Monday, October 06, 2014

Reviewing the Mail: Week of October 4

Hey! Here are some more books coming out any minute now, which you may possibly love. They all arrived on my doorstep over this past week, and I haven't read any of 'em yet. But here's what I can tell you, based on intuition and a secret technique I call "reading the cover copy."

I frankly admit I don't understand all of the convolutions of the Haruhi Suzumiya empire, which started as a series of light novels by Nagaru Tanigawa and turned into a huge transmedia thing, with anime and manga proliferating off into the distance. What I have here today is one of the more outre pieces of that empire, a manga jam anthology in which dozens of other Japanese creators try their hand at Haruhi and her buddies in the SOS Brigade: The Celebration of Haruhi Suzumiya. It's credited as edited by "Shounen Ace Editorial Department," and it seems to collect several smaller Japanese anthologies -- this thing is pretty massive, at over 500 pages. And it's probably a really cool idea to big manga fans, who will recognize a lot of the names. (There are so many that I don't know where to start -- also, I'm not plugged-in enough to tell you who are the big famous ones.) Celebration is from Yen Press, and it's available now.

Also from Yen is Kaoru Mori's A Bride's Story, Vol. 6. I've heard good things about this manga series, but I've never tried it myself: it has a overall story arc about a young man traveling through central Asia in the late 19th century, encountering different cultures, with a focus on young women getting married. (Hence the title.) This is also from Yen, and also available now.

Tanya Huff's current series, about a family of magical women in contemporary Canada, continues with The Future Falls. This time out, the Gale women have to save the Earth from a planet-destroying asteroid, which is an unusual plot for a contemporary fantasy, to say the least. (You definitely can't accuse Huff of being derivative of anyone.) This is a DAW hardcover, available November 4th.

Jack McDevitt has a new Alex Benedict novel this fall in Coming Home, an Ace hardcover arriving November 4th. The Benedict series follows an antiquities dealer in the medium future -- meaning he deals with artifacts from our age and thereabouts -- and this time he's traveling to Earth to track down the fabled Apollo cache, full of artifacts from the beginning of the space age.

And last for this week is a book with the impressive title Alice in the Country of Diamonds ~Wonderful Wonder World~ Official Visual Fan Book. It doesn't credit any author or editor, but it is available from Yen Press right now, as a large-format trade paperback. Alice is another transmedia property: I've seen some of the manga, but the story originates in a a series of video games. (Well, they all originate in Lewis Carroll's Alice stories, but the modern Japanese series is a very quirky take on those.) First there was Alice in the Country of Hearts, and then the Country of Clovers, and apparently there are a couple of silly side-shoots as well around Diamonds. This book has strategies for playing the game, lots of art (including entire pages of character models with various faces) and some manga pages in the back.

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