Locus magazine have given somewhat rapturous applause by way of recommendations to Nick Gevers’s EXTRASOLAR, Jack Dann’s CONCENTRATION, Ian MacLeod’s RED SNOW and Angela Slatter’s WINTER CHILDREN in their recommended reading list for 2017 titles. For those of you who have so far failed to succomb and pick up this quartet of classic stories . . .
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Among the brilliant visionary scenarios in Extrasolar: military antagonists meet in the atmosphere of a gas giant; gifted children hijack a starship to search out a new home; a superjovian world yields mysterious and much-coveted gemstones; aliens find our solar system disconcertingly paradoxical; a feminist SF writer of the Seventies crafts liberating exoplanetary dreams; the habitats aboard a gargantuan spaceship cater to the needs of truly exotic aliens; and scientists eagerly seeking exoplanets confront a devastating truth. And then there are songs of home and far away and bitter exile; intelligence calling to intelligence across light years and species barriers; utterly immersive dives into perilous planetary atmospheres; brave responses to enigmatic messages from the stars; a machine embracing a Gothic destiny; and a truly different kind of space opera.
Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales collects some of Angela Slatter’s finest horror stories to date. From the Lovecraftian laments of “The Song of Sighs” and “Only the Dead and the Moonstruck” to the uncanny notes of “The October Widow” and the stunning new “The Red Forest”, it’s clear that Slatter is, in the words of Stephen Jones, ‘a powerful and eloquent voice in horror fiction.’ Each tale is a darkly crafted gem.
In the aftermath of the last great battle of the American Civil War, a disillusioned Union medic stumbles across a strange figure picking amid the corpses, and his life is changed forever . . . In the cathedral city of Strasbourg in the years before the French Revolution, a church restorer is commissioned to paint a series of portraits that chart the changing appearance of a beautiful woman over the course of her life, although the woman herself seems ageless . . . In Prohibition-era New York, an idealistic young Marxist is catapulted into the realms of elite society, and forced to assume the identity of someone who never existed . . .
Red Snow is a novel of love and violence, ideas and dreams, and revolves around the mystery of a monster drawn from humanity's darkest myths which still somehow survives, and thrives, and kills, in this modern age.
In this new short-story collection Concentration, Dann enlists the techniques of fabulation to illuminate one of the defining events in human history: the Nazi Holocaust.
Author and critic Marleen Barr has written that “Dann is a Faulkner and a Márquez for Jews”; and Concentration is a testament to that claim, for these confronting and thoughtprovoking stories are written from a perspective rarely seen in literature. Concentration is nothing less than an attempt to describe the indescribable . . . to come to terms with the unthinkable. The Holocaust was so terrible, so far on the edges of comprehension, so surreal, so psychologically cyclonic and horrific in dimension and effect that perhaps it might best be glimpsed through the reflections of metaphor and fantasy.
Dann answers the historian Hayden White’s call to revise our notion of what constitutes realistic representation in order “to take account of experiences that are unique to our century and for which older modes of representation