Jonathan’s Most Anticipated Reissuess for 2021
As we get excited about all the brand new books 2021 will bring us by exciting new authors, it’s also worth getting excited about works being brought back into print. So, this is my quick overview of what’s scheduled to be rediscovered over the coming year, from well known classics to obscure gems.
First of all, although it’s technically still a 2020 release, it’s coming out in December and I’m excited about it so I’m going to talk about it here. MCD Books are doing a special edition of Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris, an anthology collecting City Of Saints And Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword and Finch in one volume for the first time, with gorgeous cover art that complements their omnibus edition of VanderMeer’s Area X books. VanderMeer’s Ambergris stories are pioneering works of the New Weird, and it is a delight to see them brought back into circulation in such a handsome volume
Gollancz’s SF Masterworks series has slowed down over the past couple of years, and while it sometimes errs on the side of obvious choices, there are some genuinely exciting and vital works being brought back into print through the line. Gwyneth Jones’ eerily prescient Bold As Love (out this year) and Castles Made Of Sand, the first two volumes in her Bold As Love sequence, set in a future in which the UK is breaking up, rock stars have taken control of government and climate change threatens everything, should be far more widely read and highly regarded so I am very happy to see these join the Masterworks ranks. Here’s hoping Gollancz have plans to reprint the rest of the series. Also scheduled for 2021 induction into the series is Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s The Inhabited Island is a new translation of a work by these pioneers of Russian science fiction. Originally published in English as Prisoners Of Power in a translation from the inferior censored version of the text, the new translation restores the original novel for the first time in English. It was published last year in the US only by the Chicago Review Press, so a UK version is welcome and much needed. I have been looking forward to reading this book ever since first reading the Strugatskys iconic Roadside Picnic. Also coming out next year is The Best of Greg Egan, a compilation of the revered Australian hard SF/cyberpunk author’s short fiction which will also be one not to miss.
Last year saw Tor Publishing start the Tor Essentials series. With a similar remit as Gollancz’s Masterworks series, but more focused on recent works, it has reprinted a really interesting selection of titles, some of which are well off the beaten path, as well as bringing John M. Ford’s wonderful The Dragon Waiting back into print. Scheduled for early 2021 is Terri Windling’s marvellous The Wood Wife, an excellent choice. Windling’s novel is fantasy that is both literary and domestic, beautifully written and finding magic in the mundane everyday of lived life. It’s a wonderful book that deserves more readers.
Angry Robot have published iconic SF writer Christopher Hinz’s recent works, leading to something of a renaissance in his career. In 2021 they will be bringing his Paratwa trilogy back into print. Liege-Killer, Ash Ock and The Paratwa made Hinz’s name when they were first published in the late 80s/early 90s, but have been out of print for some time. Given his later career success this is an excellent time to bring his debut trilogy back into print.
2021 also saw Penguin Classics launch an SF line, in consultation with people like Adam Roberts who know what they’re talking about, which has led to another really interesting reissue line that has been prioritising interesting, out of print and in translation works to invigorate the SF canon. Coming next year are David Lindsay’s visionary A Voyage To Arcturus and an iconic collection of Robert Sheckley’s long out of print short stories Untouched By Human Hands, as well as James Tiptree Jr’s essential Warm Worlds And Otherwise and Samuel L. Delany’s Driftglass. These are key collections of short fiction by three of the form’s undeniable masters, and it’s wonderful to see them back in circulation. I am intrigued by the forthcoming works in translation – The Ark Sakura by Japanese author Kobo Abe and well-regarded Polish science fiction novel Robot by Adam Wisniewski. They are also reprinting George S. Schuyler’s Black No More, an early example of science fiction by an African American author and a biting satire on race in America. I am impressed by what the series is doing to expand and diversify the SF canon, especially from an Anglophone perspective.
Handheld Press continue their services of bringing to our attention overlooked early works of speculative fiction and the weird. Next year will see them publish John Buchan’s The Gap In The Curtain, the author’s last work exploring the supernatural. Also scheduled is The Villa and The Vortex: Selected Supernatural Stories, 1916-1934 by Elinor Mordaunt, which follows on from the sterling work done by Handheld’s anthologies Weird Women and Weird Women 2 by bringing us a single author collection from an overlooked female writer of weird fiction. As with the Women’s Weird anthologies, it will be edited by weird scholar Melissa Edmundson. Given the quality of Handheld’s previous work I am very much looking forward to reading these.
Valancourt Books have done wonderful work over the last two years with their Paperbacks From Hell series, bringing forgotten works of horror fiction back into print. While that line seems to be winding down, Valancourt have started up an even more exciting proposition, the Monster She Wrote line, drawing on Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson’s exploration of women’s contribution to horror with the same name. This year has seen them reprint Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant short story collection Nightmare Flower, as well as The Women of Weird Tales, an anthology of female writers published in the pulps alongside writers like Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. 2021 promises the short story collection The Dead Hours Of Night by the wonderful and underrated Lisa Tuttle, and iconic short story collection The Bishop Of Hell by Marjorie Bowen.
Wakefield Press have brought Belgian Weird fiction pioneer Jean Ray’s work back into print in new English translations. Following the four short story collections they have released over the past two years, in 2012 they will reprint his legendary gothic horror novel Malpertuis. Not to be missed for students of the Weird.
In other reissue news, Titan Books have scheduled an omnibus of Paul Tremblay’s two Weird noir novels, The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. Following the critical and commercial success of Tremblay’s horror novels starting with A Head Full Of Ghosts, Tremblay’s earlier work has been frustratingly hard to track down, so this is a welcome service. Head Of Zeus will also be reprinting Lavie Tidhar’s iconic Osama and A Man Lies Dreaming, which should hopefully bring these crucial works of modern speculative fiction to a wider audience.
That’s all the exciting reissue news I’ve managed to find out about 2021 so far, but it nevertheless looks to be an excellent year for rediscovering older works of genre fiction, with no doubt more on the way from the likes of Penguin, Gollancz and Tor as the year progresses.