THE FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT And Other Stories, by Jeffrey Ford. Golden Gryphon Press (www.goldengryphon.com), 2002, 253 pp., $14.95. ISBN 1-930846-57-6
Yes, I am aware the FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT was published eight years ago, but the tales are just as fresh as they appeared in publications dating from 1994 through 2002.
My favorites from this collection:
The title story follows fiction writer apprentice Mary, who visits a favorite and respected author, Ashmolean, whose high fantasy stories, set in the fabled land of Kreegenvale, are unfinished - or at least the story arc is. Ashmolean has a "writer's block." How can he finish the series? What to do with the characters? Well, Mary has a chance to meet the characters first-hand and comes up with the answer he may be looking for.
A previously unpublished Ford story, "Bright Morning," describes an author (unnamed), whose work is compared to Franz Kafka, in his attempt to locate a very rare collection of Kafka's works containing a story, "Bright Morning." The story that Ford wrote is very much autobiographical but contains a bit of fictional autobiographical conceit - could Kafka have written the rare story, or is the story conjured by the enormous psychological influence of the "Metamorphosis" author on Ford? It's a wondrously perplexing tale, very much what we would expect from Ford.
CYBERABAD DAYS, by Ian McDonald. Pyr/Prometheus (www.prometheusbooks.com), 2009, 279 pp., $15.00. ISBN 978-1-59102-699-0
Seven stories in CYBERABAD DAYS are set in the year 2047 in India, including a Hugo Award winner and nominee.
THE THIRD SIGN, by Gregory A. Wilson. Five Star/Gale Cengage Learning (www.gale.cengage.com), 2009, 351 pp., $25.95. ISBN 978-1-59414-765-4
Calen Gollnet, resident of the country of Klune, watches as his world goes to war, as the peace made by the king and the arlics has become tenuous at best. But the armies are the least of his concern, as the Soul Wall appears. Prophecies are coming true - and what will the latest portend?
BY BLOOD WE LIVE, ed. by John Joseph Adams. Night Shade Books (www.nightshadebooks.com), 2009, 485 pp., $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59780-156-0
There is a strange craving for these types of stories, felt by mostly teenage girls suddenly feeling the throngs of post-puberty. And there are plenty of authors to accommodate this strangeness, indeed.
TWO EXCELLENT TACHYON ANTHOLOGIES:
THE SECRET HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION, ed. by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. Tachyon (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2009, 381 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-892391-93-3
I remember reading most of these SF classics when they were first published, with seminal work by Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. LeGuin, Lucius Shepard, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe, James Patrick Kelly, and many others.
THE VERY BEST OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, 60th Anniversary Anthology, ed. by Gordon Van Gelder. Tachyon (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2009, 475 pp., $15.95. ISBN 978-1-892391-91-9
Many of these I read collected in other anthologies, and some I read in the magazine itself. (I have subscribed to F&SF regularly from 1977-2007, and off and on since 2008.) Included are works by Ray Bradbury, Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon, Kurt Vonnegut, Harlan Ellison, Damon Knight, Ursula K. LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, Ted Chiang, and others).
A Sample Of Our Upcoming Reviews...
GASLIGHT GROTESQUE Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes, ed. by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec. Edge (www.edgewebsite.com), 2009, 311 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-894063-31-9
TESSERACTS THIRTEEN ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell. Edge (www.edgewebsite.com), 2009, 317 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-894063-25-8
THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR Vol. 1, ed. by Ellen Datlow. Night Shade Books (www.nightshadebooks.com), 2009, 321 pp., $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59780-161-4