Friday, February 27, 2009

Joe Abercrombie on YouTube - Best Served Cold

Got these in the e-mail today, as if I wasn't looking forward to Best Served Cold enough.

Joe Abercrombie interview for Best Served Cold on YouTube

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Erasing Death

Regular readers should know the drill by now. Sunday I post what I received the previous week, some Monday’s I’ll post randomly, and Tuesdays I post the link and an excerpt to the Book Review I posted the previous night. In this case, the book review I posted last night was Charlie Huston’s The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death.

Huston tells the story completely from Web’s eyes, the dialogue is real, raw and puts the reader into the narrative of the story in a very effective manner. All of the characters Huston brought to life in Mystic Arts are vibrant (Po Sin, Chev, Web’s father – a former screenwriter and script-doctor), Web is the lynchpin and sun around which they all rotate. Initially, Web’s arrogant and off-putting manners are questionable. A dark event in his past is alluded to and through the course of the narrative, Huston illuminates two life-shattering events which have led Web to be the person he is. It’s a wonder Web hasn’t taken his own life because of the events, but he’s basically too stubborn to give in.

Prior to the novel’s events, Web was a teacher, which doesn’t come out immediately, which begs the question: how did a guy who once taught young kids become trauma scene cleaner? Huston answers the question in brief passages peppered through out the “current” plot of Web’s involvement with Soledad’s (and her brother Jamie) problem. This is where Huston’s storytelling skill really shines – he intricately weaves the past and present into a seamless story that by novel’s end you wonder how he packed so much into such a relatively thin novel 336 pages, many of which comprise single line dialogue. The dialogue is another strong point of the novel, Huston conveys character, setting, and plot so well with the dialogue. The story seems like it would transition very well to the screen maybe through the help of a director like Quentin Tarantino.

Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I made to to movie theaters two weeks in a row. This weekend it was Taken which was pretty entertaining. I had a tough time reconciling the fact that the daughter, portrayed by Maggie Grace, was only 17. After all, this is the same actress who was on Lost as Shannnon; a character that was at the very youngest 20 years old and in real life is in her mid-twenties, so I had a tough time buying the fact that she was only 17 in the film. Her scenes were pretty much set up for Neeson going over to Europe and destroying everything in his way to finding her so it didn’t really spoil the good parts of the film. There were some awesome fighting scenes in the movie and it ended rather predictably, but still a solid adventure/ass-kicking movie.

I've a feeling the next movie we see in theaters will be this little film:

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.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Dance with Dragons -- Is June, then September possible?

Well, George hopes it is. I hope so too, as I'm sure his fans hope the same thing as well.

I agree with Aidan, in that "for A Song of Ice and Fire, and the fanbase it’s accrued, to be anything but a glowingly positive experience in Martin’s life is just wrong."

I think for every fan on message boards, blogs and genre Web sites following A Song of Ice and Fire, there are another 10 people out there reading and following the series - and I'll bet most of those proverbial 10 people are as eager as most of us for the next book - I can't imagine A Dance with Dragons not hittin #1 on the NYT Bestseller list.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drood & Coraline

Drood by Dan Simmons is a staggering novel that completely immersed me in Victorian England and the lives of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. Part thriller, part mystery, and part horror novel, Drood is, quite simply, one of the best novels I have ever read and now stands in my personal top 10. Here's a preview of my review:

The feel of the novel is rich and exquisitely evokes Victorian London. Since I can’t really travel back in time to check on Simmon’s veracity in his ability to evoke the time and place, I can only go with my gut and it tells me Simmons hit the mark in this respect. In that sense, the novel’s haunted feel is only strengthened by the time and place – an era of gaslights, trains and a world at the cusp of vast technological change. The London of Drood, especially the London nights, is very much hidden in shadows with smoke ‘round the corner and hints of danger and otherworldy Underworlds.

Both Collins and Dickens take mythic journeys in this novel, most notably to the Underworld of London. A vast cavern of tunnels underneath the great city where day laborers live in abject poverty and opium dens are visited by men of society, including Collins. It is a dangerous place, a place where vagrants live, where “lost boys” roam the catacombs, and where the dark figure of Drood and his two steersmen usher Dickens on a gondola to the deepest recesses of Underworld. The mythic parallels to Charon, and more explicitly, the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis are evocative and resonant in their power. Here again, Collins’s role as Unreliable Narrator comes into play, if not during these scenes as much as they do later upon reflection of the events.

We caught Coraline on Friday and for the most part, I loved it. As many have already said, the animation in this was staggeringly beautiful. Selick kept the heart of the story and the minor changes he made were logical storytelling changes in terms of transferring Gaiman's novel from page to screen. The only thing keeping me from completely loving the movie was the pacing – the middle/end of it seemed to drag on a bit. Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff thought it bit dark for younger kids, and for kids under say 10 I’d agree but I think 12-year olds can handle both the content and form of the story. Then again, I was reading Stephen King when I was twelve, so who knows.

Lastly, it looks like Prophets (Apotheosis Book One) by S. Andrew Swann was voted as “the book I should read next” from the poll for the books I received W/E 02/07/2009. While it may not be the absolute next book I read, it will be bumped to very near top of the pile. I was going to run another poll this week, but I didn’t want the poll to take up my entire sidebar with all the books in last week’s haul.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 02/14/2009)

Another huge week of arrivals, so another extremely long Sunday post…

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker (Subterranean Press Hardcover June 2009) – This sounds like an interesting little novelette (or novella?) from Baker. I’ve still got two novels from her staring at me.

