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

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5 Comments

  1. I have been waiting for this ever since it was listed on Golden Gryphon’s forthcoming list. I have almost managed to hold off on reading most of these stories – I only know “Jupiter’s Skull” and “The Boatman’s Holiday” – so I can have as much fresh Ford goodness as possible.

  2. Yes, “Annals” and “Empire” are wonderful, and so too is “The Weight of Words”, which I don’t feel got quite the notice it deserved when it came out.

    It’s also nice to see stuff from obscure sources, such as “Giant Land”, from The Journal of Pulse Pounding Narratives 2, another fine story, and “The Beautiful Gelreesh”, from Album Zutique.

    Is “Botch Town” original to the collection?

  3. Rich – I think the collection is fantastic, and agree about the stories you mention. “Botch Town” is original to the book: it’s a 40,000 word short novel.

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