Strange Horizons reviews The Wan!

Check this out! I guess nobody noticed it before today. My novel The Wan was reviewed in Strange Horizons in april! Strange Horizons! Yay!

“And in The Wan, Bo Balder takes this idea and gives it two thoughtful twists. The first is that, after several generations of colonisation, this colony is dying. Human fertility plummets, and the implication is that it’s because the interaction between coloniser and colonised is fundamentally toxic. Humans can survive for a while, but their digestive system is simply not adapted to the vegetation that evolved on this new world. The plants and animals they originally brought with them from Earth are no longer sufficient, and the fundamental mismatch between organisms is slowly killing the planetary interlopers.

This is a great idea. It is supplemented by an ever better one, an idea that really piques that sci-fi staple, the sense of wonder.

It’s a very long and thoughtful review, and in spite of some criticism, I really appreciate it.

Heiresses of Russ is published

Every year Lethe Press does a roundup of the Best Lesbian Fiction of the year, called Heiresses of Russ. This year my F&SF story ‘A House of her Own’ is in it, in an awesome TOC full of famous writers, edited by Alyx Dellamonica.


Here’s the line-up:

Grandmother ley-neylit’s Cloth of Winds by Rose Lemberg
The Occidental Bride by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
The Devil Comes to the Midnight Café by A.C. Wise
And We Were Left Darkling by Sarah Pinsker
A House of Her Own by Bo Balder
Love in the Time of Markov Processes by Megan Arkenberg
Where Monsters Dance by Merc Rustad
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong
Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma
The Wollart Nymphs by Melissa Scott
The New Mother by Eugene Fischer
Eldritch Brown Houses by Claire Humphrey
The Tip of the Tongue by Felicia Davin
Where Can a Broken Glass Mend? by Sonya Taaffe
A Residence for Friendless Ladies by Alice Sola Kim
The Deepwater Bride by Tamsyn Muir
Doubt the Sun by Faith Mudge

The Wan is published!

Finally my sf book The Wan is published.
Cover picture
Quote from Jeff Vandermeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy:”Inventive and energetic, with a truly unique SF premise. A promising debut from one of my favorite publishers.”

Quote from Ferret Steinmetz, author of Flex: “A near-perfect blending of fantasy and sf, The Wan takes a crazy biological idea and pushes it to its limit.”

Quote from Sylvia Volk, author of City and Dragon: “”Bo Balder’s The Wan is bizarre and gritty sf, funny when you least expect it, with no-holds-barred weirdness at every turn of the plot. The heroine Frog will win hearts. She’s the lowest of the low – abused, attacked, abandoned – but she never gives up, and her journey from slavery to empowerment takes place against the backdrop of nothing less than an apocalypse …”

Interview by F&SF about ” A House of Her Own”

– Tell us a bit about “A House of Her Own.”
It’s set on a human colony world which has been cut off from Earth for a long time. Humans have gotten into a symbiotic relationship with local flora/fauna, the hice. They’ve replaced the hice’s old commensal species. When tax collectors from Earth return to reclaim the old colony, they don’t know how to deal with this relationship; they can’t even see it.

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?
As a teenager when I was taught English in school, I’d wonder at the lack of regularity in plurals and always thought house should be conjugated like mouse. One day, decades later, that notion popped up again in my head and the hice grew from there pretty quickly.
I’m always fascinated at humanity relating to the other, to creatures that have goals and worldviews completely unlike their own.

– Was “A House of Her Own” personal to you in any way? If so, how?
I think a story is always personal. But specifically, I was an odd, fierce little girl. I dressed as a boy whenever I could to escape the strictures of being a girl in those days. I had a lot of freedom, I could roam our village without any supervision all day long, climbing trees, making fires, fighting. That gave me independence and also the idea that adults were idiots. I thought I knew everything.
My protagonist is a girl who doesn’t have to deal with notions about girlhood, but she’s as fierce and stubborn as I was.
At the same I’m writing this as an adult, my readers are adult, so that gives this story more layers, because adults see the gray instead of the black and white and look ahead for the inevitable consequences.

– What would you want a reader to take away from this story?
Primarily, I hope they’ll just enjoy it. And for those readers who want more, maybe remember their own childhood state of mind and how different they view things now. And there’s the clash of cultures, of colonization, and how easy it is to think from the preconceptions of your own culture.
“A House of Her Own” appears in the September/October 2015 issue of F&SF. You can buy that issue here:
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