Congratulations, Julie Dillon

As I reported back in May, Clarkesworld had three covers in the running for the Magazine category at this year’s Chesley Awards. I was kind of hoping that Julie Dillon would win. Well, sadly none of our nominees were successful. The prize went to Nick Greenwood, for his cover of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show #17. However, Julie did win the Unpublished Color category, with this:

Planetary Alignment - Julie Dillon

That’s called “Planetary Alignment”. I guess it is available if any art directors are interested.

A full list of Chesley winners, with pictures, is available at Tor.com.

Clarkesworld #59

Hello, it is August. New month, new magazines. What do we have for you this time?

Leading off we have “Conservation of Shadows” by Yoon Ha Lee, which on a quick look appears to be a re-telling of Ishtar’s journey to the underworld. I’m sold already. As always, Kate Baker provides the audio version.

The second story delights me for a different reason. It is a translation, from Chinese (I’m not sure which language, I’ll try to find out). The original is by Chen Qiufan, who has an excellent track record with over 30 stories sold and several available in English. The translation is by Ken Liu. And the story is “The Fish of Lijiang”. The audio for this will be available mid-month.

Jeremy continues his epic, multi-author round table discussion of epic fantasy. In addition he provides an interview with one of my favorite writers, Minister Faust.

In my department we have “Inconstant Constants” by my good friend Karen Burnham who holds out the tantalizing possibility that some of the fundamental constants of physics might not be so constant after all. It is a very controversial issue in cosmology, but magnificently science-fictional (and Karen points us at a few examples of it being used that way).

By the way, one of the objections to the idea of changing constants is that one current set of data seems to suggest that the Earth is the center of the universe. That’s a daft idea, of course. Or is it? Adam Roberts’ story, “Anticopernicus”, which suggests it might be true after all, is selling very well over at the Wizard’s Tower store.

There’s an editorial from Neil that outlines his schedule for Worldcon in Reno. We are, of course, up for the Hugo again, but I shall be very surprised (and rather disappointed) if Locus doesn’t win this year. Miss you, Charles.

On the other hand, I have my fingers crossed for Peter Watts and “The Things”. Peter, of course, can’t travel to Reno. Like me he has been banned from the USA. If he wins, Neil gets to collect the rocket, which will be nice as he missed out on doing so in Melbourne.

Finally our cover for August is “Into the Woods” by Erik Storstein, a Norwegian artist currently studying in Bournemouth. I wonder if I can lure him to BristolCon?

The new Clarkesworld is, of course, available through the Wizard’s Tower store.

Clarkesworld #58

Yes folks, it is new month time again. In issue #58 of Clarkesworld we have a whole lot more reading goodness for you.

Gord Sellar should be well known to you as he’s been a Campbell nominee. His story, “Trois morceaux en forme de mechanika”, might have a French title, but don’t worry, the text is all in English.

An Owomoyela is yet another Clarion West graduate whose work I need to catch up with. “Frozen Voice” is a story about language and oppression.

Jeremy may have taken leave of his senses this month because he’s doing a round table interview featuring no less than 28 different writers of epic fantasy. His guests include Steven Erikson, Trudi Canavan, David Anthony Durham, N. K. Jemisin, Patrick Rothfuss, Juliet McKenna, Brandon Sanderson and many others. Unsurprisingly this is only part one of the resulting article. As in all the best epic fantasy novels, Jeremy includes a dramatis personnae so that you can keep track of all of the characters. I’m hoping he doesn’t intend to do a GRRM, as many of those people are good friends of mine.

For this month I have bought another of Dan Kimmel’s fine explorations of the movie business. This month in “Apocalypse Then” he takes a look at the many different ways Hollywood has imagined that the world will end, and comes to a very perceptive conclusion. This is a good time to remind you that Dan has a book out featuring many such articles, only some of which are from Clarkesworld. How can you resist a book titled Jar Jar Binks Must Die? [buy isbn=”9781617200618″]

Also in this issue, Neil has an editorial in which he vents a bit about the constant push-back you get whenever you mention ebooks. I said many of the same things on panels at Eurocon and Alt.Fiction.

One of the things Neil mentions is the option that Kindle users now have to order a subscription to Clarkesworld. I’m pleased to hear that these are selling well, and very much hope we reach the target of 500 subscribers that we need to finance an additional story each month.

Of course if your ereading device/software supports epub rather than mobi you can buy the new issue from the Wizard’s Tower store. We also have Lightspeed #14 and Fantasy #52, with the usual offer of 25% off if you buy both together.

