An amazing hard scifi tale, this is the second in an action-packed series from Edelman. ...With so much mass-media science fiction featuring anti-science heroes who battle to stop science from 'going too far,' it's great to read a really smart novel about a hero who's fighting to save scientific progress from being suppressed. David Louis Edelman's MultiReal, the second volume in the trilogy that begins with Infoquake,is a welcome cure to the Fringe/Eleventh Hour science-bashing, even though it presents both the pro- and con- arguments about radical progress. But MultiReal is also way more entertaining than the science bashers.
"Up until last year, I would never have believed that an anthology of new science fiction could be the best sci-fi book put out in a given year. First of all, is there even a demand for such a beast? It seems that a budding anthologist could make a far more successful book by picking a theme, say 'green aliens with tentacles who are really children in search of their parents but are thought of as evil because of a cultural misunderstanding,' and find awesome tales from the genre’s creaky grandmasters that would guarantee an endcap placement at Borders...Deeply honored.
But Anders, who has paid his dues many times over in the science-fiction trenches, doesn’t seem to do the predictable thing, and his risk-taking has paid off. Fast Forward 2 is even more electric than last year’s first: Anders has assembled some of the best and brightest current stars of the genre, and they turned in stories that, as a whole, really do represent the cutting edge of fiction. From a fashion designer who grows living gowns to a raid on the doomsday seed bank to a young man getting Cyrano-with-a-twist dating advice in the India of the future, Fast Forward 2 is the book to read this year. It’s the surest of sure things, and a bargain, to boot."
David Louis Edelman is interviewed by the long-running show Fast Forward.
Joe Abercrombie is interviewed by Sci-Fi-London.
Both interviews are worthwhile and informative. Who knew these guys could talk as well as type?
From Publishers Weekly: "This ambitious fantasy combines three very British stories: an Arthurian fable, a Victorian murder mystery and a modern-day YA adventure tale. ...The hinted interconnections between the three tales are complex and fascinating... a rollicking ride."
From Booklist: "...a spectacular collection of secrets, murky underworld organizations, and everything from time travel to magical swords. In the dizzying conclusion, time lines converge in a satisfying reimagining of a very old story."
From Geek Monthly: "What do a soldier from the 6th century, a sleuth from the 19th century and an American teenager in 1999 all have in common? They are all characters in Chris Roberson’s ambitious quest for the Holy Grail that intermingles all three ages to truly entertaining effect."
The Grave Thief, Book Three of the Twilight Reign, gritty epic fantasy from Tom Lloyd.
The Quiet War, brilliant near-future space opera from Paul McAuley.
Sasha: A Trial of Blood & Steel, book one of a epic fantasy quartet, from . Very politically savvy stuff and more of that "gritty" fantasy we love so much.
, from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, wonderful space opera adventure based on her Asimov's Readers Choice Award-winning novella of the same name.
Dawnthief, Noonshade, and Nightchild, the Chronicles of the Raven trilogy - more (yes) "gritty" epic fantasy from James Barlcay.
The Office of Shadow, espionage meets epic fantasy in this sequel to Midwinter, from DC/Vertigo author .
Excited? I am.
...a worthy successor [to Fast Forward 1]: Anders has assembled a batch of stories that span the breadth of modern science fiction and provide a better introduction to today’s scene than the musty copies of Fahrenheit 451 lingering in high school English classes ever could. ...anybody that loves science fiction (and fans of the recent outpouring of well-written sci-fi television and movies looking for literary sustenence) can put their trust into Mr. Anders and this instant classic.And I'm grateful that Ryun took time to mention the cover art:
John Picacio’s ridiculously cool jet-legs-ape-in-front-of-rampaging-mob cover infers a story all its own, and readers can use their own imaginations to come up with the plot for that one.
As with the hardcover, art is by Stephan Martiniere, design by Jacqueline Cooke.
Very happy to see several Pyr books get a mention: Fast Forward 2, Brasyl, River of Gods (even though it wasn't a 2008 book) and even the forthcoming Age of Misrule trilogy.
And of course, in the film category, I'm always happy to see The Dark Knight get mentioned.
Buy some damn books.Amen.
