Monday, October 20, 2008

Reviewing the Mail, Week of 10/18, Part One: SFF

I review books, so I get books in the mail, in the time-honored way of the world. I can't review them all, but I do want to at least mention them all, so I do posts every Monday morning about what came in the week before, with whatever facts or speculation I can scrounge up quickly.

This week, it was a large stack -- despite Monday being a no-mail holiday -- so I'm dividing it into two pieces. The first will cover science fiction, fantasy, and similar stuff, while the second (coming very soon this morning) will cover comics.

And so:

I'll start off with Fast Ships, Black Sails an anthology of all-new pirate stories edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, since I now have two copies of it (one came in the mail from John Joseph Adams, master of many trades and Night Shade's publicity czar, and the other was handed to me by Jeff VanderMeer himself at a bar Wednesday night...mostly because he was struggling to stuff a large stack of Fast Ships into the too-small bag he had that night). It has stories from Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, Kage Baker, Howard Waldrop, Carrie Vaughn, and others, and it was just published in trade paperback by the mad geniuses of Night Shade Books. So go buy it, already.

Magic to the Bone looks like a first novel: it's by Devon Monk, and is yet another urban fantasy. The heroine is Allison "Allie" Beckstrom, who tracks down bad magic-users in Portland. Roc will publish it in mass-market on November 4th.

Also coming in mass-market on November 4th, from Roc's sister-in-law imprint DAW (headquartered in the same building, but different in many ways, not least ownership), Better Off Undead is the latest in the series of original anthologies from the Martin H. Greenberg empire. This one is edited by Marty and Daniel M. Hoyt, and has eighteen original stories about the undead (ghosts, zombies, vampires, etc.) from such writers as Sarah A. Hoyt, Laura Resnick, Esther Friesner, Alan Dean Foster, Carrie Vaughn, S.M. Stirling, and Jay Lake -- a pretty impressive lineup, actually.

Diana Pharoah Francis's The Black Ship is the second novel in her "Crosspointe" series, but it seems to have a separate story from the first one, The Cipher. (It's hard to tell, because the book description Amazon has for The Cipher is skimpy in the extreme -- a bad sign for the publisher on a book a year old; they should have at least the full back-cover copy before publication. Today's tip to authors: check your books on Amazon a week or so before publication, and ask your editor nicely about anything missing or obviously truncated.). Di Francis reads this blog and comments intelligently, so I'm going to feel guilty if I don't manage to read this. Black Ship is coming from Roc in mass-market on November 4th.

I haven't heard of Denise Rossetti -- no relation, I assume -- before, but she's Australian, so that might not mean much. (It could just mean I haven't been paying attention here in the USA, even.) But her novel The Flame and the Shadow -- first in what seems to be a multiple-worlds romantic fantasy series -- is something I have noticed, because it's right here in front of me. It'll be published in trade paperback by Ace on...yes, again the 4th of November.

Going Under is the third book in Justina Robson's "Quantum Gravity" series, after Keeping It Real and Selling Out, continuing the adventures of Lila Black in a vastly altered technomagical near future. It was published by Pyr in trade paperback on October 7th, so you should be able to find it just about everywhere right now.

I think Brian Francis Slattery was at the other end of the group having drinks before the KGB Bar readings on Wednesday -- I was mostly at the Jeff Ford/Colleen Lindsay/VanderMeers end -- but I'm not entirely sure, since I've never really met him. So I don't actually know why I mentioned that. But, anyway, his second novel, Liberation, was published by Tor in a very eye-catching trade paperback on October 14th. Liberation is a near-future dystopian novel set after the collapse of the US economy...which is either eerily prescient, or the kind of total downer that I'll want to avoid entirely. (Or possibly both.)

Will I get drummed out of the SF field if I admit that I've never read even one of Orson Scott Card's "Ender" books? Well, it's true, so drum away if you must. I was already late in my high school career when Ender's Game became a novel, and so missed the standard window for that book, and I just never got to any of the later ones. So when Ender in Exile landed on my desk, I know that it'll be a big deal -- it's the story of what happened to Ender in between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead -- but it's a bit like an artifact from a foreign land. But, for those of you who already live there, Ender in Exile will come out next month from Tor in hardcover.

The first thing I noticed about Fiona Patton's The Golden Tower is that it has a really wonderful cover (by Todd Lockwood), symbolic and evocative while still falling solidly into a high fantasy aesthetic. The second thing I noticed was that it's the second book in a series, "The Warriors of Estavia," after The Silver Lake. And the third thing I noticed is that DAW will publish it in hardcover in November.

DAW's other November hardcover is from the SFnal side of the fence: R.M. Meluch's Strength and Honor, the fourth in a military SF series about the fighting ship U.S.S. Merrimack. (No, not that one -- besides, the Merrimack was only the raw materials for the ship we should remember as the CSS Virginia.)

Juliet Marillier's first "Sevenwaters" trilogy -- and all of her previous adult fantasy novels, to boot -- were published by Tor, but she's jumped to Roc for the new one, Heir to Sevenwaters. This is another series I haven't read -- I used to be able to walk down the hall and ask Ellen Asher about it, but those days are long gone -- so all I can say out of my own head is that it's historical fantasy with a fine, if subdued, John Jude Palencar cover. It's also a November hardcover.

And last for this week is Sharon Shinn's Fortune and Fate, the fifth in her "Twelve Houses" series. Um. I've run out of things to say, it appears. So I'll just wrap up by saying this is yet another November hardcover, this time from Ace.

1 comment:

Di Francis said...

Yeah, going to have to read The Black Ship. It should read completely separately from The Cipher. Hopefully you enjoy.


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