Monday, August 15, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/13

I've had a bad case of Blogger's Ennui in recent weeks -- the feeling that nothing matters, and what little scraps of insight I might have are dropping into a vast bottomless pit without echo or result -- which, in the way of such things, feeds on itself and spirals ever larger. Like most writers' maladies, Blogger's Ennui can only be combated by work: the only cure for not being willing or able to write is to write anyway. Pointless rituals, required posts, and all the mechanisms of getting one's butt into the chair and one's fingers moving are what's needed now.

And so, luckily, I have books that came in this past week, all clamoring for me to write something about them. I haven't read them (yet?), but they're all on track to publication in the next days or months, and I'm sure some of you would like some of them if only you knew about them.

First up is a graphic novel from the fine people at First Second (who have done a lot of interesting comics work, most of it broadly "all ages" or for younger readers) with the exceptionally awesome title Orcs: Forged for War. It's based on the series of Orc novels by Stan Nicholls -- which I know slightly; I did the first trilogy back in my SFBC days -- and this book is written by Nicholls himself, with art by Brooklyn's own Joe Flood. It'll be out as a trade paperback in October, just in time to fill your fall Orc-based needs.

Speaking of books for young readers -- well, readers somewhat younger than I am, at least -- I also have here Brenna Yovanoff's novel The Space Between, coming in hardcover from Penguin's edgy YA imprint Razorbill in November. It's the story of a young woman from Hell: literally, since she's described as the daughter of a demon and a fallen angel. (It's been a while since I read Milton, but I wasn't aware that there was a generally accepted distinction between the two.) I would not at all be surprised if it contained a generous helping of angst, and it also looks like an interesting sideways take on the currently super-popular trend of teen dystopias, since our young demoness comes to Earth to find her missing brother.

I also have here the three mass-market paperback that one of my favorite three-lettered SF imprints, DAW, will publish in September:
  • One Salt Sea, the fifth in the "October Daye" series by Seanan McGuire, in which the heroine settles in as Countess of Goldengreen, starts dating again, and tries to find some kidnapped boys to stop an impending war.
  • The Truth of Valor, the latest book in Tanya Huff's MilSF "Confederation" series, which sees Marines fight space pirates, the way God and John W. Campbell intended.
  • Coronets and Steel, a new novel by Sherwood Smith in which a young woman -- with the passion for fencing required for all protagonists who may find themselves plunged suddenly into a fantasy world -- tries to trace her family's roots in Europe, and finds instead something the back cover only hints at.
And then, from Vertical, comes Velveteen & Mandala, the first manga by Jiro Matsumoto to be translated into English. The title characters -- two girls in their school uniforms -- are manning a tank, somewhere in a bucolic landscape that is also the front line of a nasty war with brain-eating zombies. But, from a quick look at it, the existence of zombies is probably the only even halfway conventional aspect of Velveteen & Mandala; the two girls are repressing or ignoring most of the important facts about their world, and there are clearly secrets and surprises nestled inside like concentric shells. Most of all, it looks quirky and distinctive, so I hope to find time to read it soon. It officially publishes August 30th as a trade paperback.


Anonymous said...

You have a picture of the Huff book, but no mention in the text.

Andrew Wheeler said...

The Huff book was the second of the three DAW mass-markets, in nearly the exact middle of the post.

I'm going to claim that I put the bookshot out of order deliebrately to confuse people, since it seems to be working.

Anonymous said...

LOL I should have read more carefully.

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