Vector #279

3 • Torque Control (Vector 279) • [Torque Control] • essay by Anna McFarlane and Glyn Morgan
4 • The BSFA Review: Best of 2014 • essay by Graham Andrews and Stuart Carter and Gary S. Dalkin and David Hebblethwaite and L. J. Hurst and Tony Jones and Paul Kincaid and Anthony Nanson and Ian Sales and Andy Sawyer and Aishwarya Subramanian and Sandra Unerman [as by Graham Andrews and Stuart Carter and Gary Dalkin and David Hebblethwaite and L. J. Hurst and Toby Jones and Paul Kincaid and Anthony Nanson and Ian Sales and Andy Sawyer and Aishwarya Subramanian and Sandra Unerman]
14 • Best of 2014 in SF Television • essay by Molly Cobb
18 • Best of 2014 in SF Audio • essay by Tony Jones
22 • Best of 2014 in Young Adult SF • essay by Ashley Armstrong
24 • Made of Win: Ann Leckie • interview of Ann Leckie • interview by Tom Hunter
28 • 2014 in Science Fiction Comics • [Sequentials] • essay by Laura Sneddon
31 • Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey • [Kincaid in Short] • essay by Paul Kincaid
34 • A Message from Mars by Lester Lurgan and Richard Ganthony • [Foundation Favourites] • essay by Andy Sawyer
36 • Extraterrestrial Liberty • [Resonances] • essay by Stephen Baxter
38 • The BSFA Review Poll 2014 • essay by Martin Lewis [as by Martin Petto]
40 •   Review: The Race by Nina Allan • review by Kerry Dodd
41 •   Review: Cataveiro by E. J. Swift • review by Maureen Kincaid Speller
42 •   Review: Sibilant Fricative: Essays and Reviews by Adam Roberts • review by Jonathan McCalmont
44 •   Review: Bête by Adam Roberts • review by Paul Kincaid
45 •   Review: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie • review by Anne F. Wilson
45 •   Review: Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson • review by Ian Sales
46 •   Review: Irregularity by Jared Shurin • review by Aishwarya Subramanian
47 •   Review: Paradox by Ian Whates • review by Duncan Lawie
48 •   Review: Descent by Ken MacLeod • review by Lynne Bispham
48 •   Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear • review by Andy Sawyer
49 •   Review: Defenders by Will McIntosh • review by Shaun Green
49 •   Review: Parasite by Mira Grant • review by Patrick Mahon
50 •   Review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes • review by Shaun Green
51 •   Review: Cold Turkey by Carole Johnstone • review by Graham Andrews

A word about bêtes: in so relentlessly English a novel, in which an outside world is scarcely even mentioned, it is never explained why a French word should be chosen to identify the talking animals. It makes them foreign, alien, but in a work that has more wordplay, puns and malapropisms even than is usual in an Adam Roberts novel, we have to take note of things like this. I suspect, therefore, that we are intended to hear an echo of ‘bet’ in the word, the novel details a huge gamble about the nature of consciousness and the future of humanity.

Paul Kincaid

The same with editors–my editors at Orbit didn’t ask me to change the pronouns at all. It was, rather, one of the things they’d really liked about the novel. […] My takeaway from the whole experience is that laundry lists of what’s “commercial” or not aren’t actually terribly helpful, not in and of themselves. I am not a fan of aspiring writers worrying too much about whether their work is commercial or not, not because I have any sort of disdain for the commercial (I like to sell books as much as the next person!) but because what sells or doesn’t isn’t really that easily predictable.

Ann Leckie

Vector #269

This issue of Vector is dedicated, in part, to revisiting the subject of women writers of science fiction. Few female UK-based science fiction authors currently have contracts, but worldwide, there’s a great deal going on, a geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity which Cheryl Morgan surveys in this issue. I came away from reading it with a massively expanded to-read list, and I hope it inspires you similarly. Tony Keen examines the roles of death and transformation in Justina Robson’s books Natural History (one of the books on last year’s list of the previous decades best science fiction by women) and Living Next Door to the God of Love. In contrast, Niall Harrison examines a very different author, Glasgow-based Julie Bertagna. Her post-apocalyptic trilogy, which begins with Exodus, provides an intriguing comparison with Stephen Baxter’s current series of prehistoric climate change novels which began with Stone Spring.

The second part of Victor Grech’s three-part series on gender in science fiction doesn’t focus on women science fiction authors, but does deal with quite a few of them in the process of discussing the variety of single-gendered world in science fiction. In particular, he examines the in-story reasons, the biological explanations for their existence, and the degrees to which those mechanisms are found in the ecologies of our own world.

Shana Worthen

Vector #268

No, I think it’s more about the way to do it. With Tolkien, as I said in the book, it was “Gosh, you can write a whole three-volume fantasy – this is marvellous, let’s do this thing.” With other influences like C.S. Lewis, the “how to do it” thing that grabbed me was that he was always so completely clear about what was happening. You are never in any doubt who is where, and doing what – and much more complicated things than that.

Diane Wynne Jones