I suspect it’s a carefully designed hoax, but even if it is, it’s still cool.
Which is: Pulled the Bible down off the shelf, read a passage to my daughter and then discussed it with her for a good long time.
Which passage? This one.
Why? Because Jesus had some smart things to say.
Why does an agnostic keep a Bible handy? See above.
Once again, many of these didn’t actually just arrive; some of these showed up whilst I was traipsing about the North American continent recently. But hey! I’m all about catching up!
* For the Win, by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen): In which Cory imagines what is essentially an underage proletariat uprising in the world of massive multiplay online role playing games. That Cory Doctorow. He’s such a geek. This is another YA from Cory, who I think has really found his stride as a fiction writer in that field; it really suits him and the tales he likes to tell. And of course like much of the best YA, you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it, which comes as a relief to this days-away-from-41-year-old. The book will be out next Tuesday (which means, as a practical matter, that your local bookstore may already have it), and Cory’s also starting his North American book tour next week.
* The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Anchor Books): The trade paperback version of Zafon’s bestseller, in which a struggling author gets a book deal from a publisher that’s too good to be true… and what do you know! It is! Man, writers never get a break. Out 5/18.
* Little Vampire Women, by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina (Harper Teen): Yeah, Little Women and vampires. You know the drill on these things by now. Out in bookstores.
* The Hittite, by Ben Bova (Forge): You know, just the other day I was saying to myself, hey, why don’t I see very many books about Hittites? They were a perfectly cromulent historical civilization! And then, bam, this book shows up on my doorstep. See? The Secret was right! (Note: The Secret isn’t right.) And actually the book is less about the Hittites than a single Hittites who, while on a quest to find his stolen family, comes across a battle at a little town called… Troy. Now we’re talking! Out now.
* 137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession (Norton): Very recently I seem to have gotten on the radar of non-fiction publishers, particularly those who have books of a scientific bent. To which I say: Awesome. More please. This book, for example, looks at the friendship between physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, and their mutual fascination with the number 137, which apparently has some mystical import. And now I just know I’m going to see the number 137 everywhere I go. Scheduled for 5/17 but Amazon says it’s out now, so you tell me who you’re going to believe.
* Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality, by Manjit Kumar (Norton): In which the two titans of 20th Century Physics went at it on the subject of the very fabric of existence! Kind of like scientific luchadores! Well, not very much like that at all, actually. But that’s a hell of an image I just put into your head. The real question is whether this book will be as entertaining as the Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Puppets. We can hope. This one is out 5/24.
* Metrophilias, by Brendan Connell (Better Non Sequitur Press): Thirty six short stories about thirty six cities. That’s one short story for each city, mind you, not thirty six for each city. Because that would be 1,296 short stories overall. And that’s, like, a lot for one book. Out now.
* The Liar’s Lullaby, by Meg Gardiner (Dutton): Edgar Winner Gardiner is back with a new thriller featuring forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, who has to uncover the mystery of a musician’s death — a death with national political implications. Which are some of the best kind of implications! Gardiner will be along in June with a Big Idea about this book, which — not at all coincidentally — will also be out in June.
* The Ambassador’s Mission, by Trudi Canavan (Orbit): The first in the new “Traitor Spy Trilogy,” which is itself set in the world of Canavan’s “Black Magician Trilogy”. In this books, a magician is called upon to find another magician who is killing the thieves of Imardin, sparking an underworld war. Out 5/18.
* The Stuff of Legend, Book I: The Dark, by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III (Villard): In this graphic novel, set in 1944, the Boogeyman steals a child, and the child’s toy decide to get him back. Go, toys! Go! Out now.
Brothers and sisters, do you have faith? Writer and editor Maurice Broaddus would suggest to you that you do, whether you think you do or not. And it’s that sometimes evanescent nature of the thing that infuses Dark Faith, a collection of stories on faith from science fiction, fantasy and horror authors — not necessarily the group you expect, basically. But then, as Broaddus explains below, that’s part of the point.
If I said I had a collection of stories revolving around the idea of faith, I bet if I were quiet enough, I could hear the collective eye roll of disinterest. Oh, you might hear me out on the topic, but only with the glazed eyes of indifference. I can guess what you’re thinking: a bunch of preachy stories dressed up in horror and fantasy, but you know and I know they are a bait and switch waiting to happen. A stuffy collection of Sunday School stories trussed up alongside Jesus tales.
Sheesh. I wouldn’t want to read that … I got stuff to do. Judging from far too many stories encountered in my slush pile, many writers THOUGHT that’s what we were trying to put together. What we wanted were stories from a variety perspectives using faith as a jump off point.
Dark Faith began as a tribute anthology to the convention that I put on, Mo*Con (yes, Maurice Convention). If you could do a convention in the con suite for a weekend, that’s Mo*Con. Sometimes billed as “the intersection of spirituality, art, and social justice”, the convention is built around a series of three conversations: typically, one on matters of faith, one on matters of writing, and one on some social issue.
The fact of the matter is that we all believe in something and no matter what our worldview is, it begins with a leap of faith. Faith is edgy. Faith is risk-taking. Faith is scary. Then again, maybe I have a broader definition of the word faith than some.
So I invited horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers to riff on the idea of faith. Who we are, artists and people of faith, expressing our theology, whatever it may be, in our writing. And with the challenge to take it to another level: Art is never for its own sake, but people’s sake. I believe that art should be engaged with and, in its own way, explore truth – and we shouldn’t be afraid of truth, no matter where it takes us.
And in this anthology, it has taken us to new and interesting places. Life can be magical and terrifying, filled with both fantasy and horror. There is life and there is death – everything in between is unknown. We live in the throes of “why?” We react to injustice, we question why bad things happen to good people. The existential terror of what it means to encounter God, the ultimate Other. On the other side, there’s the idea that God is personal and relational, Jesus can be a guy you can sneak around back and share cigarettes with. We can see faith lived out in love and relationships; or be horrified by the things done in God’s name. Faith in action can move us to do something, to confront the sins of our age, such as sexism, homophobia, racism to name a few.
That’s the big idea. The small idea looks something like this: I wanted to give writers an intriguing theme and then get out of their way. So we get a zombie story from Catherynne Valente, a dark science fiction tale from Gary A. Braunbeck, and stories that blur and transcend genre labels from Nick Mamatas, Lavie Tidhar, and Tom Piccirilli. Some stories are violent, some are funny, some are sex filled … all will move you.