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New & Recommended Books

(From the August 1997 Locus.)

Linked titles can be ordered from Books

/ Slant, Greg Bear (Tor 7/97, $24.95, hc) Hard-SF mystery novel of a 21st century transformed by nanotech and AIs, a sequel to Queen of Angels.

Wizard of the Winds, Allan Cole (Del Rey 7/97, $12.95, tp) Fantasy novel, written in a humorously sarcastic Leiberian vein, of an orphaned prince and a young sorcerer coming into their powers, for good and ill.

Fortress on the Sun, Paul Cook (Roc 7/97, $5.99, pb) Tense SF thriller set in a 21st-century prison colony that once was a plasma-processing facility within the solar photosphere.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourteenth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin's 6/97, $17.95, tp) Dozois's pick of the best SF and fantasy from 1996, by Benford, Blaylock, Kessel, Silverberg, and many more, plus a list of honorable mentions and a summary of the year in the field, is, as usual, self-recommending. The anthology to read each year.

My Soul to Keep, Tananarive Due (HarperCollins 7/97, $24.00, hc) Dark fantasy of a Miami investigative reporter who finds her perfect man, an immortal, only to find she must pay a price to gain eternal life.

Distress, Greg Egan (HarperPrism 6/97, $21.00, hc) Near-future SF thriller by one of the top names in current SF, set on an artificial island where scientists, debating the Theory of Everything, may cause the one Alpha Moment. Speculative science as only Greg Egan can write.

Slippage, Harlan Ellison (Ziesing 7/97, $75.00, ltd. edition hc; Houghton Mifflin 9/97, $22.00, hc) Collection of 22 previously uncollected stories, several essays, and a teleplay, including most of his recent work. As with any Ellison collection, there are introductions, comments, illustrations, and other sometimes fascinating paraphernalia.

From the End of the Twentieth Century, John M. Ford (NESFA 7/97, $21.00, hc) Collection of stories (one original), poetry, and three new essays by an award-winning writer. Reading John Ford, according to Neil Gaiman's introduction, is "like dipping into a kaleidescope, or receiving mailings from far-flung departments of the Tower of Babel." Yes.

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman (Avon 7/97, $24.00, hc) Surreal dark fantasy of an ordinary young man thrust into a strangely transformed London and its labyrinthine Underground.

Expendable, James Alan Gardner (AvoNova 7/97, $5.99, pb) SF novel, a first novel, of a future which cherishes lives -- except for those in the Explorer corps, sent into the dangers of deep space and hostile worlds.

The Reality Dysfunction, Part 2: Expansion, Peter F. Hamilton (Warner Aspect 8/97, $5.99, pb) The complex space opera/galaxy-spanning epic of world-building begun in last month's Emergence concludes here.

I Who Have Never Known Men, Jacqueline Harpman (Seven Stories 7/97, $22.00, hc) Near-future Kafkaesque SF novel examining what it means to be human, set in a post-holocaust Earth where women are emprisoned; translated from the French, winner of a 1996 Prix Médicis.

Year's Best SF 2, David G. Hartwell, ed. (HarperPrism 6/97, $5.99, pb) Hartwell's more traditional choice of the best stories from 1996 rarely overlaps with the Dozois volume noted above, and both gatherings are worth the serious fan's attention.

Think Like a Dinosaur, and Other Stories, James Patrick Kelly (Golden Gryphon 7/97, $22.95, hc) Collection of 14 stories, including the 1995 Hugo-winning title work, and classics "Rat" and "Mr. Boy", by an author who effortlessly blends genre and mainstream strengths.

The Horns of Elfland, Ellen Kushner et al., eds. (Roc 5/97, $5.99, pb) Original anthology of 15 fantasy stories of music and magic, by Gene Wolfe, John Brunner, Terri Windling, and others, featuring excellent, insightful work -- and themes ranging from faerie fiddling to trad jazz and hip-hop.

Free Space, Brad Linaweaver & Edward E. Kramer, eds. (Tor 7/97, $24.95, hc) Original anthology of libertarian SF stories set on a consistent timeline going 300 years into the future, by noted authors including Poul Anderson, Gregory Benford, Robert J. Sawyer, etc., many of whom transcend the so-called libertarian theme.

Dreaming Metal, Melissa Scott (Tor 7/97, $22.95, hc) SF novel set on the world of Dreamships, as an entrepreneur unexpectedly finds herself in possession of what may be true Artificial Intelligence. Scott is an author of considerable charm and strangeness.


The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute & John Grant (St. Martin's 6/97, $75.00, hc) Massive, and welcome, one-volume reference, along the lines of Clute & Nicholls's award-winning Encyclopedia of SF. This will be the standard reference for years to come.


Winterlong, Elizabeth Hand (HarperPrism 7/97, $10.00, tp) Hand's sensually provocative and ambitious first novel (1990) of a strange, post-apocalyptic Earth is finally available again.

The Nature of Smoke, Anne Harris (Tor 7/97, $13.95, tp) Chaos theory meets riot grrls in this hard-edged near future. A first novel we missed reviewing last year when it appeared in hardcover. A belated recommendation.

© 1997 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.