Monday, May 23, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/21

Another week has come and gone, which means it's time for me to tell you, once again, about the books that showed up in my mailbox during that week. I haven't read any of these yet -- I'd think that's pretty obvious, since they just arrived, but some people have been unclear on that aspect of "Reviewing the Mail" -- but I can tell you something about them based on looking at them and thinking really, really hard.

(Reading the descriptions on the cover letters and the various blurbs on the books -- plus a judicious flip of the pages of the actual text -- doesn't hurt, either.)

First off this week is the new novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, City of Ruins. City is the sequel to last year's Diving Into the Wreck, which itself followed up a series of novellas from Asimov's magazine. All center on Boss, a spacer whose precarious living involved "diving" derelict spaceships out on the depths of space -- and, as happens pretty often with archaeological SF, she hit a "Big One" in Diving, finding an ancient Dignity Vessel and claiming its stealth tech. Now, in City, she's head of a team -- living up to her name, I suppose -- investigating a series of endless caves underneath the city of Vaycehn. Pyr published City of Ruins in trade paperback last week.

Those of your distraught about the imminent loss of The Mighty Oprah -- her last show is on Wednesday -- as the guide to every aspect of your life might be interested in the next book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes. It's from the Oprah-approved guru, Deepak Chopra, extending the brand of his bestseller The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success with the aid (and, presumably, the comic-book-world knowledge) of his son Gotham Chopra. If you ever desperately wanted to look to superheroes as a moral guide to how to live your life -- and a million DC and Marvel fanboys and -girls do just that on a weekly basis -- I think you're obligated to buy this book as soon as you know it exists. It's being published by HarperOne in June as a slim hardcover with a generic super-babe on the cover, but you could place your pre-order with your favorite retailer right now. And isn't that the spiritual thing to do?

And last for this week -- and very appropriately, since I'm writing this early on Sunday morning before learning the winners of the 2011 Nebulas, which were announced at a banquet in Washington, DC last night -- is The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Due to the vagaries of publishing schedules [1], this book contains the stories nominated for last year's award (all of the short stories and novelettes and the winning novella), along with some related material, such as a listing of all of the previous winners, short bios of all the nominees, and snippets about the other categories. What I don't see, however -- and maybe I'm just not looking hard enough -- is an actual list of the winners of the 2010 Nebulas, which were given away a whole year ago. The compilers of the book clearly knew what those winners are -- they only included the winning novella, after all -- but I can't see that they tell us what won in any other category, though they do, semi-helpfully, give the whole ballot up at the front of the book. Tor is officially publishing this tomorrow, so I have to hope that there were nice stacks of them down in DC two days ago for the fabled annual Massive Nebula Booksigning.

[1] Though I have to point out that the company I work for is signing up books right now that we'll publish by the end of this year, and that we do that routinely. There's no reason anyone has to have an eighteen-month publication schedule, if there's a good reason not to.

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