Jeff’s Empire

So, I just received an email from Marty Halpern over at Golden Gryphon letting me know that they have just started shipping Jeff Ford’s incredibly wonderful new collection, The Empire of Ice Cream. Marty’s one of the good guys so, to be honest, getting the head’s up from him would have been enough to make me want to pick up a copy of the book, but it just so happens I’ve read twelve of the fourteen stories in the book, and can personally attest to the wonder of The Empire of Ice Cream.

Put simply, Jeff Ford stands in the top five or six short fiction writers currently working in the field. This collection, which assembles stories from the past three or four years, contains no duds at all, and a goodly handful of stories that are sufficiently wonderful as to almost leave your humble correspondent speechless. If you love short fiction, you need this book. If you love great science fiction or fantasy period, you need this book. It’s still early in the year, but I’m completely confident when I say that there won’t be a more essential collection published all year.

Oh, and should you wonder if a third collection could possibly match this, I have a story of Jeff’s called “The Dismantled Invention of Fate” that will appear in my anthology The Starry Rift in mid-2007, and it is a complete peach of a story.

The contents of The Empire of Ice Cream are:

Introduction – Jonathan Carroll.

  1. The Annals of Eelin-Ok
  2. Jupiter’s Skull
  3. A Night in the Tropics
  4. The Empire of Ice Cream
  5. The Beautiful Gelreesh
  6. Boatman’s Holiday
  7. Botch Town
  8. A Man of Light
  9. The Green Word
  10. Giant Land
  11. Coffins on the River
  12. Summer Afternoon
  13. The Weight of Words
  14. The Trentino Kid

Starry postscript

I’ve been asked if I would post a list of the table of contents of The Starry Rift, mentioned in the post about Jeff Ford’s The Empire of Ice Cream. As soon as some details are ironed out, I’ll definitely post a list of contributors, but I thought I might save the full ToC until publication. There’s something about running your eye over a table of contents filled with stories with names you’ve never heard before that I’ve always loved, and I’d like to preserve that this time, if I can.

Mieville redux

I loved the covers that Edward Miller (aka Les Edwards) did for the British editions of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and The Scar. When it came time for the third Bas-Lag novel, though, his UK publisher opted to pick up the US covers instead. Turns out that his Czech publisher liked the Miller covers too, and ended up commissioning the cover you see on the right for their edition of Iron Council. You can see a larger version of the cover on Miller’s website.