Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gene Wolfe named SFWA Grand Master

Gene Wolfe, it was announced today, will be recognized with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. The award will be presented next year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at their annual Nebula Awards banquet.

I’m pleased for Wolfe, of course, although I did wonder why it had taken SFWA this long to recognize one of the giants of science fiction and fantasy.

There are three principal lifetime achievement awards in the field: the SFWA Grand Master Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the World Science Fiction Convention Guest of Honor. Until today only 10 people have been the recipient of all three. Gene Wolfe becomes the eleventh person.  He was the Worldcon Guest of Honor at Aussiecon Two in 1985, and he won the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.

The triple winners are an interesting group of people. Some that might be expected, such as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance. There are only two women on all three lists (Le Guin and Andre Norton), which is sign of where we’ve been but hopefully not a sign of where we are headed on gender issues.

There are some major authors who were overlooked by all three acknowledgements of lifetime achievement: Philip K. Dick, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree (Alice Bradley Sheldon) for instance.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Locus All-Centuries Poll revisited, or the season of regret

I made my ballot for Locus All-Centuries Poll public a few days ago, and looking around the web I’ve spotted several fine ballots. I knew there would be stories and entire novels I had forgotten to put on my ballot for the Locus All-Centuries Poll. I didn't realize there would be so many.

Niall Harrison’s ballot (continue here) names Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson as the number one best science fiction novel of the 20th Century. I think it’s an excellent choice. It’s one of my favorite SF novels of the 20th Century and it didn't cross my mind to put it on my ballot. I think the title on Harrison’s list that left me the most stricken was We Who Are About To ... by Joanna Russ, which made a huge impression on me and I wish I’d remembered it when I was creating my ballot.

Rich Horton’s ballot (follow here) includes The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, which I did consider and could easily have included on my ballot. I’m not sure how it got crowded off of my list, but it did.

Ian Sales’s ballot (follow here) has Coelestis by Paul Park as his number one choice for best science fiction novel of the 20th Century, which is a brilliant choice. It is one of my favorite novels of all time and I can’t imagine how I forgot it. It’s very bleak, of course. Not that I would shy away from it for that reason. After all, I have Light by M. John Harrison as my top choice for best 21st Century SF novel.

Cheryl Morgan’s ballot (follow here) has Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, which is a fine and massive novel. I did consider putting a John Brunner novel on my list. My choice would have been Shockwave Rider, if I could have found more room on the list.

Martin Lewis’s ballot (follow here) for best fantasy novel of the 20th Century has The Iron Dragon’s Daughter by Michael Swanwick, which is an excellent choice. I’m not sure which title I would have replaced on my ballot, but I’d like to think there would be room for a Swanwick novel.

Nina Allen’s ballot (follow here PDF) lists Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky and Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut among many other great choices. They are both particular favorites of mine.

Nina Allen, in her Locus Poll roundup (follow here), saves her highest praise for Matthew Cheney’s ballot (follow here), and deservedly so. It is the most amazing, genre boundary crushing list I've yet seen, filled with Franz Kafka, J.M. Coetzee, Vladimir Nabokov, and many other brilliant choices.

My own ballot (follow here) shares some overlap with each of the varied ballots I've mentioned above, a fact which is oddly wonderful and somehow reassuring. In addition to exact duplicates, in many cases we've chosen to recognize the same author with different and equally valid choices of story or novel.

By now it should be apparent that my lists would be double the size that the Locus Poll allowed and I would still be paralyzed by what I was leaving off. Each one that I left off gives me a pang of regret.

There are some novels and stories on each of the ballots I just mentioned that I haven’t read. I regret those, too, since in many cases I've had them in mind to read for quite a while.

Then there are the stories that I know I've read, yet I simply don’t remember. For instance, the novella “Great Work of Time” by John Crowley, which appears on ballots by Niall Harrison, Rich Horton, Ian Sales, Matthew Cheney, and it was mentioned (with great regret) by Gary K. Wolfe on the most recent Coode Street Podcast (follow here). I’m a great admirer of Crowley’s work and I know I read this novella perhaps 20 years ago, but it has vanished from my memory. I know that I’ll be rereading “Great Work of Time” and that Crowley’s work stands up to rereading in a way that few authors do. (Who was it who said: a first reading is like a first impression, it’s the second reading where the real appreciation begins?)

In the current Coode Street Podcast, just mentioned, Jonathan Strahan patiently compels Gary K. Wolfe to name the single best SF novel of the 20th Century. Eventually Wolfe names A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. and defends his choice intelligently and articulately. It’s a fine choice, I think, and his reasons are well worth hearing. In turn, Strahan names Neuromancer by William Gibson as his choice for the single best SF novel of the 20th Century. It's a novel that I don’t think has aged nearly as well. Wolfe nails it with his retort: “You’re confusing ‘game changing’ with ‘best.’”

