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Books from my collection: Park and Robson

Back in the 1990s I was in a BSFA Orbiter with Justina Robson, so when her first novel was published I bought it. I’d already seen some of its chapters, so I knew it was good. I continued to buy Justina’s novels because I know she’s an excellent writer and she rarely disappoints.

Paul Park became one of my favourite authors after I read Coelestis – which remains a favourite sf novel to this day (see here). I subsequently tracked down copies of his debut trilogy, The Starbridge Chronicles, and then his small press novels. When the Princess of Roumania quartet was announced, I was a little disappointed that he had turned to fantasy, and what appeared to be YA fantasy at that. But I bought the books, read them – and they’re not YA, they’re actually one of the best fantasy series of this century.

Silver Screen and Mappa Mundi. Both were shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award, which is a pretty damn impressive achievement.

Natural History and its loose sequel Living Next Door to the God of Love. Though I’d have said Natural History was a better novel than Silver Screen or Mappa Mundi, it wasn’t shortlisted for the Clarke. It did make the shortlist for the BSFA Award, however; as did Living Next Door to the God of Love.

The Quantum Gravity, or Lila Black, quintet – Keeping It Real, Selling Out, Down to the Bone, Going Under and Chasing the Dragon. I plan to read all five some time this summer as a reading project. Watch this space.

Justina’s only collection to date, Heliotrope, was published by Australian small press Ticonderoga to celebrate her appearance as GoH at the Australian National SF Convention in Perth this year. It’s a shame that one of the UK’s best sf writer’s only collection has to be published on the other side of the planet. My edition is the signed and numbered edition. Adam Roberts wrote the introduction.

The Starbridge Chronicles: Soldiers of Paradise, Sugar Rain and The Cult of Loving Kindness. There is a SFBC omnibus edition of the first two books, The Sugar Festival, which I’ve not seen. The trilogy is set on a world which, like Aldiss’ Helliconia, has seasons which are generations long.

The US and UK editions of Coelestis. The UK edition predates the US one by two years. Not sure why I have both. As I recall, the only first edition I could initially find was the US one, so I bought it. But at the 2005 Worldcon I found a copy of the UK edition, which I bought so Paul Park could sign for me. Which he did.

No Traveller Returns is a novella from PS Publishing. Park has another due late this year, Ghost Doing the Orange Dance (originally published in F&SF in February last year). If Lions Could Speak is a short story collection. The Gospel of Corax describes the life of an alternate theosophical Jesus. Three Marys is also set in Biblical Palestine. Perversely, copies of these three small press books appear to be more readily available than those of the Starbridge Chronicles.

A Princess of Roumania, The Tourmaline, The White Tyger and The Hidden World are one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in recent years.