Reviewed by Steven H Silver
As David Garnett is careful to point out in his introduction to this anthology, New Worlds was first published in England in 1946. In many ways it is important to establish New Worlds's pedigree, for I imagine there are many science fiction readers in the United States who are almost completely unaware of both New Worlds and Interzone, the British sf magazines. While New Worlds has ceased regular production, over the decades it has been a powerful force in shaping the cutting edge of science fiction, both in England and in the United States.
Although this anthology may not be as cutting edge as Garnett may like, it does contain several stories which is worht picking up, perhaps most notable are Howard Waldrop's "The Heart of Whitenesse," a Faustian journey up the Thames in the style of Joseph Conrad, of Kim Newman's "Great Western," which looks at the Western frontier of England.
Not all stories work as well. While Garry Kilworth's "Attack of the Charlie Chaplins" is enjoyable, is doesn't quite have the humor one would expect from a story in which an alien invasion takes the form of a multitude of Charlie Chaplin look-alikes setting down in Nebraska.
The two final pieces in the anthology come from the powerhouse pens of Michael Moorcock and William Gibson. Moorcock, of course, edited New Worlds in the 1960s when it was leading the way in defining the New Wave of science fiction. Gibson defined the subgenre of cyberpunk on his own in the early 1980s.
Moorcock's "London Bone" is a disturbing look at the way modern civilization, particularly in this case London, turns its back on its own heritage. Moorcock's choice of metaphor for this tale may be disturbing to some readers, but the activities he sees occuring are every bit as disturbing.
Gibson's "Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City" takes Gibson's longtime theme of isolation in a modern world a step further. There are no characters or dialogue in this mood piece which seems to have benefitted from Gibson's recent interaction with Hollywood. It leaves the reader disjointed and disassociated, perhaps the way in which Garnett felt the reader should depart from this anthology.
|Pat Cadigan||The Emperor's New Reality|
|Kim Newman||Great Western|
|Peter F. Hamilton & Graham Joyce||The White Stuff|
|Noel K. Hannan||A Night on the Town|
|Brian W. Aldiss||Death, Shit, Love, Transfiguration|
|Andrew Stephenson||The Pact|
|Howard Waldrop||Heart of Whitnesse|
|Ian Watson||A Day Without Dad|
|Garry Kilworth||Attack of the Charlie Chaplins|
|Christine Manby||For Life|
|Graham Charnock||A Night on Bare Mountain|
|Michael Moorcock||London Bone|
|William Gibson||Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City|
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