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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:52 pm:   

It's not official yet, but things are looking good for The Science Fiction Book Club to publish a second volume of the year's best novella anthology series. I was very happy with the first one, and would be thrilled to do a second book.

Now, given that time is rushing past, and that if everything goes ahead the book will be due at the publisher in 50 days (!) I thought I'd post here as I did last year, to ask the knowledgeable readers on the Night Shade forums for recommendations.

What I'm looking for is a headís up on any stories that youíve read during 2004 that are between 15,000 wds and 40,000 wds in length that you thought were terrific. I am biased towards science fiction for the book, and canít take straight horror, but welcome any story recommendations. I also canít consider any stories originally published by The SF Book Club during the year.

For what it's worth, I've seen some great novellas this year, and think the book should be terrific.
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AndyHat
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 07:31 pm:   

I've only barely started reading 2004 stuff at this point (my only deadline being the self-imposed May 1 date for mailing in my Locus Awards ballot), but Charles Stross' "Concrete Jungle" is the best novella I've read so far (that's the new novella forming the second part of The Atrocity Archives). Of course, I seem to recall you recently blogged an overview of Stross' ouevre, so you've probably already read it. :-)
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Roger
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 09:01 pm:   

I'll second the "Concrete Jungle" recommendation. Also on my 2004 novella list is a lovely Patricia McKillip novella "The Gorgon in the Cupboard" from an anthology of new romance oriented fantasy (or is it fantasy oriented romance?) titled To Weave a Web of Magic. A McKillip short fiction collection is long overdue.
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:18 pm:   

I've read several good long pieces by Stross. I thought his penultimate 'Accelerando' novella, "Elector", was very good and liked both Doctorow collaborations - "The Concrete Jungle" and "Appeals Court". I need to re-read "The Concrete Jungle" though. I remember it as being a little more confused than, say, "Appeals Court".

On the McKillip - I desperately need to get hold of a copy of the story. Rich Horton just recommended it to me too, so I"m eager to see it. I also agree about a story collection. It's an essential book and someone has to do it.
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Niall
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 12:54 am:   

I marginally prefer 'The Concrete Jungle' to 'Elector', but it's a close thing. Also, I didn't think 'The Concrete Jungle' was a collaboration.

Other novellas I really liked--Gregory Feeley, 'Arabian Wine' (Asimov's April/May); Stephen Baxter, 'Mayflower II' (PS Publishing); Dozois/Martin/Abraham, 'Shadow Twin' (SCIFICTION, June or July I think).

A few I enjoyed but rate slightly below the ones above--'Eleanor' by Adam Roberts (Swiftly); 'Sergeant Chip' by Bradley Denton (F&SF Sept) 'Hands Up! Who Wants To Die' by Lucius Shepard (Trujillo/Night Visions 11); 'Left of the Dial' by Paul Witcover (SCIFICTION Sept).

I really hope this book does go ahead. I thought last year's volume was very good.
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Jonathan
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 05:18 pm:   

Have you read "Appeals Court"? Good story. And you're right about "The Concrete Jungle" not being a collaboration - a typo. Of the others, I liked the Feeley, the Baxter and the Dozois/Martin/Abrahams very much, though I also liked Feeley's "Gilead" (which is SF and a little shorter). I'm still half way through "Eleanor", but I loved the Denton and Witcover, and thought the Shepard was pretty good.

Thanks for the recs, and for the kind words about last year's book. I'm quite proud of it, and I think this one will happen.
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Niall
Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 12:37 am:   

I have read 'Appeals Court' and like it a lot, although I'm not sure how well it would work without 'Jury Service' alongside it.

The only problem with last year's book was that, given that I'm not American and can't join the SFBC, I had to resort to Cunning Tactics to get a copy. ;-)
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 10:20 pm:   

Has anyone heard anything about Lewis Shiner's novella "Perfidia", from Black Clocks magazine?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 05:06 am:   

Jonathan---

Yes. I think it's terrific, but I don't consider it SF/fantasy.

