Friday, January 2, 2009

The Science Fictional Mars: a Preview of 2009

2008 was an awesome year for the science fictional Mars. I don't know about you, but I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the niche. The breadth and depth of the works produced, and the different mediums in which they were published, was truly stunning. From flash fiction and short stories published online to novelettes and novellas sold in e-format, from audiobooks and traditional novels peddled at local bookstores to rare works and classic reprints delivered right to the doorstep, authors, publishers and booksellers provided fans with some memorable reading material in 2008.

And 2009 looks like its going to be another phenomenal year for Martian SF. Here's a preview of just a few of the things that are coming down the canal:

Paizo Publishing will reprint two classics fans of any generation should enjoy: The Outlaws of Mars (1934, Feb 2009), by Otis Adelbert Kline, and The Sword of Rhiannon (1953, March 2009), by Leigh Brackett.

Caitlin Kiernan’s novella “Bradbury Weather” will be reprinted by Subterranean Press for her collection A is for Alien (Feb 2009).

• The timeless guy of Sci-Fi, Ray Bradbury, has written a new short story about Mars titled “Fly Away Home.” It will be published in his new collection We’ll Always Have Paris (Feb 2009).

• “Catherine Drewe” (2008), a short story by Paul Cornell, will be reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009 Edition (March 2009), a collection selected by SF&F critic Rich Horton.

• The third novel in Phyllis K. Twombly’s Martian Symbiont series is scheduled to be published in early 2009. I haven’t had an opportunity to read her first two books, Been Blued (2007) and Martian Blues (2008), but I’ll be reading the third one.

• John Carter of Mars action figures will go on sale in early 2009, thanks to a recent deal between Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and Triad Toys.

Barry Napier is working on a project titled Birdwatching From Mars. I’m not sure if this is a graphic novel, a comic book, horror, or science fiction, but we’ll learn more about it in early 2009.

Baen Books will reprint Jerry Pournelle’s novel Birth of Fire (1976). It will be bound with another Pournelle reprint and the two novels will be released under the title Fires of Freedom (May 2009).

• On the film front, we know that independent film maker Steve Weintz is working on The Lost Hieroglyph, a retro sci-fi adventure that will appeal to fans of Burroughs, Brackett and Bradbury. We should get a peak at a trailer in 2009.

Camille Alexa’s short story “Weird Fruits,” which won the 2008 Marooned Award for Best Short Story, will be reprinted in her collection Push of the Sky (Spring 2009).

Pyr Books will reprint Ian McDonald’s novel Desolation Road (1988, July 2009). Cool cover. Steampunk?

Mary Turzillo has been working hard. We may not see her Mars novel in 2009, but her short story "Chocolate Kittens from Mars" will be published in Space and Time magazine. I believe another work,
Steak Tartare and the Cats of Gari Babakin Station,” is scheduled to be published at some point in Analog magazine, perhaps in 2009.

Jason Stoddard’s short story “Willpower” (2008) is scheduled to be reprinted by Wyrm Publishing in Unplugged: The Best of Online Fiction (2009), a collection selected by SF&F critic Rich Horton.

The Empress of Mars (2008), a full-length novel by Kage Baker, will be published by Tor Books as a trade edition hardcover. The limited edition was recently published by Subterranean Press.

• Hopefully, Winterstrike (UK, 2008), the new novel by British author Liz Williams, will be released in the United States.

• I’ll be publishing several more volumes in my “10 Stories you wouldn’t know are Martian Science Fiction” series.

• And in a work of nonfiction, the Foundation Center will be posting the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust's IRS Form 990-PF for calendar year 2007. Wonder if director's compensation includes free copies of Heinlein's books!

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