Monday, November 01, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 10/30

As you read this, I'm far away from my usual haunts, and probably in line for some roller coaster or other. But that's no reason why I can't still bore you with a list of the books I saw last week!

As usual, I haven't read any of these yet, and they're a quite diverse mix -- but neither of those, I think, are bad things:

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me is a new collection of fairy-tale retelling, edited by Kate Bernheimer and including stories from forty-one interestingly varied names, from Neil LaBute and Kelly Link to Joyce Carol Oates and Francine Prose, with stops for Aimee Bender, Neil Gaiman, Rikki Ducornet, Shelley Jackson, Karen Joy Fowler, Kathryn Davis, and John Updike. As you might guess from a few of those names -- the ones who are dead, I mean -- this is not an original anthology; all of these stories have been published before, and are only being brought together here for the first time. I will note, mildly, that it seems odd to have a collection of modern fairy-tale retellings without a single story from the pioneering series of books edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling -- but that's the Curse of Genre yet again, I suppose. My Mother She Killed Me is being published in trade paperback by Penguin this month -- right in time for Halloween.

When I saw the new book from Mercedes Lackey in my mail, I was going to say something about how it's been a while since I saw a book from her. But then I checked and realized that she had a new Valdemar hardcover (Intrigues) last month, plus a paperback of a recent Arthurian novel (Gwenhwyfar), and has a Valdemar story collection (Changing the World) in December and another novel (Invasion) in March. So she's plenty busy, and I just haven't been paying attention. (There was a time when I read quite a bit of Lackey, so I fell like I should be keeping an eye on what she's doing -- though, clearly, I haven't been much good at that.) Anyway, this particular new book is called Trio of Sorcery, and it's a Tor hardcover in November, with three brand-new novellas, including new stories about Diana Tregarde (heroine of three very early urban fantasy novels) and Jennifer Talldeer (heroine of Lackey's early novel Sacred Ground). The heroine of the third story here is named Ellen McBride, and I won't swear that she's never appeared in a Lackey book before -- but, if she has, I don't recognize her.

Then I have two deliberately silly books for younger readers, both parodies, both from the same publisher. First, and most obvious, is Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring, a graphic novel parodying you-know-who (no, the nice one, not his no-nose villain) by Stefan Petrucha and Rick Parker. It's being published by Papercutz in November, and it looks to be full of "funny" names -- Dumb-As-A-Door, Nosewarts, Whiny Stranger, Valuemart and the Odor Eaters -- so, if you're looking to see a hugely popular series taken down a peg, here's the place to go.

And last is another book from Papercutz, in their modern revamp of the "Tales from the Crypt" series. It's called Wickeder, and it has three vaguely horror-tinged parody stories -- the title tale, which takes off the Gregory Maguire novel (or, more likely, the musical, or, possibly even more likely, a vague sense of what the musical might be about and a vaguer memory of The Wizard of Oz); a second story about "the Stinky Dead Kid," a Wimpy Kid parody that isn't told in diary form; and "Kill, Baby, Kill," which is either about the BP oil spill or Sarah Palin, or, just maybe, both. It will be out in November.


Anonymous said...

Most of the stories, with the exception of those listed on the copyright page (Oates, Gaiman, Prose, Updike and Brockmeier) so indicating previous publication credit, were commissioned specifically for My Mother She Killed Me, and are brand new to the collection. Some were "first serialized" in magazines or journals before the book came out, but have never been in book form. No stories were re-anthologized from Datlow/Windling's anthologies as those books are so widely read already. This book tries to shed new light on the tale and its influence on a broad spectrum of writers across perceptions of genre.

Mr.SFTV said...

I will say that the current Valdemar-trilogy-in- progress is well worth reading. It's really a return to what made the series so much fun to read in the first place. Foundation is worth picking up.
I think Ellen MacBride might be a character from the SERRAted Edge novels-the name's familiar.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Anonymous: The subtitle for My Mother She Killed Me does say "new," but the copyright page (at the very end of the book) lists sixteen of the stories as having appeared previously -- that's a full 40% of the book, so it's not quite as "new" as it might appear at a quick glance.

Of those previously published stories (from this decade, and so presumably not the ones that were reprints to begin with), Kevin Brockmeier's story appeared in his collection Things That Fall From the Sky; Neil Gaiman's "Orange" appeared in The Starry Rift, an anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan; the Jim Shepard story appeared in one of his collections; and the Kelly Link and Ilya Kaminsky stories also appeared in anthologies.

The Datlow-Windling anthologies drew from a wide swath of excellent writers, and I was surprised to see so few of them -- not Tanith Lee or Patricia A. McKillip, not Gene Wolfe or Jane Yolen, not Nancy Kress or Delia Sherman; just Neil Gaiman, as far as I can see -- involved with this clearly invitation-only anthology. But it does have an impressive, and long, list of contributors, mostly from the literary side of the aisle.

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