An exclusive new China Miéville short story available right now in StoryBundle

bestiaryStoryBundle currently has a bundle of ebooks curated by weird fiction experts Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and it includes a new China Miéville short story you can’t get anywhere else digitally!

One of the books in this month’s selection is The Bestiary, that anthology I talked about ages ago. Turns out I got it wrong back then, Miéville is just a contributor, not the book’s illustrator. The book is made up of stories about weird and wonderful creatures, arranged A-Z, with Miéville contributing at the end for an “invisible letter”.

I have no idea what his story is about, or how long it is. But you only need to pay $15 (USD) to unlock every book in that bundle, so you’ll definitely be getting value for money! I should note that the ebook of The Bestiary is, for now, exclusive to this bundle, and that the hardcover is rather pricey to say the least.

It looks like the bundle is available until the end of December (so if you stumble across this post in 2016, you’re out of luck), and as usual with this sort of thing, you can adjust how much money goes to the writers, how much to charity, and how much to StoryBundle themselves.

Check out the bundle page. Clicking out each book cover gives you the description and other info; and for The Bestiary, you can read the book’s introduction. Remember, if you decide to go for the bundle, to spend at least $15 to unlock every book!

If you snap up the bundle, please let me know in the comments here what you thought of the Miéville story! Me, I might have to wait a while, all my money is going towards Christmas presents at the moment.


Review: Aliens: Recent Encounters (ed. Alex Dally MacFarlane)

aliens_cover IMPORTANT NOTE: The first edition of this book (ISBN 9781607013914), at least, is missing the second half of “Seasons of the Ansarac” by Ursula Le Guin. You can read the missing part of this story here.

Aliens — realistically developed, biologically plausible, sentient species — are my absolute favourite element of science fiction. My dream anthology would be a hard-SF-only collection of stories about aliens: their biology, culture, and interactions with humans. Aliens: Recent Encounters (2013), edited by Alex Dally MacFarlane, mixes both hard and soft SF with a smattering of magical realism and mythology, so not every story was to my taste. However, it is still an excellent anthology, thematically strong, while providing lots of variety.

This is a reprint anthology containing 32 short stories, all originally published between 2000 and 2012 (hence the book’s subtitle). The editor has done a good job of representing a number of nationalities with her author choices, and the gender balance is good too, with 21 stories by women, 10 by men, and one “neutrois” (neutral-gendered) author. There are a few really big names (i.e.: all the ones on the front cover) but a whole bunch of relative unknowns as well.