Jan 20, 2011

2011 Debuts: Literary Crossovers and Short Fiction Collections

Today's debut preview shines a light on a few authors who may or may not be grateful for the attention. list. Literature and genre rarely play nice but when they do get together, they make one hell of a couple. Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman and China Mieville are only a few of the author who have made their careers off border straddling novels chock full or rich prose, challenging ideas, and original concepts. Will these authors make a name for themselves?

Literary Crossovers

Title: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
Author: Benjamin Hale
Publisher: Twelve
Release Date: February 2, 2011
Synopsis: Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys -- and most affecting love stories -- in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human -- to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.

Title: America Pacifica: A Novel
Author: Anna North
Publisher: Reagan Arthur
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica--one of the last places on earth that is still habitable, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food, and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The rich live in ""Manhattanville"" mansions made from the last pieces of wood and stone, while the poor cower in the shantytown slums of ""Hell City"" and ""Little Los Angeles,"" places built out of heaped up trash that is slowly crumbling into the sea. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy.

But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home--the only one she's ever known. In spite of their poverty she lives contentedly with her mother, who works as a pearl diver. It's only when her mother doesn't come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former ""Mainlander,"" and her mother's role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica. Darcy embarks on a quest to find her mother, navigating the dark underbelly of the island, learning along the way the disturbing truth of Pacifica's early history, the far-reaching influence of its egomaniacal leader, and the possible plot to murder some of the island's first inhabitants--including her mother.

Short Fiction

Next up is literarure's little sister, the short story. Like the hard stuff, short stories can be frustrating and amazing at the same time and it take a really skilled writer to put together a good collection. Early collections are more often than not compilations rather than true collections but there are those gems that manage a mix of distinct stories that also become more than a sum of their parts. Here are three very strong authors who I expect might provide just that.

Title: Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors
Author: Livia Llewellyn
Publisher: Lethe Press
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Synopsis: Death and pleasure. Freud's Todestrieb, his statement that ''libido has the task of making the destroying instinct innocuous, and it fulfils the task by diverting that instinct to a great extent outwards....The instinct is then called the destructive instinct, the instinct for mastery, or the will to power.'' Few authors have spun stories of Thanatos and Eros as skillfully and powerfully as Livia Llewellyn. In his introduction to this volume, Laird Barron writes ''Scant difference exists between exquisite pleasure and pain.'' An orphan girl with a mind for anthracite falls into the hands of a cult worshipping an entombed god. In the Pacific Northwest, evergreens lull prepubescent girls into their trunks to serve as wombs. A suburban housewife troubled by her present encounters the sixteen year-old girl she ached to touch in her dreams. These ten stories promise to indulge a reader's sensibilities, their fears and desires.

Title: Bluegrass Symphony
Author: Lisa L. Hannett
Publisher: Ticonderoga Publications
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Synopsis: Ticonderoga Publications is more than well-pleased to announce a forthcoming collection of stories by acclaimed writer and master crafter of unsettling tales Lisa Hannett.
The collection is titled Bluegrass Symphony and scheduled for publication next year.
Since her first publication in 2009, Lisa Hannett’s stories have appeared in numerous anthologies including titles by Twelfth Planet Press and Ticonderoga Publication’s groundbreaking paranormal romance anthology, Scary Kisses. She has published stories in Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine and has tales forthcoming in Weird Tales and Steampunk Reloaded.
Bluegrass Symphony deals with cowboys and fallow fields, shapeshifters and rednecks, superstitions and realities in harsh prairie country — and a whole bunch of other things thrown in the mix.

Title: How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future
Author: Rachel Swirsky
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Synopsis: Rachel Swirsky's 1st short fiction collection. It's about time.

Just a few titles between these two categories but I am always looking for more. As always, if you have any related suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Otherwise, come back tomorrow for my look at 2011's offerings for debut YA and Middlegrade fiction or check out the full index of 2011 here.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about the Swirsky thanks for the tip. It is, however, her second short story collection. Aqua Duct Press put out her first last year.



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