Shadows of Eternity, Gregory Benford (Saga 978-1534443624, 496pp, $27.99) October 2021.
It’s hard to label any book the “capstone” to a career when the author in question is still lively, vibrant, intellectually bold, ambitious, au courant, and masterfully proficient. Who knows what new heights such a person might reach beyond the current title? And yet one is tempted to attach this label to Greg Benford’s newest, Shadows of Eternity, ...Read MoreRead more
Juicy Ghosts, Rudy Rucker (Transreal Books 978-1940948485, 332pp, $24.95) September 2021.
If any currently working SF author can be held up as an instance of the main thesis in that valuable but sadly underutilized volume by the Panshins—The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence—then Rudy Rucker is that writer. All his work involves humanity’s desire to reach or at least to observe ...Read MoreRead more
The Truth and Other Stories , Stanisław Lem (The MIT Press 978-0262046084, 344pp, $39.95) September 2021.
“Of these twelve short stories by science fiction master Stanisław Lem, only three have previously appeared in English, making this the first ‘new’ book of fiction by Lem since the late 1980s.” Thus reads the press release accompanying this hot-off-the-presses volume (from a somewhat unlikely source, MIT Press), a plain and sober statement ...Read MoreRead more
The other major debut this week is Alice Hoffman’s The Book of Magic (Simon & Schuster), fourth in her Practical Magic sequence, ranking on all four print lists.
Bewilderment , Richard Powers (Norton 978-0393881141, 288pp, $27.95) September 2021.
Since his first book in 1985, Richard Powers has published a dozen novels, with this newest one being his lucky thirteenth. In one way or another, to one degree or another, they have all manifested deep concern with matters of technology and culture, the core remit of SF. Some, such as Galatea 2.2, have been flat-out undeniable science fiction. ...Read MoreRead more
» NYT, 21 Sept: Amal El-Mohtar reviews Lincoln Michel, Ryka Aoki, Cadwell Turnbull
» Guardian, 10 Sept: Lisa Tuttle reviews James Kennedy, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Rian Hughes, Guy Morpuss, and Kai-Fu Lee & Chen Qiufan
» Wired, 16 Sept: Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Hope for Science Fiction?, subtitled, “Her gentle, heartwarming stories seek to soothe our troubled souls. They also aim to blow up the entire genre.”
» The New ...Read MoreRead more
Other debut titles are Kristen Britain’s Winterlight (DAW), Jay Kristoff’s Empire of the Vampire (St. Martin’s), Seanan McGuire’s When Sorrows Come (DAW), and Faith Hunter’s True Dead (Ace).
The Scholars of Night, John M. Ford (Tor 978-1250269171, 256pp, $18.99) September 2021.
While we all eagerly await the heretofore-unseen last novel by John M. Ford, Aspects, due in April of next year, we will have to quench our desires for all things Fordian with the various reprints that are tilling the soil for that harvest. We earlier got The Dragon Waiting (my review here) which had gone ...Read MoreRead more
In the Watchful City , S. Qiouyi Lu (Tor.com 978-1250792983, 192pp, $14.99) August 2021.
Close as I can discern, S. Qiouyi Lu began their career circa 2016, with a story in Strange Horizons titled “Her Sacred Spirit Soars.” (Although their CV does list a poem from one year earlier, “Particularities.”) In either case, the succeeding short span of years have been filled with a respectable number of tales from their ...Read MoreRead more
Appleseed, Matt Bell (Custom House 978-0063040144, 480pp, $27.99) July 2021.
Matt Bell is a writer whose whole oeuvre (a couple of previous novels and several story collections) is plainly steeped in the elements of fantastika; a writer who is manifestly cognizant of all the hardcore tropes of the genre, able to deploy them deftly. But he is published outside the genre fences, and hailed as non-denominational Literature with ...Read MoreRead more
(Note that “#wks on any list” counts below are incomplete, as this page was not posted from late April to mid June of this year.)
Everything in All the Wrong Order: The Best of Chaz Brenchley, Chaz Brenchley (Subterranean 978-1645240112, 568pp, $45.00) August 2021.
Starting in 1974 with The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum, Ballantine Books began issuing a series of best-of volumes that became a definitive record of canonical authors and stories, providing a reading map and sense of history for a generation or two of readers. (To a lesser extent, ...Read MoreRead more
Reclaimed, Madeleine Roux (Ace 978-0451491855, 320pp, $17.00) August 2021.
Not many tropes derive their name from one specific seminal work of art. And yet such a thing did happen with the 1932 Karloff spookfest, The Old Dark House. Over the decades, the movie gradually lent its name to a whole genre or iconography, whose lineaments are now so familiar that their invocation often results in cliché. But mashing ...Read MoreRead more
» NYT: A Century in Stanislaw Lem’s Cosmos
» NYT: When a Fictional Utopia Offers a Pathway Home, by Amy Kurzweil: “Reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘Always Coming Home’ after a cross country move to California.”
» NYT: Amal El-Mohtar reviews books by Marissa Levien, Nghi Vo, and editors Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington
» Guardian: Lisa Tuttle reviews Catling, Hendrix, Murphy, Clark, Grant
» Wall Street Journal: Tom Shippey ...Read MoreRead more
City of Iron and Dust, J.P. Oakes (Titan 978-1789097108, 400pp, $15.95) July 2021.
If Joe Abercrombie climbed into his time machine to visit famed Black crime writer Chester Himes, and they then collaborated on a new version of the as-yet-unborn Cotton Comes to Harlem, the result might very well resemble Oakes’s debut novel, City of Iron and Dust. The book is a grim’n’gritty yet often blackly humorous ...Read MoreRead more
The Hidden Palace, Helene Wecker (Harper 978-0062468710, 480pp, $28.99) June 2021.
Helene Wecker’s sequel to her stunning 2013 debut, The Golem and the Jinni [reviewed here], succeeds 100 percent in recapturing the assured voice, the delicate magic, the solid historical verisimilitude, and the engaging interplay of personalities that she delivered in the first book. But she does not merely replicate all the pleasures, plot points, devices, and charms of ...Read MoreRead more