Monday, May 11, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/9

For the past eight years -- yes, I know, that surprises me too, when I come to think about it -- I've posted every Monday morning about the books that came in the mail the prior week. And I'm back for another week today.

I haven't read these books yet, and might not manage to read any specific one of them (even the ones I really want to -- there's already a pretty large collection of books I really want to read). But I can tell you things about them from a quick look, and those things will follow. Are those things guaranteed to be entirely correct? Well, no: but I try not to misrepresent any of the books in front of me.

First up is a new short novel by Alastair Reynolds, Slow Bullets, coming in a trade paperback edition from Tachyon in early June. Like all of Reynolds's work, it looks like smart hard-ish science fiction, set in the medium future among former soldiers from both sides of a long, huge interstellar war who wake up on a ship where things are going badly wrong.

Also from Tachyon is a collection by Hannu Rajaniemi, under the easily-remembered title Collected Fiction. Rajaniemi has written several novels, though I've only managed to read the first one (The Quantum Thief) so far. And this book has about a dozen and a half stories -- and a couple of odder things as well -- from the last decade. Rajaniemi is also a pretty hard SF writer when he wants to be; he has a doctorate in Mathematicial Physics and has run what sounds like a think tank for tech innovation.

And then there's Press Start to Play, an original anthology of SFnal stories about videogames edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams. It'll be an original trade paperback from Vintage, hitting stores on August 28. And it has new stories from twenty-six very diverse writers, from editor Wilson to Charles Yu, from Seanan McGuire to T.C. Boyle, from Hugh Howey to Catherynne M. Valene, from Rhianna Pratchett to Cory Doctorow, all of whom tell stories inspired by videogames in one way or another.

Deborah Harkness finishes up her bestselling trilogy about witches with The Book of Life, which hits paperback from Penguin on May 26th. The first in the series is A Discovery of Witches, and I'm afraid I haven't read any of them, so I can't tell you much. But this one does see our heroes -- "spellbound witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont" -- return from Elizabethan London to the modern day and the characters from the first book.

And last for this week is a SF novel from James L. Cambias, Corsair. It's set in the near future, when asteroid mining has become big business, and top computer hackers battle over the systems dropping the payloads into the ocean -- some on behalf of their employers, the mining companies, and some on behalf of pirates and thieves who want to divert and steal the payloads. (I'm surprised that there's not a stronger regulatory structure around an activity theoretically capable of destroying cities, but that may come up later in the book.) Corsair is a Tor hardcover, and is available now.

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