Monday, May 26, 2008

Reviewing the Mail (SFF Edition): Week of 5/24

This is the second of two posts listing the books for review or notice that arrived in my mail last week; this one focuses on SF and Fantasy.

Life has many joys, but one of the sweetest is when I hear about a book -- and I don't remember how or where it happened in this case, now -- and then that same book arrives in the mail a day or two later. This week, that happened with Superpowers, a new novel by David J. Schwartz that Vintage is publishing in the UK on June 3rd. (The US edition is from Three Rivers Press and is coming a week later, but it's the UK that sent me the book -- and that has the better cover -- so they get all my love today.) It's another one of the current mini-flood of superhero novels, like Soon I Will Be Invincible and From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, and I hope to read it soon. The upcoming UK edition seems to be a smaller paperback format -- they don't have "mass-market" books over there, exactly -- while the US edition is a trade pb.

Batman: Gotham Knight is a more old-fashioned kind of superhero novel; it's the novelization of a movie of the same name (direct-to-DVD, I think), published in mass-market. Louise Simonson wrote it, which gives it more clout in my eyes than it might otherwise have had. (She's a long-time comics writer, and a good one.) Ace publishes this in June.

Also from Ace is Jes Battis's Night Child, the first in an urban fantasy series about "occult forensics investigator Tess Corday." It's also a June book.

CodeSpell is a near-future technomancy novel that could be called "urban fantasy," though it doesn't look like the same kind of UF as Night Child. (There aren't any young hotties with tattoos, tank tops or leather on the cover, for one thing.) It's the third in the series that started with WebMage, it's by Kelly McCullough, and it's yet another Ace June book.

We move back to the Buffy definition of urban fantasy for Phaedra Weldon's Spectre, the fourth "Zoe Martinique Investigation." (I admit that sometimes I have trouble telling the names of UF writers from the names of their characters; I was half-sure Phaedra Weldon was a tough-talking Wiccan priestess in Vancouver or something like that.) Zoe's particular supernatural ability is to travel astrally, and she lives in Atlanta (where she has a complicated relationship with a cop). This one is a trade paperback, but is still from Ace in June.

Nancy Kress's new novel is Dogs, a trade paperback from Tachyon in July. It sounds like a contemporary thriller on the border of SF -- the main character is an ex-FBI agent who gets caught up in the spread of a mutated flu that turns dogs viciously aggressive. (I hope she can sell the movie rights; it sounds like a natural.)

I was tempted to play one of those snarky Internet games with the title of The Invisible Ring -- you know, like adding "in bed" to everything? -- when I realized that it's by Anne Bishop, so it's probably already referring to something unmentionable. (And a quick look into the book proved that true -- it's her usual mix of femdom and fantasy.) This one is from Roc, in trade paperback, in June. (And, I noticed a bit later, it's actually a reprint of a mass-market original from 2000, so Bishop's fans must be clamoring for more durable editions of her books -- but I really don't want to know what they're doing to wear out their old copies.)

Daemons Are Forever is the second book in Simon R. Green's newest series -- I don't think it has a name yet; the first book was The Man With the Golden Torc, and it's contemporary fantasy with a bit of James Bond parody mixed in -- which Roc is publishing it in June in hardcover.

Then I've got something called Destroyermen: Into the Storm, by Taylor Anderson. It's an alternate-world SF novel, in which a WWII destroyer slips sideways into a world with two non-human races at war. This kind of book has been generally ceded to Baen by the rest of the SF publishing world for quite a while, so it's good to see someone else (Roc, in this case) jumping strongly into the subgenre by launching this series in hardcover.

And last this month is Alastair Reynolds's new space opera, The Prefect, which Ace is publishing in hardcover in June. I'm sure it's a great read, since all of Al's books are, but I'm chagrined to note that I now have three copies of this -- UK paperback, US galley, and now the US hardcover -- and that I still haven't read it. Soon, I hope. Soon.

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