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.


  1. I'm wanting to pick up the Duncan collection. I've heard good things about his work and love the cover of that one. I haven't read much of Johnson's work but I haven't really connected with what I've read. Hopefully that is just me not reading the right stories.

  2. Hi Carl,
    I hadn't gotten along too well with Kij Johnson's short fiction until I read her recent novella "The Man Who Bridged the Mist," which I thought had a delicate balance of romance and engineering, with strong characters.

    Duncan has an interesting American folktale flavor to some of his fiction. The story that really made an impression for me was "The Chief Designer," which is a character portrait of a Soviet-era rocket engineer during the space race.

    Technically, they are both superior writers. If you care about beautiful sentences, they both deliver. In fact, all four of the writers I mentioned above have first-rate prose. Judging from a lot of what's popular, not everyone cares about good writing, but I do.

  3. Your brief description of Johnson's novel sounds very inviting. I may have to go that route the next time I decide to try her work. And I do enjoy folktales of all kinds so that adds to my desire to pick up Duncan's book. I have this vague recollection that his publisher may have sent me an e-version of this awhile back. I should check and see.

    I enjoy beautiful writing, even sometimes when the story itself doesn't quite deliver though more often than not I would prefer a good, engaging story even if it has some flaws. Still when both good story and beautiful prose can be combined it is a magical experience for the reader.