30 August 2010

The New Dead - A Zombie Anthology Edited by Christopher Golden

  • Author: Christopher Golden (Editor)
  • Title: The New Dead - A Zombie Anthology (AKA Zombie!)
  • Publisher: St Martins Press Feb 2010
  • ISBN: 978 0312559717 (Trade Paperback)
I'm quite a fan of anthologies in general, but most especially of themed anthologies of new short fiction. I love getting a hold of a book with a bunch of brand new stories, which means I can read it cover to cover without worrying about rereading something. (I really hate it when you get half way through a story and it turns out that you've read it before and you just remembered the ending...) And this book is one of the best that I have gotten in a long while.

The New Dead is an original fiction anthology edited by Christopher Golden. You may know him from his billions of media tie-in novels (hate hate hate) for Buffy, Angel, etc. People who know me will know how much I hate the media tie-in industry, which leeches valuable reading time and shelf space from original genre fiction and makes the mainstream think that all 'genre' writers have to offer is stuff about fucking television. So usually, I wouldn't have much time for Christopher Golden, or his books. And for this, I apologise.

Golden has put together a fantastic spread of stories about 'The Living Dead,' covering aspects from the sentient dead, to the killer dead, to voodoo, to military research to the doomsday apocalypse story, and not a single one disappoints. New fiction by Max Brooks from his World War Z universe, Joe Hill, Joe R. Landsdale (author of the novella "Bubba Ho-Tep") and the always brilliant Kelley Armstrong feature alongside work of lesser known but equally skilled Horror writers, some of whom are just starting out as writers. It's a fairly good indicator that the near future of Horror fiction is in safe hands.

Only one thing bothers me about this collection. At least two of the stories are in another Zombie book that I bought a few days after I read this one, and that book was published in 2009. So maybe not so all original as the cover claims? I'm not to sure what happened there, but it did bug me a bit. Either way, it's disappointing that two different publishers/editors have used the same stories in the two most recent anthologies of Zombie stories, meaning that 70 odd pages could have been used for some other up and coming Horror writer. Like me, for instance....haha, I kid.

After the jump, there is a list of the stories, along with spoilers, which will ruin your life and probably mine as well. Or something. Fuck, I don't know. I write this shit for myself, not you!! It's not all about you, you know...

10 August 2010

Recommendations from the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide - Science Fiction Novels

I picked up a copy of the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guides 100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels. Here are quite a few of it's recommendations:
  1. Brian Aldiss - Hothouse
  2. J.G. Ballard - Super-Cannes & Drowned World
  3. Stephen Baxter - Moonseed
  4. Poul Anderson - Tau Zero
  5. Alfred Bester - The Demolished Man & The Stars My Destination
  6. James Blish - A Case of Conscience
  7. C.M. Kornbluth - The Syndic
  8. Algis Bundrys - Rogue Moon
  9. Lester Del Ray - Police Your Planet
  10. Pat Cadigan - Synners
  11. Jake Womack - Ambient
  12. John Campbell - The Collected Short Stories
  13. A.E Van Vogt - The World of Null-A
  14. Harlan Ellison - From the Land of Fear (features the story "Soldier" which was made into Terminator)
  15. Harry Harrison - Make Room! Make Room! (filmed as Soylent Green)
  16. K.W. Jeter - Dr Adder
  17. Ursula K. Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness & The Dispossessed
  18. Stanislaw Lem - Solaris (I saw the 2002 film recently and hated it...)
  19. Maureen F. McHugh - China Moutain Zhang
  20. David Brin - The Postman
  21. Walter M. Miller - A Canticle for Leibowitz (I've read essays on and tributes to, but never the actual story...)
  22. C.L. Moore - Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams (a collection of shorts apparently)
  23. Richard Morgan - Altered Carbon
  24. Frederik Pohl - Man Plus
  25. Tanith Lee - Biting the Sun
  26. Joanna Russ - The Female Man
  27. Robert Sheckley - Immortality Inc
  28. Lucius Shepard - Life During Wartime
  29. John Shirley - City Come A-Walkin'
  30. Cordwainer Smith - Norstrila
  31. Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep
Notice how a few of these books are actually short story collections? Fuckwits. Mostly, the recommendations were either books I've already read, or the worst examples of populist rubbish, media tie-ins (ugh) and really old crap that barely scrapes in as SF (fricken Frankenstein is one of them.)

Just remembered and want to note down, I am trying to get to reading the following, even though I have 4 books open with bookmarks, and am also in the middle of two short collections (Eclipse Two edited by Jonathan Strahan and Moonstories by Elizabeth Moon):
  • Lois McMaster Bujold - The Vorksagian series (on my iPod atm, just got the newest book and need to catch up by 3 books that I haven't read yet.)
  • Robert J Sawyer - Hominids (serialised in Asimov's or analog, I have this but haven't read it yet, I was trying to find cover images to go with the text files that i have of these editions.)
  • Connie Willis - The Doomsday Book (I've gotten this out a few times, but never gotten to reading it. Connie is great though.)
  • Frederik Pohl - Gateway and sequels (The HeeChee series, which I read years and years ago, totally loved and can't remember any of except that it has something to do with Venus? I remember very clearly reading a short story recently in a big fat Collected Works volume of F. Pohl in which a destitute spacer makes the most of a bad situation, saves the baddy even though he is a prick and discovers a Hee Chee artifact that changes his life forever. And he wins the girl, I'm pretty sure.)
On that note, I am going to head home. I wasn't going to stop  to write today, but I wanted to return the stupid guide book and had forgotten to write the books that i wanted to read down, so I did. You just read it. Ha!

