New and Notable Books
Wayne Barlowe, Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno (Morpheus International 9/01) Barlowe adds to the spectacularly dark vision of hell portrayed in Barlowe’s Inferno with this oversized staple-bound art ‘‘portfolio’’ with 15 new portraits of the lords of the underworld.
Orson Scott Card, ed., Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century (Ace 11/01) Never afraid of making tough choices, Card sets forth his selection of the 27 best SF stories of the 20th century, drawing on works by noted authors from ‘‘The Golden Age’’ to ‘‘The New Wave’’, and finally ‘‘The Media Generation’’.
C.J. Cherryh, Defender (DAW 11/01) The fifth novel in Cherryh’s critically acclaimed SF series of a human colony stranded on the world of the alien atevi, and the fragile balance between the two races, shattered by the return of the human spaceship Phoenix, which now offers the atevi access to the stars.
Peter Crowther, ed., Futures (Warner Aspect 12/01) Four notable novellas, originally published separately as limited editions in the UK, are now available in the US in this single volume, which marshals the considerable talents of Peter F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Paul McAuley, and Ian McDonald.
Avram Davidson, The Other Nineteenth Century (Tor 12/01) Widely varied versions of the past provide the link for this quirky collection of 23 stories in many styles and moods by one of SF’s most innovative and idiosyncratic authors.
Stephen Dedman, Shadows Bite (Tor 12/01) Mage Magistral returns for more martial arts dark fantasy in this sequel to The Art of Arrow Cutting. A mystery of strange deaths and a stolen body in Los Angeles gets mixed with black magic, Yakuza, assassins and vampires in this fast-paced thriller.
Frank Frazetta, Testament: The Life & Art of Frank Frazetta (Underwood 10/01) Underwood’s third collection of art by Frazetta, edited by Arnie & Cathy Fenner, with the usual lavish illustrations, autobiographical notes by Frazetta, and appreciations from Bernie Wrightson, Dave Stevens, and more.
Nalo Hopkinson, Skin Folk (Warner Aspect 12/01) Hopkinson gets inside the skins of some fascinating characters in this collection infused with a distinctive Caribbean flavor. The 15 stories, five not previously published, range from fairy tale and fantasy to SF.
Stephen Jones, ed., The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume 12 (Carroll & Graf 12/01) The all-horror year’s-best anthology weighs in with 22 stories from 2000, with a lengthy overview of the year by Jones. The stellar crew of authors includes Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Ramsey Campbell, and Graham Joyce.
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Threshold (Roc 11/01) Ancient horrors beset a woman already shaken by tragedy in this complex tale of an impossible fossil, and an albino girl who claims to have been sent by an angel to battle monsters. The latest novel by one of horror’s hottest writers.
J. Robert King, Lancelot du Lethe (Tor 12/01) The otherworldly Arthurian epic begun in Mad Merlin continues in this novel of fascinatingly mixed mythologies, with faerie and old gods fading before the inevitable rise of Christendom. In this poignant spin on the legend, Lancelot and Guinevere are both fey, bound together by fate, and unable to fulfill their destinies without destroying Arthur’s dream.
Donald Kingsbury, Psychohistorical Crisis (Tor 12/01) Kingsbury updates and does homage to Isaac Asimov’s concept of psychohistory in this compelling novel of the far future, when humanity has spread throughout the galaxy. A man deprived of his electronic augmentation tries to survive in a bewilderingly complex society, unable even to remember what he did to deserve such punishment.
Walter Mosley, Futureland (Warner Aspect 11/01) Noted mystery writer Mosley returns for a second foray into the SF field, this time with a collection of interrelated stories that paint mid-21st-century America as a racist, genocidal dystopia. Though somewhat clunky as SF, Mosley’s tales pack a punch while returning SF to one of its roots as a mode of social commentary.
Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero (HarperCollins 11/01) The Discworld itself is threatened when the aging Cohen the Barbarian decides to go out with a bang by returning fire (the explosive variety) to the gods, spurring the forces of Ankh-Morpork to launch a dragon-propelled spaceship to stop him. This humorous fantasy novella is extensively illustrated by Paul Kidby, adding to the fun with sight gags and take-offs on works as diverse as classic space art, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, and the Bayeux Tapestry.
Jo Walton, The King’s Name (Tor 12/01) The follow-up to Walton’s acclaimed first novel, the quasi-Arthurian fantasy The King’s Peace, this concludes the tale of female warrior Sulien ap Gwien and the king who inspired her, as civil war threatens to tear apart the land of Tir Tanagiri.