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April 2008
Locus Magazine
New and Notable Books

John Joseph Adams, ed., Wastelands (Night Shade Books Feb 2008)

Ecological disaster is the focus in this reprint anthology of 22 post-apocalyptic stories by a stellar line-up of authors including Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, and Octavia E. Butler. ‘‘A first-rate anthology that quite convincingly represents the more recent SFnal view of the apocalypse.’’ [Rich Horton]

Paolo Bacigalupi, Pump Six and Other Stories (Night Shade Books Feb 2008)

This first collection from a noted newcomer gathers ten stories, one original – dealing with environmental disasters. A ‘‘…powerful and important collection…’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Iain M. Banks, Matter (Orbit US Mar 2008)

Far-future SF novel in the Culture series. A former princess gets pulled into her royal family’s conflicts over who will be the king’s heir. ‘‘…a genuinely moving conclusion. What Banks, the sly intellectual trickster of SF, has up his sleeve turns out to be humanity.’’ [Faren Miller]

James Blish, Works of Art (NESFA Press Feb 2008)

This collection serves as a combination ‘‘Best of’’ and introductory sampler to the versatile author’s works, with 16 stories, two poems, and an essay on New Wave SF.

Andrew M. Butler, An Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett (Greenwood Feb 2008)

Terry Pratchett’s fiction is described and fondly dissected in over 300 encyclopedic entries on the books, major characters, themes, adaptations, merchandising, and more.

Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead (Eos Mar 2008)

SF mystery set on an artificial world inhabited by several engineered species, where counselor Andrea Cort investigates murders. ‘‘With its creepy background and complex plot, [this] offers an intriguing combination of SF and detective story.’’ [Faren Miller]

Jeffrey Ford, The Shadow Year (Morrow Mar 2008)

Ford expands his World Fantasy Award-winning novella ‘‘Botch Town’’ in this quasi-autobiographical fantasy/mystery novel about brothers who build a model of their home town, only to discover that changes their sister makes to the model somehow affect the real town.

George Mann, ed., The Solaris Book Of New Science Fiction Volume Two (Solaris Mar 2008)

The second volume in the series presents 15 all-new stories by authors including Michael Moorcock, Robert Reed, Chris Roberson, and Paul Di Filippo.

Jeffrey Marks, Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography (McFarland Feb 2008)

The life and works of the noted author, critic, and influential SF editor are covered in this combination biography and bibliography.

John Meaney, Bone Song (Bantam Spectra Mar 2008)

Horror dominates in this noir detective novel mixing SF and gothic fantasy, set on a hell-like planet powered by the energies of the dead, where killers are targeting talented artists for their bones. The first book in a duology, originally published in the UK by Gollancz (2/07). ‘‘Whatever seems familiar here, from one genre or another, gets a highly imaginative makeover…’’ in this ‘‘…fascinating, convention defying cross-genre world.’’ [Faren Miller]

Farah Mendlesohn, Rhetorics of Fantasy (Wesleyan University Press Apr 2008)

Noted scholar Mendlesohn attempts to build a new ‘‘critical tool kit’’ for fantasy critics by taking a close look at the use of language in fantasy, finding four categories within the form.

James Morrow, The Philosopher's Apprentice (Morrow Mar 2008)

A philosopher tutors a billionaire geneticist’s adolescent daughter who has lost her memory and moral sense, finding mysteries and unintentionally creating a woman determined to save the world at any cost. ‘‘…entertaining and often hilarious…Morrow is as good as anybody at dramatizing the notion that ideas can both kill us and save us, and The Philosopher’s Apprentice may well offer about as many provocative ideas per chapter as we’ll see in any novel this year.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Ekaterina Sedia, ed., Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy (Senses Five Apr 2008)

Urban fantasy is the focus of this anthology of 21 original stories by authors including Hal Duncan, Jay Lake, Cat Sparks, and Catherynne M. Valente. ‘‘One interesting thing about the anthology…is how elastic its definition of ‘Urban Fantasy’ is…the stories…are mostly set in purely fantastical cities – which works quite well.’’ [Rich Horton]

Traci L. Slatton, Immortal (Delta Feb 2008)

An impressive first novel, this historical fantasy novel follows a near-immortal orphan in Renaissance Venice, and the famous people and events he encounters across two centuries.

Lavie Tidhar, Hebrew Punk (Apex Publications Dec 2007)

The first collection from popular short fiction author Tidhar mixes Hebrew mysticism and supernatural action-adventure in four stories (one new) featuring such characters as a hard-boiled Rabbi, his golem gunsel, a Jewish vampire, and a fallen Tzaddik. [Not available from Amazon or BookSense; you can order it from Horror Mall.]

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