Monday, April 30, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/28

I've spent most of my Sunday morning acting as tech-support for Thing 2's Terarria installation (I thought kids were supposed to be better better than us at this computer stuff? When does that happen, so I can start relying on them for my own support?), so I'm running late, running more frustrated than usual, and (it feels like) running in circles. So this run-down may be somewhat shorter -- as may be my temper -- than usual.

These four books all arrived in my mailbox last week, sent by their respective publishers, with the hope that I will review them and help introduce them to vast new audiences that will enrich their authors beyond the dreams of avarice. (I may be slightly exaggerating for effect.) I haven't yet read any of them, but hope springs eternal, and here's what I can tell you about them:

Most interesting from my viewpoint is that I got two books from Amazon's new SFF imprint 47North, which started printing books on paper at the beginning of this year (and issued them in pure-electron formats slightly earlier). I've had no contact with any human beings connected with 47North, and early communications about 47North don't contain the names of actual publicity people, just a generic e-mail address. (This is all pretty typical for Amazon, which has managed the odd feat of being known for customer service even though it's nearly impossible to ever get a human being on the phone.) I also note that these 47North books are officially published from a Las Vegas address -- unusual for a company headquartered in Seattle -- which is suspect is for purposes of dodging tax payments, something else Amazon is very good at.

Anyway, they -- whoever "they" are (almost certainly ex-Tor publicist Justin Golenbock, who went to 47North about a month ago, and whose name is actually on the later of these two books as a contact) -- found out about me somehow, and sent me some books, and that means they are aces in my book.

First up is Further: Beyond the Threshold by Chris Roberson (who had a kerfuffle with DC Comics last week, in which he came out very well and DC came out looking petulant and childish -- I may be biased, since I know Chris slightly and like him much more than slightly). Further is a space opera, in which a starship captain from one of humanity's first ships wakes from coldsleep much later -- by a number of millennia -- than expected, in a complicated post-human interstellar polity that wants him to fly the first FTL ship to investigate what may be the first non-human intelligence. It's available May 15th, though you might find it difficult to obtain in book-selling outlets that aren't directly connected with Our Seattle Overlords.

The other 47North book is Christian Cantrell's Containment, which was previously self-published in 2010 (and that edition is still available right now, while the new one is difficult to find on Amazon itself), under the cover to the left. (I have no idea if the new edition will have a new cover -- I'd usually assume that it would, but Amazon follows no laws of god or man.) This is another SF adventure story, explicitly compared to Orson Scott Card, about the first generation of humans born on Venus and the shocking discoveries they learn about their pioneering parents. It's coming in August.

From Penguin's Blue Rider Press -- an imprint I wasn't previously aware of, though it launched a little more than a year ago and looks to be one of those give-a-bigwig-his-own-imprint-to-make-him-happy deals -- comes The Watchers by Jon Steele, the first book of the Angelus Trilogy. Watchers features a twisted man who rings bells in a cathedral, the beautiful woman he watches and saves, and a third side to the triangle in a British private investigator, which all may seem somewhat familiar -- but this book is set in the modern day, the cathedral is Lausanne in Switzerland, and the description hints that real angels of good and evil -- which may be somewhat more Manichaean here than is strictly orthodox -- will show up before the book is over. Watchers is a hardcover, available May 29th.

And last is two short novels in one from Tor and Walter Mosley: The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin. (They're bound dos-a-dos, so each side has a front cover and they meet, upside down and back-to-back, in the middle of the book.) These are the first two of six "Crosstown to Oblivion" short novels about "life's cosmic questions" -- presumably, the other four will also show up, two at a time, in future books. This time, Gift of Fire brings the mythical Prometheus to the modern world, while Head of a Pin deals with a company making utterly realistic animation to allow new movies with long-dead actors that discovers an entity lurking in their software. It hits stores May 8th.

1 comment:

James Davis Nicoll said...

Oh, I tried to read Christian Cantrell's Containment. It's ... not good. That said, the next time I rattle off a list of recent interplanetary adventures, I have to remember to include it.

I wonder why they selected as cover art a piece that is clearly depicting some sort of space colony.

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