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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

  Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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Brian Stableford

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Standard Disclaimer:

This is a brief discussion of Brian Stableford and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by Stableford.

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Stableford: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)

I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales Stableford tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Stableford worthy; in sum, to help you rank Brian Stableford (and the works by Stableford listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

A Few Words About Brian Stableford

Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the “Other Resources” section below will lead you to some information about the “Notable Books” listed farther down this page.

It may be worth noting, however, that in the lists below are three unrelated yet related novels: The Empire of Fear; Young Blood; and The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires (now somewhat re-written and issued with the more commercially catchy title of Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of Eternity). Their relation, as Rick Kleffel has pointed out, is that each is an exploration of the vampire mystique, yet each is different—from the others, and from most vampirrhea (as I call it). Stableford is nothing if not diverse (except perhaps prolific)—from pacific, fact-based science-fiction to wild extravaganzas of degenerate (using the term in its technical literary sense) fantasy, and always much better than competent.

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Other Brian Stableford Resources

Brian Stableford Resources on the Web

All in all, it is disappointing to see how little, at least relatively, there is on the web about such a prolific author of thoroughly literate books. The chief resource is the Brian Stableford Web Site, which has brief descriptions (though not critical analyses) of each of Stableford’s works within its purview. The site was essentially inactive for half a dozen years, but is now back in business.

Beyond that site, there seems no general commentary on the man or the oeuvre. The closest would be this appreciation of Stableford by David Langford of The Ansible, which—though pleasant and accurate—is not critically enlightening.

The seeker will find only one-off reviews of individual books, which is not a great help considering the length of the roll call. There are also a couple of the inevitable interviews—at Strange Horizons by Cheryl Morgan and at Infinity plus by Barbara Godwin, and an old one from ConFuse 91 (where Stableford was the guest of honor) by Tommy Persson,which are helpful; but one wishes for more in the light of Stableford’s stature.

A few of the individual reviews seemed to me worth citing as giving some general insights, however brief, into the character of Stableford’s work. Among those are Rick Kleffel’s Agony Column review of The Hunger & Ecstasy of Vampires; Serpent’s Blood reviewed at Albedo [archived copy]; and The New Faust at the Tragicomique reviewed at The Green Man Review [archived copy]. Also, the SF Site has several reviews of interest and, helpfully, a portal page for the lot (which page is in itself useful).

Though not direct resources for Stableford’s fiction, there are available on line some non-fiction works by Stableford—essays, articles, and reviews of others’ fiction—which reveal something of the man and his style; as samples, one could examine “The Third Generation of Genre Science Fiction” at Science Fiction Studies; his review of Barrington Bayley’s Soul of the Robot; and his appreciation of Ian McDonald.

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Brian Stableford Resources in Print

I could find none.

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Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Brian Stableford ***

(To say that Brian Stableford is prolific is to sorely understate matters—yet his work is virtually all of good or better quality. A bibliography becomes quite a headache, but I believe the lists below are complete, and even—within category—in some sort of roughly chronlogical order.)

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