Monday, June 27, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/25

I'm back to my usual schedule on these posts, so what you'll see below are the books (and a few odder items, at the bottom) that arrived in my mailbox last week, all of which I really should read and review at some point but not all of which will manage to reach that exalted state. Because of that, I do these posts, to call your attention to this stuff in a reasonably timely manner and to assuage my conscience over not actually reviewing more of them.

First up this time is Kitty's Big Trouble, the ninth novel in Carrie Vaughn's urban fantasy series about a talk-radio host who is also a werewolf. (It's vastly less gimmicky than that makes it sound; for more details, see my review of Kitty Raises Hell, the sixth book -- yes, I have fallen behind.) Tor is publishing this one in mass market this week.

Also from Tor, and also a book that I saw in galley form (and still have not read) is Steven Gould's new novel 7th Sigma. It's a near-future SF story set in the desert southwest (of the USA) colonized by some kind of alien "bugs" that eat metal and avoid water. Gould's career -- which started so well with the YA-ish, thrilling, deeply fun novels Jumper, Wildside, and Helm -- got sidetracked somewhat by the mediocre movie made from Jumper (and Gould's tie-in-izing his own world), but I hope that 7th Sigma sees him get back to his old standalone-novel mojo, since he's the kind of writer SF needs more of. This one will publish in hardcover on July 5th.

I probably will not read Rhiannon Frater's The First Days, I'm sorry to say: it's a zombie novel in which one of the two female protagonists discovers her husband has been zombified and is snacking on their child. If you tell me that on your back cover, you have just guaranteed that I'm not going to read your book. However, there's probably millions of you who do like zombie stories, and are in the market for one in which two strong women battle their way across Texas in search of a safe place. (Though that same back-cover copy hints very strongly that First Days is not so much with the happy-ending-ness.) This one is also from Tor, coming as a trade paperback on July 5th.

Last year I reviewed Resistance, the first book in a graphic novel series about French kids fighting against Nazi occupation in World War II, and this year brings the second volume, Defiance. Like the first, it's written by Carla Jablonski -- writer of many novels and plays for younger readers -- and illustrated by Leland Purvis. First Second will publish Defiance in July, and the publicity materials note that this is a trilogy, so one more book will be coming.

Last of the actual books I got this week is The Monster Corner, a new anthology of original stories from the point of view of monsters and other unpleasant creatures, edited by Christopher Golden. It has nineteen stories from such writers as Kelley Armstrong, Kevin J. Anderson, Dana Stabenow, Tananarive Due, Michael Marshall Smith, Simon R. Green, and Sharyn McCrumb, all of them brand-new and never-before-seen. This is not from Tor...but it is from their corporate siblings St. Martin's Press/Griffin, and will come as a trade paperback in the very monstrous month of October.

This week, I also got two things that aren't books, but I feel like I should mention them anyway:

First is a stack of odd little pamphlets, entitled Five Simple Steps to Greater Joy in This World of Sorrow, credited to Wayne Alan Brenner. I'm supposed to pass them along, and I'm going to do that, as soon as I figure out the best way to do so. (I'll bring them to Worldcon, so, if you see me there, ask me for one.) Oh, and you will be happy to know that they are gravitationally secure.

The other thing is somewhat more conventional: it's a blad (pre-publication booklet meant for publicity/marketing/promotional purposes) for the book What the Hell Are You Doing? by artist David Shrigley. Shrigley's art, from this sample, is somewhat outsider-y, with lots of rough black lettering that doesn't quite turn the pieces into cartoons and drawings with a similar rough finish. Shrigley is an honest-to-Ghu artist, as anointed by galleries around the world, so I suppose one has to take this seriously as "art" rather than as "drawing" or "cartooning," and that's lucky, since, even with my slapdash knowledge of the latter, Shrigley doesn't come off terribly well from these samples. This one is coming from W.W. Norton in October as a big hardcover.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE The First Days: that's why I couldn't get through Brian Keene's first zombie novel. I got to the scene where someone sees a female zombie w/ a fetus eating its way out of her stomach. It wasn't that I was grossed out, it was just so patently ridiculous I knew I'd never be able to take his books seriously.

Jeff P.

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