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New & Notable Books

John Joseph Adams
Paolo Bacigalupi
J.G. Ballard
Iain M. Banks
Greg Egan
Frances Hardinge
Robert Holdstock
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Martin & Dozois
Paul McAuley
Frank R. Paul
Jack Skillingstead
Jonathan Strahan
Jack Vance
VanderMeer & VanderMeer


Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood (Doubleday/Talese Sep 2009)

Celebrated author Atwood still claims not to write SF, but her lastest novel is the post-apocalypse tale of a group of people called God's Gardeners trying to survive in a world where gene-spliced lifeforms are spreading rapidly.

Claus Brusen, ed., Imaginaire I (Fantasmus-Art Oct 2008)

A gorgeous look at fantastic/surreal/magic realist art, with works by 47 artists from around the world including Daniel M. Bowers, Kinuko Y. Craft, and Patrick Woodroffe. The first volume in a planned annual series, this was published in Denmark in 2008.

Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire (Scholastic Press Sep 2009)

The second book in The Hunger Games trilogy finds Katniss unable to enjoy her victory in those games, caught as she is in the public eye — and unwittingly becoming the focus for a rebellion against the repressive government. A powerful, action-filled tale for readers of all ages.

Ellen Datlow, ed., The Best Horror of the Year: Volume One (Night Shade Books Dec 2009)

You can't keep a good editor down; St. Martin's discontinuation of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror series has led to a new year's best anthology dedicated solely to horror. This first volume weighs in with 19 stories and two poems from 2008, by authors including William Browning Spencer, Nicholas Royle, Richard Bowes, Joe R. Lansdale, and Margo Lanagan.

Lester del Rey, Selected Short Stories of Lester del Rey, Volume I: War and Space (NESFA Press Aug 2009)

A thrilling collection of 29 stories, most space opera or post-apocalyptic SF, by one of the field's Grand Masters.

James Gurney, Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Andrews McMeel Oct 2009)

Gurney covers the fundamentals of making realistic art, from studio set-up and basic composition to finished work, while providing numerous examples from his own work. A treat for both aspiring artists and those who appreciate fine illustration.

David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds., Year's Best Fantasy 9 ( Sep 2009)

Hartwell & Cramer's "genre fantasy" year's best returns with its ninth volume — but the first publication from new publisher, a separate publishing entity from Tor. This volume has 28 stories by authors including Peter S. Beagle, Geoff Ryman, Kage Baker, and Howard Waldrop.

Jay Lake, Madness of Flowers (Night Shade Books Oct 2009)

Lake returns to the City Imperishable for this decadent urban fantasy in New Weird mode, sequel to Trial of Flowers. Lord Mayor Imago must rebuild his war-wracked city and deal with his dangerous former allies and political rivals.

Justine Larbalestier, Liar (Bloomsbury Oct 2009)

A teenage girl has trouble with the truth in this sharp-edged and twisty YA novel, which may or may not have subtle genre elements. "I have no idea whether it is genre or not but it doesn't matter that much because it's great. The shelf it's on doesn't matter all that much, as long as readers of any age can find it." [Adrienne Martini]

Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City (Doubleday Oct 2009)

Lethem's latest novel follows a former child star in NYC having a resurgence in popularity because his lover is trapped on a space station. Conspiracy theories and changing realities mix in a somewhat Phildickian tale "resisting easy categories... sometimes chaotic and self-indulgent, sometimes sharply satirical and wildly funny, sometimes just nuts, but always deeply humanistic and frequently marked by the passages of brilliantly coruscating prose for which Lethem is deservedly admired." [Gary K. Wolfe]

Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals (Harper Oct 2009)

Pratchett's in fine form with his 37th Discworld novel, which finds the unathletic wizards of the Unseen University forced to play a game of football (soccer) — but first they need to rewrite the rules and "civilize" the rowdy street sport.

Cherie Priest, Boneshaker (Tor Oct 2009)

Priest leaves the Southern Gothic behind for this first novel in the Clockwork Century series, an alternate-history/steampunk romp with zombies and airship pirates in 19th-century Seattle. "This world's texture is luscious and deep.... If anyone can force steampunk into the mainstream reader's consciousness, it is Cherie Priest." [Adrienne Martini]

Ken Scholes, Canticle (Tor Oct 2009)

Scholes follows up his critically acclaimed first novel Lamentation with this second novel in The Psalms of Isaak series, revealing new layers of complexity in this far-future world with its medieval fantasy feel. "Scholes has chosen a strategy that gives the novel its own individual strength — not through tricks of self-indulgent worldbuilding, but by convincing us that even his most problematical characters are worth caring about." [Gary K. Wolfe]

Jack Skillingstead, Harbinger (Fairwood Press Sep 2009)

A man wakes from a coma to find himself with unexpected regenerative abilities in this SF novel of shifting realities and seeming immortality, the first novel from a writer already noted for his short fiction. Skillingstead "subverts cliché and probes under the surface to find both humanity and ‘singularity' in everything from family traumas to a far future of artificial reality and long-distance space travel." [Faren Miller]

Peter Straub, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps (Library of America Oct 2009)

Peter Straub, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now (Library of America Oct 2009)

Straub explores the development of American horror in these two volumes, from its roots in Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne to recent works by Tim Powers, Gene Wolfe, and Kelly Link — a selection made more intriguing by Straub's avoidance of some of the authors' most famous stories, and his inclusion of some lesser-known authors deserving of attention. "Both as a contemporary anthology and a fascinating historical survey, American Fantastic Tales is both irresistible and essential." [Gary K. Wolfe]

Gordon Van Gelder, ed., The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Tachyon Publications Sep 2009)

Van Gelder demonstrates that F&SF's best is very good indeed with this impressive anthology of 23 stories — many of them classics — by authors including Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, and Peter S. Beagle.

November 2009 Issue
New & Notable Books

posted 12 November 2009

november cover
Cover Design: Arnie Fenner

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