This week's happy surprise was a bound galley of Iorich, Steven Brust's upcoming novel and the twelfth in his "Vlad Taltos" series. (I've been reading that series since it started in 1983, which makes me feel old. I can only imagine Brust feels older, which comforts me slightly.) Iorich will be published in hardcover by Tor in January of 2010, and it presents me with a dilemma. Since I stopped working for the book clubs, I've tried not to read and review books before publication -- partly because there's something unfair in parading a book that most people can't get yet, and partly because, as a book marketer myself, I know I want press for a book to hit when it would do the book some good. But I may not be able to wait that long to read this. (On the other hand, it reminds me that I still need to drop back and read Dzur, which I didn't read when it was published for complicated waiting-to-do-a-omnibus reasons related to the old job.) If I do eventually read this book, and gloat about it, before publication, I apologize in advance.
I'm not sure how to react to the partial bound galley of Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing... -- which declares itself "an exclusive extended preview" on its cover -- particularly on top of my already massive ambivalence about the project to begin with. On the one hand, it's not as if all of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker books were good -- the back half of the series, roughly, was at best a curate's egg and was written almost entirely for the money -- so I don't want to claim any high moral standard and demand that no one else sully his great vision. And I haven't read any of Colfer's other books, so I don't have any educated opinion on his work. (Though he has sounded funny and thoughtful in interviews.) But this book just never seemed like a good idea at all -- the strengths of the Hitchhiker books were inherently those of Adams himself, and trying to replicate them with a different author didn't seem like a useful aim to begin with. But now to find out that the bound galleys, being distributed just a few weeks before the publication date (October 12) are incomplete -- it makes me wonder if Hyperion (the publisher) thinks that there's something shocking or newsworthy in the book. I don't see how that could possibly be -- though Colfer hints in that direction in his back-cover letter -- but, if nothing else, it's certainly a decent publicity hook. The good news is that I now have no reason to want to read any of this half-a-book: if it's good, I'd want the rest, and if it's bad, there's no reason to read even this much. But: the book is coming, and half of it is in the hands of various Media People, down to even me. So, if you want to read it, there's not much wait left.
Oh, let's dive into some manga now, shall we? I'll bullet these for a change of pace, which also will serve to attempt to hide how little I have to say about them individually:
- Karakuri Odette, Vol. 1 comes from Tokyopop and is the new series from Julietta Suzuki, creator of Akuma to Dolce (or so it says on the back cover; I've never heard of Suzuki or Akuma, possibly to my eternal shame). It's the story of a gorgeous teen-girl android going to school to learn to be human, and it's publishing in October.
- Chibi Vampire, Vol. 14 is the latest volume in a series that I've never read -- but nevertheless is one of my favorite titles of all time -- by Yuna Kagesaki, and Tokyopop published itin September.
- From Blu -- which I thought was part of a manga publishing company whose name includes a certain very famous city, though this book has no reference to any other entity -- comes the yaoi story Cause of My Teacher by Temari Matsumoto, in which a teenage boy is dating his male teacher. Im not sure if that plot is a better illustration of the difference between Japan and the US, or between fiction and the real world, but it's definitely an eye-opener. This was published back in May.
- Tokyopop also published KimiKiss, Vol. 2, which credits art to Taro Shinonome and story to "Entebrain, Inc." -- I've heard of creative types incorporating themselves, but they usually credit their real names! -- which is a school romance story with a focus on soccer. (I also suspect that each volume of this series tells an independent story, but the book doesn't quite say that specifically.) It's coming in October.
- An actual real second volume -- as far as I can tell -- is Samurai Harem: Asu no Yoichi, Vol. 2 by Yu Minamoto, also from Tokyopop in October. It's the source of the anime series of the same name...which I've never seen. But it seems to be a reasonably typical harem/fighting hybrid, though the hero seems to be less of a schlemazl than is usual for the form.
- And last for the bullets of manga is Inukami! Vol 4, by Mari Matsuzawa and Mamizu Arisawa and published September 29th by Tor/Seven Seas. I reviewed the first volume of this series last November for ComicMix.
Things Undone is a new graphic novel by Shane White, which is about a young man who is becoming a zombie -- or maybe just feeling like a zombie -- in his new Seattle job. It's described as a dark comedy, which I usually like, and it will be published by NBM in November. I hope it's a bit more than the usual "I'm young and my life is lousy" story, since I find that I have less and less tolerance for those as I get older and find that my life is not appreciably less lousy than it was when I was the age of those guys -- lousiness is just something that you get in a life.
Also from NBM, but hitting stores a month earlier, is the new book in the "Dungeon" series, Dungeon: The Early Years, Vol. 2: Innocence Lost. This one has a story by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, as always, and art by Christophe Blain. The Dungeon books have greatly proliferated into a wide variety of sub-series at this point; see my recent review of volumes in two of them for my attempt to make sense of it all.
Marvel just published an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by Eric Shanower and Scottie Young, which looks really cute. (I remember there being some controversy about Young's art-style -- wasn't there some other project, from another publisher, that looked amazingly like a Scottie Young work coming out at the exact same time? -- but my Google-fu is weak today, and I can't find it.) Anyway, this will probably become fodder for my Realms of Fantasy column.
Drawn & Quarterly publish books that just look great, and Nancy: Volume One is no exception. I'm slightly disappointed that it's John Stanley's Nancy -- the comic-book stories -- rather than the pure Ernie Bushmiller three-rocks Zen comic-strip wonderfulness -- but D&Q is in the middle of a big Stanley reprint project, and I think someone else has recently announced a big Bushmiller series. (Or maybe I'm hallucinating; that happens sometimes.) Nancy came out in September, and now I want to try to review it along with Melvin Monster, another John Stanley reprint for D&Q.
And last for this week is a big kahuna, one of the major books of the fall: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb. (You know that you're a big deal when your name gets incorporated into the title.) It's the full text of the first book of the Bible, faithfully illustrated by the greatest name in underground cartooning, and W.W. Norton will publish it on October 19th.
Listening to: +/- [Plus Minus] - You'll Catch Your Death