Monday, July 25, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 7/23

It's time once again for Reviewing the Mail, the game show that takes place right in your browser window! I, Andrew Wheeler, am both your host and your contestant -- and, if things get any tighter around here, I'll have to be the one in a skimpy outfit clapping for myself as well -- and now, here's Johhny Olson with the fabulous prizes I might already have won! Johnny?

We've heard a lot recently about how difficult and sad it is to be the fan of a writer whose books only appear at multi-year intervals. And it is sad, certainly -- though it's only difficult for the kind of exceptionally limited reader who doesn't read any other writer's books -- but it does make those books, when they appear, even more exciting and special. I'm talking, of course, about Tim Powers, whose last novel was Three Days to Never in 2006, and whose next novel is expected (hoped-for?) sometime next year. But for this year, there's one of his very rare short-story collections -- Powers doesn't write very often at shorter lengths -- in The Bible Repairman and Other Stories, a forthcoming trade paperback from Tachyon. (In fact, it's so forthcoming that it won't be out until October 15th, so I may have to take my copy to Worldcon -- where Powers is a Guest of Honor -- to show it off and make everyone else jealous.)

It's time for the DAW package once again -- the three mass-market books that they publish every month, come rain or shine -- and what I notice first of all this time out (with the August-publishing books) is that none of them are anthologies from the dark satanic mills of Green Bay; all three are novels this month. I'm not sure if that's a trend or a blip, but, in either case, here's what DAW is bringing to the racks next month:
  • Omnitopia Dawn, the first book in a near-future SF series about a company that runs MMORPGs by Diane Duane
  • Path of the Sun, the fourth in the "Dhulyn and Parno" fighting-fantasy series by Violette Malan
  • and Water to Burn, second in an urban fantasy series about Nola O'Grady, agent for a super-secret US government society of psychics, by Katherine Kerr

I still have a copy of Cory Doctorow's first non-fiction collection, Content, on my frankly-unrealistic "to be read" stacks, but he's kept busy writing -- he is a professional writer after all, and professionals do tend to keep doing their professions -- and now a second volume, Context, is coming up as a trade paperback from Tachyon in October. I'm sure I've read a lot of these pieces when they originally appeared -- because, agree with Cory or not, he's someone you always want to read, and to engage with his arguments -- but it's well worth hitting them all again together.

And last for this week is the new novel by a writer I am deplorably unread in: Vernor Vinge's The Children of the Sky, which is coming from Tor as a hardcover in October. This is a direct sequel to Vinge's Hugo-winning A Fire Upon the Deep, which I have to admit I haven't read. (I haven't read a single Vinge novel, actually -- just some scattered stories.) It's unlikely that this will be my first Vinge novel -- even I'm not dumb enough to start off with a sequel to something -- but maybe, just maybe, it will shame me into reading something else by him.

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