Fortunately, this advice is well-timed: Books are inexpensive yet valued objects, which means that they make lovely gifts for whatever holiday festivities you subscribe to this time of year. Now is a fine time to introduce friends and loved ones to some of your favorite authors — and in doing so, you’re boosting that author’s sales, which will make his or her publisher marginally less liable to dump their shivering ass onto the street. You’re giving a gift a loved one will appreciate, you’re doing your favorite authors a favor, and you’re doing your part to keep editors and publishers from hurling themselves out of high-rise windows. Truly, everybody wins.
So, go: Make this a bookish holiday season. You know you want to anyway. I, my fellow authors and a grateful publishing industry thank you in advance for your cooperation, and for your seasonal purchases.
For our part, my wife and I have decided to give everyone books and bookstore gift cards this Xmas. It has the added bonus of making our shopping really quick and easy too.
...if you wanted a good argument for buying anthologies of original short science fiction stories - or even a good defence against those who claim the form is ossified and irrelevant - Fast Forward 2 has your back. The economics of sf magazine publishing may be in question, but the quality of fiction available is riding as high as it has ever been. Sincerely recommended.
...a real Zeitgeist catch. Below is strife, carnage, religious angst; thrusting upwards is bionic monkey-man, his chains broken asunder, transcending mundane squabbles for the promise of space and rationalism (bubble chamber tracks?). The religious discord is heightened by the DNA motif, explicitly repeated in the exhaust blast of robomonkey… if you wanted to encapsulate the hope for a triumph (or at least secession) of a rational worldview, I think you’d struggle to make a more arresting and vivid image in the process.Nice when someone gets it.
My joint major at university was economics, and the upshot of that is I'm always out-of-cycle with everyone else. I'm worrying six months ahead of an economic downturn when everyone else is smiling, and I'm smiling when everyone else is miserable, which sometimes doesn't win friends.
It seems we're on a cusp now: a couple of months to see if the measures all Governments are introducing actually start getting people spending (which is the key in any recession - if people save everything goes into a downward spiral). But in six months we should be seeing the very early stages of an up-tick. Any company which weathers the next six months should be in a good position.
Somewhere I've got a talk I occasionally give about how genre is the marker for great social and political events. One of the strands is how SF/F/Crime always does *exceptionally* well in economically difficult times - if you plot it out on a graph, it becomes very clear. But just think with SF in the thirties and seventies. Horror, incidentally, does well in boom-times.
If I was on the stock market, I'd be advising investors to put their cash in SF/F for the next few years because, as you're finding, it's going to do really well. It would be good if someone could pitch this theory to the major chains, because if they got behind it, everyone would benefit (and it would become self-fulfilling).
"This has been an almost unprecedented year for the number of first-rate original SF anthologies published, at least since the heyday of Orbit, New Dimensions, and Universe in the '70's. ...I'd have to say that the three strongest original SF anthologies of the year were Lou Anders' Fast Forward 2,Jonathan Strahan's Eclipse 2, and Strahan's The Starry Rift.... Of these, I think I'd give a very slight edge to Fast Forward 2."Meanwhile, at Strange Horizons, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro writes:
"Fast Forward 2 proves itself that rare beast among anthologies of the imagination: one whose content actually provides a materialization of its own theoretical blueprint."Lots of nice things said about each of the individual stories. And (I must add) a very well-written review too, with paragraphs like:
And then, in a final summation about the purpose of SF:
"Catherine Drew" by Paul Cornell is wildly inventive. Its Hero, Hamilton, speaks in a way ("'You've got a problem, Miss Drewe,' he said") that captures the essence of this alternate-history spy thriller in a British Empire-dominated future. The plot, propelled not so much by a single McGuffin as by a combustible gas of intelligent deceptions and counter-deceptions, makes as much sense as it needs to:'Is that the mission, sir?'
'No. We've created and are ready to plant chaotic information of an unbreakable nature strongly suggesting that this has already happened...' (p. 22)
The alternate history milieu expertly justifies not only the background but the feel of the world that Cornell creates, yet is never so startling as to prove distracting from Hamilton's exploits. Shaken, not stirred? More like vacuum-decompressed.