Lady Beatrice was the proper British daughter of a proper British soldier, until tragedy struck and sent her home to walk the streets of early-Victorian London. But Lady Beatrice is no ordinary whore, and is soon recruited to join an underground establishment known as Nell Gwynne’s. Nell Gwynne’s is far more than simply the finest and most exclusive brothel in Whitehall; it is in fact the sister organization to the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, that 19th-century predecessor to a certain Company...and when a member of the Society goes missing on a peculiar assignment, it’s up to Lady Beatrice and her sister harlots to investigate.

Death's Daughter (Book 1 of Calliope Reaper-Jones) by Amber Benson (Ace Paperback February 2009) – Amber Benson, as most people who read this blog probably know, was a star of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (a show I embarrassingly never really watched, must catch up soon). She’s collaborated with Christopher Golden in the past and this (I think) is her first solo effort. The premise reminds me a bit of the CW’s Reaper, which I like.

Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig's List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...

But when her father-who happens to be Death himself-is kidnapped, and the Devil's Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle- only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.

The Ebb Tide A Langdon St. Ives Adventure by James P. Blaylock (Subterranean Press Hardcover July 2009) – I tried the earlier Langdon St. Ives omnibus (The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives)from Subterranean Press and it just didn’t click for me. I like Steampunk, but maybe I wasn’t in the right reading frame of mind for it, so perhaps this little book will work better for me.

A flaming meteor over the Yorkshire Dales, a long-lost map drawn by the lunatic Bill “Cuttle” Kraken, and the discovery of a secret subterranean shipyard beneath the River Thames lead Professor Langdon St. Ives and his intrepid friend Jack Owlesby into the treacherous environs of Morecambe Bay, with its dangerous tides and vast quicksand pits. They descend beneath the sands of the Bay itself, into a dark, unknown ocean littered with human bones and the remnants of human dreams. In this tale of murder, infamy, and Victorian intrigue, the tides of destiny shift relentlessly and rapidly as the stakes grow ever higher and the pursuit more deadly....

The Alchemist's Pursuit (Book 3 of The Alchemist by Dave Duncan (Ace Trade Paperback 03/03/2009) – I read some of Dave Duncan’s King’s Blades novels (Paragon Lost) a few years ago and really liked them. This book is the third (and final) in a medieval mystery/fantasy hybrid. Here’s the plot info:

Hampered by arthritis, Nostradamus is in no mood for granting favors or running about looking for trouble. But when his apprentice Alfeo's mistress asks him to investigate the murder of her beloved courtesan mentor-and promises a fortune in payment-he comes around. It appears that someone is murdering the courtesans of Venice. All were well-known, admired for their skills-and somehow connected by a sinister event involving one of the great families of the city.

While Nostradamus attempts to use the dark arts to solve riddles which confound explanation, Alfeo finds himself led by a possibly demonic force through a maze of deceit and death. And when the master and apprentice come to the end of their intertwined paths, there may be hell to pay

The Evil in Pemberley House by Philip Jose Farmer and Win Scott Eckert (Subterranean Press Hardcover September 2009) – The Evil in Pemberley House, an addition to Farmer's long-running Wold Newton cycle, plays with the Gothic horror tradition. Patricia Wildman, the daughter of the world-renowned adventurer and crimefighter of the 1930s and '40s, Dr. James Clarke "Doc" Wildman, is all alone in the world when she inherits the family estate in Derbyshire, England old, dark, and supposedly haunted.

But Farmer, characteristically, turns convention on its ear. Is the ghost real, or a clever sham? In Patricia Wildman, Farmer creates an introspective character who struggles to reconcile the supernatural with her rational scientific upbringing, while also attempting to work through unresolved feelings about her late parents. He sets the action at Pemberley from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and ingrains the various mysteries in the Canon of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

The Evil in Pemberley House is a darkly erotic novel with broad appeal to readers of pulp and popular literature, particularly followers of Doc Savage, Sherlockians, and fans of Farmer's own celebrated Wold Newton Family.

A Magic of Nightfall (The Nessantico Cycle Book Two) by S.L. Farrell (DAW Hardcover 03/03/2009)– I’ve seen such good things about the first book in the series, so I was pleased when the MMPB arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’ll read that one and jump straightaway into A Magic of Nightfall.

The second novel in the Nessantico Cycle continues the epic tale of an empire at its height, yet poised on the brink of what could be a devastating descent into ruin. It is a story of murder and magic, of deception and betrayal, of Machiavellian politics, star-crossed lovers, and a realm facing war on every front.

Flinx Transcendent (A Pip & Flinx Adventure) by Alan Dean Foster (Del Rey Hardcover 05/19/2009) – Foster is an extremely prolific writer and this book brings his longest running series (Commonwealth which began with The Tar-Aiym Krang back in 1972) to a close:

From science fiction icon Alan Dean Foster comes the highly anticipated final Pip & Flinx adventure for fans of the green-eyed redhead with awesome mental powers and his miniature flying dragon. In this dazzling novel Foster answers all the questions that his fans have been asking about their favorite hero over the years, while saving the universe in the process.

Flinx Transcendent wraps up the storylines that Alan Dean Foster has been weaving through thirteen Pip & Flinx novels. Twice as long as any previous book in the series, this represents a major milestone in science fiction publishing.

Hayate X Blade Vol 2 by Shizuru Hayashiya (Tor/Seven SeasManga February 2009)

High-octane swordplay meets light yuri romance when bratty Hayate Nagi must take her twin sister's place in a succession of grueling girl-on-girl sword battles or risk expulsion from sword school!.

A Drop of Red (Vampire Babylon #4) by Chris Marie Green (Ace Trade Paperback 03/03/2009) – Vampires & Vampire Hunters in Hollywood – a tried and true story telling device. Although this is the fourth book in the Vampire Babylon, it is the first of a new trilogy/story-arc within Green’s vampire universe. In other words, not completely off-putting to new readers. Here’s the publisher info:

Hollywood stuntwoman-turned-vampire-hunter Dawn Madison, along with her comrades, managed to wipe out the Los Angeles Vampire Underground-and uncovered not only her own dark family heritage but also a terrible truth about the man she loves. Now she's determined to find the next vampire lair, hoping it will help her to make more sense out of her life.

