Ce ne asteapta in luna august

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Aparitiile din mai, iunie si iulie ne-au umplut gentile cu carti de citit in vacanta. August este intotdeauna o luna linistita, in care se lanseaza de obicei colectii de povestiri, care nu vor fi devorate in cele cateva saptamani de concediu, ci vor savurate incet, in decursul lunilor urmatoare.

 14.08: Jeffrey Ford – Crackpot Palace (HarperCollins)

 Pe Jeffrey Ford l-am descoperit relative recent, acum un an si ceva, datorita lui Radu  Romaniuc. De atunci a devenit scriitorul meu preferat de proza scurta fantasy de limba engleza (doar dintre barbati, pentru ca per total nimeni nu-i poate lua locul lui Kelly Link). Il consider, cel putin in ceea ce priveste proza scurta, chiar si peste Neal Gaiman, care uneori pare ca-si incarca prea mult creatiile. Jeffrey Ford nu are aceasta problema, povestile lui, care se potrivesc perfect in excelentul canon nord-american al fantasticului, curg natural si cu mare lejeritate printr-o America profunda si misterioasa, America care pentru Ford este si inspiratie si adversar. Desi povestirile din aceasta colectie par mai putin reusite decat cele din The Drowned Life (cel putin din punct de vedere al premiilor), volumele de proza scurta fantasy ale lui Ford nu trebuie sa lipseasca din nicio biblioteca a fanilor SFF.

 “From the unparalleled imagination of award-winning author Jeffrey Ford come twenty short stories (one, “The Wish Head,” written expressly for this collection) that boldly redefine the world. “Crackpot Palace” is a sumptuous feast of the unexpected–an unforgettable journey that will carry readers to amazing places, though at times the locales may seem strangely familiar, almost like home. Whether he’s tracking ghostly events on the border of New Jersey’s mysterious Pine Barrens or following a well-equipped automaton general into battle, giving a welcome infusion of new blood to the hoary vampire trope or exposing the truth about what “really” went down on Dr. Moreau’s Island of Lost Souls, Jeffrey Ford has opened a door into a dark and fantastic realm where dream and memory become one.”

 14. 08: Kij Johnson – At the Mouth of the River of Bees (Small Beer Press)

2009: “12 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” nominalizata la Hugo si Nebula. 2010: „Spar” castiga Nebula si este nominalizata la Hugo. 2011: „Ponies” castiga Nebula si este nominalizata de Hugo. 2012: „The Man Who Bridged The Mist” castiga Nebula si are mari sanse sa castige si premiul Hugo. Niciodata nu s-a mai intamplat ca un scriitor sa fie nominalizat si la premiul Nebula si la Hugo 4 ani consecutivi. Mai mult, in 2004 „Fudoki” este nominalizata la Word Fantasy Award, iar “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” este din nou nominalizata in 2008 la Nebula si la Word Fantasy Award. Sunt doar cateva dintre povestirile din aceasta prima colectie a lui Kij Johnson. Cred ca altceva nu mai are rost sa spun despre ea. Eu mi-am precomandat-o din primavara.

 “A sparkling debut collection from one of the hottest writers in science fiction: her stories have received the Nebula Award the last two years running. These stories feature cats, bees, wolves, dogs, and even that most capricious of animals, humans, and have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and The Secret History of Fantasy. Kij Johnson’s stories have won the Sturgeon and World Fantasy awards. She has taught writing; worked at Tor, Dark Horse, and Microsoft; worked as a radio announcer; run bookstores; and waitressed in a strip bar.”

16.08: Stephen Baxter – Iron Winter (Gollancz)

Iron Winter, singurul roman de pe lista, incheie trilogia inceputa cu Stone Spring, in care Baxter face ce-i place lui cel mai mult, sa imagineze istorii alternative intinse pe mii de ani. In aceasta serie, scriitorul britanic se intreaba ce s-ar fi intamplat cu istoria Europei daca limba de pamant care lega Anglia de Europa nu ar fi fost acoperita de ape in urma cu 10.000 de ani. Va lua nastere o lume noua fascinata, care nu va cunoaste Imperiul Roman, Crestinismul sau Islamul.

