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Digital Rapture Digital Rapture edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
The period between the two world wars was the heyday of the autodidact, and publishers responded by producing books by eminent thinkers and scientists like Bertrand Russell and J.B.S. Haldane aimed at the general public. One of the oddest and most influential of these was published by Cape in 1929. It was written by the pioneer of X-ray crystallography, J.D. Bernal, but his slim volume was far more wide ranging than that specialisation might suggest. His book addressed the three enemies of humanity's future, and was thus entitled, taking a line from the Bible, The World, the Flesh and the Devil. It was an extraordinary exercise in what we would now call futurology.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by D. Douglas Fratz
As the best-of-the-year volume that usually appears the earliest each year, one can look forward to reading the annual Nebula Awards collection. It whets the appetite for the meatier SF volumes that come later, especially the Hartwell/Cramer and Dozois tomes. This volume clearly demonstrates the increasing diversity in subgenres, themes and styles in the field. Reading this year's collection, however, somehow makes Douglas feel his age even more than past ones -- could the science fiction field be evolving faster than he can keep up?

Kafkaesque Kafkaesque edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
"Kafkaesque" is a word used very often to describe bureaucratic snafus and paradoxes. Even people who have never read a word of Kafka use it to describe their encounter with the Department of Motor Vehicles, or airport security. So pervasive has "Kafkaesque" become that it has nearly lost its link with the works of Franz Kafka. When it comes to trying to summarise this wonderful anthology, there is something of a dilemma. It can be recommended unhesitatingly to anyone who has ever read any Kafka, but what about those for whom Kafkaesque is a noun they use but Kafka is not someone they've read?

The Secret History of Science Fiction The Secret History of Science Fiction edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by Martin Lewis
This anthology uses Jonathan Lethem's infamous 1998 Village Voice article, "The Squandered Promise Of Science Fiction," as a starting point to discuss literary science fiction. In brief, it posits that 1973 was a potential turning point for science fiction and that if Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon had been awarded the Nebula that year, science fiction could subsequently have been "gently and lovingly dismantled, and the writers dispersed." Obviously, this didn't happen. The editors therefore take it as their mission to prove that the promise of science fiction was not, in fact, squandered.

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
We have been in a "post-cyberpunk" period for longer than cyberpunk lasted. At least, we have if you take a strictly chronological understanding of the term. But "post-cyberpunk" has only really been bandied about for the last year or so, and the closest we have to a definition of the term is this particular anthology. Looking at this, one might say that "post-cyberpunk" bears pretty much the same relationship to "cyberpunk" that "postmodernism" bears to "modernism."

Feeling Very Strange Feeling Very Strange edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This may be the most self-conscious anthology to come along since Mirrorshades, the definitive cyberpunk anthology. And despite Annie Savoy's self-awareness observation in Bull Durham, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Creative expression requires some degree of self-consciousness, an artist needs at the least an internal idea from which to work. What sets it apart is the proclamatory nature of its self-awareness, the editors and writers contained within are consciously searching to create something new, something that doesn't fit within the usual publishing conventions.

Feeling Very Strange Feeling Very Strange edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by David Soyka
This is the second "please don't call us science fiction or fantasy" anthology of the summer. Unlike the "new wave fabulists" in Paraspheres, this collection is more firmly rooted in the genre; the editors are well-recognized SF&F authors in their own right, as are most of the anthologized writers. Moreover, the subtitle employs a term originated by Bruce Sterling back in 1989. This is "The Slipstream Anthology," though the stylistic variations among the selections don't help to clarify exactly what slipstream is. The editors themselves note that they weren't sure "there was such a thing as slipstream."

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