When a new Underground is found in England, Dawn and a vampire-fighting team are dispatched to carry the fight to the enemy in London. Dawn knows by now how deceiving appearances can be-and she is about to find out that it's not only the beautiful people of Hollywood who are willing to bargain with evil . . .

Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai (Del Rey Trade Paperback 05/19/2009) – Debut novel that sounds a mix of Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, Jacqueline Carey, and Dan Simmons’s The Terror

Sorykah Minuit is a scholar, an engineer, and the sole woman aboard an ice-drilling submarine in the frozen land of the Sigue.What no one knows is that she is also a rare Trader, who can switch genders without warning. When a wealthy, reclusive madman known as the Collector abducts Sorykah’s infant twins to use in his dreadful experiments, Sorykah and her male alter ego, Soryk, must cross icy wastes and a primeval forest to get them back. Complicating the dangerous journey is the fact that Sorykah and Soryk do not share memories; each transformation is as much of a jolt as if awakening from a deep and dreamless sleep.

The world through which the sundered halves of Sorykah and Soryk travel is both familiar and surreal. Environmental degradation and genetic mutation run amok; humans have become distorted into animals and animal bodies mask a wild humanity. But it is also a world of unexpected beauty and wonder, where kindness and love endure amidst the ruins.

The Pretender's Crown (Book Two of The Inheritors' Cycle) by C. E. Murphy (Del Rey Trade Paperback 04/28/2009) – Sequel to last year’s The Queen’s Bastard, which I own but haven’t read.

Belinda Primrose is no longer anyone's pawn. Lured by the sensual dark magic of Dmitri, envoy to a neighboring throne, yet still drawn to the witchlord embrace of her former lover, Javier, Belinda has entered a realm where power and control go to those who can master and manipulate their fiercest desires. For the witchpower depends on the skill its wielder holds.

Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (Tor Hardcover 02/17/2009) – This is the “long-awaited” sequel to the popular author-duo’s award-nominated Inferno, which is a modern take on Dante’s classic epic poem.

The Novel covers the events after deceased science fiction writer Allen Carpentier turns back to try to help other damned souls as his guide, Benito Mussolini begins his climb out of the lowest circle of Hell towards Purgatory.

In it, Carpentier teams up with Sylvia Plath, becoming a modern-day Christ who harrows Hell and frees many of the damned. Notable persons encountered in this novel in addition to Plath include (in no particular order): Cho Seung-Hui, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Kenneth Lay, Carl Sagan, and Aimee Semple McPherson.

Enclave by Kit Reed (Tor, Hardcover 2/03/2009 – This is the final version of the ARC I received back in September, boy has time flown! I read the Baby Merchant by her and thought it was an interesting and thought provoking novel. As I re-read the info on this book, I became more interested.

The world is in chaos: war, plague, global ecological collapse. Parents everywhere seek sanctuary for their precious children, the future of mankind. For those who are rich and powerful enough, safety can be found—for a price—at the Clothos Academy. Run by a mysterious man known only as Sarge, set in a former monastery atop a sheer cliff on a tiny island somewhere in the Mediterranean, Clothos will admit only one hundred students before it is sealed off—perhaps permanently—from the terrors outside.

But all is not as it seems. The pupils are so-called starlets best known for their empty heads and eating disorders; troublemakers one step away from incarceration; and junior royals too embarrassing to be let out in public. And the staff isn’t much better, from the alcoholic doctor to an ancient monk with secrets of his own.

And the dangers from which these castaways are being protected? Prerecorded, ready to be trotted out whenever Sarge needs to terrify his little flock. And yet…

Some dangers are real, as two boys discover when they hack the Academy’s self-contained computer network and connect, for a brief but disastrous moment, to the outside world. Worse, a stranger has entered the Academy. And he has brought Death.

End of the Century (Part of the The Bonaventure-Carmody Sequence) by Chris Roberson (Pyr Trade Paperback January 2009) – Chris Roberson has been writing some entertaining novels over the past couple of years, and many of them can’t be pigeon-holed into one specific genre or subgenre. I loved Paragaea, which is part of this sequence:.

Three people. Three eras. One city. Endless possibilities. End of the Century is a novel of the distant past, the unimaginable future, and the search for the Holy Grail. Set in the city of London, the narrative is interlaced between three ages, in which a disparate group of heroes, criminals, runaways, and lunatics are drawn into the greatest quest of all time.

Kings and Assassins by Lane Robins (Del Rey Trade Paperback 04/21/2009) – This is a sequel to Maledicte:

Controlled by an aristocracy whose depraved whims bow to neither law nor god, the kingdom of Antyre is under siege from the only man who can save it. He is Janus Ixion, the new Earl of Last, a man whose matchless fighting abilities and leadership strike terror in Antyre’s powerful noble houses.

For Janus is the illegitimate son who has returned from the brutal slums to reclaim his birthright, and will go to any lengths to become king and reverse his country’s decline. But with a conquering foreign prince sowing chaos throughout the kingdom, Janus must battle the terrifying power of Antyre’s forgotten god, one who has gifted Janus’s vengeful wife with mysterious and dangerous skills. As Antyre nears irrevocable collapse, Janus’s manipulations and all-consuming ambition will force him and his country to choose between the rule of resurgent gods, or a victor’s throne of ashes.

Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter Book 1) by Nalini Singh (Berkeley Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Mass Market Paperback 03/03/2009) – Archangels, demons, and vampires, .oh my! Singh is New York Times bestselling author and this is the first in a brand new paranormal romance series. I’m slightly tempted to … I don’t know …

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other-and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break

Coyote Horizon by Allen Steele (Ace Trade Paperback 03/03/2009) – Even though this book is part of his Coyote Horizon, the description gives the sense that it is approachable to new readers, which is good for somebody like me. The series itself has won some awards and is a generational tale of interplanetary colonization.

The planet of Coyote has become the last, best hope of humankind, but it has also become the principal point of contact with the hjadd, the alien race encountered by a European starship many years earlier. Although the hjadd have built an embassy near the original colony, they remain a mystery.

And as the colonists make preparations to explore the rest of the new world, ex-convict Hawk Thompson discovers more about the hjadd than anyone has learned before-and his knowledge will change human history . . .

Deader Still (Book 2 of Simon Canderous) by Anton Strout (Ace Mass Market Paperback 02/24/2009) – Another Urban Fantasy, this one bearing comparison to The Dresden Files. I glanced at the first page, the story opens at New York Comic-Con, so I’m interested. Here’s the plot info:

It's been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs' last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry-the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it-agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end-until his life does

Deathwish (Cal Leandros Series, Book Four) by Rob Thurman (Roc Paperback 03/04/2009) For the longest time, I thought Rob Thurman was a man (not that it matters), but recently realized Rob is a man. This here’s the fourth in a relatively popular Urban Fantasy Series:

Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are hired by the vampire Seamus to find out who has been following him—until Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead). Worse still is the return of Cal’s nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, they were almost wiped out. Now, the Auphe want revenge. But first, they’ll destroy everything Cal holds dear...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Magic to the Bone and Sherlock House

Urban Fantasy is the it sub-genre of Fantasy & Science Fiction, if not in general. Right, my other bit of news is that everyday the sun rises. The latest book review I posted is from a new author; a woman author, and falls firmly within the Urban Fantasy arena – three elements/book types I wanted to read more of this year. In this case, the book is Devon Monk’s Magic to the Bone. While I enjoyed it, I wonder if the aspects of the book that didn't work for me are indicative of the subgenre or of Monk’s writing. Anyway, here’s a brief snapshot of the review:
We are firmly in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (at least as the genre label is known and used today) territory here: mystery, romance, and magic cobbled together in what amounts to a solid page turner. The novel is told in the first person through Allie’s engaging voice, but as the novel marches along, it becomes evident that Allie just might be an Unreliable Narrator. The tag line on the back of the novel indicates, “magic has a price” and in this case, for every spell Allie casts, part of her memory dissolves. Although she carries around a pen and pad to help keep her personal facts straight, when events are chaotic (for the most part the whole novel, but if they weren’t chaotic the novel wouldn’t exist, she doesn’t have the chance to record events as they happen. Monk has created an interesting, flawed protagonist who, for the most part, comes across as genuine and sympathetic.
In other late-breaking news, Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I have become somewhat addicted to House. This goes against, in some ways, my personal expectations. I’ve long been tired of hospital/doctor shows and the commercials on FOX with the deep-voiced announcer always saying “…on the next HOUSE” were a turn off. Mrs. o’ Stuff got sucked into an episode about a month or two ago and we’ve both been hooked on the USA re-runs ever since. Watching the show has made me realize how much I really enjoy mystery stories, at least in a filmed context (Criminal Minds, CSI (original), Without a Trace). This is pretty logical since I cut my teeth as a young kid reading The Three Investigators mysteries. Anyway, House the character comes across as snarky, cranky, brilliant, and humorous character. Kind of like Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm except smarter and intentionally snarky.

It’s been said many times how House is blatant stand-in for Sherlock Holmes. As a result, and coupled with how much I enjoyed Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald, and the film Young Sherlock Holmes, I recently dug out Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes from one of the many boxes of books in the various rooms in our house. When I get to reading it is a different story.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 02/07/2009)

The Penguin imprints are sending out their March releases and a couple of late February releases from Del Rey and Orbit. I’ve not read a single author in this bunch, but since I’ve been keeping track of the arrivals on my blog, this batch has the highest ratio of books I really would like to read.

I'm also running a poll on the sidebar as to which of these books I should read first, since they all look good and I can't quite decide. Of course, I reserve the right to reject the choice go with my own.

The Shadow Queen (A Black Jewels Novel) by Anne Bishop (Roc Hardcover 03/04/2009) – Anne Bishop is pretty popular in fantasy circles and this is an extension of the series in which she made her name. Not really sure if it a stand-alone of intricately tied to the other (6) books in the series

Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes stand—without a leader and without hope…

Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who knows Protocol, remembers the Blood’s code of honor, and lives by the Old Ways.

Languishing in the Shadow Realm, Lady Cassidy is a Queen without a court, a castoff. She is not beautiful. She thinks she is not strong. But when she is chosen to rule Dena Nehele, she must convince bitter men to serve once again.

Theran’s cousin Gray is a Warlord Prince who was damaged in mind and body by the vicious Queens who once ruled Dena Nehele. Yet something about Cassidy makes him want to serve—and makes him believe he can be made whole once again.

And only Cassidy can prove to Gray—and to herself—that wounds can heal and even the whisper of a promise can be fulfilled…

God of Clocks (The Deepgate Codex Book 3) by Alan Campbell (Bantam Spectra Hardcover 4/28/2009) – Third in steampunkish trilogy. Hobbit reviewed the first book, Scar Night when it was published in the UK 2006. The first two books seem pretty well received, which I haven’t yet read. Here’s some blurbage:

War, rebellion, betrayal—but the worst is still to come. For in the cataclysm of the battle of the gods, a portal to Hell has been opened, releasing unnatural creatures that were never meant to be and threatening to turn the world into a killing field. And in the middle, caught between warring gods and fallen angels, humanity finds itself pushed to the brink of extinction. Its only hope is the most unlikely of heroes.

