Call me silly, but books excite me. Here are a few examples of upcoming books that I’m looking forward to reading.

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Table of Contents: TIME TRAVEL: RECENT TRIPS Edited by Paula Guran

Check out the synopsis and excellent table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming anthology Time Travel: Recent Trips

Here’s the book description:

The idea of time travel has been with us since ancient times; now, the concept of time travel seems almost… plausible. Today, tales of chrononauts are more imaginative and thought-provoking than ever before: new views, cutting-edge concepts, radical notions of paradox and possibility – state-of-the-art speculative stories collected from those written in the twenty-first century. Forward to the past, back to the future – get ready for a fascinating trip!

Here’s the (aphabetical) table of contents…
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Table of Contents: ZOMBIES: MORE RECENT DEAD Edited by Paula Guran

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming anthology zombie anthology Zombies: More Recent Dead, hitting bookstore shelves September 3, 2014.

Here’s the book description:

The living dead are more alive than ever! Zombies have become more than an iconic monster for the twenty-first century: they are now a phenomenon constantly revealing as much about ourselves – and our fascination with death, resurrection, and survival – as our love for the supernatural or post-apocalyptic speculation. Our most imaginative literary minds have been devoured by these incredible creatures and produced exciting, insightful, and unflinching new works of zombie fiction. We’ve again dug up the best stories published in the last few years and compiled them into an anthology to feed your insatiable hunger…

Here’s the alphabetical table of contents…
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Paula Guran will be editing The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas for Prime Books.

From a press release and call for submissions:
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Editor extraordinaire Paula Guran is now reading for the 2015 edition of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, which will include material published in 2014.

Says Paula…
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Ben Blattberg is a freelance writer currently living in Texas. He blogs about movies and story structure at incremental-catastrophe.blogspot.com and makes jokes on Twitter @inCatastrophe.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology of eighteen fairy tale revisions, reinterpretations, and responses.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Shows the wide range of fairy tales with variety of excellent stories–from fairy tale adventure all the way to bleak fairy tale-style retelling of real-life tragedy; brief authors’ notes illuminate stories’ meaning, writing.
CONS: Some stories miss the mark; some stories depend on familiarity with the source fairy tale.
BOTTOM LINE: Solid anthology for fairy tale lovers and revisionists.

Fairy tales are rarely what we think they are. That’s the overall message I take from Paula Guran’s interesting, instructive, and thankfully spoiler-free introduction of Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales. As Guran notes, fairy tales are conservative lessons about the danger of transgression–unless they’re progressive and liberating tales of transgression. Fairy tales are misogynistic tales of witches and virgins–unless they’re feminist stories of wise women and the discovery of sex. Fairy tales are timeless–unless they’re tied to their particular time. And so on. Perhaps the one thing we can say for certain about fairy tales is that they contain some measure of magic, of wonder, of otherworldliness. And that’s a pretty loose foundation on which to build a genre.
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Table of Contents: MAGIC CITY: RECENT SPELLS Edited by Paula Guran

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran:

Here’s the book description:

Bright lights, big city… magic spells, witchcraft, wizardry, fairies, devilry, and more. Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. Street kids may have supernatural beings to protect them or have such powers themselves. Brujeria may be part of your way of life. Crimes can be caused (and solved) with occult arts and even a losing sports team’s “curse” can be lifted with wizardry. And be careful of what cab you call – it might take you on a journey beyond belief! Some of the best stories of urban enchantment from the last few years is gathered in one volume full of hex appeal and arcane arts.

Here’s the alphabetical table of contents and a larger cover…
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Prime Books has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2014:

Here’s the book description:

No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors and supernatural visions. You may stumble into obsession or find redemption. Often disturbing, occasionally delightful, let The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror be your annual guide through the mysteries and wonders of dark fiction.

Here’s the table of contents…
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BOOK REVIEW: After The End: Recent Apocalypses Edited by Paula Guran

REVIEW SUMMARY: After the End: Recent Apocalypses is an excellent collection of stories for readers who like apocalyptic fiction but are tired of zombies.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology that collects twenty apocalyptic stories from the past ten years (with one exception).

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Exciting action and intriguing protagonists. High level of differentiation in type and setting of stories. The anthology shows well how the tenor and composition of apocalyptic fiction has changed in recent years.
CONS: Mostly pessimistic stories with only glimmers of hope in them. Introductions that give away too much of the story.
BOTTOM LINE: After the End: Recent Apocalypses highlights how our perception of mankind’s role in this world has shifted toward a more pessimistic outlook post 9/11.

Stoker award winner, Prime Books’ senior editor and longtime anthologist Paula Guran collects twenty apocalyptic stories of the past ten years (2007-2012, save one) for a mostly depressing but occasionally hopeful anthology. Unlike many prior anthologies, which mixed various decades of writing output, Guran’s focus on the last ten years (post-9/11), shows how the tenor and composition of apocalyptic fiction has changed in our day. The double meaning of “recent” in the book’s subtitle refers not only to the timing of the apocalypses in this book, but also of their publication. As might be expected of the age of terrorism, war, political and ideological stratification, and the downplay of science, the stories are much darker, the glimmer’s of hope much dimmer. But hope is there among the wreckage, at least for some of our protagonists.
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TOC: ‘Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre’ Edited by Paula Guran

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming anthology Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre:

Here’s the book description:

The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of the past, the more we’ve come to love Halloween – the one time each year when the mundane is overturned in favor of the bizarre, the “other side” is closest, and everyone can become anyone (or anything) they wish… and sometimes what they don’t. Introducing nineteen original stories from mistresses and masters of the dark celebrate the most fantastic, enchanting, spooky, and supernatural of holidays.

