Monday, December 22, 2008


That little column of books with the heading "Recent Reading List," located somewhere down there on the left side of the page, is probably misnamed in a couple of different ways. It's not entirely "recent" since some of those items were read a couple years ago.  It's also in no way complete, because I have neglected to include a lot of stuff that didn't stand out in memory or esteem. One book, read fairly recently, that I neglected to list was Ian Watson's Mockymen, a rather wacky farrago of alien conquest and Nazi occultism that I didn't like a lot and which didn't stick with me long past the two days I spent with it.

A few days ago, I borrowed from the library a copy of the 25th annual edition of The Year's Best Science Fiction, edited as always by Gardner Dozois, covering 2007, and inside of it there are two stories by Ian McDonald. Well, I kept seeing that name in the contents page and thinking it was the Mockymen author. Which caused me to briefly remember Mockymen. But wrong "Ian," I eventually realized.  Also, I discovered that McDonald is yet another writer that I am woefully under-familiar with, having not yet read any of his novels. If the quality of his two stories in this collection are any indication, he is awesome. The two tales are "Verthandi's Ring," an amazing and bizarre story of galactic war and freaky-deaky space-science set in a very far future; and "Sanjeev and Robotwallah," a sensitive story about a boy's coming of age in a future India riven by a high-tech war that is fought in part by battle-droid-driving teenagers. (The first was originally published in The New Space Opera (Eos), also edited by Dozois along with Jonathon Strahan.  "Sanjeev" first appeared in Fast Forward 1 (Pyr), edited by Lou Anders.)

Also of note in this 25th annual collection, is Bruce Sterling's "Kiosk," an often-funny and sometimes-sad story about social upheaval and transformation in a near-future eastern Europe where a street vendor gets hold of a device that can make carbon nanotube replicas of any object. I'm also re-reading Sterling's Schismatrix and the associated Mechanist/Shaper short stories: it's been a lot of years already since those blew many of us away, and I am remembering anew why they were so cool back in the day. ("Kiosk" first appeared in F&SF.)

The image with this post is of Ian McDonald at WorldCon 2005.

Related Articles :




M-BRANE SF Copyright © 2010 Premium Wordpress Themes | Website Templates | Blogger Template is Designed by Lasantha.