Former assassin Rachel Hael has rejoined the blood-magician Mina Greene and her devious little dog, Basilis, on one last desperate mission to save the world from the grip of Hell. Carried in the jaws of a debased angel, they rush to the final defensive stronghold of the god of time—pursued all the while by the twelve arconites, the great iron-and-bone automatons controlled by King Menoa, the Lord of the Maze. Meanwhile, in the other direction, the giant John Anchor, still harnessed to his master’s skyship, descends into Hell itself to meet Menoa on his own ground.

But neither Heaven nor Hell is anything they could ever expect. Now old enemies and new allies join a battle whose outcome could be the end of them all. Rachel’s ally, the god Hasp, finds himself in the grip of a parasite and struggles against conflicting orders to destroy his own friends; and a dangerous infant deity comprised of countless broken souls threatens to overcome them all. As Rachel travels to the final confrontation she has both sought and feared, she begins to realize that time itself is unraveling. And so she must prepare herself for a sacrifice that may claim her heart, her life, her soul—and even then it may not be enough.

1942 by Robert Conroy (Ballantine Trade Paperback 3/24/2009)– What if Japan had taken over Hawai’i? That is the general premise of this Alternate History novel. All three of Conroy’s previous novels were alternate history, so he’s had some practice at it. This is the finished copy of the ARC I received in November.

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (Orbit Hardcover 04/2009) – Kate Griffin is the pseudonym of children’s/young adult writer Catherine Webb, and this his her adult debut. The premise sounds intriguing enough, if very much in the vein of Neil Gaiman:

For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day. It is the day on which he returns to life.

Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home. Except that it’s no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable…despite his body never being found. He doesn’t have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

Monster by A. Lee Martinez (Orbit Hardcover 04/2009) – Martinez jumps from Tor to Orbit with this book, and it sounds pretty interesting. After my wife read the back cover, she said it sounds like Ghostbusters, and I guess it kind of does.

Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.

Monster runs a pest control agency. He's overworked and has domestic troubles - like having the girlfriend from hell.

Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.

But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster's in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn't catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.

Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.

The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley (Del Rey Mass Market Paperback 2/24/2009) – When I first glanced at the book, I thought it was just another urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Then the blurb from Neil Gaiman whacked me in the face "The sort of book that makes you want to invest in silver bullets before meeting the author.". Then realized she is the daughter of Robert Sheckley and has been an editor and writer for Vertigo Comics. These things helped to move the book to the “to read pile” and pretty high at that. The novel is about a werewolf in Manhattan, but from the POV of the werewolf’s wife.

Living with Ghosts by Kari Sperring (DAW Mass Market Paperback 03/04/2009) – Elemental ghosts, blood pacts and an assassin-priest. I get the sense some clichés are at play here, but something about the book feels pretty intriguing. Sperring has written a handful of scholarly non-fiction titles so she can clearly write. Here’s the plot info:

This highly original, darkly atmospheric fantasy novel immerses readers in a world where ghosts and other malevolent spirits seek entry into mortal realms—invisible to all but those who are not entirely human themselves. Drawn into the ancient city of Merafi, yet barred from entering by an ancient pact sealed in blood, these hungry haunts await their opportunity to break through the magical border and wreak havoc on the city’s innocent denizens.

And as a priestess and prince weave a sorcerous plot to shatter the pact and bring ruin on Merafi, only a failed assassin-priest who is now a courtesan, a noble lord married into the ruling family of Merafi, an officer of the city guard, a woman warrior who was the former lover of a now-dead lord, and the ghost of that lord himself stand between Merafi and the tidal wave of magic that may soon bring ruin flooding down upon the city.

Prophets (Apotheosis Book One) by S. Andrew Swann (DAW Mass Market Paperback 03/04/2009) – Swann has been writing for quite some time with about 15 novels to his credit. His Moreau series sounds good, so does this one a far future (26th Century) Space Opera-ish science fiction series. This book in particular is set in the same universe as his Hostile Takeover trilogy, though it looks distanced enough to allow new readers to jump into it.

It’s been nearly 200 years since the collapse of the Confederacy, the last government to claim humanity’s colonies. So when signals come in revealing lost human colonies that could shift the power balance, the race is on between the Caliphate ships and a small team of scientists and mercenarys. But what awaits them all is a threat far beyond the scope of any human government.

The Hidden City (The House Wars Book 1) by Michelle West (DAW Mass Market Paperback 03/04/2009) – I’ve been hearing/seeing good things about Michelle West’s novels on the intarwebs for a while now, so perhaps I can check out this book – the first in a new fantasy saga set in a popular world. However, like the Swann book I received this week, The Hidden City looks distanced enough from her other two series The Sacred Hunt duology and The Sun Sword Quintology (6 books) to allow new readers to jump into it.

Orphaned and left to fend for herself in the slums of Averalaan, Jewel Markess-Jay to her friends-meets an unlikely savior in Rath, a man who prowls the ruins of the undercity. Nursing Jay back to health is an unusual act for a man who renounced his own family long ago, and the situation becomes stranger still when Jay begins to form a den of other rescued children in Rath's home. But worse perils lurk beneath the slums: the demons that once nearly destroyed the Essalieyan Empire are stirring again, and soon Rath and Jay will find themselves targets of these unstoppable beings.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Children's Book - F*#k It, We're All Going to Die!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Locus 2008 Recommended Reading List: A Meme

I’m becoming increasingly addicted to memes, so here’s a very genre-specific one from Larry

Since this is a long group of books/stories, bold for books read, italics for owned but not yet read in full. Where appropriate, I linked to my review:

