Monday, June 22, 2009

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/20

First, the explanation: since I review books, publishers send me books to review. I never quite manage to read everything -- I'm looking at my "read for review" stacks right now, which number five and are each at least ten books deep -- but I want to call some attention to every book I can. So I post about the mail once a week, with as much as I know or can surmise about these things without having actually read them.

This week I'll lead off with Rick Geary's new book, Famous Players, the second in his "A Treasury of XXth Century Murder" series, after The Lindbergh Child. (And that series is itself a "sequel" to Geary's "Treasury of Victorian Murder," which ran for nine volumes.) Geary's murder books have been uniformly well-researched, carefully-constructed examinations of fascinating cases, done with his usual wit and intensely detailed line-work, and I expect this one -- the story of the death of a director in early '20s Hollywood -- to be equally as engrossing. Famous Players will be published in August by NBM.

I also have here the second volume of Faust, an original anthology series -- mostly fiction, with some illustrations and comics pages, and some essays as well -- from Kodansha in Japan via Ballantine/Del Rey here. Faust 2 was published in 2004 in Japan, and this English-language edition -- with work from Takeshi Obata, Ueda Hajime, NISIOISIN, Katsuhiro Otomo, take, Jatsuya Terada, and others -- will be available June 30th.

One of the best cover blurbs I've ever seen appears on Stuffed! by Glenn Eichler and Nick Bertozzi: "This book reminds me a little of myself, in that I love it." -- Stephen Colbert. How can you resist a book that Stephen Colbert loves nearly as much as he does himself? Stuffed! seems to be the first graphic-novel work from Eichler, a TV writer who created Daria and currently writes for -- surprise of surprises -- a certain Mr. Colbert. Bertozzi is the cartoonist of The Salon, among other works. It's a dark comedy about two brothers dealing with their recently-dead father's collection of oddities -- particularly an African-warrior statue -- and it will be published, by First Second, in September.

Omnibuses sometimes have awkward titles, unfortunately -- I always tried to avoid that when I was putting them together (usually one nearly every month) back at the SFBC, but sometimes it couldn't be avoided. And so it is with the mouthful of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: Three Short Novels of the Malazan Empire, Volume One. It collects the three short novels about the title characters -- as you might have guessed -- Blood Follows, The Lees of Laughter's End, and The Healthy Dead. All three were originally published by PS in the UK (which also did an edition of this omnibus, I believe), and then were reprinted, in somewhat less limited and expensive editions, by Night Shade Books here in the US. Bauchelain and Korbal Broach are minor characters in Erikson's huge "Malazan" saga, a pair of necromancers who inevitably find, or bring, trouble wherever they go. Their book -- the first of two planned, since there's supposed to be three more novellas-as-books about the pair eventually -- is now being published by Tor as a trade paperback in September.

And last for this week is a book that I saw once before, in bound galleys -- Goats: Infinite Typewriters, the first major-publisher collection of the popular webcomic by Jonathan Rosenberg. Del Rey is bringing this out, in full color (something I didn't realize from the galleys) on June 30th, for old and new fans of the online version.

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