The death has been announced of William Hjortsberg, the American writer, most of whose work occupied that indeterminate territory where the mainstream and the fantastic merge. As an indication of where his work lies in relation to the fantastic, he wrote a well-received biography of Richard Brautigan, Jubilee Hitchhiker. Brautigan, along with Tom McGuane and Jim Harrison, is one of the writers with whom Hjortsberg is most often linked.
He was best known for Falling Angel, which was filmed as Angel Heart, a noir-inspired novel of detection with distinct overtones of fantasy and horror in which a detective sets out to find a former singer who has disappeared from the hospital where he had been preserved for years in a vegetative state.
His overtly science fiction work is limited to two books. Gray Matters is a dystopia in which people’s brains are preserved in a storage facility where they watch old movies and try to attain a higher state of consciousness; but after centuries of this immortality, one 12-year-old boy still wants to be a cowboy. Symbiography is a post-apocalyptic tale where one man crafts dreams for the people who live in the city, while nomads roam across the American wasteland.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.