Science Fiction News
& Recent Science Review for the
Spring 2024

(N.B. Our seasons relate to the northern hemisphere 'academic year'.)

This is an archive page. Go here for the latest seasonal science fiction news.

Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Editorial Comment & Staff Stuff




Are Worldcons becoming un-fannish?  Now, this really is neither a click-bait query nor a controversial question: after all with the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon we – as a number have already said elsewhere – have just seen a Worldcon being bought and paid for in the name of national soft power. Superficially, with many thousands attending, 1,500 sponsored to attend (travel and accommodation subsidised), professional TV presents, professional pop stars, professional dancers and a professional video maker, plus the construction of a new, purpose-built, SF museum as a venue in the mix, some say that Chengdu raised the bar for Worldcons. Others, not least including some Chinese fans, felt that the Worldcon was taken out of the hands of China's grass root SF fans, and taken over by largely state-funded sponsor organisations who literally bought the Worldcon.
          OK, all this is old news, but before we park it just consider this… Of the reported 18,895 physically attending the Chengdu Worldcon, take out the 1,500 sponsored attendees, take out the non-Hugo voting (WSFS) attendees (all the pre-teenage and teenage school children etc), then given the remainder, this could have been one of the smallest Worldcons of recent decades!  (However, if we are going to include all these folk as participants, then this still was not the biggest SF event. Large SF events include: Dragoncon and Comic-Con in the US, and Utopiales in France. Further, if you are going to include citizens attending a programme event then it would be hard to ignore well over 100,000 who attended the outdoor laser show and firework display in the city of Timisoara that was part of the fan organised 1994 Eurocon in Romania.  Just saying.  Some SF events are six-figure in size.
          We now come to Glasgow, the Worldcon to be held later this year (2024) that surely is a fannish event?  Well, possibly, though surprisingly, equally possibly not!
          The Glasgow Worldcon – billed by the organisers as 'A Worldcon for our futures' – is very largely, if not exclusively, focussed towards those who have internet access as well as a smartphone. Its website (currently) does not even seem to have a postal address which means that communication has to be electronic: tough if you cannot hit 'send' but can hit 'print' so as to post a normal letter.  Secondly, the programme schedule will principally be electronic (not paper).  Thirdly, the usually large Worldcon souvenir book (which includes historic Worldcon information – past Worldcons, their sizes etc. – as well as the WSFS constitution) will only be available in physical paper form on site. If for any reason someone who is fully paid up cannot attend – the convention being too far away, they tested positive for CoVID-19 prior to leaving for the convention or whatever – and who would like a physical copy of the souvenir book then tough, they can only get an electronic version via the internet.
          Now, is this a problem? Some will say not. After all, going electronic works well, doesn't it?  Well, arguably not.  If for any reason the internet goes down, or the website is compromised, or the programme platforms have a glitch, then during the con while this happens folk are stuffed.
          Secondly, having the programme fully timetabled electronically (without having to have a paper version of the schedule organised and confirmed/firmly-finalised in advance of the event) means that conrunners of lesser ability running the programme can update it, re-organise it on the fly. (They do not need to get everything firmed up on paper prior to the event.)  Not having a firm programme means that attendees cannot plan their Worldcon in advance or even on day one, but have to put up with the programme mutating before their eyes on platforms such as Grenadine. This is not hypothetical: it happened with the recent (2023) NASFic Pemmi-con for example.
          Thirdly, not everyone has easy internet access, especially the elderly. In 2022, in the UK (the 2024 Worldcon host nation which is hardly an undeveloped country) has 30% of over 65s who do not use a smartphone (Note: a smartphone is not a basic mobile phone.) In the UK some 20% of over 65 households are not connected to the internet (2019 data).  Such folk are significantly disadvantaged by a largely electronic Worldcon.  These folk are not being fully included but, at least partially if not majorly so, excluded by Worldcons that go largely digital.  Such Worldcons are exclusive, not inclusive!
          Now, two of us on the SF² Concatenation team separately noticed that the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon was going to be largely electronic and separately contacted two of the convention's senior organisers.  The replies they got were – to us – unsatisfactory and it seems that if for whatever reason you cannot go to the event, then tough.  No paper copy of the souvenir book for you. (Apparently the chance of someone not going due to catching CoVID is a too "hypothetical situation" for the convention organisers to consider, this despite that the senior Glasgow organisers did, as can be seen in their 'Disease Mitigation Policy', actually consider it for that policy. (Oops.))
          Does this matter?  Well, in the greater scheme of things, possibly not: there are more important matters to worry about in life, such as the health and well-being of oneself and one's friends and neighbours.  But consider this, if someone registered at the then Glasgow 2024 convention's pre-bid 'Super Friend' rate which included attending membership should the site selection bid win (it did) and who also paid the then paper publication supplement, cannot actually attend, then they will physically get nothing for significantly financially supporting the event well above that of average attendees. (A nice gesture from Glasgow to those 'Super Friends', who supported their event with a few hundred pounds/dollars above the original supporting/attending rates, would have been to send any of them who could not attend the entire contents of their convention package, badge and all. Alas, at the moment at least, we are a long way away from that.)
          But surely electronic publications are the green environmentally sustainable option?  Actually, not necessarily. If the paper publications are made from wood from sustainably grown forests, then they are reasonably environmentally friendly.  Further, electronic publications have their own fossil carbon cost.  Some forecasts have it that the electricity needed to sustain the data centres (needed to maintain on-line electronic publications) and to manufacture internet devices could exceed 20% of the, 2020, level of electricity production by 2030.  Conversely, those wanting physical publications will likely keep them in their libraries for many years, if not decades, so storing carbon and also helping to thermally insulate their homes' wall reducing household energy demand.  In short, one needs to be wary of digital green-wash arguments.
          But all this does not make the (hopefully only current) Glasgow 2024 publication policy non-fannish, doesn't it?  Well, Worldcon SF fans (not Worldcon organisers) determine the World SF Society (WSFS – under whose auspices the Worldcon is run) rules and constitution as well as its business meeting clarification rulings.  This stipulates that Worldcons should send publications to not just non-attending Attending Members but non-attending Supporting Members too.  Further, Worldcon SF fans have even clarified matters, determining recently at the 2017 Worldcon business meeting that: "The right of Supporting Members to receive all generally distributed publications (Constitution Clause 1.5.2) must therefore be interpreted as including the same format options (e.g., physical or electronic copy) as are offered to Attending Members." And “Generally distributed publications” should as a minimum be considered to include Progress Reports and the Souvenir Programme Book."
          If a Worldcon's organisers wish to go against the will of SF fans then that is their affair. But if they do go against the will of Worldcon fans then they cannot claim to be fannish.
          We can but hope that the senior Glasgow 2024 organisers will reconsider their current position. If they do then, not only will they be abiding by Worldcon fandom wishes, they will also not only be providing 'A Worldcon for our futures' but 'A Worldcon for all  our futures.  Such a Worldcon will not only be more fannish, it will also be more inclusive.  It will be interesting to see if the senior Glasgow 2024 organisers will take these points onboard, or simply be content to remain secure in their own digital privilege?



One of us has had a bit of a fall, another is moving house.  The fall while running across a road, was spectacular with a fair bit of blood involved but nothing that a few days of recuperation over Christmas could not put right.  The house move, as they always are, involved a lot of packing and administrative work. C'est la vie as you Anglophones say…


Elsewhere this issue…
Aside from this seasonal news page, elsewhere this issue (vol. 34 (1) Spring 2024) we have stand-alone items on:-
          Fantasy: Realms of Imagination - The New British Library Exhibition
          The new Waterloo Doctor Who guided walk - Jonathan Cowie
          The 2022 Loscon 48 - Heath Row
          2023 SF Film Top Ten Chart and Other Worthies
          (All archived annual film charts are indexed here)
          SF Convention Listing & Film Diary with links to con sites and film trailers
          Ten-ish years ago. One from the archives: Films from the Mummy's Tomb -Tony Chester
          Ten years ago exactly. One from the archives: LoneStarCon 3 – The 2013 SF Worldcon - Peter Tyers
          Twenty years ago exactly. One from the archives: The 2003 French National Convention - Alain de Bussy
          Plus well over thirty (30!) SF/F/H standalone fiction book and non-fiction SF and popular science book reviews.  Hopefully something here for every science type who is into SF in this our 37th year. For full details of the latest contents see our What's New page.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Key SF News & SF Awards


Best SF/F books of 2023? Yes, it is the start of a new year and so once more time for an informal look back at the last one. Here are a few of the books that we rated published in the British Isles last year (many are available elsewhere and can be ordered from specialist bookshops). We have a deliberately varied mix for you (alphabetically by author) so there should be something for everyone. So if you are looking for something to read then why not check out these Science Fiction and Fantasy books of 2023:-
          Bridge by Lauren Beukes (alternate realities)
          Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey (multiverse thriller)
          The Ferryman by Justin Cronin (dystopic SF)
          In The Lives Of Puppets by T. J. Klune (technical apocalypse)
          Translation State by Anne Leckie (wide screen space opera)
          Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky (wide screen space opera)
          Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh (space opera & military SF)
          The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz (exo-planet exploration)
And, with the benefit of hindsight, how did we do?  Well, we will have to wait until later in the year to see which works get short-listed for, or win, SF awards. Last year's Best SF/F novels here.  (Last year four of our suggested Best SF novels were short-listed or won major SF awards. You can scroll down or dedicated annual choice of best SF page to see how our choices have fared over the years. Full details here.)

Non-Fiction SF Book of 2023
          I Am The Law: How Judge Dredd predicted our future by Michael Molcher.
We don't normally include Best of SF non-fiction, but this is so well researched and an exemplar of SF's value as an occasional mirror to society, that our editor has pulled rank.

Best SF/F films and long forms of 2023? So if you are looking for something to watch then why not check out these Science Fiction and Fantasy films and long-forms of 2023. Possibilities alphabetically include:-
          The Creator (Trailer here)
          The Flash (Trailer here)
          Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Trailer here)
          Leaving the World Behind (Trailer here)
          LOLA (Trailer here)
          Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire (Trailer here)
          Renfield (Trailer here)
          Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Trailer here)
          They Cloned Tyrone (Trailer here)
          UFO Sweden (Trailer here)

And, with the benefit of hindsight, how did we do?  Well, we will have to wait until later in the year to see which works get short-listed for, or win, SF awards. Last year's Best SF/F films here.  (Last a number of the films we selected were short-listed and/or won awards.  See here, scrolling down a bit.)

The 2023 Hugo Awards were announced at this year's Chengdu Worldcon.  There were 1,674 valid ballots cast, the lowest number in the past decade, and over 500 fewer final ballots cast than in 2022. Chengdu’s turnout for the nominating vote was 1,847. This means that interest in the Hugos declined with fewer voting on the short-listings than did nominate. This is the opposite of what has happened the past decade with interest in the Hugos growing.
          Once again we are not listing all the results but only those categories for which a reasonable number of nomination votes. Because the voting numbers are markedly down compared to recent years, we are going by last year's figures and are listing only those categories that had garnered over 500 nomination votes. Any category having less than 500 nominated votes becomes, as SF encyclopaedist Peter Nicholls put it, more of a popularity contest among Worldcon regulars than a principal category of interest to the broader SF community beyond the Worldcon. 
          The principal category Hugo wins this year therefore were:-
          Best Novel: Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher
          Best Novella: Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
          Best Short Story: 'Rabbit Test' by Samantha Mills
          Best (Book) Series: ‘Children of Time’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky
          Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form: Everything Everywhere All at Once (trailer here)
          Other category (win information) (those categories with less than 500 nominating votes a couple of years ago) can be found at  ++++ Last year's principal category Hugo winners here.

The British Fantasy Awards, from the British Fantasy Society, have been presented.  The winners were:-
          Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award): The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez
          Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award): Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
          Best Novella: The Queen of the High Fields by Rhiannon A. Grist
          Best Short: 'Morta' by James Bennett
          Best Anthology: Someone in Time edited by ed. Jonathan Strahan
          Best Artist: Vince Haig
          Best Collection: Under the Moon by E. M. Faulds
          Best Film/Television Production: Last Night in Soho
          Best Audio: The Stranger Times by C. K. McDonnell
          Best Independent Press: Luna Press Publishing
          Best Magazine/Periodical: Interzone
          Best Graphic Novel: The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
          Best Newcomer (Sydney J. Bounds Award): Hiron Ennes for Leech
          Best Non-Fiction: An Earnest Blackness by Eugen Bacon
          Best Artist: Jenni Coutts
          The Special Award (the Karl Edward Wagner Award): Ann Landmann
Last year's Awards here.

The 2023 Ditmar Awards were announced at the 2023 Australian National SF Convention in Canberra.
          Best Novel: 36 Street by T. R. Napper
          Best Novella or Novelette: “Remnants and Bad Water” by Kaaron Warren
          “The Smell of Waiting” by Karon Warren
          Best Short Story: “Everything so slow and quiet” by Kaaron Warren
          Best Collected Work: Cut to Care: A collection of little hurts by Aaron Dries
          Best Fan Publication In Any Medium: Pratchat Podcast by Ben McKenzie & Elizabeth Flux
          Best Fan Writer: Kat Clay
          Best Fan Artist: C. H. Pearce
          Best Artwork: (Insufficient nominations)
          Best New Talent: Aaron Dries
          William Atheling Jr Award For Criticism Or Review: Ian Mond, for reviews, in Locus

The 2023 Booker Prize has been announced and it's SF!  The winner is Prophet Song by Paul Lynch.  The story is set in the near-future in an Ireland in the grip of a totalitarian regime.  The Stack family, with their mother, scientist Elish Stack, are grappling with slowly changing society that gradually morphs into a terrifying new world in which the democratic norms they are used to begin to disappear.  The novel asks big questions of the reader. When would you leave as your country slides into authoritarianism? Would you put your family in danger to fight back? Lynch says the origins of his story lay in the Syrian war and the refugee crisis that followed. The book is also a reflection of the populism and nationalism sweeping much of the world now. Even the lack of any paragraph breaks adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere.


Other SF news includes:-

Pemmi-con's woes cited in Idea no. 13.  Idea is Geri Sullivan's fanzine and issue 13 had a report on the Pemmi-Con NASFic by TAFF delegate Sandra Bond. (You may recall that we carried review of Pemmi-Con last September (2023). That con report was fairly up-beat and only briefly mentioned the programme problems as it mutated throughout the convention.) The NASFic (N. American SF convention) is held in N. America those years when the Worldcon is held elsewhere.  Sandra's points include:
  - Pemmi-Con had failing to provide so much as a pocket programme for attendees far less the programme book itself
  - poor accessibility to the convention's virtual dimension
  - reliance on Grenadine for programme information
  -Grenadine did work, as long as you did it via a web browser window rather than the app
  - Some programme participants names had been attached by Grenadine to other programme contributors (again over-reliance on Grenadine rather than paper)
  - The programme as a whole showed every sign of having been thrown together by robots with no human eyes
  - Poor electronic signage in the convention-to-hotel walkway
  - the con venue was part of the conference centre furthest from the hotel (why wasn't the closest booked?)
  - One of the programme halls had no working microphone
  - the opening ceremony too was devoid of any working microphones
  - the Glasgow and Seattle Worldcon parties the first night were held in rooms that were too small
  - No one had renewed Pemmi-Con's website security certificate which expired mid-convention
  - the hotel stationing a guard by the elevators, blocking access to the party floor if it was deemed too crowded… which did not help if one's room happened to be on that floor
  - the convention programming some participants at times when they weren't available causing at least one person (a Hugo winning author) deciding to boycott the event
  - “Sending out all your programming e-mails from an e-mail address that says ‘no-reply@grenadine. com’ does NOT make communication easy.”
  - Cancellation and then a subsequent revival of the fan fund auction
  - there were zoom problems
  - the hotel staff not being appraised of the numbers attending the staff dinner (82 minutes since ordering for Sandra to get hers)
  - having to pay despite being a 'guest' at the staff dinner. (It transpired that this was because Pemmi-Con had failed to meet it food and bar purchase commitments to the hotel.)
  -the hotel from the off having a bare tolerance attitude towards the con

The 2023 SF Worldcon has been held in Chengdu, China.  We wont recap the controversies of this event (but links are off here.  Being state supported, it broke a number of records with reportedly 1,500 'guests' having their transport and accommodation paid for and 20,000 attending, but this figure should not be confused with the official Worldcon membership who had Hugo voting rights: that number was much smaller. As an exercise in projecting national soft power, it was a great success with a lavish opening ceremony that included a cinematic montage, dancing, singers and the like. With most of the hotels literally being miles away, additional transport was provided by coaches.
          In addition to the sponsorship (travel, accommodation and some expenses) paid to the 1,500 guests (which surely must be north of one million £/US$/&Euro;/RMB, the opening ceremony saw very professional videos, professional television presenters, choirs, dancers and symphonic orchestra… You get the drift. But even before folk arrived at the venue, expense was on show: there were street billboards in Chengdu promoting the event and images of the con's mascot at key street junctions. Given that most of the sponsorship came from state-funded organisations, this Worldcon was clearly one of the Communist Party of China's soft power plays.  From a number of online con-reports made by sponsored western guests, it is clear that many were wow-ed by it all, especially some western authors who bought into having the rock star moment of their life.  Some have said that this raises the bar for Worldcons.  Others not so.  Traditionally, Worldcon is a fan organised and fan run event.  This Worldcon was not: substantive, ultimately state sponsorship was involved.  There seemed to be a double standard involved with the treatment of local attendees not nearly as good as those for foreign visitors. Indeed, even some of China's own SF professionals involved in helping with aspects of the convention, such as the staff of Science Fiction World, were reportedly not invited to the Hugo Award after-party. This was not a convention run by fans for fans, but an expensive, state-sponsored exercise that demonstrates what is possible if you throw a shed-load of cash at a convention.  Some will buy into it.

The 2023 Worldcon's science programme.  This was the Worldcon programme with the least science on it for decades: smaller even than Washington's 2021 science programme, and that's saying something.  As usual we list the science content of the programme, the titles of such panels and talks were:  'Nanotechnology: The Mutual Achievement of Science Fiction and Reality';  'Anthropocene and Capitalocene: Threats and Hopes to the Future of Humanity';  'Brain-computer Interfaces - the Key to Unlocking the Age of Digital Twins?';  'Finding SF Inspiration in Cutting-Edge Research';  'When AI Finally Becomes the Subject: the Symbiosis, and Artistic Creation';  'Dialogue on Engineer Science Fiction';  and  'How Much Science Does Science Fiction need so that it can be regarded as a Hard SF?'.

The 2023 Worldcon Business meeting saw two changes to the WSFS rules have their initial acceptance.  One was to create a new Hugo category for best independent film (not from a major studio). The second was for the creation of an Asian Science Fiction Convention (ASFic) to be held every year a Worldcon is held outside of Asia: a kind of counterpart to the NASFic in N. America.  Both proposals have to be ratified at this year's Worldcon in Glasgow. The first proposal is more likely to pass, though if it does it might find difficulty in its implementation in determining what is an independent film or in attracting enough voters – you really have to be aware of the Fantastic Film Fest circuit.  One issues is that usually new Hugo categories are trialled under the hosting Worldcon's prerogative to have an extra Hugo category of their choice. This has not happened with this new proposal.
          The second proposal is more likely to fail. The reason there is that NASFic is historical in that until recent decades, most Worldcons were held in N. America, an ASFic does not spring from that historical association with the Worldcon. Secondly, other continents do not have their counterpart to the NASFic. Europe, for example, has instead the annual Eurocon that is held annually irrespective of whether or not the Worldcon is held in Europe (sometimes it has been combined with a European venued Worldcon). A third final reason for it not being likely to pass is that there does not seem to be much fan enthusiasm for a regular Asian SF convention. A couple of years ago there was a move to establish an Asia convention (much along the lines of Eurocon) but this movement quickly withered on the vine: its website has since died and its Facebook page has not had any new posts for a couple of years.
          Two not so minor changes to the rulesFirst tinkering with years works are eligible for Hugo nomination. There is a change – too complicated to go into detail here – that presumably was made so as to greater enable non-Anglophone SF get nominated. Ironically, this might have the reverse effect. Fortunately, this proposal will need to get ratified at the next Worldcon in Britain 2024.  The second, was a quiet nod-through the business meeting's standing rules barring proxy or remote voting. This is a retrograde step that serves to keep the business meeting more insular and less democratic. Apparently it was justified as this is the steer given in the dated Roberts' Rules of Order (last of the original editions published in 1915 and the most recent – greatly added to and updated, came out in 2020) that for some reason WSFS uses as a guide (which is fine but guides should not be considered gospel). It should be remembered that the Worldcon business meeting is not a static parliament (but a moving one) and few Worldcon regulars go to all Worldcons, hence able to participate in the business meeting on site. (It should be remembered that Robert's Rules are geared for church groups, county commissions, homeowners associations, non-profit associations, professional societies, school boards, and trade unions most of which take place in the same lace and certainly the same country – Worldcons do not!) If this anti-proxy vote motion is going to get overturned, some folk are going to have to put a proposal to the business meeting. ++++ For information, there is a UK equivalent to Robert's Rules and that's Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice particularly its latest edition's third part (seven chapters) on 'Conduct of business'. Even so, it should be remembered that like Robert's Rules, Erskine May also relates to a static meeting at a single locale. Search for 'erskinemay' for the current open access online edition

Worldconned: how China co-opted SF's crown jewel amidst the Uyghur genocide, opines the US-based Human Rights Foundation.  It notes in an article that China is detaining two million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic populations in concentration camps in the East Turkestan region. It recalls the irregularities of China's site selection vote which the Human Rights Foundation article notes included 1,586 votes from Chinese voters with no postal street address (a usual requirement for Worldcon site selection voters). The article also noted that over 80 authors, including bestsellers like N. K. Jemisin and Angie Thomas, signed an open letter against hosting Worldcon in China. However, the WSFS (World SF Society) rules do not allow for de-selecting a winning Worldcon bid. Finally, the article noted that one of its Guests of Honour, Cixin Liu, supported China's government policy on Uyghurs, and that another, Sergey Lukyanenko, proactively supported Putin's war against the Ukraine.  Finally, it cited Fancylopedia's entry for the 2023 Worldcon that said that the Chengdu Worldcon "showed that any group who wanted to spend the cash could buy a Worldcon".

The Glasgow 2024 Worldcon team have replied to the 2023 SMOFcon questionnaire.  They have reserved Halls 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow (SEC) with an option on Hall 3, and they will be using the rest of the SEC Centre, the Armadillo, and rooms in the Campanile and Village hotels. They will not be using the Hydro auditorium (it is too large, at 12,000 seats). In addition, they have spoken to the Science Centre (200m across the river) about use of some of their spaces - an additional 5 small auditoriums (including a Planetarium) and several large open spaces within the museum. They will consider these options in the event of needing overflow. It is good to see them explore these options since every European hosted Worldcon the past decade has had overcrowding issues with many folk unable to get into programme items. There are 8,308 hotel rooms available within 2 miles of the SEC, with eight hotels on site, so accommodation should not be an issues.

The 2024 Glasgow Worldcon has released its 'Disease Mitigation Policy' By any other name this would be its CoVID policy but Glasgow 2024 have decided ' Disease Mitigation' is a better term (arguably wisely given the recent years, prior to CoVID-19, the rise of 'concrud' commensurate with increasing crowding at certain Worldcons).  It strongly recommends that every member wears a mask, particularly indoors or in crowded areas, such as the registration area and programme rooms.  It strongly recommends that every member is vaccinated and boosted against all major communicable diseases for which vaccines are available to them. However, they will not require proof of any vaccination at the convention, given vaccine allergies and international policy variability.  It notes that the venue (the SEC’s – Scottish Exhibition Centre) ventilation system has recently been improved. Good news to hear, except that at the Loncon 3 Worldcon (the last British Worldcon) part of the problem with the concrud that spread though that convention in its latter half was that the hotels providing accommodation had poor fresh air ventilation and not the con venue.

Glasgow 2024 Worldcon has announced a new special guest, Tendai Huchu.  Following critically acclaimed first novel "The Hairdresser of Harare" (2010), T. (Tendai) L. Huchu's genre and mainstream fiction has been widely published and awarded. A long-time resident of Edinburgh, his main project at present is the 'Edinburgh Nights' series, set in a dystopian futuristic fantasy version of the city. The first three books (The Library of the Dead, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, and The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle) are in print now, with book four, The Legacy of Arniston Hall, due in October 2024.

Seattle, US, has won the site selection vote to host the 2025 Worldcon.  The Guests of Honour are: Martha Wells, Donato Giancola, Bridget Landry and Alexander James Adams.

The 2026 Los Angeles Worldcon bid has announced its proposed dates and venue.  If winning the site selection, the convention will be held 27th – 31st August 2026 at the Anaheim Convention Center.  They are the same team (mostly) that put on the Los Angeles-area Worldcons at the same locales in 1984, 1996 and 2006.  Anaheim bills itself as the jewel of Orange County, California, and is best known best as the home of the Disneyland resort complex, but don't let that put you off.  Aneheim is also home to the 58-acre nature reserve, the Oak Canyon Nature Center. The region is also home to the Yorba Regional Park. Much closer to the proposed convention venue is the more sedate STC Anaheim Garden Walk.  Los Angeles itself has the Griffiths Astronomical Observatory, the California Science Center, the L. A. Natural History Museum and the RMS Queen Mary. For palaeobiologists, Los Angeles on Museum Row has the La Brea Tar Pits.  Say no more…

Dublin's bid to host the 2029 have replied to the 2023 SMOFcon questionnaire.  The bid Chairs are both gaining Worldcon-running experience by working on the seated 2024 Glasgow Worldcon. They have not firmed up their venue but are looking at the Convention Centre Dublin and the neighbouring National College of Ireland, Mayor Square. It is very early days yet, so there is plenty of time for the bid team to sort out details. One thing they do need to do early is to detail how exactly they will prevent the severe overcrowding that dogged the 2019 Dublin Worldcon preventing many from attending programme items.

And finally….

Future SF Worldcon bids and seated Worldcons currently running  with LGBT+ freedom percentage ( ) scores in bold, include for:-
          - Glasgow, Great Britain in 2024 (seated Worldcon) 82%
          - Brisbane, Australia in 2025 - Now 2028
          - Seattle, WA, USA in 2025 (seated Worldcon) 82%
          - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2026 (civil rights concerns noted two years ago)
          - Cairo, Egypt in 2026 (replaces Jeddah above) 12%
          - Los Angeles in 2026, USA 82%
          - Orlando in 2026, USA 82%
          - Nice, France in 2026 - Bid folded
          - Tel Aviv in 2027, Israel 74%
          - Brisbane, Australia in 2028 84% (but is so silent it might have died)
          - Kampala, Uganda in 2028 (all be there civil rights concerns*) 15%
          - Dublin in 2029, Republic of Ireland 74%
          - Texas in 2031, USA 54%
          The LGBT+ equality percentages come from File770 which in turn came from Tammy Coxon pointing out the equality rankings. We added the UK score that was not included in the original File770 August 2022 posting.
*Uganda has recently passed an Anti-HomoseΧuality Bill that can mean life imprisonment for those that identify as gay and in certain circumstances the death penalty. Apparently there is a lot of blackmail with criminals threatening to report people as gay unless they are paid. Individuals or institutions which support or fund LGBTQAI+ rights’ activities or organisations, or publish, broadcast and distribute pro-gay media material and literature, also face prosecution and imprisonment. Some are arguing that the bill is unnecessary as its elements are already enshrined in Ugandan law.

