Monday, August 03, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/1

Hello again! Here are some books, yadda yadda yadda. You know the drill by now.

The Last Man, Vol. 3: The Chase is the third in the graphic novel series -- I should say BD series, since it's originally French, and I like to be sophisticated and condescending like that -- by Balak, Michael Sanlaville, and Bastien Vives, about a world dominated by a fighting championship and the odd partnership that is (of course) dominating the current running of that championship. It's from First Second, available right now, and I hope to read and review all three Real Soon Now.

(But I already have a stack of twenty-plus books I've already read, and the reviews are coming much slower than Real Soon recently.)

Next up is a YA novel from Colleen Houck: Reawakened, in which a New York teenager discovers an ancient Egyptian mummy in the Met is actually a Prince who needs her help battling the evil god Seth. It doesn't say so, but I would not be surprised at all to find out that this is the first of a series. Reawakened is coming from Random House's Young Readers imprint as a hardcover on August 11.

Tom Doyle is back with the sequel to the military contemporary fantasy American Craftsmen, The Left-Hand Way. This series seems to marry the usual urban fantasy "evil things and the secret organization of magicians that battle them are absolutely everywhere, even though no one ever notices" stuff with a large helping of Clancy-esque saluting and honor and duty and long descriptions of weaponry and uniforms. If you like both of those things, this could easily be your literary Reese's Cup. This one is a Tor hardcover, hitting stores August 11.

Fable Comics is a large-format collection of new short comics, edited by Chris Duffy, all adaptations or riffs on classic Aesop stories. There are twenty-eight stories in all -- including several from George O'Connor -- from such diverse creators as James Kochalka, Roger Langridge, Graham Annable, R.O. Blechman, Mark Newgarden, R. Sikoryak, Elanor Davis, Jaime Hernandez and Graham Chaffee. It's published for kids, but I bet plenty of adults will enjoy it. It's a hardcover from First Second, coming in October.

Cixin Liu is a massive SF bestseller in his native China, and his first novel translated into English, The Three-Body Problem, is a current Hugo nominee. (Which is a complicated story, in this most unusual of Hugo years.) The sequel to Three-Body is The Dark Forest, and it's coming from Tor in a translation by Joel Martinsen as a hardcover on August 11. This is the middle book of a trilogy, so the secret plot of the aliens from the first book has been uncovered, and humans are mobilizing to defeat them, but I don't expect a strong resolution in this book.

And last for this week is the new "Darger and Surplus" novel from Michael Swanwick, Chasing the Phoenix. The main characters are two con-men traipsing across a quirkily diverse post-apocalypse world -- one human, one not precisely so -- in search of opportunities and vast wealth, hampered only by their own very large flaws. Darger and Surplus previously appeared in the novel Dancing Bear, in which they hit Russia (it hit back), and they've also been central to a series of great novellas. This time out, they've made their way to China, with the slight problem that one of them is currently dead. Swanwick has been writing great novels for thirty years now, and the Darger & Surplus stories are the closest we have to a modern Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser, so I'm looking forward to this one with glee. It's a Tor hardcover, coming on August 11.

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