Sunday, November 02, 2008

Books in the Mail (W/E 11/01/2008)

Another week, another slew of books, with varied results this week::

Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card (Tor Hardcvover 11/11/2008)– Who hasn’t read Card’s landmark Ender novels? I went through a phase over a couple of years where I was devouring most of Card’s back catalogue zipping through the Enderverse. I made it through a few of the Bean sequels before stopping. I liked Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead very much and they still stand pretty high in my mind. Of course many people will say Card is milking the Ender franchise for everything he can. Either way, this will be interesting to read to see how I’ve changed as a reader since reading those books.

Swallowing Darkness: (Meredith Gentry Series #7) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Ballantine, Hardcover 11/04/2008) – This is the published book of what I received the last week of September. The Meredith Gentry novels follow the titular faerie princess private investigator in a world where faeries are part of the populace and have profound impacts on history.

The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard (Del Rey, Trade Paperback 11/11/2008)- This is the final version of the ARC I received back in August?

The collection includes Howard’s masterpiece “Pigeons from Hell,” which Stephen King calls “one of the finest horror stories of [the twentieth] century,” a tale of two travelers who stumble upon the ruins of a Southern plantation–and into the maw of its fatal secret. In “Black Canaan” even the best warrior has little chance of taking down the evil voodoo man with unholy powers–and none at all against his wily mistress, the diabolical High Priestess of Damballah. In these and other lavishly illustrated classics, such as the revenge nightmare “Worms of the Earth” and “The Cairn on the Headland,” Howard spins tales of unrelenting terror, the legacy of one of the world’s great masters of the macabre.

Fools’ Experiments by Edward M. Lerner (Tor Hardcover 11/11/2009)– This is a near future SF thriller from the co-author of the last two Ringworld novels. We are not alone, and it's our own damn fault.

Something demonic is stalking the brightest men and women in the computer industry. It attacks without warning or mercy, leaving its prey insane, comatose — or dead.

Something far nastier than any virus, worm, or Trojan horse program is being evolved in laboratory confinement by well-intentioned but misguided researchers. When their artificial life-form escapes onto the Internet, no conventional defense against malicious software can begin to compete. As disasters multiply, computer scientist Doug Carey knows that unconventional measures may be civilization’s last hope.

And that any artificial life-form learns very fast .... .

Dragonheart (Dragonriders of Pern) by Todd McCaffrey (Del Rey Hardcover 11/11/2009) – Another year anotherPern novel, this things come out like clockwork, which is great for Pern/McCaffrey’s legion of fans.

The grim specter of sickness looms over the Weyrs of Pern, felling fire-lizards and posing a potentially devastating threat to their dragon cousins, Pern’s sole defense against the deadly phenomenon that is Thread. Fiona, the youngest and only surviving daughter of Lord Bemin, is just coming of age, and about to assume the duties of a Weyrwoman, when word spreads that dragons have indeed begun succumbing to the new contagion. With the next season of Threadfall quickly approaching, and the already diminished ranks of the dragons once more under siege, every Weyr across Pern is in crisis mode. It is hardly the time for disturbing distractions–such as the strange voice Fiona suddenly hears in her mind at the darkest and most urgent moments.

Circumstances and the mood of the weyrfolk worsen when advance patrols relay the dreaded news that black dust–the unmistakable herald of falling Thread–has been sighted. As more dragons sicken and die, leaving only a new generation of weyrlings too young to succeed them, Weyrleader B’Nik and queen rider Lorana arrive from Benden Weyr to comb Fort Weyr’s archives in a desperate search for clues from the past that may hold the solution to theplague.

But could the actual past itself prove the pathway to salvation for Pern’s stricken dragons and the entire imperiled planet? Guided by a mysterious ally from a wholly unexpected place, and trusting in the unique dragon gift for transcending time, Fiona will join a risky expedition with far-reaching consequences for both Pern’s future and her personal destiny.

The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills (Orbit Paperback 1/1/2009) - It’s pretty much an open secret that K.E. Mills is Karen Miller. Considering how I felt about the last book I read by Miller, chances are low that I’ll read this one. Here’s the dirt: Gerald Dunwoody is a wizard. Just not a particularly good one. He's blown up a factory, lost his job, and there's a chance that he's not really a Third Grade wizard after all. So it's off to New Ottosland to be the new Court Wizard for King Lional.

It's a shame that King Lional isn't the vain, self-centered young man he appeared to be. With a Princess in danger, a talking bird who can't stay out of trouble, and a kingdom to save, Gerald soon suspects that he might be out of his depth. And if he can't keep this job, how will he ever become the wizard he was destined to be...

THE ACCIDENTAL SORCERER is the first novel in the Rogue Agent trilogy, from one of fantasy's newest stars.

Gears of War - Aspho Fields by Karen Traviss (Del Rey Trade Paperback 10/28/2008) – Karen Traviss jumps from one media tie-in to another blockbuster tie-in property:

Here’s the brief description: As kids, the three of them were inseparable; as soldiers, they were torn apart. Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago fought alongside Dom’s elder brother Carlos at Aspho Fields in the epic battle that changed the course of the Pendulum Wars. There’s a new war to fight now, a war for mankind’s very survival. But while the last human stronghold on Sera braces itself for another onslaught from the Locust Horde, ghosts come back to haunt Marcus and Dom. For Marcus–decorated war hero, convicted traitor–the return of an old comrade threatens to dredge up an agonizing secret he’s sworn to keep.

As the beleaguered Gears of the Coalition of Ordered Governments take a last stand to save mankind from extermination, the harrowing decisions made at Aspho Fields have to be re-lived and made again. Marcus and Dom can take anything the Locust Horde throws at them–but will their friendship survive the truth about Carlos Santiago?

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