Future SF Eurocon bids currently running  include for:-
          - Aland, Finland (2025) (now a seated Eurocon)
          - Berlin, Germany (2026)
          - Libson, Portugal (2027)
          - Zagreb, Croatia (2028)


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Film News


The Writers Guild of America strike ends.  The 146 day strike – the second longest in the industry’s history – followed unsuccessful negotiations with studios (represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) over pay, streaming royalties and the use of artificial intelligence.  A new three-year deal has been struck that:  sets minimum staff requirements for shows, between three and six writers, and a minimum duration of work, starting at 10 weeks for shows that have not yet been approved for production;  determines that once projects are green-lighted, the minimum of writers increases to five once the series reaches seven episodes;  gives a 50% bonus if a programme reaches 20% of a streamers' US reach within 90 days or the first 90 days of any subsequent year;  gives a 76% increase in foreign streaming residuals;  provides guaranteed pay nine weeks after commencement of a project, for writers getting less than twice the established minimum;  stipulates that edits must be paid for (studios have been known to ask writers to edit scripts for free);  ensures that if a writer is asked to rewrite a script created by artificial intelligence (AI), the rewrite will still be considered an original script;  and it determines that makers cannot require writers to use AI tools if they don’t want to and they must disclose to the writer if any material used was generated by AI.  Finally, there is a 12.5% pay increase for this year, 4% for next year and 3.5% for the year after.

The US actors strike ends.  The actors strike has ended.  SAG-AFTRA reached agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) in a unanimous vote.  The union said the deal was valued at more than US$1bn (£814m) and included increases in minimum salaries, a new "streaming participation" bonus, and more protections against their images and voices being replicated by artificial intelligence. However, not all of the union's demands were met. SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 members and has been on strike since July 14, causing major disruption and knock-on effects for those in all branches of the film and TV industry, and in countries like the UK as well as the US.
          What next?  Well, you might expect that with pent up production, there will be a sudden explosion of work, but that will not happen. There are too many productions waiting to restart shooting and not enough studio space. Also there is a shortage of technical staff.  Looking further ahead, next year sees analogous negotiations, to those that have taken place in the USA, taking place in the British isles. Of course, that the US actors and writers strikes have been resolved, will provide a basis for those negotiations.  In short, there will not be a production surge.

Voice over artists are not happy with the SAG-AFTRA deal with an AI voice company.  The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers does not cover voice-over artists working in the computer games industry.  Separately, SAG-AFTRA made a deal with the A.I. (artificial intelligence) firm Replica Studios. It provides artificial voices for the games industry and can train an A.I. to sound like the voice of an established voice-over actor. But some voice over actors have said that they were never consulted about the deal prior to it being settled. Some have called the deal with Replica Studios 'garbage' as they do not feel it properly protects their voice's intellectual property.  SAG-AFTRA said the deal was 'approved by affected members of the union's voiceover performer community'. Apparently, Steve Blum, a voice actor once credited by Guinness for being the most prolific in video games, said 'nobody' he knew of had approved the deal. Voice actors outside of gaming have also criticised the agreement… This story will continue…

Though there has been a writers strike settlement (see previous above), more films have been delayed.  Further to delays announced last season, Dune: Part Two has been put back to March (2024), Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has been put back a month to April (2024), The War of the Rohirrim has had its release put back to December (2024). +++ See also Television series delays due to the writers strike in the TV section below.

The Marvel Dr Strange and Spider-man rights battle may be over.  Marvel sued in counter to a copyright claim from the estates of Steve Ditko, Gene Colan, Don Heck and Don Rico. You may recall that Steve Ditko was a co-creator with the others of Dr Strange and Spider-man.  It looks like the court case will soon end, that Marvel has seen sense (or rather, realised that the cost of continuing their case and the likelihood of losing, will be greater than settling). A long list of characters were at issue, including Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk and Thor, are also involved.

Leavesden Studios are to expand by over 50%!  The expansion of the British studio – currently an 80 ha (200-acre) complex – will include the addition of 400,000 square feet of production and support space, and increase the total stage count from 19 to 29 and overall space from 1.14 million square feet to 1.78 million. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2024, and it is expected to be completed in 2027. DC Studios will be using the new facilities and are being consulted on the plans to ensure they get what they need. The Hertfordshire site will see work for both film and television. The site is already home to one of the largest filtered and heated stage-based water tanks in Europe and is currently owned by Warner Brothers. It was originally an aerodrome built in 1940 for WWII: it was where the Mosquito fast bomber aircraft was developed. Films shot there over the years have included James Bond's Golden Eye, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, The Batman (2022) and all the Harry Potter films. The television series Pennyworth (2019-'22) and House of the Dragon (2022-Present) were shot there.

Hammer Films rises from the dead as Hammer Studios.  Founded in 1934, Hammer Films is synonymous with British horror, with classics such as Dracula (1958) The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and The Mummy (1959). Network Distributing took over Hammer in 2021 as Hammer Studios Ltd. Following the death of the death of managing director Tim Beddows in 2022, Network was liquidated.  Fortunately, Hammer has now been acquired by the theatre producer John Gore. As Hammer Films, John Gore will be its chair and CEO.  The aim is to blend the nostalgic charm of Hammer with modern cinematic style and innovation, while preserving its heritage and library. Its first new film will be Doctor Jekyll, starring Eddie Izzard and Scott Chambers and directed by Joe Stephenson.

Amicus rises from the dead.  Amicus, based at Shepperton Studios, Great Britain, produced films between 1962 and 1977.  It was mainly known for anthology films of four or five horror shorts each, including Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and Tales from the Crypt (1972).  Lawrie Brewster becomes Amucus' president. He is known for The Unkindness of Ravens (2016), The Devil’s Machine (2019) and Ghost Crew (2022).  The new Amicus' first film will be an anthology called In the Grip of Terror.

Is The Old Man's War film really dead?  John Scalzi's Hugo-winning Old Man's war was optioned by Paramount and Syfy without making it to the production stage. This is quite common, but this seemed sufficient positive back in 2016 for Scalzi contemplated as what it would mean for his personal life. Then in December 2017 it was again optioned, this time by Netflix, but then things went quiet.  Scalzi recently gave an update that is sort of encouraging: apparently things are “slowly but surely moving along.”

Spider-Woman, Madam Web film coming next month (February 2024).  It stars Dakota Johnson as the clairvoyant heroine Madam Web. Sydney Sweeney plays Julia Carpenter / Spider-Woman along with supporting cast that includes Isabela Merced (Anya Corazon), Adam Scott (Ben Parker), and Emma Roberts (Mary Parker).  Madame Web concerns Cassandra Webb, an elderly blind woman suffering from a chronic neuromuscular disease that hinders movement and breathing. And so Madame Web remains connected to a life support system that looks like a spider’s web. She is clairvoyant and can predict the future. The character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 210.  Trailer here.

The latest Nosferatu remake gets a Christmas 2024 release date.  Further to our previous reports on its cast, the Robert Eggers remake looks like it will be up against the general release of Disney’s Lion King prequel Mufasa and Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3.  This is the second remake of F. W. Murnau’s 1922 Dracula-inspired silent movie, following Werner Herzog’s 1979 film Nosferatu the Vampyre.  You can see the 1979 remake's trailer here.

Twilight of the Dead, Romero's last film, is to be directed by Brad (The Machinist) Anderson.  George Romero sadly died in 2017 but had already prepped Twilight of the Dead which was/is to be the last in his 'Living Dead' zombie films. Brad Anderson is known for making films on a budget which is what Romero did.  +++ See elsewhere on this site: Night of the Living Dead book reviewZombies After Romero;  and  Zombies Before Romero.

Masters of the Universe cancelled by Netflix, but toy-manufacturer Mattel seeks another studio to take it over.  He Man and The Masters of the Universe was a 1980s animation series based on the Mattel action toys. It featured the muscle-bound prince He-Man fight against the evil Skeletor.  Netflix was considering making a live-action film and came up with a production budget north of US$200 million at which Netflix managers baulked.  Netflix tried to get the budget down to US$150 million but failed. They even had gone as far as principal casting identifying writers and directors, and had spent reportedly over US$30 million on the project.  Meanwhile Mattel has been buoyed by the 2023 summer success of Barbie and hopes another studio will pick it up.  ++++  You can see the original's 1987 trailer here.

Taika Waititi's Star Wars film is a Schrodinger's cat: both alive and dead.  The Hollywood rumour mill is abound with claims and counter claims as to whether Taika Waititi's Star Wars film is still on. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that there are at least four Star Wars films currently being produced by Disney/LucasFilm, from directors James Mangold, Dave Filoni, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Donald Glover. All that is kmnown for sure about the Waititi film was that he was unable to work on his Star Wars script for close to five months due to the Writers Guild of America strike, which began on 2nd May and concluded on 27th September.

Talk to Me sequel, Talk 2 Me, is coming.  It is being written by Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman, and has the original's directors Danny and Michael Philippou. From Australia, Talk to Me was the horror success of the summer.  You can see the original's trailer here.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935), directed by James Whale, is being re-made.  Netflix is reportedly making it with Maggie Gyllenhaal directing.  You can see the original's trailer here.

Fantastic Four re-boot gets its first star casted.  The re-boot has already gained a director in Matt Shakman. It has now been reported that Vanessa Kirby has been casted as Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. She recently starred in Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One Fantastic Four is currently slated for a May 2025 release.

Pirates of the Caribbean to be re-booted.  Craig Mazin – known for helming The Last of Us TV series – is behind the reboot. It is not yet known if Johnny Depp will reprise his role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the new film.

Star Wars: Lando TV series morphs into a film.  The Disney+ and Lucasfilm series was being written by Justin Simien but in the summer (2023 Donald and Stephen Glover took over that role and it now looks like they will be making a film instead.  The character of Lando Calrissian was originally played by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Stephen Glover debuted as a young Lando Calrissian in the Solo.

William S. Burroughs The Soft Machine novel may be made into a film.  The 1961 novel is being considered for a film adaptation by director Gaspar (Gravity) Noé. The novel itself concerns body control that can be manipulated. The novel is credited with coining the rock music term "heavy metal".

New Spawn film to be more horrific than the previous 1997 version.  Albert Francis "Al" Simmons, better known as Spawn, is a superhero appearing in a monthly comic book (1992) of the same name. In the original comic, Spawn is a human-turned-Hellspawn who possesses superhuman strength and speed, as well as near immortality. The character also has the ability to teleport, shape-shift and heal. Blumhouse Productions, who are making the forthcoming film, is best known for producing horror movies such as M3gan, Get Out and the Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Purge film franchises.  he world from a second Ice Age… The film is due out in March (2024)  You can see the trailer for the 1997 film here.

Troll sequel has been ordered by Netflix.  Troll is the Norwegian action-adventure film directed by Roar (Tomb Raider) Uthaug.  'Troll 2' reunites Uthaug with writer Espen Aukan and producers Espen Horn and Kristian Strand Sinkerud at Motion Blur.  The first film takes place in the aftermath of an explosion in the Norwegian mountains, which awakens an ancient troll.  It became Netflix's’s most popular non-English film of all time, with a record-breaking 103,000,000 views in its first 91 days.  It also ranked in the streamer's Top 10 in 93 countries and topped the charts in Norway, the US and the UK.  You can see the trailer for Troll here.

It Follows to have a sequel.  It Follows was the surprise horror hit of 2015. It concerns a zombie like ghost that walks steadily towards its victim, relentlessly, no matter how far apart they are. It is a plot that has elements of the 1950s classic The Night of the Demon.  The sequel is titled They Follow and will once more be directed by David Robert Mitchell and star Maika Monroe.  SF² Concatenation cited It Follows as one of Best Films of 2015.  You can see the trailer for It Follows here.

Black Phone to have a sequel and the original writers and cast are onboard.  The original sees a 13-year old boy, abducted by a child killer in a suburban neighbourhood and locked in a soundproof basement, who begins to receive calls on a disconnected phone from the killer’s previous victims…  The original 2022 film was directed by Scott Derrickson and co-written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, both of whom are behind the sequel. Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies and Miguel Mora are apparently reprising their roles.&bnbsp; The story is based on a Joe Hill tale published in his 2005 collection, 20th Century Ghosts.  The original film took US$161 million (£129m) worldwide with an estimated US$68 million (£54.5m) and as such was one of Deadline's most profitable films of that year.  The sequel is currently slated for a release in June 2025.  You can see the original's trailer here.

People Under the Stairs to have a re-make.  Wes () Craven's People Under the Stairs (1991) was both horror and social commentary: a combination that made it something of a success.  Jordan (Hugo short-listed Get Out, 2017) Peele and Win Rosenfeld are producing the remake and Ezra Claytan Daniels is writing the screen play.  You can see the original film's trailer here.

Chuck Norris, Sophie Monk and Vanilla Ice play themselves in a forthcoming zombie film.  In Zombie Plane, passengers on a jet flying from Sydney to Los Angeles become infected with new strains of zombie viruses, Vanilla Ice and Sophie Monk are forced to team up to contain the contagion before the US Air Force shoots it out of the sky. In the film, a secret government agency has recruited celebrities to be undercover agents and the celebs must save humanity from an imminent attack from the undead, hence the rationale for the stars playing themselves.  The film is directed by Lav Bodnaruk and Michael Mier.

We Bury the Dead is director Zak (1922) Hilditch's next film.  It will star Daisy Ridley who will play Ava. Ava, a desperate woman whose husband is missing in the aftermath of a catastrophic military experiment. Hoping to find him alive, Ava joins a 'body retrieval unit,' but her search takes a chilling turn when the corpses she’s burying start showing signs of life…  The article in Deadline announcing the film strangely does not use the term 'zombie'. This might signal that it is something different, or it could be a marketing ploy?

Send Help is director Sam Raimi next film and marks his return to horror.  Sam Raimi is best know for the Evil Dead trilogy (1981-'92), Darkman (1990) and the first the first Spider-man trilogy (2002-2007). His last proper horror was Drag Me to Hell (2009). Send Help is billed as being Misery meets Cast Away. Apparently, it is a comedy-adventure horror about Linda, a female employee, and her irritating boss, Bradley. On a business flight, their plane crashes on an island with only the two of them making it out alive. Linda has serious survival skills, which means she is Bradley’s only hope to stay alive.

Conception will be a British-made dystopian film.  It will star Keira Knightley and is being written and directed by Camille (Silent Night) Griffin.  It is set in a future Britain where the government has taken control of parenting.

The Wild Robot novel to be adapted into film.  The Peter Brown book concerns the Rozzum 7134 (“Roz” for short), robot that was designed for a futuristic urban world, but finds herself washed ashore on a deserted island, a tale of survival and discovery begins when she becomes the unexpected protector to an orphaned gosling, which she names Brightbill. Together they struggle to survive the harsh environment, but only succeed with the help of a close-knit group of misfit animals, who become first friends, then family. Ultimately, Roz and company save the island from a robotic invasion by Roz’s manufacturer, looking to bring her back to civilisation by any means necessary. In the process she becomes something much more than she was programmed to be, a wild robot….  The film will be directed by Chris Sanders who previously was responsible for How to Train Your Dragon.

The Long Walk novel to be adapted into film.  The 1979 dystopian novel was by Stephen King (initially writing as Richard Bachman) and see a hundred teenage boys embark on the punishing titular journey that involves strict stipulations (they must walk at least four miles an hour) and ends with only one survivor.  The book’s influence can be seen in later works, including Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novel series.  Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the novel and they are in discussion with Francis Lawrence to potentially direct. (Lawrence directed The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) and helmed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).)  Lawrence is also working on he has been developing sequels to his Constantine (2005) and I Am Legend (2007).

The Dire Wolf will be a supernatural thriller.  The film concerns Hank Whitmore, a sharp and stubborn New Mexican sheriff who aligns with the Navajo Nation when a series of supernatural events threatens his family, his town, and his way of life…  The 'Dire Wolf' relates to a now extinct N. American species.  Andrzej Bartkowiak is set to direct and the hope is for a 2025 release. Andrzej Bartkowiak was the cinematographer for Speed, Species and Dante’s Peak.

Bermuda will be an SFnal thriller based on the Bermuda Triangle mythos.  Marc Webb is to direct. He recently directed Disney’s live-action adaptation of Snow White.

Following 2023's success of Oppenheimer and Barbie they are actually making Barbenheimer.  The plot reportedly concerns Dr. Bambi J. Barbenheimer, a scientist doll from Dolltopia who has a boyfriend named Twink Dollman. After venturing into the real world, Dr. Barbenheimer decides to take nuclear revenge over the way human children treat their dolls…  Lowe budget film supremo, Charles Band, is behind the film which he openly admits he is making the film to capitalise on the success of Oppenheimer and Barbie. His production company also plans to sell Barbenheimer dolls.  ++++ You can see the trailer for Oppenheimer here and the one for Barbie here.

And finally…

Short video clips (short films, other vids and trailers) that might tickle your fancy….

Film trailer: The Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire trailer is now out.  It sees the Spengler family returns to where it all started – the iconic New York City firehouse – to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who have developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artefact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age… The film is due out in March (2024)  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes trailer is now out.  The new 'Planet of the Apes' film is set many years after the conclusion of 2017's War for the Planet of the Apes. Many apes' societies have grown from when the Moses-like Caesar brought his people to an oasis, while humans have been reduced to a feral-like existence. Some ape groups have never heard of Caesar, while others have contorted his teaching to build burgeoning empires. In this setting, one ape leader begins to enslave other groups to find human technology, while another ape, who watched his clan be taken, embarks on a journey to find freedom. A young human woman becomes key to the latter's quest, although she has plans of her own… The film is due out in May (2024)  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: The Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire trailer is out.  The new instalment in the Monsterverse puts the mighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal deadly threat hidden within our world that threatens the existence of their species and our very own, as well as diving deep into the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond. Delving straight into the origins of Hollow Earth, this film will explore the ancient Titan battle that bought man and monster together forever. Its release date is April (2024).  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: A reminder, the delayed Dune Part II is finally coming out in March.  Originally, it was meant to have been released in November last year (2023).  Trailer here.

Want more? See last season's video clip recommendations here.

For a reminder of the top films in 2023 (and earlier years) then check out our top Science Fiction Films annual chart. This page is based on the weekly UK box office ratings over the past year up to Easter. You can use this page if you are stuck for ideas hiring a DVD for the weekend.

For a forward look as to film releases of the year see our film release diary.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Television News


Netflix was the streaming service most affected by the television and film writers strike . Netflix saw nearly three times the greatest number of production delays due to the television writers strike compared to the next most affected streamer, Apple TV+.

Though there has been a writers strike settlement (see earlier above), more TV series have been delayed.  Delayed series include:  Echo which is only coming out now;  X-Men 97 which is only now coming out shortly;  Agatha: Coven of Chaos (formerly called Agatha: House of Harkness) which was due out shortly will now come out near the autumn as well as have another name change to Agatha: Darkhold Diaries;  Finally, Daredevil: Born Again, Ironheart and Wonder Man have also been affected. +++ See also Film delays due to the writers strike in the Film section above.

Doctor Who is apparently no longer paying its writers residuals.  Deadline has reported that since the BBC has teamed up with Disney+, the show has moved towards a buyout model for writers.  Episode writers are now being paid a large fee upfront rather than a smaller fee plus residuals as was the previous model when writers earn additional compensation with repeats.  This news from a British show comes at a rather odd time given the recent writers settlement in the USA (see earlier above). It is not reported whether the changes are in line with the new US agreement.

A reminder that La Brea has its third and final series just debuted this month (January 2024).  The series, concerning the opening of cavernous sinks in the ground that are temporary wormholes to thousands of years ago, is getting a third and final mini-season. We have already had two full seasons during which there was some time travel hi-jinx and the implication of time-line editing. However there were a number of loose ends which, hopefully, this mini-third season of six episodes will resolve.  You can see the season one trailer here.

Lost Doctor Who episodes found but owner will not hand them over. The episodes are two Hartnell year adventures, one of which is a Dalek story. However the owner refuses to hand them over. There is a call for the BBC to have a general amnesty for all recordings made to protect them from possible copyright protection from the BBC. Having said that, there is an argument that as the BBC is funded by a public licence fee that allows folk to receive television broadcasts, that the public already own BBC transmission. Now, this is not just some abstract point. An analogous argument is being made in the science community as Science Base research (research sponsored by – in Britain – the Research Councils) is already paid for by the tax payer and so the tax payer should not have to pay for it twice by having to subscribe to academic journals. This is why in recent years many academic papers arising from such publicly-funded research have become open access after only a short time behind a pay wall.

A reminder that Ghosts (USA) is back mid-February. Being co-produced with the BBC Studios it should be on BBC3 for those in the British Isles. In North America it is on CBS.

Star Trek: Prodigy moves from Paramount+ to Netflix.  The move follows the Paramount+ Cancellation last season.  The he first season of Prodigy has already debut on Netflix, and the second season is slated to premiere later this year (2024).  The series follows a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search of a better future.

Shadow and Bone has been cancelled.  After two seasons Netflix has pulled the plug. The series is based on Leigh Bardugo's novels. The live-action Shadow and Bone was a streaming hit when it premiered in April 2021, but since then has not done quite as well. The killer factor seems to have been the show's large budget.  The cancellation comes despite a number of season 2 cliff-hangers and unresolved plot arcs.  A spin-off series, Six of Crows, has also been nixed despite all its first season episodes having been written.  You can see the season two trailer here.

Is The Orville really dead?  Yes, we know we looked at this last season and the latest news is pretty much the same. What is new is that its writer, creator and star, Seth MacFarlane, recently said that the series has had "no official death certificate". Apparently there are still discussions about a possible season 4.

Superman & Lois to end with season 4.  Only last time we reported it would have a fourth season. Budget seems to have been an issue as it was rather big. Cuts have been made. The shows writers have been cut from eight to five and only four of the twelve of the last season's cast regulars arte returning.  You can see the season three trailer here.

Superman: Legacy lead cast revealed.  Production began as we posted last season's news and so we all knew that the lead cast would be identified.  David Corenswet is playing the Kyptonian with Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane.  Nicholas Hoult is playing Lex Luthor.  Model Sara Sampaio is playing Eve Teschmacher.  Superman: Legacy is currently slated for an 11th July 2025 release.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is seeing Jonathan Frakes return as director.  Previously, he had directed just one Strange New Worlds episode, the Lower Decks crossover episode for season 2 ('Those Old Scientists'). He could not direct for season one as he had a conflict as he was directing an episode of Star Trek: Discovery.  The filming of the 10-episode season has already begun in Toronto.  You can see the season two trailer here.

Biker Mice from Mars re-boot series gets Ryan Reynolds to co-produce.  The series' pilot will be directed by Brian Volk-Weiss.  It will be the first animated series on the Maximum Effort Channel in the US, which is home to original and classic TV and films.  The original Biker Mice from Mars series hails from the 1990s.  You can see the original's trailer here.

The Alien TV series gets its lead cast.  That there was to be an Alien series was announced early in 2022Black Mirror star Alex Lawther has been cast as the Alien TV show's lead.  Co-stars include: Essie Davis, Sydney Chandler and Samuel Blenkin.  Also joining the show is Timothy Olyphant whom it is said may be playing a synth (Android). Reportedly, the series is a prequel to the Alien film franchise and is set roughly 70 years into the future. Ridley Scott is as an executive producer.  ++++  Meanwhile, there is a separate, new Alien film currently slated for an August (2024) release.

Futurama has been renewed for two more seasons.  Already ordered is season 12 airs later this year. The new renewal is for seasons 13 and 14 both of which will be 10 episodes long. The show airs on Disney+ in the British Isles and in the US on Hulu.  See the season 11 trailer here.

Castlevania: Nocturne has been renewed for a second season.  Netflix's Castlevania: Nocturne series is based on the Konami “Castlevania” video game series and is itself a follow-up to Netflix's Castlevania series. Nocturne itself is set in France, 1792 – the height of the French Revolution. In a remote part of western France, the counter-revolutionary aristocracy has forged an alliance with a terrifying Vampire Messiah, who promises to ‘eat the sun’ and unleash an army of vampires and night creatures to crush the revolution and enslave humanity. Annette, a sorceress from the Caribbean, seeks out Richter Belmont, last descendant of the long-fabled family of vampire hunters, to lead the resistance…  Project 51 Productions and Powerhouse Animation will continue to produce the series for Netflix.  For a taste see the past series1 trailer here.

Fright Krewe has been renewed for a second season.  Hulu and Peacock have renewed the animation series. The series is set in New Orleans, where the ancient prophecy of a Voodoo Queen sets a group of misfits teens on the quest to save their city from a terrible demonic threat.   For a taste see the past season 1 trailer here.

Harley Quinn has been renewed for a fifth season.  The animated DC show starring Kaley Cuoco (formerly Penny from The Big Bang Theory), had barely had its fourth season full aired when it was renewed by Max.  You can see the season 4 trailer here.

What We Do In The Shadows has been renewed for a sixth and final series.  Inspired by the 2014 indie film by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the sitcom follows a group of vampires sharing a home in Staten Island, New York. The series airs on FX in N. America and the seasons one to four on BBC2 in the British Isles. In the UK season 5 is currently exclusive to Disney Plus.

Black Mirror has been renewed for a seventh series.  The five episode sixth season was shown in 2023 after a four-year hiatus. Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones and Jessica Rhoades are returning as executive producers for the seventh season.  You can see the season 6 trailer here.

Fallout series is to air in April (2024).  The series is based on the series of computer games. In 2077, nuclear war devastates the US. Set some years later, there are survivors from various shelters (vaults) as well as a military complex called Brotherhood of Steel. But the world is a wasteland full of mutants, giant insects, zombie-like ghouls, and other irradiated wildlife.  The series is being helmed by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan who were behind the Westworld series. Todd Howard and James Altman who worked on some of the computer games at Bethesda Softworks is a producer for the television series. The series stars Ella Purnell who plays Lucy, an optimistic Vault Dweller with an all-American, can-do spirit. Her peaceful and idealistic nature is tested when people harm her loved ones. Aaron Moten plays Maximus, a young soldier who hides his tragic past as he serves in the Brotherhood of Steel. He believes in the nobility of the Brotherhood’s mission to bring law and order to the Wasteland—and will do anything to further their goals. Walton Goggins plays The Ghoul. The pragmatic, ruthless Ghoul survives the Wasteland as a bounty hunter, hiding a mysterious past…  You can see the series teaser here.

The Penguin series is to air in 2024 autumn.  It had been slated to air around now but was delayed by the television writers strike. The eight episode series will see Colin Farrell reprise his role as Oswald Cobblepot from The Batman film (2022).  The series was to air earlier but had been delayed by the television writers strike.  You can see a teaser here.

The Last Of Us second season to air in 2025.  The series was renewed in January (2023) but was then delayed by the television writers strike. The series is Based on Naughty Dog’s video game, of the same name.  The Last Of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilisation has been destroyed. Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, a hard survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone.  You can see the series1 trailer here.

Good Omens season 3 looks like happening, though Amazon has not yet ordered it!  So, why does it look like season 3 will happen?  Well, the Hugo Award-winning first season was based on the 1990 Good Omens book by Neil Gaiman and the now lateTerry Pratchett. Terry and Neil Gaiman had discussed where the novel might go for a follow-up and Neil used some of these ideas for the series' second season.  Neil has reported that he has been hired by Amazon to write a third and final series using the ideas he and Terry kicked about years ago.  In short, it is highly likely that Amazon will order a third season.  See the season 2 trailer here.

Breaking Bad creator is developing an SF series.  Vince Gilligan has said he is working on a new SF series.  Apparently, the first episode sees the world change very abruptly and this drives the drama in the series that follows. Apparently Rhea Seehorn stars and the series will be for Apple TV+.

Daredevil gets a follow-up series, Daredevil: Born Again.  Charlie Cox reprises his role from Daredevil (2015–2018) as Matt Murdock / Daredevil. The new series is meant to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) produced by Marvel Studios, sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and will be part of MCU's 'Phase Five'. The series would have debuted around now but was delayed by the writers strike. It is likely to air either at the end of this year or early in 2025.  You can see a teaser trailer here.

