Monday, November 10, 2014
As always, these are books I haven't read yet, but I'll tell you what I can about them, because one of them just might be your favorite book of the year. (Or, on the other side, something you will hate forever and give you great joy in haranguing people about for years to come. The latter is much more likely if you are already a fan of superhero comics, of course.)
First up is the new edition of George R.R. Martin's novella The Ice Dragon, republished by Tor about two weeks ago with a cover and internal illustrations by Luis Royo. This is at least the second time Ice Dragon -- originally a story in the Orson Scott Card 1980 anthology Dragons of Light, and collected several times since then (in several dragon-themed anthologies, and the GRRM collections Portraits of His Children and Dreamsongs) -- has been published as a book, after a 2006 Starscape/Tor edition with art by Yvonne Gilbert. Martin apparently edited this story lightly before that 2006 edition to make it more clearly child-friendly and to make sure it didn't contradict his "Song of Ice and Fire" series. (It's sold now as a story set in the same world, but clearly it wasn't meant that way: as I recall from reading it in 2006, there's nothing in Ice Dragon that stops it from taking place in the world of Westeros, but nothing that ties it down to that world, either.) If you haven't seen this before, and don't expect a "real" Song of Ice & Fire tale, it's quite good: Martin has been a great short-fiction writer since the mid-70s. But don't come to this looking for more stories about the Starks and Lannisters and Targaryens.
What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 5 is clearly the new volume in the cooking-oriented manga series by Fumi Yoshinaga, just published by Vertical as a trade paperback. I reviewed the first book here earlier this year; it's a pleasant domestic comedy around the edges, and something like a manifesto for cooking and eating well but healthily at its center.
And last for this week is Charles Stross's The Traders' War, the remixed version of the middle third of his "Merchant Princes" alternate-world series. (It was originally published as the two novels The Clan Corporate and The Merchants' War, though Stross originally originally wanted to write the series as big fat books about this size.) It's a Tor trade paperback, hitting this week on my side of the pond, though I believe this package has been available in the UK for some time already. I tried to read the first book or two in this series -- because Stross is brilliant and full of fizzy ideas -- but I found the world just too dour and depressing to go on. I may try again -- and that dourness may not be as much of an obstacle for some readers. You may have missed this the first time out, since it was published as fantasy for contractual reasons, but it's a pretty SFnal tale of travel between alternate worlds, nasty crime families/feudal lords, and nuclear terrorism.