2015 British Fantasy Awards Shortlists

This may not be of interest to everyone but I have found that Scifi fans are frequently fantasy fans. I know I am. So if you are looking for something new read, then what better way than a shortlist of the best British Fantasy? (Apart from perhaps a world shortlist.) Without further ado:

Best Anthology

  • The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2, ed. Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber (The Alchemy Press)
  • Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease, ed. by Joel Lane and Tom Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
  • Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)
  • The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, ed. Mark Morris (Spectral Press)
  • Terror Tales of Wales, ed. Paul Finch (Gray Friar Press)

Best Artist

  • Ben Baldwin
  • Vincent Chong
  • Les Edwards
  • Sarah Anne Langton
  • Karla Ortiz
  • Daniele Serra

Best Collection

  • Black Gods Kiss, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
  • The Bright Day Is Done, Carole Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
  • Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
  • Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)
  • Scruffians! Stories of Better Sodomites, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

  • Cemetery Girl, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden and Don Kramer (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Grandville Noël, Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)
  • Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley (SelfMadeHero)
  • Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)

The Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel

  • Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)
  • City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Moon King, Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
  • The Relic Guild, Edward Cox (Gollancz)

Best Film/Television Episode

  • Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Black Mirror: White Christmas, Charlie Brooker (Channel 4)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)
  • Interstellar, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
  • Under the Skin, Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer (Film4 et al)

The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel

  • The End, Gary McMahon (NewCon Press)
  • The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
  • The Last Plague, Rich Hawkins (Crowded Quarantine Publications)
  • No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)
  • Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel (Knopf)
  • The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best Independent Press

  • The Alchemy Press (Peter Coleborn)
  • Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)
  • NewCon Press (Ian Whates)
  • Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)

Best Magazine/Periodical

  • Black Static, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)
  • Interzone, ed. by Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Lightspeed, ed. John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed Magazine)
  • Sein und Werden, ed. Rachel Kendall (ISMs Press)

The Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer

  • Edward Cox, for The Relic Guild (Gollancz)
  • Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Laura Mauro, for “Ptichka” (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
  • Den Patrick, for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Gollancz)
  • Jen Williams, for The Copper Promise (Headline)

Best Non-Fiction

  • D.F. Lewis Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews, D.F. Lewis (D.F. Lewis)
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror, ed. Jim McLeod (Jim McLeod)
  • Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
  • Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)
  • Sibilant Fricative: Essays & Reviews, Adam Roberts (Steel Quill Books )
  • Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, John Howard (The Alchemy Press)
  • You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green (Snowbooks)

Best Novella

  • Cold Turkey, Carole Johnstone (TTA Press)
  • Drive, Mark West (Pendragon Press)
  • Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)
  • Water For Drowning, Ray Cluley (This Is Horror)

Best Short Story

  • “A Change of Heart”, Gaie Sebold (Wicked Women)
  • “The Girl on the Suicide Bridge”, J.A. Mains (Beside the Seaside)
  • “Ptichka”, Laura Mauro (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
  • “A Woman’s Place”, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)
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Star Trek Beyond

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 11.22.24 am
Star Trek Beyond

It has been rumoured for months but the third Star Trek film of the reboot is going to be called “Star Trek Beyond”. Justin Lin, who is now the director, confirmed it on Twitter along with a new picture. It’s not the most exciting picture, but filming doesn’t start until next week, so I guess they don’t have a lot to share.

The script is by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg and will apparently hark back to the sense of adventure found in the original Star Trek series. I hope so. I suspect it won’t be one of the ones where they visit a planet that has evolved to be exactly like Rome or 1930s Chicago though. Also, Spock’s brain will probably remain in his head. Hopefully it will be something original. Or somewhere in between, like a being that is much more powerful and hard to understand or even better – a fight with a Gorn.

Star Trek Beyond is produced J.J. Abrams and is scheduled for a July 8, 2016 release.

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The Martian

The Martian
The Martian

The Martian is a new film starring Matt Damon. It’s based on the best-selling book The Martian by Andy Weir and the trailer looks pretty damn good. I have to admit, I haven’t read the book but the movie trailer has made me want to. Which reminds me – I need to read more. The Martian – add to basket.

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Fallout 4

Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Bethesda has finally released a Fallout 4 trailer and I am officially very excited. There have been rumours circulating the interweb for years. Fallout 3 came out in 2008 and Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, so we were due something new any decade now.

Although there is no release date at the moment, the world premiere of Fallout 4 will be broadcast live on both Youtube and Twitch on the 14th June at 7pm PST. This is 3am UK time on the 15th. Or 9am in Thailand were I am writing this.

I loved Fallout 3 and New Vegas, (and Oblivion and Skyrim,) and have full faith in Bethesda. I suspect this will be very similar except it will be much bigger, have better graphics, and be set in Boston. Without further ado, here is the Fallout 4 trailer:

 

 

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Minority Report TV show

Minority report TV show
Minority report TV show

I don’t care what you think of me, I quite enjoyed the Minority Report movie. Right up until most of the ending when it all turned to treacle and was all ‘Spielberg-nice-and-huggy-and-happy’ and shite. I hated the end of that film. I would like to have seen Tom Cruise successfully do his thing, but the pre-cogs get caught and go back under into that pool thing, trapped with no freedom but stopping murders and helping society. This way you have a bit of a moral dilemma. Obviously someone like Spock would just say, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. So fuck’em.’ And I guess he’d be right.

