ThReads Must Roll: the new, improved rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

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Because the old one got too long and Shakey couldn't load it. A sequel to rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:51 (four years ago) link

Hoping to report on Report On Probability A in the near future.

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:54 (four years ago) link

Gregory Benford: Artifact --- archaeologists uncover lethal alien thingy in Mycenean burial ground. Not brilliantly written, but interesting enough to continue with. Entertainingly, for a book written in 1985, it contains early 21st-century Greece falling apart because of a worldwide economic depression/recession

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Thursday, 13 November 2014 01:11 (four years ago) link

lol @ thread title

Report on Probability A - was idly thinking of re-reading that recently, I remember being p underwhelmed by its central formal conceit. I expected it to be much loopier and disorienting. In general, Aldiss is v hit or miss for me (something I've read Moorcock attribute to his needing a good editor/manager, someone to set goals/targets for him). Cryptozoic is undreadable, for example, but I consider Barefoot in the Head from just a year or two later a masterpiece.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:20 (four years ago) link

Brian W. "Crazy Baldhead" Aldiss

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:27 (four years ago) link

Read rep on prob a at least twice a long time ago, didn't know anything about last year at marienbad but enjoyed the formal conceit and the last few pages made me want to high five him.

thread title capitalisation and constant reminder of that dunderheaded heinlein story is gonna make me rmde to eternity.

ledge, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:03 (four years ago) link

agonising as it may be for ledge, this restart is v handy for me, as I meant to start following the previous thread after the initial poll that prompted it, and then i didn't and then it got so long that my approach of 'I must read all of it before participating' turned into hiding from the thread and not ever talking about some of my favourite strands of writing :/

Fizzles, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:41 (four years ago) link

Sorry for thread title, ledge, I did it to annoy Shakey, not you.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:17 (four years ago) link

You are not the only one who couldn't read prior thread, Fizzles. Was constantly using the search feature or wondering where something was only to learn it was further upthread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:26 (four years ago) link

Still slogging through the last of Atwood's Maddadam trilogy. The third book is piss-weak, slow going and uninteresting, and her stylistic flaws seem to show through more and more. Because it's sci-fi there's an attempt to be, I dunno, edgy or hardboiled or something and it's about as convincing as one of your parents trying on an ill-fitting leather jacket. Bit of a shame really, becaus eI enjoyed the first two books (Oryx & Crake / Year of the Flood) immensely.

joni mitchell jarre (dog latin), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:34 (four years ago) link

I think I forgotten to say on the previous thread that another one of the best features on fantasticfiction site is it shows you the blurbs writers have done for other people's books.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 14:35 (four years ago) link

Cool I'll just keep pasting in stuff from prev thread everytime somebody mentions something already discussed thoroughly, as I kept etc on prev thread its own self. Speaking of blurbs, here's a good 'un from a recent library shop score, Wandering Stars, An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Jack Dann, Introduction by Isaac Asimov:
I loved Wandering Stars, and why not? Two of the thirteen stories are from Orbit, and I would have bought seven of the rest if I had got my hands on them first. If the book had nothing else going for it, it would still be a triumph to get William Tenn to write the great story he was talking about in the fifties.--Damon Knight
(Also a blurb from Leo Rosten, who wrote The Education of Hyman Kaplan, about an immigrant who tends to take over English classes with his own versions and visions of language and lit.)

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 15:47 (four years ago) link

Contents (some of these titles are corny, but the few stories I kinda remember from mags etc were good):

"Why Me?" by Isaac Asimov

William Tenn: "On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi"

Avram Davidson: "The Golem"

Isaac Asimov: "Unto the Fourth Generation"

Carol Carr: "Look, You Think You've Got Troubles"

Avram Davidson: "Goslin Day"

Robert Silverberg: "The Dybbuk of Mazel Tov IV"

Horace L. Gold: "Trouble With Water"

Pamela Sargent: "Gather Blue Roses"

Bernard Malamud: "The Jewbird"

Geo. Alec Effinger: "Paradise Lost"

Robert Sheckley: "Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay"

Isaac Bashevis Singer: Jachid and Jechidah"

Harlan Ellison: "I'm Looking For Kadah"

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 16:00 (four years ago) link

I just looked at a full schedule of all the books on SF Gateway (presumably this is the ebook titles). It's 2599 books!
Cant remember where I found the document.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 21:16 (four years ago) link

UK or US or other?

