Notable New Books: Beyond Binary, Lauriat, The Moment of Change, and Yesterday’s Hero

Jeff VanderMeer • August 14th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm • Book Reviews


(The cool cover art for Lauriat)

I’m a little behind on blogging about some interesting books that’ve come my way. So here are thumbnails on four of them, all of which you should consider picking up…

Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Charles Tan. “Filipinos and Chinese have a rich, vibrant literature when it comes to speculative fiction. But what about the fiction of the Filipino-Chinese, who draw their roots from both cultures? This is what this anthology attempts to answer. Featuring stories that deal with voyeur ghosts, taboo lovers, a town that cannot sleep, the Chinese zodiac, and an exile that finally comes home, Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology covers a diverse selection of narratives from fresh, Southeast Asian voices.” Written up in Publishers Weekly and on io9.com. I’m still delving into it and finding it very entertaining.

Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction edited by Brit Mandelo. An excellent anthology that even includes a reprint from the pirate antho Ann and I edited a few years back. The contributor’s list is awesome: Sandra McDonald, Kelley Eskridge, Nalo Hopkinson, Katie Sparrow, Ellen Kushner, Tansy Roberts, Delia Sherman, Catherynne M. Valente, Sonya Taaffe, Claire Humphrey, Richard Larson, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Sarah Kanning, Keyan Bowes, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Liu Wen Zhuang, and Terra LeMay. It’s just a really first-rate selection of stories, even if it didn’t also have a fairly unique theme.

The Moment of Change edited by Rose Lemberg. This is such a strong collection of poetry, from a veritable who’s who in the field, from Le Guin to Valente, Nisi Shawl to Theodora Goss. We ran an extended feature with two samples over at Weird Fiction Review earlier this summer. “The range of approaches and voices in this collection is astounding; as Lemberg notes in the introduction, there are ‘works that can be labeled mythic, fantastic, science fictional, historical, surreal, magical realist, and unclassifiable.'”

Yesterday’s Hero by Jonathan Wood. A fun and clever romp that’s somewhat unclassifiable: “Another day. Another zombie T-Rex to put down. All part of the routine for Arthur Wallace and MI37—the government department devoted to defending Britain from threats magical, supernatural, extraterrestrial, and generally odd. Except a zombie T-Rex is only the first of the problems about to trample, slavering and roaring, through Arthur’s life. Before he can say, ‘but didn’t I save the world yesterday?’ a new co-director at MI37 is threatening his job, middle-aged Russian cyborg wizards are threatening his life, and his coworkers are threatening his sanity.”

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