Things Beyond: April 2023

(Cover by Steve Hickman. Fantastic, May 1976.)

It’s the first day of April… and I don’t have a prank in mind.

I’m just gonna do what I do with every one of these forecast blogs, which is to give you a quick update on things and then list off what I’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks. Hope you did your taxes well in advance and aren’t scrambling now! If you’re a filthy American, that is.

Anyway, the biggest thing to happen to this blog recently has been the opportunity to get interviewed by German warrior queen and Hugo winner Cora Buhlert (link here), which naturally gave me the warm fuzzies. This is a relatively young blog, but already I feel I’ve made major progress with it, and it’s been a reliable excuse for discovering new (to me) authors and returning to old favorites. My goal with this site has been to indulge my own quirky and admittedly retro-leaning love of genre fiction, with a literary if also highly colloquial bent, and on that front it’s been a success. Honestly there are too few active fanzines in the field right now, with a good number of them being one-man shows like myself, and goddamnit we deserve to get more notice among industry regulars.

Now, where was I?

Right. It’s been what, four months since I covered a so-called complete novel? And uhh, we still haven’t gotten there yet: April is thirty days, not 31. Sad. Just one more month, I promise. In the meantime we have a serial, two novellas, and two short stories. Admittedly we have more familiar faces in the lineup than I would normally prefer, but given my schedule as of late I’ve made an exception for myself. Let’s see what we have.

For the serial:

  1. Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch. Published in New Worlds, July to October 1967. Disch is one of those American authors who appeared regularly in New Worlds during the height of the New Wave era, alongside Samuel R. Delany and Roger Zelazny. This is a four-part serial, but don’t be fooled! From what I can tell each installment is pretty short, which adds up because the novel in book form is like 180 pages. Short, but potent—or so I’ve heard. I’ve read a few short works from Disch before but this will be my first novel of his.

For the novellas:

  1. “Forgiveness Day” by Ursula K. Le Guin. From the November 1994 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. Hugo and Nebula nominee for Best Novella, and winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. I hate to say this as someone who likes Le Guin a lot, but I’ve yet to read the linked collection Four Ways to Forgiveness—thought apparently now it’s titled Five Ways to Forgiveness (they found another one). Three of the stories in this collection were published in Asimov’s in fairly close succession, with “Forgiveness Day” being the first.
  2. “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe. From the April 2007 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This is one of those F&SF special author issues. Hugo and Nebula nominee for Best Novella. Wolfe made his first SFF sale in 1951, but he didn’t start writing regularly until the mid-’60s, where from then on he became one of the field’s most distinguished authors. He’s most famous for The Book of the New Sun and the fix-up novel The Fifth Head of Cerberus, but Wolfe did not shy away from short fiction, with “Memorare” as but one example.

For the short stories:

  1. “The Big Night” by Henry Kuttner. From the June 1947 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. I covered C. L. Moore again last month, so I figure I ought to do Kuttner the same. The two are often treated as a package deal, forming like Voltron under their own names as well as a variety of pseudonyms, especially for the high-paying Astounding Science Fiction. Kuttner also appeared in several magazines apart from Moore. Take “The Big Night,” for example, which Kuttner had published under the pseudonym Hudson Hastings.
  2. “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” by George R. R. Martin. From the May 1976 issue of Fantastic. Martin has spent the past few decades so entrenched as a fantasist that it’s easy to forget there was a time when he mostly wrote science fiction instead, and that it was fantasy which was reserved for once in a blue moon. In 1976 you had two fantasy magazines: F&SF and Fantastic, and the latter paid worse. But Martin was good buddies with Ted White, Fantastic‘s editor, and this saw the publication of Martin’s first “pure” fantasy.

That’s it, that’s all I have. I take way too long to come up with these forecasts. I actually wrote this about a week ago; you’re only reading it now. Funny how time works. And as for those adventures in time and space…

Won’t you read with me?


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