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 21:39 (four years ago) link

Probably UK

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 22:02 (four years ago) link

Considerably fewer in US

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 22:12 (four years ago) link

Mark Sinker makes some connections (for inst., between Gothic and Futurist lit) new to me, after viewing the National Gallery's William Morris exhibition:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:51 (four years ago) link

Thanks. Surely the friend mentioned there is an ILB poster.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (four years ago) link

RMDE at that this thread title too, as well as the terrible screenname I had at the time. Don't know why I did it. I guess the door dilated and I just had to go through it.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (four years ago) link

before I forget: this Brazilian writer recently died and Clute tweeted link to very appealing SFE overview of his work:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51 (four years ago) link

Ooh! I mean RIP but yknow

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:02 (four years ago) link

Thanks. Often hard to find something like that in translation or even not in translation. Wonder if he had anything in that Cosmos Latinos anthology? Don't seem to recognize the name.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (four years ago) link

(xp, obv)

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (four years ago) link

okay, "Brain Transplant."

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:05 (four years ago) link

I've only read Brain Transplant but would def read more provided stuff gets translated

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:06 (four years ago) link

Hey James, tried to reply to yr kind email, but it won't let us reply directly, and the webmail form has the worst captcha evah, I refreshed it a half-dozen times, got rejected over and over and over and over and over and over. So I'll reply here: thanks, you keep up the good posts too!

dow, Monday, 17 November 2014 02:06 (four years ago) link

has this been posted already?

Οὖτις, Monday, 17 November 2014 16:18 (four years ago) link

Laird Barron wrote a parody of the horror/weird scene, it included jabs at Mark Samuels in particular (however serious they were intended, nobody knows), there was some discussion of this at the Ligotti forum and eventually that resulted in Justin Isis writing hilarious rap battle lyrics.
Several spread across this page

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 17 November 2014 23:35 (four years ago) link

The xpost link to Mark Sinker's William Morris exhibit etc is back online this afternoon. Read that before reading further, for max headroom:
When his fellow visitor/ILXor xyzzz (sic?) said it was down this morning, I told Mark, and we had this email exchange:

Mark:oh cheers, yes, the guy who hosts it (on a laptop in his spare room) sometimes has to reboot :)

me: OK, will keep in mind. I fairly recently got into Morris and those Kipling stories (if you meant "As Easy As A-B-C" and "With The Night Mail," for inst), but hadn't made the connection. Now I'm also thinking of Blade Runner's Earth, a mostly abandoned First World-as-Third World backstreet, where it rains all night in perpetual eco-ruins; also PKD's original setting, more like a slightly-future-to-us Beijing, with workers scuttling between buildings, hoping not to be singed/cancer-seeded by the invisible sun. Some later Tiptree stories too, and Mary Shelley's The Last Man, for me amazing as Frankenstein.
Probably some of Kim Stanley Robinson's later novels too, though they've gotten so long I may never know (early The Wild Shore was fine, best I recall). But I recently saw a mention of "cli-fi" as emerging trend, so we may get sick of the whole thing even before it all comes true.

Mark: Yes, Kipling’s mum was related to a famous Pre-Raphaelite in the Morris circle — his dad of course ran the Lucknow museum — and when he was boarded in England as kid (not the notorious time that became Baa Baa Black Sheep) he stayed with the De Morgans, who were also minor slebs in Arts&Crafts terms: William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!)

Yrs partly (Kipling's)sic-fi stories, but also the stories about ships and trains and cars — esp.the ones from the perspective of the train or ship. The ones abt cars are really intriguing: he was totally an early adopter.

me: Didn't know any of that, thanks! Will def have to read more Kipling----recently found one of his I mentioned in an anth w HG's "The Land Ironclads"---getting back into Wells, and suspect the Eloi and Morlocks might have gotten Morris (and Tolkien) going. Finally read The Lord Of The Rings, and feel like I totally/mostly get it! Specific associations re the "not allegorical, dammit!" Ring/magic can shift, but lately I think of fossil fuels as thee ancient source of modern marvels, source which must now be sacrificed to/for any chance of future lives, bearable legacy But once that ship sails off into the autumn sea, it sails, buddy. So the book is a tragedy, but fairly often experienced as a comedy, in a commedia sense: fascination of the vivid details, robustly acted out, with some mortal meat joy, and other meat conditions.