And finally, this month’s cover is “Valley of Mists” by Peter Mohrbacher, which I love so much I’m reproducing it in full here.

Valley of Mists - Peter Mohrbacher

Bookstore Spotlight: Mechanique

On Sunday Jeff VanderMeer had a review column in the New York Times (somewhat weirdly called “Science Fiction Chronicle”). Headlining the column was Lauren Beukes’ all-conquering Zoo City, but next up was a much less famous book: Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine.

Those of you who read Clarkesworld will already be familiar with Genevieve’s work — indeed she has a story in the current issue. For those who don’t, hopefully Jeff’s words of praise will be sufficient. I’m part way through the book myself and am enjoying it a lot this far.

Why am I telling you all this? Because ebook editions of Mechanique are on sale in my store.

Clarkesworld #57

Yes, it is that time of the month again. What have we got for you in June?

Well our lead story is “Semiramis” by Genevieve Valentine, who should be well known to you by now. That’s not about an ancient Assyrian queen, so I’m eager to find out why it has that title. As usual, the story is available in audio read by Kate Baker.

The second story this month is “Trickster” by Mari Ness. You may have seen her work in other online magazines, or as a blogger for Tor.com. This story will be available in audio mid-month.

Jeremy’s interview subject for this month is game designed and author Erin Hoffman. And for my column I’m delighted to welcome back Sarah Goslee. Her article, “Building Forests, Remaking Planets”, takes a look at the practice and ethics of terraforming.

Our cover this month is “Off Road” by Argentine artist Facundo Diaz. I really like this one and would not be surprised to see it added to our list of Chesley nominees next year.

Finally we have an editorial in which Neil announces the exciting news that Clarkesworld has become on the third SF magazine (after Asimov’s and Analog) to be accepted by Amazon to be available on subscription for the Kindle. That makes it really easy to order. If you sign up for a subscription you will get your Kindle edition for $1.99/month rather than the single-issue price of $2.99/month, and billing will happen automatically each month. I’m guessing that the magazines will be delivered automatically too.

The main advantage of subscriptions is that they give us a stable financial base from which to plan. Neil has set a target of 500 subscribers by October, and if we get that he has promised to add another story each month. You can order a subscription here.

Clarkesworld: Home of Great Art

One of the things I love about working for Clarkesworld is the quality of covers that Neil manages to find, often from artists in far-flung corners of the world. You may remember that a Clarkesworld cover won the Chesley Award for Best Magazine in 2009. Last year we had a nominee again. Sadly it didn’t win, but we were beaten by an Asimov’s cover by John Picacio, so I have no complaints there.

This year’s Chesley nominees have just been announced. There are six of them, and three, yes three, are from Clarkesworld. Here they are:

“Honeycomb” by Julie Dillon (Issue 48)

Honeycomb - Julie Dillon

“Warm” by Sergio Rebolledo (Issue 40)

Warm - Sergio Rebolledo

“Soulhunter” by Andrey Lazarev (Issue 50)

Soulhunter - Andrey Lazarev

Click through on the pictures for bigger versions.

I am so proud. Best of luck to all three.

May Deadlines

Another month is drawing to a close, and there are a few things that we need to remember to get done.

Firstly, BristolCon has a price rise scheduled for the end of the month. Memberships are currently £15, and as of June 1st they will be £20. So buy now, here.

Secondly ballots for the World Fantasy Awards are due in by the end of the month, so if you have a vote, please use it. Two items in every category are reserved for member-voted nominees, so you can have an influence even though the winners are chosen by the jury. Should you wish to nominate Clarkesworld (or indeed Salon Futura), we are eligible in the Special Award – Non-Professional category.

Locus Awards Finalists – 2 for Clarkesworld

The 2011 finalists for the Locus Awards have been announced, and I’m delighted to see that Clarkesworld got two stories in the top 5 for Short Story. These are:

Congratulations to all of the finalists (so many friends, such great competition). I look forward to finding out who wins in June.

Clarkesworld #56

Spring has sprung, the maypoles are out in force around village greens, and the latest issues of various magazines have been released. Here’s what you can find in the latest Clarkesworld.

Our lead fiction this month is from Cat Rambo. “Whose Face This Is I Do Not Know” is a marvelously creepy story about, well, the title should give you a clue. As always, Kate Baker has the audio version available. Our second story is “The Architect of Heaven” by Jason K. Chapman. That one will appear in audio in a couple of weeks time.

