Showing posts from May, 2010

A New Coat of Paint

I've made some much-needed changes to AtWQ's layout and functionality.  Not, as this post's title would suggest, to the extent of changing the template--I'd like to, but none of Blogger's other default templates are appealing (I don't even like the default version of my current template, which has a completely different color scheme) and I haven't got the HTML know-how (nor the visual sensibility) to write my own--but still some substantive changes.  Comments, suggestions for further improvements, and other thoughts are welcome. I've replaced the blog's search feature with one powered by Google which, unlike the previous one, seems to actually work.  It claims to be able to search outgoing links and the blogroll, but so far these features don't seem to be working and I may remove them. I've added a recent comments application to the sidebar (after trying Blogger's default widget, which doesn't have the option to display the post t


My review of Kelly Link's YA collection Pretty Monsters appears today in Strange Horizons .  The very concept of a Kelly Link YA collection (and my previous experiences with her YA stories) put me right off, and if the book hadn't been sitting before me at reading week I probably wouldn't have picked it up.  But though, as I conclude in my review, Pretty Monsters is a mixed bag, there are some stories in it that it would have been a terrible shame to miss.

The 2010 Hugo Awards: The Short Story Shortlist

After two years of being a Hugo nominator, I've come to the conclusion that you can have interesting, in-depth discussions of this award and its nominees before they're announced or after, but that there isn't really enough to say to justify doing both.  For example, I've already written at some length about two of the stories on the short story ballot.  Which leaves me not only with less to say but also feeling a little tired of the topic.  After spending several months trawling through a sizable portion of the year's short fiction output, the actual announcement of the shortlists felt like a bit of a letdown.  Even though I have little to complain about, quality-wise, in the short story and novelette categories, the fact that a consensus had been reached about the stories that would be on them some time before the shortlists were announced, and that the shortlists mostly reflect this consensus, takes some of the fun out of writing these reviews.  (The exception,

Horns by Joe Hill

I picked up Joe Hill's second novel, Horns , with the clear understanding that it would be my make-or-break experience with this author.  Hill wowed me with his debut collection, 20th Century Ghosts , a work that sits alongside Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others and Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners on the shelf of essential genre collections of the last decade, whose stories were both of and about the horror genre, constantly asking what it means to write or consume a genre rooted in misery and fear.  If 20th Century Ghosts skewed towards the literary end of the genre, Hill's first novel, Heart-Shaped Box , leaned towards the pulpy end, touching only lightly and with less nuance on the questions that were at the heart of his short stories.  It was a good book , but not a very interesting one, and with Horns I hoped to discover whether the writer Joe Hill wanted to be was one I would want to follow.  My results are mixed.  Horns is a better book--tighter,