Anthologies of mainstream author interviews are common enough, but similar resources covering sf creators rarely see print, except online. Blaschke, fiction editor for RevolutionSF.com, fills something of a vacuum, then, with this outstanding collection of conversations he has had with leading sf editors and authors since 1997. He sorts the interviewees into four whimsically titled categories. “A Source of Innocent Merriment,” for instance, focuses on such highly distinctive voices in speculative fiction as urban fantasist Charles de Lint, and “I Am Legend” targets genuine luminaries of the field, such as Samuel R. Delaney and Gene Wolfe. Standout interviews include those with 800-pound gorilla Harlan Ellison, displaying his usual cynicism about sf films and their fans, and perdurable grandmaster Jack Williamson, who explains how he has kept the creative fires burning since his first publication in 1928. Another section takes note of comic book creators, with Sandman author Neil Gaiman leading the pack. Must reading for devotees curious to see what makes their favorite authors tick.
From the March 15th Library Journal:
Vess, Charles (illus.) & others (text). .The Book of Ballads Tor. 2004. c.192p. discog. ISBN 0-765-31214-X. $24.95.
This fine anthology features classic ballads from the British Isles-stories of fairies, monsters, demons, and lovers-adapted by leading fantasy authors and illustrated in a remarkable fine-lined, black-and-white style by the acclaimed Vess, whose previous work includes two World Fantasy Award-winning collaborations with Neil Gaiman (the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” issue of Sandman and the illustrated novel Stardust) and the Eisner Award-winning Bone prequel Rose, written by Jeff Smith. Reprinted here are all the stories from Vess’s 1997 collection Ballads (published by his own Green Man Press) and four new tales. Both Gaiman and Smith contribute, along with prose writers Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Sharyn McCrumb, and others. Vess’s marvelously detailed and atmospheric art hearkens back to classic book illustrators such as Arthur Rackham. The bare-bones nature of the ballad narratives leaves ample room for Vess’s collaborators to flesh out the stories imaginatively, filling in background and detail and sometimes re-framing the events entirely. A discography lists recommended recordings of the ballads by folk and folkrock musicians. With some nudity and sex, this is best placed in adult collections. Recommended for fantasy fans at all libraries, especially for fans of P. Craig Russell’s work.
In slightly older news, Publishers Weekly notes that the paperback of Wolves in the Walls is due out from HarperCollins/Trophy in Fall 2005, and a younger readers version of MirrorMask is due out October 18th from HarperCollins. (The illustrated film script is due out from William Morrow on May 3rd).
And I guess we should have mentioned that there’s an Anansi Boys bit posted, but that would assume that the Author Tracker was actually working. Hah.