Jeremy has been busy this month, with no less than three authors interviewed. Two of those come in a single package: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson write together a lot. They talk about their first collaboration outside of the Dune universe. The other interview is with the recent Clarke Award winner and Campbell nominee, Lauren Beukes. The interview took place before Lauren became an international superstar, so it focuses on her work rather than awards. Lauren describes her editors at Angry Robot as, “like flesh-eating terminators on cyborg amphetamines—smart and sharp and hungry!” They will be so pleased.

The article I bought for this issue is a retrospective on the life and career of the great film score composer, John Barry. It is not entirely true that this was an excuse for me to include a YouTube clip of Shirley Bassey in full flow, but that might have had something to do with it. My thanks to John T. Stanhope for the article.

Our cover this month is “The Towers of KEILAH” by Ferdinand Ladera who is from The Philippines.

Neil has an editorial in the issue which is basically saying thank you to everyone for another Hugo nomination. I happily second everything he says. That includes hoping to see Sheila Williams win a Hugo sometime soon, though I very much want my friend Jonathan Strahan to win one too.

Much of Neil’s editorial is devoted to talking about Peter Watts’ story, “The Things”, which has picked up a whole bunch of awards as well as the Hugo nomination. In celebration we are offering ebooks of Clarkesworld #40 for just £0.59.

Of course there are ebook editions of Clarkesworld #56 available too. We are continuing with the £1.49 price experiment. Having people purchase these ebook editions helps enormously with the task of paying good professional rates to our contributors.

Parsec Awards

These awards are for podcasts, and they are currently going through a public nomination stage. Looking at the current list, I see that there is not a single Clarkesworld story listed as yet. I’m sure that some of you must have enjoyed one or two of them. There’s also currently no mention of Coode Street, The Writer and The Critic, or the Locus Roundtable. You can nominate podcasts here.

Eastercon – Saturday

Despite many dire predictions of disaster, Eastercon is progressing merrily on its way with little sign of Blackpool-like disaster. Several of the dealers I have spoken to have been quite happy, and I understand that the £700 or so that the fan fund auction raised is quite good given the state of the economy. Possibly people are saving money by not buying as much beer, because even such legendary drinkers as Eastercon attendees are beginning to balk at the bar prices.

Programming is proceeding pretty much on time but is perhaps showing a few signs of lack of preparation and forethought. Alternatively maybe the world is just changing. All of the panels I have attended so far have reminded me of online discussion, and not in a good way. There seems far too little discussion, and far too much argument by anecdata and straw man, or just people wanting to “have their say”. I’m sorely tempted to head into Birmingham tomorrow, but it is Easter Sunday and everything will be shut.

Ah well, there is a very nice lake next to the hotel with a path round it, allowing Kevin and I to take a pleasant post-breakfast walk. Also I have bagged an interview with Liz Williams for Salon Futura.

I have posted the results of the BSFA Awards over at SFAW. I’m very pleased to see The Dervish House win, though the field was very tough. It was also nice to see wins for a South African artist and a French writer. Clarkesworld‘s on entry in the short fiction category didn’t win, but I have high hopes for Peter Watts in the Hugos. Commiserations to my pals Jonathan and Gary — I voted for you, boys.

One other piece of interesting news is that the same folks who created the DnA Award have also secured the rights to create a new version of the legendary New Worlds magazine. Things are at a very early stage at the moment so there are a few rough edges to be filed off, but I’m always happy to see interesting new projects getting off the ground.

Shirley Jackson Awards

The nominee lists for the Shirley Jackson Awards came in last night just after I had gone to bed. I confess that I couldn’t be bothered to get up and blog then, but I have done so now.

The first thing of note is that Clarkesworld has a story on the ballot. “The Things” by Peter Watts from Issue 40 is up for the Best Short Story prize. Read it here.

In addition two of the Best Novella nominees are available through the Wizard’s Tower store. Details here, and note that you can buy Peter Dubé’s Subtle Bodies for half price until the award winners are announced.

Bookstore News

I have been adding books to the store today, so it is shameless promote other people’s work time.

First up we have the April Clarkesworld (#55). You may remember that I posted a while back about Neil Clarke’s pricing poll. This month he’s experimenting and selling the ebook editions a little cheaper. If you are in the US you are probably better off buying direct from Neil.

Also there are two new anthologies from Prime. One is military SF (Battlestations), which isn’t really my sort of thing, but I was interested to see that it contains a Robert Sheckley story. Also stories from the lovely Peter Moorwood and Diane Duane.

