What’s Occurring? A Bookish Community Roundup 20/08/2021


1. Holy shit the lineup for FIYAHCON2021 is so good. There’s a ton of writers whose books I’ve read and enjoyed, from Malka Older to P. Djeli Clarke and Alexis Henderson, to others who have been burning a hole in my TBR fror a while like Premee Mohamed and Rebecca Roanhorse, as well as a bunch of other writers I’ve not heard of before. If you’ve not come across FIYAH magazine before they’re a speculative fiction magazine centred around black writers and they are well worth checking out. I’ll def be looking into signing up for the virtual con over the next week.

2. Two reviews I want to highlight this week. The first is a rare treat from Sara from The Fantasy Inn, with her review of P. Djeli Clarke’s A Master of Djinn, a murder mystery set in the alternate world of 1912 steampunk Cairo. Clarke has written some of my fave stories of the past few years with The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and Ring Shout, so I’m personally very excited to read his first full length novel. The second review I want to point you towards is Sahi’s review of Velvet Was The Night by Silvia-Moreno Garcia. An excellent example of when a mixed or negative review can still work as a fantastic recommendation, cos even though Sahi had mixed feelings about it, for me pulp noir, Cold War political unrest, shady hitmen, government agents & gangsters in the grimy underworld of 1970s Mexico sounds like exactly what I want from a book!



3. Peat’s making a two for two appearance on the community roundup this week, and I might as well just say now you’ll probably be seeing me pointing you in the direction of Peat’s blog a lot, as he’s probs one of the most interesting and insightful people I follow. This week he had a fan-bloody-tastic short essay on the origins of early American fantasy, with it’s roots in Cold War politics and the ingrained cultural history of manifest destiny. It forms the kernel of something I’d love to read a book about personally.

4. The Apex Kickstarter massively overfunded! You may have seen my interview with Apex editor Lesley Conner last week (deffo worth a read for the story recommendations alone) and you probs saw me relentlessly shilling the Kickstarter in it’s final days and hours (sorry not sorry). The excellent news is that they hit the magic $26,000 mark, which means we’ll be getting not only the six regular issues of the magazine in 2022, but an extra SPECIAL EDITION featuring Asian and Pacific Islander writers. Honestly I’m so happy with how much the community raised to fund one of the best weird speculative fiction magazines out there. Pat yourselves on the back guys.



5. Feels like I’m shilling a lot of Kickstarters at the mo, and it won’t be every week I promise, but there’s a ton of excellent bookish projects out there at the mo that are well worth throwing your money at, and another one is the Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter that’s running until August 27th. I’ve not got as much experience with Uncanny as I do Apex, as I’ve only read one issue, but MY GOD what an issue it was. If you haven’t read “Femme and Sundance” by Christopher Caldwell yet, just go buy Issue 38 right now and check out the Kickstarter page to open your wallet.



6. The Shirley Jackson Awards are something that’s passed me by in years gone by, having not been a massive horror reader in the past. I did see however, that the excellent Stephen Graham Jones won TWO AWARDS this year! Best novel went to his unsettling and bloody-spattered revenge novel The Only Good Indians, that I read last year and really liked – have a gander at my review – and best novella went to him for Night of the Mannequins, which I haven’t read yet. It’s cool to see indigenous American writers getting some big attention these days, as it’s not something I recall seeing much of in the past.



And that’s this week’s Community Roundup bookwyrms. If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to Parsecs & Parchment for more news, reviews and bookish chat?

11 thoughts on “What’s Occurring? A Bookish Community Roundup 20/08/2021

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  1. Thanks JonBob! You’ve reminded me, maybe I should sit down and trace how American Fantasy went from happening in far off and fantastical lands, often quite Asian, to happening in lands with traces of America. Maybe when I grow a clone.

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  2. What a great roundup! I’m off to check out FIYAHCON immediately, and Peat’s essay sounds very interesting. My copy of Velvet was the Night arrived the other day and I’m so excited to dive into it soon – I haven’t disliked any of Moreno-Garcia’s novels and I think she does noir and 20th century politics so well.

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    1. I’d actually quite like to do a bit of a Moreno-Garcia marathon, where I just catch up on a ton of her backlist back to back. I’ve probs said this to you before, but I’ve only read Mexican Gothic but I absolutely loved it; it had the effect of making me want to go back and read through her entire bibliography.

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      1. Yessss do it! I always recommend her debut, which is one of my all-time favourite novels, but I think you’d also really enjoy Certain Dark Things and Untamed Shore. In fact The Beautiful Ones is one you’d probably like as well, considering how much you enjoyed The Midnight Bargain!

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        1. I actually wanted to read Certain Dark Things very soon after I finished Mexican Gothic, but I couldn’t source a copy cos it was getting a rerelease, so they must have took all the old copies out of circulation or something, which was a bit frustrating. I’ll have to check if the rerelease is out yet, but if not there’s plenty of other stiff of hers I can read in the meantime. I’m particularly interested in Prime Meridian, a sort of near future sci-fi that sounds like it has a great depiction of a kind of mundane dystopia.

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          1. Ooh yes I loved Prime Meridian! Yeah Certain Dark Things and The Beautiful Ones weren’t given the push they deserved from the original publisher. It’s great to see her finally being recognised now, although I will also admit to being heartbroken at being what felt like one of the only bloggers who wasn’t approved for an ARC of Mexican Gothic when I’ve been shouting about SMG’s work since 2015. 😭😂

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              1. Gods of Jade and Shadow got quite a lot of attention as well, but I think Mexican Gothic is the novel that’s made everyone take notice. And through it she became the first author to beat Stephen King in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Horror!

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