Hardcover: 349 pages
Publisher: NESFA Press (28 Feb 2006)
Ken MacLeod is one of the group of SF writers that has come out of Scotland in recent years and almost overshadowed the rest of the British Isles with their energy and originality. This volume is the New England Science Fiction Association's tribute volume, being a collection of almost anything short enough to fit in: poetry, stories, con reports, political essays, scientific essays and the odd bit of unclassifiable stuff thrown in as 'squibs'.
MacLeod is a thoughtful writer — he's a thoughtful person, truth be told — who is deeply steeped in the political traditions of the left. With the right-wing libertarian tradition of much US SF, this is both a relief and a necessary counterbalance, but he is not someone who pushes a political point of view, he just lets those politics stand as his background much of the time. On the other hand, there are some delightful little pieces such as the one which explains quite why a whole coven of vampires have stowed away on a colony ship to Alpha Centauri. A slow ship, but there's plenty of food ... oh, that's another point — MacLeod avoids Faster-Than-Light travel, which one would have thought would cramp interstellar fiction a bit. Not at all.
Being a collection of just about everything excluding his novels, it may be a little variable. Not everyone is going to be interested in a report of what he did at a Finnish convention — that's fairly hard-core fannish gossip. But it probably gives a better view of MacLeod the man than anything else you're going to discover.
(This edition is a limited one, with a thousand copies. If you want to know, mine is 907. It wasn't stupidly expensive, coming in at a fairly standard small-press hardback price. If I have a complaint, it's the cover art — it's not dire, but it's fairly forgettable.)
One for the fans, one to lend to potential fans.