The third cause for excitement is the U.S. publication of Hal Duncan's debut, Vellum: The Book of All Hours, which has burned up science fiction bestseller charts (and Internet discussion boards) since it appeared last summer in the U.K. A deeply read and fertile writer, Duncan pours creation myths, Latin and Greek plays and poems, ballads, legends, rumors and the glue of his own fantastic imagination into this incredible, intense and opulent work. As a logophil, he never strains to use just one word when a good paragraph will do instead. The result is a rich stew best taken in large gulps to keep the multiple storylines straight. Basically, The Book of All Hours is a near-mythical book in which the whole of the universe is written. When it is discovered and as it is rewritten and the world begins to change nothing, literally, will ever be the same again. Summation beyond that is possible, but probably not particularly practical or helpful. Readers who enjoy the likes of Jeff VanderMeer, Theodore Sturgeon and Neil Gaiman will appreciate the burning energy and imaginative prose of Vellum and find themselves already anticipating Duncan's next novel.
Gavin J. Grant runs Small Beer Press in Northampton, Massachusetts.