The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles from around the web.
Daryl Gregory, Patricia A. McKillip (by Patti Perret from FACES OF FANTASY), Michael Swanwick (by Beth Gwynn), and Cory Doctorow (by Ed Schipul, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia)
SPOONBENDERS, a hot manuscript about an eccentric family of magicians (think Royal Tenenbaums with psychics) by Daryl Gregory, has been acquired by Knopf for publishing and Paramount TV for television, in what sources say was a competitive auction on both fronts that involved multiple bidders. Terms of the deal were not announced, but the publishing-side advance is said to be at least in the high-six-figure range.
SPOONBENDERS is the story of the Amazing Telemachus Family, who became famous for their magic and mind-reading act before the magic disappeared one night on live TV. Years later, Matty, the grandson of patriarch Teddy Telemachus, rediscovers a little of the magic and then must stay one step ahead of the CIA, the Mafia and the magic debunker out to show they are frauds. The manuscript is said to evoke the work of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
I have never in all my reading days, as far as I know read anything by McKillip. How I have overlooked such a powerful storyteller I have no idea. This collection of stories is simply stunning; so good that I wound up rereading several of the stories so I could keep the entrancing spell each of them casts alive. Each is tuned to its own beauty and pulls you directly in, the reader invokes the spell but have no doubt McKillip is the one who breathes life into them.
There are seven enriched tales included. From the very first one, Weird, you know this is a master storyteller. How else to explain the gravitational pull created by two lovers locked within a bathroom while only your imagination knows what hunts them from outside. Or the sublime tale of Edith and Henry on an idyllic search for a cool breeze who find an afternoon of wonder. But by far the shining jewel in this collection is Something Rich and Strange. This story reaches back into the love we have had with legends and folktales, reaches back into our primal connection to the sea and pulls us down as surely as any mermaid ever compelled sailor to gladly dive to his doom. You could lose yourself in this story again and again and find something new and entrancing each time. This is not just a pearl, this is the story of the pearl full of the torment needed to create the ultimate beauty.
Angel JC at POOLED INK delivers the first review of Michael Swanwick’s forthcoming collection, NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT.
A whirlwind of stories that take you across the world, through different pockets of time, and into a sample of the lives being lived, NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT is an excellent compilation. Swanwick’s latest book is a delight to read, both entertaining and insightful.
This book is in fact a collection of science fiction stories. Each tale is related and connected on some thin plane and yet they remain completely independent of one another. They feature a vast array of characters and the settings jump all over the world. Many are written with a unique blend capturing the charming thrum of an old folk tale and melding it with perhaps a little magic plus a future filled with bots, smart objects, and other science fiction tropes and themes.
Each story explores its own ideas and is filled with endless thoughts beneath the surface. In particular I picked up ‘free will’ as a subtle reoccurring theme.
Swanwick’s latest literary contribution, NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT, is a thought-provoking, simply complex, and adventurous smattering of science fiction short stories. Allow each story to take you someplace utterly unexpected and yet a place that inexplicably feels a tad familiar.
I first want to say that I do not normally publish reviews on any sort of politically-based non-fiction–I’ve only done it once as far as I remember, and that was for Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala–but I felt Cory Doctorow’s essay collection, Content, merited a write-up for a few reasons. Reason one is the relevancy of the subjects covered in this collection. In the midst of a public scandal and fallout between Apple and the FBI regarding the San Bernadino terrorist’s “locked” iPhone and Apple’s refusal to create a damaging and Orwellian “backdoor” to get into it, Doctorow’s arguments for privacy, copyright, and freedom need to be need to be screamed louder by the world’s citizens.
In articles such as “Microsoft Research DRM Talk,” “The DRM Sausage Factory,” or “World of Democracycraft,” Doctorow reflects on the concept of what he calls the “information economy” or the buying, selling, and ownership of knowledge, media, and information access. There are a couple of important arguments he makes, one is that DRM is one form of control used by big business to control access to information, hindering our freedom, creativity, and rights of ownership and access in the process. The other argument is that power structures are built on the possession of information. Those that have access to information, those with the ability to control it–in whatever way–are those with the true power.
Ultimately, though, Doctorow’s essays in this collection, are still important for the ongoing discussion of freedom, personal rights, and access to information and the openness of the internet. Even though he lacks the specific factual and statistical research in most of his essays needed to drive his message fully home, I recommend everyone read these essays and to keep an open mind, because they are the start to addressing how we travel a very long road ahead toward a digital world, and I appreciated his work very much
For more information on WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info about DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
For more information on NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on CONTENT: SELECTED ESSAYS ON TECHNOLOGY, CREATIVITY, COPYRIGHT, AND THE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Ann Monn