New and Notable Books
Isabel Allende, City of the Beasts (HarperCollins 11/02) Noted novelist Allende’s first young-adult novel provides exotic adventure as a young man and his grandmother join an expedition seeking a legendary creature in the jungles of the Amazon.
David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds., The Hard SF Renaissance (Tor 12/02) The resurgence of hard SF in the 1990s is explored in this weighty anthology of 41 stories published since 1987, by authors ranging from old favorites Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl to newer stars such as Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, and Ted Chiang.
Lian Hearn, Across the Nightingale Floor (Riverhead 9/02) A young man adopted by an aristocrat discovers he has supernatural abilities in this complex and distinctive Japanese fantasy novel of warlords, assassins, and art; the first book of the ‘‘Tales of the Otori’’.
James A. Hetley, The Summer Country (Ace 10/02) A woman in contemporary Maine discovers her Blood gives her power in an alternate world out of Celtic legend. A powerful first novel and a standout fantasy in its own right: ‘‘...compared to standard pseudo-Celtic fare The Summer Country kicks butt.’’ [Faren Miller]
Jeffrey Jones, The Art of Jeffrey Jones, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books 11/02) Lavishly illustrated art book, with over 175 illustrations of Jones’s cover art, comics, and more, including numerous previously unpublished personal works. Editors Cathy & Arnie Fenner provide text on Jones’s career, liberally laced with comments from Jones himself.
Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman, The Fall of the Kings (Bantam Spectra 11/02) Kushner and Sherman return to the sophisticated urban world of Kushner’s Swordspoint 60 years later, as the city is overset by research into the past that unearths dangerous old magic and political unrest. A powerful fantasy that rises above the crowd with a vivid setting, complex characters, and elegant prose.
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch (HarperCollins 11/02) The latest Discworld novel sends Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch back in time to the days of his youth, tracking a murderer in the midst of revolution. Sharp, dark and funny, with some unexpected depths, it’s ‘‘another first-rate comic fantasy by the leading practitioner of the form.’’ [Bill Sheehan]
Peter Straub, ed., Conjunctions: 39: The New Wave Fabulists (Bard College 11/02) Straub guest-edited this volume of Bard’s bi-annual anthology series, and the result is an impressive collection of original stories, novel excerpts, and essays by an impressive roster of writers including Gene Wolfe, John Crowley, Jonathan Lethem, and Jonathan Carroll.
Theodore Sturgeon, Bright Segment: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume VIII (North Atlantic 7/02) This volume gathers 11 stories written from 1953 to 1955, when Sturgeon was at the top of his talent, plus two earlier short-short stories not found until recently. Paul Williams provides his usual insightful notes for each story.
Brian Youmans, ed., Best of the Rest 3: The Best Unknown Science Fiction and Fantasy 2001 (Suddenly Press 10/02) For those unable to keep up with all the small-press and online magazines, this anthology selects 16 stories from 2001 published in lesser-known venues. Authors include John Shirley, Thomas Ligotti, and Ray Vukcevich.