Monday, February 18, 2008

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 2/16

Ten books came in the mail this week, which means they can all fit into one post. (I also picked up a few things at the library, but I'll be leaving those out of lists like this from now on -- at least most of the time.)

Ellen Datlow edited The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy for a publisher that I hope you can figure out yourself. I've been feeling guilty about carrying around the Datlow-edited issue of Subterranean for several months without reading it. (Though don't ask me how far behind I am on The New York Review of Science Fiction!) So I'm inclined to find time to read this -- especially since Datlow's a great editor and I haven't seen the last couple of her books. Del Rey Book is coming in late April, and I'm going to bet right now that it will be one of the major original anthologies of the year.

The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 3 completes a sidebar story to a long Japanese novel sequence by Kaoru Kurimoto; the manga are written by Kurimoto with art by Kazuaki Yanagisawa. I suppose the Conan-esque leopard-headed warrior-king Guin beats up the evil magi and saves the day in this book, but I'll have to read it to be sure. (I reviewed the first two volumes of the trilogy for ComicMix about a month ago.) This is being published by Vertical in early March.

Also from Vertical is Andromeda Stories, Volume 3 by Keiko Takemiya, which also ends a trilogy. (I reviewed the second volume of that series at ComicMix back in December.) This one has the final showdown between our hero Prince Jimsa and The Enemy, an aggressively hegemonizing machine race which is in the process of converting his home planet. The finale of Andromeda Stories will also be in stores in early March.

And next is a complicated one: Death Note: Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, a spin-off novel by Nisioisin based on the Death Note manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It's about a serial killer in LA and the Japanese-American FBI agent who needs to run him down. (The mysterious super-sleuth L from the manga series is also apparently important in the novel.) Another Note is also a very stylish-looking book, with a white dust wrapper that only covers two-thirds of the book, black cloth binding, and creepy silver stamping on both case and jacket. It's a very attractive-looking little volume, which was published by Viz this month.

I got something frightening-looking from Del Rey Manga: Minima! , Vol. 1 by Machiko Sakurai. According to the back-cover copy -- even though my old boss would remind me "Never hold against the author what the back of the book says" -- this is the story of a teenage girl whose favorite toy comes to life to become her best friend. (No, not that kind of toy -- get your mind out of the gutter. The cute, cuddly, stuffed kind.) It's available right now.

Also already published by Del Rey Manga is the less cute Yozakura Quartet, by Suzuhito Yasuda. This one is about three superpowered girls and their unpowered male friend, who all protect their town from various supernatural threats. Now, I'm pretty sure I've seen a storyline like that before, if only I could remember where...

Marseguro is the first novel by Edward Willett, and I'm afraid I was making fun of its cover over on Jeff VanderMeer's blog a couple of weeks ago. It's an old-fashioned colonists vs. Earth novel, with a world of humans and genetically modified post-humans targeted by the obligatory oppressive religious government of Earth. DAW published it in mass-market paperback at the beginning of February.

Also from DAW is The Hidden City, first in a big fat epic fantasy series by Michelle West (under the series title "The House War"). It's related to her first duology -- Hunter's Oath and Hunter's Death -- but looks like your usual wade-into-the-deep-end high fantasy, with a spunky heroine surviving in the slums by her wits, battling Houses with a capital H, and evil demons lurking in the background to serve as the Big Bad for later in the series. The Hidden City publishes in hardcover on March 4th.

S.L. Farrell's A Magic of Twilight also begins a big epic fantasy series from DAW, called "The Nessantico Cycle." Nessantico is the seat of a mighty empire, and of its equally mighty religion, both of which I expect will be important as the series goes on. This book also has what I fear may turn out to be a spunky young woman as a major character, though it also has a queen in the fiftieth year of her reign to balance things out. As a consumer note, I should say that there are a number of apostrophes in the pages I looked at, but they all seem to be embedded in character names (and at the same place in the name in all cases), so it's a minor infestation.

Last this week is Elric : The Stealer of Souls, first in yet another remixing of Michael Moorcock's most famous series of stories. All of the previous reprintings I know of -- and I was involved in one of them and am a big fan of the massive, Multiverse-spanning uberseries from Millennium in the UK and White Wolf in the US in the early to mid-90s -- tried to put the stories into an internal chronology. Given how tangled and interconnected all of Moorcock's works are, this was close to being futile to begin with. On top of that, the first Elric novel, Stormbringer -- made up of the second major sequence of stories -- is the very end of the series. Del Rey, having had some success with their chronologically-reprinted series of Robert E. Howard Conan stories, have decided to do the same for Moorcock. So this volume is the first that decides to reprint the Elric stories in the original order they appeared: Elric: The Stealer of Souls includes the original collection The Stealer of Souls, plus the best and most essential Elric book, Stormbringer. There's also a small pile of more minor pieces, including a new introduction by Moorcock and a foreword by Alan Moore, the first review of Stormbringer from New Worlds, and several other Moorcock pieces of the same vintage. It was published February 19th, and it makes a great single volume introduction to the first and best doomed hero of modern fantasy.


Edward Willett said...

Hi, Andrew,

Thanks for the mention of Marseguro! I appreciate it.

Just one small correction: it's not my first novel. DAW has also published my SF novel Lost in Translation, and I've also had some YA fantasy and SF novels published.

Thanks again!

Mr.SFTV said...

While the Michelle West is related to the Hunter duology, plotwise it's more related to The Sun Sword series.

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