Observation Journal: Industrial Fabulism

On this observation journal page l was looking at the idea of industrial fabulism.

A few weeks before this, I noted I was interested in the “fabulist-practical and the industrial-fantastic”. This is something that appears in articles in car magazines at mechanics’ offices (often very romantically written) and in some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, in collections of rural inventions and the science columns in 19th-century periodicals and in Cold Comfort Farm, in Longitude and Apollo 13 and Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange.

It was also a choice I had to actively make in Flyaway, choosing to underline the reliability of beauty by describing aspects of even mechanical detritus as worthy of notice. And it runs throughout Travelogues, much of which involved processing an industrial landscape through the language of enchantment. I touched a little on that in the post All the shape of the land: “a way not only of expressing the experience of made things, but of experiencing the world through them, and finding enchantment in that.”

Extract from Travelogues

So on this journal page, I was identifying that particular aesthetic and its appeal. Some points:

  • It is more of a mode/style/setting than a genre.
  • It relies on and seeks out beauty in machinery:
    • It is realism in service of fabulism.
    • There’s a conscious effort to enchant.
    • Lyricism is used to deal with industrial objects and surroundings.
    • It’s an innate aesthetic — not adding a gloss of beauty to the mechanical/industrial, or bolting ornaments on, but seeking it in the objects themselves. The industrial can even be what adds beauty to the fantastic.
    • It represents a society without a division between the technical/technological and the fantastic.
  • It is not the same as clockpunk/steampunk/dieselpunk.
    • There can be overlap, but there is an effort to distinguish itself from the usual genre markers (e.g. going for a blue tint instead of sepia).
    • It leans on machinery more than the fantastic.
    • It often avoids the obvious supernatural/fantastic altogether.
  • Its appeal for me includes:
    • It is anchored in the real. The enchantment is integrated into reality/realism, OR the fairy-tale is anchored by the industrial element.
    • As mentioned above, it’s an integrated/innate aesthetic.
    • It’s designed to be actively attractive.
    • The cliches and stereotypes of the industrial (especially as opposed to the fantastic) are well established, so I need to consciously choose to use the mode, which can make writing in it a pleasing puzzle. (Swapped descriptions, e.g. light vs tin cans, and switched stereotypes are useful for this.)

British Fantasy Award — Flyaway for Best Newcomer

I’m hugely honoured to have received the British Fantasy Award (The Sydney J Bounds Award) for Best Newcomer, for Flyaway!

Congratulations to all my fellow nominees — here are their books!

And many congratulations to all the winners:

  • BEST NEWCOMER (THE SYDNEY J. BOUNDS AWARD)Kathleen Jennings, for Flyaway (Tordotcom)
  • BEST FILM / TELEVISION PRODUCTIONThe Boys: What I Know (Season 2, episode 8)
  • BEST NON-FICTIONWomen Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre, ed. Alison Peirse (Rutgers University Press)
  • BEST ARTISTDaniele Serra
  • BEST COMIC / GRAPHIC NOVELDIE Vol. 2: Split the Party, Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image Comics)
  • BEST MAGAZINE / PERIODICALStrange Horizons
  • BEST INDEPENDENT PRESSLuna Press Publishing
  • BEST AUDIOThe Magnus Archives, Rusty Quill
  • BEST ANTHOLOGYDominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ed. Zelda Knight & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Aurelia Leo)
  • BEST SHORT FICTIONInfinite Tea in the Demara Café, Ida Keogh (in “London Centric: Tales of Future London, Newcon Press)
  • BEST COLLECTIONThe Watcher in the Woods, Charlotte Bond (Black Shuck Books)
  • BEST NOVELLARing Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • BEST HORROR NOVEL (THE AUGUST DERLETH AWARD)Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • BEST FANTASY NOVEL (THE ROBERT HOLDSTOCK AWARD)The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Orbit)
  • KARL EDWARD WAGNER AWARD — Alasdair Stuart

Shortlist — British Fantasy Awards

A huge honour (and surprise): Flyaway has been shortlisted for the “Best Newcomer (The Sydney J. Bounds Award)” at the British Fantasy Awards!

Congratulations to all my fellow nominees (and links to their books):

The full announcement of the shortlists in all categories is at: https://www.britishfantasysociety.org/news/british-fantasy-awards-2021-shortlists-announced

Flyaway: World Fantasy finalist

FLYAWAY-final3_5x8_2

I am thrilled and honoured that Flyaway has been included as a finalist in the World Fantasy Awards for best novella.

