Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Future Classics

Nice Gollancz have sent me seven paperbacks (though they list eight in this series) with very snazzy covers. I've got them all already. I've read them all already, except for Paul McAuley's (I beg your pardon - having been declared a future classic, he's now Paul J McAuley) Fairyland. I'm ashamed of that, because Mr McAuley is a very nice man indeed, who has bought me several pints. The least I can do is read his books. His very good new book is called Cowboy Angels. Multidimensional Americas. But I will review it properly. So now I will read Fairyland.

But from the standard of the other titles, Gollancz may be on to something with this rebranding exercise. Evolution features a flock wallpaper ape. The Separation has classy brown paper aeroplanes (if you've got the original Scribner paperback, you'd be horrified at how much it's worth; they only printed about five of them, being bastards and idiots. Mr Priest got the last laugh there). I don't understand the Dan Simmonds cover, but it's one of the most in your face first sentences in sf. Revelation Space is appropriately shiny. And so on.

My doubt is Altered Carbon. Entertaining, yes. Successful, undoubtedly. Classic... well, maybe. Perhaps Ryman and Harrison and Banks and Mieville and Grimwood and Roberts and MacLeod and lots of those other folk don't need pushing as future classics. The list is (in no order):

Hyperion, Dan Simmonds
Evolution, Stephen Baxter
Fairyland, Paul J McAuley
Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds
The Separation, Christopher Priest
Blood Music, Greg Bear
Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan

The missing one - listed inside - is Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan. He has strong views on quotations on book jackets (he's agin the idea), and I wonder if that has caused some difficulty with it. I will ask people who might know.


Niall said...

I finally got around to Fairyland largely because it is so very pretty. I was blown away; it's the best thing I've read by McAuley by a country mile, and I now see why so many people picked it as their 'Clarke of Clarkes' when we were asking around for a Vector last year.

Schild's Ladder does exist, and glows in the dark no less, but there seemed to be some delay on distribution -- I saw all of the others in a bookshop a good fortnight before I saw that one.

Banks and Mieville and MacLeod wouldn't have made the list because they're not Gollancz authors. Ryman I assume is not on there because Air is too recent and they reissued The Child Garden once in the last couple of years anyway; couldn't say why Light isn't there. The big omission, to my mind, is Gwyneth Jones.

mckie said...

Thanks, Niall. I'm about 120pp into Fairyland, and I agree. It is terrific.
Of course Ryman and Priest weren;t Gollancz authors until abot 15 minutes (ok, two or three years) ago

Rachel Roberts said...

"Perhaps Ryman and Harrison and Banks and Mieville and Grimwood and Roberts and MacLeod and lots of those other folk don't need pushing as future classics."

If I might speak on behalf of the people listed, I might just say ... hey; all these names need pushing as future classics ...