Of much more interest, at least as far as I’m concerned, is John Joseph Adams’ The Way of the Wizard. This appears to be a mix of reprints and original fiction, and the contributor list is awesome. Here are just a few of them: Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Susanna Clarke, Jeffrey Ford, Delia Sherman, Nnedi Okorafor, Robert Silverberg, Kelly Link, Lev Grossman, Tim Pratt, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula Le Guin.

The Gaiman story is a reprint, but an old one. Back in the 1980s Neil and I both wrote for TSR UK’s house magazine, Imagine. “How to Sell the Ponti Bridge” isn’t Neil’s first fiction sale, but it is very close to it. Of course it comes after the legendary Duran Duran biography and Ghastly Beyond Belief, but it definitely counts as early Gaiman, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Clarkesworld #55

Yes, it is April Fool’s Day. It is also the first day of the month, which means a new Clarkesworld goes online, fearless of the possibility of being considered untrue. This is issue #55. Here’s what you can find in it.

The lead story is by E. Lily Yu. It has the wonderful title of “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”. If that doesn’t pique your curiosity I’ll be very surprised. As usual, our lead story is also available in audio, read by the wonderful Kate Baker.

The second story is “Matchmaker” by Erin M. Hartshorn. That one will be available in audio in a couple of weeks time.

Jeremy’s interview subject for April is a fellow called John Scalzi, of whom you may have heard. He’s apparently trying to break into the fantasy market, but the interview is all about his new SF novel, Fuzzy Nation, which is a reboot of H. Beam Piper’s Hugo-nominated novel, Little Fuzzy. If you are curious as to why Scalzi should be doing such a thing, go read.

The article I bought for this month is “Linguistics for the World Builder” by Brit Mandelo. This one gets somewhat deeper into linguistic theory, and hopefully provides useful food for thought for authors.

Finally we have this month’s cover, “Post-apolacalyptic Fisherman” by Georgi Markov, which is seriously creepy. Georgi is a Bulgarian artist who also provided the cover for issue #42.

The ebook editions are going to be a little late this month as Neil has the matter of a wedding anniversary to attend to. I’ll post as soon as we have them in store.

Time is Money

I’d been planning to post today about ebook pricing because I’d be grateful if you could take a look at this poll which Neil Clarke is running on his LiveJournal. The more information we get the easier it is to provide people with what they are willing to buy.

Had it been me doing the poll I would have asked a supplementary question to the people who said they would buy from big stores but not direct from Neil or myself. It must be pretty obvious that we get more money if you buy direct, so what is the attraction of big stores? Is it the convenience of Amazon’s one-click purchase? Is it the payment method? (Taking credit cards costs money, so you need a high turnover to justify it.) Is it concerns about security or reliability? This is, I think, a major issue in the online marketplace.

While I was thinking about this, however, a light bulb went off. A week or so ago, during the debate on $0.99 ebooks, Cat Valente asked why people are prepared to pay $6 or so for a latte, but not $3 for a book (the exact amounts are probably wrong, but the idea is there). I think I might know the answer.

When you buy a latte (or a movie ticket, or a CD, or whatever) you expect to get the enjoyment out of it almost immediately. There is no major investment on your part. When you buy a book, however, you only get the enjoyment out of it if you spend the many hours necessary to read it. We all live very busy lives these days, and our time is valuable. Many people I know (including myself) already own more books than they can hope to read in the rest of their lifetime. So when you buy a book you are not asking yourself “can I afford $3?” (or however much it costs), you are asking yourself “can I afford 10 hours?” (or however long you estimate it will take you to read it). If you are going to read it, the cost is much less of an issue, and you may well be prepared to pay a lot more given the amount of time it will amuse you for.

Does this make sense to people? Because if so it suggests that the only effect of cutting the price of books is to try to encourage people to buy books that they won’t read.

[I note that the same does not apply to Clarkesworld and Salon Futura. What is happening there is that we are trying to find the price people will pay for the convenience of having an ebook edition of something they can get for free online.]

An Editor’s Lament

No, not mine. But I do have similar problems.

There has been a fair amount of talk around the blogosphere of late about the fact that, despite women buying and reading more books than men, reviews in mainstream newspapers are mostly by men, about books by men. Today Katy Guest, Literary Editor of The Independent, entered the fray, mildly blowing her newspaper’s trumpet, but also lamenting how hard it is to get women to submit material to be published.