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:08 (four years ago) link

William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!

De Morgan Centre looking for a foothold. (Those are Tolkien's ships, right there)

alimosina, Thursday, 20 November 2014 01:24 (four years ago) link

Just heard "Dream Weaver" on the radio. Wasn't there an sf writer named Gary Wright who had a much anthologized story about some futuristic luge called something like "Ice Slide"? "Ice Capades"? "Ice Rink" ? "Ice Mutants"? and then was never heard from again? I'll guess I'll see what Clute & Co have to say.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:44 (four years ago) link
"Mirror of Ice"

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:48 (four years ago) link

Looks like some Canadian teacher assigned it to his students to adapt as a short film. Don't think it was clemenza, though.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:55 (four years ago) link

Can anyone tell me what on earth Science Fiction Poetry is? Poems of fantasy and horror just uses tropes of those genres but how do you achieve the conceptual framework of SF in poetry? Because without that, the tropes by themselves would just be fantasy poems or poems about radical change.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:56 (four years ago) link

If you have to ask you'll never know.

Tom Disch might have had something to tell you about it, but he is sadly no longer with us.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 21:00 (four years ago) link

Oh gosh, now that you mention it, I've seen poetry in science fiction mags as far back as I can remember, though I don't remember any specific poem, at least in part because I haven't read any sf mags in a long time. I do remember there being quite a range, from short light verse (limericks, even)to much more ambitious testimonials and mini-sagas(never got much space in the page sense).
I'll have to dig up some of those zines; meanwhile this looks like a good place to start:

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:22 (four years ago) link

Also notable were the infusion of a quantity of poetry into the text of Brian W Aldiss's novel Barefoot in the Head (1969)

Thinking about what Aldiss to read next, since I finished Report on Probability A , which I will give a report grade of 'A' to, and this is on my short list.

There are some poems in the anthology Sense of Wonder.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:51 (four years ago) link

Just came across a 1962 American printing of The Long Afternoon of Earth, AKA Hothouse; unabridged edition didn't come out in the US 'til 76.

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:37 (four years ago) link

Did you buy it? It is currently out of print. I loved the story/extract in the Silverberg SF 101 book, as mentioned on prior thread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:41 (four years ago) link

This is the abridged version I got (for 25 cents),204,203,200_.jpg

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 (four years ago) link

in terms of thematic vibe, this cover may be more appropriate, but the UK is awesome o coures

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:01 (four years ago) link

In your favorite online sf reference work I believe that book has the tag ***SEMISPOILER ALERT** "Space Elevator" **END OF SEMISPOILER ALERT

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 24 November 2014 00:28 (four years ago) link

Vandermeer has come back to one he still thinks is underappreciated. The title and author seem vaguely familiar; anybody read it?

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 05:22 (four years ago) link

New Yorker won't let me link, but check out Laura Miller's "Fresh Hell" for clear lens view of profuse YA dystopias, and how the lit varies from Classic adult-aimed (later school-assigned). TNY's Amy Davidson later agrees with much but not all of Miller's take.

dow, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:40 (four years ago) link

been reading LeGuin's "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" (they had it at the library). I took Disch to task in "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" for his attacks on her, and while I won't recant on that count (he was unnecessarily harsh and dismissive), she really can let her didacticism get in the way. I can think of few fiction writers that have a more keenly developed political agenda that is so readily apparent in their work. Ayn Rand obviously (lol) and Heinlein and Scott Card I suppose. But LeGuin's well to the left of those boorish blowhards, and arguably more audacious conceptually. I wonder if I should go back and re-read the Kestrel books for any political subtext I may have missed in jr high, I always liked those...

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 22:17 (four years ago) link

I don't think I'll read her for a very long time unless I come across her work in anthologies. Because once Moorcock said her work was self-consciously literary and left him cold. But he was very fond of her as a person.

That really put me off and what you say here adds to that. But Wizard Of Earthsea is an attractive name so I'm not totally discouraged.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:28 (four years ago) link

Moorcock doesn't always make the right choices...