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Locus All-Centuries Poll, or how I cut off both of my Hands

See, there were two stories by Elizabeth Hand that I wanted to get onto my submission to the Locus 20th and 21st All-Centuries Poll, unfortunately there were so many other stories that couldn’t be denied a place on the poll that I ended up cutting both of the Hand stories.

Okay, it’s a cheap metaphor for how painful it was to pare down my lists of best science fiction and fantasy stories of the past 110 years. Sue me. It was painful to leave stories off the lists. Then the Locus Poll expected me to rank the stories in each category, which was just as painful as leaving others off the list entirely.

20th Century Best SF Novels
1: The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
2: More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
3: 1984 by George Orwell
4: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
5: The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
6: Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
7: Pavane by Keith Roberts
8: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
9: Neverness by David Zindell
10: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

You’ll notice there’s no Heinlein, Asimov, or Clarke; no Dune by Frank Herbert. While I have affection for their novels, my opinion of their work has faded a bit over the years and it’s time to move along and recognize great work that might otherwise be ignored. I knew I had to get a Samuel R. Delany title on the list and it was hard to choose, since I think Nova and The Einstein Intersection are brilliant. Somehow the multifaceted Dhalgren stood out. I was pretty sure I was going to get a Bruce Sterling novel on this list, either Holy Fire or Schismatrix, and yet it didn’t happen. Also, I’m pretty sure Engine Summer by John Crowley belongs here. And maybe A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. Perhaps if I had the list to do over again in a couple weeks it would be different.

20th Century Best Fantasy Novels
1: Little, Big by John Crowley
2: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
4: Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
5: Peace by Gene Wolfe
6: Was by Geoff Ryman
7: The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
8: The Innkeepers Song by Peter S. Beagle
9: The Last Coin by James P. Blaylock
10: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

The Lord of the Rings isn’t there, is it. No apologies here. Tolkien’s work is important. Still, I’d rather use my vote to recognize the work of others.

20th Century Best Novella
1: Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
2: Souls by Joanna Russ
3: The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance
4: The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe
5: Ill Met in Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber
6: 24 Views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai by Roger Zelazny
7: Her Habiline Husband by Michael Bishop
8: The Star Pit by Samuel R. Delany
9: The Big Front Yard by Clifford Simak
10: The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin

I had a tough choice for which Zelazny novella to pick. Eventually “24 Views of Mt. Fuji” won out over “He Who Shapes.” I wanted to get Kage Baker’s “Son Observe the Time” and Elizabeth Hand’s “Last Summer at Mars Hill” on the list. Alas.

20th Century Best Novelette
1: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
2: Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight by Ursula K. LeGuin
3: Rachel in Love by Pat Murphy
4: Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones by Samuel R. Delany
5: A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny
6: Black Air by Kim Stanley Robinson
7: Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith
8: E for Effort by T. L. Sherred
9: The Little Black Bag by C. M. Kornbluth
10: Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester

It was hard to choose which Kim Stanley Robinson novelette to include. “Black Air” just edged out “The Lucky Strike.” Other novelettes that were edged out were Theodore Sturgeon’s “Microcosmic God” and “A Martian Odyssey “ by Stanley G. Weinbaum.

20th Century Best Short Story
1: Or All the Seas with Oysters by Avram Davidson
2: Sur by Ursula K. LeGuin
3: When It Changed by Joanna Russ
4: A Romance of the Equator by Brian W. Aldiss
5: Day Million by Frederik Pohl
6: The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories by Gene Wolfe
7: Narrow Valley by R. A. Lafferty
8: I See You by Damon Knight
9: Jeffty is Five by Harlan Ellision
10: Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree

Two short stories it was particularly tough to leave off were “Aye, and Gomorrah” by Samuel R. Delany and “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw.

Here we shift to the 21st Century, defined in the poll as the years 2001 to 2010.

21st Century Best SF Novels
1: Light by M. John Harrison
2: Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
3: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
4: The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
5: In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan

Harrison’s Light can be read on its own, or as the first volume of a trilogy that continues with Nova Swing and Empty Space. Goonan’s In War Time should be read as the first half of a duology, concluded in This Shared Dream. I would have liked to have an Ian R. MacLeod novel on the list, perhaps House of Storms. Other painful omissions include The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi and The City and the City by China Miéville.

