Sunday, August 23, 2009

ArmadilloCon: What You Should Have Read This Year

This is a traditional ArmadilloCon panel, where panelists recommend recently published science fiction and fantasy titles we might want to read. The people entrusted with this honor are usually ones whose work or hobbies cause them to read lots of recent fiction. This year, the team of "pundits" is Willie Siros (an Austin bookseller), Madeleine Dimond (an author), Eric Marin (editor of Lone Star Tales), and Thomas Martin Wagner (a SF/F reviewer). So without further ado, here are their lists of must-read fiction. (Note: some of the books in Willie's list are yet to come out later this year or early 2010; I guess Willie's opinion of them is formed from the ARC's he's read.)

Willie Siros' list



Science fiction



Nancy Kress: Steal Across The Sky

Iain Banks: Transition

Robert Sawyer: www:wake

Rudy Rucker: Hylozoic

Thomas Pynchon: Inherent Vice

Jack McDevitt: Time Travelers Never Die

China Mieville: City and the City

Paul McAuley: Gardens of the Sun

MacLeod: Restoration Game (actually, a search for author and title combination on Amazon.com did not return any matches, and a search for "Restoration Game" alone did not return any science fiction titles. I don't know if Willie was confused about the title or the author, or if he inadvertently revealed that he has a window into Ken MacLeod's mind, where a book by that title is perhaps being conceived right now. :-))

Walter Jon Williams: This Is Not A Game

Bruce Sterling: Caryatids

Collections

J. G. Ballard: Complete stories

Lewis Shiner: Collected Stories

Poe: New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow

Joe R. Lansdale: Son of Retro Pulp Tales

Greg Egan: Crystal Nights and Other Stories

Theodore Sturgeon: Slow Sculpture: Volume XII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon

Fantasy

Lois Bujold: Horizon

Robin Hobb: Dragon Keeper

Ken Scholes: Lamentation

Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold

Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Fall of Light

Charles De Lint: Mystery of Grace

Steven Erikson: Dust of Dreams

Daniel Abraham: Price of Spring

Robert Holdstock: Avilion

Steph Swainston: Above the Snowline

Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals

John Crowley: Four Freedoms

Dan Simons: Drood

Madeleine Dimond, Willie Siros, Thomas Martin Wagner, and Eric Marin on the What You Should Have Read This Year panel

Madeleine Dimond, Willie Siros, Thomas Martin Wagner, and Eric Marin on the What You Should Have Read This Year panel.


Eric Marin's list



of Nifty Short Fiction and Poetry Appearing in 2009 and Places to Find More



A few anthologies (and a collection) he's heard good things about:
 
We Never Talk About My Brother by Peter Beagle (recent fantasy fiction and poetry reprints)
 
Songs of the Dying Earth, eds. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (a Jack Vance tribute anthology)
 
Federations, ed. John Joseph Adams (original and reprinted science fiction)
 
The New Space Opera 2, ed. Gardner Dozois (original science fiction)
 
Clockwork Phoenix 2, ed. Mike Allen (original SF/F fiction)
 
Poe, ed. Ellen Datlow (original dark fantasy/horror fiction)
 
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, ed. Gardner Dozois (reprints of 2008 science fiction)
 
Year's Best SF 14, eds. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (reprints of 2008 science fiction)
 
The 2009 Rhysling Anthology, ed. Drew Morse (speculative poetry published in 2008 and nominated for the 2009 Rhysling Award)
 
Some Online, Nontraditionally Published Fiction:
 
Shadow Unit, Seasons 1 and 2, various authors such as Elizabeth Bear and Emma Bull (an ongoing series in a shared world):
http://www.shadowunit.org
 
Bone Shop by Tim Pratt (a Marla Mason fantasy novella posted online): http://www.marlamason.net/boneshop/
 
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (a YA fantasy novel posted online in weekly installments): http://www.catherynnemvalente.com/fairyland/
 
Some print magazines you have heard of and many you likely haven't but should have:
 
Analog (hard/traditional science fiction): http://www.analogsf.com
 
Asimov's (SF/F fiction and speculative poetry) http://www.asimovs.com
 
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (SF/F fiction): http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/
 
Realms of Fantasy (fantasy fiction): http://realmsoffantasymag.com/
 
Postscripts (SF/F fiction in a yearly anthology format) http://store.pspublishing.co.uk/acatalog/postscripts_magazine.html
 