"What it should do, above all else, is tell stories well, so well that they cannot be disregarded, so well that they cannot but be taken seriously. Fortunately for us, Fast Forward 2 arrives with gifts that do just that. May it be followed by plenty of equally riveting and well-produced sequels."What a nice start to my Monday.
...unicorns have been used and imagined and reimagined so much that their emotional halo has been mylittleponied into blunt four-color rainbows. They’re overfamiliar. ...In a way, this is inevitable. Any symbol, if it penetrates deeply into a culture, attracts parody and appropriation—it’s one way you can start to actually see the thing again, as opposed to scanning past it and saying, “Yeah, I know what that is.” ...But it seems as if the poppification of the unicorn has gone beyond this, banalizing the image so that it is almost impossible to use it in a semi-serious context, even in fantasy where, one would think, an occasional unicorn might find an unspoiled field to roam in. Can the unicorn be saved? Or is the image just used up and does it need to lie fallow for a century or two before it’s usable again?Now, "mylittleponied into blunt four-color rainbows" is just priceless.
And you've got to see this thing wink and arch its eyebrow:
What do you make of that?
When you remember that JFK's remark that From Russian, With Love was one of his Top Ten favorite books was what launched Ian Fleming's James Bond to widespread popularity, having a president that is genre-friendly is fantastic.
New Pyr author Mark Chadbourn agrees about what having a Geek-in-Chief could mean for genre fiction:
A new president always sets the wider cultural tone for a country (and in America's case, the world). Look how Bush spawned all those testosterone thrillers, in novels, and on TV, like 24. Obama is already likely to have a much wider cultural impact than Bush, purely because his election was so much more iconic. Knowing that he loves genre stuff is bound to leech into the mainstream and give it a certain kind of cachet, at the very least.
A shortlist of six titles will be announced for the Warwick prize on January 23 next year, with a winner announced in February at the University of Warwick.
Congratulations to Ian and best of luck!
John also reviews Fast Forward 2 on his blog.
There’s no theme to the Fast Forward series, other than excellence in storytelling. The stories in FF2 cover the spectrum of sub-genres, from near-future parables to far-future space opera, from post-cyberpunk to hard SF; from cautionary tales a la The Twilight Zone to uplifting vignettes that affirm the best in human nature. With such a wide selection of styles and themes, it should come as no surprise that not every entry will appeal to every reader. At the very least, FF2 is like a Whitman Sampler; a little something for everyone, and if you find a story you like, it’ll be from a writer with plenty of other work you can chase down later.
Here's a sample:
Fantasy is most effective when it acts through symbols that rest pretty deep in the awareness (or beneath the awareness, if you buy into the whole subconscious thing). At the center of every adult’s emotional life is a struggle for autonomy that occurs in adolescence. One may be struggling against well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) caregivers who are reluctant to surrender their authority. One may be raised in perfect environment that encourages autonomy and self-responsibility, but one still has to go out and face the world, make one’s place in it. Somehow, this is part of everyone’s story.Meanwhile, Yours Truly is one of several authors to partake of SFSignal's latest Mind Meld. This one asks, "Which speculative fiction books are worth reading twice? Why?" Answers are from Louise Marley, Cheryl Morgan, James E. Gunn, Gardner Dozois, Sarah Langan, Abigail Nussbaum, Anna Genoese, Scott Edelman, Jo Graham, and Dominic Green. Not surprisingly Dune, Lord of the Rings, and Mists of Avalon appear several times across everyone's lists. And Cheryl Morgan sums up the problems of rereading nicely:
Why do so many fantasies involve young sons of widows who grow up to kill the monster, defeat the king, marry the princess and rule the kingdom happily ever after? Some point out that these stories are very old; this is true, but it’s just begging the question. A story appeals to audiences because it speaks to them emotionally. Why does this story appeal to modern audiences or ancient ones?
It appeals to them because it’s a symbolic representation of the struggle for autonomy that everybody engages in. The kingdom isn’t necessarily a kingdom; it’s just a life where you get to decide what happens. The princess isn’t a princess; she’s the hot checkout lady at the grocery store or maybe the likeable mechanic at the gas station, depending on how you roll. In fact, the hero may be a daughter, more like Atalanta or Camilla, nowadays: the dynamic of the story is essentially unchanged. The story has a wide appeal because its symbols are wired into emotional hot-buttons that are part of everybody’s life.