21st Century Best Fantasy Novels
1: Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin
2: Great Roumania (four volumes) by Paul Park
3: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
5: The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe

Great Roumania by Park is a single novel published in four parts, starting with A Princess of Roumania. Series of this type are difficult to accommodate in polls, but it makes little sense to vote for the first volume alone.

21st Century Best Novellas
1: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
2: Breathmoss by Ian R. MacLeod
3: Vishnu at the Cat Circus by Ian McDonald
4: Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance by Paul Park
5: The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan

I could have chosen MacLeod’s “New Light on the Drake Equation,” but “Breathmoss” is one of those stories that snuck up on me and I’ve never been able to forget it. There were a bunch of Robert Reed novellas that I would have liked to add to the list, such as “A Billion Eves” or “Dead Man’s Run.” And I painfully chopped off another Elizabeth Hand novella, “The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon.”

21st Century Best Novelettes
1: Second Person, Present Tense by Daryl Gregory
2: The Witch's Headstone by Neil Gaiman
3: The Bordello in Faerie by Michael Swanwick
4: Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford
5: Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi

“The Bordello in Faerie” by Michael Swanwick is one of the few stories I chose that wasn’t on the Locus reference list. It’s a young man’s coming of age story told by way of his sexual experiences with a variety of fantastical women. I found it to be unforgettable.

21st Century Best Short Stories
1: Exhalation by Ted Chiang
2: The Pelican Bar by Karen Joy Fowler
3: Singing My Sister Down by Margo Lanagan
4: The Faery Handbag by Kelly Link
5: The Night Whiskey by Jeffrey Ford

I would have liked to include “Booth’s Ghost” by Karen Joy Fowler here. That would have meant pushing “The Pelican Bar” off the list and I couldn’t let that happen.

Related links:
Locus Online
Locus All-Centuries Poll reference lists: 20th Century novels, 20th Century Short Fiction, 21st Century novels, 21st Century Short Fiction.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Single-author collections worth noting

These four single-author collections are among the most interesting and noteworthy collections in the science fiction and fantasy genres to be published in 2012.

At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson is the first collection from an author who has already won a Hugo Award, three Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for her short fiction. The Coode Street Podcast had Kij Johnson as a guest for a recent episode, available here.

Jeffrey Ford has been one of the best short fiction writers in the genre for many years. His fourth and newest collection, Crackpot Palace, continues his tradition of excellence. Two of his prior collections won the World Fantasy Award for best single-author collection of the year.

Another first collection, Angels and You Dogs by Kathleen Ann Goonan, is a first-rate selection of short fiction. Goonan was a guest on the Coode Street Podcast, available here.

The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories by Andy Duncan is the author's second collection. Duncan is one of the most highly regarded short fiction authors in the genre. The title story won the World Fantasy Award. His novelette "The Chief Designer," collected here, won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Defining Robinson’s ‘2312,’ Part 4

In which I continue to define some terms that Kim Stanley Robinson uses in his new novel, 2312.

Note: A reader sent me a message about these definitions suggesting that Robinson invented many of these terms. Actually, he invented very few (“smalls” and “wombman” being examples of invention). Some are existing terms that Robinson has tweaked with new meanings, such as accelerando, which is a musical term. Most are pre-existing terms that demonstrate an inquisitive mind on a broad spectrum of subjects.

dhalgren sun, p.183: a reference to the giant sun in the novel Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany, originally published in 1975, a controversial novel that has sold over a million copies. A friend of the blog, Monkeyblake, wrote a meditation on the novel (follow here).

The Copenhagen interpretation, p. 198: an early interpretation of quantum mechanics, which holds that the act of measurement causes the set of probabilities to immediately and randomly assume only one of the possible values. This is known as wave-function collapse. The Copenhagen concepts were devised by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and others in the 1920s.

The Zanzibar Cat, p. 198: the title story of a collection of short fiction by Joanna Russ, originally published in 1983.

Arabia Deserta, p. 198: the travel journals of Charles Montagu Doughty, first published in 1888. The title refers to the desert interior of the Arabian peninsula.

The Whorl, p. 199: The name of the large, hollow generation starship which provides the setting for The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe, a novel that was originally published in four volumes, beginning with Nightside the Long Sun (1993).

ursuline cultures, p. 205: cultures that deemphasize gender. The reference is to author Ursula K. Le Guin.

Another note: As your humble blog correspondent, I’m compelled to point out that Robinson is referencing four of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers: Delany, Russ, Wolfe and Le Guin, all of whom presumably were influential on Robinson’s work.

