Future Treasures: Drowned Worlds: Tales from the Anthropocene and Beyond, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Drowned Worlds Jonathan Strahan-smallJonathan Strahan has edited some extremely impressive anthologies. In fact, we assessed his recent Meeting Infinity as the most successful anthology of 2016 (using our own highly subjective yardstick, of course.) His latest, Drowned Worlds, contains all-original fiction by some of the biggest names in SF, including Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, Paul McAuley, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Rachel Swirsky, Charlie Jane Anders, Lavie Tidhar, Jeffrey Ford, and James Morrow, and it promises to be just as interesting. On his Coode Street blog, Jonathan summarizes it thusly:

I think it’s sharp, pointed, timely and sometimes satirical. I think it’s about who we are when faced with disaster, and not about disaster. I think it makes for good reading.

Here’s the publisher’s take:

Last call for the Gone World…

We live in a time of change. The Anthropocene Age – the time when human-induced climate change radically reshapes the world – is upon us. Sea water is flooding the streets of Florida, island nations are rapidly disappearing beneath the waves, the polar icecaps are a fraction of what they once were, and distant, exotic places like Australia are slowly baking in the sun.

Drowned Worlds asks fifteen of the top science fiction and fantasy writers working today to look to the future, to ask how will we survive? Do we face a period of dramatic transition and then a new technology-influenced golden age, or a long, slow decline? Swim the drowned streets of Boston, see Venice disappear beneath the waves, meet a woman who’s turned herself into a reef, traverse the floating garbage cities of the Pacific, search for the elf stones of Antarctica, or spend time in the new, dark Dust Bowl of the American mid-west. See the future for what it is: challenging, exciting, filled with adventure, and more than a little disturbing.

Whether here on Earth or elsewhere in our universe, Drowned Worlds give us a glimpse of a new future, one filled with romance and adventure, all while the oceans rise…

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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The Most Successful Anthology of 2015: Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Meeting Infinity-smallIt’s beginning to look as if Jonathan Strahan’s Meeting Infinity is the most successful SF anthology of 2015… at least if you use story reprints as your yardstick (which I kinda do).

Let’s examine the evidence. Rich Horton reprinted two stories from Meeting Infinity for his Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy:

“My Last Bringback” by John Barnes
“Drones” by Simon Ings

Neil Clarke reprinted a whopping four for his Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 1, more than any other source except Asimov’s SF. Of course, they were a different four.

“In Blue Lily’s Wake” by Aliette de Bodard
“Outsider” by An Owomeyla
“Cocoons” by Nancy Kress
“The Cold Inequalities” by Yoon Ha Lee

Meanwhile Gardner Dozois picked a completely different set of three tales, for the upcoming 33rd volume of his Year’s Best Science Fiction

“The Falls: A Luna Story,” by Ian McDonald
“Emergence,” by Gwyneth Jones
“Rates of Change,” by James S.A. Corey

That’s a darned impressive hit rate… over 50% of the Table of Contents selected for Best of the Year volumes. I’m sure there’s an historical precedent if you look hard enough, but I can’t remember one. And I tried.

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Future Treasures: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Ten-smallHoly cats… Jonathan Strahan’s up to Volume Ten already? My oh my, how times flies.

Well, you know what the imminent arrival of the newest volume of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year means. That’s right — the Best of the Year season is upon us. Strahan kicks it off, as usual, but in the next 3-4 months we’ll see a dozen more from Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Paula Guran (two volumes!), Ellen Datlow, Neil Clarke, John Joseph Adams, and many others. (Have a look at the 17 volumes we covered last year here and here.)

You don’t need that many Best of the Year anthologies. But you definitely need Jonathan’s — his taste is impeccable, and this volume is one of the very best of the lot. Here’s a peek at the table of contents… 27 short stories from Kai Ashante Wilson, Vonda McIntyre, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, Genevieve Valentine, Kelly Link, Anne Leckie, Jeffrey Ford, and many others. Here’s the complete TOC.

