Monday, July 02, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/30

This was shaping up to be a quiet week, until a large stack was left on my doorstep Saturday morning by the large burly fellow whom I continue to call the Package Fairy (mostly, now, because it annoys my sons). Books are always a good thing, so let me tell you about these.

But first: the rules of "Reviewing the Mail."

Rule One: This is an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering.

Rule Two: All of these books are courtesy of their respective publishers, who deserve all thanks and praise.

Rule Three: In the unlikely event of a water landing, your seat cushion will act as a flotation device.

Rule Four: I have not yet read any of these books, so what I am about to tell you is one part informed general knowledge and one part conjecture. The management of Antick Musings takes no responsibility for books that are more or less entertaining than they may appear here.

Rule Five: Always wear your safety gear.

Rule Six: There is no....Rule Six.

First up this week is Ian Tregillis's novel The Coldest War, the sequel to his intense and engrossing fantasy alternate-history first novel, Bitter Seeds. (See my review of Bitter Seeds; I also named it one of my favorite books of 2010.) Coldest War continues that dark story -- about a WWII where the Nazis had discovered a way to technologically create supermen, only to be stymied in the end by English warlocks calling down unearthly powers at a frightful cost -- into the years after the war, when the Soviet Union has inherited much of the Nazi monster-making apparatus and is attempting to make it work on a more industrial scale. It's coming from Tor as a hardcover on July 17th.

Shuzo Oshimi's Baudelaire-influenced (and also reportedly semi-autobiographical) manga series The Flowers of Evil continues with a second volume, coming from Vertical this month. (I've still got the first one on the to-be-read shelf.)

Also from Vertical this month is the latest volume in Toru Fujisawa's side-story to his very popular Great Teacher Onizuka manga series -- GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, Volume 4, in which Onizuka goers to his old home town for rest and relaxation but finds nothing of the sort.

Also also from Vertical this month is a fat standalone manga book, 5 Centimeters per Second, written by Makoto Shinkai with art by Yukiko Seike. It adapts the animated movie of the same name -- directed by Shinkai and released in 2007 -- which is a low-key three-part story of young love and modern life.

The fourth book in Alex Bledsoe's fantasy/mystery series starring "freelance sword jockey" Eddie LaCrosse is Wake of the Bloody Angel, coming tomorrow as a trade paperback from Tor. This series has sounded right up my alley since the first, The Sword-Edged Blonde, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't read any of them yet. (Several are on the shelf, but time and other duties have conspired against them.) This time, Eddie is tracking down the pirate captain who stole the heart of his now-landlady twenty years ago -- I suppose that's the fantasy-mystery equivalent of the Ross Macdonald-ish standard PI novel's "a generation ago in Canada" trope.

Dan Wells -- author of a wonderful trilogy of novels about a young trying-to-do-right psychopath: I Am Not A Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You (see my review of the three novels) -- is back with another first-person story about a man who is not neurotypical and the bodies that suspiciously pile up near him: The Hollow City. This time, Wells's hero is paranoid schizophrenic Michael Shipman, who suffers from hallucinations, delusions of persecution, and unstoppable fantasies -- and he's coming to wonder if not all of the monsters he sees are entirely in his head. The Hollow City is a Tor hardcover, hitting bookstores tomorrow.

Energized is a near-future thriller about alternative energy in the traditional Big SF style: massive grids and power satellites in near-Earth orbit, built by tough men with government-contractor jobs, who fight their own bureaucracy as well as the Shadowy Powers (which here seem to be mostly Nasty Foreigners, though there may be some Lefty Eco-Loonies in the mix as well) to bring the world (and especially the U!S!A!) kicking and screaming into their Space Future. It comes from Edward M. Lerner, who has the great advantage of a thirty-year career in the high-tech business sector (and the additional advantage of a decade of prior SF novels under his belt). It's coming from Tor as a hardcover on July 17.

Multiple World Fantasy Award-winner Graham Joyce -- another writer I have to admit I am shamefully ill-read in -- returns with Some Kind of Fairy Tale, another one of his novels on the border of fantasy and horror. In this Fairy Tale, a teenaged girl disappeared into a dark, dangerous forest in central England twenty years ago -- leaving no clues, but putting her boyfriend under intense suspicion. And now she's returned, looking no older and claiming she can't tell them the full story of what happened. Some Kind of Fairy Tale will be published by Doubleday in hardcover on July 10th.

And last for this week is Ripper, the seventh in the "Event Group" series by David Golemon. The Event Group is the obligatory supersecret US government agency that investigates beasties and weirdies and things that go bump in the night, and Golemon (from what I can see) writes fast-paced, straightforward supernatural thrillers in the James Rollins/Douglas Preston vein. This one is from Thomas Dunne Books, and will be available in hardcover July 17th.

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