Displaying articles for: August 2013

BNR Recommends: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2013 (So Far)

Science Fiction, that harbinger of things to come, is a genre alive and well, continuing to serve as an illumination of our greatest hopes and fears for what the future holds.  Similarly, the epic tales of the Fantasy genre cast the human experience as one of dueling triumph and devastating defeat, war and serenity, royalty and paupers.  These fantastic realms have produced some of 2013's finest fiction, corralled and admired here at the Review.  And so we have compiled a collection of forty-two works comprising the best SF and Fantasy of 2013 (Thus Far), which can be found by clicking here

 

What follows is a round-up of four particularly fascinating books from this list, each of which has captured our sense of the surreal, and quenched our thirst for heroes and villains of mythic proportions.  -- The Editors

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Tinker, Taylor, Warlock, Spy

Blending consensus historical events and personages with imaginary occult forces is a strong recipe for counterfactual storytelling goodness that combines the best of two worlds: resonant history with wild-eyed fantasy. The formula has worked for Mike Mignola's Hellboy franchise, as well as Charles Stross's Laundry series. Ian Tregellis's Milkweed Triptych is the latest such hybrid, zestily offering a suspenseful take on history rerouted by the uncanny.

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What's It Like for a Critic to Write a Novel? A Guest Post by Caleb Crain

There’s lots to like in Caleb Crain’s marvelous debut novel, Necessary Errors. This is a coming-of-age story of exiles and expats finding freedom in post-Velvet Revolution Prague.  In elegant prose and with great tenderness, Crain captures all the messiness of twenty-something lives, where exuberance and idealism collide with expectations and indiscretions.

 

But Crain’s talent isn’t limited to writing novels; for years now, his journalism and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The New York Times, the London Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, and n+1.

 

Which is why I had to ask: What’s it like to be a critic-turned-novelist?

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A Week of Toothsome Reading

Few predators rival the shark in fascination.  No matter how often we see them, or how much we read about them, humans are always eager to learn more, exhibiting a mixture of reverence, awe and fear. 

 

All of which is to say, who can resist the notion of "Shark Week"?  Here's a week's worth --  seven vital volumes  -- of squaline lore, ranging from the scientific to the sensationally fantastic, to satisfy that obsession with what just might be out there in the waves.

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April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.