Monday, December 24, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 12/22

For those of you who wouldn't be offended by it, best wishes for a Merry Christmas. (For those who would be offended by it, my heartiest wishes for a heaping pile of coal wherever it would be least pleasant.)

There was mail this week, and so I'll tell you about it -- as usual, these are all books that came compliments of their publishers, with the hope/expectation that I would review them. But I can't manage to review everything I see -- some week, it feels like I can't review any of them -- so I write about them all this way, to give whatever tiny bit of publicity I can muster to all of them. I haven't read any of these books yet, so what I'm going to tell you is probably, but not necessarily, entirely correct. Just assume anything that you don't like is a case of me getting it wrong -- all of these book are most likely the Platonic ideal of the book like that in your head, and so you should check them out right now.

Luck of the Draw is Piers Anthony's 36th Xanth novel, about an 80-year-old man who finds himself magically transported to Xanth and into a young body -- and I suppose one can take that as Anthony's own wish-fulfillment (he's 78, himself), if one wants to. It's a hardcover from Tor, officially on-sale today.

I also have three paperbacks from the fine folks at DAW, all publishing in January in the popular mass-market format:
  •  Touch of the Demon, third in Diana Rowland's urban fantasy series about cop/demon summoner Kara Gillian -- who, this time, finds herself summoned by a demon.
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon is the first novel by Saladin Ahmed, a secondary world fantasy novel set in an Arabian Nights-inspired world, which I've been planning to read for some time now. (So maybe this more portable edition will help get that done.)
  • And Skirmish, the fourth book in Michelle West's epic fantasy "House War" series (which will, I note, be followed by Battle and War).
I have one lonely manga volume this week -- Atsushi Ohkubo's Soul Eater, Vol. 12 -- but that's just fine, since this is a fun, energetic battling-witches series that my two sons are particularly enjoying. (I've reviewed the first and eighth volumes of this series.) It's coming from Yen Press in January.

Also from Yen in January is Book Girl and the Undine Who Bore a Moonflower, sixth in the light novel series by Mizuki Nomura about some kind of supernatural creature (head of a high school literature, she can only read stories by actually eating them) and the obligatory mousy boy who does whatever she wants. As I said, these are light novels -- short books with a lot of illustrations (in this case, by Miho Takeoka) rather than manga proper, but I expect people who like manga for the characters and Japanese cultural tropes will find a lot to enjoy here as well.

Farseed, the middle novel in Pamela Sargent's long-gestating "Seed" trilogy -- between 1982's Earthseed and 2010's Seed Seeker -- is getting re-released in a trade paperback edition, with a hopeful cover quote comparing it to Hunger Games. (Which, since it's from The Hollywood Reporter, is probably shorthand for "Hey! This is another SF novel for young readers, and it's really darn good!") The Seed trilogy seems to be in the manner of a generational saga, with each book taking up the story of a new (young) generation of settlers on a dangerous alien world. The new edition of Farseed will be coming from Tor on January 8th.

Also from Tor is the new novel from John C. Wright, The Hermetic Millennia, hitting stores in hardcover today. It continues the story from Wright's last novel, Count to a Trillion, focusing on "Menelaus Illation Montrose -- gunslinger, idealist, and posthuman genius" who puts himself into coldsleep because a nasty alien race will be coming to audit humanity in eight thousand years. (Some people might want to act ahead of that event; ol' Mene wants to be well-rested when it happens.)

And last for this week is a novel publishing today from Tor's fraternal twin, Forge -- Dinosaur Thunder by James F. David. It's the third in a series -- the first two are Footprints of Thunder and Thunder of Time -- in which the aftershocks from nuclear tests in the '50s and '60s hit earth with a "Time Quilt" that transported huge chunks of the Cretaceous to modern Earth (and, presumably, vice versa). This is a thriller rather than a SF novel, which means complaining about the plausibility of that premise is entirely besides the point -- there's also some backstory about ecoterrorists using orgonic energy to blast an Aztec temple to the moon in a failed attempt to make a more comprehensive 'Time Quilt," so clearly the point here is big stakes, crazy action, and not so much science that your friends at CalTech would like.

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