Polyphony (SF/F fiction in a yearly anthology format—publisher on hiatus for the year, but books still available): http://www.wheatlandpress.com
 
Interzone (SF/F fiction): http://ttapress.com/interzone
 
Black Static (dark/strange speculative fiction): http://ttapress.com/blackstatic
 
Weird Tales (dark/strange speculative fiction): http://www.weirdtales.net/
 
Black Gate (Fantasy fiction): http://www.blackgate.com
 
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (cross genre fiction and poetry): http://www.lcrw.net/lcrw
 
Electric Velocipede (SF/F fiction and speculative poetry): http://www.electricvelocipede.com
 
Zahir (literary SF/F fiction) http://www.zahirtales.com/currentissue.html
 
Shimmer (SF/F fiction): http://www.shimmerzine.com
 
GUD (cross genre fiction and poetry): http://www.gudmagazine.com/
 
Mythic Delirium (speculative poetry): http://www.mythicdelirium.com/
 
Dreams and Nightmares (speculative poetry): http://dreamsandnightmares.interstellardustmites.com/
 
Star*Line (speculative poetry--official magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association) http://www.sfpoetry.com/
 
Some online magazines you should explore, if you haven't already done so:
 
Strange Horizons (SF/F fiction, speculative poetry): http://www.strangehorizons.com
 
Tor.com (publishes new short SF/F on a regular basis) http://www.tor.com
 
ChiZine (dark fiction and poetry): http://www.chizine.com
 
Clarkesworld Magazine (SF/F fiction): http://www.clarkesworldmagazine.com
 
Fantasy Magazine (SF/F fiction): http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy
 
Subterranean Magazine (SF/F fiction): http://www.subterraneanpress.com/
 
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show (SF/F fiction—requires subscription): http://www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com
 
Beneath Ceaseless Skies (secondary world fantasy fiction): http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com
 
Apex Magazine (dark science fiction): http://www.apexbookcompany.com/apex-online
 
Lone Star Stories (SF/F fiction and speculative poetry -- now closed but the site will remain up) http://literary.erictmarin.com
 
Ideomancer (SF/F fiction and speculative poetry): http://www.ideomancer.com
 
Abyss & Apex (SF/F fiction and speculative poetry): http://www.abyssandapex.com
 
Goblin Fruit (fantasy poetry): http://www.goblinfruit.net

Odds And Ends, And Other Panelists' Recommendations



Madeleine Dimond recommends Naomi Novik's "Victory of the Eagles", and Small Beer Press reprints of lesser known, but very fine authors, such as Carol Emshwiller. She also mentions some non-science fiction books that may be of interest to many fans of the genre. One of them is "Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist" by Thomas Levenson, which she heard described as science fiction that's neither science nor fiction. Another is "White Sands, Red Menace" by Ellen Klages, a sequel to "Green Glass Sea". It's historical fiction about children growin up in 1940s in Los Alamos. Because science figures prominently in this book, Madeleine recommends it to all SF fans.

Thomas Martin Wagner recommends "Ariel" by Steve Boyett, a post-apocalyptic novel about a boy and his unicorn, that's been reprinted this year. There's also a sequel coming out this fall, "Elegy Beach". Having been published 28 years after the first book, it's one of the longest-awaited sequels in history, says Martin. He also recommends China Mieville's "The City and the City" (that's two recommendations for this book, since it is also in Willie's list). According to Martin, it's shorter, more accessible, more to the point than Mieville's earlier works. He calls it "China's pulp novel".

Eric Marin recommends Haruki Murakami "Kafka on the Shore", and Jay Lake's "Green".

Willie Siros is glad some publishers are publishing standalone novellas. Some writers, he says, are excellent at novella-length works, but don't do novels well. He thinks Michael Bishop is the finest novella writer in the known universe, but after 30000 - 40000 words he loses focus. Of recently published novellas, Willie recommends "Shambling Towards Hiroshima" by James Morrow.

One of the panelists (I don't remember which one) recommends "Cardboard Universe", an exploration of life of a fictional SF novelist Phoebus K. Dank, loosely based on Philip K. Dick.

Here are lists of books recommended on other "What You Should Have Read" panels: at ArmadilloCon 2005, ArmadilloCon 2006, ArmadilloCon 2007, and ArmadilloCon 2008.

Pictures from ArmadilloCon 2009 are in my photo gallery.

2 comments:

Ken said...

Actually, The Restoration Game is written and is due to be published by Orbit in the UK in March 2010.

kgj said...

Thanks for typing this up!