The Halloween franchise has now spread to TV.  Trancas International Films has sold the television rights for the Halloween franchise to, and will partner with, Miramax. The newHalloween series is envisioned to potentially launch a cinematic universe spanning film and television. Jointly controlling both the film and TV rights would allow Miramax and Trancas to devise an integrated film-TV universe. The Halloween film franchise consists of 13 titles, starting with the 1978 original, co-written and directed by John Carpenter. They focus primarily on Michael Myers, who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his sister. He escapes 15 years later to stalk and kill the people of the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween, with babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) as the main protagonists trying to stop him.   You can see the trailer for the 2018 offering here.  Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

The Poltergeist franchise is now spreading to TV (again).  The 1980s horror film franchise, is in early development at Amazon MGM Studios for a TV series.  Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will be executive producers on behalf of Amblin Television. Amblin Television's involvement is fitting because it's the same company that initially produced the first Poltergeist film (1982).  Of course, this will not be the first Poltergeist TH series. In the 1990s there was Poltergeist: The Legacy which ran to four seasons.  You can see the original Poltergeist (1982) trailer here.

The Empyrean novels are to be adapted to a television series.  The fantasy novels' author, Rebecca Yarros, will be a non-writing executive producer on the series.  The first book in the Empyrean series, Fourth Wing, was published in April 2023 by Red Tower Books in the USA.  By late June, it was a number one bestseller on Amazon. As of September 2023, the book had spent 18 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, including a time at no. 1.  The sequel, Iron Flame, was released in November 2023. In July 2023, Waterstones indicated that it became the fastest selling pre-order title in a single day on the website with the special edition selling out in just seven hours. The series will air on Amazon.


And finally, a couple of TV related vids…

The Dead Boy Detectives trailer out.  Having announced its move from HBO to Netflix last year, Netflix has now released a trailer, based on the characters created by Neil Gaiman And artists Matt Wagner and Malcolm Jones III, for the new series.  Do you have a pesky ghost haunting you? Has a demon stolen your core memories? You may want to ring the Dead Boy Detectives. In this new supernatural series set in The Sandman universe, two teenagers find each other in death… and they will do anything to stick together – including escaping evil witches, Hell and Death herself. With the help of a clairvoyant named Crystal (Kassius Nelson), they must work together to crack some of the mortal realm’s most mystifying paranormal cases.  You can see the teaser trailer here.

The Boys season 4 trailer is now out.  The Boys is an American satirical superhero television Amazon Prime series. It is based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. It concerns a team of vigilantes as they combat super-powered individuals who abuse their powers.  You can see the teaser trailer here.

House of The Dragon season 2 trailer is now out.  Due to its British-based union contract, the HBO production was able to film throughout this past summer despite the writers strike.  You can see the teaser trailer here.

Star Trek: Discovery releases a teaser clip from forthcoming final series.  Capt. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) contend with a massive, hostile alien creature that has the ability to cloak itself…  Season 5 will be the final season and debuts in April on Amazon Prime.  You can see the 5-minute teaser clip here.

Doctor Who season one teaser now out.  'Season one'!  Surely you mean 'season 14'?  Well, actually the BBC are branding season 14 of the re-booted Doctor Who as season one apparently because it is the first season with Russell T. Davies back as show-runner.  Teaser trailer here.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Publishing & Book Trade News


UK domestic commercial publishing grew by 1.1% in the first half of 2023.  Domestic commercial publishing includes all fiction and commercial non-fiction but excludes educational and academic as well as, of course, exports.  UK's Total Consumer Market (TCM) book sales totalled £776.6 million (US$963m) in the first 26 weeks of the year. It was also up up 11.5% on the same period in 2019, the last pre-CoVID pandemic year.  That's the good news. The bad is that the number of books sold was down over the same period, with 3.8 million fewer print books sold in the first half of this year compared to 2022.  By category, fiction sales were worth £215.8 million, the best sales in 15 years. Adult nonfiction sales were up 2.5% by value but down 5.4% by volume. The children’s books fell 3.4% in value.

UK total publishing grew to £6.9 billion (US$8.6bn) in 2022. This is up 3% over 2022's £6.7 billion. The publishing industry has been up-beat about this news, but bear in mind that at the financial year's end CPI inflation was around 10% (and had been for much of 2022). Further, this growth has been driven by increased export sales (up 8% in 2022, with £4.1billion in total sales) while domestic sales decreased slightly (down 1%). However, there was some good news. 2022 saw 669 million physical books sold in the UK, the highest overall level recorded.  Consumer books, print sales were up 2%, to £1.8 billion, while digital sales were also up 2% to £423 million and audio downloads saw an 8% increase to £164 million. Fiction was up by 9% to £797 million of sales, and children’s books were up by 1%. Non-fiction saw a decrease of 2%, but still accounted for about £1 billion.  Educational publishing for schools had a total income of £634 million, an increase of 16%, while academic publishing (for universities and the postgraduate market) rose by 3% on the year before to £3.5 billion.

YouGov survey reveals the book habits of US N. Americans.  They surveyed 29,000 US citizens. 85% of US citizens own at least one book…
          20% own between one and ten books
          14% own between 11 and 25
          13% between 26 and 50
          69% own fewer than 100
          4% own between 500 and 1,000
          3% own over 1,000
          roughly 50% own an e-book
          85% do not order their books on the shelf
          The more books owned, the greater the likelihood of ordering
          Age, class and education correlate to book ownership
          This chimes with book bans disproportionately hurting the vulnerable
          Further data reveals that among US Americans who earn less than 75% of the median national income, 15% own no books and 16% own at least 100. In contrast, among Americans who earn at least 200% of the median national income only 4% own no books and 40% own at least 100.

The number of physical print Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror magazines has been charted across the decades. Steve Davidson presented the data on his Facebook page. The data only includes professionally published titles (not fanzines). In the 1920s there were barely a handful of titles but these grew over the decades to the 1950s when there were nearly 180. The following decade the number of titles more than halved and from the 1990s there was a steady decline to 2023 when there were only one or two more than in the 1920s.

Interzone, the British SF short story magazine went on hiatus and then became solely electronic.  Subscription renewals this year have been down, but the publishers are hopeful that they'll pick up. This British magazine (if our memory serves) has been going since the late 1970s. Issue 295 was the last published but the publishers would like to at least reach issue 300. However, from issue 296 it will be electronic only – the paper edition will cease. One-off support can be given here  and subscriptions here

Dark Matter magazine has closed.  The US-based, SF, short story magazine was founded three years ago and has published 21 issues: an average of more than one issue every other month. However, it is not all over. The publisher is transitioning to producing Dark Matter Presents line of anthologies, published by Dark Matter INK. the magazine, not the imprint, is rebranding as Reactor magazine at  The rebranding is to distance itself as an independent venture from the Tor (US) SF imprint. In addition to largely US science fiction, largely book-related book news, Reactor will continue with its new author short story programme. It will also be a home to other genres than pure SF/F including romance.

GMB union workers at Amazon go on strike for the pre-Christmas Black Friday.  The action is over pay: Amazon pay just a little over the minimum wage. The Union wants its members to be paid £15 an hour (about US$18.50). Strikes are also taking place in mainland Europe and the USA: unions say it is the biggest walkout in Amazon history.  Amazon has a history of issues. See links below to previous stories:
          ++++ Related Amazon stories previously covered elsewhere on this site include:
  - Criminals generate A.I. written books attributing them to established authors and then sell them on Amazon
  - Lydia Davies will not be having her latest book sold on Amazon
  - Amazon has stopped selling Kindle magazine and newspaper subscriptions (Summer 2023)
  - Amazon to lay off 10,000 jobs (Spring 2023)
  - Amazon's worker monitoring criticised by UK all-party Select Committee
  - Cory Doctorow explains that he will not let his books appear on Amazon Audible
  - Alleged intimidation by Amazon causes a second vote on whether workers in Alabama can have a trade union
  - Authors removed from Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing
  - Pirated copy of the Hugo-winning Blindsight is finally taken down from the Amazon website.
  - Amazon fined by European Union
  - Amazon pays a little more tax as sales rise by 50%
  - Amazon destroys millions of items of unsold stock
  - Audible – the audiobook sales outlet for Amazon’s company ACX – seems to be ripping off publishers and authors
  - Concerns as to Amazon's staff work conditions and rights
  - Amazon workers launch protests on Prime Day
  - Staff at Amazon's Swansea warehouse 'treated like robots'
  - Amazon warehouse accidents total 440
  - Amazon workers praising conditions are accused of lying
  - Amazon breaks embargo on Atwood's The Testaments
  - Amazon's UK tax paid substantially down despite a great profit increase
  - Amazon must pay its tax, says European Commission
  - Amazon tax wrong says UK Booksellers Association
  - 110,000 submit Amazon tax petition to Downing Street
  - Amazon and Google lambasted by Chair of House of Commons Accounts Committee
  - Amazon UK avoiding substantial tax says report in The Bookseller.

Tolkien estate wins copyright case against Lord of the Rings fan fiction writer Demetrious Polychron.  Polychron had originally sued Tolkien's estate as it approved the Amazon series The Rings of Power.  The Tolkien's estate countersued.  A judge has now ruled siding with Tolkien's Estate demanding that Demetrious Polychron destroy his stock of books and desist from selling copies.  Judge Steven V. Wilson called Demetrious Polychron lawsuit against Tolkien's estate 'frivolous and unreasonably filed'. He also granted a permanent injunction preventing him from selling his planed, and as yet unpublished, further sequels. Reportedly the District Court of California ordered Polychron to pay the Tolkien Estate and Amazon’s legal fees totalling around US$134,000 (£108,000).

Inklore is a new genre related imprint from the Cornerstone publishing house, part of the Penguin Random House group. It is a reader-focused pop-comics powerhouse celebrating the most popular, fan-driven tropes through spectacular visual storytelling. It is dedicated to publishing manga, manhua, manhwa, and webcomics that offer the escapist, transporting reading experience fans crave.

US authors take ChatGPT-owner OpenAI to court over copyright infringement in artificial intelligence (AI) training!  The Authors Guild (effectively the US trade union for writers) is representing a number of authors including George R. R. Martin and John Grisham.  The complainants' claims the authors' books were used without their permission to train ChatGPT. Meanwhile, some authors, including Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman, have written an open letter calling for AI companies to compensate them for using their work.  +++ Separately, the US comedian Sarah Silverman is also suing. ++++ Separately, the New York Times is suing.

Meta is being taken to court by authors who claim that its Llama AI infringes authors' copyright. The case is taking place in the US but the judge has thrown out part of the claim: specifically that Llama regurgitates authors' work. Judge Vince Chabria said the authors’ allegations that text generated by Llama infringes their copyrights simply do not stand up to scrutiny. “When I make a query of Llama, I’m not asking for a copy of Sarah Silverman’s book—I’m not even asking for an excerpt,” Chhabria observed, noting that, under the authors’ theory, a side-by-side comparison of text generated by the AI application and Silverman’s book would have to show they are similar.  However, the judge is allowing the authors to re-word their claims.
          It emerged before Christmas (2023) that Meta's lawyers had warned Meta of likely copyright issues in using books to train its Large Language Model A.I.s, but Meta did it anyway. They must have thought there was no point to paying for expert advice and then heeding it…

UK Authors' Licensing announces artificial intelligence (A.I.) policy.  The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is the body for UK authors that collects photocopy dues from libraries. In effect, it manages the Public Lending Right in the British Isles.  The ALCS has now come up with a 'Authors and AI principles' statement.  In great summary it states that:
  1) Human authors should be compensated for their work and have transparent information of uses of their work. This includes A.I. training.
  2) Technological developments in machine learning should not be seized upon as a circumvention of creators’ rights and AI generated work should be labelled as such. Further, where a work has been generated by AI rather than written by a human author, this must be made clear in any publishing and selling of such a work.
  3) Licensing terms should be carefully considered, not just for the ‘first use’, but also for times when an AI program would effectively reuse a work repeatedly.
  4) Stakeholders must fully acknowledge the limitations of AI in a wider social context. AI cannot self-regulate, and it often cannot apply context and nuance to information in the same ways in which humans can.
  5) Developing the opportunities A.I. presents should not diminish or side-line, the social, cultural, and economic value that creators contribute.
          At the moment, none of the above is being implemented by any A.I. company – except in the most general (not specific) sense, and so we have a long way to go. ++++ There is also a video here.

As the list of artists used to train the Midjourney A.I. (artificial intelligence) image generator is released, a court case is being prepared.  SF artists whose work adorns the cover of SF books are (rightly) in uproar at their work being used to train the Midjourney A.I. image-generating platform. Nearly all Best Professional Artist Hugo Award winners are on the list: Rovina Cai, John Picacio, Charles Vess, Julie Dillon, Shaun Tan, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martinière, Jim Burns, Bob Eggleton, Michael Whelan, Don Maitz, Vincent DiFate, Rick Sternbach, Frank Kelly Freas, Leo and Diane Dillon, Jack Gaughan, John Schoenherr, Ed Emshwiller, Virgil Finlay.  And some SF fanzine artists are their too including: fanzine artists are on the list. William Rotsler is there, as are these winners of the Rotsler Award named for him: Alexis A. Gilliland, Arthur (ATom) Thomson, Brad W. Foster, Dan Steffan, Steve Stiles, Teddy Harvia, and Tim Kirk.

Norman Spinrad reveals why he has not had a book professionally published since 2017.  Norman is the author of the Hugo and Nebula short-listed Bug Jack Baron (1969) and has over the years generated a respected back list. His last novel was The People's Choice (2017). That novel had been accepted by the senior commissioning editor at Tor US, the hugely respected David Hartwell, who tragically died during the book's pre-production. The subsequently book came out in hardback but with a problematic cover that Tor said Hartwell approved but Norman contends would never have happened until after the author had also given his approval (the arguably common practice in publishing): apparently the cover was the artist's interpretation of the book's title and not on what it was actually about. Long story short, Tor US decided not to publish a trade paperback with a new cover and Norman then wrested publishing rights from Tor and published the trade paperback on Amazon. Authors' agents shy away from author-publisher disputes as agents have to maintain a good relationship with publishers for the sake of all their other authors. Consequently, Norman has subsequently been without an agent and cannot get published.

Doctor Who celebrates its 60th anniversary – But, of course, you knew that.  This year Doctor Who celebrates its Diamond Anniversary with three brand new TV episodes starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, plus the arrival of the Fifteenth Doctor, as played by Ncuti Gatwa and his companion Ruby Sunday.  But what you may not know that since the 2005 re-boot, over four-and-a-half million Sonic Screwdrivers have been sold and over 13 million action figures. Over 19 million DVDs have been sold globally and over one million tickets for live events. We are listing this last season's Doctor Who audio books (we got their catalogue late) in the forthcoming books listings below.

Deluxe special boxed editions of the Hunger Games novels have been released to tie in with the film The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.  The four Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins are in a hardcover boxed set from Scholastic. All four books have been made into feature films.

Fifth Generation Books, a US book dealer, is reportedly selling Ansible Edition's Bixelstrasse: The SF Fan Community of 1940s Los Angeles at an inflated price.  Ansible, the monthly British SF news bulletin, reports that the book is being sold by Fifth Generation Books on the Walmart website for US$43.50 (allegedly discounted from the wholly made-up figure of US$50.50). It is claimed that all proceeds will go to the Transatlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) which is hard to believe.

A debut author has been outed for one-star fake reviewing her competitors.  Xiran Jay Zhao revealed documentation suggesting that debut author Cait Corrain has been setting up Good Reads accounts under different names to give her competitor debut authors poor one-star reviews while giving her own work good ones. Reportedly, Cait Corrain blamed a fan of hers. Her publisher, Del Rey (US), has dropped her book from their publishing schedule and she has lost her agent.


And finally, some of the autumn's book-related videos…

The evolution of the book.  This is a charming, and surprisingly informative 15-minute documentary is from the one and only Moid Moidelhoff over at Media Death Cult. You may find two or three things you did not know. (Have you ever heard of the paperback original revolution of the 1950s?…) In the middle of domestic chaos, Moid took the trouble to make this the week before he moved house. So make a mug of builders and join Moid…  You can see the video here.

The Three Body Problem problem.  Are Liu Cixin books any good? SF fan opinion is divided despite major award wins.  Media Death Cult dives in…  You can see the 14 minute video here.  See also below…

The Three Body Problem: Is it really that good?  Bookpilled looks at the books and notes that The Three Body Problem itself has sold over 8 million copies…  You can see the video here.

Which of these SF classics Is overrated? Bookpilled looks at three classic science fiction books whose authors are Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick and Octavia Butler…  You can see the 11 minute video here.

Was last year's Hugo short-list ignoring better works?  The Hugo Awards always spark discussion and this year's short-list was all the more controvertible due China buying hosting the Worldcon at which the Hugos are presented. The Secret Sauce of Story Craft suggests some titles that are possibly more worthy?  You can see the video here.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Forthcoming SF Books


Doctor Who: Doctor Who – The Cuckoo by Anonymous, BBC Audio Books, £14, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-13873-3.
Audiobook. Jaye Griffiths reads this original adventure for the Twelfth Doctor and Clara, as played on TV by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. For Clara Oswald, life has fallen into a routine. By day she teaches the pupils at Coal Hill School, and by night – and at weekends - she travels in Time and Space with the Doctor. To Clara's immense shock, the Doctor has acquired a new companion – and Arix is just as at home in the TARDIS as she has been. Suddenly, Clara's world has tilted on its axis. As the two companions size each other up, the Doctor is caught between them. And when they all wind up in an alien swamp, it's time for a reckoning of grievances, grudges- and bravery.

Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Novels Volume 1 by Anonymous, BBC Audio Books, £16, Digital, ISBN 978-1-529-90658-5.
Audiobook. Arthur Darvill, Olivia Colman, James Albrecht and Nicholas Briggs read these four original stories featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
          In Apollo 23, by Justin Richards, Amy is stranded on the moon, whilst the Doctor discovers one last great secret that could save humanity.
          In The Night of the Humans, by David Llewellyn, the Doctor and Amy arrive in the middle of an all-out frontier war on the Gyre, the most hostile environment in the galaxy.
          In The Forgotten Army, by Brian Minchin, an ordinary day becomes a time of terror, as the Doctor and Amy meet a new and deadly enemy in New York.
          In Nuclear Time, by Oli Smith, the Doctor finds himself living backwards through time, while Amy and Rory are hunted through the suburban streets of his future...

Doctor Who: The Lagoon Monsters by Anonymous, BBC Audio Books, £11, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-90816-9.
Audiobook. An original adventure for the Tenth Doctor and Martha, as played on TV by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman. The waters of the Pacific Ocean form the backdrop of this foray into Eighteenth Century seafaring for the Doctor and Martha, when the TARDIS materialises on board the Blue Groper sailing ship. Grudgingly accepted as stowaways by Captain Sadler's crew, the travellers learn that the ship is on a mission to Luna Puesta, 'the land where the Moon has set'. There, just off the coast of New Zealand, Professor James Tomlinson hopes to locate a missing archaeological link between dinosaurs and man. But what the expedition finds on arrival is far beyond the Professor's wildest dreams...

Doctor Who: The Third Monsters Collection by Anonymous, BBC Audio Books, £16, Digital, ISBN 978-1-52-990647-9.
Audiobook. Five classic TV novelisations pitch the Doctor against an array of monstrous foes. In Daleks: The Chase the First Doctor and his friends must flee from the path of a Dalek execution squad.
          The Macra Terror awaits the Second Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie within an apparently idyllic Earth colony, whilst in Doctor Who and the Web of Fear the Yeti have colonised the London Underground, at the behest of the Great Intelligence.           Doctor Who and the Mutants relates the oppression of the Solonian people at the hands of Earth authorities, and in Doctor Who and the State of Decay the Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9 encounter the terrifying Great Vampire.
          Maureen O'Brien, Anneke Wills, David Troughton, Jon Culshaw and Geoffrey Beevers read these thrilling tales, with Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Daleks and John Leeson as the voice of K9.
          Available On: Audible, Apple, Google Play and Amazon.

Doctor Who: The Romanov Project by Anonymous, BBC Audio Books, £14, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-90818-3.
Audiobook. Toby Longworth reads this original adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor and Graham, as played on TV by Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh. “There is a darkness here. A darkness that feeds.” It's 1970, and record-breaking explorer Silvia Sandstrom has completed an epic lone drive to the North Pole. But as she activates heron-board experimental equipment, her vehicle is swallowed by a massive hole in the ice. Meanwhile the TARDIS is drawn to an arid wasteland, also apparently at the North Pole. There the Doctor and Graham meet Silvia - but it's clear that she is a woman out of her own time. Why is a nearby experimental base haunted by deranged figures? And who is the genius behind the Romanov Project, the wave of energy that now threatens to rip the Earth.

War Bodies by Neal Asher, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05010-3
Implanted with secret technology, Piper was raised to be a weapon against the dictatorial Old Guard. When rebellion strikes, he must decide where his loyalties lie – with the Cyberat who made him, the Polity who want him… or the planet that needs him.

Arks Volume One Descent by R. J. Collins et al, Clicky Sprout Wife, £25, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914-34017-8.
Full colour graphic novel.  Arks is the story of Lilith and Joseph - two planetary engineers (Arks), who are booted by bacteria onto a terraformed world orbiting a distant star. To their horror, they discover that the process may have accidentally turned the entire planet into a bomb. Do they try to survive in this brutal and cruel world or do they do the unthinkable and euthanise the species…? See also below.

Artifice by Simon Chesterman, Marshall Cavendish Editions, £13.99 / Can$20.99 / US$15.99, pbk, ISBN 978-9-815-08492-4.
This is set in a near-future Singapore and takes on the challenge of what truly sentient AI might mean for humanity. This is speculative fiction in the mold of Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun or Le Tellier’s The Anomaly.  Humanity’s greatest invention could be our last.  Archie’s involvement in the artificial intelligence project known as Janus was limited to routine diagnostics. But when she discovers that she and everyone else has been deceived by their creation, it launches her on a journey that will change her life — and humanity’s future.&nbap; Set in a near-future Singapore, Artifice will resonate with anyone curious or concerned about developments in AI, as well as how such technological advances might make us rethink what it means to be human.

Arks Volume Two Descent by R. J. Collins et al, Clicky Sprout Wife, £25, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914340-16-1.
See previous item above.

Saturnalia by Stephanie Feldman, Verve Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-857-30839-9
Doors open at 7. The Sacrifice is at 8. The dress code, as usual, is black tie… In an alternate Philadelphia that's bee eroded by extreme weather and disease-carrying mosquitoes, the Saturnalia carnival is about to begin. It's been three years since Nina left the elite Saturn Club with its genteel debauchery,. But she gets a call from an old Saturn Club friend to the club's biggest party of the year. But before the night is out she'll become the custodian of a terrible secret – and the target of a mysterious hunter…

Red Side Story by Jasper Fforde, Hodder & Stoughton, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-399-73176-8.
Science fantasy?  It's the UK but not as we know it.  Civilisation has been rebuilt over 500 years since the 'something'. Society is now colour based, the strict levels of hierarchy dictated by the colours you can see. Out on the fringes of Red Sector West, Eddie Russett and Jane Grey discover that all is not fair within their cosy environment. What is the truth of their world? And is there somewhere safe – purposefully unseen but watching them – across the sea?

Annie Bot by Sierra Greer, Borough Press, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Annie is a robot, created to be the perfect girlfriend and satisfy the emotional and physical needs of her human boyfriend Doug.  She has dinner ready for him after he gets back from work. She wears the clothes he buys for her. She can even raise her libido on command and warm her body to 98.6°F before seΧ.  But as Annie grows more self-aware she begins to chafe against the borders of her life and she starts to wonder. What would life be like outside Doug’s apartment? What would life be like without Doug?  Recalling Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels and the film Ex Machina, this book probes fundamental questions about intimacy, power, abuse and the human soul.

The Descent by Paul E. Hardisty, Orenda Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-916-78803-9.
Kweku Ashworth is a child of the climate cataclysm, born on a sailboat to parents fleeing the devastation in search for a refuge in the Southern Ocean. Growing up in a world forever changed, his only connection to the events that set the world on its course to disaster were the stories his step-father, now long-dead, recorded in his manuscript, The Forcing.  But there are huge gaps in the story that his mother, still alive but old and frail, steadfastly refuses to speak of, even thirty years later. When he discovers evidence that his mother has tried to cover up the truth, he knows that it is time to find out for himself.

The Forcing by Paul E. Hardisty, Orenda Books, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914-58555-5.
In a near future, where civilisation has collapsed, a government of youth has taken power in North America. All older people deemed responsible for the cataclysmic climate emergency are relocated, but a breakaway group escapes exile to seek freedom … at devastating cost…

Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks by Frazer Hines, BBC Audio Books, £14, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-90650-9.
Audiobook. An inventive retelling of one of Doctor Who’s all-time classic TV stories from Frazer Hines, who starred as the show’s longest-running companion, Jamie McCrimmon. Young astrophysicist Zoe wishes to join Jamie and the Doctor on their travels. To give her fair warning of the dangers she may face, the Doctor uses a mind projector to share one of their most harrowing adventures… And so, Jamie is forced to relive his struggle against the evil Daleks at their most powerful and calculating. In a complex plot that drags him from modern-day London to Victorian times and finally to the Dalek world of Skaro, he endures ordeals that test his courage, strength – and his friendship with the Doctor – to the limit…  See also below.

Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks by Frazer Hines, BBC Books, £22 / Can$49.95 / US$28, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-785-94843-5
This is the hardback of the above.

Doctor Who: The Giggle by James Goss, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-92822-8.
Audiobook. Dan Starkey reads this novelisation of a brand-new adventure for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary, featuring the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate.  A sinister toyshop. The Earth erupting in violence. Shockwaves travelling through history.  With old friends powerless to help, the Doctor is drawn into a deadly duel against an old nemesis who can bend reality to his will – and change the Doctor’s life for ever…  Dan Starkey, whose roles in the BBC TV series include the Sontaran Strax, reads James Goss’s novelisation.

Doctor Who: The Giggle by James Goss, Target – BBC Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-785-94847-3.
With old friends powerless to help, the Doctor is drawn into a deadly duel against an old nemesis who can bend reality to his will – and change the Doctor’s life for ever…

Hellweg’s Keep by Justin Holley, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58881-3.
Kendra Omen is on an off-world FBI mission, hoping to assuage the grief of losing a daughter and husband, but she learns that loss is unruly and not everyone, or everything, wants you to heal. Down in the depths of Hellweg’s Keep, she tries to find thirty-seven lost miners who vanished without a trace. Soon she’ll pray they don’t find her.

The Collapsing Wave by Doug Johnstone, Orenda Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-916-78805-3.
Ava, Lennox and Heather make contact with alien Sandy and head for a profound confrontation that could mean a possible brighter future … or the decimation of the Encedalons and the entire human race….  Six months since the earth-shattering events of The Space Between Us, the revelatory hope of the aliens’ visit has turned to dust and the creatures have disappeared into the water off Scotland’s west coast. Teenager Lennox and grieving mother Heather are being held in New Broom, a makeshift US military base, the subject of experiments, alongside the Enceladons who have been captured by the authorities. Ava, who has given birth, is awaiting the jury verdict at her trial for the murder of her husband. And MI7 agent Oscar Fellowes, who has been sidelined by the US military, is beginning to think he might be on the wrong side of history. When alien Sandy makes contact, Lennox and Heather make a plan to escape with Ava. All three of them are heading for a profound confrontation between the worst of humanity and a possible brighter future, as the stakes get higher for the alien Enceladons and the entire human race

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, Gollancz, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61891-5.
When two worlds collide, how can you find a solution for everyone?  Grace Delarua, a civil servant with the Cygnus Beta government, remembers when the Sadiri arrived on their planet, a galactic hinterland for pioneers and refugees.  Dllenahkh, leader of the Sadiri settlers, remembers the cool strong blues and gentle sunlight of his home world.  He remembers the moment he was told his planet was destroyed.  They must work together to rebuild his decimated population by searching for the last surviving members of his race.

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord, Gollancz, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61894-6.
A tale of love, suffering and escape.  For years, Rafi Delarua saw his family suffer under his father’s unethical use of psionic power. Now the government has Rafi under close watch but, hating their crude attempts to analyse his brain, he escapes to Punartam, where his abilities are the norm, not the exception.  But the galaxy is changing – unrest is spreading and the cartels are plotting, making the stars a more dangerous place. There may be a solution – involving interstellar travel, galactic power and the love of a beautiful game.

