Monday, January 16, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 1/14

This week's Reviewing the Mail is brought to you by Crelm toothpaste with the miracle ingredient, Fraudulin! Use Crelm toothpaste for 100% protection against international Communism.

As always, these are books that showed up in my mailbox last week -- sent by hardworking publicists and others, usually in the lands of "traditional" publishing, people whose job it is to bring new books to the awareness of folks like you and me. I haven't read any of them yet, and I find that I read far fewer of these books than I intend to. But I can still let you know about them -- even before, or instead of, reading them -- in the hopes that your absolute favorite book of 2012 will be among them.

I'll start with the first novel by someone I've met very briefly, Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon, a hardcover coming from DAW on February 7th. It's probably the first Arabian-Nights-themed epic fantasy from a writer with a good personal reason for using that bit of cultural baggage -- I refer you to his totally awesome name yet again; if you have to be named after a long-dead legendary martial leader, Saladin is top-notch -- and it has an exceptionally kick-butt cover from Jason Chan. (Though I do wonder, slightly, at both the swordsman's stance and his sword's double tip.)

Speaking of DAW, I also have in front of me the three mass-market paperbacks that they'll be publishing in February:
  • Katherine Kerr's Apocalypse to Go, the third of her "Nola O'Grady" contemporary fantasy series, about an investigator in a San Francisco more overrun with the supernatural than we generally expect.
  • Westward Weird, an original anthology edited by the late Martin H. Greenberg [1] and Kerrie Hughes , with a bakers' dozen new stories -- from folks like Jay Lake, Anton Strout, Seanan McGuire, Brenda Cooper, Jody Lynn Nye, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- about various SFF thingys  (Elder Gods, aliens, and so forth) in a Wild West setting.
  • And P.R. Frost's Forest Moon Rising, the fourth novel about filker/fantasy bestseller/secret warrior for supernatural justice Tess Noncoire. (And for those of you who immediately think "Endor" upon hearing that title: I'm pretty sure this is a different forest moon. But you should definitely read it to make sure.) 
From Hachette's Yen Books imprint -- home of manga, manwha, and other kinds of comics-in-book-form, often but not always from the other side of the world -- comes the tenth volume of Korean creator Sang Eun Lee's 13th Boy, the story of a teenage girl and her romantic troubles. (At least, that's what the first volume was about, when I reviewed it a couple of years back -- long series often change over time, so I don't guarantee it's still the same now.) This one was published in January.

Speaking of comics from the other side of the world, I also have the second (and concluding) volume of manga god Osamu Tezuka's Princess Knight, published by Vertical back in December. I still have the first volume of this on my read-it-soon shelves, and I'm not going to pretend that I kept it there on purpose, so I could read the whole thing together. Tezuka's comics, even relatively early and simply-adventurous ones like this, are quirky, fun, and deeply entertaining, and this looks like a great entry into his work for young women in particular. (Boys, I'd expect, would be best served by hitting Astro Boy first.)

Also from Vertical, but coming this month, is the eleventh volume of Kou Taginuma's Twin Spica, a near-future SF story about the (very young) members of the first class of astronauts being trained in Japan after a major space disaster a decade before. It's been praised everywhere I've seen it mentioned, but I've never read it. (And I'm not entirely sure the eleventh volume would be the best place to start.) Have any of you folks been reading it? What do you think?

And, coming from Orbit as a trade paperback this month is John R. Fultz's debut novel, Seven Princes. (Orbit also recently had a week featuring this book on their blog, with a contest, several posts from the author, and other things.) It's the first in an fantasy series, and the entire world seems to be at stake, which would tend to push this over to the "epic" side.

Last for this week is a book that embarrasses me, since I still have the hardcover on my shelf and haven't yet read it: Gene Wolfe's most recent novel, Home Fires, is coming out from Tor in trade paperback on January 17th. (I actually had an advance reading copy of the hardcover, and also have it as an ebook, so this is now my fourth way to read the same book that I already want to find time for. Life is too complicated these days.) Home Fires is The Forever War (or, at least, the first piece of it) rewritten, gender-swapped, and turned into some manner of alien/spy/pirate thriller set on a cruise ship -- and that's such an odd combination of elements that I'd have to read this even if it weren't written by Wolfe, one of our very best (and quirkiest, and most idiosyncratic) writers.

[1] It's probably a publishing-schedules thing; fiction books get turned in long before they're published. On the other hand, even my end of publishing isn't immune: we're just now talking about removing the name of one particular lead author, who died over a decade ago, from an annual that he clearly hasn't worked on for some time.

No comments:

Post a Comment