1. “City of Ash,” Paolo Bacigalupi
2. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson,” Elizabeth Bear
3. “The Machine Starts,” Greg Bear
4. “The Winter Wraith,” Jeffrey Ford
5. “Black Dog,” Neil Gaiman
6. “Jamaica Ginger,” Nalo Hopkinson & Nisi Shawl
7. “Drones,” Simon Ings
8. “Emergence,” Gwyneth Jones

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A Concentrated Dose of the Best Our Field Has to Offer: Jonathan Strahan’s Best Short Novels 2004-2007

Saturday, January 9th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Best Short Novels 2004-small Best Short Novels 2005-small Best Short Novels 2006-small Best Short Novels 2007-small

Jonathan Strahan is one of the most accomplished and acclaimed editors in the genre. He’s edited the annual Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year since 2007, as well as some of our most highly regarded original anthologies — including the Infinity series (Engineering Infinity, Edge of Infinity, etc) and the Fearsome books (Fearsome Journeys and Fearsome Magics), all for Solaris. He’s also edited (with Terry Dowling) one of my favorite ongoing series, the five volumes in the monumental Early Jack Vance from Subterranean Press.

But the work that truly made me a Strahan fan was a brief (four volume) series he did exclusively for the Science Fiction Book Club, Best Short Novels. I’d been a member of the SFBC since the age of twelve but, after leaving Canada for grad school in 1987 and moving around after that, I’d let my membership lapse. I received plenty of invites to rejoin after settling here in St. Charles, but it was Strahan’s first volume in the series, Best Short Novels: 2004, that finally enticed me to do it. I’ve never regretted it.

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Future Treasures: Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Saturday, October 31st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Meeting Infinity-smallI’ve been very impressed with Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity anthology series. There have been four so far: Engineering Infinity (2010), Edge of Infinity (2012), Reach For Infinity, and now Meeting Infinity, due December 1st. Publisher Solaris has abandoned the mass market format, which makes me sad, but the new trade paperback is still reasonably priced, especially for the digital version.

The world we are living in is changing every day. We surf future shock every morning when we get out of bed. And with every passing day we are increasingly asked: how do we have to change to live in the future we are faced with?

Whether it’s climate change, inundated coastlines and drowned cities; the cramped confines of a tin can hurtling through space to the outer reaches of our Solar System; or the rush of being uploaded into some cyberspace, our minds and bodies are going to have to change and change a lot. Meeting Infinity will be one hundred thousand words of SF filled with action and adventure that attempts to answer the question: how much do we need to change to meet tomorrow and live in the future? The incredible authors contributing tho this collection are: Gregory Benford, James S.A. Corey, Aliette de Bodard, Kameron Hurley, Simon Ings, Madeline Ashby, John Barnes, Gwyneth Jones, Nancy Kress, Yoon Ha Lee, Ian McDonald, Ramez Naam, An Owomoyela, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Bruce Sterling and Sean Williams

The books of the “Infinity Project” trace an arc: from the present day into the far future, and now from the broad canvas of interstellar space to the most intimate space of all — ourselves.

Meeting Infinity will be published by Solaris on December 1, 2015. It is 272 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback, and $8.99 for the digital edition.

New Treasures: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Monday, May 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Nine-smallThe first — and one of the finest — of the Best of the Year collections has arrived: Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine. Strahan has crammed 28 stories into his latest anthology. He published the complete table of contents earlier this year, and it looks fantastic. Here’s the description:


The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume nine and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents. Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.

This kicks off the Best-of-the-Year season; there will be over a dozen more released from various publishers between now and October.

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Future Treasures: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Nine-smallJonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year has been at new publisher Solaris for two years now, and things seem to be tickety boo. Which is great, since I really look forward to this volume every year, and I don’t need any additional stress and uncertainty in my life. I get enough of that worrying about whether Community is going to get canceled again.

Strahan has crammed 28 stories into his latest anthology, which may be a record, I dunno. How am I gonna find time to read them all? Man, I desperately need a day planner. And a couple of personal assistants who don’t complain when I send them for coffee.

In any case, authors this year include Garth Nix, Kelly Link, Ellen Klages (twice!), James Patrick Kelly, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Eleanor Arnason, Genevieve Valentine, Michael Swanwick, Ken Liu, Amal El-Mohtar, Greg Egan, and over a dozen others. Strahan released the complete table of contents on his blog last month, and it looks fantastic:

1. “Tough Times All Over” Joe Abercrombie
2. “The Scrivener” Eleanor Arnason
3. “Moriabe’s Children” Paolo Bacigalupi
4. “Covenant” Elizabeth Bear
5. “Slipping” Lauren Beukes
6. “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)” Holly Black
7. “Shadow Flock” Greg Egan
8. “The Truth About Owls” Amal El-Mohtar

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It’s Good to be Minding the Stars with The Early Jack Vance, Volume Four, edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Minding the Stars The Early Jack Vance Volume 4-smallI’ve been heartily enjoying The Early Jack Vance volumes from Subterranean Press, which collect the hard-to-find early pulp SF and fantasy from one of the greatest writers of the genre, Jack Vance.