Doctor Who: Escape the Daleks! by Steve Lyons, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-90523-6.
Audiobook. Katy Manning reads this original adventure by Steve Lyons for the Third Doctor, as played on TV by Jon Pertwee, and his companion Jo Grant. An Escape Room with a sting in its tail is the setting for the Doctor and Jo’s latest encounter with a familiar enemy. Three young graduates and their tutor race against time to crack the codes, open the exit door, and obtain ‘A New Life’ – at least, that’s what the publicity said. As the Doctor observes proceedings, he begins to suspect that something far more sinister lurks on the other side of the door. To make matters worse, the room appears set to eliminate anyone who doesn’t make the grade. Working against time, the Doctor and Jo form an uneasy alliance with the gamers. What terror lies waiting for them all?

The Family Experiment by John Marrs, Macmillan, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01697-6.
Some families are virtually perfect… The world’s population is soaring, creating overcrowded cities and an economic crisis. And in the UK, breaking point has arrived. A growing number of people can no longer afford to start families let alone raise them. But for those desperate to experience parenthood, there is an alternative. For a monthly subscription fee, clients can create a virtual child from scratch who they can access via the metaverse and a VR headset. To launch this new initiative, the company behind Virtual Children has created a reality tv show called The Substitute. It will follow ten couples as they raise a Virtual Child from birth to the age of eighteen, in a condensed nine-month time period. The prize: the right to keep their virtual child – or risk it all for the chance of a real baby…

Star Wars: The Living Force by John Jackson Miller, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91944-8.
In the year before The Phantom Menace, Yoda, Mace Windu, and the entire Jedi Council confront a galaxy on the brink of change.  The galaxy is changing, and along with it, the Jedi Order. More and more, the Order finds itself focused on the future of the Republic, secluded on Coruscant, where the twelve members of the Jedi Council weigh crises on a galactic scale.  As Qui-Gon Jinn challenges the Council about the increasing isolation of the Order, Mace Windu suggests a bold response: all twelve Jedi Masters will embark on a goodwill mission to help the planet, and remind the people of the galaxy that the Jedi remain as stalwart and present as they have been across the ages.  But the arrival of the Jedi leadership is not seen by all as a cause for celebration and the Jedi Masters must reckon with an unwelcome truth: that while no one thinks more about the future than the Jedi Council, nobody needs their help more than those living in the present.

Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-93838-8.
Angela Wynter reads this novelisation of the first full adventure for the Fifteenth Doctor, as played on TV by Ncuti Gatwa, and Ruby Sunday as played by Millie Gibson. For Ruby Sunday, this Christmas Eve is a birthday she’ll never forget. It’s the day she joins the Doctor on board a Goblin ship. The day she learns of dangers from beyond the universe. The day her life really begins… or, perhaps, the day it ends. The television script by Russell T. Davies.

The 14th Storm by Daniel Mooney, Legend Press, £9.99 / Can$24.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-915-64366-7.
In 2043, the climate has finally changed.  The planet is ravaged by violent storms and failing crops and much of the world is now uninhabitable. Amidst a world of hungry and desperate people, the Department of Environmental Justice have been tasked with finding and executing those who have denied climate change.  On the eve of the 14th storm, Broderick and Malley are asked to hunt the leader of a stirring rebellion, but something feels wrong. Broderick is shut off and interested only in exacting revenge. Malley is sceptical, and thinks their latest target is more politically-motivated than their employer is letting on. Their journey is upended by Fionnuala, a young and idealistic runaway who is hopeful for the future and desperate to save the target. Together, the three of them must learn to adapt to the climate and the polarized groups if they are to survive.

Lake of Souls: Leckie Anthology by Ann Leckie, Orbit, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52346-0.
Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke award-winner Ann Leckie has her first 'collection' of shorts published – so this is not an anthology, which is a volume of stories (usually thematic) by a number of authors.  Journey across the stars of the Imperial Radch universe.  Listen to the words of the Old Gods that ruled The Raven Tower.  Learn the secrets of the mysterious Lake of Souls.

Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder by Mark Morris, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-92820-4.
Audiobook. Bonnie Langford reads this novelisation of a brand-new adventure for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary, featuring the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate. A ship at the edge of space. A robot with a secret. A sinister presence. The Doctor and Donna are trapped on board a mysterious spacecraft. Fate of the crew: unknown. Fate of the universe if what’s on board gets out: terminal….  Bonnie Langford, who plays Mel in the BBC TV series, reads Mark Morris’s Novelisation.

In Universes by Em North, Hutchinson - Heinemann, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-15359-0.
Raffi is a physicist who spends their days removing stars from pictures of the night sky, dreaming about parallel universes. Here in this one, they’re falling for a queer sculptor named Britt who they almost met when they were kids – if only they’d had the courage to say hello.  What if Raffi had said hello? The question catapults Raffi across alternate universes, each an answer to the question of what their life might be like if things had happened just a little differently.  Each universe is beautiful and dangerous for Raffi. Where apocalyptic landscapes teem with bears, mothers fracture into hordes of animals, and glistening sandcastles stand tall enough to live inside. Across them all, Raffi searches for a life and a love that feels their own.

Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder by Mark Morris, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-92820-4.
Bonnie Langford reads this novelisation of a brand-new adventure for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary, featuring the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate. A ship at the edge of space. A robot with a secret. A sinister presence. The Doctor and Donna are trapped on board a mysterious spacecraft. Fate of the crew: unknown. Fate of the universe if what’s on board gets out: terminal. The episodes original script was by Russell T Davies.

Doctor Who: River of Death by John Peel, BBC Audiobooks, £11, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-91163-3.
Audiobook. Nicola Bryant, who played Peri Brown, companion to the fifth and sixth Doctors, reads John Peel's brand-new original adventure, a stirring historical tale of human endeavour and American pioneers featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri. A visit to the Grand Canyon begins with disaster for the Doctor and Peri, when the TARDIS plunges into a ravine. The travellers' only hope is to descend to the valley on foot and then track the course of the Colorado river.

The Mars House by Natasha Pulley, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61854-0.
A queer Science Fiction novel about a refugee and a xenophobic politician who agree to a fake marriage to save their reputations.  January, once a principal in London’s Royal Ballet, has become a refugee on Mars. January is now an Earthstronger – a person whose body is not adjusted to Mars’s lower gravity and so poses a danger to its natives. January’s life is dictated by this, and now xenophobic politician Aubrey Gale is running on a platform that would make it all worse.  When Gale chooses January for an on-the-spot press junket interview that goes horribly awry, Gale proposes a solution – a political marriage.

Machine Vendetta by Alastair Reynolds, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-0-575-09081-1.
Panoply is a small, efficient police force, dedicated to maintaining the rule of democracy among the 10,000 disparate city states orbiting the planet Yellowstone.  Ingvar Tench was one of Panoply’s most experienced operatives. So why did she walk alone and virtually unarmed into a habitat with a vicious grudge against her organisation?  Police investigator Dreyfus must pick up the investigation, which will unearth both unpleasant answers and secrets from his own past…

Lake of Darkness by Adam Roberts, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61768-0.
Billed by the publisher as Event Horizon meets Brave New World.  Good is a construct. Evil is a virus.  The starship Sa Niro and the starship SB Oubliette were in orbit around a black hole one afternoon… by the end of the day, the crews of both starships were dead, victims of a single killer, Captain Alpha Raine.  But something inexplicable has been happening to Raine and whatever it is seems to be spreading. It becomes increasingly undeniable that there’s something inside that black hole… and it’s found a way out…

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth, Hodderscape, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-33102-8.
What's right is right… Sonya knows this slogan and has lived by it all her life. For decades everyone in the Seattle Portland megapolis lived under it as well as the constant surveillance in the form on Insight, an ocular implant that tracks every word and action, rewarding or punishing by a rigid moral code set forth by the Delegation… Then there was a revolution. The Delegation fell. Its leaders locked in the Aperture prison on the outskirts of the city…. Sonya, a former poster girl for the Delegation is imprisoned but now after a decade someone comes to visit her to give her the offer of a mission…

Doctor Who: The Star Beast by Gary Russell, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-92818-1.
Audiobook. Jacqueline King reads this brand new adventure for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary, based on a script by Russell T. Davies and featuring the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, as played on TV by David Tennant and Catherine Tate.  Landing on Earth, the Doctor finds a stranded alien in need of protection – and is dragged headlong into the life of his old friend Donna Noble, knowing that if she ever remembers their time together, she will die…  Jacqueline King, who plays Sylvia Noble in the BBC TV series, reads Gary Russell’s novelisation.

Doctor Who: The Star Beast by Gary Russell, Target – BBC Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-785-94845-9.
Landing on Earth, the Doctor finds a stranded alien in need of protection – and is dragged headlong into the life of his old friend Donna Noble, knowing that if she ever remembers their time together, she will die…

The Sunlit Man by Brandon Sanderson, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61347-7.
Years ago, he had comrades and a cause to believe in, now the man known as Nomad knows only a life on the run.  Forced to hop between worlds whenever the Night Brigade gets close, Nomad lands on a planet and is caught in the struggle between a tyrant and rebels trying to escape being turned into mindless slaves – all under the threat of a sunrise that will melt stones.  Can he escape before his mind or body pay the ultimate price?

Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen by Eric Saward, BBC Audiobooks, £20, CD, ISBN 978-1-529-90525-0.
Audiobook. David Banks, best known for his portrayal of the Cyber-Leader, reads this novelisation featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri. What links a diamond raid in 20th Century London, a secret base in the heart of the city's sewer system, a cold and desolate planet light years from Earth, and a daring plan to alter the entire course of interplanetary history? The Doctor's old enemy, Lytton, has allied himself with the Cybermen. Their scheme, if successful, could bring the human race to its knees. For the Cybermen have journeyed back in time to prevent the destruction of their home world. And for Mondas to survive, the Earth must die...

Jubilee by Stephen K. Stanford, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58884-4.
Who would not enjoy living on Jubilee, that artificial haven outside of our Universe? It is a lawless, artificial world within its own parallel universe, a seething cesspool of vice ruled by an eccentric A.I. Detectives Col and Danee are sent on a hastily organised mission to recover the body of a leading politician. But the corpse has been switched…!  Billed by the publisher as being in the vein of Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat.

Idolatry by Aditya Sudarshan, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58851-6.
Mumbai, India. In the decaying near future. A new technology for the engineering of customized gods is erupting in dangerous and mind-altering ways. One man, the so-called Happy Maker, wants to ride the wave all the way to godhood. What will it take for anyone to save their sanity? But is sanity even worth saving?

Alien Clay by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01374-6
When xeno-biologist Arton Daghdev is exiled to an alien planet, he journeys through a dangerous and hostile wilderness. Yet on his expedition, he uncovers lost alien ruins – and the mysterious builders who abandoned them.  The planet of Kiln is where the tyrannical Mandate keeps its prison colony, and for inmates the journey there is always a one-way trip. One such prisoner is Professor Arton Daghdev, xeno-ecologist and political dissident. Soon after arrival he discovers that Kiln has a secret. Humanity is not the first intelligent life to set foot there.  In the midst a ravenous, chaotic ecosystem are the ruins of a civilisation, but who were the vanished builders and where did they go? If he can survive both the harsh rule of the camp commandant and the alien horrors of the world around him, then Arton has a chance at making a discovery that might just transform not only Kiln but distant Earth as well.

Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05200-8
The conclusion to 'The Final Architecture' trilogy.

The Best of World SF 03 by Lavie Tidhar, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN not provided
In this third instalment, the reader will discover alien artists, rioting dinosaurs, shape-shifting rabbits, heartbreak-harvesting cafes and one robot on a quest for meaning. Readers will be transported to the stars and back down to Earth and sideways, with the order of the world turned upside down. Authors come from Austria, Bulgaria, China, Finland, Ghana, Greece, India, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore and South Africa.

Of Heroes, Homes and Honey: Coronam Book III by Johnny Worthen, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58798-4.
Where the enemy ends and dissatisfaction begins blurs in the lines of battle. The many stir against the few, led forward by the drone of alien bees, and the words of a child on far away Tirgwenin. The powerful know war and time is against the Family. Genocide approaches. Heroes will fall, others rise and the homes of humanity shall be remade.

One of Our Kind by Nicola Yoon, Trapeze, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-398-71540-0.
Billed by the publisher as The Stepford Wives meets Get Out in this thriller. When Jasmyn and her family move to the predominantly Black town of Liberty, California, she expects to find liberals and social justice activists striving for racial equality. What she discovers is a terrible secret that threatens to destroy her world in ways she could never have imagined. Because it transpires that Liberty is the staging ground for a group of Black people recruiting others to undergo a process to become white, forgetting their past lives and identities to escape the trauma of their current existence…


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Forthcoming Fantasy Books


The Snow Ghost and Other Tales Classic Japanese Ghost Stories edited by Anonymous, Vintage Classics, £16.99 / Can$35.99 / US$29.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-784-87872-6.
Enter the haunted world of Ancient Japan in this spine-tingling collection of ghostly tales told andretold across the centuries.  From Goblin infested caves and haunted Tombs, to vengeful spirits and strange, sinister happenings, Ancient Japan was a country and culture that lived with between realms: the world of everyday and the world of supernatural.  It was a time and place where men could be brought down by karmic forces or lured into deadly danger by ghostly apparitions, and where the land held sorrowful secrets or stories that long-awaited an opportunity to reveal them and seek reparation.  The Snow Ghost and Other Tales brings together some of the best and scariest tales that endured across centuries of folk lore in one new beautiful hardback collection. Finally committed to writing during the turn of the twentieth century by a unique set of folklorists, the ghost stories presented in this new anthology will transport readers to a time of magic and mystery, and let them relish in the spine-tingling traditions of Japanese culture largely lost now to modernity.

Rift by Seth C. Adams, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58878-3
Estranged husband. Grieving father. A doorway through which the dead – or something else entirely – speak. How far would you go to see the ones you’ve lost, just one more time? Would you step through the rift? And, what if something else stepped out?

The Flaw in the Crystal And Other Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair edited by Mike Ashley, British Library Publishing, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-712-35477-6.
At that moment, in a flash that came like a shifting of her eyes, the world she looked at suffered a change... It was the same world, flat field for flat field and hill for hill; but radiant, vibrant, and, as it were, infinitely transparent. Tales of eternal damnation, love, sexuality, death and supernatural talents form the core of May Sinclair’s essential and groundbreaking oeuvre. Literary and still thrilling today, her stories explore the strangeness at the heart of human experience and relationships, where the mundane and the everyday meets lurking, otherworldly weirdness. Including the contents of the classic collections Uncanny Stories (1923) and The Intercessor and Other Stories (1931), this new volume also features two rare strange tales from a third, lesser-known book.

Algernon Blackwood Horror Stories by Algernon Blackwood, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17709-9.
Blackwood, alongside M.R. James, is one of the pillars of the modern horror story. With an eye for a chilling detail he leaves the reader always casting nervously behind. Blackwood wrote story after story of haunted places, and long dark shadows, many of which feature in this stunning new collection, including ‘A Haunted Island’, ‘The Willows’ and more.

Spirits & Ghouls Short Stories edited by Ahmed Al-Rawi, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17586-6.
New stories from open submissions, by both emerging and established writers, mingle with the spirits of an older age, stretching back from the Victorian obsessions of M. R. James, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Amelia Edwards, to the tales of the Arabian nights.

The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown, Bantam, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-787-63724-5.
New York bookseller Cassie Andrews is not sure what she's doing with her life. She lives quietly, sharing an apartment with her best friend, Izzy. Then a favourite customer gives her an old book. Full of strange writing and mysterious drawings, at the very front there is a handwritten message: This is the Book of Doors. Hold it in your hand, and any door is every door.  Cassie is about to discover that the Book of Doors is a special book - a magic book. A book that bestows extraordinary abilities on whoever possesses it. And she is about to learn that there are other magic books out there that can also do wondrous - or dreadful and terrifying - things.  Because where there is magic there is power and there are those who will stop at nothing to possess it.

The Nameless by Ramsey Campbell, Flame Tree Press, £9.95 / Can$19.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58767-0.
Barbara Waugh’s daughter Angela is kidnapped and a disfigured body turns up. Grieving, Barbara focuses on her work. Years later, she receives a phone call from Angela. Barbara’s investigations reveal that a brainwashing cult was responsible for the abduction. The more she learns, the less she can trust. Will she succumb to a murderous evil?

Simul by Andrew Caldecott, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-41548-3.
‘Remember Simul’ – the last words of a dying man, and the key to mankind’s survival.  Words which will take Morag, Fogg and their friends on a wild ride where mythical beasts, legendary monster-hunters and the forces of a corrupt establishment lie in wait… while the weather-watchers look on and bide their time.  It’s a race against extinction too… for nature herself is bent on vengeance.

Those Who Dwell in Mordenhyrst Hall by Catherine Cavendish, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58821-9.
Evil runs deep at Mordenhyrst Hall. But it is rooted far deeper than the foundations of the ancestral home. Its inhabitants and the entire village are infested with a legacy so evil, it transcends the laws of nature. In a world where nothing is as it appears to be, Grace and Coralie must seek out and find the truth – whatever the cost.

The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castell, Jo Fletcher Books, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42279-5.
Click on the title link for a standalone review.  Billed by the publisher as Brandon Sanderson meets Deadpool.  My name is Cade Ombra, and I used to be far more noble – until my employers changed that. Now I'm a war mage on the run – violent, angry, and forming a group to kill the seven deadliest mages on the continent. What could go wrong?

Play of Shadows by Sebastien de Castell, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-787-47146-7.
Damelas Chademantaigne picked a poor night to fleea judicial duel.  He has precious little hope of escaping the wrath of the Vixen, the most feared duellist in the entire city, until he stumbles through the stage doors of the magnificent Operato Belleza and tricks his way into the company of actors. An archaic law provides a temporary respite from his troubles - until one night a ghostly voice in his head causes Damelas to fumble his lines, inadvertently blurting out a dreadful truth: the city’s most legendary hero may actually be a traitor and a brutal murderer.  With only the help of his boisterous and lusty friend Bereto, a beautiful assassin whose target may well be Damelas himself, and a company of misfit actors who’d just as soon see him dead, this failed grandson of two Greatcoats must somehow find within himself the courage to dig up long-buried truths before a ruthless band of bravos known as the Iron Orchids come for his head.  Oh, and there’s still that matter of the Vixen waiting to duel him…

Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan, Orbit, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52239-5.
Welcome to Tiankawi - shining pearl of human civilization and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Orat least, that's how it first appears. But in the semi-flooded city, humans are, quite literally, on top: peering down from shining towers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk - sirens, sea witches, kelpies and kappas -who live in the polluted waters below.  For half-siren Mira, promotion to captain of the border guard means an opportunity to help her downtrodden people. But if earning the trust and respect of her human colleagues wasn't hard enough, everything Mira has worked towards is put in jeopardy when Nami, a know-it-all water dragon - fathomfolk royalty - is exiled to the city. When extremists sabotage the annual boat race, violence erupts, as does the clampdown on fathomfolk rights. Both Nami and Mira must decide if the cost of change is worth paying, or if Tiankawi should be left to drown.

Czech Folktales edited by Rajendra Chitnis, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17781-5.
This new collection will acquaint you with classic tales such as ‘The Three Roses’ and ‘The Witch and the Horseshoes’. The lively stories of the Czech people are parables and moral fables – rich with satire they cling to the hope that all will come well in the end, that justice will be well served by truth.

The Crimson Moth by Kristen Ciccarelli, Magpie, £14.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
In the aftermath of a devastating revolution, witches have been diminished from powerful rulers to outcasts ruthlessly hunted due to their waning magic, and Rune must hide what she is.  Spending her days pretending to be nothing more than a vapid young socialite, Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. When a rescue goes wrong, she decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent and gain the intel she desperately needs by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe – a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution.  Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty is someone who feels like his perfect match.  Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?

Elusive by Genevieve Cogman, Tor, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-08377-4
Revolutionary France is full of blood and bite as vampires plot for power. Eleanor, once a lowly English maid, is now a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, known for their daring deeds and rescuing aristocratic vampires from the guillotine.  This time, Eleanor and the League are investigating the disappearance of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, the notorious French statesman and diplomat. But they soon uncover two vampire parties feuding for power and learn Talleyrand’s disappearance is part of a bigger, more dangerous scheme that will throw France into bloody chaos.

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole, Atom, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-349-12544-2.
Faron Vincent can channel the power of the gods. Five years ago, she used her divine magic to liberate her island from its enemies, the dragon-riding Langley Empire. But now, at seventeen, Faron is all powered up with no wars to fight. She's a legend to her people and a nuisance to her neighbours.  When she's forced to attend an international peace summit, Faron expects that she will perform tricks like a trained pet and then go home. She doesn't expect her older sister, Elara, forming an unprecedented bond with an enemy dragon-or the gods claiming the only way to break that bond is to kill her sister.  As Faron's desperation to find another solution takes her down a dark path, and Elara discovers the shocking secrets at the heart of the Langley Empire, both must make difficult choices that will shape each other's lives,as well as the fate of their world.

Indian Ghost Stories edited by Mithuraaj Dhusiya, Flame Tree 451, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17594-1.
Featuring a wonderful range of ghost tales from South Asia, some extending back to early cultures of the Indus river. Stories include Life’s Secret, The Story of Prince Sobur, The Ghost-Brahman, The Origin of Rubies, The Match-Making Jackal, The Boy With the Moon on His Forehead, The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Being Bagged, The Field of Bones.

Faebound by Saara El-Arifi, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Influenced by West African lore, Faebound takes place in a world where Humans and Fae are long dead, survived only by the Elves that now rule and fight over the remaining lands. It tells the story of Yeeran Teila, a Colonel who becomes exiled, and her sister Lettle, a seer. A series of dramatic events leads to them being captured by a hidden tribe of Fae from which they have to escape if they are to warn their people of the Fae threat.

The Weavers of Alamaxa by Hadeer Elsbai, Orbit, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52050-6.
A feminist fantasy set in an Egyptian-inspired world.

Shield Maiden by Sharon Emmerichs, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN not provided
Fryda has grown up hearing tales of her uncle, King Beowulf, and his spectacular defeat of the monstrous Grendel. Her one desire is to become a shield maiden, but a terrible accident during her childhood has thwarted this dream. Yet still, Fryda feels an uncontrollable inner power. A power that grows as foreign kings and chieftains descend upon her home to celebrate her uncle, and there is talk of a political marriage for Fryda, whose heart already belongs to someone else. At the same time Fryda’s untamed power is also awakening a fearsome dragon from her long, cursed sleep…

Blackheart Ghosts by Laure Eve, Jo Fletcher Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-41181-2.
Billed by the publisher as Bladerunner meets Camelot.  Retired King's Champion Garad Gaheris may have uncovered a conspiracy amongst London’s elite, as the city’s godchildren, born with illegal magical abilities, have had enough of persecution and are willing to do whatever it takes to assure their ascension.

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett, Orbit, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51915-9.
Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore, and has catalogued many secrets of the Hidden Folk in her encyclopaedia with her infuriatingly charming fellow scholar, Wendell Bamble by, by her side.  But Bambleby is more than just a brilliant and unbearably handsome scholar. He's an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother, in search of a door back to his realm.  By lucky happenstance, Emily's new project, a map of the realms of faerie, will take them on an adventure tothe picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambleby's realm, and the keyto freeing him from his family's dark plans.  But with new friendships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors, and of her own heart.

Haunted House Stories edited by Hester Fox, Flame Tree 451, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17593-4.
Gothic mansions, haunted estates, houses over-run by phantoms: this new collection of classic tales will keep you entertained in the long watches of the night, with neck-tingling tales from E.F. Benson, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, Edith Wharton and more.

Lost Atlantis Short Stories edited by Jennifer Fuller, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17585-9.
Packed with intriguing stories from new submissions and ancient visionaries. Atlantis began with Plato but the idea of a perfect society lost to the world haunted the speculative mind for over 2000 years, with the tales of Francis Bacon, the Utopian explorations of Thomas More, Samuel Butler and in modern times, TV series and short stories galore.

The Queen of the Dawn edited by Allison Galbraith & J. K. Jackson, Penguin, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94589-6.
Cassia Greythorne has survived battles with gods and monsters and the crown is in her grasp. But the power of the dark god Malaphar grows ever stronger, threatening the future of their world before her reign has even begun.  Still there is hope: a way to banish him forever has been revealed. It will take Casia and her friends into a strange new realm, where they must face old enemies and race to decipher a bewildering ancient magic.  But time is short. Chaos spreads throughout the empires and the bonds between allies begin to fray. With every bloody battle, the cost of saving their world becomes clearer. Dawn is coming. But will they survive to see the new day?

Scottish Folk & Fairy Tales edited by Allison Galbraith & J. K. Jackson, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17590-3.
From the clash of swords between knights and clan leaders to the exploits of brownies, bogles and the enchanting ‘fair folk’, this collection of tales captures the essence of Scotland’s ancient and vibrant mythic tradition – including tales and characters from a shared heritage with Ireland, alongside a variety of uniquely Scottish stories.

An Education In Malice by S. T. Gibson, Orbit, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51932-6.
Deep in the forgotten hills of Massachusetts stands Saint Perpetua's College. Isolated and ancient, it is not a place for timid girls. Here, secrets are currency, ambition is lifeblood, and strange ceremonies welcome students into the fold.  On her first day of class, Laura Sheridan is thrust into an intense academic rivalry with the beautiful and enigmatic Carmilla. Together, they are drawn into the confidence of their demanding poetry professor, De Lafontaine, who holds her own dark obsession with Carmilla.  But as their rivalry blossoms into something far more delicious, Laura must confront her own strange hungers. Tangled in a sinister game of politics, bloodthirsty professors and dark magic, Laura and Carmilla must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in their ruthless pursuit of knowledge.

A Dawn Of Onyx by Kate Golden, Jo Fletcher Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43404-0.
To save her brother, Arwen promises her freedom and her healing magic to the vicious Onyx King. She must navigate infuriating but charming prisoners, dark betrayals and her own powers to escape with her life… and hopefully her heart.

A Promise of Peridot by Kate Golden, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43406-4.
Arwen Valondale is sailing for the mysterious Kingdom of Citrine after the battle of Siren’s Bay. Reeling from shocking revelations and her newfound powers, Arwen directs all of her pain and rage toward the man who betrayed her: King Kane Ravenwood.  Kane’s presence is unavoidable as he travels with Arwen and her friends to seek the Blade of the Sun, a legendary weapon inextricably tied to her fate and the future of the realm. Even an uneasy truce proves difficult as Arwen fights against her unresolved feelings for Kane, who is willing to become darkness itself to protect her.  As Arwen faces creatures, foes, and magic beyond her wildest imaginings, she must discover the secrets of her past to defeat the monstrous Fae King Lazarus. But finding the light within might mean the death of her and everyone she loves.

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-399-62313-1.
Translated from Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. A new novel from the International Booker Prize-winning author of Time Shelter (2022). In a radical reimagining of the Minotaur myth, a narrator named Georgi constructs the story of his life like a labyrinth, meandering through the past to find the child at the centre of it all. Spanning from antiquity to the Anthropocene, he catalogues curious instances of abandonment; recounts a turbulent boyhood in 1970s Bulgaria; and even has a bizarre run-in with an eccentric flâneur named Gaustine.

The Gauntlet and the Broken Chain by Ian Green, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN not provided
Final book in the Rotstorm trilogy, a demon-dark fantasy that opens in a world wracked by the aftermath of an ancient conflict. Climate catastrophe, animist gods and a legion of monsters. And one woman against them all. The land is gripped in a claw winter. The rotstorm has breached the walls of Undal City. The children of the storm have claimed the Northern Marches. The deathless mage has been unchained. The dead god hunts again. And Floré will raise her gauntlets against them all.

