Sunday, February 22, 2009

Books in the Mail W/E 2/21/2009

Back to somewhat normal with the amount of arrivals

The Magician’s Apprentice The Prequel to The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan (Orbit Books , Hardcover 2/15/2009) – I haven’t read anything by Canavan, she gets mixed reactions at SFFWorld, so I am not sure what to expect. From what I gather, Canavan has sold boatloads in the UK and her native Australia. The title alone implies something of a cliché, and was in fact one of the titles of Fiest’s broken up Magician. I said in November when I received the ARC that “ February seems a long ways off, but so did December when I received books with December pub dates in August that still remain unread.” Here’s a sample chapter. So here I am with the ARC and the nicely designed final copy of the book. More information on the title:

600 years before the events in the Black Magician Trilogy, the world was a very different place - both simpler and harsher. Magical healing had not yet been discovered, no guild existed and all magicians were black magicians.

But events are brewing that will lead nations into war, rival magicians into conflict, and spark an act of sorcery so brutal that its effects will be felt for centuries. . .

Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Pyr Trade Paperback February 2009) – I really enjoyed River of Gods, which takes place in the same world in which these stories are set. I’ve already read The Djinn’s Wife, The Little Goddess, and The Dust Assassin.

Here are the remaining stories in the book:

Sanjeev and Robotwallah (selected for both The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection and Year's Best SF 13)
What happens to the boy-soldier roboteers when the war of Separation is over?
Kyle meets the River
A young American in Varanasi learns the true meaning of “nation building” in the early days of a new country.
The Dust Assassin
Feuding Rajasthan water-rajas find that revenge is a slow, subtle process.
An Eligible Boy
An Indian take on “Cyrano de Bergerac." Love and marriage should be easy with an Artificial Intelligence matchmaker.
Vishnu at the Cat Circus
A genetically improved “Brahmin”child finds himself left behind as he grows through the final generation of humanity.

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (Subterranean Press Hardcover February 2009) – This would be the fourth different copy I received of this book (UK Gollancz ARC, US Del Rey Arc & and finished Del Rey copy), but this copy, without a doubt, is the most beautiful edition. The cover by Vincent Chong is awesome as are the end papers. I’ll post a different excerpt from my review this go-round. Hobbit reviewed the book, too.

One of the most potent aspects of the novel is Morgan’s unrestrained approach to both the sex and the violence. The sex is intimate and graphic and the violence is on the same level of graphic description, as well as the sexual proclivity of the protagonist, Ringil. Ringil does embody these two aspects very much, from the graphic nature of his trysts to the violent nature of many of his physical encounters with enemies, Morgan is unrelenting in how he puts Ringil into all of these scenes. The harsh language, the graphically depicted non-traditional sex, and stark reality of violence all add a stamp of boldness readers of Morgan’s science fiction will find familiar. Some will (and have already) found these intertwined aspects of the novel off-putting. Too bad for them.

Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards Series #2) by N.D. Wilson (Random House Children’s Books Hardcover 2/24/2009) – Yet another sequel in a series in which I don’t have and/or haven’t read the first book. The premise here sounds pretty interesting in that crossover fantasies seem to resonate with younger readers and this story in particular is in Kansas, the kid’s name is Henry and the name of the evil land is Endor.

Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor.

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