Monday, October 29, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 10/2

I regret to inform you that this will be likely another quick 'n desultory run through a stack of books, since I've spent most of this weekend battening down various hatches in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and there are still plenty of hatches that need battening. (This computer, for example, is located in a basement, which flooded to the height six feet last summer during Hurricane Irene, so there's a slight chance it may happen again.)

As usual, these are the books that arrived in my mail last week, sent by the lovely and personable publicists at the various publishing houses responsible for sharing them with the world. Every single one of them will be someone's favorite book in the whole wide world, and that may just be you. (Even if I seem to hate it.) I have not read any of these, and my glances at them may be even more cursory than usual this week. But, with that being said, let's take a look at:

The Emperor's Soul, a new novella-as-a-book by Brandon Sanderson (author of the Mistborn series, hand-picked to finish Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, and general Big Name in the epic fantasy game), in which a thief is captured while replacing a priceless artifact of the obligatory Empire with her own nearly-perfect forgery, and must bargain for her life. To survive, she must create a new soul for the secretly comatose Emperor. Soul is a trade paperback from Tachyon, publishing in December.

Also from Tachyon is the anthology Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution, from the estimable Ann Vandermeer (lead editor of the first two Steampunk anthologies). It contains twenty-seven reprinted stories -- from such be-goggled luminaries as Garth Nix, N.K. Jemisin, Bruce Sterling, Nick Mamatas, Catherynne M. Valente, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carrie Vaughn, Cherie Priest, and Lev Grossman -- and several brand-new essays on aspects of steampunkery of interest to aficionados. It will descend from its aether-powered blimp to book dealers near you in December.

A month earlier, Tachyon has another anthology in a different genre: John Joseph Adams's Epic: Legends of Fantasy. As the title implies, it collects seventeen previously-published stories by big names including George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Orson Scott Card, Kate Elliott, Ursula K. Le Guin, Tad Williams, and Melanie Rawn. Most of those stories are pretty recent, but there's a '60s tale from Michael Moorcock, and Le Guin's story is "The Word of Unbinding," of the same vintage. (So potential purchasers would be wise to check the Table of Contents to avoid potential disappointment.)

From Vertical -- hitting stores tomorrow -- is HeroMan, Volume 1, the English-translation of the manga version of an anime created and written by Stan Lee (via the BONES studio), which just shows how gosh-darn global the comics biz is these days. Art is by Tamon Ohta, and the story is about a boy who becomes a hero through his toy-turned-giant-robot, the title character. (If I had a dime for every time one of my old toys turned into a giant robot, I'd have twenty-six dollars and forty cents.)

I have the monthly stack of fine manga published by Yen Press in front of me -- the month being, of course, October -- and, as usual, I'll run through it organized by the volume number of the books included. Thus, I will most likely become more and more confused as I go on, since a lot of plot can happen in a dozen two-hundred-page volumes...
  • Shouji Sato's Triage X debuts this month, with the fan-servicey story of buxom nurses who battle crime by night and sickness by day (and the tensile strength of their clothing every single moment).
  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan -- which is itself a sidebar story to the popular Haruhi Suzumiya empire -- is written by Nagaru Tanigawa and drawn by Puyo from characters created by Noizi Ito; this month sees the second volume, where Haruhi makes a major appearance.
  • The fourth volume of Durarara!! -- created by Ryohgo Narita, character design by Suzuhito Yasuda, and the actual art on the pages done by Akiyo Satorigi -- hits shelves and virtual spaces in October as well, in which a lot of stuff happens, some of which centers on the fan-favorite headless motorcycle assassin Celty. (See my review of the first volume for more.)
  • Yana Toboso's Black Butler -- which I've generally assumed to be a bizarrely Victorian mystery series -- continues with an eleventh volume (or "XI," as the cover puts it), in which Earl Ciel Phantomhive (no, really!) and his butler set to sea to investigate a sequence of mysterious resurrections.
  • Pandora Hearts, from Jun Mochizuki, hits a twelfth volume -- I reviewed the first, a few years back, for ComicMix -- which seems to mostly be about a tea party and the picture taken there of the attendees. (I don't write 'em, I just do my best to report on 'em.)
  • Last from Yen in the popular manga trim size this month is the seventeenth volume of Dall-Young Kin and Sung-Woo Park's energetic and violent Black God. (I reviewed and liked the early volumes, and then came back last year to check out the fifteenth book.) I have no idea what's going on in this volume; the back cover copy is entirely mythology.
Also from Yen, but in a more traditional trade-paperback size, is The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, a graphic novel adapation (in an exceptionally manga-influenced style) in Cassandra Clare's Young Adult novel of the same name. Clare is credited as the writer on this book (which may be because she adapted it into comics, or may be just because she wrote the original), with art from Hyekyung Baek.

You may have read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. You may have read the sequels. You may have seen the movies. (You may have read a certain popular smutty series that started as Twilight fan-fiction too, but that's beside the point.) You may even have read the graphic novel adaptation of Twilight, written by Meyer with art by Young Kim. But, until this month, you haven't had a chance to read the Collector's Edition Graphic Novel of Twilight, which I hold in my hands right now. And you haven't gotten sated with Twilight yet, have you?

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