I have too many books. Probably more books that I will be able to read in the rest of my allotted span as a living human (though I entertain hopes of being uploaded in some way or another). In order to read a book for a second time, therefore, I have to make a conscious decision not to read a book that I haven't yet read. That's a hard thing to do.
Here's a peak at our Spring/Summer 2009 Season:
Tom Lloyd, The Twilight Herald (Book Two of the Twilight Reign)
Less than a year after being plucked from obscurity and poverty the charismatic new Lord of the Farlan finds himself unprepared to deal with the attempt on his life that now spells war, and the possibility of rebellion waiting for him at home.
Matthew Sturges, Midwinter
Mauritaine once heroic Captain in the Seelie Army, now accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole, is offered one last chance to redeem himself, an opportunity to regain his freedom and his honor in the secrete service of Queen Titania.
Ian McDonald, Brasyl(coming in trade paperback!)
Be seduced, amazed, and shocked by one of the world’s greatest and strangest nations. Past, present, and future Brazil, with all its color, passion, and shifting realities, come together in a novel that is part SF, part history, part mystery, and entirely enthralling.
James Enge, Blood of Ambrose
Behind the King's life stands the menacing Protector, and beyond him lies the Protector's Shadow... Against this evil, Morlock Ambrosius--stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk.
Joel Shepherd, Crossover(coming in mass market!)
The first novel in a series that follows the adventures of Cassandra Kresnov, an android created by the League, one side of an interstellar war against the more powerful, conservative Federation. The product of an experimental design and dangerously intelligent, Cassandra raises probing questions and experiences moral awakening. Soon she has deserted the League in search of a new life in the territory of the Federation.
Sean Williams, The Hanging Mountains(Books of the Cataclsym: Three) (coming in trade paperback!)
In this third installment of Williams's Books of the Cataclysm, Sal and his companions seek the source of the flood in the legendary Hanging Mountains, hoping to head off a crisis that was put in motion a thousand years ago. They uncover uncomfortable truths about the world and how it relates to the one that came before — our world.
Mark Chadbourn, World's End(Age of Misrule 1)
A dragon firebombs a freeway. Shapeshifters stalk the commercial district. The deadly Wild Hunt wreaks havoc on the highway. The Age of Misrule has dawned. In times of trouble, heroes arise!
Joel Shepherd, Breakaway(coming in mass market!)
Cassandra Kresnov is a highly advanced hunter-killer android. She has escaped the League and fled to Callay, a member of the Federation. Breakaway is a great story with a cracking plot and strong characters. At its heart is the enigma of Cassandra: Is she more human than human, or is she totally untrustworthy?
Mark Chadbourn, Darkest Hour(Age of Misrule 2)
The Eternal Conflict between the Light and Dark once again blackens the skies and blights the land. And in the middle are the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, determined to use the strange power that binds them to the land in a last, desperate attempt to save the human race.
Joel Shepherd, Killswitch(coming in mass market!)
Two years after the unhatching of Callayan President Neiland’s plot to make the capital city of Tanusha the center of the Federation, Callay is under siege. So begins the third installment of this gripping trilogy from an exciting new sci-fi author. When Cassandra’s lover, Special Agent Ari Ruben, discovers a plot to kill her using a killswitch, which her old masters in the League built into her brainstem, Sandy is forced to go underground to stay alive.
Ian McDonald, Desolation Road
It all began 30 years ago on Mars, with a greenperson. But by the time it all finished, the town of Desolation Road had experienced every conceivable abnormality…
Mark Chadbourn, Always Forever (Age of Misrule 3)
Mankind’s days appear numbered. Our only hope – the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons – are scattered and broken after a terrible defeat. Their last chance may lie in the great court of the old gods, reached by an otherworldly ship filled with fantastical and frightening creatures.
Mike Resnick, Stalking the Dragon(A Fable of Tonight)
It’s Valentine's Day and private detective John Justin Mallory must undertake a nocturnal hunt for the miniature dragon that takes him to some of the stranger sections of his magical Manhattan.
