If my experiences with author K.J. Parker and publisher Subterranean Press are any indicator, Academic Exercises will be a gorgeous book in every sense of the word. As far as I know, this will be the first ever collection of K.J. Parker’s short fiction. These thirteen stories and essays were, until now, scattered across separate magazines, anthologies, and chapbooks. Now, they’re all available in one volume.
My advance copy says the publication date is July 31, 2014. If I were you, I’d preorder now.
Here are the publisher’s book description and the full table of contents:
Academic Exercises is the first collection of shorter work by master novelist K.J Parker, and it is a stunner. Weighing in at over 500 pages, this generous volume gathers together thirteen highly distinctive stories, essays, and novellas, including the recent World Fantasy Award-Winner, “Let Maps to Others”. The result is a significant publishing event, a book that belongs on the shelf of every serious reader of imaginative fiction.
The collection opens with the World Fantasy Award-winning “A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong,” a story of music and murder set against a complex mentor/pupil relationship, and closes with the superb novella “Blue & Gold,” which features what may be the most beguiling opening lines in recent memory. In between, Parker has assembled a treasure house of narrative pleasures. In “A Rich, Full Week,” an itinerant “wizard” undergoes a transformative encounter with a member of the “restless dead.” “Purple & Black,” the longest story in the book, is an epistolary tale about a man who inherits the most hazardous position imaginable: Emperor. “Amor Vincit Omnia” recounts a confrontation with a mass murderer who may have mastered an impossible form of magic.
Rounding out the volume—and enriching it enormously—are three fascinating and illuminating essays that bear direct relevance to Parker’s unique brand of fiction: “On Sieges,” “Cutting Edge Technology,” and “Rich Men’s Skins.”
Taken singly, each of these thirteen pieces is a lovingly crafted gem. Together, they constitute a major and enduring achievement. Rich, varied, and constantly absorbing, Academic Exercises is, without a doubt, the fantasy collection of the year.
Table of Contents:
- A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong
- A Rich, Full Week
- Amor Vincit Omnia
- On Sieges
- Let Maps to Others
- A Room with a View
- Cutting Edge Technology
- Purple & Black
- Rich Men’s Skins
- The Sun and I
- One Little Room an Everywhere
- Blue & Gold