters from previous years, who made the trip to Liverpool especially to see CRSF, I cannot think of a better endorsement for the atmosphere and organisation of the conference than for those who have been before to want to come back, even if they’re no longer eligible to present.

In total we had fifty-six attendees and thirty papers presented, over three parallel streams, by delegates from institutions throughout the UK, as well as Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Russia, Israel, Canada, and the United States, among others.

Thank you to all who attended. Additional thanks to all those who engaged with the conference on social media. I’m a firm believer in the Twitter back channel for conferences, and CRSF performed ably in this regard too. If you’re not on Twitter and you want to (re)discover the tweet-by-tweet coverage of the conference it’s been conveniently archived on Storify here for you.

Thanks also to our wonderful keynote speakers: Dr. Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck University of London) and Dr. Pat Wheeler (University of Hertfordshire) who not only gave fascinating and insightful keynote lectures, but also attended numerous panels, asking insightful and constructive questions throughout, and offering many a kind and supportive word for delegates in the breaks and more informal moments of the conference. Caroline’s paper opened the conference and was entitled ‘”But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century’, it took us through such post-apocalyptic novels as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Maggie Gee’s The Flood, highlighting the pastoral beauty often found in these texts and the implications of that for our vision of the apocalypse and the future (if any) of humanity’s role on the Earth. Pat’s keynote was entitled ‘”She can’t love you, she’s just a machine’: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves’, which challenged how we should read gynoids in the twenty-first century: as either challenge or constriction to women’s agency.

Thanks as ever to the University of Liverpool staff who provided support both in the build up to, and during, the conference: the Rendall Building staff, and Filomena Saltao, the Administrator of the School of the Arts, and Siobhan Quinn. Thanks also to Andy Sawyer, academic librarian for the Science Fiction Foundation collection at the University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library, for once again arranging for all delegates to receive free copies of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Thanks also to the staff at Il Forno, our traditional restaurant of choice, who once again dealt with our large numbers with aplomb.

As always we welcome your feedback on CRSF 2016, all comments are useful and appreciated. Please leave a comment on our website’s post at http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com, or e-mail them to us at crsf.team@gmail.com.

CRSF will return in 2017….

Glyn Morgan,
Molly Cobb,
Leimar Garcia-Siino,
Chris Pak

I wish I could have been there.

To refresh, if you missed my explanatory pre-conference post, read below:

CRSF is a postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Our aim is to showcase some of the latest developments in this dynamic and evolving field, by providing a platform for the presentation of current research by postgraduates. The conference will also encourage the discussion of this research and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.

The planned schedule was as follows:

9:00-9:30: Registration and Refreshments

9:30-10:30: Keynote Lecture #1: Dr Caroline Edwards,

“But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century

10:30 -12:00: First Round of Panels

1.1: Press START to Play
Andrew Ferguson – Clipping Out of Bounds: Reading House of Leaves Through Portal

House_of_leaves

  • Britanny Kuhn – [Awaiting Title]
  • Ivaylo Shmilev – Oppression, Warfare and Transcultural Memory in the Complex Post- Apocalyptic Environments of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Game Series

    STALKER game image

1.2: Horrific Narratives
Travis Gasque – The New Cosmic Horror: A Genre Molded by Tabletop Roleplaying Games and Postmodern Horror
Matthew McCall – “My manez mynde to maddyng malte”: Tracing Horror in the Middle English Pearl

Pearl_Poet

  • Selena Middleton – Climate Collapse and the Uncontained Body in James Tiptree Jr.’s A Momentary Taste of Being

    Momentary taste (in the 1975 anthology, The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science-Fiction)

1.3: You’re Only Young Once
Lan Ma – Censorship and Resistance: Information Control in Japanese Dystopian Young Adult Fiction in the 21st Century
Alison Baker – Protocols for the education of young witches and wizards
Arunima Dey – The Grotesque in the Harry Potter Series

Potter box set

12:00 -13:00: Second Round of Panels

2.1: Beasts and Bestiaries
Rob O’Connor – “The History of All Hitherto-Existing Societies is the History of Monsters”: The Bestiary and the Depiction of Monsters as Social Commentary
Sandra Mänty – Representation and function of animals in the world of Harry Potter

Potter collection cover

2.2: The Greater Good
Maxine Gee – “If something stinks put a lid on it, don’t see it”: Self-censorship and the brave new world of Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass

  • Jonathan Ferguson – Crimes Against The Greater Good are Victimless Crimes?

