April Publications

Dimensions of Sheckley: The Selected Novels of Robert Sheckley, edited by Sharon L. Sbarsky, gathers five of the author's novels published over three decades in a tome certain to please devotees and whet the appetites of newcomers to his distinctive and endlessly inventive brand of sci-fi-cum-satire. Brains get swapped, spots in heaven must be purchased, cities can think and a "squat, ambulatory shrub" infects passersby with paralyzing metaphysical doubt in Sheckley's tales, all of which boast solid plots and knife-sharp humor. Introduction by Mike Resnick. (NESFA [www.nesfapress.com], $29 538p ISBN 1-886778-29-9)

It's a muted celebration and a "melancholy examination" of what might have been in movie buff David Hughes's (The Complete Kubrick) The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. In brief, slap-happily titled chapters (Twin Freaks; Alien ated; Lights, Cameron, No "Action!") Hughes explains David Lynch's difficulties with movie financing, how a Spielberg project called Night Skies became the genesis for both E.T. and Poltergeist and why the Six Million Dollar Man never made it to the silver screen. Illus. (A Capella/Chicago Review, $17.95 paper 264p ISBN 1-55652-449-8)

The sixth and final installment in a horror series in which all stories were set in Canada and/or penned by Canadian authors, Wild Things Live There: The Best of Northern Frights, edited by two-time Aurora-winner Don Hutchinson, features 16 dark and fantastical tales—of vampires who have their blood delivered like pizza, a doctor who becomes possessed by a patient's multiple personalities and dead who don't lie silent. With stories by Hugh B. Cave, Peter Sellers and others, this is a volume for North Americans of all stripes to enjoy, as long as they keep the lights on. (Mosaic [mosaicpress@on.aibn.com], $15 paper 200p ISBN 0-88962-765-7)

Some bibliophiles might argue that a book written less than 20 years ago hasn't quite yet earned the title of "classic," but Robert Silverberg's "world in chaos" novel Tom O'Bedlam is being touted as such, here reprinted and updated by the Hugo- and Nebula Award—winning author. It's the "definitive text," Silverberg writes, minus its original editor's revisions, and it tells a haunting tale of wisdom masked as madness and the search for answers to life's great questions. (Olmstead [22 Broad St., Milford, Conn. 06460], $14.95 paper 304p ISBN 1-587-54116-5)

March Publications

Though SF "master of prose technique" and "paragon of the storytelling art" (in the introductory words of Robert Silverberg, himself a certified luminary) Roger Zelazny died in 1995, collections of his work appear on shelves with pleasing regularity. The Last Defender of Camelot, the fifth in the series of new Zelazny editions, offers readers 11 of what Silverberg has deemed his best stories, including "24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai," which earned him one of his six Hugos, and 1992's "Come Back to the Killing Ground, Alice, My Love," which has not been previously collected. (ibooks [www.ibooksinc.com], $14.95 paper 416p ISBN 0-7434-3510-9)

Novelist, Englishman and admittedly incompetent amateur blacksmith Tom Holt offers readers two previously published comic fantasies under one cover in Expecting Beowulf (with a bonus of a very funny bio: Holt identifies himself, for instance, as a "short, fat, middle-aged bearded guy who sounds like someone doing a rather bad Hugh Grant impression"). A nighttime collision with the last of the Frost-Giants (who's disguised as a badger) shifts an ancient balance of power, and mild, dopey Malcolm Fisher is made ruler of the world in Expecting Someone Taller; in Who's Afraid of Beowulf (get it?) an archeologist rouses a dozen Vikings from a 12,000-year-old sleep and then has to be their treasurer, chauffeur and pseudo-mom as she aids them in their quest to save the world. (NESFA [www.nesfapress.com], $16 paper 268p ISBN 1-886778-36-1)

Shifting points of view, newspaper accounts, letters and lectures combine to tell the strange and remarkable story of Mills Loomis Mills, an obsessive and intelligent college dropout who's haunted by ghosts, his girlfriend's murder and "yelping blood cells" (yes, blood—whether spilled that day or 150 years ago—communicates to the hero). First-time novelist C.W. Cannon's narrative gimmicks and occasionally overheated prose might turn off some of Soul Resin's readers, but others will appreciate the parallels between such authorial extravagance and trickery and Cannon's darkly gothic tale, which is set in his native (and also rather gothic) New Orleans. (FC2 [Dept. of English, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, Fla. 32306-1580], $13.95 paper 302p ISBN 1-57366-099-X)

M.S. Murdock (Web of the Romulans) weaves a compelling tale of discovery, danger and the importance of morals in her new SF adventure, A Sea of Troubles. Impassioned Professor Owlglass, aided by the Hans Solo—esque engineer James Ahrens, leads a research expedition to the watery planet of Okeanos, where he and his crew quickly find themselves haunted by strange and vivid dreams, plagued by their own inner and interpersonal conflicts, and prey to the planet itself, which, like a "Venus's flytrap [ensnares] its victims with its innocent beauty" and holds many deep secrets. (Writers Club/iUniverse [www.iuniverse.com], $15.95 paper 259p ISBN 0-595-20920-3)