By Adam Roberts | February 7, 2009
Categories: Book News
A couple of author-contributor copies of short-fiction collections dropped through the letterbox last week.
First was Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers' nonpareil Postscripts magazine (Winter 2008, Number 17 it says on the cover; it was winter 2008 not long ago, and it is still winter, so that's more or less right), in which my story 'A Prison Term of a Thousand Years' appears. One of the best I've written, I think. In the little author blurb slot they give you in Postscripts I say: 'so much sf is fast paced, frenetic and kinetic. I wanted to write a short but very slow story', and that's what I've done. But the reason I like it so much, I think, is that it's a text that marks a shift from doing to being, and that's even rarer in SF, I'd say. Annoyingly (although only for me) 'A Prison Term of a Thousand Years' isn't even the best thing in this issue of Postscripts. That palm goes to Ian Macleod's simply superb narrative of the miseries and mysteries of the English camping holiday, 'The Camping Wainrights.' The whole of that excellent story (indeed, the storm scene within it alone) is worth the price of admission to the collection. Go, buy. This is the last issue, too. If that's not a collector's item, I don't know what is.
Also on the mat was a copy of George Mann's Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Volume Three. I'm particularly chuffed to be included in this, since I believe that (with the possible exception of Steve Baxter, who is always and everywhere exceptional) I am the only person so far to have had two stories in this highly regarded series of collections. That's an honour right there. My story this time round is called 'Woodpunk', is set in Chernobyl, and is (again) one of my better tales. In fact it is in its way a retelling of Tarkovsky's Stalker. The more observant amongst you will have noticed that I've reworked versions of that film, or elements of it, more than once in my writing career; but 'Woodpunk' is the most direct I've yet done.