2.3: Character Studies
Beata Gubacsi – Monstrous Transformations: Becoming posthuman through art in Vandermeer’s Ambergris novels

Ambergris 1

  • Matteo Barbagallo – Do we have a deal? Petyr Baelish, Varys, Rumpelstiltskin and their role as Doppelganger

13:00 -13:45: Lunch Break

13:45 -14:45: Keynote Lecture #2: Dr Patricia Wheeler

“She can’t love you, she’s just a machine”: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves

14:45 -16:15: Third Round of Panels

3.1: Revenge of the Film
Pablo Gómez Muñoz – Greening Apocalypse: Eco-Conscious Disaster in Twenty-First Century Science-Fiction Cinema
Josephine Swarbrick – Monstrous Men and Masculine Monsters: Gender and the Cyborg in Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (1987) and José Padilha’s Robocop (2014)

Robocop

  • David Contreras – Gothic Surrealism in Mexican Cyberpunk Short Film: The Borderlands Strike Back

3.2: Theoretically Speaking
Jo Lindsay Walton – The Dystopian Glimpse
Artem Zubov – Science-fiction studies and genre theory
Pascal Lemaire – Fans of history first, fans of S-F more distantly ? Alternate History as a form of History’s fan fiction

3.3: Tell Me a Tale
Kanta Dihal – Science and Religion in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Wrinkle coverPullman box set

  • Rina Jean Baroukh – “Your Light Has Come” : Fantasy and Reality in Shimon Adaf’s Sunburnt Faces

    Sunburnt faces cover

  • Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky – Re-Defining the Bildungsroman: Traumatic Journeys as a Trend in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

16:15 -16:30: Refreshment Break [YES: English Tea Time!]

16:30 -18:00: Fourth Round of Panels

4.1: Perceptions of the Female Self
Sonya Dyer – aPOCalypso: Janelle Monae and (Science) Fictional Black Feminisms
Sarah Lohmann – “Solar Loyalties”: The Utopian Ethics of Posthumanism in Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman

Spacewoman cover

  • Mylène Branco – The Construction of the Female Self in L.P. Hartley’s Facial Justice

    Facial cover

4.2: Alternate Beings
Tom Kewin – ‘A Society of Screens’: The State of Digital Surveillance and the Repercussions for the Humanist Subject
Mattia Petricola – From mesmeric trance to living avatars: Rethinking consciousness and death after Mr. Valdemar

Valdemar

4.3: Dystopian Time, Resurgent Space
Gabrielle Bunn – Future Ruins: The intersection of nature and culture in the post-apocalyptic landscape of J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962)

Drowned cover

  • Hollie Johnson – Anarchy, Nostalgia, and Resistance: The Role of Nature in We, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    We cover1984

  • Thomas Connolly – “There was a thing called Heaven”: The end of time in Huxley’s Brave New World

    Brave New World cover

18.00 -19.00: Post-Conference Wine Reception and Official Conference Group Photo

Download a PDF of the entire schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4DNnD_AmJQmeWdEREJfemd1YWs/view

Want to present or attend next year? The “Call for Papers” usually occurs in early December for the following June’s annual conference. Check out past conferences/calls and get more information here and visit their
website: http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com/
or contact their team (the team members’ list has not been recently updated, yet: CRSF.team@gmail.com and follow their Tweets: ‎@CRSFteam

Their website is not very “interesting,” IMHO, but the topics ARE. Here is a sampling of Q & A from their FAQs…

FAQ

What is CRSF?
CRSF is short for Current Research in Speculative Fiction, an annual conference organised by postgraduate students for postgraduate students. The conference was first held in 2010 at the University of Liverpool and has been held annually since, attracting an international selection of speakers from as far afield as Turkey and the USA. The conference aims to provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for researchers who are at the very beginnings of their fields to test ideas, network with others, and gain valuable conference experience.