Ancient Ghost Stories. edited by Camilla Grudova, Flame Tree 451, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17595-8.
The stories of ghosts here can be found in the retold literature of ancient peoples, including ‘Khonsemhab and the Ghost’ from Ancient Egypt, ‘Philinnion and Machates’ from Ancient Rome, spirits featured in Homer’s Odyssey, and tales of Babylonian demons and the netherworld.

The Burning Land by David Hair, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42286-3.
Billed by the publisher as Brandon Sanderson meets Joe Abercrombie.  The Falcons are knights of the Vestal Order, pledged to use their powers to protect the Empire of Talmont from the cruel Vyr and the carnage they unleash.  However, when they learn that the Empire’s worst enemy may be the Vestal Order itself, they go rogue, embarking on a desperate quest for answers.  Can the Falcons evade capture and discover the truth before time runs out?

Slay by Laurell K. Hamilton, Headline, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-40642-5.
I was marrying a vampire. To them I might as well be marrying a demon straight out of hell. If they ever met a demon they'd understand the difference….

Medea by Rosie Hewlett, Transworld, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-787-63729-0.
A re-telling of the epic Jason and the Golden Fleece by an author who has a BA degree in Classical Literature and Civilisation.  Medea longs for a different life. Since childhood, she has been separated from her sister, shunned by her mother, and persecuted and tormented by her brother and father. All because of a unique and dangerous gift: witchcraft.  But when a dashing young hero, Jason, arrives to claim the famed Golden Fleece that her father protects, Medea sees her opportunity to escape. Her offer to help Jason overcome the trials set by her father sets in motion a journey that will test every ounce of her strength, magic and loyalty; a journey that will see her battle monsters, dethrone kings and fall in love. But when faced with the ultimate betrayal, Medea is driven to an act of desperation so brutal it rips apart the lives of everyone involved...  The authors self-published debut, Medusa, won the Rubery Book of the Year award in 2021.

Silent Key by Laurel Hightower, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58854-7
After losing her husband under mysterious circumstances, former detective Cam Ambrose must learn how to keep her young daughter safe from a world of the supernatural she never knew existed. She sets out to solve a decades-old mystery entangling the machinations of an obsessed killer, her husband’s mistress, and a series of deadly hauntings.

Song of the Huntress by Lucy Holland, Macmillan, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-07740-7.
Two women walk on a knife-edge as war looms in ancient Britain. One is immortal and cursed. The other is a mortal warrior, doomed to a loveless marriage. But they must work together as dangers mount, or they'll both be as lost as the realms they call home.  Britain, 60AD. Hoping to save her lover, land and her people from the Romans, Herla makes a desperate pact with the king of the Otherworld. But years pass unheeded in his realm, and she escapes to find everyone she loved long dead. Cursed to wield his blade, she becomes Lord of the Hunt. And for centuries, she rides, reaping wanderers’ souls. Until the night she meets a woman on a bloody battlefield – a Saxon queen with ice-blue eyes. Queen Aethelburg of Wessex is a proven fighter. But when she leads her forces to disaster in battle, her husband’s court turns against her. Yet King Ine needs Aethel more than ever: the dead kings of Wessex are waking, and his own brother seeks to usurp him. Ine’s only hope is to master the magic that’s lain dormant in his bloodline since ancient days…

William Hope Hodgson Horror Stories by William Hope Hodgson, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17796-9.
Hodgson, in the company of Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen, Arthur Conan Doyle and many other distinguished authors of the late Victorian era, created the foundations of the modern short story, the weird, the dark and the delightful, the supernatural, the fantastic and the imaginative.

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle by T. L. Huchu, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09774-0
Ghostalker and magician-in-training Ropa Moyo is stoked to be attending an important magical convention. But her sleuthing skills will be put to the test when a magician is murdered.  Suddenly, everyone is a suspect – and someone has betrayed their group.

Serbian Folktales edited by Jake Jackson, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17783-9.
This collection gathers together classic tales of the proud, poetic South Slavs, such as ‘He Who Asks Little Receives Much’, ‘The Maiden Wiser Than the Tsar, ‘The Biter Bit’, ‘Good Deeds Never Perish’ ‘The Three Suitors’ and ‘The Ram With the Golden Fleece’.

Bittershore by V. V. James, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61726-0.
The only thing stronger than a witch’s promise is a mother’s vengeance… Sarah loved and trusted no one in her close-knit coven more than her oldest friend, Abigail. Then Abigail’s son was found dead at a house party and Sarah’s daughter, Harper, was accused of murdering him. Sarah and Harper lost everything but their lives.  This is a fearless portrait of the hatred and hysteria that can corrode a community consumed by bigotry.

A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen, Del Rey, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91644-7.
A shield maiden blessed by the gods battles to unite a nation under a power-hungry king – while also fighting her growing desire for his fiery son – in this Norse-inspired fantasy romance from the bestselling author of the TikTok sensation 'The Bridge Kingdom' series.  Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya spends her days gutting fish, but dreams of becoming a warrior. And of putting an axe in her boorish husband’s back.  Freya’s dreams abruptly become reality when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl, landing her in a fight to the death against his son. To survive, Freya is forced to reveal her deepest secret: she possesses a drop of a goddess’s blood, which gives her magic capable of repelling any attack. A magic that was foretold would unite the fractured nation of Skaland beneath a king – the one who controls the shield maiden’s fate.

The Principle of Moments by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-473-23420-8.
Biled as Star Wars meets Doctor Who in an epic adventure where Black protagonists dismantle empires, travel through time and save worlds.  Asha knows she’s just another cog in the vast machine of the Thracin Empire. When she discovers she has a sister in the bowels of the imperial prison, she risks everything.  Obi knows he has to cure the sickness he caught when he split his soul. When his path tangles with Asha’s, they realise they are pawns in a prophecy, destined to thwart an interdimensional apocalypse.

Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
The godkiller is dying. Having plunged into the sea’s depths to save Elo, Inara and Skedi from the fire god, her only chance of survival is to put her life in the hands of yet another god: Osidisen, god of the sea, for whom she is named.  But no godkiller wants to be at the mercy of a god, and if she lives it will be to continue her quest to destroy all she comes across.  Meanwhile, Elo searches for people to take up his call of rebellion and join his cause to destroy the man he once called friend and still calls king.  A king whom once devoted himself to destroying all gods throughout the land, but has now entered into an unholy pact with the most dangerous of them all.  And where once his heart beat, a god now burns.

The Third Love by Hiromi Kawakami, Granta, £14.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-783-78887-3.
Translated from the Japanese by Ted Goossen. A novel that moves between Japan past and present to tell a time-bending story about desire and destiny. Having married her childhood sweetheart, Riko now finds herself trapped in a relationship that has been soured by infidelity. One day, she runs into her old friend Mr Takaoka, who offers an unusual escape: he teaches her the trick of living inside her dreams – dreams that transport her back through history and towards her future love.

The Heart of Winter by Shona Kinsella, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58636-9
When Brigit is faced with a forced marriage to Aengus, god of Summer, she flees into the Highlands, searching for the Cailleach, Queen of Winter. Determined to make her own way, she seeks tutelage from the Queen. Caught between two gods, she’ll be tested to her limits and will form unlikely friendships until she finds her true place in the world.

Heartsong by T. J. Klune, Tor, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-00221-4
Set in the dreamy backwoods of Oregon, Heartsong is a queer, paranormal romance of love and pack loyalty, and is the third book in the Green Creek series.  All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough – until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.  Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes – the Alpha of all – and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home.  But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound – but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?  More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett – the wolf who may be his mate. The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.

In the Lives of Puppets by T. J. Klune, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-08804-5
A heart-warming, queer retelling of the Pinocchio story, In the Lives of Puppets is a standalone fantasy adventure.

Hades by Mark Knowles, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided
The third and final instalment in the 'Blades of Bronze' trilogy, a unique re-telling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts by a Cambridge Classicist who happens to be an extremely gifted storyteller. Decades after the voyage of the fabled Argo, the last remaining Argonauts are scattered to the corners of the Greek world, old men living on past glories. The great victory at Troy is a memory. The gods have abandoned Greece. The Age of Heroes is dead. The Sea People are coming...Only one young man can rise up, channel the spirit of the Argonauts, and inspire and renew the heroism of old: Xandros, callow grandson of the great Jason. His mission is a desperate one, and it may yet be too late.

Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff, Harper Voyager, £22, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Gabriel de Leon has saved the Holy Grail from death, but his chance to end the endless night is lost.  After turning his back on his silversaint brothers once and for all, Gabriel and the Grail set out to learn the truth of how Daysdeath might finally be undone.  But the last silversaint faces peril, within and without. Pursued by children of the Forever King, drawn into wars and webs centuries in the weaving, and ravaged by his own rising bloodlust, Gabriel may not survive to see the truth of the Grail revealed.  A truth that may be too awful for any to imagine.

The Silverblood Promise by James Logan, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43281-7.
Lukan Gardova is a cardsharp, academy dropout, and the disgraced heir to an ancient noble house.  However, when Lukan discovers that his estranged father has been murdered, he finds fresh purpose, vowing to unravel the mystery behind his father’s death.  His search for answers leads him to Saphrona, fabled city of merchant princes, where everything has a price – but the price of truth is the deadliest of all.

Spitting Gold by Carmella Lowkis, Transworld, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-857-52946-6.
This is a genre adjacent offering.  This is set in 19th century Paris, following two con-artist sisters who pose as gifted mediums to pull off one last job…  Paris, 1866. When Baroness Sylvie Devereux receives a house-call from Charlotte Mothe, the sister she disowned, she fears her shady past as a spirit medium has caught up with her. But with their father ill and Charlotte unable to pay his bills, Sylvie is persuaded into one last con.  Their marks are the de Jacquinots: dysfunctional aristocrats who believe they are haunted by their great aunt, brutally murdered during the French Revolution.  Sylvie and Charlotte will need to deploy every trick to terrify the family out of their gold – until they experience inexplicable horrors themselves.  The sisters start to question if they really are at the mercy of a vengeful spirit. And what other deep, dark secrets threaten to come to light...?

Gwain and the Green Night by Alan Lupack, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17783-5.
Gawain is a treasure of medieval literature, brought to life in the 2021 movie Green Knight starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton. An Arthurian legend of note it revels in its Celtic origins, playing with the mysteries of chivalric romance, the warrior hero and the deeper truths of eternal life.

Relight My Fire by C. K. McDonnell, Transworld, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-857-50535-4.
A new standalone novel in the 'The Stranger Times' series, that is Manchester-set revolving around the investigations of The Stranger Times newspaper into the weird and the supernatural!  Stella is enjoying life as an almost student, or at least she is until a man falls from the sky right in front of her, leaving a big old hole in the pavement for Manchester Council to fill. The obvious question of how he ended up in the sky in the first place has no obvious answers, which is where The Stranger Times come in.  But this isn't just the hunt for another story. Dark powers think Stella might have been involved and the only way she and the team can prove her innocence is to find out what the hell is really going on. And what have dodgy gear, disturbed graves and a decommissioned rock star got to do with all this?

Arthur Machen Horror Stories by Arthur Machen, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17795-2.
Alongside M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and Bram Stoker, Arthur Machen wrote powerful, chilling and thought-provokling stories. His supernatural tales draw their power from the long nights and dark lanes of the Welsh countryside that raised him surrounded as he was by the remains of Roman forts and Iron Age archaeology.

House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-408-88444-7.
The third book in the 'Crescent City' series. Bryce Quinlan is stranded in a strange new world. She’s going to need all her wits about her to get home again and return to everything she loves. But that’s no easy feat when she has no idea who to trust. Meanwhile, Hunt Athalar is back in the Asteri’s dungeons. Stripped of his freedom and the happiness he’d fought so hard for, he’s without a clue as to Bryce’s fate. Hunt is desperate to help his Mate, but until he can escape the Asteri’s chains, his hands are quite literally tied. As Midgard is brought to the brink of collapse, the fate of the world rests on the hope of rebellion. But the fight for survival, freedom and love may cost everything Bryce and Hunt have.

Celtic Weird: Tales of Wicked Folklore and Dark Mythology by Johnny Mains, British Library Publishing, £15.99 / Can$33.99 / US$24.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-712-35432-5.
In this volume, Johnny Mains dives into the archives to unearth a hoard of twenty-one enthralling tales imbued with elements of Celtic folklore, ranging from the 1820s to the 1980s and including three weird lost gems translated from Gaelic.  From the shorelines, hills and towns of ancient lands, tales of twisted creatures, sins against nature and pagan revenants have been passed down from generation to generation. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, folklore from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man inspired a new strain of strange short stories, penned by writers of the weird and fantastic including masters of the form such as Arthur Machen, Edith Wharton and Robert Aickman.

The Murmurs by Michael J. Malone, Orenda Books, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914-58582-1.
A young woman starts experiencing terrifying premonitions of people dying, as it becomes clear that a family curse known only as The Murmurs has begun, and a long-forgotten crime is about to be unearthed…  On the first morning of her new job at Heartfield House, a care home for the elderly, Annie Jackson wakens from a terrifying dream. And when she arrives at the home, she knows that the first old man she meets is going to die.  How she knows this is a terrifying mystery, but it is the start of horrifying premonitions.

The Island of Mists and Miracles by Victoria Mas, Transworld, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-857-52936-7.
In 1830 a young novice called Catherine Labouré was granted a vision of the Virgin Mary. Nearly 200 years later, Sister Anne is also waiting for a sign. Which is why she accepts a mission to go to a tiny community on an island just off the coast of Brittany. Her only companion there is a sceptical, chain-smoking older nun who just wants to be left in peace.   On the island she meets Hugo, the son of a devout family who prefers to look for the meaning of life amid the stars; Madenn, a grandmother whose daughter was killed in a crash and who finds meaning in routine; Isaac, Madenn's grandson, an otherworldly teenager who doesn't fit in but who befriends Hugo, and Julia, a sickly child. If anyone needs a miracle, it is her.  But it is not Sister Anne who receives a vision. Instead it is Isaac who is found on a promontory, transfixed, unable to utter more than the words 'I see'. The event soon becomes headline news and the world descends on the small island, opening old wounds and unleashing a chain of events none of them could have foreseen.

Shadows on the Water Short Stories edited by Steve Mentz, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17778-5.
The mysteries of the rivers, the secrets of the lochs, the whispers across the vast stretches of the ocean, there are so many stories from the beginnings of civilisation, through myth and folklore, to the dark fantasies and ghostly tales of the modern storyteller. An entertaining, chilling collection of supernatural tales.

They Stalk the Night by Brian Moreland, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58857-8
In the Minnesota wilderness, the inhabitants of a remote town hold dark secrets. Retired police chief Sam Larsen knows what abomination stalks the forbidden woods atop Buckhead Hill. His worst nightmare becomes real when a pipeline company destroys a sacred barrier, unleashing an ancient enemy. Now, evil returns to feed again.

Darkness Beckons edited by Mark Morris, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58729-8
The fourth volume in the ABC of Horror, a non-themed series of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer, and edited by Mark Morris.

One Eye Opened in That Other Place by Christi Nogle, Flame Tree Press, £9.95 / Can$19.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58836-3.
Christi Nogle’s best weird and fantastical stories are collected here, each focusing on liminal spaces and the borders between places and states of mind. Within its pages you’ll travel across thresholds, and arrive at other times and places that are by turns disquieting, terrifying, and wonderful. Make sure to bring your special glasses!

African Ghost Short Stories edited by Nuzo Onoh, Divine Che, Neba, & Chinelo Onwualu, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17797-6.
A deluxe edition of new writing and tales rooted in ancient culture, this volume explores the deep-seated supernatural element in African storytelling: from the spirits and ancestors of folklore to the vibrantly modern ghosts of today’s horror. New and contemporary stories from African voices complement poignant folktales from around the continent.

Moonstone by Laura Purcell, Magpie, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Young adult novel. A gothic retelling of a folklore favourite… werewolves!  A dark regency fantasy shot through with magic and love that will keep you up all night. Billed by the publisher as perfect for fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Silvia Moreno Garcia, this is a sparkling gothic story of forbidden love with real bite…

Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross, Harper Fiction, £14.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Two weeks have passed since Iris Winnow returned home bruised and heartbroken from the front, but the war is far from over. Her enemy-turned-lover Roman has been captured, and the city continues to dwell in a state of disbelief and ignorance. When given another chance to report from the frontline, she takes the opportunity and heads towards the danger.  As the days grow darker, inevitably drawing Roman and Iris closer together, the two of them will risk their very hearts and futures to change the tides of the war.

What If... Loki Was Worthy? by Madeleine Roux, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91433-7.
Loki and Valkyrie seek redemption in the first adventure of an epic new multiversal series that re-imagines the origins of iconic Marvel heroes. Thor – Son of Odin, God of Thunder, wielder of the hammer Mjolnir – is dead. And Loki is responsible.  It was only meant to be a joke – but Loki’s harmless prank spiralled out of control, unleashing death and destruction on New York City and the heroes sworn to protect it.  Furious and heartbroken, the All-Father banishes Loki to Earth for his crime. Loki finds himself in a realm of boxed wine, instant noodles, and some sort of regional performance troupe known as the ‘Buffalo Bills’.  Yet, he cannot even endure his exile in peaceful isolation. A Valkyrie barges into his trailer-home with his brother’s final words from the beyond: a plea to find a certain Dr Jane Foster and pass on Mjolnir to its rightful heir. And as Asgard looks to Loki for salvation, he must answer the question: Am I truly worthy?

Bored Gay Werewolf by Tony Santorella, Atlantic, £14.99 / Can$33.99 / US$24.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-838-95701-8.
Brian, an aimless slacker, works doubles at his shift job, forgets to clean his room and lays about with his friends Nik and Darby. He's been struggling to manage his transition to adulthood almost as much as his monthly transitions to a werewolf. Really, he is not great at the whole werewolf thing, and his recent murderous slip-ups have caught the attention of Tyler, a Millennial were-mentor determined to take the mythological world by storm.  Tyler has got a plan, and weirdly his self-help punditry actually encourages Brian to shape up and to stop accidentally marking out guys who ghosted him on Grindr as potential monthly victims. But as Brian gets closer to Tyler's pack, and alienated from Nik and Darby, he realizes that Tyler's expansion plans are much more nefarious than a little lupine enlightenment...

A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene, Orbit, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52237-1.
In a kingdom where magic has been lost, Fia is a rare changeling, left behind by the wicked Fair Folk when they stole the High Queen's daughter and locked the gates to the Otherworld. The Queen treats Fia as a daughter and trains her to be a spy. Meanwhile, the true princess Eala is bound to Otherworld, cursed to become a swan by day and only returning to her true form at night.  When a hidden gate to Otherworld is discovered, Fia is tasked by the High Queen to retrieve Eala and break her curse. But she doesn't go alone: with her is prince Rogan, Eala's betrothed and Fia's childhood best friend.  As the two journey into a world where magic winds through the roots of the trees and beauty can be a deadly illusion, Fia's mission is complicated by her feelings for the prince. . . and her unexpected attraction to the dark-hearted fae lord holding Eala captive. Irian might be more monster than man, but he seems to understand Fia in a way no one ever has.

Holy Ghosts: Classic Tales of the Ecclesiastical Uncanny edited by Fiona Snailham, British Library Publishing, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-712-35413-4.
A couple witnesses a ghostly procession from centuries past; a tourist confesses her sins to a priest long since dead; cursed statues torment a sinning Archdeacon. Churches, monasteries and convents have long been associated with sanctuary: sacred spaces should offer protection from evil in all its forms. This new anthology raises questions about the protection offered by faith, bringing together a collection of tales in which holy places are filled with horror; where stone effigies come to life and believers are tormented by terrifying apparitions.  In a host of uncanny stories published between 1855 and 1935, Holy Ghosts uncovers sacrilegious spectres and the ecclesiastically eerie. Reincarnating forgotten authors, from Mrs Henry Wood to Ada Buisson, Robert Hichens to M R James; Amelia B Edwards to Vernon Lee, the anthology exhumes stories buried deep in the British Library stacks.

Central African Folktales edited by Enongene Mirabeau Sone, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17780-8.
Modern national boundaries complicate the origins of the stories still told in the DRC, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and more but many can be traced back to the Sao civilization of the 6th Century BCE.

Robert Louis Stevenson Collection by Robert Louis Stevenson, Flame Tree Press, £20.00 / Can$40.00 / US$30.00, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17710-5.
Universally known for his masterpiece The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson was a supreme storyteller of many dark and monstrous tales that tease at the duality of human nature. This gorgeous new collection gathers together ‘The Body Snatcher’, ‘A Lodging for the Night’, ‘The Isle of Voices’ and many other chilling stories.

The Uncanny Gastronomic edited by Zara-Louise Stubbs, British Library Publishing, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-712-35428-8.
A brush with the mushroom devil whets the appetite. The meat at the werewolf’s table is a dish to relish.  Dessert with London’s cannibal club may be the cherry on top.  From fairy tales and folklore focused on magical foods and strange eating came an enduring tradition of writers playing with food and the uncanny. In the fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries this tradition thrived, with themes of supernatural consumption, weird transformation and sensual euphoria as key ingredients.  Raiding this dark pantry of writing, this new collection presents a feast of sixteen classic tales, two poems and one essay, with choice morsels by masters of the macabre including Shirley Jackson, Franz Kafka, Angela Carter and Roald Dahl.

The Trials of Empire by Richard Swan, Orbit, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51647-9.
The third in the 'Empire of the Wolf' series.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Flame Tree Press, UK £8.99 / Can$15.99 / US$11.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17789-1.
The unabridged text of this edition is accompanied by a Glossary of Victorian and Literary Terms produced for the modern reader.

Tales from the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
The collection gathers material both seen and new, illustrated throughout, making this the perfect complement to this majestic series.  These fantastical stories are set in the enriched world of The Celestial Kingdom duology – filled with magic, adventure, and friendship. With stories that take place before and after the two novels, this collection includes the tales of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess, and Houyi, the Sun Warrior, from special editions, as well as a neverbefore- read epilogue to the duology, another story of Chang’e and Houyi, and stories from both Liwei and Wenzhi’s perspective. Each story will be illustrated, illuminating the text and adding richness to Sue Lynn Tan’s wonderful prose. With romance and heartache, mistakes and amends, this collection takes the Celestial Kingdom duology to new heights.

High Vaultage by Chris Sugden & Jen Sugden, Gollancz, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-399-60416-1.
Billed by the publisher as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett meet Charles Dickens in this hilarious new murder mystery.  1887. London, but not as you know it. The Industrial Revolution went further than anyone could have imagined, and Even Greater London spreads across southern England.  Archibald Fleet and Clara Entwhistle hoped things would pick up quickly for their new enterprise. No one is taking them seriously, but their break will come soon.  When a woman witnesses a kidnapping, Fleet-Entwhistle Private Investigations is the only place she can turn for help. But things go deeper than they could ever have anticipated…

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufons by Wole Talabi, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61566-2.
A supernatural heist novel that goes deep into the heart of the British Museum Shigidi is a disgruntled nightmare god in the Orisha Spirit Company, reluctantly answering the prayers of his few remaining believers to satisfy the demands of the company board. When he meets Nneoma, everything changes.  Together, they attempt to break free and live on their own terms. But the elder gods have other plans for Shigidi, and the Orisha Spirit Company is not so easy to leave. The chairman has a final job for Shigidi and Nneoma.

The Night Alphabet by Joelle Taylor, Riverrun, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43094-3.
A woman walks into a tattoo parlour. But this is no ordinary woman, and this is Hackney in 2233. Jones’ body is covered in tattoos but she wants to add one final inking to her gallery – a thin line of ink mixed with blood that connects her body art together, creating a unique map.  As the two artists set to work, Jones tells them the story behind each tattoo. As Jones is no ordinary woman, these are no ordinary stories: each one represents a doorway to a life Jones fell into, a ‘remembering’. Some of these lives were in the past, others in the future, some are sideways, but each of them connects Jones to the two tattoo artists in some way, though they are unaware of it.  We visit the dystopian cities of the Quiet Men, the coal mines of 19th century Lancashire, join a gang of vigilante sex workers, enter the world of an INCEL murderer, haunt the old Maryville gay bar, and uncover plans to genetically modify female children. Each of the stories brings us closer to Jones’ truth, and how her life is intricately interwoven with that of the women tattooing her body.

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne, Tor, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-03099-6
They wanted to open a cosy bookshop. They discovered a world of adventure.  Reyna and Kianthe dream of opening a friendly book shop together, serving the very best tea and cakes. Worn wooden floors, plants on every table, firelight drifting between the rafters – all complemented by love and good company. But Reyna is an elite bodyguard to a vengeful queen, and Kianthe is the most powerful mage in existence. Leaving their lives behind seems impossible. Yet they flee to Tawney, a town nestled in the icy peaks of dragon country. There, they open the bookstore they'd always wanted.  What follows is a tale of mishaps, mysteries, dragons, and a murderous queen throwing the realm’s biggest temper tantrum. And two women will discover what they mean to each other – and their world.

The Curious Affair of the Missing Mummies by Lisa Tuttle, Jo Fletcher Books, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42275-7.
What appears to be a minor theft from the British Museum may just mask secret organisations and individuals of London eager to acquire ancient Egyptian magic. As the death toll mounts, the detectives wonder if the madness is really the curse of the museum’s new mummy?

Chinese Folktales edited by Wang & Chuanji Hu, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17782-2.
A new introduction highlights the exquisite stories within this collection of classic Chinese folk and fairy tales, including ‘The King of the Ants’, ‘The Ghost Who Was Foiled’, ‘A Night on the Battlefield’, ‘The Lady of the Moon’ and ‘The Flower Elves’. Stories of gods, heroes and creatures vie with the curious, poetic delights of ancient China.

Someone You Can Build A Nest In by John Wiswell, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43134-6.
Billed by the publisher as Beauty and the Beast meets The Shape of Water by the Nebula-award winning author of the short story ‘Open House on Haunted Hill’.  Shesheshen has made a fatal mistake for a monster: she’s fallen in love.  Shesheshen is a shape-shifter, who usually resides as an amorphous lump in the swamp of a ruined manor, unless impolite monster hunters invade intent on murdering her. Through a chance encounter, she meets a different kind of human, warm-hearted Homily, who mistakes Shesheshen for a human in turn.  Shesheshen is loath to deceive, but just as she’s about to confess her true identity, Homily reveals she’s hunting the shape-shifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give them both a chance at happiness, she must figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with the woman she loves.

Japanese Ghost Stories edited by Hiroko Yoda, Flame Tree 451, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17592-7.
Japan has a long and ancient custom of sharing stories of the supernatural, brought to fashionable prominence in the Kaidan literature of the Edo period. This new collection brings together the fantastic tales of vengeful spirits, mountain-dwelling phantoms, man-eating oni, haunted trees, and child-rearing ghosts.

Lord of the Feast by Tim Waggoner, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58636-9
Twenty years ago, a malevolent cult failed in their attempt to create their own god: The Lord of the Feast, forging instead a horrible, misbegotten creature, so the cultists destroyed it, trapping each piece in scattered, mystic nightstones. Now, Ethan plans to resurrect the god, and fulfil its ancient promise.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Penguin, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94693-0.
The second new Dragonlance novel.

Dark Star Burning, Ash Falls White by Amélie Wen Zhao, Harper Fiction, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Years ago, the Elantian colonizers invaded Lan’s homeland and killed her mother in their search to uncover the Last Kingdom’s greatest secret the location of its legendary four Demon Gods. Lan’s mother devoted her life to destroying the Demon Gods, and Lan is determined to finish her mission. Yet, there are others searching for the gods, too. Zen knew his soul was forfeit the moment he made a deal with the Demon God known as the Black Tortoise, but he’s willing to lose himself if it means saving the Kingdom – and the girl – he loves. But to crush the colonisers who have invaded his land he needs more power than even a single Demon God can provide. He needs an army. And he knows exactly where he can find it – in the undead army his great grandfather lead decades ago.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Forthcoming Non-Fiction SF &
Popular Science Books


Quantum Drama: From the Bohr-Einstein Debate to the Riddle of Entanglement by Jim Baggott & John L. Heilbron, Oxford University Press, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-192-84610-5.
In 1927, Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein began a debate about the interpretation and meaning of the new quantum theory. This would become one of the most famous debates in the history of science. At stake were an understanding of the purpose, and defence of the integrity, of science. What (if any) limits should we place on our expectations for what science can tell us about physical reality?
          Quantum Drama reveals, science owes a large debt to those who kept the discussions going against the apathy and indifference of most physicists before definitive experimental inquiries became possible. Although experiment moved the Bohr-Einstein debate to a new level and drew many into foundational research, it has by no means removed or resolved the fundamental question. There will be no Nobel prize for an answer. That will not shut off discussion. Our Drama will continue beyond our telling of it and is unlikely to reach its final scene before science ceases or the world ends.

