The Qwillery | category: Aliette de Bodard


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners have been announced. The Awards were presented during the SFWA Nebula Conference, May 16 - 19, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Winners in green.

2018 Nebula Award Winners

Best Novel
  • The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
  • Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
  • Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  • Witchmark, C.L. Polk ( Publishing)
  • Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Best Novella
  • Fire Ant, Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi)
  • The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
  • Alice Payne Arrives, Kate Heartfield ( Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Kelly Robson ( Publishing)
  • Artificial Condition, Martha Wells ( Publishing)

Best Novelette
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander ( Publishing)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”, Tina Connolly ( 7/11/18)
  • “An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
  • “The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births”, José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed 1/18)
  • “The Rule of Three”, Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
  • “Messenger”, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and R.R. Virdi (Expanding Universe, Volume 4)

Best Short Story
  • “Interview for the End of the World”, Rhett C. Bruno (Bridge Across the Stars)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
  • “Going Dark”, Richard Fox (Backblast Area Clear)
  • “And Yet”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 3-4/18)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/6/18)
  • “The Court Magician”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy”, Written by: Megan Amram
  • Black Panther, Written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
  • A Quiet Place, Screenplay by: John Krasinski and Bryan Woods & Scott Beck
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Screenplay by: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
  • Dirty Computer, Written by: Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
  • Sorry to Bother You, Written by: Boots Riley

Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
  • Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt; Macmillan)
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time, Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
  • A Light in the Dark, A.K. DuBoff (BDL)
  • Tess of the Road, Rachel Hartman (Random House)
  • Dread Nation, Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword, Henry Lien (Henry Holt)

Best Game Writing
  • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker (House of Tomorrow & Netflix)
  • The Road to Canterbury, Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
  • God of War, Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, and Adam Dolin (Santa Monica Studio/Sony/Interactive Entertainment)
  • Rent-A-Vice, Natalia Theodoridou (Choice of Games)
  • The Martian Job, M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)

Solstice Award

Neil Clarke and Nisi Shawl

Kevin J. O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award

Lee Martindale

Damon Knight Grand Master

William Gibson

2018 BSFA Awards

The Winners of the 2018 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards have been announced. at Ytterbium, the 70th Eastercon. Winners in green.

2018 BSFA Awards
Best Novel
2018 BSFA Awards
Best Shorter Fiction

Best Novel
  • Europe at Dawn by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
  • Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Before Mars by Emma Newman  (Ace Books)
  • Embers of War by Gareth L Powell (Titan Books)
  • Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Orbit)

Best Shorter Fiction
  • The Gift of Angels: an Introduction by Nina Allan (Clarkesworld)
  • The Purpose of the Dodo is to be Extinct by Malcolm Devlin (Interzone #275)
  • The Land of Somewhere Safe by Hal Duncan (NewCon Press)
  • Time Was by Ian McDonald (
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (
  • Phosphorus by Liz Williams (NewCon Press)
  • Kingfisher by Marian Womack (Lost Objects, Luna Press)

Best Non-Fiction
  • Nina Allan’s Time Pieces column 2018 articles (Interzone)
  • Ruth EJ Booth’s Noise and Sparks column 2018 articles (Shoreline of Infinity)
  • Liz Bourke’s Sleeps With Monsters column 2018 articles (
  • Aliette de Bodard – On motherhood and erasure: people-shaped holes, hollow characters and the illusion of impossible adventures (Intellectus Speculativus blog) [link]
  • Adam Roberts – Publishing the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance (Cambridge University Press)

Best Artwork
  • Ben Baldwin’s wraparound cover for ‘Strange Tales’ slipcase set (NewCon Press)
  • Joey Hi-Fi’s cover for ‘Paris Adrift’ by EJ Swift (Solaris)
  • Sarah Anne Langton’s cover for ‘Unholy Land’ by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications)
  • Sing Yun Lee and Morris Wild’s artwork for ‘Sublime Cognition’ conference (London Science Fiction Research Community)
  • Likhain’s In the Vanishers’ Palace: Dragon I and II (Inprnt)
  • Bede Rogerson’s cover for ‘Concrete Faery’ by Elizabeth Priest (Luna Press)
  • Del Samatar’s artwork for ‘Monster Portraits’ by Sofia and Del Samatar (Rose Metal Press)
  • Charlotte Stroomer’s cover for ‘Rosewater’ by Tade Thompson (Orbit)

Interview with Aliette de Bodard

Please welcome Aliette de Bodard to The Qwillery. In the Vanishers' Palace is out today from JABberwocky Literary Agency.

