Mark Newton from Solaris has kindly sent me copies of a couple of books I edited for them a few months ago: Eric Brown’s Helix and The Infinity Plus Anthology. Both books are really good reads.
Helix is a straightforward space opera in the Ringworld mould, but far better. In spite of the awards it won, I never really warmed to Ringworld – probably because the rather unlikeable characters in the novel are comprehensively upstaged by the Ringworld itself. Brown’s Helix is as imposing an artefact as Niven’s Ringworld but the characterization in his novel is much stronger – even the two-foot-tall ballooning rat!
The Infinity Plus Anthology is a fascinating collection of fantasy and SF shorts by many well-known authors. The rationale behind the collection is that these stories have been chosen by their authors as works that are particularly dear them and deserving to be republished.
And here is something else to watch out for from Solaris: I have just finished copy-editing their New Book of Fantasy (compiled by George Mann). It offers a comprehensive overview of the state of fantasy at the moment, from sword and sorcery to magical realism. My particular favourites are: ‘Grander than the Sea’ by Tim Pratt (not just comic fantasy, but well-structured comic fantasy); ‘Prince of End Times’ by Hal Duncan (I never cease to be amazed by the sheer amount of poetry he can squeeze in to a piece of prose), ‘The Song Her Heart Sang’ by Steven Savile (this is the sort of story that inspires me to get on with my own writing); and ‘Chinandega’ by Lucius Shephard (a searing piece of dystopian magical realism).