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SFF Author: Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem(1964- )
Jonathan Lethem was born in New York and attended Bennington College. His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and many other periodicals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



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The Fortress of Solitude: Strengths overshadowed

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

There are some beautiful moments in The Fortress of Solitude — moments of crystalline description, of poetic evocation of time and place, moments of heartbreaking human interaction. But for me, these moments just didn’t hold together long enough or happen often enough.

The Fortress of Solitude follows Dylan Ebdus, known as “whiteboy” to those around him on Dean Street due to the rarity of his skin color, as he grows up and out of the Brooklyn neighborhood.


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Chronic City: More to admire than to enjoy

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City has lots to admire: great lines, witty jokes and good insights. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to admire here than to enjoy. The sum ended up being less than its parts, to me. This may have been part of the point, and certainly the sense of disconnectedness is as well, but one of the dangers of a novel about disconnectedness is that it can feel, well, disconnected. The trick is to avoid this somehow,


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Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology

Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology  edited by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel

Is there really any difference between post-modernism, interstitial fiction, slipstream and New Weird? Does anyone know? James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel try to outline the boundaries of slipstream with their anthology, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, particularly by including a learned introduction and excerpts from a discussion that took place on the subject on a blog a few years ago. Ultimately, like so many things literary,


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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams assembles a wide variety of apocalypse-related fiction in Wastelands. some of which are older than I am, while others are more recent. What you end up with is a diverse anthology covering topics such as religion, war, and exploration while containing horror, comedy, and a sense of wonder.

The majority of the stories are easy to get into. Some stories are more subtle than others. Overall, Wastelands is an enjoyable read and the selection seems balanced.


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The Secret History of Fantasy: Stories that redefine the genre

The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle

The basic premise of the SECRET HISTORY anthologies (there’s also a science fiction one, The Secret History of Science Fiction, which I haven’t read) is that there’s a type of writing that got missed or buried because other things were more popular, more commercial, or dodged the spec-fic labeling. Certainly that’s the thrust of Peter S. Beagle‘s introduction, and the two other non-fiction pieces by Ursula K. Le Guin and editor David G.


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Invaders: A high percentage of excellent stories

Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature ed. by Jacob Weisman

As with most collections, whether they be of stories, poems, or essays, I found Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature, edited by Jacob Weisman, to be a mixed bag overall, with some weak stories, some solidly good ones, some very good ones, and several absolutely great ones, more in fact than I typically find in an anthology, making this an easy collection to recommend.

The authors collected here are non-genre writers known mostly for “literary fiction,” such as George Saunders,


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Next SFF Author: David D. Levine
Previous SFF Author: Edan Lepucki

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