SF novels

Matter, Iain M. Banks (Orbit UK)
Flood, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz, Roc '09)
Weaver, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz, Ace)
City at the End of Time, Greg Bear (Gollancz, Del Rey) [One of the most disappointing reads for me last year]
Incandescence, Greg Egan (Gollancz, Night Shade)
January Dancer, Michael Flynn (Tor) [Another disappointing read for me last year]
Marsbound, Joe Haldeman (Ace)
Spirit, Gwyneth Jones (Gollancz)
Escapement, Jay Lake (Tor)
Song of Time, Ian R. MacLeod (PS Publishing)
The Night Sessions, Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
The Quiet War, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
The Company, K. J. Parker (Orbit)
House of Suns, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz, Ace '09)
Pirate Sun, Karl Schroeder (Tor)
Anathem, Neal Stephenson (Atlantic UK, Morrow)
Saturn's Children, Charles Stross (Orbit, Ace)
Rolling Thunder, John Varley (Ace)
Half a Crown, Jo Walton (Tor)
Implied Spaces, Walter Jon Williams (Night Shade Books)

Fantasy novels

An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham (Tor)
The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam)
The Knights of the Cornerstone, James P. Blaylock (Ace)
The Ghost in Love, Jonathan Carroll (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The Island of Eternal Love, Daina Chaviano (Riverhead)
The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (Morrow)
Shadowbridge/ Lord Tophet, Gregory Frost (Ballantine Del Rey)
The Memoirs of a Master Forger, William Heaney (Gollancz) ; as How to Make Friends with Demons, Graham Joyce (Night Shade Books '09)
Varanger, Cecelia Holland (Tor/Forge)
Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)
The Bell at Sealey Head, Patricia A. McKillip (Ace)
The Hidden World, Paul Park (Tor)
The Engine's Child, Holly Phillips (Ballantine Del Rey)
The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape)
The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia (Prime Books)
The Dragons of Babel, Michael Swanwick (Tor)
An Evil Guest, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

First novels

The Ninth Circle, Alex Bell (Gollancz)
The Painted Man, Peter V. Brett (HarperVoyager); as The Warded Man (Ballantine Del Rey)
A Curse as Dark as Gold, Elizabeth C. Bunce (Scholastic)
Graceling, Kristin Cashore (Harcourt)
Alive in Necropolis, Doug Dorst (Riverhead)
Thunderer, Felix Gilman (Bantam Spectra)
Black Ships, Jo Graham (Orbit US)
Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory (Ballantine Del Rey)
The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway (William Heinemann, Knopf)
Last Dragon, J.T. McDermott (Wizards of the Coast/Discoveries)
Singularity's Ring, Paul Melko (Tor)
The Long Look, Richard Parks (Five Star)
The Red Wolf Conspiracy, Robert V. S. Redick (Gollancz, Del Rey '09)
The Cabinet of Wonders, Marie Rutkoski (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

Young Adult Books

City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/McElderry)
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)
Monster Blood Tattoo, Book Two: Lamplighter, D. M. Cornish (Putnam; Omnibus Books Australia)
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (Tor)
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, Bloomsbury)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, Alison Goodman (Viking); as The Two Pearls of Wisdom (HarperCollins Australia)
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Knopf)
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury USA)
Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr (HarperTeen)
Chalice, Robin McKinley (Putnam)
The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness (Candlewick Press)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt)
Nation, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK, HarperCollins)
Zoe's Tale, John Scalzi (Tor)
Flora's Dare, Ysabeau S. Wilce (Harcourt)


The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, Joan Aiken (Small Beer Press/Big Mouth House)
Pump Six and Other Stories, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books)
The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives, James P. Blaylock (Subterranean Press)
Works of Art, James Blish (NESFA Press)
The Wall of America, Thomas M. Disch (Tachyon Publications)
Dark Integers and Other Stories, Greg Egan (Subterranean Press)
The Drowned Life, Jeffrey Ford (HarperPerennial)
The Wreck of the Godspeed and Other Stories, James Patrick Kelly (Golden Gryphon Press)
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories, John Kessel (Small Beer Press)
Nano Comes to Clifford Falls and Other Stories, Nancy Kress (Golden Gryphon Press)
Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters, John Langan (Prime Books)
Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link (Viking)
H.P. Lovecraft: The Fiction, H. P. Lovecraft (Barnes & Noble)
Binding Energy, Daniel Marcus (Elastic Press)
Ten Sigmas and Other Unlikelihoods, Paul Melko (Fairwood Press)
The Collected Short Fiction: Where Angels Fear / The Gods Perspire, Ken Rand (Fairwood Press)
The Ant King and Other Stories, Benjamin Rosenbaum (Small Beer Press)
Long Walks, Last Flights, and Other Strange Journeys, Ken Scholes (Fairwood Press)
Filter House, Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct Press)
The Autopsy and Other Tales, Michael Shea (Centipede Press)
The Best of Lucius Shepard, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean Press)
The Best of Michael Swanwick, Michael Swanwick (Subterranean Press)
Other Worlds, Better Lives, Howard Waldrop (Old Earth Books)
Crazy Love, Leslie What (Wordcraft of Oregon)
Gateway to Paradise: The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume Six, Jack Williamson (Haffner Press)

Anthologies - Original

Clockwork Phoenix, Mike Allen, ed. (Norilana Books)
Fast Forward 2, Lou Anders, ed. (Pyr)
Sideways in Crime, Lou Anders, ed. (Solaris)
Dreaming Again, Jack Dann, ed. (HarperCollins Australia; Eos)
The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Ballantine Del Rey)
Galactic Empires, Gardner Dozois, ed. (SFBC)
Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology, Nick Gevers, ed. (Solaris)
A Book of Wizards, Marvin Kaye, ed. (SFBC)
The Solaris Book Of New Science Fiction Volume Two, George Mann, ed. (Solaris)
Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, William Schafer, ed. (Subterranean Press)
Eclipse Two, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade Books)
The Starry Rift, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Viking)
Fast Ships, Black Sails, Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Night Shade Books)
Celebration: 50 Years of the British Science Fiction Association, Ian Whates, ed. (NewCon Press)