Please join all of us at The Qwillery in wishing Aliette a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Aliette de Bodard

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Aliette:  Hello and thank you for having me! My first fiction piece was an illustrated story about people going to rescue the daughter of the Cat Emperor of the Universe. I was 12 when I wrote it, and what I mostly remember is that the illustrations were terrible. I probably decided then and there that while writer might be a career for me, illustrator was definitely not.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Aliette:  I am most definitely a plotter. I just find it impossible to write anything if I don't have an idea of where it's going and how I get there. It gets worse for novels, where I need a detailed list of scenes and chapters and an order to them. I tend to do a big outlining phase that consumes about half my writing time for a piece, where I obsessively write the outline with a lot of details. Then I write pretty quickly after that. I'm not saying I stick to the outline, mind you! I certainly deviate from it quite significantly when I'm writing, but when that happens I'll stop and redo the outline rather than forge on, and only then will I continue writing.

TQYou've written (so far) 3 series - the Obsidian and Blood Trilogy, the Universe of Xuya, and the Dominion of the Fallen with the 3rd novel in this series out next year. Has you're writing process changed from when you wrote your first published novel to now?

Aliette:  I think the main way in which my process has changed is that I've accepted that I can be flexible with it? When I first started writing, the process was very much this lifeline I clung to. Having a detailed outline was the only thing that was going to prevent my novel from turning into a smoking crater, and if I even so much as slightly deviated from it I'd be lost. Now that I've got more books under my belt, I know that on some level I'm capable of making a novel and that it's not the end of the world if I don't exactly follow the outline. That said, I also know how much I can deviate from the process: I know that if I don't follow the outline at some point in the very near future I'll have to pause and re-plot, or I'll end up frustrated and unable to write!

TQYour most recent work is In the Vanishers' Palace, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. What attracted you to this fairy tale?

Aliette:  I've always been attracted to Beauty and the Beast. I think it's partly because the Disney version came out when I was a kid and was one of the first movies I can remember going to the theatre for, and partly because it's about love in spite of physical appearance, and love triumphing against all obstacles. It's a very old and very powerful tale. At the same time, while I love it to bits, I recognise that it's deeply problematic when it comes to consent: Beauty falls in love with her kidnapper and her jailer, and the huge power imbalance between them isn't ever really acknowledged. I wanted to retell this story, but in a way that would have a love story that was born of free will and where both parties respected the other's consent. I also wanted to bring into it the Vietnamese elements from my childhood, to make Beauty an impoverished scholar and the Beast a dragon spirit turned fearful and dark.

TQTell us something about In the Vanishers' Palace that is not found in the book description.

Aliette:  The eponymous palace, the one in which Vu Côn (the dragon) lives, was inspired by Escher's artwork. I wanted something creepy and dizzying, and I decided Escher was the perfect match. Every room in the palace, with their infinitely receding perspectives and their architecture where the reader is uncertain where up, down or sideways are, is inspired by one or two different pieces of Escher's.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for In the Vanishers' Palace?

Aliette:  I did a lot of research on Escher (obviously!), on Vietnamese folklore and in particular the traditional tales involving dragons. A bunch of research also went in medicine, because several of the main characters are healers, and the world it's set in is one where random plagues abound, and obviously I needed to make up some plausible diseases people could catch. I also looked into Traditional Chinese/Vietnamese medicine.

TQPlease tell us about the fabulous cover for In the Vanishers' Palace.

Aliette:  The cover was painted by Kelsey Liggett, and designed by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein and Melanie Ujimori. It doesn't depict something from the novel, but rather its overall mood. The main character Yên, my impoverished scholar, is seen wearing an áo dài, a traditional Vietnamese tunic: we picked peach as a colour because it had a nice contrast with the background and it was warm (it's also a very traditional female colour). In background, you see the dragon, Vu Côn--I really like that she's this huge, enormous, threatening shadow, because that's how Yên starts out as perceiving her, before realising there's more to her than meets the eye. But at the same time the huge dark dragon symbolises the darkness at the heart of the tale, and the dangerous secrets in the palace that Yên will have to face, so it's very fitting, in more ways than one, that she's falling through the dragon's coils.

TQDoes In the Vanishers' Palace touch on any social issues?

Aliette:  I didn't mean to touch on any social issues: I basically wrote this book because I wanted to write something that would make me happy and that would be welcoming to my friends. But of course writing is always a political act, and writing a book in which the main characters are two queer Vietnamese women falling in love with each other, and which has several supporting non-binary characters, is not neutral. It says something about which people are being allowed happiness, being allowed escape, being allowed their own stories; and it's a statement all of its own!

