Monthly Spec Fix: August


Stuff happened this month, as it's prone to do. Herein lies a roundup of various speculative fiction, SFF related and other bookish news from August. Kerfuffles included.


AUG 4: In which Mr. Robot releases its season 3 trailer (and its status as the best show on TV right now remains unbothered, according to me)

From Vanity Fair:

Ava DuVernay is ushering Octavia Butler’s work into a new era. The director is adapting Butler’s 1987 book Dawn for television, alongside director Victoria Mahoney (a Queen Sugar collaborator) and producer Charles D. King (Fences).

She confirmed the news on Twitter, writing that she is honored “to bring legend Octavia Butler’s stellar work to screen.”

Dawn is the first book in Butler’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy. The futuristic sci-fi tale takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where nearly all humans are gone, and the remaining few have been whisked away by an alien race called the Oankali, who want to breed with them. The story follows Lilith Iyapo, a black woman who wakes up to a new world after being taken by the aliens.

Some winning highlights:

Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)

Best Novella: Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire ( publishing)

Best Novelette: “The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)

Best Short Story: “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)

Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)

Read 10 Hugo Award-winning & nominated stories free online right now ➔

Long story short: There was a kerfuffle of sorts by an author upset at the Twitter dragging some other authors have received, blamed on YA Twitter's "toxic" culture of calling out perceived social justice issues and the blackballing of books that results. Or something. That article sparked the above linked response though, which contains golden nuggets such as this:

"The problem in the YA community isn't criticism, whether vitriolic or benign. It's the systemic exclusion of the stories of marginalized groups as told by marginalized creators," Justina Ireland, author of the upcoming Dread Nation, says. "Any article that aims to tell the full truth of the YA community and doesn't address the hefty price creators of color, especially women of color, pay in just existing in such a space is missing what truly makes YA toxic. It isn't vocal criticism. It's the same racism we've seen continually rear its ugly head since forever.”

TBH, the whole thing makes me think of this quote:

“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” 

From Den of Geek:

TNT is in the early process of developing N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy novel The Fifth Season for television. Deadline is reporting that Leigh Dana Jackson (24: LegacySleepy Hollow) is writing the adaptation with Imperative Entertainment’s (All the Money in the World) Dan Friedkin, Tim Kring and Justin Levy on board as executive producers.

The first book in the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Fifth Season takes place on a single supercontinent called Stillness, where catastrophic earthquakes capable of wiping out civilization, caused by climate change, take place frequently. A select few humans have the ability to stop these quakes, but the same power can also trigger them. The story follows three women who have this ability: Damaya, a girl training to join the ranks of the Empire; Syenite, a young woman being forced to procreate with her frightening mentor; and Essun, a mother hunting down the husband who kidnapped her daughter and murdered her son...

 SOURCE: Total Solar Eclipse by tcutonilli Sylva, NC via

SOURCE: Total Solar Eclipse by tcutonilli Sylva, NC via

Long story short: Did this book buy its way onto The New York Times bestseller list? Basically, yes, in a plot that was uncovered by investigative tweet by tweet (no shade, that's what happened). The cover was also very deeply inspired by an uncredited artist, apparently.

The 'why' of it all is a bit of a head scratcher to me (I guess the author wanted a shortcut to a movie deal and was under the impression that studios or whatever are buying up film rights to bestselling YA novels like so much, uh, candy...? there are easier ways to get a movie made, though). But seeing 'how' it unfolded is a pretty fascinating read.

I predict a movie about this real life caper (rather than any script based on the not-so-bestselling novel) in 4... 3... 2... 1...


V.E. Schwab, the best-selling author of the Shades of Magic series (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light), has signed a million-dollar deal with publisher Tor Books, EW can announce exclusively.

The deal comprises a brand-new trilogy called the Threads of Power, which will be set in the same world as the Shades of Magic series, as well as a fourth, separate book starring a female assassin in a future version of New York City.

This comes just months after news that A Darker Shade of Magic will get the Hollywood treatment. That sweet sound you hear is the ting of a spoon against Victoria's sundae glass. But it's a treat we can all enjoy, because the world in the Shades of Magic series is pretty f'n dope.

SEP 1: In which voting registration for the 2017 Dragon Awards at DragonCon ends

(because you can never have too many awards for sci-fi & fantasy books, and these are fan powered too)

And that's what's good for August! What news and goodies will next month bring? Stay tuned...