From the Other Side, January 2015
By Paul Kincaid
[Editor’s Note: From the Other Side is Paul Kincaid’s monthly column on books and news from the other side of the Atlantic.]
It’s a new year, a time of change, of novelty, a time when we throw out all the old familiar stuff from 2014 and welcome in fresh work and different writers. So let’s see what 2015 has in store for us.
And we start with a new book from … Adam Roberts. Hm, sorry about that, for a moment there it felt as if 2014 hadn’t quite ended. Oh, no, there really is a new book from Adam Roberts. Saint Rebor is a new collection of short stories from NewCon Press, part of their Imaginings series which are all well worth a look. Saint Rebor is the second collection of stories from Adam Roberts, after Adam Robots which came out just over a year ago. This collection includes ten short stories and a poem. I note that the publicity material tells us that it includes “two stories that have never appeared in print before and three that are completely original to this book”, though I’m not exactly sure how that is supposed to work. All I’ll say is that the opening story, “What Did Tessimond Tell You?”, was included in two best of the year collections. Given how many other stories by Adam Roberts seem to have cropped up in various places recently, I shouldn’t wonder if he had enough for a third collection already in stock. Be that as it may, I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I mention Mr Roberts in this column in 2015.
Other than that, it’s been a quiet month for publishing, and what we have seen has tended to be the latest episode in an ongoing sequence. On the first day of the year, Jo Fletcher Books brought out the latest novel from Karen Lord. The Galaxy Game is set in the same universe as The Best of All Possible Worlds, only this time we follow Grace Delarue’s son, Rafi, who escapes to the planet Punartam, where his psionic powers are not the object of suspicion, and where he can indulge in the sport of Wallrunning. Only, and inevitably, his talent for the sport becomes central to a battle to save the universe.
Samantha Shannon’s The Mime Order is a sequel to The Bone Season, a fantasy adventure set in a weirdly reimagined London. (Is it my imagination, or are there an awful lot of weirdly reimagined Londons lately?) While The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick is the second volume in his Erebus Sequence. In this volume, our hero swordsman, Dino, finds himself caught up in a deadly political intrigue involving the leading aristocratic families of Landfall.
And really, that’s just about it for the month in publishing. Meanwhile, the awards season hasn’t really started swinging into action yet (we’re expecting shortlists for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the BSFA Awards and the Kitschies anytime soon, but as January draws to an end, there’s no word as yet. However, there is one new award on the block. The James Herbert Award is for the best new horror novel published in Britain, and the winner will receive a cheque for £2,000 and a commemorative statue. The award is sponsored by Pan Macmillan and administered by Serendip Foundation, the same people behind the Arthur C. Clarke Award, so it’s no surprise that the new award shares many features with the Clarke Award. The prize money is roughly the same; there’s a body of five judges, which this year includes Ramsey Campbell, the author Sarah Pinborough, Rosie Fletcher, Dr Tony Venezi, and James Herbert’s daughter Kerry, chaired by Tom Hunter (Clarke award administrator); and like the Clarke Award the Herbert Award doesn’t actually define horror but leaves it to the judges each year.
The first James Herbert Award shortlist has now been announced. The six novels are: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, The Troop by Nick Cutter, Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, Bird Box by Josh Malerman and An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman. The winner will be announced in March.
[Editor’s Postscript: Speaking of shortlists, Kincaid’s own non-fiction collection Call and Response was recently named to the 2014 Locus Recommended Reading List.]
British sf critic Paul Kincaid is the author of the Hugo Award-nominated What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction and a just-released collection of reviews, Call And Response (Beccon). He has won both the Thomas D. Clareson Award and the BSFA Non-Fiction Award.