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Palmer's Emergence, which I never heard of before just now, sounds like the kind of thing I might like, but I can't tell from your description if you thought it was any good. ("Better than his other book" is not an endorsement I know what to do with, since I never read the other one either.) Do you remember how you liked it?

- Ken

Never read the novel version, but I really liked the novella version.

T.E.D. Klein did have a second collection, all reprints, come out last year. Reassuring Tales was published by Subterranean and charitably collects Klein's "minor works." It took years to get to print as well.

Klein isn't so much a very slow writer as he is a non-writer at this point. He had a second novel contracted which he never delivered. Despite that, his reputation is still very high in horror circles; he was recently interviewed by Cemetery Dance, for example. Anything he might publish would gain instant significant attention in the horror community.

and charitably collects Klein's "minor works."

Charitably meaning they're not very good? By weird coincidence I just learned of the existence of Reassuring Tales this week and was thinking about tracking it down.

The Waldrop has the best explanation for the Book of Mormon I've ever read.

A lot of those are Ace Specials, aren't they? Green Eyes, The Wild Shore, Them Bones, Palimpsests. Terry Carr sure had taste. (Though that last was a dud.) I was about to drop SF in favor of a mostly non-fiction reading list. Who knew it was a false dawn.

Interesting. You liked Lucius Shepard? IDNK that.

Early Robinson: it's not so much that he stuck to what he knew, as that he knew what he didn't know. His later books suffer from losing track of that. (Though I liked the Mars trilogy much more than James.)

Doug M.

Neuromancer (Anonymous) Expand
10 Procurator Kirk Mitchell

I think this is an alternate history in which Rome never fell
but I am not even sure that I read it.

It is an alternate history where a Rome that never fell confronts terrorists in the Middle East.

_Psychic_ terrorists, mind you. I believe there's a sequel in which Aztecs are fought and a third ("Cry Republic!") where there's a civil war and it ends with the Good Emperor getting religion.


Geary Gravel's The Alchemists and The Pathfinders are in my opinion excellent and are two of my favorite novels. His next two books are exceedingly light fun, and I didn't know he had written media tie-ins, but I don't imagine I'll bother looking for them.

As for Melissa Scott, I definitely hope she writes more, since I have found her work to be largely excellent.

I'm pretty sure Melissa is a regular guest at Gaylaxicon (she didn't attend when I chaired it in Toronto two years ago, but then again, we invited mostly Canadian guests), so she must be doing something to warrant attention.

Campbell Nominees for 1985

Bradley Denton
Geoffrey Landis
Elissa Malcolm
Ian McDonald
Melissa Scott
Lucius Shepard

Re: Campbell Nominees for 1985

I have no idea who Elissa Malcolm is and a quick google search doesn't turn anything up.

Winter's Daughter was a translation of a saga, and told therefore in somewhat stylized prose. The saga in question was one that arose in a future world recovering from nuclear war. I remember there was a frame, in which the translation was done by someone at a university in Africa -- the implication being that with the US and Europe devastated, countries that were once third-world rose to prominence. One detail that sticks in my mind was that the translator prefaced the text with the usual set of acknowledgements, and then said something like, "Much of what is good in this text comes from them. I invite their shared responsibility for any errors that remain."

I read it and enjoyed it when it came out, but that was long enough ago that I don't remember much more.

Charles Whitmore is the brother of Tom Whitmore, who is this year's Worldcon Fan GoH. Tom used to write reviews for Locus; this may well have had an influence on Winter's Daughter appearing on the list.

This was a landmark year in a lot ways, I think many of those were first novels for the authors, like the Gibson, Waldrop, Shiner, and the Shepherd.

The first wave of cyberpunk novels, sort of.

Weren't all of Carr's Ace SF Specials first novels? The Robinson was, too, at least.

I think all of Jones' work earlier than Divine Endurance was YA published under the pseudonym Ann Halam; it may not have come over to the US yet, or Locus etc. may not have known of the connection.

Divine Endurance was certainly published in Britain as her first novel and sold to me as such. I'd not heard of her before. I don't know if she'd already written the Halams, I certainly read them later.

