Sunday, February 26, 2012

Links to essays, reviews, book sales

Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room by Geoff Dyer.
The Los Angeles Times today published a book review by Chris Barton about Geoff Dyer's new book, an essay on Soviet-era director Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film Stalker. (One of the greatest of all science fiction films, according to your humble blog correspondent.) "For all the witty, self-referential asides that can make the book feel like the smartest 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' episode ever written, it's Dyer's emotional tie to Writer's journey and the wish fulfillment of that vocation that stay with you the longest after the lights finally come up." (follow here)

Rob Latham tackles The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, along with a handful of Dick's science fiction novels in an essay at Los Angeles Review of Books. "Rereading Dick’s early novels through the lens of the events recounted in the Exegesis, just as Dick himself eventually did, shows how consistently the themes of thought-control and ambiguous revelation informed his fiction ..." (follow here)

Graham Sleight’s essay on three of Samuel R. Delany's books appeared in the most recent issue of Locus.
"Dhalgren is that rarest of things: a book that, decades on, has not been normalised. So many innovations of style or content in SF become commodities, to be sold at ever lower prices in ever more ways. Many people have learned a great deal from Delany’s work – I’m thinking particularly of William Gibson’s focus on sensations and the surface of things. But Dhalgren is a book without real successors." (follow here)

The Nebula Awards shortlist of nominees for work from 2011 was announced a few days ago. I've read three of the best  novel nominees:
   God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade)
   Embassytown by China Miéville (Del Rey)
   Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
All three are quite strong. God's War is a first novel and while it's the weakest of the three, it's an exceptional first novel. The three nominees that I haven't read look interesting as well.(follow here)

Lavie Tidhar expresses his disappointment in China Miéville's Embassytown. "(I)t is a niggling feeling; it is a sense of regret, and of puzzlement, that afflicts the non-Anglo reader when coming upon Embassytown. Of missed opportunities, of tired acceptance of the sign that says, This Is Not Your Future." (follow here)

Aqueduct Press is offering Rebecca Ore's new novel Time and Robbery on sale until March 1. (follow here)

New York Review Books is offering a 50 percent off sale on some titles, including science fiction novels Inverted World by Christopher Priest and The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. (follow here)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More links, more best SF of the year

Karen Burnham compiled a list of links to free online fiction, where each story appears on the 2011 Locus Recommended Reading List.

Jeff VanderMeer offers his best books of 2011 list. (follow here)

The Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth blog offers up its best short fiction of the year lists by Alex, Alisa, Tansy, Mondy, and Sarah P.

Library of America announces two new omnibus editions for 2012, edited by Gary K. Wolfe, that will collect nine classic science fiction novels from the 1950s. (follow here)

New York Review Books announces Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley, edited by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich, to be published April 2012. (follow here)

Friday, February 3, 2012

More best books of the year lists

Locus Magazine has made its 2011 Recommended Reading List available. This annual list is the most comprehensive best books and short fiction list in the science fiction community. Locus offers only the list online, for the commentary that goes with it, pick up the magazine itself. If you’re serious about understanding the science fiction field, you already subscribe. If you’re on the fence about subscribing, this annual year in review issue is the most essential issue of the year.

Other lists include the Strange Horizons' roundup of the year’s best from a roll call of editors and contributors, a varied and fascinating compilation. I direct your attention to the entries by L. Timmel Duchamp, Niall Harrison, Paul Kincaid, Farah Mendlesohn, and Adam Roberts.

Over at Ambling Along the Aqueduct, the blog of the excellent small publisher Aqueduct Press, there have been a series of best of the year posts. Rachel Swirsky has written about the best novellas, best novelettes, and best short stories of 2011. In addition, Ambling Along the Aqueduct presented a series of “best reading” posts from a diverse community of contributors. The whole series is interesting. Especially pertinent to best SF books of 2011 are:  Cheryl Morgan, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Carrie Devall, Lynne M. Thomas, Jeffrey Ford, Cat Rambo, and Liz Henry.

Other best books of the year lists: Michael Berry of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lev Grossman, and George R.R. Martin.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Locus Year in Review for 2011

The Locus annual "year in review" issue is available now. It features recommended reading lists and commentary from reviewers, editors, and professionals in the science fiction community.

Here's a sample of some of the best books of the year list-making that Locus provides:

Jonathan Strahan's picks:
Planesrunner, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (Walker UK; Candlewick)
Two Worlds and in Between, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz; Orbit US)
After the Apocalypse, Maureen McHugh (Small Beer)
Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
The Dragon Path, Daniel Abraham (Orbit)
Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, Gavin Grant & Kelly Link, eds. (Candlewick: Walker UK)

Russell Letson's picks:
Daybreak Zero, John Barnes (Ace)
This Shared Dream, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor)
7th Sigma, Steven Gould (Tor)
Earthbound, Joe Haldeman (Ace)
Rule 34, Charles Stross (Ace)
Scratch Monkey, Charles Stross (NESFA)
The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
Deep State, Walter Jon Williams (Orbit)

Graham Sleight's picks:
The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller: Volume 1, Carol Emshwiller (Nonstop)
The Uncertain Places, Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon)
This Shared Dream, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor)
Unpossible and Other Stories, Daryl Gregory (Fairwood)
After the Apocalypse, Maureen McHugh (Small Beer)
Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey)
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)
The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht (Random House)
The Islanders, Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
Paradise Tales, Geoff Ryman (Small Beer)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
Home Fires, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

My own choices fall somewhere between Strahan and Sleight. I'm playing catch up with these industry insiders and their lists will have an influence on which books rise to the top of my to-be-read pile. I've only read one of the books on Letson's list, so far, Goonan's This Shared Dream, and it is excellent.