The Pulp Revolution Spinner Rack II
November 21, 2016
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Another issue of Cirsova is here!
But face it. Double-sized spectacular that it is, the truth is… you want more. And you can have it, too. Because I’m telling you, our spinner rack runneth over:
(See my complete reviews at the Castalia House blog at each of those links!)
Science fiction before 1980 was suprisingly diverse, and I think this lineup reflects how we are beginning to recapture that. Marina Fontaine’s entry presents a dystopian near-future that is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in High Castle. (Trigger warning: it is noticably less subversive.) Donald Jacob Uitvlugt brings old style swords & sorcery, but… with anthropomorphic lion-people. L.E. Buis has straight ahead Campbellian science fiction. Jon Mollison does the one where the knight kills the dragon– but with the only believable father/daughter relationship you’re liable to come across. And finally… John C. Wright continues the series that takes every distinctive I’d noted in my survey of pulp fantasy and serves them up all at once!
This resurgence of old style science fiction and fantasy looks a lot closer to what you’d see in the canon for several reasons. One: fans of the good stuff have found each other and are comparing notes! Two: the advent of inexpensive publishing combined means that what worked in the original pulp revolution was liable to be tried in today’s marketplace. Three: the extraordinary influence of a clique of authors and editors centered in the New York publishing scene is now irrelevant.
If you’ve been underwhelmed by short works in the big name magazines, the market correction you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’re not going to see a handful of bloated series that never end or else that quickly end up with that tepid contractually obligated feel. No, you’re going to see dozens of talents writing shorter works… with the best of them getting encores… and the best of those being turned into fix-ups. This isn’t just how a community is forged. This is the sort approach that produced the best and most recognizable works of the genre.
It will do so again. Why? Because human nature has not changed in a hundred years. Neither has the creative process. And it’s already begun. Just last year it seemed like there was hardly anything good to read. Now…? I can barely keep up! There’s never been a better time to be a fan of science fiction and fantasy. Between the rediscovery of the canon and the end of the gatekeepers’ stranglehold on the field, anything can happen.
This is an awesome collection of stories that I think put to shame the sort of thing you’ll find in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies. Check ’em out!