Tag Archives: winter

It Might as Well Be Spring

‘Tis the season, by which I mean springtime–at least over here. I’m editing March reviews right now, and April and May books are starting to pour in. Here are just a few of the spring SF/F titles that I can’t wait to read:

Benedict Jacka’s Fated (Ace, March), which launches what looks like a very promising new urban fantasy series.

Caitlín R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl (Roc, March). Kiernan is brilliant, full stop, and I love pretty much everything she writes.

Yves Meynard’s Chrysanthe (Tor, March). I know Yves from Readercon; he’s very smart and very funny in person, and I’m curious to see what his writing is like.

Joe R. Lansdale’s Act of Love (Subterranean, April), a reissue of his first novel, which looks gritty and grimy and nasty–just my sort of thing.

Sharon Shinn’s The Shape of Desire (Ace, April), which looks mysterious and thoughtful and romantic–just my sort of thing.

Anne Lyle’s The Alchemist of Souls (Angry Robot, April), a “comedy of terrors” set in Elizabethan England–just my sort of thing.

(There are things that are not my sort of thing. I’m pretty burned out on heroic quests, for example, and dreadfully picky about time travel stories. I feel that everyone other than Sir Pterry should stop trying to write comic fantasy and everyone everywhere should stop trying to write comic SF. But visceral horror, intellectual romantic fantasy, and dashing historicals? Sign me up.)

S.G. Browne’s Lucky Bastard (Gallery, April). I thought Breathers was brilliant and it put Browne firmly on my must-read list.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 (Orbit, May), because it’s Kim Stanley Robinson and you don’t really need another reason.

N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon (Orbit, May); she’s been blogging enticingly about this new series for well over a year now and the more I hear about it, the more I’m intrigued.

Looking forward to these will generate enough excitement to keep me warm all winter! What 2012 books are on your anticipation list?

The PW Fall Announcements Issue is Out

My SF/F/H write-up is here. An excerpt:

The SF/fantasy/horror category, already a chimera, is budding new subcategories right and left. Many authors and publishers have given up on categorization altogether. Words like “amalgamation” and “blending” and “cross-genre” appear in our reviews with increasing frequency, and readers are eagerly gobbling up these unclassifiable books.

It’s not quite a truism that experimental writers are good writers—as in science, some experiments go boom or simply fizzle out—but many of our top picks for the fall and winter are decidedly idiosyncratic.

Some of you may also be interested in the romance and mystery/thriller assessments and listings, and there’s a surprising amount of skiffy content in the literary fiction listings as well.

In the Dark of the Shadowy Dark Shadows

The summer’s title word was “dark”: The Painted Darkness, A Darker Shade of Dead, Out of the Dark, etc. The fall’s appears to be “shadow”. We’ve gotten in two different books called Shadowheart (one by Tad Williams, one by James Barclay) plus In the Shadow of Swords by Van Gunn. But don’t lose hope, darkness fans! Surrender to Darkness just landed on my shelves, along with the slightly more general Midnight Riot. And in what might be a harbinger of next season’s trends, I also see Angel at Dawn and Chasing the Sun. Maybe we crave darkness in the summer and light in the winter.

After a while, I start to feel like these titles are cop-outs. “Dark” and “light” are used as stand-ins for so many different ideas that they lose their power. (Cat Valente has an unrelated-to-titles take on this here.) Particularly in paranormal romance, darkness is both evil and enticing, the source of both fear and power. Light tends to get a bad rap by comparison, of the “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb” sort. No one actually wants to be on the side of right and good. It’s boring. So dark ends up being cast as antagonist and protagonist and plot device all at once, and that gets boring too.

My challenge to fantasists is this: do more with color. Give us pink magic, puce magic, plaid and polka-dotted magic. Give light and dark a break. You might be amazed by what you can do when you have a whole spectrum to work with.

Summer Reading

I’m starting to think about my selections for PW‘s summer staff picks issue, and that has me wondering what SF/F fans like to read in the summer as opposed to any other time of the year. Traditionally we hide in basements rather than going out in the sun, so what’s our equivalent of beach reading? If you’re planning a long trip, maybe it’s a good time to plow through a lengthy epic fantasy series, especially if you can put it on your e-reader rather than filling your luggage with thousand-page tomes. I personally enjoy reading horror novels during summer thunderstorms. How about you? And for those in the southern hemisphere, what kinds of books will keep you company through the long winter nights?