The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Though I read far more novels than short stories, I was first introduced to World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip’s work through her fantastic collection WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD (my review). I was utterly enchanted by her spare but beautiful prose, characters, and themes and also impressed by the vast range of her stories: not only were they a mixture of genres including high fantasy, contemporary fantasy, a fairy tale retelling, and science fiction but they also ran the gamut from lighthearted to serious. Regardless of category, wit and insight shone through her fiction, and I’ve wanted to read everything she’s written since—whether a novel or another collection like her most recent, DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES.
McKillip’s prose is gorgeous as usual, and she blends art and myth wonderfully in this story about painters so swept up in their grand visions that they do not see below the surface—nor do they want to, for fear that it will break the spell of their craft. Even though Harry is kinder than most of the men in his artistic circle, he can be rather oblivious, only hearing what he’s been told and missing the bigger picture of what’s going on around him, particularly how the worship of Aurora is affecting all of them—including the woman everyone has put upon a pedestal.
Part of what I love about this (and much of McKillip’s work that I’ve read) is that even though the society may try to relegate women to the background, McKillip does not. Jo has her own story, Medusa has her own voice, and though the other women are not as central, they are given more of the spotlight than any male artist other than Harry. The focus given to Jo and the other women add more dimension to “The Gorgon in the Cupboard”; had this story only belonged to Harry, it may have seemed as though it was about a man learning that (surprise!) women are real people too. (Although I think it is still possible to view his role that way, that doesn’t ring true to me since it seems more that he is laser-focused on his work since he has more meaningful interactions with the women in the circle than the men. I viewed it more as showing that while the men have the luxury of remaining lost in their dreams and fully absorbed in their art, the women do not have the luxury of safely ignoring the real world, and as such, are the ones who see the world more clearly.)
Even though I don’t think it quite measures up to WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD, I do still believe that DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES is well worth reading. Each story showcases McKillip’s skill as an author, and “The Gorgon in the Cupboard” is an impactful tale full of depth—and since it’s about a quarter of the collection, this story alone makes it a must read.
1. NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman
2. IN CALABRIA by Peter S. Beagle
3. INVISIBLE PLANETS edited by Ken Liu
4. A CONJURING OF LIGHT by V.E. Schwab
5. THE STARS ARE LEGION by Kameron Hurley
6. KINDRED: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL by Octavia Butler and John Jennings
7. PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
8. UNIVERSAL HARVESTER by John Darnielle
9. MIRANDA AND CALIBAN by Jacqueline Carey
10. CHASING SHADOWS: VISIONS OF OUR COMING TRANSPARENT WORLD by David Brin
Jane Yolen received three nominations for poetry among the 2016 ASIMOV’S Readers’ Award Finalists.
The Abassador’s Daughter – Megan Arkenberg – October/November 2016
Your Clone Excels at You – Robert Frazier – August 2016
After – Herb Kauderer – October/November 2016
Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman – Ron Koertge – April/May 2016
The Robot Grows Old – Geoffrey A. Landis – June 2016
Long Argument, the Longest – Jane Yolen – September 2016
Nice Touch – Jane Yolen – March 2016
Old Women of the Wood – Jane Yolen – October/November 2016
John Joseph Adams is interviewed in the March 2017 LOCUS.
‘‘Things took a more dramatic turn for me when I stumbled across The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. It had just come back into print after being out of print for a long time, and people kept coming into the bookstore and ordering it, so I got curious about it. I didn’t know Bester was a legend in the field. Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction, but at the time I didn’t know who he was, either. I just decided to try it…and it just blew my mind. I think of The Stars My Destination as my origin story: reading that book made me want to find more books that could blow my mind like that. Having read The Stars My Destination, I went on a quest to find more books like it, and ultimately that’s what led to me becoming an editor – to driving myself to find things that would challenge me as a reader and change the way I read. Before that, I’d pick up a book, and I’d like it or I wouldn’t, but I wasn’t striving to find that greatness.”
I was at F&SF about nine years. I was the slush reader, the only actual employee in the office day-to-day besides Gordon, working 20 hours a week or so. I would read all the slush except for whatever Gordon would cherry-pick. Obviously authors who were known quantities, he would pick them out of the slush to read himself, along with the occasional up-and-comers he wanted to keep an eye on. As time went on, I became more and more sure as an editor and felt more confident in my decisions. Though my primary job was slush reader, Gordon also started giving me everything he was going to buy to get a second opinion on those stories. So I literally read everything he bought before he bought it for most of my time at the magazine. That really helped me develop my editorial point of view because I got to read and comment on all of the stories under consideration – not just the stuff that got into the magazine but also the stuff that almost got into the magazine.
For more info on DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
For more info on WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
For more info about IN CALABRIA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info about EPIC: LEGENDS OF FANTASY, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by John Coulthart