Monday, June 24, 2019

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/22/19

I should have listed these two books last week; they were birthday presents that I got at a party last Saturday. (That party was already pretty late, since my birthday was at the beginning of the month. On the other hand, I bought them myself and gave to my wife to wrap, so it's not like I was kept in suspense for a long time.)

But things have been a bit hectic at La Casa Hornswoggler; my younger son (who I used to call Thing 2 here) just graduated from high school and got his Eagle Scout, so it's been a flurry of preparations and rehearsals and class trips and gala luncheons and actual graduation ceremonies interrupted by torrents of rain.

So I'm here today instead, a week later, to mention two books I recently bought myself, which I'm afraid might just cement everyone's impression of me as a child of the '80s who only reads comics. If so...oh well.

Mister X: The Archives reprints the first Vortex comics series from 1984-88, written (at least some of the time) by Dean Motter, and always orchestrated and designed by him. Due to the business practices of Vortex owner Bill Marks, and the nature of the comics field at the time, the actual writing and drawing are by a bewildering array of folks, many of whom became famous for other stuff along the way: Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, Seth, Ty Templeton, Paul Rivoche, Klaus Schonenfeld. As I remember it, there's a lot of good material that doesn't entirely cohere into one narrative: Mister X was always at least as much about the visual image of Radiant City, and the possible stories of that place, as it was about telling this story that it set out to do. But I haven't read these comics in twenty years or more, and I might not have read all of them in order the first time: the '80s were a chaotic, confusing time for comics, and I was a college student while this series was coming out in fits and starts.

Is This How You See Me? is the newest graphic novel by Jaime Hernandez, for another few weeks at least until Tonta comes out. It collects the major Maggie-and-Hopey story from the end of New Stories and the beginning of the current Love and Rockets floppy series -- the big story he did right after "The Love Bungers." (So, y'know, expectations were high.) I've covered this story in serial form ta the end of my big L&R re-read last year, but I expect this version will be different, in subtle and maybe even obvious ways.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/8/19

Three books this week, all of which came in the mail. (One of them is a repeat, though -- I'll start with that one.)

The Last Tsar's Dragons is a new fantasy novel by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, who also happen to be mother and son. I still have the copy I got in early February, and have not yet read it. (There's a lot of books I have but haven't read yet, and I seem to be reading more slowly now than ever.) See the older post for more details, but it seems to be pretty much what the title promises, and that is intriguing. This is a trade paperback from Tachyon Publications , officially publishing a week from tomorrow.

Ivory Apples is also from Tachyon, and is the new novel from the always-interesting Lisa Goldstein. (She only comes out with a novel every three years or so, but they're each individual books that no one else could have written.) This is a contemporary fantasy, about a family that shares the secret of magic and that hides their Great-Aunt, who wrote a famous fantasy novel (also called Ivory Apples) many years ago but still attracts smart, devoted, sneaky, obsessive fans. The novel is set in motion by the arrival of one such fan, which I presume threatens to reveal whatever magic actually is in this book. (It's probably not a friendly or controllable thing, knowing Goldstein.) Ivory Apples will be published as a trade paperback on September 17th.

Starship Repo is the second novel by Patrick S. Tomlinson, after Gate Crashers, but it doesn't seem to be a sequel. (That's rare enough, these days, to be called out specifically. It may be set in the same universe, though: I haven't read Crashers yet, since it is on the same shelf referenced above.) Tomlinson seems to be doing light SF adventure -- not quite humorous SF, but not-particularly-hard SF with funny character bits and a mildly absurd universe -- that looks appealing, so I'll have to read one of them one of these days before he's got thirty books out and a shelf-full of awards. Repo is the story of Firstname Lastname (not her original name, but the result of a clerical error that is sticking harder than she expected), a refugee/budding con-woman wandering out into the wilder reaches of this multi-species galaxy and finding a new job implied by the title. Repo is also a trade paperback, from Tor, and it came out in May.