Night shade and Liz

Jeremy and Jason over at Night Shade have announced their list of 2005 titles. As with all of the lists I’ve been producing here, not every book appeals to me, but they all look good. In the case of Night Shade, I love their books and most of their titles are exceptional.

Of the list below, I’m really excited by the Haldeman and Liz Williams books, and think the Gwyneth Jones novel (which I read in its UK ed.) is a complete stunner. Actually, if you haven’t read Bold as Love you should make it a top priority. The Night Shade edition is sure to be gorgeous.

Blood Follows, Steven Erikson
The Healthy Dead, Steven Erikson
War Stories, Joe Haldeman
The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, Matthew Hughes
Bold as Love, Gwyneth Jones
Conference with the Dead, Terry Lamsley
The Boar, Joe R. Lansdale
Dead in the West, Joe R. Lansdale
Bronze, Kit Reed
London Revenant, Conrad Williams
Snake Agent, Liz Williams
The Complete Hammer’s Slammers Vol. 1, David Drake
Letters from New York, H.P. Lovecraft
The Ghost Pirates and Other Revenants of the Sea, William Hope Hodgson
The Night Land and Other Perilous Romances, William Hope Hodgson
The Collected Jorkens Vol. III, Lord Dunsany

I should also add some kind of comment about Liz Williams. I haven’t read much of her stuff, but she’s been getting good reviews, which is cool. What surprised me, though, was the recommendation I got from Charles Brown about her stuff. I talk to Charles every week to catch up on work, life and SF, and he told me he’d just read her novel Banner of Souls and her Night Shade collection, and he pretty much raved about them. In fact, he recommended the original story from the collection for my year’s best, which is a complete first. I’ve seldom heard him so enthusiastic about a writer. It’s enough to make me check Liz’s work out more closely, and should make you do the same. Charles knows what he’s talking about.

Celia and the awful truth

A friend gave me a copy of Kevin Brockmeier’s novel The Truth About Celia when I was in Boston in August. I’ve had it sitting in my office ever since. It’s the story of the disappearance of the narrator’s seven-year-old daughter and how he deals with his grief by writing. I’ve avoided the book these past few months because of its subject matter, but I picked it up last night.

Brockmeier writes beautifully. The story opens on the day of Celia’s mysterious disappearance and begins to build inexorably towards the inevitable moment when her father discovers she’s missing. As I read I became more and more aware of the three-year-old and four-year-old girls sleeping a few metres away from where I was reading, and I became less and less able to read. I know I should be able to, but somehow I found it too hard to read a fictionalised account of something that is just too awful to contemplate. I’ll read Brockmeier’s next book, though.