Sunday, September 07, 2008

Books in the Mail (W/E 9/06/2008)

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie - I read the first two books (The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged) and really liked them so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon. I have the UK ARC signed, a copy of the US ARC and what arrived this past week is the ‘final’ book as it sits on shelves in fine retailers near you. From my review of Before They Are Hanged:

All of this may lead one to believe Abercrombie is merely writing a character study set in a harsh fantastical world. Well, in some respects the characters do give the novel its greatest flavor. However, within each character interaction, Abercombie fleshes out both the story and the world. Through Glotka’s eyes, we see how war is affecting the nation of Angland and those who run the nation. Granted, Glotka may have a hardened point of view, but this makes it no less entertaining or warranted. Through the eyes of Bayaz and his companions seeking the Stone, we see the larger affects of war on the world and more importantly to their cause, the wide-spread misuse of magic. We also see the history of the world through the stories Bayaz and his protégé Quaim tell on their collective journey. Again, these snapshots of the world past are thrilling reads and enhance the already ample depth of the world Abercrombie has created.

The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams - This looks gigantically awesome.

From White Zombie to Dawn of the Dead; from Resident Evil to World War Z, zombies have invaded popular culture, becoming the monsters that best express the fears and anxieties of the modern west. The ultimate consumers, zombies rise from the dead and feed upon the living, their teeming masses ever hungry, ever seeking to devour or convert, like mindless, faceless eating machines. Zombies have been depicted as mind-controlled minions, the shambling infected, the disintegrating dead, the ultimate lumpenproletariat, but in all cases, they reflect us, mere mortals afraid of death in a society on the verge of collapse.

The Living Dead is 230,000 words of zombie fiction (34 stories!), collecting the best tales from Book of the Dead, Still Dead, and Mondo Zombie, along with the best zombie fiction from other sources.

Table of Contents:

Introduction - John Joseph Adams, This Year's Class Picture - Dan Simmons, Some Zombie Contingency Plans - Kelly Link, Death and Suffrage - Dale Bailey, Ghost Dance - Sherman Alexie, Blossom - David J. Schow, The Third Dead Body - Nina Kiriki Hoffman, The Dead - Michael Swanwick, The Dead Kid - Darrell Schweitzer, Malthusian's Zombie - Jeffrey Ford, Beautiful Stuff - Susan Palwick, Sex, Death and Starshine - Clive Barker, Stockholm Syndrome - David Tallerman, Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead - Joe Hill, Those Who Seek Forgiveness - Laurell K. Hamilton, In Beauty, Like the Night - Norman Partridge, Prairie - Brian Evenson, Everything is Better With Zombies - Hannah Wolf Bowen, Home Delivery - Stephen King, Less Than Zombie - Douglas E. Winter, Sparks Fly Upward - Lisa Morton, Meathouse Man - George R. R. Martin, Deadman's Road - Joe Lansdale, The Skull-Faced Boy - David Barr Kirtley, The Age of Sorrow - Nancy Kilpatrick, Bitter Grounds - Neil Gaiman, She's Taking Her Tits to the Grave - Catherine Cheek, Dead Like Me - Adam-Troy Castro, Zora and the Zombie - Andy Duncan, Calcutta, Lord of Nerves - Poppy Z. Brite, Followed - Will McIntosh, The Song the Zombie Sang - Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, Passion Play - Nancy Holder, Almost the Last Story by Almost the Last Man - Scott Edelman, and How the Day Runs Down - John Langan

Woods and Waters Wild by Charles de Lint - Woods and Waters Wild is the third volume of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories. Here's the table of contents, a list of obscurities that will be the envy of de Lint readers everywhere.

