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September 2007
Locus Magazine
New and Notable Books

Elizabeth Bear, Undertow (Bantam Spectra Aug 2007)

In this watery SF thriller, an assassin and would-be conjuror becomes embroiled in local politics on a backwater mining planet, where the Charter Trade Company exploits the local aquatic natives and the human workforce.

Elizabeth Bear, Whiskey and Water (Roc Jul 2007)

Set seven years after the events of Blood and Iron (2006), this twisty and complex contemporary fantasy sees the remnants of the Prometheus Club renew their war against Faerie, with plenty of meddling from Heaven and Hell. ‘‘A dissident fairytale intent on getting beneath the accumulated tropes, lies, and self-delusions of a genre that has had centuries to evolve (and at times forget its roots).’’ [Faren Miller]

Mark Budz, Till Human Voices Wake Us (Bantam Spectra Aug 2007)

His latest ambitious thriller sprawls across time and space, following three characters whose lives hang in the balance: one in Depression-era San Francisco, one in near-future California, and one in a distant posthuman future.

Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds., The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales (Viking Jun 2007)

This newest in a series of YA fantasy anthologies is devoted to the archetype of the Trickster in all its forms, with 26 stories, including standouts by Kelly Link, Jeffrey Ford, Kij Johnson, and Ellen Kushner. ‘‘Sly or tragic, cutting or soothing, all of these are skillful and entertaining tricks in prose.’’ [Nick Gevers]

Gardner Dozois, ed., The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-fourth Annual Collection (St. Martin's Griffin Jul 2007)

The reigning heavyweight champ among the year’s best anthologies weighs in with 28 SF stories by authors including Paolo Bacigalupi, Alastair Reynolds, Michael Swanwick, and Robert Charles Wilson.

Nancy Farmer, The Land of the Silver Apples (Atheneum Aug 2007)

The brave youngsters from The Sea of Trolls return for more adventures in this young adult fantasy that mingles Norse mythology and early British history.

Sheila Finch, The Guild of Xenolinguists (Golden Gryphon Press Sep 2007)

Collects 11 of Finch’s Lingster stories, about the galaxy-spanning Guild of Xenolinguists in charge of managing cross-cultural communication among alien races, including Nebula Award winner ‘‘Reading the Bones’’. With a foreword by Ian Watson and an afterword by the author.

Eric Flint, ed., The Best of Jim Baen's Universe (Baen Jul 2007)

The 25 best stories from the first year of online magazine Jim Baen’s Universe are collected in this sprawling anthology, with contributors including Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Garth Nix, Gene Wolfe, and many more. There are also remembrances of Jim Baen by Eric Flint, Karl Inne Ugland, and John Lambshead, and an essay by Baen himself. Includes a CD-ROM featuring the entire contents of the anthology.

William Gibson, Spook Country (Putnam Aug 2007)

Gibson’s latest novel is set in the near past (it’s loosely connected to 2003’s Pattern Recognition), and concerns a former indie rock musician turned journalist, a family of freelance spies, a junkie translator kidnapped by an intelligence operative who may or may not be working for any government, and cutting-edge locative artists, all in search of a mysterious cargo container that’s been traveling the world for years. ‘‘Gibson is not quite leaving science fiction behind, but he is certainly emphasizing here the other side of his literary heritage – the tale of high-energy and low-life crime and intrigue... Thrill rides aren’t supposed to have a heart or a brain, but this one has both.’’ [Russell Letson]

Matthew Jarpe, Radio Freefall (Tor Aug 2007)

Rock stars, assorted oddballs, and liberated AIs join forces to thwart a lunatic billionaire’s plans for world domination in this rollicking first novel, a cyberpunk homage to Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

Alexander Levitsky, ed., Worlds Apart: An Anthology of Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy (Overlook Press Aug 2007)

Levitsky traces the development of Russian SF and fantasy from folk tales through early Utopias, post-revolutionary writing, pre-Soviet and Soviet space stories, and on to contemporary writings. Authors include famous artists like Bulgakov, Dostoevsky, and Gogol, plus many writers largely unknown outside the Slavic world.

Scott Lynch, Red Seas Under Red Skies (Bantam Spectra Aug 2007)

Con artist Locke Lamora returns in this sequel to celebrated debut The Lies of Locke Lamora, continuing the Gentlemen Bastard’s sequence. After fleeing his home of Camorr, Locke winds up in the exotic city of Tal Verrar. He just wants to rob a legendary casino, the Sinspire, but soon he’s co-opted into far more dangerous intrigues. And then there are the pirates... ‘‘Very well done, conveyed in a breezy but literate style replete with good humor and amusing social observation.’’ [Nick Gevers]

Brian Francis Slattery, Spaceman Blues (Tor Aug 2007)

An inventive first novel described as a ‘‘literary retro-pulp science-fiction-mystery-superhero novel’’ set in a surreal and grungy future New York. ‘‘Pays an irreverent tribute to several generations of SF, from the grand old era of Improbable Aliens to the more wry, self-aware modernism of Aldiss and his fellow pioneers, then on through Cyberpunk into polyglot urban grunge, and Slattery seems to revel in them all.’’ [Faren Miller]

Theodore Sturgeon, edited by Paul Williams, The Nail and the Oracle: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume XI (North Atlantic Books Jul 2007)

The 11th volume in the ambitious series dedicated to collecting Sturgeon’s complete short fiction features 12 stories written between 1957-1970, including the classic ‘‘When You Care, When You Love...’’ and the controversial ‘‘If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?’’, along with a previously uncollected story, ‘‘How to Forget Baseball’’. Editor Paul Williams provides illuminating story notes, and Harlan Ellison® contributes a long foreword.

Gary Westfahl, Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction (McFarland Jul 2007)

This in-depth critical study examines the career and philosophy of author and editor Hugo Gernsback, father of ‘‘scientifiction,’’ exploring his efforts to define and shape SF and tracing the influence of his numerous magazines and his novel Ralph 124C 41+ on the field.

© 2007 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.