Monday, February 25, 2008

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 2/23

A fairly light week -- at least from a mail point-of-view -- allows me to also mention that I've grabbed a copy of the Caldecott Award-winning book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, which (since it's much, muck shorter than it looks) I expect I'll read really quickly.

And the books other people sent me for review are:

Tonoharu: Part One by Lars Martinson, from Pliant Press; something I was entirely innocent of before it showed up on my doorstep. I'd never heard of the author, the publisher, or the book. But I see that this book recently won the Xeric Award (which helps individual creators to publish exceptional works), which is impressive. It seems to be semi-autobiographical -- Martinson spent three years teaching English in Japan and Tonoharu is about a young man teaching English in Japan. The book design is quite elegant; the pages have a great fine-book smell; and the art has very cartoony figures, strong vertical and horizontal lines, and a rigid four-panel grid. It publishes at the beginning of May, and I look forward to reading it.

Physics of the Impossible is a non-fiction book on science by Michio Kaku, a well-known science popularizer. (I know I've read at least one of his books -- maybe Visions -- but can't recall exactly what or when.) This is a general "how these SFnal ideas could work" book, not tied to any specific fictional world and based in real, if speculative, science. Impossible is divided into three sections -- Impossibilities of Class I, II, and III -- starting with force fields and invisibility and working up to time travel and perpetual motion machines. Doubleday will publish it on March 11 in hardcover.

Iron Man: Beneath the Armor is the first bound manuscript I've received as a reviewer -- and I would have been more impressed before I learned how easy it is for my employer to create them. (The Iron Man book is published by someone else, though -- Ballantine, to be exact -- so perhaps it's more impressive when they do it.) Anyway, this is a guidebook to Iron Man's history in the comics, copiously illustrated with lots of art from forty years of comics, by the very knowledgeable Andy Mangels. I'm sure this is being published now because of the upcoming movie, since Iron Man otherwise has always struck me as an also-ran hero. The materials I have don't say when this book will be published, but I'm going to guess that it will be before the summer, and the movie.

Before They Are Hanged is the second book of "The First Law" by Joe Abercrombie. (Which reminds me of the old story -- I'm not sure if it's true or not -- that Terry Goodkind's first novel was named Wizard's First Rule because he wanted the whole series to follow that title style: Wizard's Second Rule, Wizard's Third Rule, and so on. According to the story, Goodkind was convinced by someone at Tor, his publishing house, that this was not necessarily the best way to create a series identity.) Abercrombie's series looks to derive more from Glen Cook and Steven Erikson than from Goodkind, but he writes big, bloody epic fantasy, so he's in the same ballpark either way. Before They Are Hanged is a trade paperback from Pyr, and will be published March 4th.

Last this week is something that came directly from the author: Polly Frost's Deep Inside. It's a collection of SpecFic erotica stories, and I was amused to note that I know Frost's editor (Paul Stevens of Tor -- hi, Paul!). I have to admit that I'm not all that plugged into the skiffy erotica scene, though I do know that it exists, and have been known to make jokes about Circlet Press. Deep Inside was published by Tor in the summer of 2007 in trade paperback, and it's still available.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning "Deep Inside" -- great to read about the other books you received! I've been on a noir reading kick for a while, but I'll look into these other books!

btw, I love the term "skiffy erotica"! I think it should be a new genre on Amazon! (And you can always make jokes about my erotica writing.)

Cecilia Tan said...

Hey Andrew! I want to hear the jokes about Circlet Press...! If they're good I could put them on the Circlet blog... *g*

"Two Circlet Press authors walk into a bar. One of them set her phone to vibrate. The other one set her vibrator to ring..."

(Sorry, that was the best I could come up with on short notice...)

While we're on the subject, would you like a review copy of Best Fantastic Erotica? I'm mailing them this week.

--Cecilia Tan, Circlet Press

Anonymous said...

The Tonoharu book sounds fascinating from a design perspective. The elegant design may help that book stand out in a time when teaching English abroad is simply not a novelty anymore now that there are thousands of English teachers around the world attempting to publish books about their experiences.

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