Anthologies - Reprint

Wastelands, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Night Shade Books)
A Science Fiction Omnibus, Brian W. Aldiss, ed. (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Black Mirror and Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany and Austria, Franz Rottensteiner, ed. (Wesleyan University Press)
Poe's Children: The New Horror, Peter Straub, ed. (Doubleday)
The New Weird, Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Tachyon Publications)
Steampunk, Ann Vandermeer & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Tachyon Publications)

Anthologies - Best of the Year

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-first Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, eds. (St. Martin's Griffin)
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin's)
Year's Best Fantasy 8, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. (Tachyon Publications)
Year's Best SF 13, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. (Eos)
Fantasy: The Best of the Year: 2008 Edition, Rich Horton, ed. (Prime Books)
Science Fiction: The Best of the Year: 2008 Edition, Rich Horton, ed. (Prime Books)
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Nineteen, Stephen Jones, ed. (Robinson; Running Press)
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade Books)


Lexicon Urthus: A Dictionary for the Urth Cycle, Second Edition, Michael Andre-Driussi (Sirius Fiction)
Miracles of Life, J. G. Ballard (HarperCollins/Fourth Estate UK)
An Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett, Andrew M. Butler (Greenwood)
The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold, Lillian Stewart Carl & Martin H. Greenberg (Baen)
H. Beam Piper: A Biography, John F. Carr (McFarland)
The Worlds of Jack Williamson: A Centennial Tribute 1908-2008, Stephen Haffner, ed. (Haffner Press)
Basil Copper: A Life in Books, Stephen Jones (PS Publishing)
What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction, Paul Kincaid (Beccon)
Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography, Jeffrey Marks (McFarland)
Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press)
The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia, Laura Miller (Little, Brown)
Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman, Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden & Stephen R. Bissette (St. Martin's Press)

Art Books

Spectrum 15: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)
Paint or Pixel: The Digital Divide in Illustration Art, Jane Frank, ed. (NonStop Press)
P. Craig Russell, Coraline, Neil Gaiman, adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins)
J. Allen St. John, The Paintings of J. Allen St. John: Grand Master of Fantasy, Stephen D. Korshak & J. David Spurlock (Vanguard)
Shaun Tan, Tales from Outer Suburbia (Allen & Unwin; Scholastic '09)
A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P.L., Jerad Walters, ed. (Centipede Press)


Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key, Kage Baker (Subterranean Press)
"The Overseer", Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF 3/08)
The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten, Thomas M. Disch (Tachyon Publications)
“The Political Prisoner", Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF 8/08)
"Arkfall", Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 9/08)
The Luminous Depths, David Herter (PS Publishing)
"Mystery Hill", Alex Irvine (F&SF 1/08)
"The Erdmann Nexus", Nancy Kress (Asimov’s 10-11/08)
"Pretty Monsters", Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters)
"The Surfer, Kelly Link (The Starry Rift) "
"The Hob Carpet", Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov’s 6/08)
"The Tear", Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
"Tenbrook of Mars", Dean McLaughlin (Analog 7-8/08)
Once Upon a Time in the North, Philip Pullman (Knopf)
"The Man with the Golden Balloon", Robert Reed (Galactic Empires)
"Truth", Robert Reed (Asimov’s 10-11/08)
"True Names", Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
"Wonjjang and the Madman of Pyongyang", Gord Sellar (Tesseracts Twelve)
"The Philosopher’s Stone", Brian Stableford (Asimov’s 7/08)


"The Gambler", Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
"Pump Six", Paolo Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories)
"Tangible Light", J. Timothy Bagwell (Analog 1-2/08)
"Radio Station St. Jack", Neal Barrett, Jr. (Asimov’s 8/08)
"The Ice War", Stephen Baxter (Asimov’s 9/08)
"Turing’s Apples", Stephen Baxter (Eclipse Two)
"The Rabbi’s Hobby", Peter S. Beagle (Eclipse Two)
"The Tale of Junko and Sayuri", Peter Beagle (InterGalactic Medicine Show 7/08)
"Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel", Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads)
"Shoggoths in Bloom", Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s 3/08)
"The Golden Octopus", Beth Bernobich (Postscripts Summer ’08)
"If Angels Fight", Richard Bowes (F&SF 2/08)
"From the Clay of His Heart", John Brown (InterGalactic Medicine Show 4/08)
"Jimmy", Pat Cadigan (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
"Catherine Drewe", Paul Cornell (Fast Forward 2)
Conversation Hearts, John Crowley (Subterranean Press)
"The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away", Cory Doctorow ( 8/08)
"Crystal Nights", Greg Egan (Interzone 4/08)
"Lost Continent", Greg Egan (The Starry Rift)
"The Ray-Gun: A Love Story", James Alan Gardner (Asimov’s 2/08)
"Memory Dog", Kathleen Ann Goonan (Asimov’s 4-5/08)
"Shining Armor", Dominic Green (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm", Daryl Gregory (Eclipse Two)
"Pride and Prometheus", John Kessel (F&SF 1/08)
"The Art of Alchemy", Ted Kosmatka (F&SF 6/08)
"Divining Light", Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s 8/08)
"Childrun", Marc Laidlaw (F&SF 8/08)
"Machine Maid", Margo Lanagan (Extraordinary Engines)
"The Woman", Tanith Lee (Clockwork Phoenix)
"The Magician’s House", Meghan McCarron (Strange Horizons 7/08)
"An Eligible Boy", Ian McDonald (Fast Forward 2)
"The Dust Assassin", Ian McDonald (The Starry Rift)
"Special Economics", Maureen F. McHugh (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
"Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarsköe", Garth Nix (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
"Infestation", Garth Nix (The Starry Rift)
"Immortal Snake", Rachel Pollack (F&SF 5/08)
"The Hour of Babel", Tim Powers (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy)
"Five Thrillers", Robert Reed (F&SF 4/08)
"Fury", Alastair Reynolds (Eclipse Two)
"The Star Surgeon’s Apprentice", Alastair Reynolds (The Starry Rift) "
"The Egg Man", Mary Rosenblum (Asimov’s 2/08)
"Sacrifice", Mary Rosenblum (Sideways in Crime)
"Days of Wonder", Geoff Ryman (F&SF 10-11/08)
"Lester Young and the Jupiter’s Moons’ Blues", Gord Sellar (Asimov’s 7/08)
"Gift from a Spring", Delia Sherman (Realms of Fantasy 4/08)
"An Alien Heresy", S.P. Somtow (Asimov’s 4-5/08)
"Following the Pharmers", Brian Stableford (Asimov’s 3/08)
"The First Editions", James Stoddard (F&SF 4/08)

