Monday, October 27, 2014

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 10/25

Even though my front steps were under construction this week, meaning my mail box was sitting in a plastic tote over in a corner of the yard, just outside the construction zone [1], the brave Package Fairies of various services managed to get a number of packages to me over the past few days. In honor of their brave and zealous work, I can present this week's "Reviewing the Mail" post: five new books coming out in North America, sent to me semi-unexpectedly by their publishers. I haven't read any of them yet, but here's what I can tell you about them.

Willful Child is the new novel from Steven Erikson, and it meets almost none of the expectations raised by the first half of this sentence. It's not secondary-world fantasy: it's a SF novel. You couldn't block a door with it: it's under 350 pages. And it's not deeply serious: it looks to be a satire (or maybe piss-take is the better word) of classic Star Trek. This deeply surprising and unlikely book is a Tor hardcover coming November 4th.

Jala's Mask is the first novel by husband-and-wife writing team Mike and Rachel Grinti, coming as a trade paperback from Pyr on November 4th. It's a fantasy novel set in a world with a Polynesian influence, where a small group of islands has used magic to shape coral ships to raid the mainland for centuries and where a young woman from outside the usual circles of power has just married the king. That's when the mainlanders finally hit back, just as Jala (our heroine) is thrown into the typical snake-pit of scheming advisors and nobles. Can she save her marriage, her family, and her nation?

Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison! is the memoirs of a SF writer whose name I think you can guess. (Yes, he did die in 2012: sometimes publishing takes a while. He wrote this the usual way, before that event.) It's a Tor hardcover, coming November 4th, and it covers his entire life and career -- one of the last primary documents about the SF and comics world of the '40s and '50s that we'll ever get, I expect.

Impulse is a military SF novel by Dave Bara, coming from DAW as a hardcover on February 3rd. It's the first in a series -- books that aren't in series are in shorter supply than hen's teeth in SFF these days -- and the first novel by Bara, telling the story of a young officer in the space navy in a dangerous medium-future galactic civilization, and the difficult choice he has to make.

And then there's the new Wild Cards novel, Lowball, edited by George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass, continuing the long-running multi-author series about an alternate history filled with superhumans. (I read the first ten or so in the series -- the whole original Bantam run, I think, but lost track when it bounced among publishers and there were too many evil body-swappers in a row for a while. But there have been a truly remarkable number of excellent writers involved since the beginning, and I've never seen anyone else come close to replicating the "mosaic novel" structure of many of the series books, with multiple writers each doing their stories and the editors weaving them together into something that really reads like a single novel.) This is a Tor hardcover, available November 4th, and the writers included this time out are Michael Cassutt, David Anthony Durham, David D. Levine, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Ian Tregillis, Carrie Vaughn, and Walter Jon Williams.

[1] Metaphorically in a filing cabinet at the bottom of a broken flight of stairs behind a "beware of the leopard" sign.

1 comment:

Mike G. said...

Mosaic structure: did you read the Sanctuary shared-universe books, way back when? Those were pretty well woven together, too...

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