- Paperback: 172 pages
- Publisher: SFPA (June 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809511622
- ISBN-13: 978-0809511624
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase Paperback – June 20, 2005
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From the Back Cover
"You hold a volume of seminal poetry by a whos who in the field . . . . If you havent read poetry like this before, I envy you . . . youre choosing from the gourmet menu for your first taste."
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1. A foreward by Roger Dutcher, Rhysling Award winner and one of the editors of the volume
2. An introduction by Jane Yolen, much-lauded writer and poet, Rhysling Award winner in 1993, and winner of numerous other awards, including the Caldecott Medal, three Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, and more.
3. An afterword by SF writer and poet Suzette Haden Elgin, well-known for her Gentle Art of Self-Defense books, who was instrumental in founding the SFPA (Science Fiction Poetry Assoc), the organization that nominates for and awards the Rhyslings.
4. All the long form and short form poems awarded the Rhysling from 1978 through 2004.
If you're a fan of speculative literature, you really need to get this book. It's an essential one for your library. And if you've never read speculative poetry, this is an excellent place to start, because the creamiest of the cream of the crop is right there for your delectation.
You'll recognize some names right off, if you know anything about SF, because some of the best fiction writers in the genre are here, besides the already mentioned above:
Ursula K. LeGuin
John M. Ford
Geoffrey A. Landis
Theodora Goss (nominated this year for a Nebula)
Gene Wolfe opens the poetic array with "The Computer Iterates the Greater Trumps", a clever use of computerese and Tarot imagery to come to a solid finale.
"Sauls Death: Two Sestinas" is absolutely brilliant and not to be missed. Joe Haldeman, whose life experience and talent have given him a voice to speak out on the subject of soldiering and warfare, gives us two sestinas linked by subject, with a killer conclusion (metaphorically and literally). The ending hinges on another theme that Haldeman has written of in the past, time-travel. It's a marvelous twosome. (Plus I love the form of the sestina, which, when done well, gives me a particular sort of thrill.)
Another winner in a similar linked form pattern--in the SAME YEAR, no less, 1984-- Helen Erlich's "Two Sonnets," offers us a call-and-reply sort of set-up. Someone from the present speaks about "Lucy," the anthropological find theorized to be our ancestor. Then, in the second sonnet, "Lucy" speaks back about how one future day, others will do to the speaker as has been done to her, wonder and study and mold and theorize. And those futuristic scientists, in turn...and the cycle goes on, the evolved study their predecessors, who become predecessors, etc. Very nicely done.
Bruce Boston, the poet with the most Rhysling Awards, has several entries here, naturally, from the short, reflective, and moody "For Spacers Snarled in the Hair of Comets" to the borderline speculative and exquisitely moving, and also short form, "My Wife Returns as She Would Have Had It," sprinkled in between by longer form poems. (In 1996, both Boston and his wife, Marge Simon, win the awards. A rather sweet detail.)
It's a bounty, indeed, in THE ALCHEMY OF STARS, and I strongly recommend you buy it, read it, relish the wonders within these speculations, savor the beauty of the language, and feel satisfied.