Monday, January 23, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 1/21

It's Monday once again, as it is every seven days, and so it's time for this weekly post again. In case you haven't seen the disclaimer before: these are things that showed up in my mailbox last week, sent by the nice publicists of the publishing business, and are all brand-new or still-upcoming books. I haven't read any of them yet, but, for the past few years, I haven't let that stop me from describing them in what I hope is a usually positive way to whoever is out there reading this.

I'll start with the book with the best title of the week: Nancy Kress's new short novel After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, which is being published by Tachyon in trade paperback in April. It's a post-apocalypse story in which aliens arrived in 2014, destroyed the Earth's environment, and killed all but about two dozen humans. That could have been a rounding error, but they were deliberately saved, stuck in an enclosure called the Shell, and allowed to have children -- the main story begins in 2035, when their six gene-damaged teenage children are beginning to operate a time machine to kidnap genetically strong children from just before the attack. I'm usually violently against novels that kill me and my family -- and I do intend to be alive in 2014, thank you very much -- but maybe, just maybe, I'd give Kress the benefit of the doubt.

Also from Tachyon is a new novel from Charles de Lint, Eyes Like Leaves. Unusually for him, it's an epic fantasy set in a world inspired by Celtic and Norse mythologies, centering on the conflict between two gods, the Summerlord and the Icelord. This one's coming as a trade paperback in February.

My first sequel this week is A.M. Dellamonica's Blue Magic, which follows last year's contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs and continues the story of the underground river of pure magic (Vithagua) and the two people who found it: one of whom wants to rule the world, the other to heal it. This one is a trade paperback from Tor in April.

Also from Tor and also a sequel -- but published last week in hardcover -- is the latest Enderverse novel from Orson Scott Card, Shadows in Flight. I believe this is the fifth in the side-series following Bean, who was once Ender's right-hand man boy but is now a fourteen-foot twenty-two-year-old, traveling the stars with his super-genius six-year-old triplets, but I will admit that I'm not a huge reader of this series, to put it mildly.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Boneyards is also a sequel: it's the third in the space-archeology series that includes Diving into the Wreck and City of Ruins. This time, series hero Boss is in a new sector of space facing new dangers, and her old friend Squishy (Squishy?) is in danger in the Enterran Empire and in desperate need of being saved. This one is a trade paperback from Pyr, and officially hit stores last week.

And last this time is another third book in a series from Pyr: Mark Hodder's Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, another adventure of Sir Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Charles Swinburne, secret agents for the British Crown in a steampunky altered 1860s, as they race to find the third of the fabled Eyes of Naga so that Lord Palmerston can manipulate time to avoid a world war. This declares itself to be the finale of the trilogy, so if you've been hoarding The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, now is the time to start reading. This one hit stores on January 10th, so many of you might already have it.

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