TQWhich question about In the Vanishers' Palace do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Aliette:  How did you work out the magic system?

The magic system in In the Vanishers' Palace is language-based, which sounds simple but actually gave me quite a large headache. It's not only language-based, but it's also writing based: magicians need to have the right words and then to write them down (whether in a circle or in the air) before anything happens. It's based on literary allusions, which means that you have to be fairly fluent in poetry and stories before you can put things together: for instance, the words used to summon the dragon, "Fish, River, Gate, Storm", come from a story in which carps leap through a gate located at the top of a waterfall and transform into dragons (who are river and storm spirits).

One of the questions I had to deal with was what form the writing should take, and it wasn't an innocuous one. Vietnamese is written today with an alphabet, but the archaic form of the language used Chinese characters (as in, actual characters taken from Chinese in the days of Chinese domination of Vietnam). In the first version I wrote, the more archaic versions of the magical language used characters, and then I realised that I was erasing the Vietnamese language as it is now, and implying that anything magical was really Chinese, which is a unsatisfactory way of handling things. So I ended up giving everyone a different alphabet: there's one for the mortals and one for the spirits, and a really weird one for the departed race, the Vanishers, one that few people can read anymore.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from In the Vanishers' Palace.

Aliette:  Here are two!

"Something pushed from beneath the water—emerging, lithe and sinuous, a huge, serpentine body, translucent stubs of antlers with the same glow as the moon’s—a mane, scattering droplets of river water as the dragon shook herself, her roar the thunder of a storm that stripped leaves and bark from the trees."

"Because she had to, Yên looked up; and down again, quickly, before she could be overwhelmed. The room stretched and twisted. Rivulets of water ran down on either side of the path leading to the throne where Vu Côn sat, gradually gathering to become a huge river that climbed over the throne and then fell back behind it, a soundless, impossible waterfall. But the rivulets went on and on, receding into the distance and forming another, farther-away waterfall falling on an empty throne, and on and on, repeating without any sign that this pattern ever ended."

TQWhat's next?

Aliette:  I'm going to be a guest at World Fantasy at the end of the month, where I'll be talking safe havens in storms and all things fantasy. Bookwise, I'm working on book 3 of Dominion of the Fallen, which will wrap up the series. It'll be set in the same dark Gothic devastated Paris, and focus on House Harrier, which is a snobbish House divided by class, and which runs into troubles of its own after a mysterious magical explosion. After that I'll be tackling a space opera set in my Xuya universe (which is a galactic empire based on Vietnamese culture, with spaceships who are part of families).

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Aliette:  Thank you very much for having me! Honoured.

In the Vanishers' Palace
JABberwocky Literary Agency, October 16, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 208 pages

Interview with Aliette de Bodard
From the award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen series comes a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets...

About Aliette

Interview with Aliette de Bodard
Photo by Lou Abercrombie
Aliette de Bodard writes speculative fiction: her short stories have garnered her two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and two British Science Fiction Association Awards. She is the author of the Dominion of the Fallen series, set in a turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magical war, which comprises The House of Shattered Wings (2015 British Science Fiction Association Award, Locus Award finalist), and its standalone sequel The House of Binding Thorns (Ace/Gollancz, 2017 European Science Fiction Society Achievement Award, Locus award finalist). She lives in Paris.

Website  ~  Twitter @aliettedb  ~  Facebook

Cosmic Powers, edited by John Joseph Adams

Next month, Saga Press will publish Cosmic Powers: The Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies edited by John Joseph Adams. Check out the Table of Contents below and the gorgeous cover art by Chris Foss.

Cosmic Powers: The Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies
Saga Press, April 18, 2017
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Cosmic Powers, edited by John Joseph Adams
A collection of original, epic science fiction stories by some of today’s best writers—for fans who want a little less science and a lot more action—and edited by two-time Hugo Award winner John Joseph Adams.

Inspired by movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, this anthology features brand-new stories from some of science fiction’s best authors including Dan Abnett, Jack Campbell, Linda Nagata, Seanan McGuire, Alan Dean Foster, Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley, and many others.


2013 Nebula Awards Winners

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America 2013 Nebula Awards winners were announced last evening during the 49th Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, California. Congratulations to all the winners and to the nominees.

Best Novel

Winner:  Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

Best Novella

Winner:  ‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)

‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes ( 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (, 8/13; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

Best Novelette

Winner:  ‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)

‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,’’ Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Best Short Story

Winner:  ‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)

‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Winner:   Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

Winner:  Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award: Michael Armstrong

Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Samuel R. Delany

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners2018 BSFA AwardsInterview with Aliette de BodardCosmic Powers, edited by John Joseph Adams

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