Related links on this blog:
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 1
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 2
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 3

Friday, August 10, 2012

Defining Robinson’s ‘2312,’ Part 3

In which I continue to define some terms that Kim Stanley Robinson uses in his new novel, 2312. (If you haven’t read the novel can you construct a novel from the clues these terms provide?)

imago, p. 140: The final developmental stage of an insect after undergoing metamorphosis. Also, an idealized concept of a loved one, formed in childhood and retained unaltered in adult life.

Brocken spectre, p. 140: also called Brocken bow, mountain spectre or glockenspectre is the apparently enormous and magnified shadow of an observer, cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun. (Wikipedia link.)

Messiaen, p. 158: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), French composer, organist and ornithologist. He believed birds to be the greatest musicians. He notated bird songs worldwide and incorporated birdsong transcriptions into much of his music. (Wikipedia link.)

ostinato, p. 158: from the Italian: stubborn. In music, a repetitive motif or phrase.

gynandromorph, p. 166: to have both male and female characteristics. Here, a female modified to have male genitals in addition to her own.

vasovagal, p. 166: an episode of syncope or fainting relating to the vagus nerve. (Wikipedia link.)

wombman, p. 170: a male modified for pregnancy.

craquelure, p. 175: a dense, complex pattern of cracks on any surface, such as glaze or paint. (Wikipedia link.)

folie à deux , p. 179: from the French for "a madness shared by two.” Shared psychosis, a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another. (Wikipedia link.)

Related links on this blog:
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 1
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 2
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 4

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August book arrivals

Here are some August 2012 book arrivals.

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer is massive, over 1100 pages, two columns of text per page. The stories are arranged chronologically, representing fiction across the past 100 years or so. It's a remarkable anthology. Michael Moorcock contributes a "Foreweird" and China Mieville an "Afterweird."

Sharps is the latest novel from K. J. Parker. Parker is the author of The Fencer Trilogy, The Engineer Trilogy, The Folding Knife, and The Hammer.

The Fox Woman (2000) was the first novel by Kij Johnson. It won the Crawford Award for best first fantasy novel. After reading her Nebula Award-winning novella, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" (2011), I decided it was time to catch up with Johnson's novels.

Fudoki (2003) is the second novel by Kij Johnson. It was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award and the James Tiptree Award. Johnson has a new collection of short fiction due out this month, At the Mouth of the River of Bees.

Bullettime is the newest novel from Nick Mamatas. Mamatas is the author of Sensation, Under My Roof, and Move Under Ground.

Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing by Neal Stephenson is an odd mix of non-fiction and fiction, essays, interviews, and journalism. It should provide plenty for readers (like me) waiting for Stephenson's next huge novel. Norman Spinrad has a review of Some Remarks, available at Los Angeles Review of Books.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Defining Robinson’s ‘2312,’ Part 2

In which I continue to define some terms that Kim Stanley Robinson uses in his new novel, 2312.

terrarium, p. 36: a small, usually dry habitat, usually decorative. Here, a Terran biome created on a large scale, often inside a hollowed-out asteroid, starting with an empty cylinder at least five kilometers in diameter and ten kilometers long.

Ascensions, p. 38: mixing up Terran biomes to create a new hybrid. Named for Ascension Island, the first hybrid biome, inadvertently started by Charles Darwin after his visit in 1836. (BBC News story and Wikipedia link.)

Accelerando, p. 40: A period of rapid change across a spectrum of issues, including technological progress, social progress, and economic advancement as human civilization spreads across the solar system. Robinson is borrowing the term from his novel, Blue Mars (1996).

Archilochus, p. 60: a Greek poet of the Archaic period, noted for fault-finding and stinging attacks. (Wikipedia link.)

Lake Vostok, p. 62: the largest sub-glacial lake in Antarctica, similar in size to Lake Ontario. The water in the lake has been isolated and undisturbed for at least 400,000 years and perhaps millions of years. In 2012 a Russian scientific team claims to have completed drilling over 12,000 feet through the ice shield to reach the lake and take samples. Scientists hope to find ancient forms of life. Controversy has surrounded the project and the drilling techniques. Critics suggest the drilling will compromise the habitat and contaminate results. (Wikipedia link.)

Deinococcus radiodurans, p. 64: extremophilic bacterium, one of the most radioresistant organisim known. (Wikipedia link.)

entheogens, p. 80: psychoactive substances such as peyote used in a shamanic or spiritual context. The term entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. (Wikipedia link.)

hypotyposis, p. 83: “the visionary imagination of things not present before the eyes.”

bardo, p. 84: a Tibetan term for the “intermediate state” between two lives or incarnations. Robinson used this concept to considerable effect in his novel, The Years of Rice and Salt (2002).