Even people I know who don't usually like her (or science fiction in general) tend to like this

dow, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:40 (four years ago) link

well, it's not really gross or explicit in any way, so it's not that unpleasant as much as it just kind of disorienting. I mean, it was written in 1920, so there's a certain kind of archaic stodginess to it. It's just like ... well here's an excerpt:

Other creatures sported so wildly, in front of his very eyes, that they became of different “kingdoms” altogether. For example, a fruit was lying on the ground, of the size and shape of a lemon, but with a tougher skin. He picked it up, intending to eat the contained pulp; but inside it was a fully formed young tree, just on the point of bursting its shell. Maskull threw it away upstream. It floated back toward him; by the time he was even with it, its downward motion had stopped and it was swimming against the current. He fished it out and discovered that it had sprouted six rudimentary legs.

Maskull sang no paeans of praise in honour of the gloriously overcrowded valley. On the contrary, he felt deeply cynical and depressed. He thought that the unseen power—whether it was called Nature, Life, Will, or God—that was so frantic to rush forward and occupy this small, vulgar, contemptible world, could not possess very high aims and was not worth much. How this sordid struggle for an hour or two of physical existence could ever be regarded as a deeply earnest and important business was beyond his comprehension The atmosphere choked him, he longed for air and space. Thrusting his way through to the side of the ravine, he began to climb the overhanging cliff, swinging his way up from tree to tree.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 22:56 (one month ago) link

Colin Wilson wrote a study of his works.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 13 September 2019 17:18 (one month ago) link

it's very phantasmagorical and portentous so that's not surprising

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 18:27 (one month ago) link

I really want to get a copy of Colin Wilson’s 60s book on music - apparently he was an early proponent of Bax (very few were at that stage)

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 13 September 2019 22:34 (one month ago) link

was sick last week, so i re-read zelazny's two amber series for the first time in like 25 years. easy and fun

mookieproof, Friday, 13 September 2019 22:47 (one month ago) link

Another Colin Wilson thing

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 13 September 2019 23:04 (one month ago) link

so how did a genre that (at least in its initial decades) prided itself on extrapolating many of its trappings from science (rockets, atomic power, space exploration, mass communication, etc.) get so besotted with something as un-scientific as telepathy/psychic powers? Seems like it was a common trope from the 40s through at least the 70s, but where did it come from? cuz it wasn't Popular Mechanics.

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 September 2019 19:14 (one month ago) link

Campbell, no? Before he got into dianetics.

funnel spider ESA (Matt #2), Monday, 16 September 2019 22:42 (one month ago) link

that's what I'm wondering, is it really largely down to one guy? Residual fascination w previous century mesmerists and table-knockers?

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 September 2019 23:04 (one month ago) link

also Rhine's book about his ESP experiments came out in 1934 and wasn't debunked for quite a while

Brad C., Monday, 16 September 2019 23:20 (one month ago) link

interesting, did not know about that book thx

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 15:11 (one month ago) link

William Hope Hodgson - Carnacki The Ghost Finder

I'm a big fan of Hodgson's other major works and I found this a bit disappointing. A lot of his fans rate Carnacki very highly but then so many people love strong detective elements in their horror and I never have, so far. But like everyone else today, I don't welcome faked supernatural Scooby Doo explanations but I do try to keep an open mind about this approach and the early stories even warm you up for this possibility.
4 stories are genuinely supernatural, 2 stories are fakes, 2 are a mixture of faked and genuine supernatural, 1 story is a completely different genre (about book swapping/fraud, would have been more appropriate for his Captain Gault stories).

I think "The Horse Of The Invisible" is particularly spoiled by the fakery, could have been a much better story without the daft and very unconvincing explanations. The only one where the fakery brought some real interest to me was "The Searcher Of The End House" but that's largely because the ghosts were left intact.

Many of the stories are a bit too drawn out and have too much of Carnacki arranging his electric apparatus.
"The Haunted Jarvee" tried my patience the most of them but is somewhat redeemed by its later scenes, a highlight of the book. "The Hog" is the best thing in the collection, sharing with House On The Borderland the threat of pigs from the depths of the earth; the concept is more developed than the other stories and has an interesting science fictional origin for the monsters but the story would have been a lot stronger if it were a tad shorter.

