Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen : December
* Dann, Jack, & Gardner Dozois, eds. : Future Crimes(Ace 0-441-01118-7, $6.5, 10+276pp, mass market paperback, December 2003, cover art Getty Images, cover design Rita Frangie)
Anthology of 8 previously-published SF stories; latest in the long-running series of theme reprint anthologies by these editors (with over 25 volumes to date). Stories include Harlan Ellison's Hugo and Nebula award-winning 1965 story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", Michael Swanwick's Hugo-winning 2001 story "The Dog Said Bow-Wow", and others by Algis Budrys, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, C.M. Kornbluth, Kim Stanley Robinson, Brian Stableford, and Tony Daniel.
* Dunsany, Lord, edited by S. T. Joshi : The Pleasures of a Futuroscope(Hippocampus Press 0-9721644-8-0, $32.95, 200pp, hardcover, October 2003, cover art Jeff Remmer)
First publication of the final novel by the Irish fantasy writer, author of The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924) and others, who lived from 1878-1957. This novel was written in 1955, and concerns a device that allows the viewer to see into the distant future. This edition is edited by, and has an introduction by, S.T. Joshi. The publisher's site has this description. The Amazon page has the review from Publishers Weekly, and several reader reviews. For more about the author, see Dunsany - Official Site of the Dunsany family and Lord Dunsany.
* Garth, John : Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth(Houghton Mifflin 0-618-33129-8, $26, 18+398pp, hardcover, December 2003)
Nonfiction examination of how Tolkien's World War I experience influenced the writing of The Lord of the Rings. The Tolkien Society notes that Garth "was allowed access to Tolkien's papers, only the second biographer of Tolkien to have such access." The publisher's site has this description. The Amazon page has the PW review. The Green Man Review site has this review by Liz Milner. The book includes maps, notes, bibliography, and index.
* Gerrold, David : Blood and Fire(BenBella Books 1-932100-11-3, $14.95, 223pp, trade paperback, January 2004, cover illustration Bob Eggleton, cover design Melody Cadungog)
SF novel in the author's Star Wolf series; Locus Online listed the reprint of one previous volume, The Voyage of the Star Wolf, here. The introduction by D.C. Fontana, and afterword by the author, discuss the origin of this novel as a Star Trek: The Next Generation script, and the part it played in an unproduced TV series for Universal called Millennium. Gerrold's website has these excerpts, while the publisher's site has this page of description and blurbs.
* Jones, Gwyneth : Midnight Lamp(UK: Gollancz 0-575-07470-1, £17.99, 326pp, hardcover, November 2003, jacket illustration Anne Sudworth)
Contemporary fantasy novel, third in the series following Bold as Love (2001; winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award) and Castles Made of Sand (2002). The author's site www.boldaslove.co.uk includes several pages of "insights, explanations, serendipity- some of the pieces of life and times that went into the making of Midnight Lamp". A review by Justina Robson just appeared in the Guardian, and a review by John Toon is at Infinity Plus. An interview with the author appears in the January 2004 issue of Locus Magazine.
* Kiernan, Caitlín R. : Low Red Moon(Roc 0-451-45948-2, $14, 337pp, trade paperback, November 2003)
Horror novel, loose sequel to the author's Threshold (2001; winner of the International Horror Guild award), concerning the same characters but in a slightly alternate reality. The Amazon page has the PW review. Locus reviewer Tim Pratt, in the October '03 issue, described the book as "more compulsively readable than Kiernan's previous novels" and noted that "this book is a culmination of much of Kiernan's recent work in the short form...". The author's Low Red Moon journal chronicles the writing of her next novel.
* Kratman, Tom : A State of Disobedience(Baen 0-7434-7170-9, $22, 314pp, hardcover, December 2003, cover art Stephen Hickman)
SF novel about a near-future American revolution. The Amazon page has reader reviews, mostly low-scoring. The publisher's site has this description with links to excerpts.
* Reynolds, Alastair : Absolution Gap(UK: Gollancz 0-575-07434-5, £12.99, 9+565pp, hardcover, November 2003, jacket illustration Chris Moore)
SF novel, third in the trilogy of very long far-future space operas that began with Revelation Space (2000) and Redemption Ark (2002) (with 2001's British SF Association award-winner Chasm City being set in the same future history, but not part of the trilogy). The author's site, www.alastairreynolds.com, has news about this and future projects. The Amazon UK page for this book has a review by David Langford, which concludes "Alastair Reynolds makes his huge story compellingly readable, with characters we care about, and gives impressive descriptions of beauty and cataclysm. This is very superior space opera."
