Monday, June 01, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/30

Welcome to June! You're now one month closer to death.

With that cheery thought -- don't worry; I'm full of 'em! -- let's dive into the books that turned up on my doorstep over the past week. I haven't read any of these, but here's some impressions based on a quick glance and a long history of quickly judging literary works on little evidence.

The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering looks like one of those satires that borrow SFnal ideas to do other things with them; it's from Jeffrey Rotter, who is so literary he not only lives in Brooklyn, he's also published in the Oxford American. So meat-and-potatoes SF fans should probably stay far away from this medium future story of an America that sank back into anti-science barbarism, until an ancient rocket is rediscovered and one family decides to fly the thing themselves. It's a hardcover from Henry Holt's Metropolitan imprint, and came out in early April.

Infinity Lost is a book so far in the future that it doesn't even have a cover yet. (Or, at least, I wasn't able to find one online.) And it's about a spunky seventeen-year-old girl, in a future where everything seems to be perfect: she's the only daughter and heir to the reclusive billionaire whose company has reshaped the world. Of course, that's when the machine-designed-to-kill-teenagers portion of the plot kicks in. Infinity Lost seems to be a first novel, from New Zealander S. Harrison, and it will be available in various format's from Amazon's Skyscape imprint this November, if you haven't burned out on YA dystopias by then. (Oh, and, just so you know: "Infinity" is the main character's name. Yes.)

Jon Sprunk's Storm and Steel is the second book in his "Book of the Black Earth" epic fantasy trilogy, after Blood and Iron. This follows in the wake of the slave rebellion of the first book, continuing the stories of Sprunk's three viewpoint characters against the usual background of intrigues and war and treachery and sudden violent death and nasty sorcery. It's a Pyr trade paperback, hitting stores tomorrow.

And last for this week is Illuminae, helpfully subtitled "The Illuminae Files_01," as if it came from a world where DOS naming conventions were still in force, but only at the ends of phrases. It's from Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and it's a YA novel made up of redacted documents and other ephemera from its fictional medium-future universe. (Normally, that would make me really excited, but the copy I have is also encrusted with aggressively annoying marketing cruft, and it's being presented as awfully generic: a teen couple thought they were just breaking up, but now they must run for their lives and Save the Galaxy!) I must repeat my mantra: never blame the author for the marketing. If you're looking for teen space/soap opera with killer AIs and fiendishly complex viruses, this is the book for you. It's coming from Knopf's young readers division on October 20.

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