Monday, September 08, 2008

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 9/6

Every week, I get stuff in the mail. A lot of it is books and embryonic books, to be reviewed or noted (here or elsewhere). And I then list them all, with some mostly serious commentary, every Monday morning for people who might be interested.

(This week, I'll also list some graphic novels that didn't come in the mail, but which I do expect to be reviewing for ComicMix in the next couple of weeks. I'll add those at the end.)

But, first, the mail!

American Quest is the first publication from a new press called The Story Plant, founded by two long-term publishing guys (Peter Miller and Lou Aronica). It's an absolutely professional-looking hardcover, as I'd expect, and they've real trade distribution through Perseus -- so you could find this book just about anywhere you find any books. The author is billed as "Sienna Skyy," which sounds like a pseudonym because it is -- "Skyy" is actually a supernatural romance writer from the New York area using a new name for a new project. American Quest is a contemporary fantasy -- the first in a four-book series -- which sounds like it has strong romantic threads and possibly a cosmology similar to Terry Brooks's "The Word & the Void" trilogy. It's officially published on September 16th, which means books should be hitting stores this week.

The next Star Wars hardcover is the latest in Karen Traviss's "Republic Commando" sub-series, Order 66, which Del Rey will publish September 16th. (On a side note, I've never actually looked, but I'm sure that there are a pile of fanfics out there somewhere with the title "Order 69" depicting various steamy goings-on between the unlikeliest of characters.) Traviss's Internet persona is grumpy and opinionated, so I've always liked her -- and her Star Wars novels have had some authentically gritty military SF without the usual ideological baggage that often comes with MilSF.

Then there's the the book with the longest title I've seen in a while: Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show. It's a collection of stories from the online magazine of the same name, and was edited by Edmund R. Schubert and Orson Scott Card. (I don't envy anyone being the co-editor on a book with someone whose name is in the title, so kudos to Schubert.) The book was published August 12th, and has four stories by Card (all set in the "Ender-verse," I believe), as well as work from Tim Pratt, David Farland, James Maxey, and David Lubar.

The graphic novel based on the video game series Prince of Persia has just been published by First Second -- the official date was September 2nd. It's credited to Jordan Mechner (creator of the original game), A.B. Sina (who wrote this graphic novel), and LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland (who did the art). I reviewed it a few weeks back for ComicMix, but it's now hitting stores.

Last from the mailbag this week is the third book in Joe Abercrombie's big fat (and acclaimed) debut fantasy trilogy, "The First Law," has made its way to the US -- it's called The Last Argument of Kings, and Pyr are publishing it September 2nd. I haven't read any of these, I'm afraid, so I have no personal recommendation either for or against. But it's been compared to writers I like and respect, such as George R.R. Martin and Steven Erikson, so, if you like them, you might want to check out Abercrombie. (For those of you who wait until series are complete before diving in at all, the first book is The Blade Itself.

Moving on to comics/graphic novels/illustrated prose/whatever we call stories with words and pictures all smooshed together on the page, I have a few books to mention:

Scrambled Ink is another book of short stories in comics form by animators; this one is from a group who work at DreamWorks, and (as is common with this kind of book), there's no editor credited. It's in an odd format -- 9" x 6", like a book of newspaper strip-cartoon reprints -- and has an oddly black-and-white cover. I'm hoping all that quirkiness will spill over into the stories as well; similar projects like Out of Picture and Flight have been visually gorgeous, but not all that inventive on the level of story. Scrambled Ink was published earlier this summer by Dark Horse.

The Good Neighbors, Book One: Kin is the first in a series of graphic novels for teens from Scholastic's Graphix imprint. It's written by Holly Black -- co-author of the "Spiderwick Chronicles" series and author of a series of dark and impressive contemporary YA fantasy novels starting with Tithe -- and illustrated by Ted Naifeh, known for a number of Goth-tinged comics projects. This book has something to do with the fairy realm intersecting with our world -- and, if you know Black at all, you know her fairies are more Puck than Tinkerbell. Good Neighbors was published in September.

William Messner-Loebs's classic Journey series is being brought back into print twenty years later by IDW -- they've just published a collection of the first sixteen issues of the series, the hefty Journey, Volume 1. Messner-Loebs has had some health problems lately, which seems to have broken him back into the comics business, after he was sidelined at the turn of the century. I have to admit that I've never read Journey -- it was one of those things that I always thought I'd get to, sooner or later, but I never quite did -- so now I've got a chance to catch up.

And last of everything this week is the new book from Rick Geary, which I've been waiting for all summer. It's somewhat of a continuation of his "Treasury of Victorian Murder" series, but he's moved into the Twentieth Century, and chosen a crime that didn't start out to be a murder. The book is The Lindbergh Child, and it bears the subtitle "A Treasury of XXth Century Crime" -- which I hopes we'll continue to see many more books from Geary for years to come. (Maybe Bonnie & Clyde? Or Al Capone? He'd do a great job on thirties gangsters -- his art style could do great things with pinstripes.) The Lindbergh Child was just published by NBM's ComicsLit imprint.


Hagelrat said...

your mail box is better than mine. *sob*

james-nicoll said...

[Traviss'] Star Wars novels have had some authentically gritty military SF without the usual ideological baggage that often comes with MilSF.

Although it introduces its own ideologicasl baggage, like "Being owned sucks." I don't generally care for Traviss' non-tie in work but I find her an interesting choice for the Star Wars books because she's willing to talk about obvious problems with that universe, like the tendency for most of the major problems to be because of the Jedi and Sith.

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