What is Speculative Fiction?
Simply put, we consider speculative fiction to be the collective name for the non-mimetic genres of science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and their related sub-genres. Essentially, if it’s a bit weird, it’s probably eligible. If in doubt, feel free to run your idea by us. At this juncture, it’s probably also worth us pointing out that the conference doesn’t discriminate among media: papers on television, film, video games, music, fan culture, etc., are as welcome at CRSF as papers on literature.

I’m an undergraduate student/ university faculty member/ speculative fiction fan/ author, can I attend?
We welcome non-presenting delegates from all aspects of speculative fiction whether you be a non-academic fan or a professor at a university.

How much does CRSF cost to attend?
Since CRSF is funded entirely off the delegate fees we can never be 100% sure of our budget until we know how many papers we will be accepting for the conference. As such, confirmed fees are not available until after abstracts have been processed and invitations to present accepted. However, as a guide, past conferences have charged £30 (about $44 USA) for the day with an early bird discount available for those who register early. This fee includes lunch and refreshments.

“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

I present only the lists, here, with titles and authors for fiction and a brief categorization for nonfiction. Go to the links to read each reviewer’s summary and opinions of each entry, below. I also present a few alternative lists and authors, just so you know some of what else is out there.

Read! Enjoy! Buy/borrow books! Write reviews!

(NOTE: PASTE also provides the 30 best cookbooks, 18 documentaries about writers, and more at http://www.pastemagazine.com/books )


30 Best Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[20 of 30 are male. Sigh.]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-fiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 16, 2015
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
2. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
3. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
4. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
6. The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
7. The First Bad Man by Miranda July (short story collection)
8. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano
9. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
10. Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine
11. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
12. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (short story collection)
13. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
14. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
15. The Incarnations by Susan Barker
16. The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
17. Sweetland by Michael Crummey
18. Suitcase City by Sterling Watson
19. Submission by Michel Houellebecq
20. Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
21. The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
22. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
23. The Rocks by Peter Nichols
24. Girl at War by Sara Nović
25. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
26. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (short story collection)
27. Golden State by Stephanie Kegan
28. Morte by Robert Repino
29. A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
30. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Here are some other fiction lists “best of 2015” from different perspectives, which I appreciate enormously. Please go peruse these annotated lists at the links provided, below, to pick from each a few to read yourself! Ask your local library and bookstores to carry your favorites! Write reviews!

—-

“Top 10 Feminist Books of 2015” 12/23/15 by Kitty Lindsay from Ms. Magazine
Has a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction with titles almost no one else lists (big surprise), with several written by some of feminism’s iconic leaders and award-winning authors (even has two male authors!), including:
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Autobiography; poetry) (a re-issue from 1969, commemorating her passing in 2015)
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Fiction; short story collection)
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Memoir)
Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey (Non-Fiction)
How To Grow Up by Michelle Tea (Memoir)
Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy (Non-Fiction)
Octavia’s Brood: Science-Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements Edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (Science-Fiction Anthology; including authors Tananarive Due, LeVar Burton, Terry Bisson and essayists, activists, artists, filmmakers, journalists) ALSO, editor adrienne maree brown, “an independent science-fiction scholar and a social justice activist, has been chosen as the 2015-16 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellow. Brown lives in Detroit, Michigan…. The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship, now in its third year, is sponsored equally by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. The award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library”; AND editor, Walidah Imarisha wins the Tiptree Award (named for feminist female author who wrote under the name “James Tiptree, Jr.,” in order to get published in the sci-fi world as a woman) and cash prize for 2015!
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)
Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism by David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon (Non-Fiction)
http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/12/23/your-holiday-reading-list-top-10-feminist-books-of-2015/