PS - I hate it when someone is writing a short story, and then wraps it up really quickly but leaves me feeling like I must have missed something that made it make sense, so I read it again, but I didn't miss anything. The writer just wrapped up too quickly and all of the hints at deeper meaning went nowhere. Fuck. That really shts me off.

04 August 2010

Ugh, I Finally Got Out of The Doctors Office

It's only two hours after my appointment time, so not too bad, all things considered. Just popped into the library to grab a few books and to write this down. Got a couple of SF study books, Reading Science Fiction ed James Gunn, Marlene S Barr and Matthew Candelaria, and Science Fiction Stories: Macmillan Literature Collection, with stories and study exercises/guides from Philip K Dick, Stanley G Weinbaum, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, and Jake London. A lot of the exercises are pretty basic, but have some essay potential, and since I am trying to get back into it....

Answer key guide www.macmillanenglish.com/readers apparently.

I had no idea that Jack London wrote SF.

So now, at 4.25pm, I am just about to head home. So if my loverly fammerly are reading this before I arrive, I'll be home soon, so put the kettle on!! I really need a coffee, some couch and WiFi.

Tonight, I'll be mostly doing....hair dye.

Sitting in my car waiting for 2.20pm to come

So I am sitting in my car. Great huh? I brought my iPod so that I could read YBNH 1 by Ellen Datlow or Ecllipse One by David Hartwell while I was waiting for my doctors appointment.

Here's the problem though. Yesterday I had a shot at Jailbreaking my iPod using an online thing called jailbreakme. Didn't work, naturally. All it managed to do was delete my shortcuts, so I restored from a backup, everything is back in place, everything is now fine.

Unfortunately, running the backup also restored my library database, so all of my new books that I downloaded between my last sync and running the restore have vanished from the iPod. Not lost forever, but not with me here. All I have with me is one anthology by Strahan that I've already read and a bunch of novels that I've either read or am not ready to start yet.

Fuck.

Sent from my iPod

02 August 2010

An Update, following a Short Absence from the Blogosphere

I haven't written anything on here for a few weeks now, largely since I got that god damned iPod, which by the way is fricken awesome and I love love love it, but it has stopped me from achieving much in the way of getting back into the habit of writing, because I do actually intend to try to write something serious soon, well, as soon as I think of something to write ABOUT.

Anyway, I have read quite a few ebooks since getting the iPod, and absolutely No, except a few, treeBooks.

Oh, I got my Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty Seventh Annual Collection Ed G Dozois and my Year's Best SF 15 Ed David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer in the post the day before I got the iPod, both of which were brilliant. I am so glad I got them. And yay for Amazon, who managed to post both to me within 14 days of release, when the local distributor has not yet released them, and told me it would be a 6 week wait after the publication date to arrive anyway. Fuckers.

In other news, I got my hands on the April edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, which made for a pretty good read. Can't remember the stories now though. Maybe not that good. I do remember ENJOYING it, however.

I went on a bit of a Baen Books bender last week. Whoops. (I secretly love them) And a few other things. List of been to for read:
  • The Tank Lords, Ranks of Bronze and The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume Two by David Drake
  • Fallen Angels by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
  • A couple of the Honor Harrington books by David Weber
  • "Act One" by Nancy Kress, really excellent novella.
  • Science Fiction Omnibus edited by Brian Aldiss, one of the best classic short story anthologies around
  • A bunch of other bits and pieces from Analog, Asimov's and Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazines.
On the to read list at the moment:
  1. Neal Asher - Brass Man (in progress)
  2. Paolo Bacigalupi - The Windup Girl
  3. CJ Cherryh - Cyteen
  4. David Hartwell et al - The Hard SF Renaissance
  5. Nancy Kress - Steal Across the Sky
  6. Frederik Pohl - Gateway (HeeChee One)
  7. Vernor Vinge - Rainbows End
  8. Johnathan Strahan editor - Eclipse Three (in progress) including stories "The Pelican Bar" by Karen Joy Fowler, "Don't Mention Madagascar" by Pat Cadigan and "A Practical Girl" by Ellen Klages
  9. Iain M. Banks - Consider Phelbas (First of the Culture novels)
  10. Novellas by Stephen Baxter, Phillip K Dick, CJ Cherryh, Nancy Kress, Alastair Reynolds and about 500 others.
  11. YBSF 14 by Hartwell and Cramer
  12. The Good New Stuff by G Dozois.featuring Chairman Bruce, Michael Swanwick, Walter Jon Williams, Maureen F McHugh, Robert Reed, Stephen Baxter, R Garcia y Robertson (awesome), Tony Daniel, Paul J McAuley, Peter F Hamilton and Mary Rosenblum. Too fucking cool.
  13. And a shitload of Robert Reed books.
If I had more time to read, I'd just fill it up with more reading anyway, so I can't complain. However, I weighed myself this morning. OMFG, I got fat. Oer. Whoops. I better loose some weight or I might die of a heart attack before I finish the books I want to read.