Spectra Pulse and SF Signal’s Underrated Writers

I just got my spiffy contributor’s copy of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra’s new biannual magazine. It features an excerpt from the forthcoming George RR Martin novel, original fiction by Cat Valente, and nonfiction from Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Tim Pratt, Kelley Armstrong, and me, among others. It really is a nice-looking magazine with real content to it–definitely worth checking out. Juliet Ulman at Bantam says, “We are giving out at several cons–for instance, we handed out several thousand at NY Comic Con last weekend. It is also going to several libraries across the country and some select retail accounts. Some of the exclusive content will be released digitally to this site and through our Myspace and Facebook pages. Those who will not be at, say, Comic Con International or the World Science Fiction convention who are eager to get their hands on the physical magazine itself should keep an eye on those pages, as we’ll be doing some summer reading offers, including the magazine.”

My article was on Unsung Heroes. Given the recent SF Signal feature on underrated writers, which included Ann’s choice of Kathe Koja, here’re my choices from Spectra Pulse. You’ll have to read the mag for the actual text.


Stuart Gordon: Victim of the New Age Fad?
Rikki Ducornet: Invisible to Genre Readers?
Rhys Hughes: Hurt by His Devotion to Short Fiction?
L. Timmel Duchamp: Too Daring for Her Own Good?

Individual Books
Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey (Vintage, 2000) – weak follow-up books
Dr. Black & the Guerrillia by Brendan Connell (Grafitisk, 2005) – small print run
Meanwhile by Max Handley (Picador, 1977) – seriously weird
The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen (Hodder and Stoughton, 1995) – diminishing returns on later books and somewhat reclusive
Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton (Bantam, 1987) – once popular, obscured by badly conceived “sequel” and intolerance for non-South American-written magic realism


  1. Alan says

    I definitely echo Ann V’s comments on Kathe Koja. A brilliant writer. I still rate Bad Brains as one of the best horror novels of the 1990s. But her work did tend to divide opinion, so maybe that explains why she isn’t as highly regarded as she deserves to be.

  2. says

    I’ve read some on those lists – such as Ducornet because of your occasional mentions of her over the years (The Fountains of Neptune), as well as Rhys Hughes for his audacious A New Universal History of Infamy. Enjoyed both of those quite a bit. Read Observatory Mansions this past January and I think it’s going to take a second read before I really can sort my feelings about that book, other than noting that Carey captures that “voice” quite well. Will look into the others in the near future.

  3. says

    I can’t believe you or no one at SF Signal mentioned William Browning Spencer. Spencer wrote two of the finest fantasy novels of the 1990s: Zod Wallop and Resume With Monsters (not to mention his superior short story collection The Return of Count Electric). Both books offered profound and humorous observations of contemporary society through the lens of insanity and other-dimensional creatures. Sadly both books sold poorly and are currently out of print.

  4. says

    I can’t believe some of the people at SF Signal mentioned Kelly Link and John Scalzi. Just scandalous considering how much attention they already get. It makes very little sense unless those asked just have no idea of the depth and breadth of stuff out there. Lazy at the very least!

  5. Caleb Wilson says

    William Browning Spencer’s one of my favorite underrated writers too. I love those two novels, but still haven’t managed to track down that story collection yet.

  6. says

    I guess people wrote of the “old” guys that the “Gen XYZers” haven’t really heard of due to whatever reason. Then again, I used the same rationale to justify a few of my choices elsewhere, like Juan Rulfo.

  7. says

    Although they did ask me, and because I was having such a fragmented day I just couldn’t think of anyone…and then the Spectra mag arrived, ironically, with my relevant article…

  8. says

    I cheated, though. After the obligatory American or two, the rest was just “furrin” stuff that no “red-blooded ‘Mer’kan” would have heard of…or read.

  9. says

    Yay for Max Handley! I thought I was the only person in the wurruld who’d read “Meanwhile”. Except for the people I kept giving it to, obviously…