Books

25 Years of Spectra

 

spectra02.gif

Welcome to a celebration of 25 terrific years!

 


Hello. I’m Anne Groell, Senior Editor of Spectra, and I want to welcome you to an amazing online celebration of one of science fiction and fantasy’s foremost imprints: Spectra. And also to welcome you to our own personal time machine, which will be moving forward by a year each weekday from now until July 12.
For now, scroll your mental clocks back with me to 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev has been declared the leader of the Soviet Union. New Coke appeared–and was very quickly replaced with old Coke again. Leaded gas was banned in the US. The first Blockbuster Video store was opened in Dallas, Texas. Wham!, REO Speedwagon, and Tears for Fears dominated the airwaves. Appropriately enough for our time machine, Back to the Future was released on the big screen, as were Beverly Hills Cop and The Goonies.
And in June of 1985, Lou Aronica launched a brand-new SF/F imprint at Bantam Books, which he dubbed Bantam Spectra. (For more on this in Lou’s own words, read here.)
For 25 years, Spectra has been a genuine force in the genre. Over the years, we have launched a number of bestselling authors. Our books have won numerous awards. (20 of our books have been up for Nebulas, of which 3 were winners, and 24 have been Hugo nominees, of which 7 were winners.) But what impressed us most, when we looked back over the years, was that–for every year of our existence–at least one of the titles we published, if not more, still remains in print. And in a world filled with burgeoning choices, in which bookshelf space is at an increasing premium, we found this a truly staggering–and humbling–fact.
And so The List was born. Over the next 25 days, we will be presenting you with a classic title or titles that appeared under the Spectra colophon in a given year, and which still remain in print today. From 1985 to 1988, a single title will be featured. From 1989 to 2003–it being impossible to choose just one–two will be spotlighted. And from 2005 to the present, three. Some of these are genuine classics. Some are books we just plain love. And some are both.


How did we choose The List? Well, there were a few rules. First, we picked the year by the books’ first appearance as a Spectra novel. (Some may have been published a year earlier in hardcover by our then hardcover partners, Doubleday.) Second, we tried to only include first books in series–though there are a few notable exceptions. Third, we tried to balance the list by presenting as wide a variety of subgenres as possible, which means that in years with an embarrassment of riches, some great titles may have been left off in the interests of diversity.
Some of you may disagree with The List (which you can see below). Some of your favorite books may not be on it. (Truthfully, we did not even have room for all of ours–but please feel free to post and tell us what you think we missed!) Some truly wonderful books may have fallen out of license, or (tragically!) out of print. Some seminal novels–like Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt and Connie Willis’ Passage–were not published as Spectra titles, but rather as general Bantam, and so cannot be counted, much as we would love to have claimed them. But overall, we think The List gives a great snapshot of the range of our publishing program and our authors over the years. And we feel truly honored to be in such august company.
So we hope you enjoy this window into history. Because in addition to just featuring a new book or books every day (or having a chance to revisit old favorites), we will also be bringing as many of the authors as we can on board, as well as a rank of former and present editors, to share their memories of the books and the line. So we hope, over the next 25 days, that there will be as much an embarrassment of riches as we feel like we have with out list in general. And if you have only half as much fun reading it as we’ve had putting it together, then we’ve done our jobs right.
Happy 25th, Spectra. And let the time travel begin!


25 Years of Spectra
Groundbreaking publishing, with classic novels still in print from every year of our existence:

1985 (June 7):
The Postman – David Brin

1986 (June 8):
Magician: Apprentice – Raymond E. Feist

  • Del Rey Manga editor David Yoo discusses the impact this book (and series) had on him

1987 (June 9):
Lincoln’s Dreams – Connie Willis

  • The above link also includes thoughts from the book’s editor, Shawna McCarthy

1988 (June 10):
Mona Lisa Overdrive – William Gibson

  • The above link also includes thoughts from former Spectra editor (and current Del Rey editor-in-chief) Betsy Mitchell and the book’s art director, Jamie S. Warren

1989 (June 11):
Rama II – Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee

  • The above link also includes thoughts from Gentry Lee and the book’s art director, Jamie S. Warren

The Gate to Women’s Country – Sheri S. Tepper

  • The above link also includes thoughts from the author, Sheri S. Tepper, as well as the editor, Amy Stout, and the book’s art director, Jamie S. Warren

1990 (June 14):
Dragon Wing – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

  • The above link also includes thoughts from Margaret Weis and the book’s art director, Jamie S. Warren

Hyperion – Dan Simmons

  • The above link also includes thoughts from Del Rey editor Kaitlin Heller and the book’s art director, Jamie S. Warren

