For other noteworthy recent titles,
Locus Magazine's monthly
New & Notable Books
are posted online:
weblog compiles notable reviews from nonSFFH sources:
Locus Magazine's full reviews are available only in the magazine --
Index to Book Reviews
in Locus Magazine
2001 Fantasy & Horror Novels
Jeff VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen: The Book of Ambergris (Cosmos, Aug)
Set in the imaginary city of Ambergris, this cycle of four novellas combines Sturgeon Award finalist "Dradin, In Love" and World Fantasy Award winner "The Transformation of Martin Lake" with "The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris" and "The Strange Case of X", following missionaries, scholars, critics, and even writers in as Nick Gevers describes it "an eccentric and villainous metropolis haunted by mushroom dwellers, a regal species of riverine squid, and many another horror."
Faren Miller, in the January 2002 Locus, observes that the book "packs so much literary and emotional matter into the confines of one city, it defies both the standard category of ''collection'' and the newer label ''story suite.'' Other fantasy authors may stripmine their invented worlds (or plunder someone else's) for the last scrap of ore; VanderMeer keeps going deeper, and finding new forms of gold."
Clive Barker, Coldheart Canyon (HarperCollins, Oct)
A ghost story set in Hollywood: the tale of a fading star hiding his plastic surgery scars at a house in a secluded canyon. The book is phantasmagoric, sexually explicit, densely detailed, and gaudy, writes Bill Sheehan in the August Locus, yet it "remain[s] firmly rooted in Barker’s clear understanding of the predatory nature of 21st century Hollywood, a society fueled by avarice, ambition, and adolescent fantasies of eternal, immutable perfection."
Ray Bradbury, From the Dust Returned (HarperCollins/Morrow, Oct)
The latest novel from one of SF and fantasy's Grand Masters weaves together several stories from Bradbury's early career (including 1946's "Homecoming") with substantial new material to create a charming, weird tale of the history and homecoming celebrations of a magical family of shapeshifters, vampires, and demons. Edward Bryant in the November Locus advises: "Bradbury's prose should be sampled and savored rather than simply gobbled down. Every image will not be beloved by every taste, but that's just fine. The palette of Bradbury's words is both elegant and eloquent, and it sings."
Stephen King & Peter Straub, Black House (Random House Sep, HarperCollins UK Sep)
This sequel to the writers' The Talisman has ties to King's "Dark Tower" series, but is a largely independent, character-driven novel with a murder mystery at its core. Gary K. Wolfe (September) thinks "Black House is a better novel than The Talisman, one that is more wholly and comfortably what it is, and some kind of dark masterpiece." And Bill Sheehan writes "It is a mature, intelligent fantasy aimed at a mature, intelligent audience. It deserves the attention - and runaway popularity - it is doubtless about to receive."
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Other Wind (Harcourt, Sep)
Ten and twenty years following the earlier books in her much-loved "Earthsea" series, including the trilogy that began with A Wizard of Earthsea, Le Guin is in fine form with a novel that reinterprets the premises of her world with the wisdom of advancing decades.
"A genuine and significant extension to one of the central worlds of modern fantasy, and Le Guin's most important and impressive work of fiction in years." (GKW, Sep)
References are to reviews in Locus Magazine, unless otherwise indicated. Reviewers are Gary K. Wolfe (GKW), Nick Gevers (NG), Faren Miller (FM); Jonathan Strahan (JS); Ed Bryant (EB); Carolyn Cushman (CC); Russell Letson (RL).
A comprehensive list of recommended 2001 books is being compiled for Locus's February 2002 issue.
This online list includes 2001 US and UK first editions, as well as (+) 2001 first-US editions of novels published earlier in the UK or elsewhere. Criteria used to compile other lists may differ.
Published Earlier in 2001
- Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion (Eos, August)
In this tale of a destitute lord confronting old enemies, a curse, and the unwanted interference of the gods, "Bujold gets fantasy right this time ...possibly because this time she's working with a character who has at least a few things in common with Bujold's most popular SF hero, Miles Vorkosigan." (CC, Apr)
- Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart (Tor, June)
Long but compulsively readable first novel about an indentured servant - and unashamed masochist - trained as a courtesan and spy. "Carey dismantles standard notions of both magic and morality to produce a long, complex saga worthy of the field’s best...an astonishing debut." (FM, Jun)
- Jonathan Carroll, The Wooden Sea (Tor, Feb)
This tale of surreal goings-on in small-town New York (third in a loose trilogy following Kissing the Beehive and The Marriage of Sticks) is "A quirky piece of intelligent pop that is also surprisingly moving," wrote The New Yorker.
- Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair (Hodder & Stoughton, July)
Set in an alternate history where the Crimean War is in its 131st year and everyone reads literature, a plucky heroine and an evil mastermind are swept up in a crisis triggered by the disappearance of a minor character from Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. Combining murder, mayhem, time travel, fantasy, literary in-jokes, and despicable violence, Fforde has created "an exhilarating, unlikely, and ultimately delightful tale" that is "easily one of the strongest debuts in years", according to Jonathan Strahan in the August Locus.
- Jeffrey Ford, The Beyond (Eos, Jan)
Former physiognomist Cley travels into the fantastic wilderness outside the City in a strikingly twisted allegorical journey towards salvation, in this final novel in the trilogy begun in the World Fantasy Award-winning novel The Physiognomy.
"It’s a complex tale of old sin, forgiveness, false paradise, and ‘true’ dreams, with a conclusion that could be either happy or tragic, as death and life strangely mingle." (FM, Jan)
- Karen Joy Fowler, Sister Noon (Putnam, May)
This novel set in 1890s San Francisco, with voodoo goddesses and a mysterious orphan, is the work of a novelist
"who absolutely comprehends the pleasures of imagination and transformation" (New York Times).
- Neil Gaiman, American Gods (Morrow, Jun)
An ex-con on a road trip through America finds himself amidst the old gods and their battles with the new. The book, packing "much mythical freight into a fast-moving narrative without leaving the reader feeling assaulted by a blunt instrument is a tribute not only to [Gaiman's] always considerable storytelling skills, but to a clear, controlled, and sophisticated voice that seems far more original and passionate than anything we've seen from him before." (GKW)
- Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Past the Size of Dreaming (Ace, March)
A dark fantasy sequel to A Red Heart of Memories, this tale of magical friends in small-town Oregon searching for the remaining members of their group has "the feel for contemporary life, and the quirkiness of its magics, [that] may sometimes recall the works of Ray Bradbury or Peter Beagle. (FM, Apr)
- Gwyneth Jones, Bold as Love (UK: Orion/Gollancz, Aug)
In 2007 Britain the government's plan to address the counter-culture movement with a Think Tank made up of prominent pop stars goes disastrously awry. "Jones carefully strains the last dying gasps of the Summer of Love through the hard-bitten eyes of a survivor of Thatcher’s Britain who has spent too many late nights in Brighton listening to The Clash and dreaming of Jimi Hendrix," writes Jonathan Strahan in the July Locus.
- China Miéville, Perdido Street Station (UK: Macmillan, March 2000; +US: Del Rey, February 2001)
SF and dark fantasy meet extravagantly in the city of New Crobuzon, where a scientist unleashes a deadly thaumaturgical force. Already winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award. "A Dantesque fable for the Industrial Ages, from that of Dickens to our own with its cybernetics, astrophysics, and big business. ...runs the gamut with its moments of joy and tragedy, intellectual marvels, explorations of justice and self-judgement, and much, much more." (FM, July 2000)
- Michael Moorcock, The Dreamthief's Daughter (UK: Simon & Schuster/Earthlight, Feb; US: Warner, Apr)
Moorcock's most famous character, Elric of Melniboné, is brought together with Nazi Ulric von Bek in this sweeping fantasy that spans the Multiverse. The novel "brilliantly melds first person points of view, then separates them again, while the action flows seamlessly between worlds from Nazi Germany, to the Middlemarch and various realms of the multiverse, and back again." (Jennifer A. Hall, July)
- Tim Powers, Declare (Subterranean Press limited edition, 2000; Morrow, Jan 2001)
Le Carréan spy fiction and the secret history of the 20th century, with fallen angels and Kim Philby. Winner of the 2001 World Fantasy Award. "In its various parts, Declare is not only Powers's most ambitious novel to date, but it may well be his best." (GKW, Feb)
- Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time (HarperCollins, May)
The latest Discworld novel sends up philosophy and martial arts movies as monks plot to end time. "In one particularly brilliant development, Pratchett brings new meaning to the expression 'death by chocolate.' " note Carolyn Cushman (Apr).
- Sean Russell, The One Kingdom (Eos, Feb)
A refreshing fantasy epic about feuding families and a magical, mapless river; first in a series. It "avoids the flashy, the outlandish, ... in favor of a subtler narrative style, well-drawn characters, and an admirable lack of hysteria." (FM, Jan)
- Geoff Ryman, Lust (UK: HarperCollins/Flamingo, Feb)
Contemporary fantasy about a scientist who discovers he can bring his erotic fantasies to life; transcends the obviously self-indulgent aspects of the premise by applying scientifically rigorous controlled experimentation into his newly found ability, resulting in startling psychological discoveries. (Mark R. Kelly)
- Tad Williams, Otherland: Sea of Silver Light (DAW, April)
In this finale to the "Otherland" tetralogy is "the real and virtual plots all come to a spectacular climax ... a surprisingly satisfying conclusion." (CC, May)