The first two, Hard Luck Diggings (2010) and Dream Castles (2012), are now sold out and out of print — and rapidly raising in price. They collected fiction from the very start of Vance’s career, the late 40s through the late 60s.

Two more volumes are now in print, with one more due in March. Minding the Stars, the fourth volume, spans the years from 1952 to 1967, collecting four long novellas and four short stories, originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, Future Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe, Amazing Stories, and other fine publications. Here’s the complete table of contents:

Introduction by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan
“Nopalgarth” (Originally published as The Brains of Earth, Ace Double, 1966)
“Telek” (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1952)
“Four Hundred Blackbirds” (Future Science Fiction, July 1953)
“Alfred’s Ark” (New Worlds SF, May 1965)
“Meet Miss Universe” (Fantastic Universe, March 1955)
“The World Between” (Future Science Fiction, May 1953)
“Milton Hack from Zodiac” (Amazing Stories, August 1967)
“Parapsyche” (Amazing Science Fiction Stories, August 1958)

The opening story, “Nopalgarth,” was originally published as half of an Ace Double in 1966, under the title The Brains of Earth. Vance collectors may recognize it as one of three novellas published in a slender collection from DAW in September 1980, under the title Nopalgarth (see below).

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The Early Novels of Jack Vance: Grand Crusades: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Five, edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Grand Crusades The Early Jack Vance Volume Five-smallSubterranean Press is now accepting pre-orders on the fifth volume of their landmark series The Early Jack Vance.

New titles in the series are released every March. I covered Volume Two, Dream Castles, after I unexpectedly found a copy in the Dealer’s Room at Capricon 33 in 2013, and I reported on Volume Three, Magic Highways, last March.

Volume Five is by far the largest so far (at 472 pages); I was also surprised to see that it contains only five stories, all short novels, most published in pulp magazines between 1950 and 1954.

The Rapparee (Startling Stories, November 1950)
Crusade to Maxus (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1951)
Gold and Iron (Space Stories, December 1952)
The Houses of Iszm (Startling Stories, Spring 1954)
Space Opera (Pyramid Books, 1965)

This volume also contains a new introduction by the editors.

The first four books in The Early Jack Vance were a treasure trove for collectors, as they contained Vance stories that have been out of print for decades — and many that have never been reprinted. In contrast, this volume contains four short novels that have appeared in a handful of paperback editions over the decades (and under multiple titles), and one that has never been reprinted. This is first time they’ve been collected under one cover and the first time any have been in print for at least 30 years. I’ve selected a dozen covers from earlier printings below.

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New Treasures: Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Fearsome Magics-smallBack in September, I told you about Jonathan Strahan’s newest fantasy collection Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy, the follow-up to his acclaimed Fearsome Journeys. Fearsome Magics has a stellar list of contributors, including Ellen Klages, Robert Shearman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Tony Ballantyne, and many more. I’m too lazy to copy over the complete list and the back copy text from my prior post, but you can read them here.

Here’s what James McGlothlin said in his review of the first volume:

Many of Fearsome Journeys’ stories fit squarely within the tradition of fantasy — which I love! For instance, many contain typical tropes such as magic, dragons, wizards, fighters, thieves, etc., as well as familiar plot angles like quests to recover treasure or kill some monster or dragon. However, as one would expect from this lineup, many are fairly experimental attempts to push the boundaries of what is, or should be, considered fantasy…

I can say — without any reservation — all of stories contained within Fearsome Journeys are extremely well-crafted… There’s no doubt that these are some of the best writers in the field today.

Solaris Books continues to single-handedly fuel a renaissance in paperback anthologies, including two top notch science fiction anthology series: Ian Whates’s Solaris Rising and Jonathan Strahan’s Reach for Infinity. I’m very pleased to see a fantasy series join that august list. They’ve shown no signs of resting, either — their newest anthology is Dangerous Games, edited by Jonathan Oliver.

Fearsome Magics is edited by Jonathan Strahan and published by Solaris Books. It was published on October 7, 2014. It is 352 pages, priced at $7.99. The cover is by Tomasz Jedruszek. Our last report on Solaris was Tor.com Salutes Solaris Books on September 30.

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