Tachyon tidbits featuring Nancy Kress, Kimberly Unger, Hannu Rajaniemi, Jacob Weisman, and Nick Mamatas
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
SEA CHANGE is a novella that is within the tradition of cli-fi (speculative fiction dealing with the impact of climate change). Kress creates a frighteningly persuasive near-future world—a world that ends not with a bang but with a whimper. Its plausibility lies in the fact that it is not a dystopia where civilization has collapsed (indeed, in SEA CHANGE, Donald Trump is voted out of office in 2020), and bands of scavengers now roam a feral countryside (although those novels are, of course, equally important). Rather, through a step-by-step reconstruction of a ten-year-long period, Kress shows us how a combination of human hubris, human accident, and human folly can bring us to a pass that nobody really wants, and that harms everyone.
Perhaps fittingly, the ending of SEA CHANGE is ambiguous (reminiscent of, perhaps, The Handmaid’s Tale, when Offred wonders if she is walking into darkness or light), telling us that in the near future, while there may be hope, there are no easy—or happy—endings; indeed, there are no endings at all but only a continuing struggle, with losses and uncertain consequences. That is another way in which SEA CHANGE paints a compelling portrait of the times we live in and the times that may be over the horizon.
To be perfectly honest, I cringe when I see a book of short stories come up for these posts, because I suck at making good notes on them and it is really hard to remember details this many months later. I do know that I borrowed this from the library, read it and liked it so much I borrowed and read it again. I have also downloaded and read Strange Waters by Samantha Mills many, many times and it is now among my favourites. It is a time travel story nominally, but is actually about a mother’s determination to get back to her children, and about whether to spending your life in pursuit of a goal at the expense of all else is worthwhile – it’s beautiful and bittersweet. Our Lady of the Open Road [by Sarah Pinsker] is also very good – it relates to the author’s novel which I also coincidentally read this year, and is about the way music connects people and can be a revolutionary force.
On the podcast EATING THE FANTASTIC, hoist Scott Edelman sat down with Nick Mamatas.
We discussed why there’s a generational divide when it comes to what potential readers might think his upcoming novel The Second Shooter is about, our joint Brooklyn heritage and history with professional wrestling, why he threw away the first dozen stories he wrote, the reason Marvel Comics was always better than DC, his encounters with the famed monologuist Brother Theodore, the first bad book he ever read, the way having been a journalist helps him collaborate without killing his co-writers, why work for hire assignments can be difficult, how we feel about our refusal to pick a genre lane, and much more.