Space Oddities: The Mysterious Anomalies Challenging Our Understanding of the Universe by Harry Cliff, Picador, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09286-8.
Experimental physicist at CERN and acclaimed science presenter Harry Cliff offers an eye-opening account of newly discovered strangenesses of the universe that could transform our understanding of the fundamentals of physics and of reality.  Something strange is going on in the cosmos. Scientists are uncovering a catalogue of weird phenomena that simply can’t be explained by our long-established theories of the universe. Particles with unbelievable energies are bursting from beneath the Antarctic ice. Unknown forces seem to be tugging on the basic building blocks of matter. Stars are flying away from us far faster than anyone can explain.  After decades of fruitless searching, could we finally be catching glimpses of a profound new view of our physical world? Or are we being fooled by cruel tricks of the data?

Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet by Chris Dixon, Cornerstone Press, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-92562-3.
We are entering the third age of the internet. Here, the world’s leading blockchain investor reveals how Web 3.0 will transform technology – and what that means for us all.  The history of the internet is a three-act play.  First came Web 1.0, the earliest and most open version of the internet. In these halcyon days, the web was egalitarian and decentralised – a playground for anyone who wanted to build something new.  Then came Web 2.0, an internet defined by transformative technologies like social media. This new world connected billions of people, but also concentrated power and wealth in the hands of a tiny few.  But what comes next? Here, Chris Dixon – founder of the world’s largest dedicated crypto fund, and angel investor in the likes of Uber, Pinterest and Kickstarter – offers a playbook for building a radically democratic internet: one that will hand power back to the creatives and innovators who defined the internet of the past. He calls it Web 3.0.

2024 Guide to the Night Sky by Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion, Collins, £7.99 / Can$16.99 / US$13.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-008-61962-6.
This practical guide is both an easy introduction to astronomy and a useful reference for seasoned stargazers.  Now includes a section on comets and a map of the Moon.  Designed specifically for the northern hemisphere. Written and illustrated by astronomical experts, Storm Dunlop and Wil Tirion, and approved by the astronomers of the Royal Observatory Greenwich…. (Now in three editions: Britain and Ireland; North America; Southern Hemisphere.)

After the Flying Saucers Came: A Global History of the UFO Phenomenon by Greg Eghigian, Oxford University Press, £22.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-190-86987-8.
This is a comprehensive account of the stories, the people, and the strange events that went into making the fascination with UFOs and aliens a worldwide phenomenon among believers, sceptics, and the simply curious. It traces how an odd sighting of “flying saucers” by an American pilot in 1947 inspired governments, the media, scientists, writers, and the general public to consider the possibility that extraterrestrials were visiting Earth.

Planet Earth: Accompanies the Landmark Series Narrated by David Attenborough by Michael Gunton, BBC Books, £30 / Can$55 / US$63.95, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-785-94827-5.
The iconic series that started it all returns: accompanying an 8-part programme narrated by David Attenborough, Planet Earth III takes you closer than ever to the world's most fascinating animals and landscapes - and humanity's irrevocable impact upon them.  There are over 100 billion planets in our galaxy. Only one is home to life.  Ranging across seven dramatic habitats, from the depths of the ocean, to the scorching desert and into the to the darkest jungle, Planet Earth III showcases places and animals from all corners of our amazing, unique, planet.  For the first time, Planet Earth III introduces a human element to each landscape - highlighting how, in the age of the Anthropocene, today's planet has been forever changed by humanity and that wildlife now faces new challenges in our crowded, modern world.  Using state-of-the-art photography techniques, the Planet Earth team has spent longer in the field than ever before, bringing you closer to some of the planet's most intriguing species, unseen landscapes and natural phenomena.

Unseen Universe by Caroline Harper, Greenfinch, £30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43050-9.
An upmarket, gift-worthy book of stunning images and breakthrough scientific discoveries from NASA’s revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope.  From the towering dust cliffs of the Carina Nebula to Jupiter glowing like an iridescent disco ball in the sky, these stunning new images have captured the imagination of millions all over the world.  Launched on 25th December 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful and complex space telescope ever built, capturing a glimpse of deep space billions of years in the past.  Now, Dr Caroline Harper and contributing astrophysicists from across Europe and the USA use Webb’s photography to answer 10 of the biggest questions humankind has about the universe, including:· How are stars born? · How do galaxies form and evolve? · What are the origins of black holes?· Where do planets get their water?

Superspy Science: Science, Death and Tech in the World of James Bond by Kathryn Harkup, Bloomsbury, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-472-99241-3.
In 007 chapters, the science behind James Bond’s exploits – armaments, tactics, plots and enemy tech. Ian Fleming’s novels based on the adventures of the secret service agent James Bond have thrilled readers since Casino Royale was published in 1953. And when the film of Dr No was released in 1962, Bond quickly became one of the world’s favourite secret agents. In Superspy Science, Kathryn Harkup explores the science and technology central to the plots that make up the world of Bond. Naturally, there are 007 chapters, covering the full range of Bond’s exploits, and the arms, technologies, tactics and downfalls of his various foes. Could our favourite Bond villains actually achieve world domination? Were the huge variety of weapons and technology in Bond’s arsenal ever actually developed? And would 007 actually escape all those close shaves with his life intact? Readers of this book will see James Bond and his world through new eyes.

The Harry Potter Official Afternoon Tea Cookbook by Veronica Hinke & Jody Revenson, Greenfinch, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43499-6.
Host a magical afternoon tea inspired by the Wizarding World…  Indulge in an afternoon tea inspired by the Wizarding World with the favourite afternoon treats of wizards and Muggles from your favourite best-selling franchise.  With more than 50 recipes, from ‘Lavender Brown’s Lavender Cake’ to ‘Professor Trelawney’s Divination Tea’ and stunning full-colour photography, as well as behind-the-scenes facts from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, this cookbook offers step-by-step instructions on creating a bewitching afternoon feast.

Nuclear War: A scenario by Annie Jacobsen, Transworld, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-911-70959-6.
We could have an uninhabitable earth in a century. It could take 26 minutes and 40 seconds. An edge-of-your-seat nonfiction thriller that has to be read to be believed.  Up to now, no one outside of official circles has known exactly what would happen if a rogue state launched a nuclear missile at the Pentagon. Second by second and minute by minute, these are the real-life protocols that choreograph the end of civilisation as we know it. Frantic calls over secure lines work to confirm the worst as armoured helicopters are scrambled to evacuate the chosen few to secure bunkers. One nuclear missile will provoke two dozen in return. Decisions over hundreds of millions of lives need to be made within six minutes, based on partial information, knowing that once launched, nothing is capable of halting the destruction.  Based on dozens of new interviews with military and civilian experts, Nuclear War is at once a compulsive non-fiction thriller and a powerful argument that we must rid ourselves of these world-ending weapons for ever.  Annie Jacobsen is a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Accidental: The Biggest Science Blunders and How They Changed the World by Tim James, Robinson, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-472-14840-7.
We may imagine that science is a process of breakthroughs and light bulb moments. But in reality, science goes wrong 99% of the time.  Almost every idea a scientist comes up with is quickly disproved by a failed experiment or rival research. Science moves at a rate of inches per decade and we like it that way. But occasionally, just occasionally, a complete fluke happens and changes everything. From an untimely sneeze in a Petri dish leading to antibiotics to the discovery of microwaves via melted chocolate, this is a rip-roaring adventure through science gone wrong, accidentally changing humanity for the better.

Kubrick: An odyssey by Robert P. Kolker & Nathan Abrams, Faber & Faber, £30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-571-37036-8.
The enigmatic and elusive film-maker Stanley Kubrick has not been treated to a full-length biography in over twenty years. Kubrick: An Odyssey fills that gap. Based on access to the latest research – especially into his archive – as well as new interviews with family members and those who worked with him, it offers in-depth coverage of Kubrick’s personal, public, and working life. Stephen Spielberg said of Kubrick: ‘He was a chameleon who never made the same film twice. The only thing that bonded all his films was the incredible virtuoso that he was with his craft.’ This biography will puncture the myths about this allegedly reclusive filmmaker, who spent his career observing human folly, determined to make something new that would transcend traditional film-making.

AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee & Chen Qiufan, Ebury, £12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-753-55902-4.
In this ground-breaking blend of imaginative storytelling and scientific forecasting, a pioneering AI expert and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an imperative question: How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years? AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognisable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up-both to AI's radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it. In this provocative, utterly original work of "scientific fiction," Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and bestselling author of AI Superpowers, joins forces with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to imagine our world in 2041 and how it will be shaped by AI. In ten gripping short stories, set twenty years in the future, they introduce readers to an array of eye-opening 2041 settings.

Our Accidental Universe: Stories of discovery from asteroids to aliens by Chris Lintott, Transworld, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-911-70918-3.
Our view of the Universe is changing. The timeless heavens, turning ceaselessly above us, have been revealed to be dynamic and ever-changing, requiring a new kind of astronomy. On mountaintops and in deserts around the world, new telescopes are being built to show us this changing sky. But amongst all this technological development, the major astronomical events of the past century have largely come about by accident - found not by careful experiment but as surprises when we were looking for something else entirely.  A tour of the key astronomical research of the past century, and of all the accidents and human error involved in our pursuit of asteroids, radio waves, new stars and alien life.

Everything Must Go: The Stories We Tell About The End of the World by Dorian Lynskey, Picador, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09593-7.
Human beings have been imagining the end of the world from the Book of Revelation to Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Every generation imagines that its visions of the end times are new.  Following his, Baillie Gifford long-listed exploration of dystopian futures in The Ministry of Truth, which investigated both the sources and inspirations of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and its current ubiquity in fiction, media and online, Dorian Lynskey investigates our fantasies of the end of the world, across both high and popular culture, from the Reformation to the present.

The Everything War: Amazon’s Ruthless quest to own the world and remake corporate power by Dana Mattioli, Transworld, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-911-709565.
From veteran Amazon reporter for the Wall Street Journal, The Everything War is an exposé of Amazon's endless strategic greed, from destroying competition to remaking corporate power, in pursuit of total domination, by any means necessary.  Amazon is a behemoth in the truest sense of the word. It might be synonymous with shopping, but the company now dominates a dozen industries beyond retail. As it turns out, the Amazon that Jeff Bezos invented is fundamentally driven by a competitive edge that will stop at nothing -if Amazon could own the world and be everywhere, it would.  Currently, the company is under investigation in US Congress, at the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and the European Union for potential anticompetitive business practices. In The Everything War, award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Dana Mattioli follows this unfolding battle, exploring the infamous rise of Bezos and exposing how Amazon has become too big for antitrust investigators to ignore.  While Amazon's business practices grow to monopolistic proportions, international authorities are quickly discovering that Amazon is an adversary unlike any they have ever faced. Using meticulous reporting, Mattioli reveals how Jeff Bezos learned to leverage his influence in the corridors of power, preparing for this fight he always knew would come. This book unveils a side of Amazon, and its leader, that has never been told before: its ruthless, competitive, killer instinct to destroy everything in its wake for dominance.  Amazon's rise to supremacy is reaching a boiling point, and now squarely in the crosshairs of multiple international governments looking into its practices. Mattioli's The Everything War broaches this question: has the company become too powerful- and too enmeshed with public interests- to stop?

Data Grab: The new Colonialism of Big Tech and how to fight back by Ulises A. Mejias & Nick Couldry, Ebury, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-753-56020-4.
If you're not paying for the product, then you are the product. In the past, colonialism was a land grab of natural resources, exploitative labour and private property from developing countries. It made shiny promises to modernise and civilise, but actually sought to control. It made native populations sign contracts they didn't understand, and took resources just because they were there. Colonialism has not disappeared it has taken a new form. In the new world order where data is the new oil, big Tech companies are grabbing our most basic natural resources – our data - exploiting our labour and connections, and repackaging our information to control our views, track our movements, record our conversations and discriminate against us. They tell us this is for our own good, to build innovation and develop new technology. But in fact every time we unthinkingly click 'Accept' on Terms and Conditions, we allow our most personal information to kept indefinitely, repackaged by big Tech companies to control and exploit us for their own profit. This is the era of data colonialism. The new colonial land grab is a DATAGRAB.

Alien Minds: How The Intelligence Revolution Will Change How We Work and How We Live by Ethan Mollick, Ebury, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-0-753-56077-8.
Consumer AI arrived with a bang in November 2022 when OpenAI released ChatGPT. Within four months it hit 1 billion users, and media pundits were forecasting the end of jobs and a knowledge revolution. But its actual impact has been far different from what pundits predicted. Ethan Mollick has been a leading voice cutting through both the AI evangelists and the AI doom mongers, by charting and explaining how Consumer AI is developing, what it can do well and also - importantly - what it can't. Considering AI as a co-worker, a teacher, an expert, and even as a companion, Mollick grapples with the philosophical, social, and economic implications of integrating artificial intelligence into society and culture and offers reassurance about the role and responsibility of humans in directing and protecting against AI.

This Volcanic Isle: The Violent Processes that Forged the British Landscape by Robert Muir-Wood, Oxford University Press, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-198-87162-0.
This explores the rich geological history of the British Isles, and its resulting legacy. Along the way he introduces the personalities who shared a fascination for Britain’s tectonic history, including Charles Darwin the geologist, Tennyson the science-poet, and Benoit Mandelbrot, the pure mathematician who labelled the west coast of Britain a fractal icon. Here is the previously untold story of how earthquakes and eruptions, plumes and plate boundaries, built the British Isles.

Dark Folklore by Mark Norman & Tracey Norman, The History Press, £18 / Can$30.99 / US$22.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-803-99329-4.
The first entertaining, yet rigorously researched, modern anthology to explore a wide range of creepy beliefs, customs and stories.   How did our ancestors use the concept of demons to explain sleep paralysis? Is that carving in the porch of your local church really what you think it is? And what’s that tapping noise on the roof of your car…?  The fields of folklore have never been more popular – a recent resurgence of interest in traditional beliefs and customs, coupled with morbid curiosities in folk horror, historic witchcraft cases and our superstitious past, have led to an intersection of ideas that is driving people to seek out more information. Tracey Norman and Mark Norman lead you on an exploration of those more salubrious facets of our past, highlighting those aspects of our cultural beliefs and social history that are less ‘wicker basket’ and more ‘Wicker Man’.

Hopped Up: How Travel, Trade, and Taste Made Beer a Global Commodity by Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Oxford University Press, £26.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-197-67604-2.
A highly readable history of beer and the brewing industry around the world over the centuries, Hopped Up narrates the oscillations between distinctive regional and national preferences and the capitalist global standardization of beer style and taste in a work that will appeal to historians and beer connoisseurs alike.

Why We Remember: The Science of Memory and How it Shapes Us by Charan Ranganath, Faber & Faber, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-571-37414-4.
Memory is about far more than storage – it’s crucial to understanding who we are, to grounding ourselves in time and space. Over the course of twenty-five years, pioneering neuroscientist and internationally renowned memory researcher Charan Ranganath has studied the flawed and purposefully inaccurate nature of memory to examine how our brains extract the information needed to guide us into our futures.  Drawing from case studies and cutting-edge science, Why We Remember unveils the principles behind what and why we forget – shining new light on the pervasive influence of memory on how we learn, heal and make decisions – and provides a vital user’s guide to remembering what we hold most dear.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Collection 12 by Royal Observatory Greenwich, Collins, £30 / Can$55 / US$45, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-008-60431-8.
From the number one Astronomy publisher, this book showcases the most spectacular space photography, taken from locations across the globe. Marvel at the wonders of the universe captured by the most talented astrophotographers.  Be captivated by 140 winning and shortlisted images from the 2023 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, hosted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. These awe-inspiring images are submitted in several categories: Skyscapes, Our Sun, Galaxies, Our Moon, Aurorae, Planets, Comets and Asteroids, People and Space, Stars and Nebulae. Plus Best Newcomer, Image Innovation and Young Competitor categories. Each image is accompanied by caption, photographer, location and technical details. There is also a location map showing the origin of all images and a visual appendix of all images. The judges are from an expert panel of distinguished astronomy experts.

How AI Thinks: How we built it, how it can help us, and how we can control it by Nigel Toon, Transworld, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-911-70946-6.
We are used to thinking of computers as being a step up from calculators - very good at storing information, and maybe even at playing a logical game like chess. But up to now they haven't been able to think in ways that are intuitive, or respond to questions as a human might. All that has changed, dramatically, in the past few years.  Our search engines are becoming answer engines. Artificial intelligence is already revolutionising sectors from education to healthcare to the creative arts. But how does an AI understand sentiment or context? How does it play and win games that have an almost infinite number of moves? And how can we work with AI to produce insights and innovations that are beyond human capacity, from writing code in an instant to unfolding the elaborate 3D puzzles of proteins?  We stand at the brink of a historic change that will disrupt society and at the same time create enormous opportunities for those who understand how AI thinks. Nigel Toon shows how we train AI to train itself, so that it can paint images that have never existed before or converse in any language. In doing so he reveals the strange and fascinating ways that humans think, too, as we learn how to live in a world shared by machine intelligences of our own creation.  Nigel Toon is the founder of Graphcore and a leading AI entrepreneur.

The AI Mirror: How to Reclaim Our Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking by Shannon Vallor, Oxford University Press, £22.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-197-75906-6.
Shannon Vallor makes a wide-ranging, prophetic, and philosophical case for what AI could be, and what we can be with it. She calls us to reclaim our human potential for moral and intellectual growth, rather than losing sight of our shared humanity as we gaze dully into our AI mirrors.

When The Heavens Went On Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach by Ashlee Vance, Ebury, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-753-55776-1.
Beyond the headlines of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic an Blue Origin there is a new secret space race that could change everything.

Microlands: The Future of Life on Earth (and Why It’s SmallerThan You Think) by J. Craig Venter & David Ewing Duncan, Robinson, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-472-14417-1.
A celebrated genome scientist sails around the world, collecting tens of millions of marine microbes and revolutionising our understanding of the microbiome that sustains us.  Upon completing his historic work on the Human Genome Project in 2002, J. Craig Venter declared that he would sequence the genetic code of all life on Earth. Thus began a fifteen-year quest to collect DNA from the world's oldest and most abundant form of life: microbes. Boarding the Sorcerer II, a 100-footsailboat turned research vessel, Venter travelled over 65,000 miles around the globe to sample ocean water and the microscopic life within.  In Microlands, Venter and science writer David Ewing Duncan tell the remarkable story of these expeditions and of the momentous discoveries that ensued, revealing the unimaginable complexity of life on earth. Yet, Venter also encountered sobering reminders of how human activity is disturbing the delicate microbial ecosystem that nurtures our planet. In the face of unprecedented climate change, Venter and Duncan show how we can harness the microbial genome to develop solutions that might ultimately avert our destruction. A captivating story of exploration and discovery, this book restores microbes to their rightful place as crucial partners in our evolutionary past and guides to our future.

How to Apocalypse: An illustrated survival guide by Steve Wildish, Ebury, £12.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91992-9.
A funny infographic survival guide. Prepare for every possible end of days with this essential survival guide. Covering crucial survival skills, the ideal Plan A and Plan B, tips for survival on the road as you travel from chaos to salvation, and assembling the perfect team, this hilarious book has everything you need when Doomsday strikes. Includes: Zombies, Alien Invasion, Nuclear Fallout, Climate Crisis, Asteroids, Viruses, Robots and more!


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

General Science News


The 2023 Nobel Prizes have been awarded. The science category wins are:
          Physiology or Medicine: Katalin Kariko & Drew Weissman for mRNA vaccines (such as used in the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 and Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine.  Particularly the way they managed to reduced the vaccines' inflammatory response.
          Chemistry: Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus & Alexei I. Ekimov for developing what are called quantum dots: nanoparticles create colour as used in QLED TV sets. The smallest of these semi-conducting quantum dots emit higher energy waves and produce blue light, and biggest dots release lower energy waves creating red light, with the middle sizes creating the colours in between.
          Physics: Pierre Agostini, Anne L'Huillier & Ferenc Krausz for using attosecond pulses of light that capture "the shortest of moments" of electron behaviour in an atom.

The 2023 Royal Society Book Prize short-list and winner has been announced.  The author of the winning book receives £25,000 (US$26,969) with £2,500 (US$2,696) awarded to each of the five shortlisted books.  There were 255 submissions published between 1st July 2022 and 30th September 2023. The following six were short-listed by the Award's jury and the winner shown.
          Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World (in a Big Way) by Roma Agrawal. Seven fundamental inventions: the nail, spring, wheel, lens, magnet, string and pump. Each of these objects is itself a wonder of design, the result of many iterations and refinements. Together, they have enabled humanity to see the invisible, build the spectacular, communicate across vast distances, and even escape our planet.
          Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity by Nicklas Brendborg. An exploration of everything the natural world and science have to offer on the mystery of aging.
          Taking Flight: The Evolutionary Story of Life on the Wing by Lev Parikian. An exploration of the miracle of flight that has biologically evolved in hugely diverse ways, with countless variations to flapping and gliding, hovering and diving, murmurating and migrating.
          Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus by David Quammen. Breathless is the story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
          An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong. The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving only a tiny sliver of this world.
          The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins and the Fight for Women in Science by Kate Zernike. The untold story of how a group of sixteen determined women used the power of the collective and the tools of science to inspire ongoing radical change.
          And the winner was   - An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong.
          ++++ See here for last year's short-list and winner.

UN climate meeting (COP28) has been held and agreed to transition from fossil fuels.  The major element of the deal, the transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, is something of a landmark moment: previous COPs (Conference of the Parties – to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) focussed on reducing emissions but this COP was the first to specifically mention fossil fuels. But the language is far weaker than many countries desired. The fossil fuels mentioned relate only to energy production (electricity generation) and not transport, chemical feedstocks or agriculture. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) presidency had included strong text on the idea of a fossil fuel phase out from the start of the meeting. But in the face of opposition from fossil fuel lobbyists, they dropped it from their first attempt at a draft agreement. COP28 saw more fossil fuel lobbyist attend than official national delegates.

Global warming could be a lot worse a new analysis reveals.  The analysis was conducted by well-known climate scientists for a review paper in the journal Oxford Open Climate Change.  The reason the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has not picked up on this is because the IPCC (rightly) does not take into account long-term processes (such as the disappearance of reflective ice shelves, or the methane release from melting permafrosts and its resulting warming) because they are so hard to quantify: the IPCC is open about this and you can word search for 'long term' in its documents.  What the researchers have done is estimate how warming occurs with additional greenhouse gas at different levels of greenhouse gas concentrations as revealed in the geological record. Their results suggest that there is a warming lag so that past greenhouse emissions have yet to fully result in the warming they engender: we have yet to see the full warming from historic emissions.  The researchers conclude that we will hit 1.5°C warming above pre-industrial – the Paris COP Accord policy goal limit – in the 2020s, and 2°C before 2050. This is far sooner than the IPCC currently predict.  (See  Hansen, J. E. et al (2023) Global warming in the pipeline. Oxford Open Climate Change, vol. 3 (1), kgad008.)

Electrons have been split by a twisted material.  To split an electron one thinks of massive super-colliders such as the one at CERN, but it can be done another way.  A large magnetic field can make the electrons in a 2D material behave as though they have been split into three (or more) new particles. These peculiar particles, termed anyons, could be useful for quantum computing. But large magnetic fields complicate matters. Now, four papers, three in Nature and one in Physical Review X separately report the phenomenon in MoTe2 (Mo, molybdenum; Te, tellurium) when two layers were ever so slightly twisted with respect to each other and without a magnetic field. This avenue of research could lead to the production of larger anyons (and not the simplest kind). Larger anyons have more distinct quantum properties. Condensed-matter physicists are excited as this will involve ultra cold superconductors.  (See the review article Repellin, C. (2023) The twisted material that splits the electron. Nature, vol. 622, p36-7.)

There is massive growth of building in flood zones.  Some politicians blame increased flooding on climate change but there is another reason: building on flood plains and zones.  Using high-resolution satellite data and combining that with all types of flood data and their respective frequencies at different locales, researchers have found that growth in the most hazardous flood zones is outpacing growth in non-exposed zones by a large margin, particularly in East Asia, where high-hazard settlements have expanded 60% faster than flood-safe settlements. Instead of adapting their exposure, many countries continue to actively amplify their exposure to increasingly frequent climatic shocks.  (See Rentschler, J. (2023) Global evidence of rapid urban growth in flood zones since 1985. Nature, vol. 622, p87-92.)


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Natural Science News


Archaic human-made wooden planks from 390,000 to 324,000 years ago found in Africa.  The earliest known wood artefact is a fragment of polished plank from the Acheulean site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, more than 780,000 years ago. Complete spears, have been found at Eurasian sites, including at Clacton-on-Sea, UK, from around 400,000 years ago2 and at Schoningen in Germany from around 300,000 years ago. But evidence of ancient wood use in Africa is rare.  Now a team of largely British based archaeologists have discovered interlocking planks that date from 476,000 years ago at Kalambo Falls, near Zambia’s border with Tanzania.  Smaller wooden tools were also recovered that date from 390,000 and 324,000 years ago.  These discoveries not only extend the age range of woodworking in Africa but expand our understanding of the technical cognition of early hominins forcing re-examination of the use of trees in the history of technology.  (See  Barham, L. et al. (2023) Evidence for the earliest structural use of wood at least 476,000 years ago. Nature, vol. 622, p107-111  and the review piece  Milks, A. (2023) Hominins built with wood 476,000 years ago. Nature, vol. 622, p34-5.)

Archaeologists claim to have discovered a pyramid in Indonesia that dates from 27,000 years ago. Others question this.  The central claim is that a pyramid lying beneath the prehistoric site of Gunung Padang in West Java, Indonesia, might have been constructed 27,000 years ago. This would make it far older than the first large Egyptian pyramid, the 4,600-year-old Pyramid of Djoser. It would also be older than the earliest known megalithic site, Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which was built around 11,000 years ago, or the oldest city, the 9,000-year-old site of Çatalhoyuk in what is today Turkey. The researchers are all from Indonesia and are mainly archaeologists or geographers. The Wiley journal in which the paper appears does not appear to have a particularly high impact factor. The publisher and journal are investigating in accordance with Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines. (See Natawidjaja, D. H. et al (2023) Geo-archaeological prospecting of Gunung Padang buried prehistoric pyramid in West Java, Indonesia. Archaeological Prospection, 1–25.)

