Monday, May 24, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/22

As I say every week, these are the books that arrived in my mail over the past seven days; I haven't read any of them yet, but I have looked intently at their spines as they piled up next to my computer. And here's what I can tell you about them for a quick glance and my own possibly unjustified prejudices:

Larry Doyle's second novel Go, Mutants! heads into the SFnal realms of '50s movies, after his first (I Love You, Beth Cooper) mined either his own life or the plots of '80s teen movies. It's set in one of those default satirical Earths, where all of the monsters and aliens and other weirdnesses of drive-in movies actually happened, and the kids of those creatures are attending high school. One of them, J!m, is the Deanoid rebel on the cover; son of a would-be world-conqueror and with the macrocephalic profile to show for it. J!m is, of course, brooding and outcast, but somehow he gets caught up the the promised whirl of "beach parties, dances, fistfights, and hotrod races." Ecco Press will publish Go, Mutants! as a hardcover in July.

Graphic Classics is reissuing its first book -- a collection of comics adaptations of the world of Edgar Allan Poe -- in a new fourth edition, with forty new story pages. As always, the series is edited by Tom Pomplun, and this volume includes "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Rick Geary, "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Matt Howarth, and much more, with eleven Poe adaptations in nearly a hundred and fifty pages.

I am really not the reader or reviewer for zombie stories, so I'll just note quickly that David Moody's first novel Hater (which got generally admiring reviews as well as an option for a movie from Guillermo Del Toro) has spawned a sequel, Dog Blood. Thomas Dunne Books will publish the new book in hardcover on June 8th, which I'm sure will delight those of you who enjoy reading about zombies.

I've already reviewed Zeus: King of the Gods -- first in a planned twelve-book series of graphic novels for younger readers by George O'Connor -- but I just got a copy of my own this week, which will make my Greek-gods-obsessed older son very happy. (He grabbed the second book, Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess, as soon as I finished reviewing that, and I think he likes Zeus even better.) It's available in paperback for only $9.99, so if you -- or a young person close to you -- has the slightest interest in mythology, you should take a look at O'Connor's books.

Cory Doctorow's new novel For the Win is his second for teens -- after 2008's Little Brother, which I reviewed at the time -- and looks to be as politically engaged and button-pushing as Little Brother was. This time, Doctorow is telling the story of online gamers around the world, and how the weakest of them -- the impoverished gold-farmers from countries like China and India start to organize and fight against the people that exploit and profit from them. (I don't expect right-wingers will be any happier with this book than they were with Little Brother, in other words.) Tor Teen published For the Win in hardcover on May 11th, so it should be everywhere already.

I think I saw J.A. Pitts's first novel, Black Blade Blues, back in advance-copy form, but it's now turned into a real book, so let me mention it now (again). It's an urban fantasy with a heroine who works as a blacksmith -- yet another case of a fantasy main character having unlikely skills that will turn out to be amazingly handy when things go all weird, in a tradition stretching back to Martin Padway, if not farther -- and finds herself dealing with real dragons, dwarves, and even worse -- like...investment bankers! Tor published Black Blade Blues this month, simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback.

I hope you all haven't had your fill of literary/historical horror mash-ups, because they're going to keep coming fast and furious (Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, anyone? Mansfield Park and Mummies?) until they completely kill the market dead. The one I have in my hands right now is Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland , which posits that William Shakespeare was a powerful necromancer, that the "Dark Lady" of the sonnets was his secret True Love, and that they fought an army of zombies together to save England. If that sounds like fun to you, Shakespeare Undead will be published in trade paperback by St. Martin's Press on June 8th.

Turning from the ridiculous to the sublime, Drawn & Quarterly has put out a new volume of their collection of the early years of Frank King's Gasoline Alley newspaper strip, after a three-year hiatus. Walt and Skeezix: 1927-1928 collects two years of the classic strip, and is available now in hardcover.

Also from D&Q is a second collection of John Stanley's Melvin Monster comic book from the mid-'60s, with a handsome design from Seth (which doesn't match at all in style with the Stanley strips, but I suppose that's a minor point). And that brings me to the bottom of the pile, and then end of the week.
Listening to: The Orion Experience - The Cult of Dionysus
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Vera Nazarian said...


Just want to mention that there is a very serious personal reason why I wrote Mansfield Park and Mummies.


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