Justina Robson’s Chasing the Dragon(Quantum Gravity Book Four)
Returning to the life of a guns-blazing secret agent, cyborg Lila Black finds herself having inherited all of her former boss's old offices and whatever mysteries they contain… But there are more immediate concerns. Like resurrecting her lover, Zal. And her husband, the demon Teazle, is embroiled in a fatal plot in Demonia, and her magic sword is making itself happy as a pen whose writing has the power to affect other worlds. The world is off its rocker and most everyone is terrified of faeries.
I'll say more about these individual titles as we get closer to 2009, debuting more cover art as it comes in, and profiling some of the new authors and introducing them to you. Meanwhile, you can download a PDF of the whole Spring/Summer 2009 catalog here. But for now, what do you think?
November 10, 2008
Prometheus Books Enters the Mass Market Paperback Format With Series on Pyr Imprint
Three-book Science Fiction Series Planned in “Premium” Mass Market Size
Amherst, New York—In May 2009, Pyr, a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, will publish Crossover: A Cassandra Kresnov Novel in the premium mass market paperback format, with dimensions of 4-1/8 inches x 7-3/8 inches and priced at $9.98. Premium mass market paperbacks are taller than the traditional premium mass market size, allowing for improved readability and cover image area. Crossover, by Australian author Joel Shepherd, was previously published in trade paperback in August 2006.
The Cassandra Kresnov novels Breakaway and Killswitch will follow at the same price and format, to be published in June and July 2009 respectively.
“We’ve had significant interest from the major booksellers in seeing Pyr enter the mass market format, and a great deal of interest in this trilogy in particular,” says Pyr Editorial Director Lou Anders. “Joel’s series is smart, sexy, action-packed, and features a very well-rounded and admirable female lead. We’ve been very happy with their performance thus far in trade paperback, and feel they are especially suited to lead our charge into mass market, a perfect example of the type of smart, action-packed and engaging read that Pyr is becoming known for. I’m thrilled that Cassandra Kresnov is poised to entertain even more readers with her mass market debut.”
Cassandra Kresnov is a highly advanced hunter-killer android who defected from her League Dark Star special ops assignment, seeking the quiet life of a civilian, but then becomes unwillingly embroiled in dangerous interplanetary intrigue. Shepherd is known for his strong female protagonists, his gripping action sequences, and his rich depiction of Byzantine political machinations. Tobias S. Buckell, author of Halo: The Cole Protocol, called the series, “A blast to read,” while Publishers Weekly described it as “Robert Ludlum meets Elizabeth Moon.”
Plans for making some Pyr titles available in e-book format are also in the works.
# # #
Amazon.com: When you edit an original anthology series where you solicit stories only, how do you protect against mediocre material creeping in?
Lou Anders: The very wise Jacob Weisman, editor and publisher of Tachyon Publications, once said that when selecting illustrators for book covers, you shouldn’t pick based on the best work in an artists portfolio, but based on their worst. Because, he said, you had to be willing to live with the worst piece in the portfolio if that is what they hand in. That’s one of the most helpful pieces of publishing advice I’ve ever encountered, and it rules all of my own cover art decisions at Pyr. But it also has applications to editing invite-only anthologies. As much as I’d like to, I can't do open-reads anthologies and still fulfill my job as Editorial Director of the Pyr science fiction and fantasy line. There just aren’t enough hours in the year. But I love the short form and I want to always work in it, and so I must do invite-only. Therefore, I believe very strongly that the moment of editorial discernment falls at the point of the invitation. The best piece of general business advice anyone can give you is this hire people smarter than you are and listen to them. I believe, firmly, that I am working with some of the best writers in the business, and I trust them to deliver. I avoid mediocre material by avoiding mediocre writers!
"Another politically charged piece may be the best story here - the opener, Paul Cornell's 'Catherine Drewe'. This is an alternate history, a bit gonzo, about an English spy charged with taking out the title woman, an Irishwoman who seems to be helping the Russians as they try to dominate Mars. I've failed to convey the interest in the steampunkish tech displayed, as well as the bitter political realism at the center of the story."And, as you may recall, "Catherine Drewe" is available in its entirety on our new Sample Chapters page. Just go there and click on the link to Fast Forward 2 in the right hand margin.
Meanwhile, I expect we'll hear a lot more about Paul Cornell in the near future.