Saturday, December 8, 2007
Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
I first met Jim Van Pelt at MileHiCon. It was the first year I went, and the group that I was sharing a hotel room with did something very cool. They held a readers circle. It was late at night, everyone had their laptops, and they took turns going around the room reading a story they'd just completed or an excerpt of a novel. The circle included Daniel Abraham, Carrie Vaughn, Aynjel Kaye, Brian Heibert, and Mike Bateman, among others, and needless to say, it was incredible.
After that I bought Jim's Strangers and Beggars, or, as Brian Heibert called it by mistake, Beggars and Losers. I was hooked. Jim's one of the best short story authors working in speculative fiction today. So when his novel, Summer of the Apocalypse, came out I bought a copy of that as well.
Summer takes place, as you can well imagine, post-Apocalypse, and despite the fact that there a zillion such novels out there, Jim really nailed a good story. I read the first chapter with a raised eyebrow thinking, "Now Jim, does that make sense?" at the occasional fact about his world. By mid-book I was just reading and enjoying the ride. By the end I thought, "Yep, it all makes sense. Clever foreshadowing in chapter one, Jim."
I don't have it on my shelf at the moment. People keep borrowing my copy from me. I may never see it again. Many are put off at first by the fact that it is published by a little known publisher called Fairwood Press. I have to recommend that publisher too, though. It is the same people who produce Talebones Magazine. The books they publish are of a much higher quality than the usual POD small press dreck that gives print on demand publishing a bad name.