Giant Spiders, Horrifying Plants, and Robots at the End of Time: The Best of James Van Pelt

Giant Spiders, Horrifying Plants, and Robots at the End of Time: The Best of James Van Pelt

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The Best of James van Pelt (Fairwood Press, November 2020). Cover by Gabriel Gajdoš

If you’re a regular Black Gate reader, James Van Pelt needs no introduction.

He’s been a prolific contributor to all the major science fiction magazines we’ve covered for the past two decades. He’s also a part-time BG columnist, covering the short fiction beat for us with his occasional Stories That Work column. His latest book is sure to be of interest to all our readers — The Best of James Van Pelt, just released by Fairwood Press, is an enormous 700-page survey of James’ entire career, collecting 62 stories and nearly 300,000 words of fiction. Here’s a snippet from the starred review at Publishers Weekly.

Van Pelt showcases his mastery of short-form fiction in these 62 stories, all published between 1993 and 2018 and ranging from apocalyptic fiction to subtle daylight horror, Lovecraftian riffs, and speculation about future social policy initiatives. . . .Van Pelt’s superior combination of imaginative concepts with recognizable human emotions makes him a talent deserving of a wide readership.

Here’s the publisher’s description.

From a giant spider that can’t be ignored in a high school classroom, to humanity facing a mutagen plague, to the last two robots witnessing the end of the universe, this comprehensive collection includes sixty-two of the best stories from James Van Pelt’s fertile and wide-ranging imagination that have appeared over the last thirty years in Asimov’s, Analog, Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Talebones, and numerous other science fiction and fantasy publications.

Included in this collection is a Nebula finalist, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award Finalist, numerous stories that were recognized by Analog or Asimov’s readers as among the best of the year, along with titles that were reprinted in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, and other year’s best anthologies.

Frightening or thrilling or uplifting, each of these stories is an exploration into the unknown. Take up a journey now into The Best of James Van Pelt.

The Best of James Van Pelt is limited to 200 copies, each one signed and numbered by the author. It was published by Fairwood Press in November 2020, priced at $45 in hardcover. For a limited time you can order copies direct from the publisher for just $40. But act soon — this book won’t be in print long.

See all our coverage of recent book by Black Gate contributors here.

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James Van Pelt

Hi, John. Thanks for the shoutout on the book. I need to be less “occasional” with the “Stories that Work” column. I spent a lot of time this fall dealing with Covid and the school district (My wife teaches 1st grade–she did it remotely in the spring. Imagine 25 1st graders on a Zoom call). This fall involved a lot of online work, letter writing, and meetings. We got news today that the county’s high schools are going back to full remote. I write about apocalyptic plagues some times. That doesn’t mean I wanted to live in one.

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