New and Notable Books, March 2012
John Joseph Adams, ed., Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom
(Simon & Schuster Feb 2012)
These ‘‘New Adventures on Barsoom’’ take place in the world of the Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, published in honor of the 100th anniversary of A Princess of Mars. Features 14 YA stories by authors including Peter S. Beagle, Theodora Goss, Joe R. Lansdale, Garth Nix, and Genevieve Valentine, with each story illustrated by the likes of Molly Crabapple, Michael Wm Kaluta, Gregory Manchess, John Picacio, and Charles Vess. Richard A. Lupoff contributes a guide to the world of Burroughs’s Mars.
Francesca Lia Block, Pink Smog
(HarperTeen Jan 2012)
Block’s latest lyrical young-adult fantasy novel is a prequel about spirited and strange protagonist Weetzie Bat at age 13, coping with life in Los Angeles after her father walks out on her family, and before her adventures in the 1990 novel Weetzie Bat and the rest of the Dangerous Angels sequence.
Orson Scott Card, Shadows in Flight
(Tor Jan 2012)
The fifth volume in the Ender’s Shadow series – spun-off from the classic Ender’s Game sequence – sees the slowly-dying genius Bean flee Earth with three of his children, who all share his vast intelligence and his short lifespan. They hope the relativistic effects of time travel will give scientists on Earth time to come up with a cure, but while on their journey, the ship’s systems fail – and they discover an alien artifact created by an old enemy.
William Gibson, Distrust That Particular Flavor
(Penguin/Putnam Jan 2012)
The celebrated novelist shows off his virtuoso non-fiction skills in these 25 essays, written over the past two decades, covering a variety of subjects including literature, cyborgs, watch-collecting, Japanese culture, travels in Singapore, and Gibson’s own life history. ‘‘Gibson has developed into a major novelist over the last few decades… but at heart he’s an artist of implications, following the ripples of the most mundane notions… until he uncovers unexpected cultural and historical meanings.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Glen Hirshberg, The Janus Tree and Other Stories
(Subterranean Jan 2012)
The acclaimed author of unsettling literary horror returns with a new collection of 11 stories, including the Shirley Jackson Award-winning title work and five ‘‘Tales from the Rolling Dark’’ originally written for Hirshberg’s Rolling Darkness Revue reading tours and chapbook series.
Robin Hobb, City of Dragons
(Harper Voyager US Feb 2012)
The third volume in Hobb’s Rain Wilds Chronicles sees the weak, deformed remnants of the once-great dragon race struggling to reach their ancient city of Kelsingra, accompanied by a ragtag group of human dragon-keepers, and beset on all sides by enemies and dangers. Once they reach the city, the threats (and mysteries) only multiply.
Eduardo Jiménez Mayo & Chris N. Brown, eds., Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic
(Small Beer Press Feb 2012)
This original anthology of 34 recent stories includes sharp and strange tales of ghosts, mutants, aliens, apocalypse, and monsters from folklore by contemporary Mexican authors who will be completely unknown to most English-speaking readers, many of them translated here for the very first time. Bruce Sterling and the editors provide introductions.
Will McIntosh, Hitchers
(Night Shade Books Feb 2012)
McIntosh’s second novel starts with a destructive attack on the city of Atlanta, but doesn’t follow the obvious post-apocalyptic route: instead, the disaster breaks down the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead, allowing ghosts called ‘‘hitchers’’ to possess people they knew in life, including a cartoonist, an aging rock star, and a waitress who join forces to find a way to send the spirits back to Deadworld. ‘‘A satisfying and, in the end, ingeniously worked out tale of restitution and resolution on its own terms.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Beth Revis, A Million Suns
(Penguin/Razorbill Jan 2012)
This follow-up to the hit debut YA Across the Universe sees the 2,300 people on the starship Godspeed adjusting to life under a new regime, less dependent on drugging and lies – but the passengers are restless and prone to mutiny, and the ship itself may not remain a safe haven for long.
Matt Ruff, The Mirage
(Harper Feb 2012)
This audacious novel posits an alternate history where the United States is a backwater collection of fundamentalist theocracies and the Middle East is a thriving center of democracy, with terrorists from the Christian States of America hijacking passenger planes and crashing them into the heart of the Muslim world on 11/9/2001, setting off a global war on terror. As members of the Arab Homeland Security forces investigate, they discover hints of an alternate universe where the United States is a dominant world power, with the nature of reality itself called into question á la the work of Philip K. Dick. ‘‘Matt Ruff has written a Man in the High Castle for the age of global terror.’’ [Tim Pratt]
Lucy Sussex, Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies: The Essential Lucy Sussex
(Ticonderoga Jul 2011)
This versatile and original short story author isn’t as well known outside Australia as she should be, but perhaps the 25 virtuoso stories collected in ‘‘The Essential Lucy Sussex,’’ spanning over 20 years of her career, can remedy that. Includes an introduction by Delia Sherman. Sussex ‘‘is a master of layered narratives weaving together history and character… she can be relentlessly witty… [and] she’s rather casual about genre boundaries… in the end we can’t quite pin her down. Let’s hope we never will.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
JoSelle Vanderhooft & Steve Berman, eds., Heiresses of Russ 2011
(Lethe Press Dec 2011)
The first in a new annual series named in honor of the late Joanna Russ, this anthology collects a dozen of the best lesbian-themed speculative fiction stories of 2010, including work by N.K. Jemisin and Ellen Kushner, and Rachel Swirsky’s Nebula Award-winning ‘‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window’’.