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December 2007
Locus Magazine
New and Notable Books

Clive Barker, Mister B. Gone (HarperCollins Nov 2007)

Master horror writer Barker tackles questions of good and evil, demons, love, and even the war between Heaven and Hell in this darkly fantastic and frequently humorous novel in the form of the autobiography of a demon.

Stephen R. Donaldson, Fatal Revenant (Putnam Oct 2007)

Nothing is what it seem in this second volume of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. ‘‘Difficult but worthwhile, this complicated and emotional continuation of the Thomas Covenant saga is exactly what Donaldson’s fans have been hoping for.’’ [Publishers Weekly]

Henry Gee, ed., Futures from Nature (Tor Nov 2007)

This anthology gathers 100 short-short stories published in the celebrated series from Nature magazine, by an impressive group of authors including Robert Charles Wilson, Ken MacLeod, Greg Egan, Joe Haldeman, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, and Arthur C. Clarke. ‘‘...a satisfying selection of cute ideas, occasionally quite profound, and of course more often than not essentially jokes (albeit good ones.)’’ [Rich Horton]

Del Howison & Jeff Gelb, eds., Dark Delicacies 2: Fear (Carroll & Graf Oct 2007)

Howison, founder of the Dark Delicacies horror bookstore, draws from his extensive experience and connections in the field to bring together this anthology of 19 new stories by authors including Barbara Hambly, Joe R. Lansdale, Tananarive Due, and Ray Garton.

Matthew Hughes, The Commons (Fitzhenry & Whiteside/Robert J. Sawyer Books Oct 2007)

Guth Bandar of Old Earth investigates the entertaining world of the Commons, a realm of the collective unconscious inhabited by archetypes. His colorful adventures, several originally published in F&SF, are gathered in this episodic fix-up novel, a companion to Black Brillion.

Stephen Jones, ed., The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Eighteen (Carroll & Graf Nov 2007)

The all-horror year’s best anthology presents 24 stories by authors including Kim Newman, Geoff Ryman, Richard Christian Matheson, Ramsey Campbell, and Gene Wolfe. Published in the UK by Robinson.

James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, eds., Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (Tachyon Publications Nov 2007)

The persistence of cyberpunk elements in SF is explored in this solid anthology of 16 stories from the last decade by authors including Bruce Sterling, Jonathan Lethem, Pat Cadigan, and William Gibson, with a thought-provoking introduction by the editors on the rise and fall of cyberpunk as a literary movement.

Sarah Monette, The Bone Key (Wildside Press/Prime Books Aug 2007)

Museum archivist Kyle Murchison Booth, a reluctant occult investigator with a connection to the dead, stars in this collection of ten interconnected tales, one original, in the best tradition of old-fashioned ghost stories and mysteries.

Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, The Shadow Speaker (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun Oct 2007)

Technology and magic mix in this young-adult novel, set in a post-apocalyptic 2070 Nigeria where the Great Change has brought magic back into the world, and one teen with special powers seeks to help save Earth from attack by other worlds. This is ‘‘...thematically complex and ambitious…it offers us a unique look at the possibilities of a genuinely African-based mode of SF and fantasy.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

K. J. Parker, Devices and Desires (Orbit US Oct 2007)

The first book in the Engineer trilogy brings a breath of fresh air to fantasy as it chronicles conflicts between different cultures. A weapons-building engineer is exiled from his country for tampering with established methods, and gets caught up in conflicts between two lower-tech duchies. Originally published in the UK by Orbit (2005). ‘‘Parker suffuses a wholly invented world with the casual idioms and immediacy of our own time.’’ [Faren Miller]

Justina Robson, Selling Out (Pyr Oct 2007)

The focus shifts to fantasy with a dark edge in this second book of the Quantum Gravity series, a cyberpunk/fantasy/romance/thriller set in a universe where dimensions have collided and high tech now mixes with the supernatural. Cyborg agent Lila Black goes on a mission to the hell dimension of Demonia.

Jonathan Strahan, ed., Eclipse One: New Fantasy and Science Fiction (Night Shade Books Nov 2007)

Locus’s own Jonathan Strahan attempts to create an anthlogy series in the vein of Terry Carr’s Universe or Damon Knight’s Orbit, debuting with this volume of 15 stories by an impressive roster of authors including Peter S. Beagle, Garth Nix, Lucius Shepard, and Andy Duncan. ‘‘...Almost none of the stories look back toward traditional forms of SF or fantasy, many are striking for the elegance and originality of their writing, and there’s a surprising degree of comic sensibility which gives the whole project something of the same playful sense of experimentation as in those earlier series.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Charles Stross, Halting State (Ace Oct 2007)

An Edinburgh police sergeant reluctantly investigates a virtual robbery committed inside a massive multiplayer online game in this multilayered near-future police procedural mystery, which may be Stross’s ‘‘...most carefuly structured and most accomplished novel to date.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Michael Swanwick, The Dog Said Bow-Wow (Tachyon Publications Sep 2007)

‘‘Michael Swanwick is one of the finest short fiction writers of the last quarter century, and his long-awaited new surpassingly brilliant...the leading contender for best collection of 2007.’’ [Nick Gevers]

Catherynne M. Valente, The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice (Bantam Spectra Nov 2007)

The second book in the Orphan’s Tales series is ‘‘ original and delightful as any book I’ve read in years. It consists of fairy tales…entirely new tales, abundantly imaginative, gorgeously written, and stunningly and intricately framed.’’ [Rich Horton]

Connie Willis, The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories (Subterranean Press Sep 2007)

Stories from throughout Willis’s celebrated career, ranging from grim to hilarious, are gathered in this retrospective collection of 23 stories, including three winners of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Gene Wolfe, Pirate Freedom (Tor Nov 2007)

Gene Wolfe gets aboard the pirate trend with this standalone tale of a devout young Cuban transported from the near future to the brutal past, bringing new depth to a rousing swashbuckler, ‘‘...a fascinating welter of unromantic truths and high romance....’’ [Faren Miller]

© 2007 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.