I feel her pain. I have managed to buy some articles by women for Clarkesworld, but by no means 50%. I am trying to make a conscious effort to seek out more women writers, but they do seem to need to be encouraged, and men don’t. Despite my making a conscious effort to get women involved in Salon Futura, all of the guest articles I have published to date (as opposed to articles by columnists) have been by men. Hopefully that will change soon.

Of course there may be other reasons too. Currently Ms. Guest’s article has just two comments. Both of them are from men making snide “jokes”. It is an inevitable truth of today’s “have your say” culture that articles by women, especially intelligent articles by women, are liable to attract the attention of male trolls. Then there will be the mansplainers, who feel the need to explain to the poor girly, in words of one syllable or less, the truth of the matter that she is so hopelessly seeking to understand. Often they will parrot your points back at you, apparently unable to conceive that you could have make them yourself. Obviously you’ll get intelligent, helpful comments from male readers as well, but the trolls and mansplainers are pretty much inevitable.

Some of my male friends seem to relish troll comments and take them as a challenge. I suspect that far too many women look at comments feeds, shake their heads, and wonder why why anyone would both to put themselves in the stocks to have insults thrown at them.

But, to shift metaphors a little, if we are not prepared to stick our necks out a little, then there will always be more articles by men than by women, and we will always live in a culture in which is seems that men are the source of intellectual authority. So please, ladies, could I have some submissions to Clarkesworld and Salon Futura?

Clarkesworld #54 Online

The March 2011 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine can now be found online, and as ebook editions in the Wizard’s Tower bookstore.

Our fiction this month is from the wonderful (and recently Nebula-nominated) Nnedi Okorafor (“The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book)”) and from Gwendolyn Clare (“Perfect Lies”). As usual the lead story is available in audio, read by Kate Baker. The other story will appear in audio later in the month.

Jeremy’s interview this month is with Cory Doctorow. The article I bought is by Mark Cole and it looks at the phenomenon of crowdsourced movie making. Understandably this involves certain Finnish friends of mine. And movie trailers. Go here to read and view.

Our cover this month is by Patryk Olejniczak from Poland. It doesn’t look much in the small size I’m reproducing here, but if you look at it full size it is awesome.

Please remember that while Clarkesworld is available for free for those who can’t afford it, we do need to pay our contributors. Buying e-editions is a simple and cheap way to contribute towards the cost of the magazine.

Running the Numbers

Over on his Livejournal, Neil Clarke has been doing some analysis of short fiction category of the Locus Recommended Reading List. The numbers are quite an eye-opener. I knew we had done well, but it hadn’t occurred to me as even possible that we would tie with Asimov’s for the most selected stories. We did, with 7 each. Am I proud? You bet!

The trend towards fiction from online venues continues, and this is the first year that more short stories have come from online venues than from print magazines and books.

Also worth noting is that 38 of the 68 stories are by women. Six of Clarkesworld’s seven recommended stories are by women.

Meanwhile on Twitter there has been a great deal of fuss. It has been created by what I’m starting to think of as the UKIP wing of British fandom, because the people concerned are constantly whining about being oppressed by Locus and the Hugos in pretty much the same way as right-wing tabloid newspapers whine about being oppressed by the EU.

There story here is that a vicious cabal of Evil Americans (such as Jonathan Strahan, John Clute, Graham Sleight, Farah Mendlesohn, Tansy Rayner Roberts and myself) gather together each year to plot the downfall of British science fiction by picking only American works for the Recommended Reading List. This year, apparently, we were worse than usual, with the list being hideously skewed towards US writers, magazines and publishers. That, of course, is all part of my Evil Plan. So I decided to look at some numbers to see how Evilly I had done.

I’ve looked only at the three adult novel categories as those are the only ones I have significant input to. As a benchmark, I’m going to use the fact that there are roughly 5 times as many Americans in the world as British people, so if the list had been chosen purely at random there would be 5 Americans for every British writer. (I am assuming here that American and British writers have equal access to publishing opportunities. As far as I know, no one is arguing that they don’t. This is not analogous to a gender or race issue where there may be barriers to entry.)

There are 17 novels on the science fiction list. 11 are by Americans. Greg Egan is Australian. Canada would kill me if I identified Bill Gibson as American, even though he was born there. Johanna Sinisalo is Finnish. And three (McDonald, Reynolds, Banks) are British. That gives us 11.5 Americans to 3 British, which is about what we would expect. Must try harder!

