Monday, December 10, 2018

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 12/8/18

Every week, I list here any new books I've seen -- sometimes (as the title implies) through the mail from the fine publicity folks of publishing, sometimes from the library, and sometimes that I bought myself. This week, there's one book that came in the mail and then a large stack from a book-shopping trip on Friday. As always, actual new publicity books come first, so let me lead off with...

Terran Tomorrow, a new SF novel from Nancy Kress, published by Tor in hardcover in November. It's the concluding volume of her trilogy "Yesterday's Kin," after Tomorrow's Kin and If Tomorrow Comes, about first contact and some kind of interstellar killer spore-cloud. In this one, the human expedition comes back from the alien World to see what has happened to Earth in the intervening twenty-eight years...and I doubt there's be a novel if the answer was "everything went better than expected!"

And the rest of these are from that shopping trip:

Giant Days: Not on the Test Edition, Vol. 3 is the (yes!) third big hardcover collection of the Giant Days comic by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Liz Fleming. I covered the first two hardcovers in one post earlier this year, and I have actually already read this since buying it. (So, yeah, I do recommend the series: Allison does great stuff, alone or with other writers, and the Sarin/Fleming team work really well on this as well.)

Nexus Omnibus, Vol. 6 is credited to series creators Mike Baron and Steve Rude, but there's also a lot of art from other people -- this is the back half of the First Comics Nexus, when Rude was doing other projects. (And so was Baron -- he had a strong run on Punisher and some decent Flash stories around the same time -- but it's easier for writers to do multiple books at the same time.) I had a post earlier this year covering the first half of Nexus; I expect to have one next year on the back half once I get omnibuses 7 & 8.

Calla Cthulhu, Vol. 1 is a Lovecraftian comics series that I think is aimed at a YA audience, written by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer with art by Erin Humiston. I got it, I think, mostly because I recently read Dorkin's Dork and feel sad about the self-reported state of his career and so want to support him. It's not the worst reason to buy a book! (And when I say "recently," I mean "the post about it doesn't go live until the 12th, so no link for you.")

The End of the Fucking World was the breakout book by Charles Forsman, and maybe even his first book-format work; I'm not all that familiar with his career. I was impressed by his I Am Not Okay With This earlier this year, so I figured I should hit his big famous book next.

Tales of the Beanworld is "volume 3.5" of the collected Beanworld comics by Larry Marder. I finally read some Beanworld recently -- that post goes live on the 14th -- and now I want more. I believe the first omnibus collects the first two regular-size books, so I should, in a perfect world, read volume 3 before this. But I don't think I'm going to wait. Tales collects color stories that appeared in anthologies and other places -- outside of the regular Beanworld comic -- so it's not wrong to read it out of continuity...that's what I tell myself.

Michael Moorcock's Elric: The Balance Lost, Vol. 1 collects the beginning of a comics story about everybody's favorite mopey doomed albino from 2011, written by Chris Roberson and drawn by Francesco Biagini. I think I heard about this at the time, was vaguely interested, but never saw a book in person and forgot about it.

Paper Girls, Vol. 5 is the latest in the series by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, and I don't think I'm hate-reading it yet. (Though it is beginning to annoy me in its very Vaughan-esque "let's throw more complications in and hope no one notices there's no through-line" plotting. See my post on volume four for examples.)

Speaking of Vaughan, there's also Saga, Vol. 9, the comic he writes and Fiona Staples draws. You've probably heard of this one, and you might not agree with me that Vaughan is also stretching this one out, if you're enjoying the stretch. (The comics audience is eternally forgiving of things that seem to be stories and go on endlessly.) Here's my post on number 8 for reference.

Mage: The Hero Denied is subtitled "Vol. 5" to confuse everyone -- it's the first collection of this third series of stories about Matt Wagner's semi-autobiographical hero Kevin Matchstick. (So it's the fifth book overall, if you count the whole thirty-five year thing as one ongoing story, which you really shouldn't.) I recently re-read the first two stories, Hero Discovered and Hero Defined, because I knew this was coming out in floppy form.

Poochytown is the new book by the unique Jim Woodring. I ams going to read it, and I am going to try to sting words together to describe reading it, but I expect that will not be much more coherent than what I wrote about Weathercraft in 2010 or Fran in 2014.

Norse Mythology is not comics; it's a prose retelling of various legends by Neil Gaiman. And it's another piece of evidence for my theory that Gaiman, even at this point in his career, is deliberately making each book of his the first time he does something.

Time Travel: A History is a nonfiction book by James Gleick, the guy who wrote Chaos and Genius. It appears to be the story of both fictional time travel and whatever in modern physics is most relevant to the potential of actual time travel -- and that's a great combination for a reader like me.

Last is Kevin Young's big book Bunk, subtitled "The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News." It's been really well-reviewed, and it's out in paperback these days, so I might actually read it. Frankly, I suspect everyone in the US should be forced to read it, and maybe not allowed to vote unless they can pass a test on it, but I should put a damper on that opinion until I actually read the book to see if I agree with it.

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