New Treasures: Invaders edited by Jacob Weisman
When I was at the Nebula Awards weekend I had a chance to catch up with my friend Jacob Weisman, publisher of Tachyon Books, and I asked him about his upcoming anthology Invaders: 22 Tales From the Outer Limits of Literature. I had assumed it was a collection of alien invasion tales but, as he patiently explained to me, that’s not it at all. Jacob has gathered a superb batch of stories by literary authors who have invaded science fiction — and left distinct footprints behind. Here’s the Publishers Weekly review.
In this very fine reprint anthology, Weisman has brought together 22 SF stories by authors who, although not generally associated with the genre, are clearly fellow travelers (not the ominous invaders suggested by the title). Among the major names are Pulitzer Prize–winner Junot Díaz, George Saunders, Katherine Dunn, Jonathan Lethem, Amiri Baraka, W.P. Kinsella, Steven Millhauser, Robert Olen Butler, and Molly Gloss. Among the best of the consistently strong stories are Díaz’s “Monstro,” the horrifying tale of a disease outbreak in Haiti; Gloss’s near-perfect first-contact story, “Lambing Season”; Kinsella’s totally bizarre “Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated”; Ben Loory’s fable-like “The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun”; and Saunders’s “Escape from Spiderhead,” a deeply sexy tale of wild experimental science. In general, the stories tend toward satire and emphasize fine writing more than hitting genre beats — technology is usually a means to an end rather than the center of the story — but most of them could easily have found homes in SF magazines. This volume is a treasure trove of stories that draw equally from SF and literary fiction, and they are superlative in either context.
Here’s the complete table of contents.
“Portal” by J. Robert Lennon
“Beautiful Monsters” by Eric Puchner
“The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun” by Ben Loory.
“Five Fucks” by Jonathan Lethem
“LIMBs” by Julia Elliott
“We Are The Olfanauts” by Deji Bryce Olukotun
“The Region of Unlikeness” by Rivka Galchen
“A Precursor of the Cinema” by Steven Millhauser
“In the Bushes” by Jami Attenberg
“Fugue State” by Brian Evenson
“Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated” by W. P. Kinsella
“Lambing Season” by Molly Gloss
“Conrad Loomis & The Clothes Ray” by Amiri Baraka.
“Topics in Advanced Rocketry” by Chris Tarry
“The Inner City” by Karen Heuler
“Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders
“Amorometer” by Kelly Luce
“The Yogurt of Vasirin Kefirovsky” by Max Apple
“Monstros” by Junot Díaz
“Minotaur” by Jim Shepard
“Help Me Find My Spaceman Lover” by Robert Olen Butler
“Near-Flesh” by Katherine Dunn
Our recent coverage of Tacyhon Publications includes:
Twenty Years of Smart Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Tachyon Publications Catalog
Dreams of Distant Shores, by Patricia A. McKillip
Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction
The Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold by Peter V. Brett
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
The Very Best of Kate Elliott
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume Two edited by Gordon Van Gelder
A Monster Index for Shub-Niggurath, Cthuhlu or Azathoth: A Review of Lovecraft’s Monsters
Epic, Edited by John Joseph Adams
The Sword & Sorcery Anthology
Charles de Lint’s Promises to Keep
The Secret History of Fantasy, edited by Peter S. Beagle
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Invaders: 22 Tales From the Outer Limits of Literature will be published by Tachyon Publications on July 12, 2016. It is 382 pages, priced at $16.95 in trade paperback, and $9.99 in digital format. The cover art, “Marshland Crows,” is by Goro Fujita. See more details at the Tachyon website.
See all of our recent New Treasures here.
Looking at the cover, I notice that And Others guy shows up on the covers of a lot of anthologies. Must be quite prolific.
Yeah, that guy was in the anthology I edited, too. He’s remarkably versatile.
I rarely read science fiction — my reading time isn’t as abundant as I’d like, and since I know I don’t have the science chops to write SF, I mostly read fantasy these days. But this anthology might catch me.
Seeing George Saunders in the TOC reminds me of this delicious quote from him on why he sometimes writes speculative fiction, or includes speculative elements in his literary fiction. It’s from an essay on Vonnegut, but I found it quoted in this cool piece from the New York Times:
“I began to understand art as a kind of black box the reader enters,” Saunders wrote in an essay on Vonnegut. “He enters in one state of mind and exits in another. The writer gets no points just because what’s inside the box bears some linear resemblance to ‘real life’ — he can put whatever he wants in there. What’s important is that something undeniable and nontrivial happens to the reader between entry and exit. . . . In fact, ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ seemed to be saying that our most profound experiences may require this artistic uncoupling from the actual. The black box is meant to change us. If the change will be greater via the use of invented, absurd material, so be it.”
I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it.