Friday, July 8, 2022

"The White Leopard"



Look what came in the mail today! It's the hardcover limited edition of the newest iteration of New Worlds, edited by Nick Gevers and Peter Crowther.  It has a great lineup of stories but I wasn't able to find an easily paste-able table of contents online, so here's a description from PS Publishing's website:

In the 1960s and 1970s, New Worlds magazine, edited by Michael Moorcock, became famous for its avant garde approach to SF, energising the genre’s New Wave with exciting innovations in style, content, and presentation. Here J G Ballard and Brian Aldiss shared pages with Samuel R Delany and Norman Spinrad, Pamela Zoline with M John Harrison, Charles Platt with Harlan Ellison. Hilary Bailey with Thomas M. Disch.

Now PS Publishing, with the enthusiastic endorsement and participation of Moorcock himself, presents the first in a revived New Worlds anthology series. Award-winning co-editors Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers have gathered brilliant new stories by the finest short fiction writers in SF. A sampling:

  • Continuing his topical yet timeless Jerry Cornelius sequence begun during the heyday of New Worlds, Michael Moorcock delineates ‘The Wokingham Agreement’.
  • Alan Moore, titan of the graphic novel, artfully explores surprising and hilarious events immediately after the Bing Bang in ‘The Improbably Complex High-Energy State’.
  • Gwyneth Jones ventures to the outer solar system and probes the perils of posthumanity in ‘The Ploughshare and the Storm’.
  • Ken MacLeod explores the subtle dangers of a very wired future Europe in ‘Cold Revolution Blues’.
  • Margo Lanagan brings her cunning sidewise sensibility to another England in ‘Tell-Tale Tit’.
  • Michael Swanwick slyly and movingly contemplates combat-machine fetishism in ‘The White Leopard’.

Add tales by Ian R. MacLeod, Lavie Tidhar, Ian Watson, Paul Park, James Lovegrove, M T Hill, Robert Edric, John Grant, a reprint story by Peter Crowther, the first in a series of columns from Steve Aylett, and a knowledgeable Introduction by the noted SF scholar Mike Ashley, and here is New Worlds reborn in all its fabled glory.

This is a wonderful lineup of writers and stories. And Mike Ashley's introductory essay on the history of New Worlds is fascinating. I had known that it had a long and tangled history, but not that it began as a fandom. It is a feast for geeks. Like (ahem) me.

The 200-copy hardcover is sold out. But there are still trade paperbacks available here. Or you could just go to the website here and poke around. I'm sure they have books that you need. 

And because I know you wonder . . .

 My own contribution is a story called "The White Leopard" which is about faded glory and a past that almost--almost!-- cannot be retrieved. Also about repairing a combat land drone. Here's how it begins:


He found it in five cardboard boxes in the basement at a suburban estate sale. Ray went to estate sales almost every weekend. It got him away from his wife. Weekdays he spent fixing things in his garage workshop.


Doris didn’t like estate sales, consignment shops, or secondhand anything. “I don’t buy used crap!” she often said. “I want to be able to return something if I get tired of it.” Yet she clung to Ray mercilessly, only God knew why.


Four of the cartons were marked twenty dollars each. The fifth, which had gotten separated from the others and which he had scoured the basement to find, was ten. He would have paid all he had for them. But because it was Sunday afternoon and the sale was almost over, they knocked half off the price without even being asked. It was clear the sellers had no idea what it was.


What it was, was an RQ-6G Leopard.





Peter D. Tillman said...

Sounds like some tasty stuff!

-- but what first caught my eye was the prominent "LDS" on the cover
-- which in Mormon country is "Latter Day Saints"! Very unlikely what Gevers & Crowther were hoping to convey....

Glad to see Nick is still toiling away in the fields of SF/F anthols. Good editor, nice guy.

Bruce said...

Great story, Michael!

And what an anthology!