Ian Whates (ed.)
The 2011 anthology Solaris Rising was one of the finest collections of SF in recent years and a welcome return to the anthology game by the the Solaris imprint of Rebellion Publishing. Fans of the book will therefore be pleased to hear that the recently published Solaris Rising 2 is a worthy successor to the original. Edited by genre veteran Ian Whates Solaris Rising 2 brings us orignial stories from over a dozen authors – each just as imaginative, fresh and exciting as those in the first book. While the orignial focused mainly on A-list authors the new book gives less well known writers, such as Mercurio Rivera and Vandana Singh, a chance to show off their talents – I’m happy to say that they don’t dissapoint.
The Unreal and the Real
Ursula Le Guin
Small Beer Press
£15.99 (each volume)
There are few who call themselves science fiction fans, or indeed literature fans in general, who have not read at least some of Ursula Le Guin’s work. Over a career spanning more than 50 years she has written over twenty novels and many dozen short stories. Few authors have done so much to blur the lines between genre and traditional literary fiction and this two volume collection contains examples of both sides of Le Guin’s work. The first volume, Where On Earth, includes some of her more realistic work – including many of her Orsinian stories, set in the eponymous fictional European country – while the second, Outer Space, Inner Lands, focuses on her more fantastical writing.
While best known for highly acclaimed novels such as Michaelmas and Rogue Moon Algis Budrys was also a prolific critic. The first volume of his collected reviews, entitled Benchmarks and containing his early work for Galaxy Magazine, was published in 1985. Now, thanks to the efforts of Dave Langford the second volume of the collection, containing Budrys’ work for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, has finally been released. Witty and insightful the reviews touch not only the individual books being reviewed but also detail Budrys’ opinions about the state of the genre. Not only an interesting read this book is also a time capsule from a vibrant and important era for SF.
£16.99 (each volume)
There are few speculative fiction writers who are as well known and as highly acclaimed as Ray Bradbury. A recipient of the US National Medal of Arts he also received both the Fantasy and SF Grand Master awards. His work – well known for both its imagination and literary quality – has inspired countless modern writers. This fascinating collection brings together all of his short work – including the stories from the famous Martian Chronicles – in two large volumes. Not only are the stories fascinating in themselves being collected in one place allows the reader to explore how Bradbury’s writing style and his themes developed over time. Perfect for both newcomers and old time fans.
Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (ed.)
The New Weird subgenre of speculative fiction has grown significantly in recent years. Characterised by its desire to abandon the traditional stereotypes of fantasy and science fiction and often incorporating elements of literary fiction and horror this is subgenre that is difficult to define precisely. Containing 110 stories this book provides a detailed and fascinating cross section of genre. Including work by a wide range of highly acclaimed writers such as William Gibson, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Mervyn Pearke, Neil Gaiman and China Miéville this is a must buy, even for those who might not have previously thought themselves big fans of the New Weird.