posted Saturday 4 February 2012 @ 3:11 pm PST
Kage Baker, edited by Kathleen Bartholomew, Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen
(Tachyon Sep 2011)
The late SF writer Kage Baker spent the last year of her life studying classic silent films and writing about them in a weekly column online at Tor.com. This collects those reviews and essays, with Baker’s personal take on over 50 ‘‘Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen’’, most SF or fantasy. Baker’s sister edited the book and provides an introduction. ‘‘Kathleen Bartholomew has done a lovely job of compiling this book. It is a marvelous tribute to one the science fiction world lost too early.’’ [Richard A. Lupoff]
Ramsey Campbell, Ghosts Know
(PS Publishing Nov 2011)
The horror Grand Master proves he’s still at the top of his game in his latest novel, about the controversial host of a radio call-in show who attempts to debunk a fake psychic and becomes embroiled in a missing-persons investigation. The author ‘‘keeps the novel suspenseful and unpredictable, right up to a bombshell revelation in the closing pages. Campbell accentuates it with his usual dexterous play with words and communication. No other writer in contemporary horror and dark fantasy is as attuned to the nuances and snares of language as he is.’’ [Stefan Dziemianowicz]
Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds., Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
(Underwood Books Dec 2011)
The latest lavish installment in the venerable annual art book series presents more than 450 impeccably reproduced images by more than 300 artists, selected by a jury of experts in the field.
Neil Gaiman, edited by Leslie S. Klinger, The Annotated Sandman, Volume One
(DC Comics/Vertigo Jan 2012)
This annotated volume includes issues 1-20 of Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman comics series. The comics themselves are reproduced in black-and-white, but the attraction here is really the marginal notes throughout organized by Klinger, which exhaustively explain various historical and cultural references, and provide behind-the-scenes insights gleaned from Gaiman’s original scripts and correspondence. Gaiman provides a foreword.
Theodora Goss, The Thorn and the Blossom
(Quirk Books Jan 2012)
The acclaimed writer of literary fantasy has produced her longest work to date, a fantasy novella of romance (and Romance) told in two parts, ‘‘Brendan’s Story’’ and ‘‘Evelyn’s Story’’. This unusual, attractive book is bound accordion-style and housed in a slipcase; either ‘‘side’’ of the story can be read first.
Stephen King, 11/22/63
(Scribner Nov 2011)
The master of the macabre tackles time travel in this sprawling tale about the Kennedy assassination and more personal tragedies. English teacher Jake Epping discovers a portal in the back of a diner that can transport anyone to a particular day in 1958. Jake is enlisted by the diner’s owner in a mission to live in the past, at least long enough to save President Kennedy from an assassin’s bullet – but he soon finds history doesn’t want to be changed.
R. A. MacAvoy, Death and Resurrection
(Prime Books Dec 2011)
The celebrated author of Tea with the Black Dragon returns to the genre with her first fantasy novel in nearly two decades, about a Chinese-American artist who gains the ability to travel between the worlds of the living and the dead. ‘‘MacAvoy clearly still has the talent for the ingratiating characters and revealing detail that made her first novel so delightful; almost every character is handled with wit and grace.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Robert McCammon, The Hunter from the Woods
(Subterranean Press Dec 2011)
The Nazi-fighting werewolf secret agent Michael Gallatin from The Wolf’s Hour (1989) returns in this collection of six linked stories, covering his early years in Russia, his recruitment to the British Secret Service, some of his adventures in WWII, and even a glimpse of his twilight years. ‘‘Much of the appeal of these stories derives from their believable grounding in historical detail and their colorful settings.’’ [Stefan Dziemianowicz]
Ra Page & Magda Raczyńska, eds., Lemistry: A Celebration of the Work of Stanislaw Lem
(Comma Press Sep 2011)
This original anthology collects three stories by the famed Polish SF writer; 13 stories inspired by Lem from authors including Brian Aldiss, Adam Roberts, and Ian Watson; and four essays on Lem’s life, work, and influence.
Jason Stoddard, Winning Mars
(Prime Books Dec 2011)
This debut novel from a writer known for his exceptional short fiction is expanded from the eponymous 2005 story, and concerns a producer in the dying medium of televison who attempts to resurrect the reality show with an ad-supported competitive mission to Mars, complete with corporate sponsors and extreme sports.
Catherynne M. Valente, Myths of Origin
(Wyrm Publications Dec 2011)
This omnibus gathers four of the author’s short books, including her debut novel The Labyrinth (2004); Japanese-influenced fantasies Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams (2006) and The Grass-Cutting Sword (2005); and poetic Arthurian novella Under in the Mere (2009), along with notes on each by the author and an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
John C. Wright, Count to a Trillion
(Tor Dec 2011)
In 2235, years after the collapse of Western civilization, a Texan mathematical genius, lawyer, and gunfighter joins an expedition to explore a mysterious alien artifact in a neighboring star system. Wright’s tale hearkens back to Golden Age SF about omnicompetent heroes changing the world with brains and boldness, and constitutes ‘‘a full-throated and formidable defense of a certain type of SF that has fallen out of fashion – undeservedly so, in Wright’s opinion…. It’s an important experiment to make… and I for one am glad that a writer of Wright’s gifts and intelligence is making it as forcefully as he can.’’ [Paul Witcover]
Category: New & Notable.