+ Silverberg, Robert, ed. : Legends II(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-45644-0, $28.95, 10+642pp, hardcover, January 2004, jacket design Dreu Pennington-McNeil)
Anthology of original fantasy novellas, subtitled "New Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy". Each contributor provides a new story set in the universe of his or her most popular series: a tale of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card, a story by George R.R. Martin set a generation before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, etc. Other contributors are Robin Hobb, Diana Gabaldon, Robert Silverberg, Tad Williams, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, Elizabeth Haydon, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Brooks. Each story has an introduction listing and summarizing the events of the author's series. Endpaper art is by John Harris.
+ Simpson, M. J. : Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams(Justin Charles & Co. 1-932112-17-0, $27.95, 25+406pp, hardcover, November 2003)
First US edition (UK: Hodder & Stoughton, March 2003).
Biography of the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, written by the co-founder of UK sf magazine SFX. With 8 pages of black & white photos, a foreword by Neil Gaiman, an introduction to the American edition, index, and numerous appendices. The publisher's site has this description with excerpts from reviews. The Amazon UK page for the first edition has a review by Barry Forshaw; a review of that edition in the Telegraph is still online.
* Sullivan, Tricia : Maul(UK: Orbit 1-84149-312-0, £10.99, 355pp, trade paperback, October 2003, cover illustration Lee Gibbons)
SF novel, described on the front cover as "a science fiction novel of sex, shopping and terrorbugs". Farah Mendlesohn, in her October '03 Locus Magazine review, had this description: "a girl gang creates mayhem in a Mall, while a clone boy suffers experimental Y plagues in a world run by women. Maul is a 'post-feminist' novel in the most interesting way..." The author's 1998 novel Dreaming in Smoke won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Justina Robson's Guardian review concludes "I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time." Nick Gevers' review in the November Locus called it "one of the most innovative, and surely one of the dottiest, novels of 2003."
* Wolfe, Gene : The Knight(Tor 0-765-30989-0, $25.95, 430pp, hardcover, January 2004, jacket art Gregory Manchess)
Fantasy novel, Book One of "The Wizard Knight", about a teenaged boy who wanders into a realm containing seven levels of reality. The book is receiving rapturous reviews, including the starred review from Publishers Weekly reproduced on the Amazon page: "Wolfe doesn't just rearrange the cliches of sword and sorcery fiction; he recreates the genre. ... A compelling, breathtaking achievement." An interview of Wolfe by Nick Gevers on Infinity Plus includes a discussion of this book. Gevers' review in the December '03 Locus Magazine describes it as "a magnificent adventure story, packed with invention, incident, travel, battle, ascents, descents, deceptions, catharses, false trails, true paths. ... The Knight is the polar opposite of bloated, interminable commercial fantasy." Chapter illustrations are by Gregory Manchess.
* Zindell, David : The Lord of Lies(UK: HarperCollins/Voyager 0-00-224757-7, £18.99, 548pp, hardcover, September 2003, jacket illustration Geoff Taylor)
Fantasy novel, Book Two of the Ea Cycle, following The Lightstone (2001). The Amazon UK page has a description. The publisher's site has this description, while the Australian publisher has this description, and an excerpt from The Lightstone. The author has a webpage, Seekers of the Ineffable Flame - David Zindell Homepage, with information about his earlier books.
You must have stopped wondering what happened to me a long time ago; I know it has been many years. I have the time to write here, and what looks like a good chance to get what I write to where you are, so I am going to try. If I just told everything on a couple of sheets, you would not believe most of it. Hardly any of it, because there are many things that I have trouble with myself. So what I am going to do instead is tell everything. When I have finished, you still may not believe me; but you will know all that I do. In some ways, that is a lot. In others, practically nothing. When I saw you sitting by our firemy own brotherthere on the battlefield ... Never mind. I will get to it. Only I think it may be why I am writing now.Opening lines:
A man's fate, the scryers say, is written in the stars. Beneath these fiery points of light, we come forth from our mother earth to live and gaze up at the sky in wonder, to dance and dream and die. Some are born to be tillers of the soil or huntsmen; others to be weavers or minstrels or kings. Murderers might find the bright Dragon constellation pulling at their souls while saints seek in the Seven Sisters for the source of their goodness. A few turn away from the heavens altogether and look to the fire of their own hearts to forge their fate. But I believe that there is one - and one only - who is chosen to bear the golden cup that the angels sent to earth long ago. Even as a sword is made for the hard grip of a warrior, only the Shining One was meant to take the Lightstone in his hands and bring forth its secret light for all to behold.Opening lines:
She stands alone at the jetty's end, watching the sky. In the moonlight, the planked boarding of the jetty is a shimmering silver-blue ribbon reaching back to shore. The sea is ink-black, lapping calmly against the jetty's supports. Across the bay, out towards the western horizon, there are patches of luminosity: smudges of twinkling pastel-green, as if a fleet of galleons has gone down with all lights ablaze.
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