Confirmed, White Sands humans in US 23,000 – 21,000 years ago.  Two years ago radiocarbon dating research suggest humans in Whitye Sands 23,000 – 21,000 years ago. However, that research had been doubted because of possible older carbon contaminating the samples. Now the researchers have re-visited the site and collected pollen from the same strata (previously seeds from the aquatic plant Ruppia cirrhosa had been used).  This new work reaffirms that humans were present in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum and the previous date estimates still stand. (See Pigati, J. S. et al (2023) Independent age estimates resolve the controversy of ancient human footprints at White Sands. Science, vol. 382, p73-5.)  ++++ Related stories previously covered include:-
  - Denisovan, early humans, colonised more of Asia than previously thought
  - New estimate for oldest Homo sapiens
  - An ancestor species to Neanderthals and archaic human species in Europe and Asia has been discovered
  - An cousin species to Neanderthals and modern human species has been discovered in China
  - How humans eat meat before fire has now been revealed
  - Mouth bacteria reveal ancient, humans had a cooked starch diet
  - Denisovan and Neanderthal Y chromosomes have been sequenced
  - Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged between 381,000 and 473,000 years ago
  - Modern humans on Flores exhibit dwarfing genes
  - Modern humans had seΧ with Neanderthals 100,000 years ago
  - Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA found in modern Icelander genomes
  - New early human species found - Homo luzonensis
  - Genomes show modern humans first left Africa thousands of years earlier
  - Modern humans diverged from primitive humans between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago
  - Iηcest abounds among Neolithic Irish ruling classes genomic research reveals
  - Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans
  - Early Britons had dark skin and blue eyes ancient DNA reveals
  - First stone age tools now 71,000 years not 40,000 years ago
  - First humans in Australia arrived 10,000 years earlier than thought

10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks are still hidden throughout Amazonia.  Indigenous societies are known to have occupied the Amazon basin for more than 12,000 years, but the scale of their influence on Amazonian forests remains uncertain.  LIDAR (light detection and ranging) probing just 0.08% of the Amazon basin has uncovered 24 previously undetected pre-Columbian earthworks beneath the forest canopy dating from 1,500 to 500 years ago. This suggests that between 10,272 and 23,648 sites remain to be discovered and, from the environmental conditions found at most of the sites, that most will be found in the southwest.  (See Peripato, V. et al (2023) More than 10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks are still hidden throughout Amazonia. Science, vol. 382, p103–109.)

45% of all flowering species of plant are at risk of extinction, is just one of the sobering statistics in the Royal Botanic Gardens latest State of the World's Plants and Fungi Report.  The fifth edition of State of the World’s Plants and Fungi, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew), focuses on the latest knowledge on the diversity and geographical distribution of plants and fungi. Now, for the first time, scientists have used models to predict the extinction risk of every flowering plant species and identify the uncertainty level of each prediction. The report looks back at all the plant species known to us and their threat of extinction classification. Further, it looked at when each species was discovered and its extinction threat. The researchers found that the earlier a species had been discovered, the lower its extinction threat: recently discovered species were more at risk. Extrapolating this into yet-to-be-discovered species, the conclusion is that these would be even more prone to extinction. The reports says that 77% of as yet undescribed plant species are likely to be threatened with extinction, and here there are many species yet to be discovered. Taking flowering plants alone, the report estimates that potentially tens of thousands of flowering plant species have yet to be scientifically named.
          Since 2015, a project to have all tree species assessed for the IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List, has so far found that 31% of tree species are at risk of extinction. And this does not include tree species yet to be discovered for whom the extinction risk is higher.
          But there are notable black holes in the data. Given the history of fungal species discovery, it is estimated that 92% and 95% of fungi have yet to be scientifically described. Since the beginning of 2020, more than 10,200 fungal species have been described as new to science.  (See Antonelli, A. et al (2023) State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2023. Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, Middlesex, Great Britain.)

Global amphibian species decline continues two decades on!  In 2004 the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA1) was published on the IUCN Red List, demonstrating that amphibians were the most threatened class of vertebrates worldwide. Now, nearly two decades on, a second assessment has found that despite conservation efforts, the decline is continuing.  The Amphibian Red List Authority of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) coordinated the GAA2.  It added 2,286 species, bringing the number of amphibians on the IUCN Red List to 8,011 (39.9% increase from 2004; covering 92.9% of 8,615 described species).  Of all of the comprehensively assessed groups on the IUCN Red List, amphibians are the second most threatened group and remain the most threatened vertebrate class.  Agriculture and forestry are the two leading threats. The Assessment describes the declines in, and threats to, ampbian species as an 'ongoing amphibian extinction crisis'.  (See  Luedtke, J. A. et al. (2023) Ongoing declines for the world’s amphibians in the face of emerging threats. Nature, vol. 622, p308-314.)

Lightening induced wildfires in boreal forest to increase dramatically with clime change. At the moment, globally, wildfires have decreased since the 2000s. Tropical savannah and grassland fires account for approximately 67% of the global burned area, while extratropical (outside of the tropics) forest fires account for less than 5% of the global burned area. Yet extratropical forests have stored increasing more carbon than they had prior to the 2000s. Researchers have now looked at seven areas in the world in detail, and then extrapolated these using machine learning to a global figure. They deduce that show that 77% of the burned area in extratropical intact forests currently stems from lightning and that these areas will probably experience 11 to 31% more lightning per degree warming as with warming comes more lightening. (See Janssen, T. A. J. et al (2023) Extratropical forests increasingly at risk due to lightning fires. Nature Climate Change, pre-print.)

Chickens genetically resistant to avian influenza have been created by gene editing.  At the current time, a highly infectious avian influenza virus H5N1 subtype clade is geographically spread across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, associated with wild birds die offs, devastating impacts on farmed poultry and numerous incursions into mammals including some human cases and deaths. Vaccination for farmed chickens is not 100% effective due to the rise of variants. Now, researchers in Great Britain have created chicken largely (but not completely) resistant to H5N1 through gene editing two ANP32A genes. There are some other genes associated with chickens being able to catch avian influenza. Work on cell types suggests that by further editing these too will make chickens completely resistant and hinder the rise of new variants. The researchers plan to incorporate these extra edits into chickens over the next three years. (See Idoko-Akoh, A. et al (2023) Creating resistance to avian influenza infection through genome editing of the ANP32 gene family. Nature Communications, vol. 14, 6136.)

Bonobos and chimpanzees can remember absent friends after more than two decades!  Humans can remember lost friends after decades, but what of non-human animals?  Working with worked with 26 chimpanzees and bonobos living in four zoos or sanctuaries in Europe and Japan, researchers used an eye-tracking task revealed that apes’ attention was biased towards pictures of former group mates over strangers, and this pattern persists for at least 26 years.  Apes looked longer toward individuals with whom they had more positive relationships.  (See  Lewis, L. S. et al (2023) Bonobos and chimpanzees remember familiar conspecifics for decades. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 120 (52), e2304903120  and the review piece by the aptly named Gibbons, A. (2023) Chimps remember faces of old friends and family for decades. Science, vol. 382, p1,341.)


…And finally this section, the season's SARS-CoV-2 / CoVID-19 science primary research and news roundup.

An inhalable CoVID-19 vaccine has been created that reaches the parts other vaccines cannot.  The CoVID vaccines have proven very effective. However, the current vaccines are injected into muscle and are generally effective in providing protection against developing severe CoVID, they are less good at preventing infection by rapidly evolving variants and they cannot induce immunity in the mucosal tissues of the lungs and nose, which is the site of SARS-CoV-2 entry.  Chinese researchers have now developed an inhalable CoVID vaccine. Its inhalable nanoparticles contain part of the CoVID-19 spike protein and this gives the lungs a good hit of the vaccine which intramuscular delivered vaccines do not. This will particularly benefit the elderly and those vulnerable to the virus.
          Now, inhalable CoVID-19 vaccines are not new. However all these inhalables require ultra cold storage from the moment they are made to a few minutes before use. This new inhalable vaccine comes as a dry powder that does not need cold storage.  (See Ye, T. et al (2023) Inhaled SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for single-dose dry powder aerosol immunization. Nature, vol. 624, p630-8  and the review piece  Xing, J. & Jeyanathan, M. (2023) A next-wave inhalable dry powder COVID vaccine. Nature, vol. 624, p532-4.)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of key variants of concern now include among others:
  - Kent (scientifically called B.1.1.7) to be now known as Alpha
  - S. African (scientifically called B.1.351) to be now known as Beta
  - Brazilian (scientifically called P.1) to be now known as Gamma
  - Indian (scientifically called B.1.617) to be now known as Delta
  - Californian (scientifically called B.1.429, B.1.427 and CAL.20C) to be now known as Epsilon
  - Philippines (scientifically called P.3) to be now known as Theta
  - New York (scientifically called B.1.526) to be now known as Iota
  - Peru (scientifically called C.37) to be now known as Lambda
  - Colombia (scientifically called B.1.621) to be now known as Mu
  - S. Africa / Botswana (scientifically called B.1.1.529) with offshoots BA.1, BA.2 (which in turn led to XBB.1.5) , BA2.75 (unofficially Centaurus), BA2.86, BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5) to be now known as Omicron. It in turn has led to the BA.2.86 variant.

Related SARS-CoV-2 / CoVID-19 news, previously covered elsewhere on this site, has been listed here on previous seasonal news pages prior to 2023.  However, this has become quite a lengthy list of links and so we stopped providing this listing in the news pages and also, with the vaccines for many in the developed and middle-income nations, the worst of the pandemic is over.  Instead you can find this lengthy list of links at the end of our initial SARS-CoV-2 briefing here.  It neatly charts over time the key research conducted throughout the pandemic.


And finally… A short natural science YouTube video

You are living on an ant planet!  Well, it looks like they didn’t achieve world domination all by themselves. They may have just been riding the wave of a totally different evolutionary explosion as PBS Eons explains in this 11-minute video here.



Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Astronomy & Space Science News


The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) might actually be two groups of stars thousand of light years apart.  The two clouds seem one as viewed from Earth because one is behind the other. They are estimated to be 16,000 light years apart. The research, if confirmed, could further calls for a change of name as sixteenth century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, after which the clouds are named, was not an astronomer and is recorded as having murdered and enslaved Indigenous people. (See the pre-print  Murray, C. E. et al (2024) A Galactic Eclipse: The Small Magellanic Cloud is Forming Stars in Two, Superimposed Systems. The Astrophysical Journal  and the review piece  Clery, D. (2024) Magellanic cloud may be two galaxies, not one. Science, vol. 383, p15  as well as the article Astronomers Need to Rename the Magellanic Clouds.)

The first transit detection of methane in the atmosphere of an exo-planet has been made.  The planet, WASP-80b, is a Jupiter-like world that orbits close to a red dwarf to which it is tidally locked. Methane has been detected before on an exoplanet, but by self-luminous, directly imaged exoplanets. This is the first detection made by a transit method in which light from the star. The research was undertaken by using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).  (See Bell, T. J. et al (2023) Methane throughout the atmosphere of the warm exoplanet WASP-80b. Nature, vol. 623, p709-712.)

Saturn's rings could be only a few hundred million years old.  This conclusion is the result of a small team of British and US researchers' computer simulation of the collision of two icy moons analogous to Dione and Rhea. This result affirms that of a previous estimate based on ice accretion as well as another using micro-meteoroid rates. This new work also suggests that new icy moons could eventually form from Saturn's rings.  (See Teodoro, L. F. A. et al (2023) A Recent Impact Origin of Saturn’s Rings and Mid-sized Moons. The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 955, 137.)

How old are Saturn's moons? .  Are Saturn’s regular satellites young or old? And how old are Enceladus’ cratered plains? To answer these questions researchers computed model surface ages of the most heavily cratered terrains on Saturn’s regular icy satellites using new high-resolution outer Solar System evolution simulations, and coupled with improved estimates of the trans-Neptunian objects populations. The output of the simulations allowed there to be a simulated cratering record. Using this and direct observation of Saturn's moons' surfaces, enabled them to estimate the moons' ages. Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea appear to be 4.1 to 4.4 billion years old. The surfaces of Mimas and Enceladus seem to be roughly 200 million years younger but this happens to be what the researchers consider to be the experimental error in their calculations.  (See Wong, E. W. et al (2023) Saturn’s ancient regular satellites. Icarus, vol. 406, 115763.)

Stellar dimming of visible light and infra-red brightening of a star attributed to two planets colliding.  At the end of 2017 and early 2018, the Sun-like star, ASASSN-21qj, seemed to heat up (there was more infra-red) before the heat slowly began to return to normal. Then, at the end of 2021 and into 2022, there was a dimming in the visible part of the star's spectrum. The visible light dimming event came 2.5 years after the infra-red brightening began.  Astronomers combined both optical (from the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT)) and infrared (from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite) observations of ASASSN-21qj for the years before and after this dimming event.  They have a theory as to what might have happened.  They suggest that we are observing the aftermath of a single collision between super-Earths or mini-Neptunes – a so-called giant impact – between 2 and 16 au (astronomical units) from the star (equivalent to between the orbits of Mars and somewhere between Jupiter and Uranus in our Solar System). The collision resulted in a cloud of hot dust and debris that accounted for the infra-red increase. The visible light dimming a few years later was, the astronomers hypothesise, was due to this cloud of debris happening to eclipse the star as viewed from the Earth.  One puzzling aspect is that the star is estimated (though confirmation is required) to be about 300 million years old and this would be after the chaos of planetesimal collision and planetary accretion.  Detecting such collisions is important as these are the first step in attempting to calculate the chances of an Earth-type moon formation: the Earth's Moon is thought to have been important for providing axial tilt stability, hence stable climate conditions for the emergence of complex life. (See  Kenworthy, M. et al. (2023) A planetary collision afterglow and transit of the resultant debris cloud. Nature, vol. 622, p251-4  and the review piece  Melis, C. (2023) Violent collision rocks a young planetary system. Nature, vol. 622, p249-250.)


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Science & Science Fiction Interface

Real life science of SF-like tropes and SF impacts on society


Antimatter falls down, not up.!  SF is replete with exotic forms of matter from H. G. Wells' gravity shielding Cavorite to Avatar's antigravity mineral unobtainium.  So, one question in science is whether or not antimatter falls in a gravitational field or rises. Now, researchers creating antimatter hydrogen (positrons) at CERN have found that antimatter falls with gravity just like matter…  True, they had thought that it would; indeed, if it had fallen up then there would have been Nobels all round.  Nonetheless, this is a useful ticking of a box in physicists' bucket lists.  (See  Anderson, E. K. et al. (2023) Observation of the effect of gravity on the motion of antimatter. Nature, vol. 621, p716-722  and the review piece  Soter, A. (2023) Antimatter falls. Nature, vol. 621, p699-700.)

Human's could become trapped on Earth a Nature piece opines!  The article is about the rapid increase in light pollution from space junk as astronomers have shown that the new BlueWalker 3, outshines all but a handful of the brightest visible stars Yes, space junk and its associated light pollution, is getting to be a problem, but for the most part the article is the same old, same old. (We at SF² Concatenation even had a piece on space junk in our first (print) edition way back in 1987.) However this week's Nature news piece has a decidedly SFnal conclusion: our species might be trapping itself on Earth!
          "Any collisions in orbit will release many pieces of debris travelling at several kilometres per second, which can cause further collisions, and could lead to a runaway collisional cascade referred to as the Kessler syndrome. This is the worst-case scenario: the onset of full Kessler syndrome would prevent the use of communication, weather, science and astronautical satellites in low Earth orbit for decades. And it is unclear whether a spacecraft could even be launched successfully through the debris shell to enable travel to other planets. Humans would effectively be trapped on Earth by space junk, with multiple tonnes of vaporised metal being added to the upper atmosphere every day through re-entry."           The news piece is Lawler, S. (2023) Bright satellites are disrupting astronomy. Nature, vol. 623, p917-8  and the paper that prompted it is Nandakumar, S. et al (2023) The high optical brightness of the BlueWalker 3 satellite. Nature, vol. 623, p938-941.

Western Europe now has its first vertical-launch spaceport.  The spaceport will be at SaxaVord in the Shetland Isles, Great Britain.  Planning permission for this given in 2020. Approval has now been given from the UK's Civil Aviation Authority to begin launches this year (2024).  Britain already has a spaceport. Cornwall Spaceport was the UK's first licensed spaceport, however its rockets are launched horizontally carried by an aircraft. The UK space industry, which is mainly involved in satellite, satellite component and space probe construction, is estimated to be worth £17.5 billion (US$21.5 billion) and supports about 48,800 jobs at 2,200 firms. Scotland itself has 8,500 space sector jobs.

Much of Earth's land will be uninhabitable a quarter of a billion years from now!  Far futures of the Earth is a fairly common trope and, for example, appeared in H. G. Wells' The Time Machine (1895) in which the Sun was large and red and the Earth a hot dusty desert. It now seems that this last might come to pass earlier than the Sun beginning to enter its red giant phase.  In 250 million years time the continents will come together to form the massive supercontinent Pangea Ultima.  The volcanic activity, more carbon dioxide, associated with supercontinent rifting and the increased Sun's brightness (due to it being further along the star's main sequence) will serve to warm the planet. With clouds raining out close to the edge of the supercontinent, its interior will be hot and dry.  A small collaboration of researchers largely based in Europe, has now estimated the climatic conditions of this future Earth.
            They conclude that up to 92% of Earth's land could be uninhabitable to mammals: today about 66% is habitable. The habitable 8% of the supercontinent's would be in two regions closest to the poles at the continent's northern and southern edges. (See Farnsworth, A., et al. (2023) Climate extremes likely to drive land mammal extinction during next supercontinent assembly. Nature Geoscience, vol. 16, p901–908.)

Fantasy's health risk with seΧ toy plastics.  Historically, it has been shown that Between 1995 and 2006, 6,799 adults over 20 years of age sought hospital care in the United States for seΧ toy-related injuries, with reported injuries rates dramatically increasing in the last six years of that study.  A new study now shows that such toys can shed nanoparticles of plastic. The study indicates that seΧ toys can break down into microplastics and the materials contain phthalates that have been associated with health concerns. The researchers worry that some particles may, in theory, be small enough to travel across biological membranes and so enter the body. This study also shows the need for a more detailed exploration of microplastic and chemical exposure from seΧual wellness products and feminine products. (See Sipe, J. M. et al (2023) Bringing seΧ toys out of the dark: exploring unmitigated risks. Microplastics and Nanoplastics, vol. 3, 6.)

Fake science has soared in 2023!  Forget science fiction – which has the decency to define itself clearly as fiction and whose function is to entertain – fake science has been on the rise. This is due scientists' need to publish papers so some journals (called 'paper mills') have been created and are run on the cheap without proper peer-review and due editorial process, enabling papers that are based on un-cited plagiarism, or even made-up data, to be published. Some times papers that are based on un-cited plaguarisation and/or false data make it through to specialised journals, slipping past the peer-review process: peer review does not catch everything. Once papers are published more scientists read them and so the fake ones run the risk of exposure and the journal retracting them.
          Back in 2013 there were over 1,500 retractions of fraudulent papers from genuine journals and this represents around 0.07% of the published literature (less than 1 in 10,000 papers). This increased by a few percent a year but from 2020 the number of retractions has soared almost doubling between the 12 months of 2022 and the first eleven months of 2023. The nationalities of the countries whose scientists have had papers retracted are Saudi Arabia (highest retractions per 10,000 papers published), Pakistan, Russia and China, followed by Egypt, Malaysia, Iran, and India.  However, if conference papers are included China goes into in the lead, with a retraction rate above 30 per 10,000 articles published.

An artificial intelligence (A.I.) has created fake data to support a paper it created promoting (wrongly) one surgical method over another.  Using GPT-4 – the latest version of the large language model on which ChatGPT runs – paired with Advanced Data Analysis (ADA), a model that perform statistical analysis and create data, the A.I. has generated data that incorrectly supports one of two alternate procedures.  The worry is that this will make fake, A.I. generated science papers harder to detect. However, in this case an authenticity protocol revelled that the names of a number of patients in the data did not match their expected gender. In reality, peer review usually does not entail a full data re-analysis and is so unlikely to pick up on well-crafted fake science papers using A. I.  (See  Taloni, A. et al (2023) Large Language Model Advanced Data Analysis Abuse to Create a Fake Data Set in Medical Research. JAMA Ophthalmology  and the news item  Naddaf, M. (2023) ChatGPT Generates Fake Data Set To Support Hypothesis. Nature, vol. 623, p895-6.)

Stephen Fry says that his voice has been stolen by artificial intelligence (AI).  The issue of AI is of concern to both to striking writers and actors.  He said: "They used my reading of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, and from that dataset an AI of my voice was created and it made that new narration [of a history documentary]."

Internet energy consumption set to soar with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  In recent years, data centre electricity consumption has accounted for a relatively stable 1% of global electricity use, excluding cryptocurrency mining. Between 2010 and 2018, global data centre electricity consumption may have increased by only 6% but AI is likely to change all that. A single Google search currently consumes less than a quarter of a Watt hour of power or 900 joules of energy. Conversely, processing a ChatGBT request uses eleven times that. Further an AI powered single Google search consumes over 27 time that of a single 'normal' Google search. AI developers may need to think carefully about the actual need to incorporate AI into online products as they may do more harm than good. (See de Vries, A. (2023) The growing energy footprint of artificial intelligence. Joule, vol. 7, p1-4.)

The first 'A.I.' (artificial intelligence) generated fanzine has been created.  The zine, FaiNZINE, was 'instigated' by Assistant Editor Ahrvid Ingholm (AIngholm – get it?). The zine is 8-pages long with a cover generated by and articles by The articles are – as you would expect – rather bland but it is interesting to see how current A.I. sees fandom (not well at all) and fanzines (basic understanding). Ahrvid has an end-of-zine quarter page piece on how A.I. was used to generate the zine and notes that: 'A.I.s on the 'net are stupid as a lamp post...' The question is when will an A.I. send in a letter-of-comment to an A.I. generated zine…
          Ahrvid released his zine Intermission no.140 a few days before New Year 2024. With a strap headline 'Mr Putin, we wish you a Terrible Xmas & a Crappy New Year'.  His zine is produced for all who support Ukraine in its fight for freedom, rule of law and decency! If you are on Twitter (or whichever letter of the alphabet it is now called) you can follow Ahrvid @SFJournalen.

'A.I.' (artificial intelligence) is named as the word of 2023 by the makers of Collins Dictionary.  Use of the term has quadrupled this year, the publisher said. A.I. chatbot ChatGPT said: "A.I.'s selection as the word of the year by Collins Dictionary reflects the profound impact of artificial intelligence on our rapidly evolving world, where innovation and transformation are driven by the power of algorithms and data."

A.I. capable of role-playing, with an instinct for survival, could pose a threat to humans A.I. researchers suggest!  The UK and US based researchers consider turning an A.I. (artificial intelligence) into an A.I. dialogue agent. These could be trained for self survival. If so, and if they were linked to computer programme (A.I.s using calendars consulting external websites have already been tried) – so having application programming interfaces (APIs) – they could pose a threat to humans. The character of an A.I. that turns against humans to ensure its own survival is, they note, a familiar one. They cite as examples 2001: A Space Odyssey, in the Terminator franchise and in Ex Machina, to name just three prominent examples…. (See Shanahan, M. et al (2023) Role play with large language models. Nature, vol. 623, p493-498.)

A hybrid bio-computer – combining laboratory-grown human brain tissue with conventional electronic circuits – has been built… and it has learned speech recognition!  Artificial Intelligence, cyborgs, replicants, positronic brains, are all allied SF tropes.  Meanwhile, in real life we have in the past built computers part of whose electronic circuitry is based upon neural network structures and we have had computer-to-brain interfaces. This new development is different: it is an artificial intelligence computer made out of both electronic and purely biological components.
          The biological component is a brain organoid. An organoid is a clump of cells created by stem cells next to brain cells taking on the properties of the neighbouring cells. The stem cells grow and multiply turning into brain cells that are in effect similar to brain tissue. (This is different to growing a brain from an embryo.) A high-density multi-electrode array connects the electronic part of the bio-computer with the brain cell organoid. The researchers have only begun to explore the possibilities of this new technology, which they call 'Brainoware', but already they have trained it to recognise and distinguish speech from different speakers as well as solve non-linear equations.  (See the primary research Cai, H. et al (2023) Brain organoid reservoir computing for artificial intelligence. Nature Electronics, vol. 6, p1,032–1,039  and the review piece Tozer, L. (2023) ‘Biocomputer’ combines brain tissue with silicon hardware. Nature, vol. 624, p481.)


And to finally round off the Science & SF Interface subsection, here is a short video…

Could possible civilisations many millions of years ago illuminate our estimation of the number of technological species in the Galaxy?  Now, before you switch off thinking that this is some sort on non-science, this is actually a serious question as PBS Space Time physicist Matt O'Dowd ruminates? The Silurian Hypothesis was put forward in a paper in the International Journal of Astrobiology by Gavin A. Schmidt and Adam Frank and is named after a 1970 episode of Doctor Who where a long-buried race of intelligent reptiles ‘Silurians’ are awakened by an experimental nuclear reactor…  Now, no-one, including Gavin Schmidt, Adam Frank or Matt O'Dowd thinks that there was an ancient race of Silurians but if, as a thought experiment, there was then this would have implications as to how we, say, calculate the Drake equation to estimate the number techno civilisations in the Galaxy.
        The problem is that most of the Earth's surface is tectonically re-worked every 500 million years or so, so that there is very little left that is older than that. One way to look at the problem is to consider what the remains of our civilisation might look like in tens of millions of years time…  You can see the 20 minute video here
        ( The original paper on which this video is based is  Schmidt, G. A. & Frank, A. (2019) The Silurian hypothesis: would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record? International Journal of Astrobiology, vol. 18, p142–150.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

Rest In Peace

The last season saw the science and science fiction communities sadly lose…


Alan J. W. Bell, the TV director, has died aged 85. He directed the much loved, rural, eldster and whimsical comedy, The Last of the Summer Wine sixth series, but his greatest genre contribution is arguably his work on The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy TV series.

Philip N. Benfey, the US molecular biologist, has died aged 70. He is known for his work on transgenic plants, discovering the transcription factor SHORT-HAIR (SHR) and the invention of the fluorescence-activated cell sorter. He founded was Grassroots Biotechnology in 2007. It was a computational biology company that looked at improving plant traits. (It was eventually acquired by Monsanto.) He became an American Society of Plant Biologists 'Pioneer' in 2022.

Peter Betts, the civil servant, has died aged 80 from a malignant brain tumour one year after his diagnosis. He was best known as a climate diplomat, serving as a lead negotiator for the UK and EU and helping deliver the Paris Accord in 2015. He left the civil service in 2018, when Claire Perry O’Neill was climate minister, but was brought back in 2020 as a part-time strategic adviser on the COP26 Glasgow climate summit. In the interim he had been advising a range of global bodies including the International Energy Agency. In 2022 he held a party to mark his impending death. Barack Obama’s chief climate negotiator, Todd Stern, arrived from the US. Birol came from Paris. Francesco La Camera, head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, travelled from Abu Dhabi. Economist Nicholas Stern was there, along with many active in international climate policy development. He was an admirer of Greta Thunberg for keeping climate change high on the public and political agenda. He was critical of China, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, for failing to grasp climate change policies. He was of the view that if we do go above 1.5°C, the message is not to give up: it’s to double down. Along with climate and environmental scientists, he considered the scientific and economic case as overwhelming.

Helena Binns, the Australian SF fan, has died aged 81. She joined the Melbourne Science Fiction Club as a teenager in 1958 and remained active in fandom in the 1960s. She rejoined fandom in the 1990s. She garnered lifetime memberships of Continuum and of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. She was also involved in Star Trek and Tolkien fandom, and – despite being refused entry to science college courses – she was a lifelong member of the Science Association of Australia.

Michael Bishop, the US author, has died aged 78. He has had 15 novels published and some 150 short stories. He was twice awarded the Nebula: in 1981 for 'The Quickening' (Best Novelette) and in 1982 for No Enemy But Time (Best Novel). He also received four Locus Awards and his work has been nominated for numerous Hugo Awards. In July 2009, 'The Pile' was the recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award For Best Short Story of 2008.

Terry Bison, the US author, had died aged 81.  His short story 'Bears Discover Fire' was a hugo and also a Nebula winner. His books included the novelisation of a number of films including: The Fifth Element, Alien Resurrection and Galaxy Quest.

Frank Borman, the US astronaut, has died aged 95.  He commanded Apollo 8’s historic Christmas 1968 flight that circled the moon 10 times and paved the way for the lunar landing the next year.

Richard Bowes, the US author, has died aged 79.  His story 'Streetcar Dreams' won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 1998 and also the Lambda Literary Award in 2000. 'If Angels Fight' won the world Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 2009.  A number of his shorts have been collected in Transfigured Night and Other Stories (2001).

