AMBERJACK: TALES OF FEAR AND WONDER by Terry Dowling, dust jacket by Nick Stathopoulos. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2010. 1st edition hardcover. SIGNED/LIMITED edition. OUT OF PRINT.
Length: 368 pages.
Fear and wonder, a powerful combination.
Terry Dowling is one of the best kept secrets in modern science fiction, fantasy and horror, a storyteller that Grand Master Jack Vance in his introduction calls, “A very talented writer, one I admire and respect.”
Locus saw Dowling’s first book, Rynosseros, as placing him “among the masters of the field”, while editor David G. Hartwell calls him “A master craftsman...one of the best prose stylists in science fiction and fantasy.” In the words of Harlan Ellison, “Here is Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith and Tiptree/Sheldon come again, reborn in one wonderful talent...you’ll purr and growl with delight.”
Such praise is certainly deserved. Winner of the 2007 International Horror Guild Award for Best Collection, Dowling’s stories have appeared in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, The Year’s Best SF, The Year’s Best Fantasy, The Best New Horror and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, in major anthologies like Songs of the Dying Earth, Inferno, The Dark, and Wizards, and such leading publications as SciFiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Interzone.
Now, for the first time, Amberjack: Tales of Fear & Wonder gives us the best of Terry’s recent uncollected work in a single wonderful volume. From invasion by the truly alien in “The Lagan Fishers”, “Truth Window” and “Flashmen” to the gut-wrenching horror of “Toother” and “The Suits at Auderlene”, from the day-after-tomorrow, hardline SF of “He Tried to Catch the Light” to the epic sweep and swashbuckling adventure of “The Library”, this is imaginative storytelling as it should be: provocative, unsettling, beautifully crafted, full of invention and genuine surprise and, yes, a definite touch of the dark side.
“Who’s the writer who can produce horror as powerful and witty as the best of Peter Straub, SF as wondrously byzantine and baroque as anything by Gene Wolfe, near-mainstream subtly tinged with the fantastic like some tales by Powers or Lansdale? Why Terry Dowling, of course.”
From George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois:
“One of the best-known and most celebrated of Australian writers in any genre.”
Limited to 750 signed numbered hardcover copies. OUT OF PRINT.
Table of Contents:
Introduction by Jack Vance,
The Lagan Fishers,
Now, Then, Everywhen,
The Lure of Legendary Ladies,
He Tried to Catch the Light,
The Blue Marlin Whore,
China in His Day,
The View in Nancy’s Window,
Mr. Fate & Mr. Danger,
Jarkman at the Othergates,
Some Roses for the Bonestell Man,
The Suits at Auderlene,
At the Sign of the Moon,
Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose,
Down in the Limbo Gardens,
From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
“Dowling’s newest collection…highlights his rich and complex sideways storytelling with 12 stories that run the speculative fiction gamut… Dowling’s terse and enigmatic style is subtle and brain stretching, enticing readers with fully realized worlds that clearly extend far beyond each story’s boundaries. Insightful afterwords complete the sensation of being transported someplace truly alien by Dowling’s intelligent and thoughtful work.”
“With his knack for different narrative voices, Dowling has proven equally adept at sf, fantasy, and horror and won awards in all three genres. His latest story collection puts his versatility on full display...”
From The Agony Column:
“You might think that it would be difficult to portray a world gone more wrong than the current model. Drawing with equal ease from science fiction, horror and fantasy, willing to mix them as required, Terry Dowling is up to the challenge... the huge gift at the end of the collection is a nearly 100-page novella, ‘The Library,’ that heralds the return of Tom Rynosseros, set in Dowling's Australia, about a thousand years from now. ‘The Library’ earns its keep, following in the big SF-adventure mold where science fiction is transmuted by visionary writing into almost-fantasy. Yes, you get the sand-ships so evocative of the earliest and most-exciting pulps, but informed by an intelligent modern sensibility. And yes, even fun can be a just a bit, well — disturbing.”
From San Francisco Book Review:
“Dowling crafts vividly realized worlds without burying the story in world-building details, and while this can be confusing at the outset of a story, those details blossom and come to enrich the narrative.”
From Green Man Review:
“Each tale left me wanting to reread it almost immediately… In the end, Dowling is a name I’ll be looking for in the future. The back cover blurb notes: ‘Fear and wonder, a powerful combination’—an excellent summary of the contents of Amberjack. Relying on subtleties and nuance, rather than guts and gore, to convey intense creepiness, and with a fine understanding of psychology, description, and balance, this is a book—and an author—with a solid place on my bookshelf.”
OUT OF PRINT. Fine in fine dj.