Although I'm quickly running out of way to say, "this author is a good writer and you should read their work", I'm back with the 3rd set of spotlight authors from list of 25 Authors Worth Watching. If you haven't read the first two installments (Part 1 / Part 2) the basic format is as follows: I'll give you a little background on the writer, where you can find early work to sample, and what you should watch for in the next year or two.
This week's group features a pair of genre-aware fantasy writers, a hard SF prodigy, an Australian rising star, and a puppeteer responsible for some of the best short fiction I've ever read.
Update: Some of the information provided for Ari Marmell and Kaaron Warren was slightly incorrect out of date. I've updated accordingly.
- "Before I Wake" - Ravenloft Tie-in Story - Wizards of the Coast Online Initiative. October 2007. (Read Online)
- Black Crusade - Ravenloft Tie-in Novel - Wizards of the Coast - June 2009.
- Agents of Artifice: A Planeswalker Novel - Magic: The Gathering Tie-in - Wizards of the Coast - 1/27/09
- The Conqueror's Shadow - Epic Fantasy - Spectra - 2/23/2010 - To be followed by The Warlord's Legacy in early 2011
- The Goblin Corp - Pyr - Mid-to-Late 2011
Hannu Rajaniemi - A mathematician and physicist, Hannu Rajaniemi seems like he was born to be a Hard SF writer. From the stories I've been able to read so far, it appears he's well on his way to fulfilling that destiny. Rajaniemi is the type of writer who can fit into a single sentence the type of idea that others would write entire books about. "His Master's Voice," a story about two post-pet characters, is a great example of this, detailing the miniaturization of humanity for resource conservation in nothing more than a throwaway line. When I was browsing various lists of "anticipated novels" Rajaniemi's debut The Quantum Thief seemed to pop up again and again. Labeled as Neuromancer meets Ocean's Eleven, Rajaniemi sold a three book deal on a total of 24 pages. If that doesn't suggest he's capable of writing something special, you can always take Charles Stross's word for it. Stross ( one of the premiere Hard SF writers today) predicted Hannu would become "the biggest thing to hit hard SF in the next decade." The Quantum Thief makes its UK debut this September and I'll be violating my waiting-for-US-edition policy shortly thereafter.
- Words of Birth and Death – Short Story Chapbook - Writers Bloc - 2009.
- “His Master’s Voice” – Interzone, October 2008 - (Listen Online at Escape Pod)
- Reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection (Gardner Dozois, ed.) - St. Martins Griffin - 6/23/09
- Reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 3 (Jonathan Strahan, ed.) - Night Shade Books - 3/15/09
- “Deus Ex Homine” – Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction (Neil Williamson and Andrew J. Wilson, eds.) - Crescent Books - 2005
- Reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection (Gardner Dozois, ed) - St. Martins Griffin - 7/11/06
In the Future:
- The Quantum Thief - Far-future Hard SF - Gollancz (UK only) - 9/16/10
Kaaron Warren - Over the past several years, Kaaron (don't call her Karen) Warren has made a name for herself over in Australian publishing circles. Wherever she is now (it's no longer Fiji), she is well on her way to repeating that accomplishment on a global stage. Her debut novel, Slights, impressed both critics and horror fans alike, at the same time earning a Publisher's Weekly Starred Review and the honor of being selected as Pick of the Week. Although most of her work has at least a tinge of horror, Warren is actually a genre nomad, fluctuating between horror, fantasy, and SF depending on the story. She's also the perfect author for the eclectic reader having written 3 novels to date (and is working on at least 2 more), none of which are written in the same world. In a publishing landscape in which every book seems to be part of a series, Warren propensity for standalones is much appreciated and a sign that she has in mind many different stories to tell.
- "The Tell" Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (Ellen Datlow, ed.) - Horror Anthology - Solaris - 1/6/09
- "Down to the Silver Spirits" Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy (Ekaterina Sedia, ed.) - Urban Fantasy Anthology - Senses Five Press - 4/1/08
- "Ghost Jail" 2012 (Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne, eds.) - Near Future SF Anthology - Twelfth Planet Press - 2008
- Reprinted in The Apex Book of World SF (Lavie Tidhar, ed.) - World SF Anthology - Apex Publications - 2009
- "Dead Sea Fruit" - Fantasy Magazine 4 - Fantasy Magazine - 2006
- Reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow, ed) - St. Martin's Griffin - October 2007
- The Glass Woman - Short Fiction Collection - Prime Books - November 2007
- Slights - Horror Novel - Angry Robot - July 2009 (UK) / April 2010 (US)
- Walking the Tree- Fantasy - Angry Robot - July 2009 (UK) / June 2010 (US)
- Mistification - Horror Novel - Angry Robot - June 2010 (UK) / TBD (US)
- Untitled - 2nd Short Story Collection - Ticonderoga Publications - Before Sept 2010
- "The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall" - Exotic Gothic 3 (Danel Olson, ed) - Ash-Tree Press - Q1 2010
- Reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 2 (Ellen Datlow, ed.) - Night Shade Books - March 29, 2010
Mary Robinette Kowal - Mary Robinette Kowal won the 2008 Campbell Award. After reading her debut collection, Scenting the Dark (full review here), it was easy to see why. Several of her stories are ten pages or less, but they pack an emotional punch disproportionate to their word count. Kowal can do in 5 pages what some authors can’t do in 50. I highly, highly recommend Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. One of the most interesting things about Kowal is that she actually works as a puppeteer for her day job. I've seen it suggested that her experience with puppets and stage performance contributes to her exceptional grasp on dialogue and her ability to do more with fewer words. After reading her work, it's hard to disagree. Her debut novel, a historical fantasy entitled Shades of Milk and Honey, comes out from Tor this August and I've already requested an ARC.
- Scenting the Dark - Subterranean Press - Dec 2009
- "Evil Robot Monkey" - The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume 2 - SF Anthology - Solaris - February 2008 (Read or Listen Online)
- "First Flight" - Tor.com - 2009 (Read Online)
- Shades of Milk and Honey - Historical Fantasy - Tor - August 3, 2010 - To be followed by Glamour in Glass
- "The Bride Replete" - Apex Online -March 2010 (Read Online)
- "Beyond the Garden to Close" - Apex Online - March 2010 (Read Online)
- "Horizontal Rain" - Apex Online - March 2010 (Read Online)
- "Changed Itinerary" - Légendes - March 2010
- "Ring Road" - Dark Faith Anthology - May 2010
Sam Sykes - Sam Sykes is crazy. While I'm tempted to stop there, it's also worth nothing that he's both fiendishly creative and the author of Tome of the Undergates, one of the "hot" fantasy titles of 2010. From following his twitter feed and reading his blog, it's clear that Sykes has an effortless way with words. His writing has a razor sharp edge and while a blog isn't equivalent to a novel, I'm going to be very interested to see the prose style that emerges from that same mind. I've also seen comparisons to Abercrombie and Lynch, two of my favorite fantasy authors of the last 5 years. Sykes is one of the few authors I haven't sampled yet, and one of the authors I'm most interested to read
In the Future:
- Tome of the Undergates - Epic Fantasy - Gollancz (UK) / Pyr (US) - April 2010 (UK) / TBD 2010 (US) - To be followed by Unnamed Books 2 and 3 in the trilogy
15 down, 10 to go. Although its hard to find enough time to sample so many authors in a relatively short period and keep up with normal blogging activities, these authors are all putting out material worth reading.
As always, let me know if there are any other key pieces of info you would be interested in or if I somehow managed to get something incorrect. I'll probably have the next piece ready next week unless I suddenly stop working 10 or 12 hour days.