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From this issue:

Table of Contents

Locus Bestsellers

New & Notable Books

Michael Dirda interview excerpts

Nina Kirki Hoffman interview excerpts

New & Notable Books

Margaret Atwood
Claus Brusen
Suzanne Collins
Ellen Datlow
Lester del Rey
James Gurney
Hartwell & Cramer
Jay Lake
Justine Larbalestier
Jonathan Lethem
Terry Pratchett
Cherie Priest
Ken Scholes
Jack Skillingstead
Peter Straub
Gordon Van Gelder


John Joseph Adams, ed., The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Night Shade Books Sep 2009)

Cross-genre anthology collecting 28 stories, two original, about Arthur Conan Doyle's famous literary detective, with contributions by Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, Naomi Novik, and Neil Gaiman, plus "A Sherlockiana Primer" by Christopher Roden.

Elizabeth Bear, By the Mountain Bound (Tor Nov 2009)

This prequel to postapocalyptic fantasy All the Windwracked Stars chronicles the collapse of an earlier age in a world of bleak winters and deadly betrayals, populated by beings drawn from Norse mythology. "Though magic and other forms of the supernatural certainly exist, [Bear] manages to bring them down from the clouds to a winter-haunted earth in unadorned prose that can achieve beauty yet never sounds false or strained." [Faren Miller]

Greg Bear, Mariposa (Vanguard Press Nov 2009)

Bear returns to the world of his near-future SF thriller Quantico, this time pitting his embattled FBI agents against a corrupt financier who plans to take over the country, a rogue supercomputer, and test subjects made into superhuman sociopaths by an experimental drug.

James P. Blaylock, The Shadow on the Doorstep (ISFiC Press Nov 2009)

Blaylock's latest collection gathers 13 eclectic stories chosen by the author as his very best, including two World Fantasy Award winners, each with story notes. Also includes an introduction by Tim Powers, an Afterword by Lewis Shiner, and a biography and bibliography for Blaylock.

Claus Brusen, ed., Imaginaire II (Fantasmus-Art Nov 2009)

A breathtaking anthology of fantastic/surreal/magical realist art, with works by 50 international artists, including David M. Bowers, Kinuko Y. Craft, and Patrick Woodroffe, plus a foreword by featured artist Gil Bruvel. This is the second volume in a planned annual series, with text in both English and French.

Ellen Datlow, ed., Lovecraft Unbound (Dark Horse Books Sep 2009)

This original anthology features 20 stories (four of them reprints) inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, though not necessarily using his characters or creations, by authors including Elizabeth Bear, William Browning Spencer, Holly Phillips, Michael Shea, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, Brian Evenson, and Caitlín R. Kiernan. The authors include afterwords for their stories, and Datlow provides an introduction.

James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, eds., The Secret History of Science Fiction (Tachyon Publications Nov 2009)

This ambitious anthology seeks to challenge the purported barriers between mainstream literary fiction and SF with 19 genre-crossing and -defying stories by Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Thomas M. Disch, Jonathan Lethem, Ursula K. Le Guin, and more. Kelly & Kessel argue their case in a lengthy introduction, and assert that, "While many minds still remain closed, the walls that separate the mainstream from science fiction are, in fact, crumbling."

Jonathan Strahan, ed., Eclipse Three (Night Shade Books Dec 2009)

The latest volume in the acclaimed original anthology series gathers 15 stories by authors including Peter S. Beagle, Pat Cadigan, Paul di Filippo, Karen Joy Fowler, and Nnedi Okorafor. "A worthy successor to those classic series anthologies that at one time seemed to be about redefining the possibilities of SF and fantasy, and which delivered on that promise in ways we only understood years later." [Gary. K. Wolfe]

Theodore Sturgeon, Slow Sculpture: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Volume XII (North Atlantic Nov 2009)

The 12th volume in the ambitious series dedicated to collecting Sturgeon's complete short fiction features 14 stories, most from 1970-1972, including classics "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" and "Slow Sculpture," and the previously unpublished "The Beholders". The author's daughter Noël Sturgeon takes over as series editor with this volume, providing illuminating story notes; Connie Willis contributes a foreword; and Spider Robinson an afterword.

Jeff VanderMeer, Finch (Underland Press Nov 2009)

The final volume in the decadent and bizarre Ambergris Cycle is a noir mystery of sorts, with detective John Finch investigating the double murder of a human and a "gray cap," one of the blighted city's sentient fungal overlords. Features "the kind of complex, surprise-filled plot that defies much discussion in a review: spiraling back on itself, delving into secret histories (including that of the title character), extending some tendrils back to the past while others wriggle toward potential futures." [Faren Miller]

Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan (Simon Pulse Oct 2009)

Alternate-history YA steampunk novel, first in a trilogy, set during a WWI fought between the Darwinists in Britain (masters of genetic engineering) and the Austro-Hungarian/German Clankers (makers of fearsome war machines), extensively illustrated in period style by Keith Thompson. "Pretty much wall-to-wall steampunk, so much so that it might serve as a kind of steampunk primer for the YA audience." [Gary K. Wolfe]

Kit Whitfield, In Great Waters (Del Rey Nov 2009)

This superb historical fantasy weaves ocean-dwelling "deepsmen" — essentially mermaids and mermen — into the fabric of late Medieval Europe, following the travails of a half-human princess and a troubled boy from the sea. "A superb fantasy... [Whitfield] interweaves the story of their trials and maturation into a mixture of real and imagined political and cultural history (both English and in a larger European sphere) that manages to be thoroughly compelling." [Faren Miller]

December 2009 Issue
New & Notable Books

posted 13 December 2009

december cover
Cover Design: Arnie Fenner

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