New & Notable Books, January 2012
John Joseph Adams, ed., Lightspeed: Year One
(Prime Books Nov 2011)
This anthology presents 48 stories, collecting the first year of the acclaimed online magazine Lightspeed, which mixes reprint stories by luminaries such as George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, and Ursula K. Le Guin with new tales from authors including Carol Emshwiller, Tanith Lee, and Robert Reed.
Catherine Asaro, Aurora in Four Voices
(ISFiC Press Nov 2011)
This collection gathers five stories, most set in Asaro’s popular Skolian Empire universe, plus the Nebula Award-winning novella ‘‘The Spacetime Pool’’. An added essay shows how Asaro uses applied mathematics to help create her worlds.
Leigh Brackett, Shannach – The Last: Farewell to Mars
(Haffner Press Oct 2011)
The last volume in Haffner’s ambitious series collecting all of Brackett’s short SF, this collection of 17 stories focuses on the later years of Brackett’s career (1950-1974), as she shifted from writing for the pulps to screenplays.
Stephen Cass, ed., Technology Review: Science Fiction
(MIT Technology Review Oct 2011)
MIT’s Technology Review starts a new series of annual anthology/magazines of hard SF, a selection of 12 near-future SF stories by notable authors including Pat Cadigan, Paul Di Filippo, Cory Doctorow, Joe Haldeman, and Gwyneth Jones. ‘‘One of the best reading bargains of the year.’’ [Gardner Dozois]
Dave Duncan, When the Saints
(Tor Nov 2011)
The Brothers Magnus face a siege in this second volume in the historical fantasy duology begun in Speak to the Devil. Duncan’s complex worldbuilding takes center stage in this version of Renaissance Europe where magic mostly replaces technology, but attitudes toward it vary wildly, leading to twisty politics and intrigues.
Daryl Gregory, Unpossible and Other Stories
(Fairwood Press Nov 2011)
Gregory’s first collection gathers 14 stories – two new – from ‘‘one of the most consistently interesting and yet least predictable writers of the last decade.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Paula Guran, ed., New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird
(Prime Books Nov 2011)
Guran explores the 21st century’s take on Lovecraft’s mythos in this anthology of 27 stories by an impressive roster of writers including Neil Gaiman, Cherie Priest, John Shirley, and China Miéville.
Jack McDevitt, Firebird
(Ace Nov 2011)
The sixth volume in the popular far-future SF mystery series featuring antiques dealer Alex Benedict, this time investigating the disappearance of an eccentric physicist obsessed with proving travel possible between parallel universes.
Ian McDonald, Planesrunner
(Prometheus/Pyr Dec 2011)
McDonald ventures into young-adult territory for this steampunk SF novel of alternate realities, the first book in the Everness series. ‘‘Planesrunner is not only excellent YA SF in terms of its likeable characters and well-executed setpieces, but is simply good SF in a way which almost reinvents, and possibly makes addictive, the old parallel universe trope. It’s fun.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Sarah Monette, Somewhere Beneath Those Waves
(Prime Books Jan 2012)
Acclaimed author Monette displays her unique artistry in this collection of 25 varied stories, two new.
Rudy Rucker, Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker
(Tor Dec 2011)
Autobiography of the innovative author. Originally published in the UK by PS Publishing (7/11). ‘‘There we hear the authentic voice of the beat, the hippie, the cyberpunk, the hacker, the bomb-throwing revolutionary iconoclast that, at heart, Rucker has always been and remains even at the age of 65 – though, to judge by Nested Scrolls, he is the most pleasant and decent bomb-thrower one could ever hope to meet.’’ [Paul Witcover]
Catherynne M. Valente, Silently and Very Fast
(WSFA Press Oct 2011)
A powerful piece of SF disguised as fantasy, this novella was published in honor of Valente’s GoH appearance at Capclave 2011. ‘‘Exotic and beautiful, it uses evocative fantasy motifs to examine some of science fiction’s most fundamental questions.’’ [Gardner Dozois] ‘‘It’s quite a lovely, thoughtful, moving piece.’’ [Rich Horton]
Colson Whitehead, Zone One
(Random House/Doubleday Oct 2011)
Noted mainstream author Whitehead has gathered considerable acclaim for this satiric post-apocalyptic novel that uses the aftermath of a zombie plague to skewer contemporary culture.