Here’s the table of contents (in alphabetical order by author’s last name)…
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Prime Books has posted the table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming themed anthology Once Upon A Time: New Fairy Tales:

Here’s the book description:

Eighteen extraordinary authors devise all-new fairy tales: imaginative reinterpretations of the familiar, evocative new myths, speculations beyond the traditional realm of “once upon a time.” Often dark, occasionally humorous, always enthralling, these entertaining stories find a certain Puss in a near-future New York, an empress bargaining with a dragon, a princess turned into a raven, a king’s dancing daughters with powerful secrets, great heroism, terrible villainy, sparks of mischief, and a great deal more. Brilliant dreams and dazzling nightmares with meaning for today and tomorrow…

Here’s the (alphabetical) table of contents…
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Prime Books has posted the table of contents the upcoming anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2013 Edition edited by Paula Guran:
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TOC: ‘After the End: Recent Apocalypses’ Edited by Paula Guran

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology After the End: Recent Apocalypses edited by Paula Guran:

Here’s the book description:
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Prime Books has posted the table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming (April 2013) anthology Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations:

Here’s the book description:

Paranormal investigators. Occult detectives. Ghost hunters. Monster fighters. Humans who unravel uncanny crimes and solve psychic puzzles; sleuths with supernatural powers of their own who provide services far beyond those normal gumshoes, shamuses, and Sherlocks can provide. When vampires, werewolves, and thing that go bump in the night are part of your world, criminals can be as inhuman as the crimes they commit, and magic can seep into the mundane—those who solve the mysteries, bring justice for victims or even save the world itself, might wield wands as well as firearms, utter spells or simply use their powers of deduction. Some of the best twenty-first century tales from top authors of the century’s most popular genre take you down mean streets and into strange crime scenes in this fantastic compilation.

Here’s the (alphabetical) table of contents…

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TOC: ‘Season of Wonder’ Edited by Paula Guran


Looking for some seasonal-related reading? Here’s the stellar table of contents for Paula Guran’s new anthology Season of Wonder:

But first, the book description:

Wonders abound with the winter holidays. Yuletide brings marvels and miracles both fantastic and scientific. Christmas spirits can bring haunting holidays, seasonal songs might be sung by unearthly choirs, and magical celebrations are the norm during this very special time of the year. The best stories from many realms of fantasy and a multitude of future universes, gift-wrapped in one spectacular treasury of wintertime wonder.

And now here’s the table of contents…
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TOC: ‘Future Games’ Edited by Paula Guran


Prime Books has posted the table of contents for Paula Guran’s upcoming anthology Future Games:

Here’s the book description:

Human competition is eternal. No matter what the future brings, sports will be a part of it. But what forms will these games take? Who will be the spectator, who will play? Will aliens be our opponents or machines? What rules will we play by? What will be at stake? What rewards will be reaped by the victors? What fates await the defeated? Will the entire universe be our arena or will our world be smaller than today? Visionary authors speculate on what swifter, higher, stronger will mean in the near and distant future.

Here’s the (alphabetical) table of contents…
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Table of Contents: ‘Season of Wonder’ Edited by Paula Guran

Prime Books has posted the table of contents and cover for the upcoming anthology Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran:

Here’s the book description:

Wonders abound with the winter holidays. Yuletide brings marvels and miracles both fantastic and futuristic. Christmas spirits can bring haunting holidays, seasonal songs might be sung by unearthly choirs, and magical celebrations are the norm during this very special time of the year. The best stories from many realms of fantasy and a multitude of future universes, gift-wrapped in one spectacular treasury of wintertime wonder.

Here’s the excellent lineup…
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TOC: ‘Ghosts: Recent Hauntings’ Edited by Paula Guran


Prime Books has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Ghosts: Recent Hauntings edited by Paula Guran, available this coming September:

The spirits of the dead have walked among our legends, myths, and stories since before recorded history. Ghostly visitations, hauntings, unquiet souls seeking the living, vengeful wraiths, the possibility of life beyond the grave that can somehow reach out and touch us…these are some of literature’s most enduring icons. Now, in the twenty-first century, we are no less fascinated with phantoms than our cave-dwelling ancestors or our Victorian-age forebears. Thirty modern masters of fright and fantasy fill this anthology with shivers, chills, and spooky explorations of both sides of the veil. Be prepared to keep a light on all night!

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TOC: ‘Extreme Zombies’ Edited by Paula Guran


Prime Books has posted the table of contents for their upcoming anthology edited by Paula Guran: Extreme Zombies:

It’s too late! The living dead have already taken over the world. Your brains have been devoured. Nothing is left but spasms of ravenous need—an obscene hunger for even more zombie fiction. Forget the metaphors and the mildly scary. You want shock, you want grue, you want disturbing, gut-wrenching, skull-crunching zombie stories that take you over the edge and go splat. You want the bloody best of the ultimate undead. You have no choice…you…must…have…Extreme Zombies!

Here’s the toc…
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[Updated 1/29 with updated toc and book image]

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2012 edited by Paula Guran:
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