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July 2007
Locus Magazine
New and Notable Books

Brian W. Aldiss, HARM (Ballantine Del Rey Jun 2007)

A UK novelist of Muslim background is imprisoned and tortured over a bit of satire, and begins to withdraw into visions where he is a colonist on a remote planet – a world that strangely mirrors the real one. A powerfully disturbing near-future SF novel and political allegory.

Tobias S. Buckell, Ragamuffin (Tor Jun 2007)

SF adventure novel set in the universe of Crystal Rain. Human space pirates and smugglers surviving in an alien interplanetary empire encounter a fugitive cyborg with a doomsday weapon.

John Crowley, Endless Things (Small Beer Press May 2007)

This long-awaited fantasy novel brings an end to the critically acclaimed Aegypt quartet that takes ‘‘the vast jigsaw that Crowley has assembled in the first three books – and places them in a picture that’s open, smiling, filled with possibility….gracefully written, beautifully characterized, moving, and thought-provoking…. [Graham Sleight]

Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, eds., Wizards (Berkley May 2007)

This magical anthology gathers 18 original stories about wizards by some of the biggest names in fantasy, including Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, Elizabeth Hand, Terry Dowling, and Orson Scott Card.

Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds., The New Space Opera (Eos Jun 2007)

The editors let a stellar roster of authors decide for themselves what constitutes the new space opera, resulting in this anthology of 18 all-new stories by authors including Paul J. McAuley, Nancy Kress, Peter F. Hamilton, and Dan Simmons. ‘‘While The New Space Opera may not settle any arguments about definition…it’s by any measure a strong and provocative antyhlogy and almost certainly one of the defining original anthologies of the year.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

David Anthony Durham, Acacia (Doubleday Jun 2007)

An acclaimed historical novelist turns to epic fantasy in this novel, book one in The War with the Mein, in which the four children of the assassinated Emperor of Acacia follow separate paths to get revenge against the Mein invaders. ‘‘The analysis is deep, the roots of action in character painstakingly laid out…a political novel of large impact…rarely has medieval epic been quite this pertinent.’’ [Nick Gevers]

Kathleen Ann Goonan, In War Times (Tor May 2007)

Goonan presents a WWII novel with a twist in this tale of a military engineer who builds a device that can change the past and future, and ends up in a web of tangled timelines somehow involved with the development of jazz. ‘‘It’s a bold and bizarre notion, and somehow Goonan renders it in a narrative that is at once deeply human and intellectually challenging.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Elizabeth Hand, Generation Loss (Small Beer Press Apr 2007)

A formerly famous punk photographer attracted to the dead and damaged stumbles on a serial killer case when she takes a job inteviewing a famous reclusive photographer in this dark thriller of art and damaged souls, and despite only a hint of the supernatural, ‘‘…something of a departure for the author, but fully as elegant and significant as her overtly fantastic works. There is grave beauty her, and great thematic power.’’ [Nick Gevers]

David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds., Year's Best SF 12 (Eos Jun 2007)

Noted editors Hartwell & Cramer present their pick of the best 26 genre SF stories of 2006. Authors include Ian R. MacLeod, Terry Bisson, Cory Doctorow, and Carol Emshwiller.

Rich Horton, ed., Fantasy: The Best of the Year: 2007 Edition (Wildside Press/Prime Books May 2007)

Locus reviewer Rich Horton presents his choice of the best fantasy published in 2006 with 16 stories by authors including Geoff Ryman, Peter S. Beagle, Jeffrey Ford, and Margo Lanagan.

Rich Horton, ed., Science Fiction: The Best of the Year: 2007 Edition (Cosmos Books Jun 2007)

Horton’s pick of the year’s best science fiction, this anthology presents 12 stories from 2006 by authors including Ian Watson, Robert Charles Wilson, Adam Roberts, and Robert Reed.

Jay Lake, Mainspring (Tor Jun 2007)

A literal clockwork world is in danger of running down in this steampunk alternate world fantasy, a grand picaresque adventure which a Victorian clockmaker’s apprentice is Chosen to find the Key Perilous and rewind the Mainspring of Earth. ‘‘Lake has a fecund imagination, and here he outdoes himself.’’

Ken MacLeod, The Execution Channel (Orbit UK Apr 2007; Tor Jun 2007)

The British SF disaster novel gets an update (‘‘New British Catastrophe’’, anyone?) in this thriller of the chaos set off by bombings in Scotland and the flood of disinformation that follows, set in an alternate near-future world where executions are televised. ‘‘MacLeod’s writing is as sharp as ever, exasperated and often very funny…Best of all, the storytelling is propulsive and precise, a fine piece of procedural work…’’ [Russell Letson]

Susan Palwick, Shelter (Tor Jun 2007)

Two women survive in a near-future San Francisco beset by ecological disaster, where altruism is a mental disease and new developments in artifical intelligence threaten to alter the world forever. ‘‘Despite the richly textured but understated SF setting, despite the catalogs of grief and lonelieness that would just give Thomas Hardy a glow…the novel finally stands or falls entirely on character – and here Palwick is firmly in her métier…almost certainly one of the major novels of the year.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]

Jonathan Strahan, ed., Best Short Novels: 2007 (SFBC Jun 2007)

Eight standout novellas are presented in this year’s best anthology, the only one to focus strictly on novella-length fiction. The impressive roster of authors includes Kage Baker, Robert Reed, Robert Charles Wilson, and Michael Swanwick.

Sheri S. Tepper, The Margarets (Eos Jun 2007)

This complex SF novel follows a girl who at key points splits into multiple versions of herself, versions who go on to live much different lives on many worlds throughout galactic civilization. Aliens, exotic worlds, multiple Margarets, and a dying Earth badly in need of saving combine in as passionate a polemic as Tepper has yet delivered on mankind’s inability to save itself.

© 2007 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.