Sampling the Multiverse: Three from 2011

From a busy year in reading, these works of imaginative daring stand out.

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Fight the System

Future dystopias are the settings for a growing number of stories for teens.

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The Children of the Sky

The long-awaited sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep explores a post-Singularity universe.

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Reamde

A cyber thriller disguises a morality play of epic scope and scale.

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The Magician King

The return of Quentin Coldwater, now High King of Fillory, but still a tormented kid from Brooklyn.

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The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown

Science fiction authors aid the war effort during WWII with fruits of their imaginations made real.

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Fuzzy Nation

The author of the celebrated Old Man's War gives a beloved science fiction series a fresh start.

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Walking to Hollywood

The British author makes a tragicomic odyssey through an imaginary L.A.

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New Masters of Story

Three new works of fantasy evoke a Golden Age of fictional invention.

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The Icebreaker

A  celebration of Russian satirist Vladimir Sorokin, a Swiftian writer whose work is steeped in the tropes of science fiction.

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Swamplandia!

A high-spirited tale of a gator-wrestling family and a young girl's quest, steeped in backwoods lore.

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The Universe Next Door

Brian Greene's audacious new book makes the case for the multiverse, in which everything that can happen, does.

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Beyond the Horizon: 21st-Century SF

A look at the stories from the beginning of the century this genre's been dreaming about.

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Of Cosmos and Crinolines: Three New Fantasies

Three new novels that find brave new worlds in surprising settings.

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Logical Surprise

Jane Smiley's history of the computer's genesis, and why science fiction never saw the Internet coming.

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Zero History

A slyly potent thriller that cocks an eyebrow at our trend-maddened culture.

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Rocket Men Redux

Is it time to resume our imaginative flights to other planets?

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The Castle in Transylvania

A new translation of a little-known classic helps remind us of Jules Verne's genius.

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Who Fears Death

A young heroine navigates post-apocalyptic Africa in an ambitious hybrid of fantasy and science fiction. Read more...

Full Steam Ahead

Four new literary adventures suggest that the hybrid genre of steampunk is still on the boil.

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Theodore Sturgeon: From Pulp to Sculpture

The penultimate volume in a collection that traces the career of one of science fiction's most eclectic voices. Read more...

Galileo's Dream

From the award-winning author of the Mars Trilogy, an intellectual adventure that shuttles between the 17th and 31st centuries. Read more...

Makers

The new book from the award-winning author of Little Brother attempts to bring new life into a foundational concern of science fiction: the social role of the technological innovator. Read more...

The Year of the Flood

In Margaret Atwood's new novel, the nearest of futures continues to breed wild dreams and compelling nightmares. Read more...

Fantastical Conceits and Turbulent Souls

Paul Di Filippo on ambitious new project attempts to compile the short pieces that emerged from Roger Zelazny's prolific imagination. Read more...

Aging Chrome: Cyberpunks in 2009

These trailblazers of the cyberpunk frontier haven't concluded their explorations. Read more...

Dreams and Nightmares: New Comics

Four new works of graphic narrative plumb the unconscious to unearth beauty and terror.

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Ballard's Legacy

The titanic influence -- and critical neglect -- of the iconoclastic writer J.G. Ballard, who died on April 19. Read more...

Stellar Operations

Paul DiFilippo looks at four science-fiction sagas that look to revive the genre's epic pleasures. Read more...

No Nostalgia Required: Four New Graphic Novels

Paul DiFilippo looks at four new graphic novels. Read more...

About the Columnist
Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul Di Filippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award -- all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.