Rachel Armstrong, Origamy (NewCon Press 4/18) Science taken to extremes – with a hint of Italo Calvino – infuses this fascinating and thoroughly unconventional tale of Mobius, an adolescent being forced by an accident to re-learn the art of weaving spacetime, during which she uncovers something that threatens the fabric of the universe. “Origamy is larded thickly with real science – albeit speculatively extended along semi-gonzo vectors – it’s delivered in fable form: a whimsical, half-daft, drunken-prose-poem odyssey down alien byways.” [Paul Di Filippo]
Michael Blumlein, Thoreau’s Microscope (PM Press 7/18) This short collection from innovative author Michael Blumlein offers four stories, an interview conducted by Terry Bisson, and the title essay (newly revised) about a trip to the Sierras that becomes much more. “Blumlein’s voice takes on a degree of urgency here, but it only reminds us of the deeply humane urgency that his fiction has always exhibited.” [Gary K. Wolfe]
Ellen Datlow, ed., The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten (Night Shade 6/18) Noted editor Datlow returns with her latest annual anthology looking at the best of horror in 2017, with a detailed summation of the year and 21 stories by authors including Stephen Gallagher, Mira Grant, John Langan, Carmen Maria Machado, and Kaaron Warren.
Harlan Ellison, Blood’s a Rover (Subterranean 6/18) Ellison’s classic Nebula Award-winning novella “A Boy and His Dog” and two more stories in the Vic and Blood series are joined by Blood’s a Rover, a screenplay for an unproduced TV pilot, published here for the first time, with an introduction by editor Jason Davis. Together, the pieces come as close as possible now to the novel Ellison once promised and fans have hoped for. “This bricolage does honor to the central conceit and should earn Vic and Blood a “Best in Show.” [Paul Di Filippo]
Laura Anne Gilman, Red Waters Rising (Saga 6/18) The Devil’s West trilogy, a fascinating journey through a magical, and often weird, version of the Old West, now wraps up with a visit to the southwestern border of the devil’s territory along the mighty Mudwater river – the Mississippi in our world – where Isobel, as the trainee Devil’s Hand. has to deal with forces questioning the devil’s authority, the rights of natives, and annoyingly unclear proclamations from local spirits.
Ian McDonald, Time Was (Tor.com Publishing 4/18) An antiquarian bookseller comes across a love letter in an old book and starts to piece together the story of two gay lovers, a physicist and a poet unstuck in time and separated, leaving each other messages in used books. A lyrical romance and “paean to book-collecting detective work…. One of the most purely beautiful pieces of writing McDonald has given us in years.” [Gary K. Wolfe]
Michael Moorcock, Pegging the President (PS Publishing 3/18) Moorcock’s assassin Jerry Cornelius returns in a tantalizingly strange novella that resists explanation, a nearly non-linear narrative in which time seems to be unravelling, full of troubling quotes offering a comparison between Trump’s America and Nazi Germany. We only get a cameo from an orange-tinged fellow named Donald with a passion for portraying the halcyon past – not quite what the title suggests, but just possibly the strangest indictment of Trump’s worldview yet.
C.L. Polk, Witchmark (6/18) Mystery, magic, and romance combine in this first novel gaining considerable critical attention. In an alternate world reminiscent of Edwardian England, a man fleeing his family of powerful mages ends up a doctor at a veterans’ hospital, where the investigation of a patient’s death leads to a possible conspiracy.
Hannu Rajaniemi, Summerland (Tor 6/18) Rajaniemi turns to fantasy for this riveting British espionage novel set in an alternate 1938 full of familiar names – but also a spirit world that provides supernatural ectotechnology and the city of Summerland, where the recently dead stay, one of them a secret agent planted by the Russians. Spy story mixes with a fascinating, complex world of magic and alternate history for a tale “in its own way as persuasive an example of Rajaniemi’s disciplined inventiveness as his better-known hard SF.” [Gary K. Wolfe]
Gordon Van Gelder, Welcome to Dystopia (OR Books 1/18) This original anthology from noted editor Van Gelder offers 45 short stories, all but three new, of near-future dystopias rooted in today’s news, with results varying from humorous to terrifying. An impressive roster of authors includes Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Barry N. Malzberg, Harry Turtledove, and Jane Yolen.
From the August 2018 issue of Locus.
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