Valentina: Soul in Sapphire Joseph H. Delaney and Marc Stiegler

I believe this involved an AI of some sort but I don't
remember much about it.

I'm pretty sure this is a fixup, because I have vague memories of there being a series of Valentina stories in Analog. I remember them as being mildly amusing, but not enough for me to bother picking up the book.

Right. Three shorts, actually. At the time, I thought of them as being an update on Hoyle's classic "A for Andromeda". Wait, that's not right. The 'Andromeda' update was . . . um . . . 'An X-Tee Named Stanley'? The Sapphire storied were neat, rather than good, and also around the time that particular magazine lost me as a regular reader. Didn't Cramer have a regular column in Analog then?

I've read The Wild Shore, Neuromancer (albeit just a few months ago for bookgroup), and Emergence. I've read other books by Robinson (I liked the Mars books!), Palmer, Shepard, Waldrop (shorts), de Lint, Shiner, Scott, and Jones.

8 The Ceremonies T. E. D. Klein

Finally, a book on this list I've read (although I've read the novella/short story version of some of these stories, like The Wild Shore).

I remember it being very good right up until the climactic tentacle rape scene.

More books I recognise, though still onyl read two of them: Neuromancer and Frontera. Rereading the first recently it was interesting to rediscover how good it is, once you can get over Gibson's understanding of computers. The second was interesting in that it was such a completely average cyberpunk novel.

My big problem with Gibson is his writing style. I had to really force myself through the first few chapters of Neuromancer and then it became easier.

David Mace used to be local to me when I lived in Lancaster. He used to give me rides to Preston to the SF group there sometimes. The last time I spoke to him -- which is some time ago -- he was trying to break into the more lucerative field of technothrillers.

Oh, and I've read five of these and other books by two of those authors. It seems to me as if 1985 was a good year for first novels, but I think what it was is that it's the year Interstellar Master Traders opened and I could suddenly buy US SF books off the shelf, and also start to get recommendations of the "If you liked that you should try this..." kind for the first time ever. I wouldn't have bought either Them Bones or The Wild Shore if not for that.

I think in 1985 we saw the Terry Carr effect, Terry had an eye for talent and it shows in his relaunch of the Ace specials.

These are almost all, that I know of, paperback originals.

What is the break point for the great shift to hard covers again?

1996 is the year the mass-market distribution system went smash, with distributors buying each other and laying off drivers left and right.

So my theory would be that the big shift would be to trade paperback for first novels in the year or two after that, and to hardcovers probably about 1999.

Howard Waldrop also wrote _A Dozen Tough Jobs_ (1989), which at 135 pages should qualify as a novel.

More recently, he wrote _A Better World's in Birth_ (2003), but that was only 49 pages (novella? novelette?).

Man this was a good year!

I've read Robinson's Mars trilogy but not this (Red great, Green good, Blue tedious). From what I gather about his work I'd prefer his earlier novels to the later ones.

I really like Gibson, so have read most of his novels bar the last two. Neuromancer is pretty good, although out of that trilogy I prefer Mona Lisa Overdrive.

I've not read that Shepard but have read the Green Jaguar story collection and have somewhere Life During Wartime. I really like his work, and wish more of it was easily available in the UK.

That goes double for Waldrop. I've read several of his shorts in various Year's Bests but never an actual book by him, whether one of the two novels or a collection.

From the single story I've read from Lewis Shiner I really should make an effort to track down more stuff by him. I know he's put a whole bunch of stuff on the net for free, I should really check him out.


I think I was too young for Scholz the first time I read him (in the New Legends anthology is I recall), I should give him a second chance.

I've only recently found out about Jones' work. The Aleutian trilogy sounds interesting, and I know she's working on a Space Opera that's set in the same setting as The Fulcrum and which I liked a lot, but for most of this decade she's being working on some Arthurian derivative cycle which holds no interest for me at all.

Bold as Love etc. are actually excellent.

If you are thinking Arthurian derivative as 'Lancelot in armor' they are not that at all.

It is actually rock and roll fairly near future post collapse green technology and politics.

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