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February 2008
Locus Magazine
New and Notable Books

Elizabeth Bear, Dust (Bantam Spectra Jan 2008)

A dying generation ship orbiting a star about to go supernova is inhabited by warring factions of strangely transformed humans — including AI infected angels and near-immortal exalts — in this engrossing far-future SF novel, the first volume in a new space opera trilogy.

Leigh Brackett, Lorelei of the Red Mist: Planetary Romances (Haffner Press Jan 2008)

Twelve classic SF adventure stories by the ‘‘Queen of Space Opera’’ are collected here, along with an article on writing SF by Brackett. Includes an introduction and poem by Ray Bradbury, her collaborator on the title story.

Eric Brown, Starship Summer (PS Publishing Jun 2007)

A man who settles on a quiet backwater planet discovers his home, a derelict spaceship, is seemingly haunted by an alien, and investigates with the help of his new friends in this character-driven SF novella.

Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter, Firstborn (Ballantine Del Rey Jan 2008)

The third volume in the Time Odyssey trilogy — from two of the the biggest names in hard SF — is full of Clarkean wonders and old-style thrills as the alien Firstborn return to destroy Earth once and for all. ‘‘Baxter…knows how to channel Clarke better than anyone... it reminds us of many of the stories that made us love SF in the first place.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Jack Dann, Promised Land (PS Publishing May 2007)

Ten stories continue Dann’s portrait, begun in The Rebel, of an America transformed by James Dean’s survival of that deadly car crash, now focusing on characters inluding Marilyn Monroe, Bobby Kennedy, Jack Kerouac, and Elvis Presley.

Philip José Farmer & Danny Adams, The City Beyond Play (PS Publishing Sep 2007)

A 22nd-century criminal joins the medieval recreationist community of Scadia and decides to work his way to the top in a land inhabited by arrogant knights, forest outlaws, robotic dragons, and fair ladies. This delightfully anacrhonistic novella was started by Farmer in 1970 and finished by Adams from Farmer’s outline.

Jane Frank, ed., Paint or Pixel: The Digital Divide in Illustration Art (NonStop Press Sep 2007)

Collectors and 31 noted artists from the SF field debate the advantages of traditional art versus computer art in this gathering of essays. illustrated with color works from contributing artists including Bob Eggleton, John Berkey, Jim Burns, and Alan M. Clark.

Gregory Frost, Shadowbridge (Ballantine Del Rey Jan 2008)

The compelling first volume in a fantasy duology set in an exotic world of bridges, each with its own society, spanning oceans inhabited by sentient dragons, following a cast of damaged characters through a frequently disturbing world. A ‘‘...compelling and original novel... Frost could be on his way toward a masterpiece.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds., Year's Best Fantasy 7 (Tachyon Publications Jun 2007)

Noted editors Hartwell & Cramer weigh in with their choices for the best fantasy of 2006, with 20 stories by authors including Gene Wolfe, Peter S. Beagle, Michael Moorcock, and Diana Wynne Jones.

Robin Hobb, Renegade's Magic (Eos Jan 2008)

The third volume in the Soldier Son trilogy finds the former soldier Nevarre a fugitive, forced to turn to the enemy whose hated magic has transformed him. Hobb avoids fantasy conventions while spinning a fascinatingly grim and ultimately satisfying narrative of one man caught in the middle between two cultures incapable of coexisting. Originally published in the UK by Voyager.

George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois & Daniel Abraham, Hunter's Run (Eos Jan 2008)

Two old pros and one noted newcomer team up for this SF novel about a prospector who stumbles on aliens in hiding on a human colony planet. ‘‘The novel’s intertwined hunter-hunted and psychological-transformation tensions make for a compelling and satisfying read.’’ [Russell Letson] Expanded from the novella ‘‘Shadow Twin’’; originally published in the UK by Voyager (9/07).

Kim Newman, The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club (MonkeyBrain Books Nov 2007)

This collection, a follow-up to The Man From the Diogenes Club, continues Newman’s popular series about the cases of the Diogenes Club with seven stories, one new, following the supernatural adventures of the agents of Britain’s most secret service.

Michael Swanwick, The Dragons of Babel (Tor Jan 2008)

Swanwick returns to the mixed magical/technical world of The Iron Dragon’s Daughter for this tale of a rural faerie boy who is set on a series of adventures after a war-dragon crashes in his neighborhood. A striking fantasy, ‘‘elegant, erudite, slyly funny, hard-nosed, compassionate, propulsive, and capable of punching through overused conventions and sentimentalities and delivering the jolt that restores to the form its primal power.’’ [Russell Letson]

Ian Whates, ed., disLOCATIONS (NewCon Press Jul 2007)

This original anthology gathers nine stories about people displaced in some way, by a roster of notable authors including Pat Cadigan, Hal Duncan, Brian Stableford, Adam Roberts, and Ken MacLeod.

Sean Williams, Cenotaxis (MonkeyBrain Books Nov 2007)

This largely standalone novella in the Astropolis series focuses on a man unstuck in time who believes he is a god, fighting a false prophet to save far-future Earth. His story, told in flashbacks, creates a puzzle of a plot carried along by a ‘‘...rather Silverbergian combination of exotic far-future landscape and gloomy emotional atmosphere (think Nightwings or even Son of Man)... the sightseeing was worth the ticket price.’’ [Russell Letson]

Connie Willis, All Seated on the Ground (Subterranean Press Dec 2007)

The irrepressible Willis presents a new Christmas novella about enigmatic alien visitors taken to a shopping mall during the holiday season in a last-ditch effort to get them talking. The aliens respond to one carol, and the researchers’ resulting efforts to figure out why turn into a delightful romp with a message of peace and good will — and good manners.

© 2008 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.