 “It is 1315. And darkness is falling… Many generations ago the Wall was first built to hold back the sea. Northland, a country of fertile plains and ancient forests rescued from the ocean, has become a thriving civilisation based on trade, technology and tradition, centred on the ancient home of the first builders, Etxelur. The whole of Europe, spanned by the Northlanders’ steam caravan lines, has been changed in ways that could never have been predicted. But nothing can last forever, not even the Wall. The weather is changing, growing colder, and in the wake of the long winters come famine, destruction and terror. And as whole nations are forced out of their lands and head for warmer climes, it seems that even Northland may not be able to endure. But there is one man, an elderly scholar, who believes he can calculate why the world is cooling, and perhaps even salvage some scraps of the great civilisation of Etxelur. As he embarks on his grand quest across the world, as nations struggle for survival and the fires of war burn in the gloom, only one thing is certain. The Ice is coming. Stephen Baxter’s epic series of a changed world reaches its chilling conclusion as the medieval world fights for survival in the cold of a winter without end.”

 30.08: Mike Resnick – Win Some, Lose Some: The Complete Hugo-Nominated Short Fiction of Mike Resnick (ISFiC Press)

In ultimii 23 de ani, Mike Resnick a fost nominalizat de 36 de ori (nu, nu este o greseala de scriere) la premiul Hugo, 30 dintre acestea fiind pentru povestirile ce se gasesc in acest impresionanta colectie. Sunt un mare fan a lui “Kirinyaga”, dar proza lui scurta din ultima perioada nu prea mi-a placut. Insa aceasta colectie este o fascinanta fereastra prin care putem studia, nu numai cariera lui Resnick, ci si preferintele fandomul american din ultimii 25 ani si istoria recenta a celui mai important premiu al SF-ului.

“Between 1989 and 2012, a span of 23 years, the members of the World Science Fiction Society have seen fit to honor Mike Resnick with 36 Hugo nominations, 30 for his fiction, more than any other science fiction author. The 30 nominated short stories, including the five winning tales, are included in this volume. As you read through these stories, you’ll find Theodore Roosevelt attempting to bring civilization to the Congo…and to London. You’ll return, with some regularity, to Africa, whether a mythical version existing on a terraformed asteroid or the historical birthplace of humanity along the Olduvai Gorge. Love and loss are depicted whether for a missing spouse, an old friend, an author one has never met, or a copper-skinned Martian princess. Walk in the dusty footsteps of Koriba or see what it is like to live with Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, and Igor. Like the fables which are embedded in so many of these tales, these stories will entertain and make you think. Without seeming to, Resnick adds layers of depth to even the most innocuous-seeming story. And when you are finished, you ll find yourself thinking about all they have to say.”

 31.07: Caitlin R. Kiernan – Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press)

Caitlin Kiernan, cel putin din punct de vedere al stilului si al prozei, nu are egal printre scriitorii americani de fantastic in viata si, dupa parerea mea, singurul dintre cei morti care se apropie de ea este Edgar Allan Poe. Kiernan, este extrem de prolifica, aceasta colectie fiind deja a opta, dar din pacate aceasta prolificitate, din propriile spuse, ii smulge cu fiecare povestire cate o parte din suflet si din sanatatea mintala (este foarte interesant de ascultat podcastul in care Caitlin a fost invitata lui Gary Wolfe si Jonathan Strahan). Insa tocmai pentru ca Kiernan, ca si toti marii artisti, pare sa fie consumata de propria ei arta, face ca o noua colectie a ei, sa fie pentru cititor, un eveniment si o sarbatoare.

“Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart is the follow-up to Caitlin R. Kiernan’s World-Fantasy Award nominated The Ammonite Violin & Others, a collection that drew comparisons to the writings of such luminaries of the macabre and surreal as Angela Carter, Thomas Ligotti, Shirley Jackson, and Harlan Ellison. Here, again, in her eighth collection, we visit the borderlands where the weird, horrific, mythic, and erotic intersect. Once again, Kiernan sets her masterful, intoxicating prose to the task of retelling fairy tales, spinning sensual post-Lovecraftian yarns, and blurring the lines between pain and pleasure. Here is a celebration of the bizarre and beautiful, and a marriage of unlikely worlds. From a reverence of the dead to the sacrifices the living make to unspeakable gods, from clockwork dreams to tales of merciless revenge, Kiernan blurs the artificial lines of genre, and shows us a world where there is no division between the light and dark.”