High Fantasy:
"A Kingly Thing" (5900 words); first appeared in Beyond the Fields We Know #1; 1979
"Woods and Waters Wild" (2400 words); first appeared in SPWAO Showcase #1, 1981.
"The White Road" (8170 words); first appeared in Tales of the Witch World, edited by Andre Norton; Tor Books, 1987.
"The Graceless Child" (8650 words); first appeared in Halflings, Hobbits, Warrows & Wee Folk, edited by Baird Searles & Brian Thomsen; Warner, 1991
"The Fane of the Grey Rose" (14,700 words); first appeared in Swords Against Darkness IV, edited by Andrew J. Offutt; Zebra Books, 1979
"Cold Blows the Wind" (4450 words); first appeared in Sword and Sorceress II, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley; DAW Books, 1985
"The Weeping Oak" (5400 words); first appeared in Sword and Sorceress IV, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley; DAW Books, 1987
"Into the Green" (5500 words); first appeared in Sword and Sorceress V, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley; DAW Books, 1988
Dennet & Willie
"Dennet & the Fiddler" (8000 words); first appeared in Night Voyages #8; 1982
"Dragonwood" (5700 words); first appeared in Night Voyages 10; 1984
"A Tale of Tangle Who Has Many Names" (1200 words); first appeared in Valhalla #1; 1979
"Of the Temple in the City of the Burning Spires" (600 words); first appeared in Valhalla #1; 1979
"Nareth the Questioner" (800 words); first appeared in Valhalla #1; 1979
"Llew the Homeless" (1750 words); unpublished.
Thomas the Rhymer
"Thomas the Rhymer" (10,800 words); first appeared in The Mythic Circle #1, 1987
"Gipsy Davey" (8200 words); first appeared in Mythic Circle #5; 1988
"Cruel Sister" (7950 words); unpublished

Star Wars: Order 66 A Republic Commando Novel Karen Travis - After the fierce combat of Hard Contact, Triple Zero, and True Colors comes the spectacular culmination of New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss’s gripping Republic Commando series. As a battle-scarred era nears its end, a shattering power play is about to stun the entire galaxy . . . and set in motion events that will alter destinies and resound throughout history.

Even as the Clone Wars are about to reach an explosive climax, no one knows if victory will favor the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) or the Separatists. But no matter who wins, the stakes are highest for elite Special Ops clones like the Republic Commandos in Omega and Delta squads–and the notorious renegade Advance Recon Commando troopers known as Null ARCs.

With Republic forces stretched to the max and casualties mounting, the last thing these beleaguered warriors need to hear is that Chancellor Palpatine is keeping vast armies of secret clone troops in reserve. Sergeant Skirata, a mentor to the clone commandos, has no intention of standing idly by while Palpatine sends them into battle like lambs to the slaughter. Skirata begins to plan the clones’ escape from the GAR, but his heroic effort will be in vain unless he can reverse the clones’ accelerated aging process.

Caught in the treacherous dealings of their leaders, and locked in the battles of their lives, the disillusioned Null ARCs and Commandos nonetheless fight with everything they’ve got, determined to wrest victory from the Seps and save the galaxy.

But even the deadliest weapons may not be powerful enough to defeat the real menace. And nothing will stop the apocalyptic horror unleashed when Palpatine utters the chilling words The time has come. Execute Order 66. Translation: The Jedi have tried to stage a coup, and all must be shot on sight.

With their faith in the Republic and their loyalty to their Jedi allies put to the ultimate test, how will the men of Omega and Delta squads react to the most infamous command in galactic history? All the breathtaking action, suspense, and intrigue of Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando series comes alive in Star Wars: Order 66.

After the Downfall by Harry Turtledove - 1945: Russian troops have entered Berlin, and are engaged in a violent orgy of robbery, rape, and revenge...

Wehrmacht officer Hasso Pemsel, a career soldier on the losing end of the greatest war in history, flees from a sniper's bullet, finding himself hurled into a mysterious, fantastic world of wizards, dragons, and unicorns. There he allies himself with the blond-haired, blue-eyed Lenelli, and Velona, their goddess in human form, offering them his knowledge of warfare and weaponry in their genocidal struggle against a race of diminutive, swarthy barbarians known as Grenye.

But soon, the savagery of the Lenelli begins to eat at Hasso Pemsel's soul, causing him to question everything he has long believed about race and Reich, right and wrong, Ubermenschen and Untermenschen. Hasso Pemsel will learn the difference between following orders... and following his conscience.

From Harry Turtledove, the master of alternate history, comes After the Downfall, a novel of magic, epic warfare, and desperate choices.

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