New and Notable Books
John Barnes, The Merchants of Souls (Tor 11/01) The issue of what makes us human is explored in this far-future SF novel of recorded personalities, treated as toys on Earth, and regarded as citizens in the interstellar community of the Thousand Cultures. The latest installment in the series begun in A Million Open Doors and Earth Made of Glass.
Randy Broecker, Fantasy of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History (Collectors Press 11/01) Broecker explores genre fantasy from early pulps to recent novels in this coffee-table art book, filled with hundreds of vivid cover-art illustrations. A companion volume to Robinson's Science Fiction of the 20th Century and Weinberg's Horror of the 20th Century.
Melvin Burgess, Bloodtide (Tor 11/01) The brutality of a Norse saga melds with dystopian future in this post-apocalyptic fantasy of feuding gangs in a ruined London where both genetically engineered halfmen and old gods appear. A darkly fascinating and thoroughly genre-bending tale, the first in a series retelling the Volsunga Saga.
Dennis Etchison, ed., The Museum of Horrors (Leisure 10/01) The latest anthology in ''The Horror Writers Association Presents'' series gathers eighteen all-new stories by some of horror's darkest stars, including Peter Straub, Joyce Carol Oates, and S.P. Somtow.
Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds., Spectrum 8: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Underwood 10/01) The multi-award-winning annual art book series returns with over 250 full-color reproductions of art by over 200 artists, plus an overview of the year 2000, and a look at the newest Spectrum Grand Master, Jean ''Moebius'' Giraud.
Karen Haber, ed., Meditations on Middle-Earth (St. Martin's 11/01) Noted fantasy authors contribute some thoughts on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in this gathering of 15 essays that often reveal as much about the authors themselves, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Swanwick, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, and Orson Scott Card.
Laurell K. Hamilton, Narcissus in Chains (Berkley 10/01) Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter returns in a tense, pivotal installment in this dark fantasy mystery series. The action gets hot and heavy as Anita finally comes to terms with her relationship with the men -- vampire and werewolf -- in her life, while in the middle of a violent shapeshifter power struggle.
Sarah Hoyt, Ill Met by Moonlight (Ace 10/01) At 19, Will Shakespeare enters Faerie in search of his abducted wife and child, and finds plenty of inspiration in the intrigues of the elves and the Dark Lady who helps him. A strong first novel that displays plenty of in-depth knowledge of the bard's life and plays.
Geoffrey A. Landis, Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities (Golden Gryphon 11/01) The first collection from a noted writer of short fiction, this gathers 16 stories, including Landis's Hugo-winning ''A Walk in the Sun''.
Gregory Maguire, Lost (HarperCollins 10/01) A blocked writer researching Jack the Ripper in contemporary London gets caught up in the mystery of a missing cousin and the violent resurgence of a family ghost rumored to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens's Scrooge. A dark and complex fantasy of tangled literature and reality.
Susan R. Matthews, Angel of Destruction (Roc 10/01) Matthews returns to the far-future universe of the ''Judiciary'' with its strict justice, in this tale of a whole people of ex-pirates facing death if found guilty of a new series of raids. Religious fanaticism, intrigue, and the search for justice combine with a cast of complex characters, and even romance.
Sergey Poyarkov, Balance of Contradictions (Poyarkov 10/01) The surreal art of Ukrainian artist Poyarkov is showcased in this elegant, extremely limited retrospective collection of his work, with text in both Russian and English.
James H. Schmitz, Agent of Vega & Other Stories (Baen 11/01) The fifth collection of Schmitz's short fiction from editors Eric Flint & Guy Gordon, this volume takes the four stories of the original Agent of Vega collection, and adds seven more, five not previously collected.
Jeff VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen: The Book of Ambergris (Cosmos Books 10/01) VanderMeer's unique surreal vision infuses these four novellas of the wondrous city of Ambergris, including the World Fantasy Award-winning ''The Transformation of Martin Lake''.
Vernor Vinge, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge (Tor 11/01) All of Vinge's 17 short fiction pieces, from early works to a new, previously unpublished novella, are collected here, displaying Vinge's distinctive blend of visionary science and powerful storytelling.
Stephen Youll, The Art of Stephen Youll: Paradox (Paper Tiger/Sterling 10/01) Youll's work, from hard SF to fantasy, is beautifully reproduced in this showcase of his work. The artist himself discusses his life and art in the accompanying text.