The magazine is BLACK CLOCK (singular), by the way.
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 05:31 am:   

It's official. I'm doing the book and it's due soon. Now, to get it together.
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Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

If you're still looking for novella recommendations, let me suggest L. Timmel Duchamp's "The Heloise Archive" in her collection Love's Body, Dancing in Time. Very powerful story and the collection is its first publication.
Nancy
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Jonathan
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 02:35 pm:   

I'll definitely check it out. Many thanks for the recommendation.
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Roger
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 11:35 am:   

If you are still open to suggestions for your Best Short Novels: 2005 I would recommend "The Garden" by Eleanor Arnason from George Zebrowski's Synergy SF anthology (Five Star), a lovely and thoughtful gem in a book otherwise filled with stories that struck me as dull and unpleasant. (I think it is novella length at 58 pages.) This is one of her hwarhath stories, a series that should have garnered multiple Hugos and Nebulas by now (IMHOP).
Roger
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Jonathan
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 03:50 pm:   

Roger: Many thanks for the recommendation. I'd read Eleanor's story and it's definitely on my short list for the final book. I remain surprised that there's no Arnason collection. Jonathan
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JV
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 01:56 pm:   

It's no doubt too late, but Leena Krohn's Tainaron--a short novel--is amazing!!!! Of course, it first appeared in Finnish many years ago, but this is its first appearance in English.

JeffV
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Jonathan
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 07:09 am:   

Sadly it is too late. The book is closed. Contracts are doing the contracty thing, and if I can just translate a Mac file it will be with the publisher on Monday. I honestly hate missing good stuff. - J
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Jack Dann
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:58 am:   

Hi, Jonathan,

Back from Brisbane. We should schmooze.

Yr pal,

--JACK
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:48 pm:   

Hi all,

Well, all of the contracts are pretty much done, and the book is due in the hand's of the publisher in a day or so, so I thought I'd post the final contents list. Many thanks to everyone who commented, helped out, or were involved in any way.

Men are Trouble, James Patrick Kelly
Mayflower II, Stephen Baxter
Sergeant Chip, Bradley Denton
The Garden: A Hwarhath Science Fictional Romance, Eleanor Arnason
Under the Flag of Night, Ian McDowell
Shadow Twin, Gardner Dozois, George R.R. Martin and Daniel Abraham
The Concrete Jungle, Charles Stross
The Gorgon in the Cupboard, Patricia A. McKillip
The Fear Gun, Judith Berman
Arabian Wine, Gregory Feeley
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William Atheling III
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 10:23 am:   

It must have been very frustrating not to be able to use the stories from BETWEEN WORLDS, a fellow SFBC-published anthology. Personally, I did not see a better novella this year than Nancy Kress' "Shiva in Shadow."
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   

I think BETWEEN WORLDS is a remarkably fine anthology, probably the best original SF anthology of the year. And, yes, if I could have, I would have loved to include a story or even two from it, but that's the way it swings. I would say, though, that if you're not an SFBC member you might consider either joining or waiting for the mass market ed. of BETWEEN WORLDS. It's worth the trouble.
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Roger
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 06:01 pm:   

There are several public libraries in the US that have BETWEEN WORLDS. My local library was able to obtain a copy for me by interloan. Most libraries will perform this service for a (usually) nominal fee. I would have been happy to buy a copy, but not with the hassle of joining the SFBC.
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JJA
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 06:57 pm:   

Some libraries charge a fee for the interloan service? My library does it for free.

I can see why you might not want to join SFBC, but it's not as much hassle as it used to be. You can handle all of your membership obligations online now; you don't have to worry about mailing those cards back (though you do have to log into the site in order to decline your monthly featured selections if you don't want them). But since it's online, it's a lot less of a hassle, at least to me it is. They'll also send you an email every month, so that serves as your reminder to go log in.

I find that it's worth it to keep the membership active once I've fulfilled my membership requirements just so that I can buy these exclusive books and special editions when they're available. SF Book Club does a lot of books in exclusive hardcover editions (books that are published as paperback originals by regular publishing houses), and they have a lot of those nice omnibus editions of novels in a series that are nice to pick up when you want to read a whole series.
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brainshades
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - 09:07 pm:   

Jonathan -

Do you know who is publishing the paperback of BETWEEN WORLDS and when? Thanks!
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2005 - 02:17 am:   

Sorry brainshades. I'm not in that loop, and have no idea. I know it's going to come out, but I'm not even sure who has bought it to reprint. I'd guess Tor, maybe. And, given the authors involved, they'll probably do a hardcover first. That's what happened with THE DRAGON QUINTET. If it's like SFBC's other titles, though, you could either subscribe, or get it for cheap from amazon.com. They currently list 46 copies for as little as sixty cents each here (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1582881081/qid=1117703787/sr=2-4/ref=pd_b bs_b_2_4/102-5763445-2683310).
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brainshades
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 10:20 pm:   

Is the version of ARABIAN WINE to be published in "Best Short Novels: 2005" the magazine version (Asimov's?) or is it the version published by that small press, whose name now also escapes me...? Thanks!
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Jonathan
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 01:48 am:   

To drive you completely crazy, it's neither. It's a slightly longer than the Asimov's version, adding a scene or two. I'm guessing that Greg woud recommend the Temporary Culture ed, but I think they're all good.

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