Monday, August 10, 2009

Incoming Books: Worldcon Edition

It wouldn't be a trip if I didn't come home with new books, and this was a trip. (And, if you can follow that logic, I'll be back later with the ol' "All men are mortal" wheeze.) Some of these I picked up various places and some of them I bought in the various used bookshops of Montreal. All of them are things that looked worth reading, but I'm so far behind that I'll need to pencil them in for 2017:

Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson, one of the launch titles for the mighty Angry Robot imprint from Harper UK. Chris is a great guy whom I've only read a few things by, and he writes so damn fast that I'm getting two or three novels behind on him every year. This novel is packaged to look precisely like a Da Vinci Code knockoff, but I suspect it may not be -- particularly since the original edition of Book of Secrets was published in 2001 (by Roberson himself), and Da Vinci only came out in 2003. But it's a secret-society thriller of some kind, I think.

How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson is one of those books I'm sure I've been hearing about for years. (I'm slightly less sure that I didn't actually read it ten years ago, or that I don't have a copy lurking somewhere in my stacks. But searching for evidence of either of those things would be deeply non-idle, so I won't do it.) Hodgkinson founded the magazine The Idler in 1993, and this is his manifesto of non-work. Suddenly, I'm worried that he's the writer of the turgid, dull introduction to The Idler's Glossary, which I'm currently poking through -- if so, I hope this is better.

Jeff VanderMeer recently praised Derek Raymond's "Factory" noir novels, so when I saw the first one -- He Died with His Eyes Open -- on a random bookstore shelf, I automatically picked it up. (Jeff and I were World Fantasy judges together, so I have a half-decent sense of where his tastes and mine intersect.) It sounds like it's the kind of book that I wished China Mieville's The City and the City had been more like -- a gritty but well-written story about an unnamed detective, investigating thanklessly for the Department of Unexplained Deaths. I don't know when I'll get to it, but there are three more after this one.

I picked up Slights at the Angry Robot party -- and only afterward wondered if I was supposed to (Anticipation's parties looked like closed parties --- lots of alcohol -- but seemed to be open, so I may have treated decorations as freebies) -- entirely because I spent fifteen minutes or so talking with its author, Kaaron Warren. Slights is a horror novel about a female serial killer, written in the first person (from what I assume will become the serial killer's POV, though I've only read a few pages in), and it's very much the kind of novel I claim loudly that I don't like. Well, I haven't read this one yet, so I'm not sure if I like it, but it sure as hell looks compelling.

I also found a book of collected journalism by Jessica Mitford, the least likely of the famous Mitford sisters -- the one who was famous for writing The American Way of Death rather than for tongue-kissing Hitler, writing upper-crust novels, or marrying rich heirs. The book is called Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking, it was published in 1979, and it even has an afterword by Carl Bernstein (who was about as famous as a muckraker could be, in 1979). Mitford intersperses the collected pieces with then-new commentary about how she became a crusading journalist and how others could do it as well.

Nick Mamatas's novel Move Under Ground was in large boxes in the giveaway area of the giant space containing the dealer's room and art show, which I take to mean that B&N or Borders (or both) decided to return a whole lot of them sometime in the recent past. I hope it did OK for Mamatas and Prime (the publisher) before that, and now I have a chance to read it. This is the novel in which Jack Kerouac squares off against a cult that worships Cthulhu, so I have to read it at some point.

Moxyland is another book from Angry Robot that walked away with me from their party. It's by Lauren Beukes and I grabbed it almost entirely because the back cover reads "What's really going on? Who's really in charge? You have no fucking idea." I respect an imprint that drops the f-bomb on the back cover of a paperback book, I really do. Angry Robot's little "if you like this try that" stripe -- a great idea, which is on all of their launch titles -- also compares this to This Is Not a Game, Little Brother, and Halting State, three novels that I've actually read and enjoyed, which is also a plus.

So, to sum up: in four days, I got seven new books, and read exactly zero -- not a good sign, but nothing new.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


I've not read Da Vinci Code, but have read Voices of Thunder which is what Book of Secrets is based upon (revised? not sure how much difference). I enjoyed it, especailly given how Chris plays with different writing styles in the book..

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