Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reviewing the Mail, Week of 6/21: Prose

This week saw enough of a flood that it will take two posts to list it all -- this one will have the books with just words in them, and the second post (later today) will include books that also have pictures.
Lord of Bones by Justine Musk is a contemporary fantasy and the sequel to BloodAngel. It's coming from Roc in July. I haven't read the earlier book, I'm afraid. I do read Musk's LiveJournal, which is very distinctive and un-typical for a writer's blog: it's mostly about her life in LA as an outsider-ish member of a very, very priviledged set. On that basis, I can say that she's a thoughtful writer with an eye for other people's behavior, which implies good things for her fiction.

The Dimension Next Door is the anthology-of-the-month from DAW for July, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes, and contains thirteen original stories about other dimensions from pretty much the same crew that contributes to every Greenberg DAW anthology. I can't remember the last time I read one of these books, but it's terribly comforting to know that they continue to be published like clockwork; some things in this world need to be utterly dependable like that.

If you're on the Internet -- and how are you reading this if you're not? -- you've probably heard that John Scalzi has a new novel coming up, and Zoe's Tale is it. Tor will publish it in August. Scalzi is one of the very few current writers where I've read all of his novels, and I see no reason to break my streak -- he's always very readable, and tells good stories. Zoe's Tale is the fourth novel in what was supposed to be the "Old Man's War trilogy," so we'll all have to see how he opens back up the box that he supposedly closed at the end of the last book. This one also reportedly has Young Adult elements, or is not inappropriate for that audience, or something like that.

Ink and Steel, the third "Promethean Age" novel from Elizabeth Bear, will be published by Roc in July. (And the direct sequel, Hell and Earth, is coming a month later.) I read a bit of the first book, Blood and Iron, when I had hopes of snagging a job at Ace/Roc, but I didn't get back to it. Bear has been writing novels frighteningly quickly the past few years, and I don't think I've read any of them -- some have sounded like not my sort of thing, and a lot of them have been mass-market originals (and I dislike that format). But I definitely need to read me something-or-other by her at this point.

I've also just gotten The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway, a novel which could be called science fiction (though Knopf, the publisher, is very carefully not doing so, billing it as "An electrifying tale of love, friendship and the apocalypse"). It has both pirates and ninjas in it, is supposed to be both funny and full of high adventure, and is coming in September.

E.E. Knight's Fall with Honor is the latest in his "Vampire Earth" series. (The book doesn't say anywhere how many previous books there have been in the series, nor any of their names -- presumably not to scare away any new readers. I find this terribly annoying, but I've long been an advocate for detailed card and permissions pages and even strong penalties for the lack of same.) I don't think I've read any of these, but they seem to be set in a future where...the earth is dominated by vampires! (But I bet you could have worked that last bit out without my help.)

Sherwood Smith's King's Shield is the third in the series including Inda and The Fox, which tells me time is passing at high speed -- in the back of my head, Inda is still on the shelf of my old office, a book I still might get a chance to read sometime soon. Since it's not my office anymore -- and that company has moved itself since then -- I bet that particular stack of paper has been recycled by now. And Inda is now a three-book-long series, of fattish books. DAW is publishing King's Shield on July 1st.

I'm not entirely sure if the Howard Waldrop collection Other Worlds, Better Lives was supposed to come to me -- there was a handwritten label with someone else's name on it under the printed label addressed to me -- but I've got it now, and we all know what possession is. (Besides grounds for a twenty-year stint at Leavenworth.) It's from Old Earth Books, will be published in September (simultaneously in paperback and hardcover), and collects seven of Waldrop's better novellas.

And last this week is the fortieth anniversary edition of Peter S. Beagle's classic novel The Last Unicorn, which is one of those books which I can't remember if I ever read or not. (Or maybe what I can't remember is when I read it.) Oddly, the cover on the actual book that came in the mail -- supposedly publishing in July -- just says "Special Anniversary Edition," and doesn't look as nice and fancy and 40th-Anniversary-esque as this other cover I found online. I may have gotten a stray copy of the last printing -- the ISBN's are the same -- or perhaps that fancy new cover didn't exactly happen. The very nice online cover is to the left; the book I actually got is below. Check your local purveyor of fiction if you have a strong preference for one or the other...

Edit, a week later: I've learned that the copy of The Last Unicorn I got was one of a few left lying around the warehouse, as I'd suspected -- the new edition does have the snazzy new cover, plus it has the author's definitive text. So if you don't have a copy of The Last Unicorn -- or if you have one that's gotten a bit ratty -- this is definitely the time to splurge.


Chris McLaren said...

If you're looking for a way to dip your toe into Bear's work, you might consider checking out Shadow Unit.

It's essentially a shared world for the web, that's heavily influenced by TV. "Episodes" are written by Emma Bull, Bear, Sarah Monette, and Will Shetterly.

The "first season" of free fiction is done now, including a couple of solo Bear efforts, and a couple of collaborations between her and Bull. (There's more than a decently thick novel's worth of content there in total).

Anonymous said...

Why do publishers keep sending you free SF now that you're no longer working in the SF part of the industry? Have they not yet noticed your defection?

Andrew Wheeler said...

Chris: Unfortunately, "It's just like TV!" is one of the best ways to get me to avoid something. Saying it's like fanfic is another -- so I'll more likely try some of Bear's work in book form.

John: They never sent me books at home when I had the old job; they never knew my home address. All this stuff is new -- it's because I'm one of those new-media blogging types now.

(And also because I review for ComicMix, so I get a lot of things with comics connections.)

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