The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
James Morrow, Nancy Kress, Richard A. Lupoff (photo: George Katechis via Wikimedia Commons), and Jeff VanderMeer (Kyle Cassidy)
A new James Morrow book is always filled with unexpected delights. Giant monsters and an homage to Japanese B-movies? A fantastical religious satire about the literal death of God? A Darwinian alt-history tale? Check, check, and check. His newest book, THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI, offers similar surprises, and rather than spell them out, we’ll let the author do it for you. Below, courtesy of Tachyon Publications, you’ll find the exclusive trailer for the new book, due out June 20, featuring a cameo appearance from an inflatable Edvard Munch painting and some nifty THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI action figures. Enjoy!
Such an interesting little book. I recommended this to my library when I noticed we needed a fresh influx of science fiction and am so glad I did. Upon closer inspection of my Goodreads account, I see that this is the second book I’ve read by this author. Much of what I thought about her writing of the other story holds true for this one. This is a smart thought-provoking science fiction story that captures your attention and keeps you turning the page.
Of course, it isn’t until the end where we learn what really happen to earth and humanity but the story did leave me with some questions unanswered. The story was a race to figure out what happen and what will happen to the last timeline and the future of all of the human race. The characters, while interesting, if not annoying from time to time, were not what kept me in this story. The mystery and need to know why and how held me to the end. Having finished it I’m glad I read it. Not a terribly big surprise as to how it played out but I can see why it is an award-winning story.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Approximately 40 people attended Corflu 34 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, California on April 28-30, 2017. Corflu is a convention for people who publish or used to publish fanzines on paper. Yes, paper. If you want to read more about these atavistic characters, you can go to eFanzines.com.
Auctions at Corflus are lively affairs. This year’s auction was heavy on fanzines from the Los Angeles area such as VoM and Shaggy from the forties. The most expensive single item was a hardback anthology THE BEST OF XERO which included material from Dick and Pat Lupoff’s fanzine which sold for $55. Graham Charnock was making bids in the auction while still being in England. Graham was doing it through a laptop carried by Rob Jackson. At Graham’s requests, Rob would move the laptop around so Graham could get a better look at what he of bidding on. At the beginning of this, I described the attendance as “Approximately 40.” Graham was part of the “Approximately.” How should you count someone who is participating in the con from thousands of miles away.
Leah Schnelbach on TOR.COM interviews Jeff VanderMeer.
Jeff VanderMeer is a master of combining ecological concerns with a dark, weird speculative fiction. His SOUTHERN REACH Trilogy followed an uncanny event that created “Area X”, and the subsequent expeditions to explore the region, mining Nature itself to find the beauty and horror that comes with a radical shift in ecology. His latest novel, BORNE, takes us to a future city, where people attempt to carve out lives after decades of societal collapse and environmental upheaval—you can read Niall Alexander’s review here. Rachel, a young refugee, scavenges for food and tech in order to survive with her partner, a former biotech engineer named Wick. Rachel discovers a particularly mysterious biotech while scavenging, and rather than turning it over to Wick’s experiments, she keeps it, names it Borne, and raises it like a child. Hilarity ensues, as does heartbreak, terror, and musing on the nature of survival and humanity’s role on Earth… and that’s all before you get to the skyscraper-sized flying bear.
VanderMeer is currently on a book tour for BORNE, but he graciously took time to answer a few of my questions about the novel, and to discuss his love of the environment and the “New Weird.” He also shared a video of the Florida coastline that inspired Area X.
LS: Do you see BORNE as a successor to your SOUTHERN REACH trilogy, or more as a departure?
JV: Area X was more about pristine wilderness and BORNE is about ecology in urban spaces, especially in places we think of wrongly as broken or render invisible because we don’t want to think about. I also wanted to explore a situation where a multinational has come in and stripped resources from an area, and what resilience means in that context. And while the SOUTHERN REACH was about in part the lack of ability of characters to connect, Borne is about characters trying very hard to connect. People who are trying to be their better selves even while in extreme situations.
LS: You’ve been a champion of the idea of the New Weird—where do you think the New Weird will/should go in the future?
JV: I kind of laugh when New Weird comes out into the light again, since it’s often kept in the basement in a cabinet with a broken, rusted lock. I’m a champion of the unique voices I love in fiction and labels one hopes slide off so readers can see the work entire and not just the part with the label attached. If there is a brightness that emanates out of writing I adore it is something without a name that makes me drunk with the beauty and sadness and rightness of it. That’s all I want from fiction—to be annihilated and taken over by. What it’s called otherwise, I don’t much care about.
For more info on THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story
For more info on AFTER THE FALL, BEFORE THE FALL, DURING THE FALL, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story
For more info on THE BEST OF XERO, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Larry Ivie
For more info about THE NEW WEIRD, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Ann Monn