AND another “best of” list from Ms. Magazine: “15 Women Writers Every Badass Woman Should Read” by E. CE Miller on 12/14/15
Ths list includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and cross-genre feminist authors, some of whom appear on other lists, here, but several who do not. Enjoy!
http://www.bustle.com/articles/128770-15-women-writers-every-badass-woman-should-read

—-“55 Best Indie [Self-Published] Books of 2015,” 12/2/15, from Indie Reader‘s year of reviews. Their lists are divided into subgenres of fiction, including: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Inspirational, Kids, Literary, Mystery/Thriller, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult (YA). They also have nonfiction (which includes poetry) in a separate list.
http://indiereader.com/2015/12/56-best-reviewed-self-pubbed-books-2015/

What’s fun about this self-pubbed list is that I am “friends” with one of the authors on social media sites! Mazel Tov to D. Hart St. Martin (Blooded, in YA).

AND, I now have an entirely new list of authors to invite to my online video talk show for 2016, CHANGES conversations between authors (see https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ for past and upcoming shows and details about how to watch an Episode or how to be on one.

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

I resume my almost-weekly Wednesdays at 10 AM Eastern USA time one-hour live format on January 20 with returning guest, author John Howell.

Three other fiction lists:

—-“My Favorite African Science-Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015″ by Wole Talabi, 11/28/15 https://wtalabi.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/my-favorite-african-science-fiction-and-fantasy-sff-short-fiction-of-2015/

AND

—-“Best Books 2015: Genre Fiction” on the Library Journal Reviews page, has several genres (African-American, Christian, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers, Women’s Fiction and Science-Fiction/Fantasy).
http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2015/11/best-of/best-books-2015-genre-fiction/

The African-American Fiction list by Rollie Welch includes:
Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Caught Up by Shannon Holmes
Playing for Keeps by Deborah Fletcher Mello
Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray
Stone Cold Liar: The Misadventures of Mink LaRue by Noire

The Science-Fiction/Fantasy Fiction list by Megan M. McArdle & Jessica E. Moyer includes Water Knife (see Paste‘s list), and:
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
Uprooted by Naomi Novi
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

AND

—-Entropy mag‘s “Best of 2015 Fiction Books” from 12/8/15 includes only one or two that overlap Paste’s list and is a much more multicultural/global (includes several translated-into-English novels) and fascinating group of 50 titles, plus one “Honorable Mention.”
http://entropymag.org/best-of-2015-best-fiction-books/

AND

—-Let’s get political, please! Here are lists created by The Guardian and The Observer‘s reviewers, which they endearingly call “2015’s master list” of books, from 12/11/15, subdivided into: Fiction [Thrillers, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Children’s, Graphic Novels (no one else remembered these, apparently!)]; non-Fiction [Sports, Food, Drink, two lists for Biographies, History, Nature, Politics, Music, Poetry, Architecture, Art, Photography, Science, Celebrity Memoirs]; and a few groups by odd categories [Paperbacks, Stocking-fillers (size-related? cost-related?), Novels].
http://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2015/dec/11/all-of-the-best-books-of-2015

You can also go cruise on Google for other “best of 2015” fiction lists, such as those from or by Small Presses, Independent Publishers, more Indie/ Self-Pubbed authors, Debuts, Flash Fiction, and on and on. Have fun! https://goo.gl/itQw0i

AND

—-Brain Pickings has several “best of 2015” lists. Here are links to two of them (Children’s, list of lists and All Books):
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/15/best-childrens-books-2015/
http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=13eb080d8a315477042e0d5b1&id=60eab78aa3&mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/21/best-books-2015/?mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925


Also from PASTE:

30 Best Young Adult (YA) Fiction of 2015
[only 4 male out of 30 writers here…hmmmm…]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-best-ya-books-of-2015-1.html
By Eric Smith | December 10, 2015
1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
3. Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett
4. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
5. Joyride by Anna Banks
6. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
9. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
10. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
11. Winter by Marissa Meyer
12. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
13. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
14. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
15. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
16. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
17. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
18. Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
19. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
20. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
21. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
22. Those Girls by Lauren Saft
23. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
24. Tracked by Jenny Martin
25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
26. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
27. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
28. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
29. For the Record by Charlotte Huang
30. Half Wild by Sally Green