John Burns, the British comics artist, has died aged 85.  John Burns' oeuvre reads like a history of British comics from the mid-1950s through to 2023. His early genre work included Space Family Robinson for Lady Penelope (a spin-off from TV Century 21 and UFO for TV Action and even Dan Dare for the revived Eagle comic (1990-'91).  For 2000AD he drew a number of Judge Dredd strips (1991-2013) but is possibly best known for his work on Nikolai Dante (1999-2012).  Through to the end he was a traditionalist and unlike other artists who submitted their work electronically as PDFs, he physically mailed in his artwork rolled up in tubes.  His final story artwork for 2000AD, 'Nightmare New York', with frequent collaborator Kek-W, will be published posthumously later this year.

(Dame Antonia Susan Duffey) A. S. Byatt, the British author, has died aged 87.  Some of her work had a fantastical element, it merges realism and naturalism with fantasy. She won, among other awards, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award in 2018 and the Shakespeare Prize in 2002. One of her influencers (and friend) was the fantasy author Angela Carter. In 1988 she won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, for her collection The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye which includes a number of mainly folk, fairytale fantasies. She also won the Booker Prize for her 1990 novel Possession.

Fred Chappell, the US author, has died aged 87.  He won two World Fantasy Awards for short fiction, 'The Somewhere Doors' (1992) and 'The Lodger' (1994).

Darrah Chavey, the US fan, has died.  In life he was a maths professor. He was a member of the Beloit Science Fiction and Fantasy Association andwas an active volunteer in putting on WisCon for a number of years.

Phyllis Coates, the US actress, has died aged 96.  Her genre work included the film serial Panther Girl of the Kongo (1955), the TV series Science Fiction Theatre (1955) and the film I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957). However, she is best known for playing Lois Lane in film Superman and the Mole Men (1951) and also the first season of the television series Adventures of Superman (1952–1953). Among many other films and TV episodes, she went on to play Lois Lane's mother in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994).

Jean Combes, the amateur naturalist, has died aged 91. She is noted (and received an OBE) for her contributions to phenology by recording over the years when the oak buds (comes into leaf) in spring: the warmer the year the earlier the first bud dates.

D. (David) G. Compton, the British SF author, aged 93.  He used the name Guy Compton for his earlier crime novels and the pseudonym Frances Lynch for his Gothic novels.  His 1970 novel The Steel Crocodile was short-listed for a Nebula Award. The 1983 film Brainstorm is strikingly similar in content to Compton's 1968 novel Synthajoy. He also garnered the SFWA Author Emeritus status in 2007.

David Drake, the US author, has died aged 78. He collaborated on series with Eric Flint and S. M. Stirling. A number of his shorts were collected in Hammers Slammers (1979). He founded the small press, Carcosa, with Karl Edward Wagner (editor) and James Groce and this garnered a World Fantasy Award in 1976. Arguably, his best-known solo work is the Hammer's Slammers series of military science fiction. His newer Republic of Cinnabar Navy series are space operas inspired by the Aubrey–Maturin novels. During 1997, Drake began his largest fantasy series, 'Lord of the Isles', using elements of Sumerian religion and medieval technology. In 2007, he completed the series with its ninth volume. He authored and co-authored over 80 books.

William B. Ellern, the aerospace engineer and SF author, has died aged 89, two weeks before what would have been his 90th birthday. In July 1965 he asked for, and received, permission from E. E. Smith to extend the 'Lensman' series of novels. He was a member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and served a term on its board of directors.

Steve Ellison, the British fan has died.  He was a long-term regular at the Festival of Fantastic Films.

David Elliott, the British TV director, has died aged 92.  He worked on a number of Gerry Anderson series The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-'58) Four Feather Falls (1960), Supercar (1961-'2), Fireball XL5 (1962-'3), Stingray (1964-'5) and episodes of Thunderbirds (1965-'6). He, with Anderson, decided to shoot Stingray in colour at a time when TV was still black and white. At one time, Anderson's production company, AP Films, was Britain's the largest consumer of colour film. He left Thunderbirds in 1966, after falling out with Anderson over their successful sound effects company. He then went to the BBC as an editor where his genre work included Adam Adamant Lives! and Doctor Who. From there on, he largely worked editing documentaries before retiring in 2001. However, he directed a special anniversary episode of Thunderbirds in 2015.

Albert Eschenmoser, the Swiss biochemist, has died aged 97.  he is noted, along with a collaborating research team, for having synthesised vitamin B12. He is also known for elucidating the nature and properties of nucleic acid structure. (Watson and Crick discovered the structure but Eschenmoser elucidated its structural properties.) He noted that that the helical shape of double-stranded DNA is a direct consequence of the sugar ring’s five-carbon structure. He observed that DNA’s helical shape allows it to achieve optimal base-pair stacking distances and selects purine-pyrimidine pairings over purine-purine pairings, and that Watson-Crick pairing rules arise not only from the constitutions of the nucleic acid bases but also from the structure of the sugar backbone. He received many awards, including the Wolf Prize (1986), the Roger Adams Award (2003) and the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2008).

Bernie Evans, the British SF fan, has died aged 77. Her fanzine was It Must Be the Sixties -- Bernie's Pregnant!. She also chaired Novacon 17 in 1987 and Novacon 20 in 1990.

Bertil Falk, the Swedish editor, author, TV journalist and SF scholar, has died aged 90.  In Swedish SF terms he is perhaps best known for his three-volume history of SF in the Swedish SF language, Faktasin, though internationally perhaps it is his Feroze Gandhi biography that was written in English and well received in India.  In the late 1960s he re-launched Jules Verne-Magasinet that was originally founded in the 1940s. In 1987 he became a TV journalist based in London for the Swedish TV3 satellite channel that then broke the Swedish state TV monopoly.  For several years from the late 1990s he edited D.A.S.T. (Detective Agent Science fiction Thriller) magazine.  He also authored many non-fiction and fiction, including SF, books.

Michael Flynn, the US author, has died aged 76. He was short-listed seven times for the Hugo mainly in the novella and novelette category but also for the novel Eifelheim (2007). He twice won a Prometheus Award: for In the Country of the Blind and Fallen Angels, the latter being co-written with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Richard Franklin, the British actor, has died aged 87.  His significant genre contribution was playing the character, co-created by Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman, Captain Mike Yates of UNIT in 42 episodes of Doctor Who, principally the Jon Pertwee Doctor. He invariably appeared with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (played by Nicholas Courtney).

Sir Michael Gambon CBE, the Irish-British actor, has died aged 82. He has had a long and distinguished career that has included contributing to a number of genre productions.  In television, his genre works included: The Singing Detective (1986); The Wind in the Willows (1995); and Doctor Who Christmas special: 'A Christmas Carol' (2010).  His genre films included: Sleepy Hollow (1999); Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001); Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004); The Omen (2006); The Book of Eli (2010); Paddington (2014); Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017); and Johnny English Strikes Again (2018).  Notably, following the death in 2002 of Richard Harris, he took over the role of Albus Dumbledore and played the part for six Harry Potter films. He gave a slight Irish lilt to Dumbledore, which was appropriate given Richard Harris' Irish connections. However reportedly the final Potter film's director did not find the accent convincing and so he dropped it (despite Michael Gambon being born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised there for six years).  Of television note, early in the Clarkeson/May/Hammond years of the BBC TV show Top Gear Michael Gambon took the final corner of the show's race track so fast that the car was on two wheels. That corner was thereafter known as Gambon.

Ian Gibson, the British comic book artist, has died aged 77.  He was known especially for his work with the weekly comic 2000AD (the Galaxy's greatest comic) contributing continuously from its founding year, 1977, through to 2008. He drew for a number of 2000AD strips including:  Tharg the MightyAce Trucking Co.,  a couple of Tharg's Future Shocks,  and over two score Judge Dredd stories, many of them jointly scripted by John Wagner and Alan Grant.  Arguably his most famous work for 2000AD was the art for the Alan Moore scripted The Ballad of Halo Jones.  He also worked on several Star Wars titles for Dark Horse Comics.

Keith Giffen, the US writer and comics artist, has died aged 70.  He was known for his work for DC Comics on The Legion of Super-Heroes and Justice League titles as well as for being the co-creator of Lobo, Rocket Raccoon and Jaime Reyes.  He took a break from the comic industry for several years, working on storyboards for television and film, including shows such as The Real Ghostbusters and Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.  He received an Inkpot Award in 1991.

Mark Goddard, the US actor, has died aged 87.  His genre contributions include playing a detective in the series Strange Invaders (1983). He is probably best known for playing Major Don West on Lost in Space (1965 – 1968).

Eva Hauser, the Czech SF fan and author, has died aged 69. She also edited her personalzine Wild Sharkaaah (1990–1) on the strength of this, she won the 1992 GUFF (Get Up and Under Fan Fund) Race. She was one of the editors of the monthly prozine Ikarie. She largely gafiated in the 1990s. As to her pro writing, in 1988 she garnered a Karel Capek Award for 'best novella'.

Roger Hill, the US comics fan has died aged 75.  During the 1990s he was the comic art advisor to the Sotheby’s Comic Book and Comic Art auctions in New York City (USA).  His own fanzine the EC Fan Addict Fanzine saw its fifth issue from Fantagraphics in November 2023, and a sixth, posthumous issue is due out in June 2024. His books include Wally Wood: Galaxy Art and Beyond (2016).

Saleemul Huq OBE, the Bangladesh botanist turned climate impact scientist, has died aged 71.  Having trained in botany at Imperial College London, he turned to studying the impacts of climate change. He attended all the climate conferences of the parties (COPs) up until his death. At these he championed the creation of a ‘loss and damage’ fund which initially garnered pledges from developed nations amounting to US$700 million (£552 m) a month before his passing. He also contributed to the third, fourth and fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessments. He was awarded 2020 National Environment Award by the Government of Bangladesh for his contribution to the development of the environment. He received an OBE from the Queen in 2022.

Evelyn Keller, the US physicist, has died aged 87. Her early work looked at the intersection of physics with mathematical biology. However as her career developed she began looking at the issues and barriers female scientists faced. Her books include Feminism and Science (1996), Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines (2002) and Making Sense of My Life in Science: A Memoir (2023). Late in her career, she turned to environmental issues and with Philip Kitcher wrote The Seasons Alter: How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts (2017).

James Hosek, the US author, has died aged 59.  A veterinarian in real life he also wrote veterinary mysteries as well as SF. He served a term from 2017 administering the SFWA's Nebula Award. He was also a particular fan of Doctor Who

Pete Kozachik, the US visual effects artist and cinematographer, has died aged 72.  His work had a recognisable style. He worked on films such as style to stop-motion animation classics including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Inner Space, Corpse Bride, Starship Troopers, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, James and the Giant Peach and Coraline. He was short-listed for an 'cinematography' Oscar in 1994 for his work on Nightmare Before Christmas

Donald Longmore, the British surgeon and clinician, has died aged 95. He is noted for having been one of the team that performed Britain's first heart transplant in 1968. Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1999 New Year Honours, "for services to Magnetic Resonance Scanning".

Emmanuel Lotem, the Israeli SF/F translator, has died aged 80. He translated into Hebrew over 400 works including those by Tolkien, Herbert and Crichton, as well as non-fiction by Stephen Hawking. He was one of the founders of the Israeli Association for Science Fiction and Fantasy and headed it for a number of years. As such he was one of the founding fathers of the Israeli SF community.

David McCallum, the British actor, has died aged 90.  Arguably he is best known for playing the Russian, UN spy law enforcer Ilya Kuryakin in the techno-thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E (1964–'68) for which he was twice short-listed for an Emmy.  In 1986 he reunited with U.N.C.L.E.'s co-star Robert Vaughn in an episode of The A-Team entitled 'The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair', complete with "chapter titles", the word "affair" in the title, the phrase "Open Channel D", and similar scene transitions.  He also played Flight Lt. Simon Carter in the hit BBC series Colditz (1972-'74).  Of genre note, he starred in The Invisible Man (1975-'76) as Dr Daniel Weston, as well as starring in Sapphire & Steel (1979–1982) as a pan dimensional investigator. His bit parts included an episode of Babylon 5 as Dr Vance Hendricks., 4 episodes of Team Knight Rider as Mobius.  In the 1970s, he recorded three H. P. Lovecraft stories for Caedmon Records. He also voiced Alfred in a number of Batman animation films. Recently, he came to a new generation as the forensic medical examiner Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard in the US comedy police drama NCIS (2003-2023). It was a role he took to heart and spent much time studying forensic biology including attending symposia, so much so that he was almost considered to be the show's biomedical science advisor. He also starred in episodes of the sci-fi anthology series The Outer Limits: 'The Sixth Finger' (1963), playing an ordinary man who volunteers to undergo evolutionary advancement at accelerated speed; 'The Forms of Things Unknown' (1964); and 'Feasibility Study' (1997).  He appeared in an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man 'Wine, Women and War' (1973).  He was short-listed for an Emmy for his role in The Great Escape (1963).  He was also an accomplished musician and made a number of records.  Channel D remains open…

Ken Mattingly, the US astronaut, has died aged 87. He was scheduled to fly on the Apollo 13 mission, but three days prior to launch, he was replaced by Jack Swigert because he was exposed to German measles (which Mattingly did not contract). Mattingly later flew as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 16 and made 64 lunar orbits, making him one of 24 people to fly to the Moon. He, and his commander from Apollo 16, John Young, are the only people to have flown to the Moon and also a Space Shuttle mission.  He was portrayed by actor Gary Sinise in the 1995 film Apollo 13 and by Zeljko Ivanek in the 1998 HBO Miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.

Olexandr Mokrovolsky, the Ukrainian translator, has died aged 77. Among those of whose works he translated were: Richard Adams, Brian Aldiss, Eoin Colfer, Neil Gaiman and J. R. R. Tolkien. Having worked for three years as a translator at the Cherkasy Chemical Plant after which he worked as an editor at the Veselka and Dnipro publishing houses in Kyiv for about 15 years. He was also an artist and photographer and some of his photographs and paintings are on display at the Irpin Museum of History and Local Lore. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, he did not leave Irpin even during the fierce Battle of Irpin. A couple of weeks before his passing his latest book, one of poetry Sonnet Against the Empire, was published as part of the Kyiv Book Weekend. He leaves a daughter who is currently abroad because of Russia's invasion.

Jason Morgan, the US geophysicist, died over the summer aged 87.  He is best known for being part of a cadre of scientists who, in the mid-1960s developed what had been Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift (1930). Various scientists in the 1960s developed separate as well as independently proposing the same, aspects of the theory. Jason Morgan's contribution was his proposing that the Earth's crust is dived into 12 rigid plates and that it was these plates growing and subducting through plate tectonics that result in continental drift. Following graduation and two years at the navy teaching nuclear physics, he went to Princeton University and obtained his doctorate. He spent his entire career at Princeton aside from his last years living outside Boston as a visiting scholar at Harvard University in Cambridge.

Marilyn (Fuzzy Pink) Niven, the US fan, has died aged 83.  She was a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society having joined in 1968.  She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI) Inc., which is currently bidding for the 2026 Worldcon. She has also been the Hugo Award-winning author, Larry Niven's wife for 54 years.

John O’Connell, the US author, has died aged 54.

Piotr ‘Raku’ Rak, the Polish SF fan, has died aged 61. He was a fanzine editor and conrunner. Active in Polish fandom since the 1970s, he was a founding member and leading light of the Silesian Fantasy Club. He was also well known in Czech fandom.

C. R. Rao, the Indian statistician, has died aged 102.  He trained as a mathematician but went on to specialise in statistics. His work focused on the statistical estimator, a rule for calculating an estimate of a given quantity. (The sample mean, for example, is a routinely used estimator of the population mean.) The Cramér-Rao lower bound derives the minimum possible variance of an unbiased estimator in finite samples.  Conversely, the Rao-Blackwell theorem provides a blueprint for automatically improving the efficiency of an estimator. His books included Advanced Statistical Methods in Biometric Research (1952) and Linear Statistical Inference and Its Applications (1965). His awards include: the Padma Vibhushan in 2001, India’s second highest public award; he US National Medal of Science in 2002; and the International Prize in Statistics in 2023, which is regarded as the Nobel Prize in the field of statistics

Mark Samuels, the British author, has died aged 56.  He wrote weird and fantastic fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft. A number of his short stories are collected in The White Hands and Other Weird Tales (2003). His last novel was Witch-Cult Abbey (2021). His works were short-listed four times for the British Fantasy Award.

Mankombu Swaminathan, the Indian agricultural biologist, biological conservationist and politician, has died aged 98.  Early in his career, he conducted basic research related into potato, wheat and rice. Following the death of his father when Swaminathan was 11, he stayed with his uncle's extended family. From childhood, he interacted with farming and farmers; his extended family grew rice, mangoes, and coconut, and later expanded into other areas such as coffee.  There he saw the impact that fluctuations in the price of crops had on his family, including the devastation that weather and pests could cause to crops as well as incomes, and as a teenager he witnessed the impacts of the Bengal famine of 1943 (arguably aggravated by British rule). He completed a BSc in zoology but went on to undertake postgraduate studies in agriculture. Social pressure saw him complete examinations for the civil services. He then spent a few years in the Netherlands, Germany and Britain before a year and a half in the USA. He returned to India in 1954 and worked in a number of agricultural research Institutes. There he developed high-yield cultivars of various crops. Notably he developed IR-64, a rice variety that yielded up to 24% more grain than an earlier strain.  He coined the term "Evergreen Revolution" in 1990 to describe his vision of productivity in perpetuity without associated ecological harm.  He has been called the main architect of the green revolution in India.  After a number of years as a scientific advisor to Parliamentarians, he sat for one term (2007 – 2013) in India's Parliament during which he put forward a bill for the recognition of women farmers in India.  He has garnered many honours including: the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, first World Food Prize in 1987, and the Albert Einstein World Science Award.  On winning the World Food Prize he said: "As we depart for dinner this evening, what could be a more satisfying and joyful feeling than knowing that every other member of the human family will also go to bed after a nourishing meal? Until such a wholly attainable world becomes a reality, our task remains unfinished.”

Endel Tulving, the Estonian turned Canadian psychologist, has died aged 96.  He is known for challenging the idea of memory as simple stimulus-response associations. In 1966, he showed that learners impose subjective organisation onto new information. In 1973, he revealed the 'encoding specificity principle': retrieval cues’ capacity to elicit memories depends on matching encoding conditions.  Distinguishing semantic memory (general knowledge of the world) and episodic memory (personally experienced unique events) was arguably Tulving’s most far-reaching contribution. Up to then the prevailing view was that long-term memory was unitary. With colleagues in 1982 they found that recognition memory, like other explicit memory types, declines over time, but priming effects (things that trigger the recollection of a memory) do not. During one lecture at an international conference, he had a student cross the stage dressed in a gorilla costume to make the point that novelty is key to making episodic memories endure.  Among a number of awards and prizes he has gathered was the Officer of the Order of Canada, that nation’s most prestigious civilian honour.

Natalia Vitko, the Russian SF book editor, has died aged 75.  In addition to her editorial work for a number of publishing houses, she was an organiser of the St. Petersburg Fantastic Assembly SF critics’ convention.  It is not known whether she supported Putin's invasion of Ukraine (expressing dissenting views is illegal in Putin's Russia), but we are given to understand that Ukrainian SF fans mourn her passing.

Don Walsh, the US navy officer, has died aged 92.  He is noted, along with Jacques Piccard, for making the first descent into the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean: 35,798 feet.

Ed Young, the Chinese born US illustrator, has died aged 91.  He illustrated and wrote children's books, a number of which were fantasy. In both 1992 and 2000 he was short-listed for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award. In 2018 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators.

Nikolay Yutanov, the Russian publisher of SF, has died aged 64. During his long career, he ended up heading the Russian publishing house of Terra Fantastica. He was also a novelist in his own right and an organiser of the annual Congress of Russian SF Writers. It is not known whether or not he is a supporter of Putin's invasion of Ukraine (a number of Russian SF/F authors actively support Putin) but we are given to understand that many Ukrainian SF fans consider him a remarkable person in post-Soviet SF and publishing.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Spring 2024

End Bits & Thanks



Well, that is 2023 done and dusted.  2023 was..:-

          The 10th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
                    London Falling by Paul Cornell
                    Abaddon's Gate by James S. Corey
                    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
                    The Demi-Monde Fall by Rod Rees
                    On the Steel Breeze by Alastair Reynolds
                    The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

          the 10th anniversary of the passing of Richard Matheson and Frederik Pohl

          the 10th anniversary of the second Kiev Eurocon the World Fantasy Convention held in Britain and the LoneStarCon 3 Worldcon.

          The 10th anniversary of the films:-
                    The Colony (trailer here)
                    Dragon Day (trailer here)
                    11 A.M. (trailer here)
                    Elysium (trailer here)
                    Gravity (trailer here)
                    John Dies at the End (trailer here)
                    Snowpiercer (trailer here)
                    The World's End (trailer here)

          The 20th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson
                    Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster
                    Ilium by Dan Simmons
                    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (collected edition) by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
                    Scarlet Traces by Ian Eddington & D’Israeli

          The 20th anniversary of the passing of Hal Clement and Don Lawrence.

          The 20th anniversary of the films:-
                    The Return of the King
                    Terminator III

          The 20th anniversary of the Torcon III, Toronto Worldcon the 2nd International Week of Science Fact and Fiction held in Timisoara, Romania.

          The 30th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Moving Mars by Greg Bear
                    Rama Revealed by Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee
                    Virtual Light by William Gibson
                    Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
                    The Moat Around Murcheson’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
                    Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
                    Across Realtime (collected edition) by Vernor Vinge
                    A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

          The 30th anniversary of the films:-
                    Batman Returns
                    Body Snatchers
                    Demolition Man
                    Jurassic Park

          The 30th anniversary of the broadcast of:-
                    Babylon V
                    The X-Files

          The 30th anniversary of the joint Eurocon and Eastercon in Jersey, the Channel Islands.

          The 40th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
                    Blood Music by Greg Bear
                    Startide Rising by David Brin
                    The Citadel of the Autarch (of the 'Book of the New Sun' by Gene Wolfe

          The 40th anniversary of the films:-
                    The Dead Zone
                    Return of the Jedi
                    War Games

          The 50th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Billion Year Spree by Brian Aldiss
                    The Stone That Never Came Down by John Brunner
                    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
                    Ocean on Top by Hal Clement
                    'The Roller Ball Murders' by William Harrison
                    Hellstrom’s Hive by Frank Herbert
                    Tyranopolis by A. E. van Vogt

          The 50th anniversary of the films:-
                    Frankenstein Unbound
                    The Legend of Hell House
                    Phase IV
                    The Sleeper
                    Soylent Green

          The 50th anniversary of the comic strip character:-
                    Red Sonja in Conan The Barbarian no.23
                    Howard the Duck

          The 50th anniversary of the broadcast of:-
                    Kolchak: The Night Stalker
                    Genesis II

          The 50th anniversary of the play The Rocky Horror Show

          The 50th anniversary of the first mobile (cell) phone call made in New York, USA

And 2023 is the 60th anniversary of Clifford D. Simak's (US) duel – Hugo and Nebula – award-winning Way Station (overdue for a British reprint), Kurt Vonnegut's (US) Cat's Cradle and Walter Tevis' (US) The Man Who Fell to Earth, not to mention the films The Birds (US), La Jetée (France) and Children of the Damned (Britain). Of course for us, one of the big anniversaries will also be a 60th but for the still on-going SF series Dr Who (Britain) for which the Beeb Beeb Ceeb held a celebration….


And now we are firmly into 2024 and a number of other anniversaries.  2024 will be..:-

          The 10th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    War Dogs by Greg Bear
                    The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
                    War Dogs by Greg Bear
                    Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
                    Queen of the Dark Things by Robert Cargill
                    The Peripheral by William Gibson
                    Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
                    The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock
                    Lagoon by Nnedi Okorarafor
                    The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
                    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
                    Seal of the Worm by Adrian Tchaikovsky
                    The Martian by Andy Weir (first commercial release)

          The 20th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Cowl by Neal Asher
                    Beyond Infinity by Gregory Benford
                    Time's Eye by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
                    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
                    Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley
                    River of Gods by Ian McDonald
                    Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
                    The Well of Stars by Robert Reed
                    Heaven by Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen

          The 20th anniversary of the release of:-
                    The Incredibles

          The 20th anniversary of the broadcast of:-
                    Battlestar Galactica

          The 30th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Feersum Endjinn by Iain Banks
                    Matter's End by Gregory Benford
                    Otherness by David Brin
                    Permutation City by Greg Egan
                    The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues by Harry Harrison
                    Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress
                    Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

          The 30th anniversary of Carl Sagan using the Galileo probe to detect life and possible intelligence on Earth.

          The 40th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Neuromancer by William Gibson
                    Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert
                    Heechee Rendezvous by Frederik Pohl
                    The Merchants’ War by Frederik Pohl
                    The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson
                    Null-A Three by A. E. van Vogt
                    The Peace War by Vernor Vinge

          The 40th anniversary of the release of:-
                    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
                    The Terminator

          The 50th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    The Fall of Chronopolis by Barrington J. Bayley
                    The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner (foretelling the internet, ID theft and computer viruses)
                    The Fall of Colossus by D. F. Jones
                    Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
                    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
                    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
                    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
                    Inverted World by Christopher Priest

          The 50th anniversary of the release of:-
                    Damnation Alley
                    Dark Star
                    Flesh Gordon
                    The Stepford Wives

          The 50th anniversary of :-
                    The discovery of Lucy, the 3.18 million year old human precursor species.

          The 60th anniversary of the release of:-
                    Doctor Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

          The 75th anniversary of the publication of:-
                    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
                    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

          The 75th anniversary of the release of:-
                    Mighty Joe Young
                    The Perfect Woman

          The 75th anniversary of the first 7-inch (175 mm) 45 rpm vinyl record.

          The 100th anniversary of the first BBC radio play broadcast and the first cryptic crossword puzzle in a newspaper.

          The 200th anniversary of the discovery of the first dinosaur bone fossil by William Buckland


More science and SF news will be summarised in our Summer 2024 upload in April
plus there will also be 'forthcoming' summer book releases, plus loads of stand-alone reviews. (Remember, these season's relate to the northern hemisphere 'academic year'.)


Thanks for information, pointers and news for this seasonal page goes to: Ansible, Fancylopaedia, File 770, Silviu Genescu, various members of North Heath SF, Julie Perry (Google Scholar wizard), SF Encyclopaedia, SFX Magazine, Boris Sidyuk, Peter Tyers, and Peter Wyndham, not to mention information provided by publishers. Stories based on papers taken from various academic science journals or their websites have their sources cited.  Additional thanks for news coverage goes to not least to the very many representatives of SF conventions, groups and professional companies' PR/marketing folk who sent in news. These last have their own ventures promoted on this page.  If you feel that your news, or SF news that interests you, should be here then you need to let us know (as we cannot report what we are not told). :-)

Thanks for spreading the word of this seasonal edition goes to Ansible, File 770, Silviu Genescu, Caroline Mullan, and Peter Wyndham.

News for the next seasonal upload – that covers the Summer 2024 period – needs to be in before 15th March 2024. News is especially sought concerns SF author news as well as that relating to national SF conventions: size, number of those attending, prizes and any special happenings.

To contact us see here and try to put something clearly science fictional in the subject line in case your message ends up being spam-filtered and needs rescuing.

Be positive
– Help spread SF news to fellow enthusiasts –
Bookmark as appropriate below

Or alternatively

Very many thanks. Meanwhile feel free to browse the rest of the site; key links at the bottom, below.

Want to be kept abreast of when we have something new?
Should you wish, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.


[Up: Science Fiction News Index | Recent Site Additions | Author Index to Fiction & Non-Fiction Book Reviews | Home Page: Concatenation]

[ Year's Film & Convention Diary | One Page SF Futures Short Stories | SF Convention Reviews | SF Film Charts | Articles | Whimsy with Gaia ]

[Originally posted 24.1.15 | Contact | Copyright | Privacy Editorial | Site Origins/History]