TWO BOOKS, THREE WEEKS
Yes, it took me three weeks to get the last two books read - two weeks for the first one and then only one for the most recent. And yes, I have started on the next one...and it shouldn't take even a week to finish. In fact, I'll be surprised if I don't have it done by tomorrow. But anyway, here's what I've been reading...
My fourth book of the year was the original SF anthology Fast Forward 1, edited by Lou Anders. Anders is the editor of the Pyr line, which has quickly become one of the best SF publishers around (River of Gods and Infoquake and Paragaea, to name a few). This book is also from Pyr and does not disappoint. There are 19 stories and 2 poems (both by Robyn Hitchcock, former lead singer of The Soft Boys and current solo artist) underneath yet another brilliant John Picacio cover (and I really need to buy that book on his work). There was only one story I didn't care for, which is a fantastic ratio for any anthology. The highlights include Paul Di Filippo's "Wikiworld," where a guy in love with an oyster pirate ends up running the government for a few days in a future where Wiki is the basis of all interactions from political to economical to social; Ken MacLeod's "Jesus Christ, Reanimator," a look at how things might go if Christ actual did return to today's world; and John Meaney's "Sideways From Now," about quantum linking and alternate realities and politics and loss (and I must start reading his novels). Almost all of the rest of the stories are at that high quality and I can't recommend it enough. The best part is the "1" in the title...I can't wait to read the second in the series and I hope that one day I'll actually have a story in Fast Forward as well.
My fifth book was Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, which has gotten great reviews (and all of which mention how he is Stephen King's son). I have to say that I agreed with the reviews - it's a very good book. The setup is a middle-aged rock star, Judas Coyne, buys a ghost on the internet. It turns out that the ghost was sent to him for a reason and the ghost plan on destroying him. Judas will not go down lightly, however. We really get to know Judas and the woman he's with as they not only deal with the ghosts but the ghosts of their pasts. It's a character study and a horror novel and it all works very well. I hope that we get a domestic release of Hill's short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, which was released by PS Publishing and is hard to get a copy of. How about it, William Morrow?