—-How about a YA list of the best of 2015 from the United Kingdom? 12/15/15 from Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of The Telegraph, Rebecca Hawkes and other reviewers/ contributors, offers 45 titles in this genre, with a few overlapping from the above list.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/young-adult-books/best-of-2015/

AND

—-Bustle‘s YA best fiction list from 12/10/15, Caitlin White
http://www.bustle.com/articles/116096-the-25-best-ya-books-of-2015

AND

—-Pop Crush‘s 10 best YA from 2015 posted on 12/7/15 by Emily Maas, here:
http://popcrush.com/10-best-young-adult-books-2015/

AND

My favorite, from an fantastic site that promotes excellence in girls and young women with daily info posts (subscribe!), MIGHTY GIRL, offers: “Top Read-Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls,” which gives you and your favorite child a lot of choices for spending time together. Become and share being inspired by the amazing achievements, courage, insight, smarts and talent of these MIGHTY girls and women! This site also reviews TV/films (by category), toys (by category, type and ages), music ((by category) and clothing. MIGHTY GIRL also provides an incredible list that they call their “Character Collection,” which you have to peruse, their “Best of…” lists of almost everything, and offers resources to educators and parents.

If you’re (your girls are) really into reading, join the MIGHTY GIRL Book Club!

There are 172 books on this list. Some are for younger, some are for older, many are for all ages. These books are selected from several decades and countries, but all are available in English (although many have been translated into several other languages and you can find those versions easily).

The left menu bar lets you sort the list by target age (88 are for younger and 73 are for teens), award-winners (National Book—12, literature [Newbery—39], civil rights [Coretta Scott King—2], Parents’ Choice—15, and others), and price (free to under $20, and over $20 [only 2], but don’t forget: most are in local libraries as well).

Many of the older books have been turned into films, TV specials and series, so you can share the stories together aloud, then go watch some on screen together.
http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/top-read-alouds


30 Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[18 male authors for 17 of the books; a bit more balanced, gender-wise, here]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-nonfiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 23, 2015
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates—memoir/current events
2. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein—music history/memoir
3. M Train by Patti Smith–memoir
4. Red Notice by Bill Browder—biography/social commentary/current events
5. Missoula by Jon Krakauer—social commentary/current events
6. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper—music criticism collection
7. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell—history
8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari—social commentary
9. The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander—memoir
10. Dead Wake by Erik Larson—history
11. One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad—biography/social commentary/current events
12. The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret—radio journalist’s collection
13. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck—memoir/history
14. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson—memoir
15. Country Soul by Charles L. Hughes—history
16. Dime Stories by Tony Fitzpatrick—print journalist’s collection
17. We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War by Doug Bradley and Craig Werner—history
18. On the Move by Oliver Sacks—memoir
19. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello—autobiography
20. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough—biographies
21. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery—about octupi
22. Once in a Great City by David Maraniss—history
23. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson—poetry, philosophy, criticism, memoir
24. Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt—memoir
25. Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull—history
26. Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso—essays/opinions
27. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon—autobiography, of Sonic Youth founder/member
28. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits—memoir
29. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald—about hawks
30. Gumption by Nick Offerman—profiles of 21 individuals

—-In case you want another set of opinions about Non-Fiction (but they duplicate many of Paste‘s), here you go:
EarlyWord‘s Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from 12/8/15
http://www.earlyword.com/2015/12/08/best-books-nonfiction-2015/

—-Also, several more lists from EarlyWord: http://www.earlyword.com/category/best-books-2015/


—-For those of you who haven’t caught up with your reading and don’t much care about being trendy or up-to-date but keep looking for good books to read, try this list from 5/22/15, by Nina Bashaur, posted on HuffPost Women:
“21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read” (but I would say every PERSON…).
[Oh, oh: I’ve only picked up 5 of these and actually read only 3. Sigh.]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/19/recent-books-women-should-read_n_7314166.html

buy-books-and-feel-good

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/