My fellow-nominees are

  • Ring Shout, or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • “Stepsister” by Leah Cypess (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020)
  • The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg (Tachyon Publications)
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

Here is the full list of Final Ballot and Life Achievement Award Winners for the awards, to be announced this November.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Megan Lindholm
Howard Waldrop

NOVEL
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Tor Books)
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Saga Press/Titan UK)
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey US/Jo Fletcher Books UK)
The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk (Erewhon Books US/Orbit UK)

NOVELLA
Ring Shout, or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
“Stepsister” by Leah Cypess (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020)
Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings (Tordotcom)
The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg (Tachyon Publications)
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

SHORT FICTION
“Glass Bottle Dancer” by Celeste Rita Baker (Lightspeed, April 2020)
“The Women Who Sing for Sklep” by Kay Chronister (Thin Places)
“The Nine Scents of Sorrow” by Jordan Taylor (Uncanny Magazine, July/Aug. 2020)
“My Country Is a Ghost” by Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
“Open House on Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots, June 15 2020)

ANTHOLOGY
Edited By, edited by Ellen Datlow (Subterranean Press)
The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Vol. 1, edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle (Valancourt Books)
Shadows & Tall Trees 8, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Harper Voyager)
The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage Books)

COLLECTION
The Best of Jeffrey Ford by Jeffrey Ford (PS Publishing)
Velocities: Stories by Kathe Koja (Meerkat Press)
Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoka Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton (Soft Skull Press US/Tilted Axis UK)
We All Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman (PS Publishing)
Nine Bar Blues: Stories of an Ancient Future by Sheree Renée Thomas (Third Man Books)

ARTIST
Rovina Cai
Jeffrey Alan Love
Reiko Murakami
Daniele Serra
Charles Vess

SPECIAL AWARD – PROFESSIONAL
Clive Bloom, for The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Gothic (Palgrave Macmillan)
C. C. Finlay, for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction editing
Jo Fletcher, for Jo Fletcher Books
Maria Dahvana Headley, for Beowulf: A New Translation (MCD X FSG Originals US/Scribe UK)
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, for The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press)

SPECIAL AWARD – NON-PROFESSIONAL
Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
Brian Attebery, for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Michael Kelly, for Undertow Publications
Arley Sorg and Christie Yant, for Fantasy Magazine
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny Magazine

Flyaway shortlisted for Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award (voting open now)

Shortlist for The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award

Flyaway has been shortlisted for The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award! The winner is determined by public vote, and voting is now open. Anyone in Australia may vote, one vote per person, with polling closing on 16 August 2021.

It is a tremendous honour to be included on the shortlist with seven various and wonderful other titles — and particularly with Angela Slatter‘s gothically fantastic All The Murmuring Bones. I have been working on cover art for the (forthcoming) hardcover of Angela’s novel, and Flyaway wouldn’t have happened without her. So do with that information what you will!

The shortlist judges said of Flyaway:

A dazzling gothic fairy tale of rural Australia. The disappearance of Bettina Scott’s family members leads her to uncover truths about her home – the haunting spectacle of small-town psyche expertly sewn throughout the novel. There is a magic rooted in this story that grows more real with every page.

So if you are based in Australia and willing to vote (according to your conscience!), voting is now open on the State Library website here: The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award.

Barnes & Noble, Union Square!

Photo by Jennifer London for Sam J Miller

I pinched (with permission!) this photo Jennifer London took of Sam J Miller’s novel The Blade Between in the front of store display in the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York, because my Flyaway is there too!

You can buy both books through all good bookstores. The Blade Between is published by Ecco/Harper Collins and Flyaway is published by Tor.com in the USA and Picador in Australia.

I’ve written more about the two Flyaway covers here: Flyaway Cover Comparison.

Crawford Award finalists (including Flyaway!)

Congratulations to Nghi Vo for receiving the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for The Empress of Salt and Fortune (Tor.com), presented annually by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA) for a first book of fantasy fiction.

The finalists are:

It’s an honour to appear on the list with them.

Locus Recommended — Flyaway!

The Locus 2020 Recommended Reading List has been published — a lovely list of very excellent short and long works, in a number of categories. All the ones that I’ve read on the list have been thoroughly enjoyable. And Flyaway is included!

Beautiful Australian Gothic Books

Gouache painting in pinks, purples, blues, and greens, of standing boulders, grass, birds flying against clouds
Painting by me, after a trip to Hanging Rock, while working on Flyaway — more on those illustrations at Illustrating Flyaway

Tor.com (who published Flyaway) asked me for a post for their Five Books About… series. I promptly forgot how to count, so here are:

Six Stories for Fans of Beautiful Australian Gothic

Flyaway! The US edition arrives

My author copies of the Tor.com (USA) edition of Flyaway had been been continually delayed by international postal situations. But yesterday I was busy setting up for Twelfth Night when a UPS van pulled up, and it was them! They are here!

They are hardbacks, smaller than the Australian edition, beautifully rough on the dust jacket and gleaming underneath. I just want to keep touching them. (The words are the same in both editions, but the US has gold foil and Australia has a few extra animals.)

They look so lovely!

I’ve talked about the different covers here: Flyaway cover comparison (I love them both, and the title typeface here particularly delights me).

You can buy this edition through good bookstores and the usual online suspects (and the details for the Australian edition are here), or read an excerpt first on Tor.com.