Monday, June 04, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/2

Welcome to Monday once again! As my very small contribution to cutting the existential despair and gloom, what follows is a list of possibly-wonderful books, all of which showed up, bright and shiny, on my doorstep over the past week. I have not, I blush to add, yet read any of them. But I can tell you some things about them regardless, in the hopes that one or more of them will turn out to be your most favorite thing ever.

First up is John Scalzi's new novel, Redshirts, which you've probably already heard of, seeing as how you're clearly both literate and already hooked up to the Internet. Redshirts is, as will surprise no one, a SF novel very loosely based on the idea (from the original series of Star Trek) that landing on a planet is inevitably fatal for one or more lower-rank members of a starship crew, and focuses on one particular red-shirted young ensign, and his attempts not to join those casualties. I do plan to read it, though I expect I'll be comparing it in my head to James Alan Gardner's deeply excellent first novel Expendable, on a very similar topic. (And I still wish Scalzi would go more serious once in a while -- The Ghost Brigades is still by far his best novel, and that's where he least indulged his tendencies for wall-to-wall ha-ha.) Anyway, Redshirts is being published in hardcover by Tor this week, and will likely show up on a bestseller list or two by the end of this month -- so you don't need to wait around for my opinion on it (which may be delayed, since I'm currently 26 reviews behind).

Warren Hammond's KOP Killer is another Tor hardcover, publishing at exactly the same time with far less fanfare. (Which may show the essential injustice of the universe or the correct and true operation of all things, depending on your personal biases.) It's the third in a gritty medium-future noir SF series set on a corrupt colony world, after KOP and Ex-KOP, and sees series hero Juno Mozambe (whose name makes me wonder if he isn't really supposed to be as Nordic as the chap on the cover art) building an independent power base to challenge the evil, corrupt, decadent, nasty, filthy, horrible -- this is a noir novel; the villains have to be both all-powerful and utterly vile -- chief of police and the rest of the power structure of his world. And, of course, keep what passes for his morality at the same time.

Mark Chadbourn's Destroyer of Worlds is the climax of the "Kingdom of the Serpents" trilogy, and -- if the back cover blurb from SF Site is to be trusted -- also the grand finale of a trilogy of trilogies, which I gather includes the prior "Dark Age" and "Age of Misrule" trilogies. So this is probably not a book for a new reader to dive right into -- either drop back to Jack of Ravens (beginning this trilogy) or World's End (beginning the whole shebang) and move on from there. Kingdom of Serpents is a trade paperback from Pyr, and hit stores in early May.

And then there's The Devil Delivered and Other Tales, which I saw in advance-proof form a couple of months back and which I now see again as an actual book. It collects three non-Malazan novellas, originally published as separate books, and it is now a Tor hardcover, available everywhere on June 19th.

1 comment:

James Davis Nicoll said...

I expect I'll be comparing it in my head to James Alan Gardner's deeply excellent first novel Expendable, on a very similar topic.

That's what I expected too but I was wrong. It did remind me of another work but which one would be a huge spoiler.

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