1991 (June 15):
The Difference Engine – William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire – Timothy Zahn

  • The above link also includes thoughts from author Timothy Zahn, former Spectra editor Tom Dupree, and art director, Jamie S. Warren

1992 (June 16):
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

  • The above link includes thoughts from Neal’s editor on Snow Crash, Jennifer Hershey

Doomsday Book – Connie Willis

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Connie Willis and Unbound Worlds blogger Rhea Lyons

1993 (June 17):
Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Kim Stanley Robinson

Virtual Light – William Gibson

1994 (June 18):
Heavy Weather – Bruce Sterling

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Bruce Sterling

Forward the Foundation – Isaac Asimov

  • The above link includes thoughts from Spectra Assistant Editor, David Pomerico

1995 (June 21):
The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

  • The above link includes thoughts from the author, Robin Hobb

1996 (June 22):
A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

  • The above link includes thoughts from Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Luck in the Shadows – Lynn Flewelling

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Lynn Flewelling and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

1997 (June 23):
Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Red Wyvern – Katherine Kerr

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Katherine Kerr

1998 (June 24):
To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Connie Willis and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Robin Hobb and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

1999 (June 25):
Dune: House Atreides – Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

  • The above link includes thoughts from authors Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

A Clash of Kings – George R.R. Martin

  • The above link includes thoughts from Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

2000 (June 28):
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Ursula K. LeGuin

The Grand Ellipse – Paula Volsky

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Paula Volsky and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

2001 (June 29):
The Bone Doll’s Twin – Lynn Flewelling

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Lynn Flewelling and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Fortress Draconis – Michael A. Stackpole

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Michael A. Stackpole

2002 (June 30):
Fool’s Errand – Robin Hobb

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Robin Hobb

The Fall of the Kings – Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman

  • The above link includes thoughts from authors Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

2003 (July 1):
Lord of Snow and Shadows – Sarah Ash

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Sarah Ash and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Spin State – Chris Moriarty

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Chris Moriarty and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

2004 (July 2):
Dime Store Magic – Kelley Armstrong

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Kelley Armstrong and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Light – M. John Harrison

Forty Signs of Rain – Kim Stanley Robinson

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Kim Stanley Robinson and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

2005 (July 6):
Hammered – Elizabeth Bear

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Elizabeth Bear and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

Finders Keepers – Linnea Sinclair

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Linnea Sinclair and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

A Secret Atlas – Michael A. Stackpole

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Michael Stackpole

2006 (July 7):
Full Moon Rising – Keri Arthur

  • The above link includes thoughts from Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell, as well as an excerpt from the audio book

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Scott Lynch and Spectra Senior Editor, Anne Groell

The Privilege of the Sword – Ellen Kushner

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Ellen Kushner

2007 (July 8):
Baltimore: or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire – Christopher Golden & Mike Mignola

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Christopher Golden and Senior Editor Anne Groell

Scar Night – Alan Campbell

The Devil Inside – Jenna Black

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Jenna Black and Senior Editor Anne Groell

2008 (July 9):
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent – Galen Beckett

  • The above link includes thoughts from author Galen Beckett and Senior Editor Anne Groell

Havemercy – Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett

  • The above link includes authors Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett discussing Havemercy, and thoughts from Senior Editor Anne Groell

Mind the Gap – Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon

  • The above link includes authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon “interviewing” each other, and thoughts from Senior Editor Anne Groell

2009 (July 12):
Black and White – Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge

  • The above link includes authors Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge talking character-creation, and thoughts from Senior Editor Anne Groell

Wolfbreed – S.A. Swann

  • The above link includes author S.A. Swann discussing the novel, and thoughts from Senior Editor Anne Groell

Total Oblivion, More or Less – Alan DeNiro

  • The above link includes author Alan DeNiro discussing the novel

And highlights of 2010, looking ahead to our next 25:

In Hardcover:
Galileo’s Dream – Kim Stanley Robinson
Blackout – Connie Willis
All Clear – Connie Willis
The Conqueror’s Shadow – Ari Marmell
Nights of Villajmur – Mark Charan Newton
Dragon Soul – Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

In Trade Paperback:
Shades of Grey – Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
Wolf’s Cross – S.A. Swann
Noise – Darin Bradley
The House on Durrow Street – Galen Beckett

In Mass Market:
Chill – Elizabeth Bear
Mind Games – Carolyn Crane
The White Road – Lynn Flewelling
The Chamber of Ten – Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
The Native Star – M.K. Hobson
Echo City – Tim Lebbon

George R.R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire Wall calendar for 2011, illustrated by Ted Nasmith