Related links on this blog:
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 1
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 3
Defining Robinson's '2312,' Part 4

Monday, August 6, 2012

Defining Robinson’s ‘2312,’ Part 1

I’ll be defining some terms that Kim Stanley Robinson uses in his new novel, 2312. This is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive treatment. I’ve selected only the terms that interested me.

inuksuit, p.2: a stone landmark or cairn, used by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic regions of North America. (Google images link.)

goldsworthies, p. 2: art in the tradition of Andy Goldsworthy (born 1956), an environmental artist or site-specific sculptor, whose outdoor art often involves stone walls, wood, or leaves, often fashioned into arches, cones, sinuous curves, or crystalline shapes. (Wikipedia link and Google images link.)

abramovics, p. 4: art in the tradition of Marina Abramović, Serbian-born (1946) performance artist, who styles herself as the “grandmother of performance art.” In 2010 the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a retrospective show of her work and hosted her performance piece “The Artist is Present.” HBO Documentary Films produced the film “Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present” which originally aired July 3, 2012, a remarkable documentary. (Wikipedia link.)

Terminator, p. 4: the moving line on a rotating planet’s surface that separates day from night. Here, the capital city of Mercury, moving at a constant speed, staying just ahead of the dawn. The city moves across tracks which expand as they reach daylight, driving the city forward. Robinson is borrowing from his own early novel, The Memory of Whiteness (1985), which describes the city of Terminator on Mercury, constantly moving on rolling cylinders ahead of the dawn.

smalls, p. 12: genetically altered humans, waist high to average humans.

exergasia, p. 21: rhetorical restatement, a form of parallelism where an idea is repeated and the only change is in the way it is stated.

Mondragon Accord, p. 26: “one of the most influential forms of economic change had ancient origins in Mondragon, Euskadi, a small Basque town that ran an economic system of nested co-ops organized for mutual support. A growing network of space settlements used Mondragon as a model for adapting beyond their scientific station origins to a larger economic system. Cooperating as if in a diffuse Mondragon, the individual space settlements, widely scattered, associated for mutual support” (p. 125)

Friday, July 27, 2012

More July book arrivals

More July 2012 book arrivals, including what promises to be a major new novel from M. John Harrison and significant new single-author collections of short fiction from Kathleen Ann Goonan and Jonathan Carroll.

"No point is more central than this, that empty space is not empty. It is the seat of the most violent physics," John A. Wheeler, is the lead epigraph in the new novel, Empty Space: A Haunting by M. John Harrison. I expect it will be one of the important science fiction novels of 2012. This is the third in a loosely related series. The earlier books were the landmark novel Light (2002), winner of the James Tiptree Jr Award, and Nova Swing (2006), winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Harrison is one of the major literary talents in the science fiction genre, mostly unknown in the United States.

The Song of Synth and Absinth, two novels by Sebastien Doubinsky, presented back-to-back, each with its own cover, like the old Ace Double paperbacks. This is a high-quality hardback from PS Publishing. There are introductions for each novel: one by Lucius Shepard, one by Paul Witcover.

Black Wings II: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror edited by S. T. Joshi contains stories by John Shirley, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nick Mamatas, and Brian Evenson, just to name a few.

Eat Jellied Eels and Think Distant Thoughts, or The Conspirocrats by Kris Saknussemm. Saknussemm is the author of Zanesville and Enigmatic Pilot.

The Lonely Hunter by John Grant. Grant won a non-fiction Hugo Award and a World Fantasy Award  as co-editor with John Clute of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997).

The Wurms of Blearmouth: A Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson is the latest in a series of stories featuring two characters from his enormous Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

Angels and You Dogs by Kathleen Ann Goonan is the first collection of the author's short fiction. Goonan has created a significant body of excellent work, both in novels and short fiction. Her first novel, Queen City Jazz (1994), began her Nanotech Quartet. Her sixth novel, In War Times (2007), won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It was followed by a sequel, This Shared Dream, which your humble blog correspondent thinks is one of the best SF novels of 2011.

I've been an admirer of Jonathan Carroll's short fiction since reading "Friend's Best Man" in the January 1987 issue of F&SF. It's a pleasure to receive this generous-sized collection of 38 of his stories, The Woman Who Married a Cloud: Collected Stories by Jonathan Carroll. His novels are worth your attention, too.

The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis is the second in his Milkweed series. The first book was Bitter Seeds (2010).

The new fiftieth anniversary edition of The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard, the author's second novel. This edition includes an introduction by Martin Amis.