Saturday, January 08, 2005

What Are They Doing Now? (A Complaint)

I went to the bookstore today, and as I wandered between the stacks with my pitifully small selection clutched in one hand, I realized that too many authors have been slacking off. I mean, where are the new novels?

Okay, David Weber and Eric Flint are going great guns. Anne McCaffrey, bless her i-stained fingers, keeps grinding them out. And I know Neal Stephenson has been writing for the ages, with three huge tomes in the last two years.

But where is the new C.J. Cherryh? I see her 10th anniversary issue of Foreigner, and the volumes that followed in that excellent series. Her concept of the protocol-and-number-obsessed atevi, and their interaction with the humans stranded on their world, is exactly what we've come to expect from Cherryh. So when do we get a new novel of the Paidhi Bren and Tabini-aiji?

Connie Willis is a wonderful writer, whose work is thoughtful and delightful at the same time. Passage was a masterwork of literary allusion, cultish exploration, and intertwining mysteries. Willis is a careful writer, I appreciate that. The poetry of her prose shows the effort she takes to polish what she writes. But, Connie, please! It's been nearly three years since Passage.

Then there's Lois McMaster Bujold. I can't say how often I have felt that lift of my heart to see a "new" cover emblazoned with her name, only to realize that Falling Free is a re-release, and Young Miles is a collection of books I already have. Elizabeth Moon has taken a lead from David Weber, and broken out of Paksenarrion's Tolkein-esque vein to open three series in the same universe. Lois, we need you to look away from Miles Vorkosigan (fascinating as he is) and tell us more about Jackson's Whole, Athos, or the backwoods of Barrayar.

Finally, (lest you think I am beating up on the ladies), where is David Brin lately? Since Kiln People came out in paperback two years ago I haven't seen anything from Brin. He can't be pouting over The Postman—we know Kevin Costner and political correctness had equal parts in the dismal performance of that movie. But anyone who can write one-third of the prequel trilogy to the Foundation Trilogy ought not to be resting on his laurels. C'mon, man! Up and at 'em!



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