After reading more of Hodgson's characters, I'm seeing humour in places I previously wouldn't have.

I'm very curious to see how a few of these stories are condensed in Nightshade's Dream Of X collection.

"Out you go!"

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 20 September 2019 21:58 (one month ago) link

Pretty cool cover gimmick

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 21 September 2019 16:50 (one month ago) link

Read the script of Clair Noto's unmade THE TOURIST, supposedly the greatest science-fiction movie never to escape develoment hell, and it's about on a par with the worst episodes of Torchwood.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 22 September 2019 12:21 (one month ago) link

What is Hodgson's other major creation? Think I only know about Carnacki, from LOEG - bought a cheap Wordsworth Classics anthology of his stories but haven't read (story of my library's life).

I bought that Vandemeer Fantasy doorstop after hearing about it on this thread. Less humungous than their Weird Fiction tome, which I actually finished. They end at Tolkien, i.e. fantasy's commodification into a genre in a marketing sense. Very difficult for me to think of what "fantasy" is before that - where the borders lie with, like, fairy tales and such. The Vandemeers seem to think the origins are mostly germanic.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 23 September 2019 09:27 (one month ago) link

Yeah, that's the premise of Douglas A. Anderson's Tales Before Tolkien---or at least, while of course pointing out that Mr. T. himself was a deep scholar of Beowulf etc,, and mentioning ancient Greek etc., he has to draw the line somewhere for a non-doorstop, and starts from Tieck, eventually goes on to Brits: he says he's picked stories that Tolkien discussed in his correspondence and notebooks, others he mentioned, others that he prob knew, and a few he may not have known about, but hey. Contents: (ends with one from the rarely seen, yet notoriously and proudly something David Lindsay) Seemed like a very edutaining collection to me, but maybe duh to someone who really knows fantasy.
I did miss Estimated Time of Arrival Hoffman who can show up on the expressway to my skull, but maybe his approach is different from what the editor was going for---also missed the no-anesthetic woodcarvings of Lucy Clifford, like this:

dow, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 03:04 (four weeks ago) link

Oh yeah, I'd heard about that anthology before, thanks for bringing to my attention.

The Vandermeer book has ETA Hoffman. Also the Grimm Bros.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 08:20 (four weeks ago) link

Dan Simmons is a twat:

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 26 September 2019 11:18 (three weeks ago) link

Daniel - I was referring to his 4 novels, although not everyone would consider them all major works. 2 of them are the sort of supernatural sea stories he did a lot of. But Carnacki, House On The Borderland and The Night Land are worlds that numerous other writers have played with.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 27 September 2019 17:31 (three weeks ago) link

Time for a thread related to Arthur C. Clarke and the allegations of pedophilia against him. This is response to someone who tweeted me wondering if the allegations against Clarke had been debunked. All of this is relevant b/c one of the genre's major awards is named after him.

— Jason Sanford (@jasonsanford) September 27, 2019

Tweet thread about possible Clarke child abuse

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 27 September 2019 21:31 (three weeks ago) link

that's a dumb reason for renaming the Tiptree award imo

Οὖτις, Friday, 27 September 2019 21:47 (three weeks ago) link

I don't like it either but some say the distress it causes people is reason enough. Difficult for me to come round to that and I doubt I will. Really not enough evidence to judge her.

Amazed Bram Stoker hasn't had his award name changed yet (Lair Of The White Worm is said to be extremely racist).

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 27 September 2019 22:13 (three weeks ago) link

Not that I'd ask for Stoker award to be changed, but I'd be more sympathetic than with the Tiptree issue.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 27 September 2019 22:15 (three weeks ago) link

as i said upthread, i don't think the charges against clarke are very credible -- the evidence cited in that twitter thread is very thin, and the quotes from that daily mirror story are frankly unbelievable. sanford also seems unaware that sri lanka had some of the harshest anti-LGBT laws in the world till fairly recently, which places some of the stuff he cites in a different context.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 27 September 2019 23:54 (three weeks ago) link

has anybody else here read Matthew Derby's "Super Flat Times"? seems super obscure. he has yet to write anything else, he doesn't get an entry in the sf encyclopedia, he got great reviews but appears to have sank without a ripple. too bad. was idly thumbing through my copy last night and it seems like such a lost gem.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 3 October 2019 19:39 (two weeks ago) link

New to me. There's also a collaborative novel and a bunch of short stories (some in Unstuck magazine).

