If you only read one work of speculative fiction today, make sure it is Husbandry by E J Fischer (if you read two, read Husbandry twice). Its a wicked zombie story with more than a little to say about the state of modern realationships. Strange Horizons have once again displayed the presence of mind to recognise the good work of a Clarion ’08 grad (they displayed genuine sci-fi skills by publishing Dan Pinney before he even went to Clarion!) So, go read! Whats stopping you?!
Strange Horizons have invited their reviewers to round-up the best speculative fiction of 2008 and the results are profoundly interesting. Gwyneth Jones regrets the ever growing polarisation of the genre (agreed), whilst Jonathan McCalmont suggests the British SF boom may be turning to bust (case not proved) and Nader Elhefnawy continues to claim science fiction has seen its best days (profoundly untrue).
Short story collections from Paolo Bacigalupi and Jeffrey Ford are now high on my must buy list, as is Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army. I’m also tempted by Farah Mendelsohn’s ‘The Rhetorics of Fantasy’, I have a taste for some critical debate. So if anyone feels the need to buy me a post x-mas present, there is your list!
I really enjoyed this story by Meredith Schwartz in this weeks Strange Horizons, except for the moment where the story makes it explicit that the narrator is a mermaid. I like the oblique mystery more than the revelation. But I love the word Mermaidification, so all is forgiven.
Its a tough life being a writer. Take poor old William Gibson. I read all of Gibson’s books obsessively in my mid-teens. I’ve traveled great distances to see him speak. I’ve even twice been compared to him in pseudo psychometric testing. But when I was less than gripped by his new novel ‘Spook Country’ I put it down and haven’t been back since. Thats the nature of fans. One minute you are the total centre of attention, the next you are just another unread tome of a bookshelf somewhere.
I will come back to ‘Spook Country’ when time allows. I am so busy with work, new freelance projects and my own writing at the moment that my reading has fallen behind, at least of books.
I have however found a new taste for short fiction in recent months. This began with a spate of excellent stories read in online magazines including Serendipity, Strange Horizons and Clarkesworld among others. I really believe e-publishing has come into its own in the last few years. E-books may still be emerging but for short fiction online outlets are now as strong if not stronger than their cousins in print. I’ve also been thrown into new realms of reading through The Fix. Their reviews are so good they have lead me to take out subscriptions for at least one more publication in addition to the four I already get.
Another revelation in the last few weeks have been audiobook’s. Realising I had less and less ‘quality time’ for full novels I decided to try out audiobooks as a way of squeezing reading into times and places it might not otherwise fit. I’ve become instantly converted, and currently have stories by Garth Nix, George R R Martin and Ursula K LeGuin loaded on to my Ipod. I think audio will become an increasingly vibrant area iver the next few years as its so well adapted for the internet and peoples bust, commuting lifestyles.
I am determined to get bakc to reading entire books though. I have a wonderful holiday to Egypt booked December, so between excursions to The Valley of the Kings I intend to get in some good quality reading time. The only problem is what to take with me. How about you well read lot help me out with some suggestions?