Another possible bright spot is the list of books I'm about to throw out at you: they're the things that arrived in my mailbox last week, sent by happy publicists who want you to know about books that you'll buy and read and love and recommend to all of your friends and their third cousins. I haven't read any of them yet, and -- to be utterly honest -- there's a very good chance that I won't read any particular one of them, since these books come in much faster than I can read. But I can tell you interesting, and 99% true, things about these books based on my mysterious sources, so let me get to that right now:
Tribulations gets to go first because it's that rare bird, an original science fiction novel published first as a mass-market paperback. (Once these roamed the earth in vast hordes, like buffalo or the passenger pigeon, but their ranks have been decimated by superstores, Internet retailers, and the deadly ebook.) It comes from Tor, it's by Ken Shufeldt, and seems to be a sequel to Shufeldt's first novel Genesis . In Tribulations, a space-ark -- one of a small fleet fleeing an asteroid-obliterated Earth -- tries to go FTL, has some trouble, and finds itself (incredibly luckily) right next to a hospitable planet. Of course, that planet has prior inhabitants, and there wouldn't be much of a novel if those inhabitants were quiet, peaceful, and loving, would there? Tribulations will hit newsstands, bookstores, and PXes near you in January of 2012.
Speaking of mass-markets, this is also the week of the month when I get the three books that DAW is publishing in mass-market the next month. This time out, that month is November, and your DAW selections are:
- Courts of the Fey, the obligatory original anthology. It's edited by the late Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis, and contains a dozen new stories about, as you might have guessed, the light and dartk courts of the faeries, by authors including Mary Robinette Kowal, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jane Lindskold, and Lilith Saintcrow.
- Fire Works in the Hamptons, the second book in an urban fantasy series by Celia Jerome (aka romance writer Barbara Metzger), about a graphic novelist whose creatures come to life.
- And the long-awaited cheap edition of Tad Williams's Shadowrise, the third book in the epic fantasy "Shadowmarch" sequence.
Speaking of Shadowmarch, November also sees the trade paperback publication of the fourth and last book in that series, Shadowheart, which originally hit stores last year as a hardcover a year ago. So if you were waiting for the Mama Bear of publishing formats -- neither too big, like a weighty hardcover, nor too small, like a flimsy mass-market -- you are in luck. I should mention that Shadowheart is also from DAW, but you could probably figure that out yourselves.
I saw an advance copy of Margaret Atwood's essay collection In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination a few weeks ago, and haven't read it yet. And now I have the finished hardcover, in which the cover figure looks even more like the King of All Cosmos than I'd previous thought, which is yet another reason to read it. Nan A. Talese's line of books for Doubleday publishes this on October 11th.
And last for the week is another book from DAW, who are just showering me with wonders this week: Tanya Huff's The Wild Ways, second in the contemporary fantasy series that began with The Enchantment Emporium. This one moves from Calgary to the Maritimes -- Huff is a particularly Canadian writer, if you didn't know -- and to the battle over offshore drilling pitting the usual nasty oil company against a family of selkies. And our heroine -- the girl on the cover the guitar on her back, looking as if she was quickly comped in -- is right in the middle of it. Wild Ways is a November hardcover.
 Which has quite a lot of reviews, he noted, without making any stand whatsoever.