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 4 October 2019 18:46 (two weeks ago) link

Quite cool that Valancourt is so eager to take suggestions for possible reprints. I wish there was a more sff orientated publisher like that because horror has been very well reprinted in the last two decades.

It's a shame that a Bob Leman collection has been in development hell or some sort of unknown limbo for several years.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 12 October 2019 17:24 (one week ago) link

I’ve read Super Flat Times and it’s awesome.

brimstead, Sunday, 13 October 2019 00:52 (one week ago) link

I read Super Flat Times too! That book was amazing. Reminded me of Ben Marcus a little if I remember correctly. Really, Matt Derby isn't still at it? That's a damn shame.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 13 October 2019 01:07 (one week ago) link

It looks like he wrote some kind of interactive iPad novel which also exists in print in some form?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 13 October 2019 01:10 (one week ago) link

Interview from 2017

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 13 October 2019 01:12 (one week ago) link

Just finished reading the NYRB collection of David R. Bunch's MODERAN!!! stories. I imagine that read in isolation, discovered unexpectedly in a pulp science fiction magazine, any one of these stories would be electrifying, a revelation. Read in a huge chunk, all in one go, they become a bit of a slog, and the virtual absence of narrative starts to feel a little like a cop-out. You get the feeling that Bunch was really getting off on the repetition of his stock phrases and neologisms, and they do take on a mantra-like quality, read in bulk - I suspect they would be great fun to speak aloud.

Ward Fowler, Monday, 14 October 2019 18:52 (one week ago) link

yeah they definitely get repetitive

Οὖτις, Monday, 14 October 2019 18:58 (one week ago) link

I liked the one in The Big Book of Science Fiction, but one might be enough, or one once in a while, anthologized, yeah wouldn't mind that.

Fairly recently read Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017, guest edited by Charles Yu. Each year, series Editor John Joseph Adams and his staff read several hundred stories, Adams picks the semi-finalists, and hands them to the guest, who picks 18-20 or so. As I posted upthread, the ones picked by Karen Joy Fowler in 2016 made for an uncommonly strong collection, almost too strong for this compulsive cherrypicker (me), while 2015, guested by Joe Hill, did pretty well considering that Kelly Link and Karen Russell were such tough acts to follow (they might should have been right at the end).
But for this one, Adam says (in effect, and pretty much right out) that Yu wanted to tell about What's Happening in Our World, and though all of his picks have good qualities, they mostly end with a Message, and tend to suffer by proximity, I think.
Some of them suffer by comparison to selections in prev. volumes: NK Jemison's The City Born Great's message is delivered with some verve, flair, even, but if you want comic book homeless wild child discovering and grappling with psi power's, try 2015's "We Are The Cloud," by Sam J. Miller, which is informed by what he's learned as an activist, and as a creative writer.

Fave topical: "Vulcanization," by Nisi Shawl, a scholar of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany, as confirmed in the bio notes: she's drunk deep, and is a prestidigitator like you can't quite learn from any book.

But they ain't all topical--like, there's one bit of shameless Y.A, pandering (or Y.A. wannabee pandering; would think actual Y.s are sick of this stuff by now) which seems like it's gonna be Romeo and Juliet of exobiology, but becomes amusingly sameless, with a laidback, slack ending, which given what I thought would happen, is 'ppreciated (and can be taken as a take-off on such pandering, incl. the author's own--it's entertaining, so what the heck)(I won't identify this one, although if you read the book you'll recognize it pretty quickly, sorree.)

"The Story of Kao Yu," by Peter S. Beagle, might or might not have come from an actual Chinese folk tale, but has no "translated" quaintness: it's about a circuit-riding judge and his staff, in some Empire, some century or other, but there's nothing vague about the characters or their situations--fantasy element is the entity that sometimes appears in the back of whatever courtroom, observing. I guess it *could* be considered topical, in the sense that gender roles, incl. suddenly hapless maleness, can still be news, somehow.

