Monday, August 22, 2016

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/20

As usual, this post will list book that arrived unexpectedly in the prior week. And, yes, I said "book," because there's only one this week. (One free surprise book -- a wonderful thing.) I also bought two books that came in the mail, so I'll stick them in as well, and maintain my meager posting schedule.

The surprise was K. V. Johansen's Gods Of Nabban, a big fat trade paperback from Pyr that officially hits stores on September 6th. It's an epic fantasy complete in one volume, which is a rarity these days -- or any of the days of the past forty years, actually. It's also a what-happened-after-that book, since the backstory saw a runaway slave save a super-assassin from the evil ghost that had possessed him for a century. (And that would be the climax of most epic fantasies using that idea.) Don't worry -- it sounds like both of them have plenty of other supernatural and human nasties to battle in this book.

And then the two books I paid for, starting with...

Crooked, the third novel from Austin Grossman. His first two books were the excellent super-villain character study Soon I Will Be Invincible and the meditation-on-video-games novel You, both of which I read, enjoyed, and recommend. And I'm really happy to see that he's continuing to write very different books each time out: Crooked is a vaguely Tim-Powersian novel, a secret history of the Cold War told in first person by Richard Nixon, explaining how he saved us all from what I understand are slavering Lovecraftian many-angled ones that lurk beyond our world. I waited for it to come out in trade paperback, since I don't get bound galleys regularly these days -- actually, I'm not sure if anyone regularly gets them anymore, since ebook proofs are so much cheaper and easier to control -- but I hope to get to it soon.

And going along with that -- and fitting thematically even better with it that I thought about when I bought them -- is the new Charles Stross "Laundry Files" novel, The Nightmare Stacks. I read the previous book, The Annihilation Score, a few months back, and realized at that point that Stross had nearly lapped me -- so I'm catching up. (By the way, that link to TAS can lead you back to my babblings about the prior books in the series, if you care.) This is the definitive Lovecraftian series of our time, written with a science fiction sensibility (much like ol' Howie himself, back in the day) and grappling with the actual modern world, in a darkly funny and amazingly twisted way. I've said it before -- Stross is inherently a deeply pessimistic writer, but this series about inevitable supernatural doom brings out his best whistling-past-the-graveyard style.

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