Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of September 26: Skiffy!

I suspect these are the books people actually want to see me talk about -- to the degree that anyone is interested in the first place -- so here's what came in last week. (Plus one straggler from the week before that was trapped under the large stack of Yen Press stuff and has now been liberated.)

Even after this, there's still a rump stack, which I hope to get to next week. Or maybe sooner, if my schedule ever lets up. (These days, I leave the house by 6:20 and get home at 8 PM at the earliest -- sometimes up to an hour later -- which leaves very little time for anything that isn't work or commuting.)

Anyway, these are books, I haven't read them, and some of you will love some of them. Onward!

Rising Tide is Rajan Khanna's second novel, after Falling Sky -- and, yes, your guess is correct: it is a sequel to Falling Sky. From the quotes and the description of the action in this book, it seems to be a steampunky world, with zombies in at least some corners -- and that, unfortunately, includes the island where Ben and Miranda, our protagonists. They've lost their ship, and are in the clutches of someone named Malik. This is a trade paperback from Pyr, available October 6th.

A week later from the same publisher, you can find Gold Throne in Shadow, the second book in M.C. Planck's "World of Prime" series, after Sword of the Bright Lady. This is not your standard epic fantasy series, as you might guess from the revolver held by the lady on the cover. (On second thought, I'm not too sure about calling her a "lady," either.) This series follows a mechanical engineer who went into a magical world, slightly died, was brought back as a priest of war, and is trying to survive and make it back to his own world -- as far as I can tell, there's no Dark Lord in sight anywhere, which is refreshing.

Kelley Armstrong's short fiction is collected in Led Astray, a trade paperback from Tachyon in October. It contains twenty-one stories from the past six years, including a brand-new story never published before. And it's credited as "the best of," which is a good sign -- these days, most SFF novelists don't write a lot of short fiction, so collections often are everything that can be dug up. Armstrong clearly isn't in that situation: there's over four hundred pages of stories here, and it's not digging back into her early career, either. So her fans -- and interested watchers of Bitten, the Syfy series based on her most popular series -- should check this out.

There's a new entry in that old SFnal game, The Man Who Melted Jack Dann. Sometimes, a book's title and author form a single thought -- a sentence is best, but a thought is fine -- and are arranged on the spine so they can be read that way. And we now have The Monstrous Ellen Datlow. Now, Datlow is definitely not monstrous, since she's a wonderful person and one of our best editors. And she edited this book, as you can see if you look at the small type. But she's now in the Melted Jack Dann Club. Monstrous is a new reprint anthology from Tachyon, with 20 stories from writers including Caitlin R. Kiernam, Peter Straub, Kim Newman, Jeffrey Ford, Livia Llewellyn, John Langan, and Jack Dann (him again!) and Gardner Dozois. All of those stories are about monsters, in one way or another.

And last for this installment is a new book from David Weber: Hell's Foundations Quiver, the eighth in his Safehold series. As far as I can tell, this is still set on the planet Safehold, where a remnant of humanity fled after badly losing a genocidal war with a more powerful alien race. The general plan was to stay at a medieval tech level so that the aliens would never find them, but, hundreds of years later, a secret rebuild-tech-and-beat-the-aliens plan reignited, throwing the world into war. And that war is what Weber has been writing about for eight books of about 700 pages each. (Presumably, someday, they'll get back up into space and actually start fighting aliens. But that might be another 20 books at this rate.) Quiver -- a word which always put me in mind of Amos Starkadder -- is a Tor hardcover, available October 13.

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