Monday, April 20, 2009

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/18

Every week, I get books in for review, and, every Monday, I list them here. Many of these books will get fuller reviews later, once I've read them, but many will not -- just because I won't have time to read and think and writer about all of them.

This is a light week: just three books. So typing this post should take much less time than it does some weeks...

First is The Sheriff of Yrnameer, a satirical SF novel by Michael Rubens, who used to be a writer and producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The hero is Cole, a "hapless space scoundrel on the run," who travels through various "advertising-saturated worlds" to deliver "freeze-dried orphans" to "Yrnameer, the last unspoiled and unsponsored world in the galaxy." And now I have to swallow down some knee-jerk condescension; from those facts I already have an image of Rubens as a Hollywoody carpet-bagger and his plot as a third-hand warmed-over version of '50s Galaxy. (Even if I'm being generous, his setting seems to owe a lot to Pohl and Kornbluth and Sheckley and Knight and Leiber and Brown and....) But I haven't read it, so I'll suspend judgment -- it could be wonderful, and it was obviously good enough to attract the attention of an agent (John Silbersack, who knows SF backwards and forwards) and the august bodies of Pantheon, which will publish this in hardcover on August 4th.

Stephen Baxter's new novel is Flood, about a world in which the oceans are rising much more quickly and inexorably than is true in our world. There's a hint in the flap copy that the oceans will -- for some unspecified reason -- also rise higher than should be plausible, high enough to drown every place in which human beings can live. That's a suitably dour background for Baxter, who seems to delight in finding new ways to make humanity insignificant, endangered, or simply extinct. Roc is publishing Flood on May 5th in hardcover, and it's perfect for those of you who don't have enough to worry about already, or who are fans of the grand British tradition of unlikely world-destroying events.

And last for this week is The Photographer, a graphic novel by photojournalist Didier Lefevre, cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert, and graphic designer and colorist Frederic Lemercier, based on Lefevre's first trip to Afghanistan as a journalist in 1986, traveling with a group from the international relief organization Doctors Without Borders. It was originally published in France in three volumes before Lefevre's untimely death in 2007, and has been translated by Alexis Siegel for this first English-language publication. First Second will release it as a large-format paperback on May 12th.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Among the emptier articles I can recall encountering, though it's possible I'm forgetting most such examples. I think we're right at the bottom threshold beneath which nothing can be remembered.

What was I talking about?

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