Sunday, July 24, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-07-23)

A nice mix of books from the Penguin imprints in this week’s batch of books.

Omnitopia: Dawn by Diane Duane (DAW Paperback 08/02/2011) – Mass Market Paperback re-issue of the SF Near Future Thriller with a hint of fantasy from Duane, which is a bit of a departure from her recent Young Adult fantasy series and a return to the Adult SF side of things which is where Ms. Duane first hit the NY Times Bestseller list. This is the first of a series of books. I skipped it when I received the hardcover last year, but may remedy that decision with the paperback.

A near-future techno-thriller from New York Times bestselling author Diane Duane.

It's the first quarter of the twenty-first century, and "massively multiplayer" on-line games have been around for a couple of decades. In an increasingly wired and computer-friendly world they've become a form of entertainment so popular they're giving television and films a run for the money. And the most popular gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan.

For millions of people around the world, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life. Omnitopia is a virtual place where dreams come true-players can create their own universes within the game's structure, and participate in the profits if their piece of the universe is a hit. Ten million players routinely play in Omnitopia, and at any given time, nearly a million of them are on-line, living in a world more real to them then their own.

Worldwide, Omnitopia is now as much a culture as a game. Participants can become involved in it in a hundred different ways. Some game as if their lives depended on it, spending thousands of hours, or thousands of dollars, or both, on quests in search of "game glory" among their fellow players. Some game only to acquire sufficient in-game "value" to become entitled to become subcreators themselves, able to build new levels and start raking in the so-called "one percent of infinity" which is the leveler's share of the profits. But there are also people who don't game at all, preferring to use the massive platform simply to explore its worlds, or to interact with other participants. Some people do nothing but design on-line weapons and other items for Omnitopia gamers, and sell them-or act as brokers, buying and selling game artifacts to order. Some subcreators do the same kind of design and creation, but for tailored Microcosms or slices of them: these are the "unreal estate" dealers. Some players speculate in game "gold" on the success or popularity of Microcosms, rather than actually playing in them. And of course there are thieves and swindlers, cheaters who live to find the loophole in the game that will outside it in the real world.

Now Dev and his people are preparing to rollout a major new expansion to the Omnitopia system. And even as players, staff, the media, and the heavy hitters on the world financial scene wait eagerly for this fast-approaching and momentous event, there are others preparing to play a very different game-one that is meant to strike at the heart of Omnitopia and bring the entire system crashing down....

Ascencion: (Fate of the Jedi Book Eight) by Christe Golden (Hardcover 8/16/2011 Del Rey). Eight and penultimate book in the latest series involving that pesky Skywalker clan.

How long can the Jedi remain in power? How far will the Sith go to rule supreme? What chance do both stand against Abeloth?

As Luke and Ben Skywalker pursue the formidable dark-side being Abeloth, the Lost Tribe of the Sith is about to be sundered by an even greater power—which will thrust one Dark Lord into mortal conflict with his own flesh-and-blood.

On Coruscant, a political vacuum has left tensions at the boiling point, with factions racing to claim control of the Galactic Alliance. Suddenly surrounded by hidden agendas, treacherous conspiracies, and covert Sith agents, the Jedi Order must struggle to keep the GA government from collapsing into anarchy.

The Jedi are committed to maintaining peace and ensuring just rule, but even they are not prepared to take on the combined threats of Sith power, a deposed dictator bent on galaxywide vengeance, and an entity of pure cunning and profound evil hungry to become a god.

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel (Del Rey Hardcover 10/18/2011) – Debut novelist Lia Habel gives readers a cool-sounding mash up of future SF, steampunk, romance and the ever-popular zombies.

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

A Soldier's Duty: (Book One of Theirs Not to Reason Why) by Jean Johnson (Ace Mass Market Paperback 09/26/2010) – Johnson is a popular and accomplished romance novelist who decided to try her hand at Military SF, the story sounds interesting enough.

Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

Water to Burn (Nola O’Grady Book 2) by Katherine Kerr (DAW Mass Market Paperback 08/02/2011) – The second book in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance series Kerr launched this past January. Two books in the same series in one year is a nice thing for fans of a series and Kerr knows how to draw in readers.

Secret agent Nola O'Grady is back and ready to save San Francisco from all evildoers, alien and otherwise. With the aid of her bodyguard and lover Ari Nathan, Nola's new mission is to track down and apprehend the mysterious "Brother Belial," head of the now-dispersed Chaos cult-and a possible invader from another dimension.

Path of the Sun (Dhulyn and Parno #4) by Violette Malan (DAW Paperback 08/02/2011) – This is the fourth book in a series about a couple of rogues…

Mercenary partners Dhulyn Wolfshead and Parno Lionsmane think they're escorting the Princess of Arderon to her wedding with the new Tarkin of Menoin, but the Mercenary Brotherhood has a secret mission for them: find out what happened to the two Brothers who were sent on assignment to Menoin a year ago-and vanished.

Once in Menoin, they discover that the Brothers' disappearance is linked to a series of killings. And when the Princess of Arderon's corpse is found mutilated in the same way as the others, Dhulyn and Parno track the killer into the Path of the Sun, an ancient labyrinth from which people sometimes never return...


Kathryn said...

You'll have to let me know about A Soldier's Duty. It's aimed right at my weakspot, but I just can't shake the feeling that the author's previous books (And the cover, for that matter) will mean this book is... Well, you know what I'm on about.

Diane said...

"... a bit of a departure?" How, exactly? Adult SF Is how I first hit the NYT list 2 decades ago. ... Anyway, will be interested to see what you make of O'topia. :) Best -- DD

RobB said...

Hi Kathryn,

I will let you know.


Firstly, thanks for visiting! Second, my apologies for the incorrect statement. I'm more familiar with your Young Wizards series, rather than your earlier SF. I'll remedy the blog.