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On My Radar: STONE MATTRESS: NINE TALES by Margaret Atwood, SPECIES IMPERATIVE by Julie E. Czerneda, THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS by Peter F. Hamilton

Boooks excite me. Here are a few examples of books that I’m looking forward to reading.

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood
(Nan A. Talese | September 16, 2014) | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In “The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,” a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In “Lusus Naturae,” a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In “Torching the Dusties,” an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in “Stone Mattress,” a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.:

Atwood’s fiction is loved by many and I’m horribly underread in her work. I enjoy reading short fiction and so this seems like the perfect book for me.

Species Imperative by Julie E. Czerneda
(DAW | September 2, 2014 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


A threat to entire worlds. Where on that scale does one woman fall?

Dr. Mackenzie “Mac” Connor’s goal in life is to be left in peace to study her salmon and their migration. She has no interest in the Interspecies Union, space travel, or the mysterious Chasm, an expanse of dead worlds filled with the ruins of alien civilizations. The only cloud on Mac’s horizon is having to meet with the Oversight Committee to defend any research intrusions into the protected zones on shore.

But what Mac wants no longer matters. There’s another, darker, migration underway, this time across space. What created the Chasm has awakened once more, to follow its imperative to feed on living worlds. How can it be stopped?

Aliens have asked Mac to find that answer. She knows it may mean sacrificing all she loves, including Earth itself. She’s determined to find another way.

But, first, she must survive.

The Chasm of the past was only a trial run, for this species intent on replacing all life with its own. And they’ve learned her name.

This is the tenth anniversary edition of the Species Imperative trilogy — with all three novels (Survival, Migration and Regeneration) now collected in a single volume. I own those books somewhere in my Raiders of the Lost Ark-style book archives. Buying this will be easier. Also: My name is John and I’m a biblioholic.

The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton
(Del Rey | October 21, 2014 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


The wait is over. Bestselling science fiction master Peter F. Hamilton is back with the first of a new two-book saga set in his popular Commonwealth universe. Distinguished by deft plotting, a teeming cast of characters, dazzling scientific speculation, and imagination that brings the truly alien to life, The Abyss Beyond Dreams reveals Hamilton as a storyteller of astonishing ingenuity and power.

The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void.

Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics—the Fallers—that are intelligent but merciless killers.

Yet these same aliens may hold the key to destroying the threat of the Void forever—if Nigel can uncover their secrets. As the Fallers’ relentless attacks continue, and the fragile human society splinters into civil war, Nigel must uncover the secrets of the Fallers—before he is killed by the very people he has come to save.

I love space opera. I’ve enjoyed Hamilton’s other Commonwealth books. Do the math.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on On My Radar: STONE MATTRESS: NINE TALES by Margaret Atwood, SPECIES IMPERATIVE by Julie E. Czerneda, THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS by Peter F. Hamilton

  1. I read the Species Imperative series when it came out. Good stuff!

  2. I’ve only read the 1st Species Imperative book, and it was amazing. I did eventually buy all 3, and they are somewhere in the waist high stacks of books in my bedroom. Also, my name is Andrea, and I’m a biblioholic. These aren’t short books tho… so is the omnibus going to be like 1,000 pages long?

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