Goodbye (for now), Stefen!
For the last half year, we've been thrilled to have Stefen Holtrey on our bookselling team. He's enthusiastic and creative, and is always ready to lend his perspective on science fiction reads, poetry, and cool new games. You can get his perspective on bookselling in a recent interview with Books Forward. And if you didn't know: Stefen is also a writer!
Now, Stefen's heading off to the West Coast on a literary adventure to hone his own sci fi skills! We're so excited for Stefen to head off on this epic journey — and we can't wait to all hear about his experience when he gets back next month. Happy writing, Stefen!
"I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last six months working as a bookseller at Brilliant Books. I consider this time to be rejuvenating. It gave me the time and resources to focus on some of the things that I love most: books, and writing. Being surrounded by these things has meant the world to me.
Now, for the next six weeks, I’ll be attending the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in San Diego, an endeavor that would not have been possible without oodles and oodles of support. Thank you to everyone at Brilliant Books, every single one of you has been a joy. See you all soon!"
What is Clarion?
Clarion is an intensive six-week summer program focused on fundamentals particular to the writing of science fiction and fantasy short stories. Currently held in San Diego, CA, it is a premier training ground for aspiring writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Among this year's instructors is Alma Katsu, acclaimed author of celebrated literary thrillers The Fervor and The Hunger. The list of Clarion alumni includes science fiction legends Octavia Butler, Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, and many others.
Book recommendations from Stefen:
Vicious, wondrous, and uncompromising in both its prose and its story, this violent fantasy debut of Booker Prize winner Marlon James proves he's out for blood. This is no "African Game of Thrones," its completely its own animal. For readers who want more from their genre fiction, and don't mind grappling with race, religion, and sexuality, this book is for you.
A short story collection where every story is sharp, clear as crystal, and filled with incredible, sci-fi tinged horror. Evenson is unflinching. I can't believe I haven't read him until now.
Monstress is some glorious graphic storytelling. In a world ravaged by war between Humanity and the descendants of gods, young Maika searches for the truth about her traumatic past, but her quest may threaten to unleash an even more devastating threat. This book has everything I love: weird technology, arcane sciences, elder gods, talking cats with swords. The art-style exists in a universe where H.R. Giger had an Art Deco period, but that's selling it short; its absolutely gorgeous. The care in which this world was crafted comes through on every page. I can't wait to see where this story goes.
It’s not every year you get a new Cormac McCarthy novel. It’s not even every decade. But this year, we get two. Should somebody check if this is mentioned in any prophecies?
Don’t get me wrong, this is wonderful news, I’m giddy that this is happening, but there’s just something about the timing. It’s 2022, after all we’ve been through, and the author of Blood Meridian and The Road is coming out with a duology about the creation of the Atomic Bomb. The mind trembles.
This was my most anticipated book of the year, and it did not disappoint. As beguiling as anything he's ever written, filled with quick slashes of the utterly weird, this book managed a slow-burn approach to the end of the (current) world.
An extremely deep strategy game that rewards multiple playstyles, this game is perfect for seasoned board game enthusiasts, especially if they enjoy a good ol'fashioned scifi setting! Plus, it has a jaw dropping amount of replay value. Definitely my favorite game of all time.
This is the nicest, prettiest, calmest board game I've ever played. Can I describe a game as "kindly?" This game is kindly. Great for two players, or up to four if the family wants to chill out together. I can't recommend this game enough, especially if you like a little education with your entertainment.