Sunday, December 05, 2010

Books in the Mail (2010-12-04)

Probably the last big haul of the year, a bunch from the three headed monster of the Penguin imprints – Ace/Roc/DAW and a some from TOR.

Passion Play (College of Magica #1) by Beth Bernobich (Tor, Hardcover 10/12/2010) – Debut novel from a respected short story writer. This seems part of the growing trend of “Fantasy of Manners” I’ve been seeing lately.

Ilse Zhalina is the daughter of one of Melnek’s more prominent merchants. She has lived most of her life surrounded by the trappings of wealth and privilege. Many would consider hers a happy lot. But there are dark secrets, especially in the best of families. Ilse has learned that for a young woman of her beauty and social station, to be passive and silent is the best way to survive.

When Ilse finally meets the older man she is to marry, she realizes he is far crueler and more deadly than her father could ever be. Ilse chooses to run. This choice will change her life forever.

And it will lead her to Raul Kosenmark, master of one of the land’s most notorious pleasure houses…and who is, as Ilse discovers, a puppetmaster of a different sort altogether. Ilse discovers a world where every pleasure has a price and there are levels of magic and intrigue she once thought unimaginable. She also finds the other half of her heart.

Sure to appeal to fans of Jacqueline Carey’s
Kushiel’s Legacy series.

Mad Skills by Walter Greatshell (Ace, Mass Market Paperback 12/28/2010) – SF Thriller from the author of a couple of zombie novels.

Unconscious for fourteen months after a debilitating accident, Maddy Grant awakens at the Braintree Institute, where scientists have successfully implanted her with a radical technology designed to correct her brain injury. But Maddy is more than cured. Her intellect has been enhanced to process information faster than a computer-an ability that's sending her emotions into overdrive.

To monitor her condition, the institute sends Maddy to the nearby village of Harmony, where she will be free to interact with the community. But Braintree's scientists are not only monitoring her behavior, they're modifying it, reprogramming her personality to become someone else.

A killer..

Songs of the Dying Earth edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Tor, Hardcover 12/7/2010) – This is a massive tribute (and trade version of the Subterranean Press version published last year) anthology with an immensely impressive list of contributors I’ve ever seen: Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, Kage Baker, Terry Dowling, Phyllis Eisenstein, Glen Cook, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Hand, Matt Hughes, Tanith Lee, George R. R. Martin, Elizabeth Moon, Mike Resnick, Lucius Shepard, Jeff Vandermeer, Paula Volsky, Howard Waldrop, Liz Williams, Walter Jon Williams, Tad Williams, and John C. Wright.

To honor the magnificent career of Jack Vance, one unparalleled in achievement and impact, George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, with the full cooperation of Vance, his family, and his agents, have created a Jack Vance tribute anthology:Songs of the Dying Earth. The best of today's fantasy writers to return to the unique and evocative milieu of The Dying Earth, from which they and so many others have drawn so much inspiration, to create their own brand-new adventures in the world of Jack Vance’s greatest novel.

Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time ever, Jack has agreed to open this bizarre and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. To say that other fantasy writers are excited by this prospect is a gross understatement; one has told us that he'd crawl through broken glass for the chance to write for the anthology, another that he'd gladly give up his right arm for the privilege. That's the kind of regard in which Jack Vance and The Dying Earth are held by generations of his peers.

This book contains original stories from George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Dan Simmons, Elizabeth Moon, Tanith Lee, Tad Williams, Kage Baker, and Robert Silverberg, along with fifteen others--as well as an introduction by Dean Koontz.

A Hard Day’s Knight (The Eleventh Novel of the Nightside) by Simon R. Green (Ace, Hardcover 01/05/2011) – Green is automatic – you can count on at least one book by him a year, and this is the first one of his books to publish in 2010.

John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding lost things in the dark and secret center of London known as the Nightside. He's also the reluctant owner of a very special-and dangerous-weapon. Excalibur, the legendary sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of knights who dwell in a place that some find more frightening than the Nightside.

London Proper. It's been years since John's been back-and there are good reasons for that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny (The Tenth Novel of the Nightside) by Simon R. Green (Ace, Mass Market Paperback 01/04/2011) – Green is automatic – you can count on at least one book by him a year, and this is the first one of his books to publish in 2010 and this is the paperback version of the hardcover I received exactly one year ago.

Things were going so well for P.I. John Taylor, that it was only a matter of time before everything hit the fan. Walker, the powerful, ever-present, never­to-be-trusted agent who runs the Nightside on behalf of The Authorities, is dying. And he wants John to be his successor-a job that comes with more baggage, and more enemies, than anyone can possibly imagine.

Starbound by Joe Haldeman (Ace, Hardcover 12/28/2010) – This is the mass market paperback version of the book I received a year ago. Haldeman is a living legend and will be named Grand Master by the SFWA next year. I read and enjoyed both The Forever War and Forever Peace this is his latest novel and the synopsis sounds pretty interesting..

A New from the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award-winning author of Marsbound.

Carmen Dula and her husband have spent six years travelling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce.

By the time Carmen and her party return, fifty years have been consumed by relativity-and the Earthlings have not been idle, building a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against The Others. But The Others have more power than any could imagine-and they will brook no insolence from the upstart human race.

Boondocks Fantasy> by Jean Rabe and Martin Greenberg (DAW, Mass Market Paperback 01/05/2011) – Here comes the monthly themed anthology from DAW. I get a “You might be a redneck” feel, but what really makes it stand out are contributors Gene Wolfe, Steve Savile, and Jay Lake..

Here’s the snippet:

From vampires in the Appalachians and leprechauns in the Smokies to mermaids in the Mississippi and bloodthirsty trolls in an Alabama trailer park the South makes a unique setting for the 20 stories in this anthology of redneck vampires, werewolves, wizards, elves, and other creatures.

Featuring original stories by Gene Wolfe, Timothy Zahn, Chris Pierson, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Steven Savile, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Jay Lake, Anton Strout, and many more.

Secrets of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 3) by Diana Rowland (DAW Mass Market 1/4/2011)– Third in series about vampire hunter on the police force

Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the "arcane" in our world, and there's quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She's also a summoner of demons, and works on a task force that deals with supernatural crimes. Her partners are attractive and smart FBI agents, but they're not summoners, and they're not telling Kara why they are on this special force with her.

TO make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to one of the most powerful of demons-a Demon Lord-who helped save her partner's life, but now expects things in return. Meanwhile, she's trying to solve a string of murders that are somehow tied together by money, sex, rock music and...mud. But how can she concentrate on the case when she's not even sure who-or what-her partners are?

The Dark Griffin (Fallen Moon Series #1) by K.J. Taylor (Ace, Mass Market Paperback 12/28/2010) – Taylor was a bestseller in Australia and now her books are hitting US shores. Ace is employing the book-per-month release schedule that has become proven success.

Being chosen as a griffin's companion has allowed Arren Cardockson to gain a place of status within the land of Cymria. But Arren can never escape the prejudice that comes with his Northerner slave origins. For chained within the Arena where rogue griffins battle to entertain the crowds, there lies another soul crying out to be freed-a kindred spirit that will allow Arren to fulfill his destiny and release the darkness in his heart.

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