That's almost my favorite in the whole volume, but give a couple extra points to Brian Evenson, whom I'd somehow never heard of, though turns out he's fairly prolific. "Smear" is a space horror story, so tightly constructed that it's hard to describe without risking spoilers.

dow, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:05 (one week ago) link

psi powers, not power's, sorry.

dow, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:07 (one week ago) link

amusingly *shameless*

dow, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:08 (one week ago) link

Have only read a tiny bit of each but the discussion of Super Flat Times reminded me of Moderan, so it seems appropriate that that came up again.

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:45 (one week ago) link

I never buy magazines, but I bought this, mainly for the first story, which turned out to be worth the price of admission at least:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
70th Anniversary Issue!
The White Cat's Divorce – Kelly Link
American Gold Mine – Paolo Bacigalupi
Kabul – Michael Moorcock
Erase, Erase, Erase – Elizabeth Bear
Little Inn on the Jianghu – Y.M. Pang
Under the Hill – Maureen McHugh
Madness Afoot – Amanda Hollander
The Light on Eldoreth – Nick Wolven
Booksavr – Ken Liu
The Wrong Badger – Esther Friesner
Ghost Ships – Michael Swanwick
Homecoming – Gardner Dozois
Last Human in the Olympics – Mary Soon Lee
Halstead IV – Jeff Crandall
Three Score and Ten – Robert Silverberg
Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Books – James Sallis
Films: Love Death + Some Regression – Karin Lowachee
Science: Net Up or Net Down? – Jerry Oltion
Plumage from Pegasus – Paul Di Filippo
Coming Attractions –
Curiosities – Thomas Kaufsek

dow, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 15:50 (one week ago) link

I love Kelly Link!

dow, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 15:58 (one week ago) link

yeah she is great

idly making my way through an Aldiss collection from '59, this guy was so erratic.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 16:16 (one week ago) link


Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 17:38 (one week ago) link

he's does have a knack for idiosyncratic turns of phrase (describing a young man as "thin and sweet as celery" for example) that catch my attention, but they're deployed in a haphazard way, and a bunch of these stories either don't go anywhere or have very pedestrian "twists".

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 17:41 (one week ago) link

Surprising recent example of reused cover art, only a few years apart.

Richard Clifton-Dey is another older artist who made numerous sales of the same imagesÖyster-Cult-Cultösaurus-Erectus/master/68052

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 20 October 2019 12:47 (three days ago) link

Wonder what’s in that Caitlín R. Kiernan book? Oh I see.

Aldiss is great when he is on though. Maybe somebody should do a POLL. I nominate you, Shakey.

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 October 2019 15:34 (three days ago) link

One day I will read the Helliconia books.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 20 October 2019 23:54 (three days ago) link

I read The Malacia Tapestry, did not know what to make of it

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Monday, 21 October 2019 02:59 (two days ago) link

I've really been enjoying some recent-ish Russian/Jewish/Yiddish/Eastern European folklore-influenced fantasy lately.

I think I started with Spinning Silver (Jewish identity + folk magic) by Naomi Novik, and then I realized that I had previously read Katherine Arden's The Girl and the Nightingale (Russian + folk magic vs Christianity) and not known it was a trilogy, so I crammed in books 2 & 3 (The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch), all wonderful.

Took a minor detour to read every novel by T. Kingfisher, (fairy tale re-dos but uncommonly lovely and un-stilted). Took a break with some murder mysteries and then just ran across The Sisters of the Winter Wood (Jewish identity + folk magic).

I kind of never want to come back to read anything else tbh.

There's more Italy than necessary. (in orbit), Monday, 21 October 2019 17:00 (two days ago) link

Aldiss is great when he is on though. Maybe somebody should do a POLL. I nominate you, Shakey.

lol no, there's too much! It's just funny how even within this one fix-up book with material from a pretty brief timeframe (2 years?), the quality and styles vary really widely.

I haven't read any of the Helliconia books either

Οὖτις, Monday, 21 October 2019 17:10 (two days ago) link

in orbit, you remind me that I still haven't read my library discard edition of Wandering Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Robert Silverberg and Jack Dann, something different in '74. Contents and comments here:

dow, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 02:45 (yesterday) link

And speaking of murder mysteries/alt time-line police procedurals, have you read The Yiddish Policeman's Union? Sticks to the ribs.

dow, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 02:50 (yesterday) link

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