And another anthology…
Michael Chabon is to edit McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, which will be published by Vintage in November. It’s to feature illustrations by Mike Mignola. The only contributor I’ve been able to find mention of at the moment is Poppy Z. Brite, though Cheryl mentions China Mieville may be in it. I’m hoping I can get hold of a copy in time to consider it for my year’s bests, but who knows. Sounds interesting, though.
Following on from the note yesterday about Greg Benford’s story over at SciFiction, I thought I’d mention I just read James Patrick Kelly’s “The Best Christmas Ever“, which has just gone online (can you tell that I’m catching up on my reading?), and it’s a good one. With a story this long it’s hard not to give away too much, but it’s basically a last man on Earth story, set some years after an unspecified disaster. It’s dark and it’s very well done. Worth checking out. Kelly really seems to be on a roll this year, with good stories in Asimovs and elsewhere. I don’t know if he’s working towards a third collection, but when it comes it’s going to be a doozy.
Just saw that some US bookdealer is selling The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 1 for $US 111.70. I’m proud of the book, but you’d have to be insane to buy it for that. Especially since you can get it here for $A24.95. Even with postage and handling, you’d be in front.
Just read Greg Benford’s new story, The First Commandment, over at Sci Fiction. It’s basically “The Nine Billion Names of God” retold, this time naming all the beasts and the world ends, as opposed to counting all the names of god. It’s ok, but not as special and weird as Christopher Rowe’s very cool The Volountary State.
Phases of the Moon
Though I doubt I’ll review it myself, I thought I’d make some comment here about Robert Silverberg’s forthcoming career retrospective, Phases of the Moon.
It is, as I’ve suggested below, big, covering six decades of writing, reprinting 23 stories with extensive notes and such, and all in a handsome 600+ page volume. Should you care? Yes!! Why? Well, Silverberg was just presented the Nebula Grandmaster, and this book is nothing less than a coherent argument for why he deserved the award. It collects everything from competent journeyman work through to the defining classics of his career, his evolution from beginner to consumate professional. Stories like “Born with the Dead”, “Enter a Solder: Later, Enter Another”, “Sailing to Byzantium”, “Good News from the Vatican”, “Passengers”, and “The Pope of the Chimps” are about as good as science fiction gets. I think the book also has a great benefit over volumes like The Essential Ellison or GRRM: A Rretrospective, which present a warts and all picture of their subject. This book is just the good stuff, the best, as selected by Silverberg. Having met Bob I know he’s far too urbane and sophisticated to huckster a book, but this one deserves it. And, just to be crass about it, those of you who love beautiful books can get it in a classy Subterranean Press edition, while poor peons like me can get it later in the year in a more affordable edition from Byron Preiss’s ibooks. I think it’s pretty close to essential. If you’ve been reading SF for years, it completes an important part of your bookshelf, and if you’re just starting it’s a perfect overview. Take note.