New and Notable Books
Mike Ashley, Algernon Blackwood: An Extraordinary Life (Carroll & Graf 1/02) An in-depth biography of the notorious writer, spy, performer, and occultist. Ashley’s extensive research includes interviews with friends and colleagues, and examination of unpublished papers.
Stephen Baxter, Manifold: Origin (Del Rey 2/02) High adventure and serious explorations of evolution and Fermi’s paradox mix in this third and final novel in the ‘‘Manifold’’ trilogy, as a new Red Moon inhabited by barbarians appears above the Earth.
John Crowley, The Translator (Morrow 3/02) Master fantasist Crowley mixes a touch of fantasy with the mostly mainstream wonders of language and poetry and the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis in this tale of a young woman at a Midwestern college, and the Russian poet who becomes her mentor.
Marie Jakober, The Black Chalice (Ace 2/02) A conflicted narrator adds complexity to this powerful historical fantasy of warring princes and pagan magics in war-torn medieval Germany. Previously available only from a Canadian small press.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (HarperCollins 3/02) This collection of eight SF stories includes an original novella and six stories set in Le Guin’s Hainish worlds. Le Guin discusses the difficulties of creating universes in her informative foreword.
Paul Levinson, The Consciousness Plague (Tor 3/02) Likeable forensic detective Phil D’Amata returns in this SF mystery sequel to The Silk Code, this time investigating the possibility that an antibiotic could be causing a strange epidemic of memory lapses.
Richard A. Lupoff, Claremont Tales II (Golden Gryphon 2/02) Lupoff’s wide-ranging talents are again showcased in these 13 stories - in genres including SF, mystery, adventure, Lovecraftian horror, and humor - one original to this collection, the second of a two-volume set.
Ken MacLeod, The Human Front (PS Publishing/Griffin Skye 2/02) UFOs, alternate realities, time travel, dinosaurs, and other SF clichés mix in this witty, offbeat romp exploring social experiments, human destiny, and foibles such as nationalism, racism, and other prejudices that threaten mankind’s survival.
Juliet Marillier, Child of the Prophecy (Tor 3/02) A young woman is raised to be the prophesied destroyer of the Sevenwaters clan, but grows to take her destiny into her own hands in this third book of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a satisfyingly complex Celtic fantasy.
Adam Roberts, Park Polar (PS Publishing/Griffin Skye 2/02) Overpopulation leads corporations to use genetic entineering to develop the Arctic, despite terrorist opposition, in this impressively grim, dystopian novella of a not-too-distant future.
Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt (Bantam 3/02) Robinson brings an unprecedented complexity to alternate history as he traces patterns of change across centuries in this epic novel set in a world where plague wipes out medieval Europe, and Islam and China become the great forces of civilization.
Robert J. Sawyer, Iterations (Quarry/Out of This World 2/02) This collection gathers 22 stories, including three Aurora Award winners, by one of Canada’s best-known SF writers, working in a variety of genres including horror, humor, and mystery.
Robert Sheckley, Dimensions of Sheckley (NESFA Press 4/02) Sheckley’s unique brand of satiric SF is displayed in the four novels and one novella gathered in this omnibus, from Sheckley’s first novel Immortality, Inc. to classics Journey Beyond Tomorrow, Mindswap, and Dimension of Miracles, and finally 1990’s absurdist novella Minotaur Maze, previously available only in a limited edition.
Charles Sheffield, Dark as Day (Tor 3/02) Old weapons and new discoveries threaten the human race once again in this hard-SF sequel to Cold as Ice, set thirty years after the interplanetary war that left Earth almost uninhabitable.
John Shirley, Demons (Del Rey 3/02) The acclaimed horror novella of the title, previously available only as a limited-edition hardcover, is joined with a new sequel of this near-future, post-apocalyptic world where demons roam the streets. The two-part structure allows variations on a theme as Shirley explores the complex nature of Evil.
Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber, eds., Science Fiction: The Best of 2001 (ibooks 2/02) This new contender beats all the other year’s best anthologies covering 2001, arriving first on the stands with 11 stories by authors including Gregory Benford, Michael Swanwick, Stephen Baxter, and Dan Simmons.
Brian Stableford, Dark Ararat (Tor 3/02) The fifth volume in Stableford’s hard-SF future history series combines murder mystery and xenobiological exposition as a colony ship reaches its destination after a 700-year voyage, only to find evidence of alien habitation.
Michael Swanwick, Bones of the Earth (Eos 3/02) Swanwick brings new life to one of SF’s old familiar plots - the dinosaur thriller - adding style, detailed up-to-date dino lore, and a touch of satire to this compelling tale of time-travel and academic politics in the Paleolithic.