I digress, but only a bit. As the title suggests, there is going to be a Minority Report TV show where one of the pre-cogs is roaming around and  gets a bit of a vision but not enough to solve much. Society is going back to being all “murdery” as the pre-cogs had escaped. It seems he will team up with police woman and they will solve crimes. So quirky guy and no-nonense, hot, kickass female cop form an unlikely bond. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Castle, The Mentalist, Sleepy Hollow, etc. I actually enjoy most of the times this pairing happens in TV shows, so I’ll allow it.

This post was originally twice the length as it descended into a rant about big budget scifi being cancelled after a series or two but I will save that treat for another time. Hopefully this will be good and will last. To be fair, it actually looks alright. Here is the Minority Report TV trailer:

 

 

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Syfy and Amblin to make Brave New World TV show

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Syfy channel and Spielberg’s Amblin Television have just announced that they are going to make a TV show based on Aldous Huxley’s superb Brave New World. I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about this – and most of those emotions are negative.

On the one hand, I can’t help but get excited when a novel I like is being turned into a film or TV show. On the other hand, I have been disappointed the vast majority of the time. I know I recently got fairly excited by the prospect of The Expanse coming to TV, but the books are written so visually that I can almost see the TV show in my head. On the third hand, Brave New World is pretty much a novella and short stories can make great TV/films as they can go with the idea and not be too beholden to the source material. On the fourth – alright, bollocks to the whole ‘hand’ thing – another point is the fact that the best novellas are the length they are because they have a precise story in mind that is longer than a short story but has a definite end. A Brave New World has a definite end.

I’m a huge Orwell fan. Animal Farm and 1984  were perfectly complete stories that were far too long for a short story, but not quite book length.  They were the length they needed to be for the finite tale they told. The same goes for the perfectly written The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. (All of these have actually translated quite well into films as the novella is perfect film length.)

I just don’t think a Brave New World will translate into great TV. They should make it a movie or fixed-length mini-series. I guess we shall see.

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New Star Wars Trailer

starwarsThere’s a new Star Wars trailer! Actually it’s a teaser trailer, but it’s quite long so… Ah, who cares. The more Star Wars I see the better. I think this will be the best Star Wars since Empire Strikes Back and have decided to pin all my hopes on it. Like I did with Phantom Menace, which didn’t work out well, but life is all about risk. Plus this also has a couple of characters that… well you’ll see. Without further ado, here is the new Star Wars 7 The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer (to give it the full catchy title). Enjoy.

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New Ant-Man trailer

New Ant-Man trailer
New Ant-Man trailer

I know it sounds like a bizarre comic book hero to choose but Ant-Man will soon be on our screens and the trailer actually looks quite fun. I knew Ant-Man existed but have never read any of the comics because, well it sounded a bit daft. Although I was certainly more aware of Ant-Man than I was of Guardians of the Galaxy and GOTG is now one of my favourite films of all time, and that had a raccoon and a tree as two of its main characters. Marvel’s taking slightly out there comic material and having fun with it.

So take the new Ant-Man trailer with a pinch of salt because that is the tone in which it is meant to be taken. Paul Rudd is generally a pretty funny guy and I think this has potential. Here is the new Ant-Man trailer. Enjoy:

 

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TIE fighter wars short film

TiefighterThis has been all over the internet already but in case you missed it, here is the much discussed TIE fighter wars short film by Paul Johnson. Basically, the premise is to show a Star Wars space battle from the point of view of the Empire and TIE fighter pilots, done in the style of 80s anime. It is superbly animated.

To be honest I am not a 100% keen on the music but given it’s harking back to a Gundam-esque style of animation, I guess it fits.Anyway, who cares. This is great. Go TIE fighters! Go Empire!

 

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Chrononauts optical illusion

First off, take a look at the cover of this new Mark Millar and Sean Murphy comic called Chrononauts. Look at the watch on the left. What do you see? 1 in 15 people will see something different. More on the Chrononauts optical illusion later…

What do you see in the watch face?
What do you see in the watch face?

As I am a bit of a nerd, I still get excited on ‘new comic day’. When I was younger, this meant a trip to the local comic book shop where you would meet all the other cool froods who were similarly into such exciting literature. Now, it just means an email from Comixology letting me know what’s new and then me going online to buy digital copies. But you can still chat to the cool froods in forums and on sites like twitter, which is also where you can find out cool things about the comics and related topics. What’s even better is that the comic artists and writers join in, raising the tone and generally being quite interesting. Which brings me, long-windedly, to the Chrononauts optical illusion.

In the watch face you will see one of the following:

1/ A broken watch face. (What I saw.)

2/ A green hourglass.

Apparently only one person in fifteen will see the hourglass. It’s the comic book fan version of the stupid ‘colour of the dress’ debate. The artist, Sean Gordon Murphy, chimed in on Twitter to explain:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 7.27.20 pmI don’t know if this is a cunning bit of marketing and there is no optical illusion but I thought I would share just in case it true. If it is an evil marketing trick then kudos Mr Murphy, I like your style.

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