On the Fantasy list there are 24 novels. 14 are by Americans. Michael Ajvaz is Czech, Lauren Beukes is South African, and Guy Gavriel Kay is Canadian. The other 7 (Fforde, Fox, Gilman, Miéville, Mitchell, Pinborough and Stross) are all British. So that’s a ratio of 14:7. And that, apparently, is hideous anti-British bias. Hmm.

The one that surprised me was the First Novel list. Of 15 entries, 11 were by Americans, but there was not a single Brit amongst them. At last, my Evil Plan is working. Possibly. I’ll come back to it in a minute.

Of course if you are of a UKIP frame of mind there’s little that can sway you from your feelings of oppression. There is always some excuse for why things that are doing well and appear to be British are in fact not so. For example, some of those “British” writers live in America (Gilman) or, heaven forbid, in Edinburgh! (Stross). Then again, most of them have US publishers as well as British contracts. This, I suspect, will be held up as evidence that they are writing “American” fiction, and therefore don’t count. The assumption being that if they wrote “British” fiction it would be too intelligent and left-wing for an American audience and American publishers would not buy it.

My explanation is a little different. The US publishers are well aware that British writers are very good, and so anyone from these isles who gets a bit of critical attention gets snapped up for a US contract. As the UK market is much smaller, it is much less likely that a successful US writer would get a UK contract.

Complicating matters is the international nature of publishing. Orbit, for example, tend to buy world rights to books, but it is British editor Tim Holman, based in New York, who calls the shots. Angry Robot has a US branch, but they are headquartered in Nottingham.

One area where you might expect British publishers to score is in First Novel, because the writers there might be people who were discovered by a UK operation and have not yet got a US contract. As I noted, none of the First Novel authors are British. However, three of the four non-US authors were first contracted by British publishers. That’s Terry Dowling (Australian), Hannu Rajaniemi (Finnish) and Lavie Tidhar (Israeli). So the reason why there are no British authors on the First Novel list is, at least in part, because British publishers are looking outside the UK for new talent.

Finally a brief word on magazines. The absence of Interzone from the list is obviously a clear indication of anti-British bias, right? All the other magazines are “American”. But, as noted above, a lot of the short fiction is now coming from online venues. That means that they are edited by Evil Americans like me and (as of this year in the top job at Strange Horizons) Niall Harrison.

I took a look at the numbers for Clarkesworld’s 2010 stories. 14 of the 24 were by Americans. The other authors came from a variety of countries including two British and one Irish. Non-fiction is mostly American, but I get so few submissions that it is really hard to get much diversity into the selection. In cover art, however, where excellent command of English is not required, the picture is quite different. Only 3 of the 2010 covers were by Americans. There were 2 from Brazil, 2 from Turkey, and one each from Russia, France, Bulgaria, the Phillipines and Mexico. So yeah, clearly Clarkesworld is an Evil American magazine.

Anyway, enough bashing of the English for now. Time to watch them getting bashed on the rugby field instead (I hope).

Clarkesworld #53

The February issue of Clarkesworld is online, and this issue I’d like to start by talking about the art. Every year people moan that the Best Professional Artist category in the Hugos has the same names each year, and there are never any women. Well, Julie Dillon won the cover art section of the Clarkesworld reader’s poll with “Honeycomb”, and she’s on the cover again this month with “Nautili”. Julie has also contributed a great article about the creation of this issue’s cover. And, you know, Nautili! Tentacles! So when it comes to Hugo nomination time, please remember to consider Julie.

This month’s lead fiction is “Diving After the Moon” by one of the hottest new talents around, Rachel Swirsky. As usual the story is also available in audio, read by Kate Baker.

Our second story is “Three Oranges” by D. Elizabeth Wasden. That’s a new name to me, but she’s a Clarion graduate and Neil does a great job of picking talented new writers.

In the non-fiction, Jeremy’s interview is with David Weber. The piece I bought is all about how languages evolve and (sometimes) die out. My thanks to Kerry Tynan Fraser for his take on a fascinating subject. And we have the results of the 2010 Reader’s Poll (no surprises there – Peter Watts for a Hugo!).

All of the top three stories in our poll, and a few more besides, feature in the Locus Recommended Reading List, which was released today in the February edition of Locus. If you want to see that list, just go buy a digital copy here. Congratulations to all Clarkesworld contributors who made it onto the list.

And finally, on the subject of buying things, Clarkesworld #53 and Lightspeed #9 are both available in the Wizard’s Tower Bookstore.