For all the drama and high-concept, Buyout is a remarkably understated and thoughtful novel. The story is rife with dark humor but Irvine reserves the sharpest of his satiric barbs for the voice of "Walt Dangerfield", self-appointed Gonzo Journalist/Greek Chorus, whose daily podcasts introduce each chapter and serve as exposition for the world of 2040 at large. At first glance, the cover art reminded me of Richard K. Morgan's very cool Market Forces (I know, I know, don't judge a book...) But you won't find cartoony evil corporations or blockbuster action here. Nor is the technology portrayed much flashier than what we see around us now. Martin wrestles with ethical dilemmas and social issues, not gun-festooned cyborgs. Buyout lacks many of the obvious trappings of a genre novel, but it does what any well-written Science Fiction book should. It makes you think; about life and death, ethics and society, justice and loyalty — and about the cynic and the idealist, and how sometimes they can be the same person. (read the rest)
A couple of other interesting things. The new Conjunctions is called "Betwixt the Between," and follows up on that august journal's "New Wave Fabulists" issue from a few years back. It's advertised as "[p]ostfantasy fictions that begin with the premise that the unfamiliar or liminal really constitutes a solid ground on which to walk." The lineup looks terrific. I can't wait to read it. Plus it ought to give Hal Duncan something else to think about during his extended cogitations about the differences between various genres and modes of narrative.
The current Harper's also dips into literate genre work, with a feature called "My Great Depression: Ten Dispatches from the Near Future." The (eleven) writers of these ten dispatches are Kevin Baker, Thomas de Zengotita, Ruben Bolling, Jamaica Kincaid, Colson Whitehead, Simon Critchley and Tom McCarthy, David Rees, Sherman Alexie, Ben Marcus, and Ben Katchor.