Short Stories

"Don’t Go Fishing on Witches Day", Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden)
"Goblin Music", Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden)
"The Occultation", Laird Barron (Clockwork Phoenix)
"King Pelles the Sure", Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads)
Boojum", Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
"Private Eye", Terry Bisson (F&SF 10-11/08)
"Offworld Friends Are Best", Neal Blaikie (Greatest Uncommon Denominator Spring ’08)
"The Man Who Built Heaven", Keith Brooke (Postscripts Summer ’08)
"Balancing Accounts", James L. Cambias (F&SF 2/08)
"Exhalation", Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
"The Fooly", Terry Dowling (Dreaming Again)
"Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose", Terry Dowling (Eclipse Two)
"Awskonomuk", Gregory Feeley (Otherworldly Maine)
"Daltharee", Jeffrey Ford (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
"The Dismantled Invention of Fate", Jeffrey Ford (The Starry Rift) "
"The Dream of Reason", Jeffrey Ford (Extraordinary Engines)
"The Seventh Expression of the Robot General", Jeffrey Ford (Eclipse Two)
"Reader’s Guide", Lisa Goldstein (F&SF 7/08)
“Glass”, Daryl Gregory (Technology Review 11-12/08)
"26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss", Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 7/08)
"The Voyage Out", Gwyneth Jones (Periphery)
"Evil Robot Monkey", Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"The Kindness of Strangers", Nancy Kress (Fast Forward 2)
"The Sky that Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue into the Black", Jay Lake (Clarkesworld 3/08)
"The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross", Margo Lanagan (Dreaming Again)
"The Goosle", Margo Lanagan (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
"The Thought War", Paul McAuley (Postscripts Summer ’08)
"[a ghost samba]", Ian McDonald (Postscripts Summer ’08)
"Midnight Blue", Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 9/08)
"Fallen Angel", Eugene Mirabelli (F&SF 12/08)
"Mars: A Traveler’s Guide", Ruth Nestvold (F&SF 1/08)
"The Blood of Peter Francisco", Paul Park (Sideways in Crime)
"The Small Door", Holly Phillips (Fantasy 5/08)
"His Master’s Voice", Hannu Rajaniemi (Interzone 10/08)
"The House Left Empty", Robert Reed (Asimov’s 4-5/08)
"Fifty Dinosaurs", Robert Reed (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"Traitor", M. Rickert (F&SF 5/08)
"Snatch Me Another", Mercurio D. Rivera (Abyss & Apex 1Q/08)
"The Film-makers of Mars", Geoff Ryman ( 12/08)
"Talk is Cheap", Geoff Ryman (Interzone 6/08)
"After the Coup", John Scalzi ( 7/08)
"Invisible Empire of Ascending Light", Ken Scholes (Eclipse Two)
"Ardent Clouds", Lucy Sussex (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
"From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled", Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s 2/08)
"The Scarecrow’s Boy", Michael Swanwick (F&SF 10-11/08)
"Marrying the Sun", Rachel Swirsky (Fantasy 6/08)
"A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica", Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 5/08)
"Fixing Hanover", Jeff VanderMeer (Extraordinary Engines)
"The Eyes of God", Peter Watts (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"Ass-Hat Magic Spider", Scott Westerfeld (The Starry Rift) "

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

At the tail end of last year I read one of the best books I’ve ever read, a novel that completely entranced me from the opening words down to the very last word. To be honest, I was a little daunted in writing my review because so many great things have been said about the book. I wasn’t sure what else I could add to the mix, but nonetheless, I posted my review of Shadow of the Wind yesterday. The version I read was an ARC of the Subterranean Press edition, which, as with the previous ARCs I read from them, is of amazing quality. Here’s a snippet of my review:

The first thing that struck me, on the whole, is just how elegantly the prose is written. I don’t know Spanish, so I can’t speak of how accurate the translation is. What I can say is how beautifully and magical the prose is in English. Each passage is naturalistic in its depiction of Daniel’s feelings / emotions and utterly engaging.

In many ways, this novel can be considered a love letter to passionate readers in all walks of life. As The Shadow of the Wind has touched Daniel and given form to his life, so have books given purpose and meaning to many a reader’s life. This novel is an absolute must read for any lover of books.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 01/31/2009)

After a couple of relatively big hauls the past two weeks, last week's haul consisted of only one book. Not that I’m complaining since I’ve got plenty of good books to keep me busy for a while and this one seems a must-read.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage Trilogy Book 1) by Robert V.S. Redick (Del Rey Hardcover 4/28/2009) – This book was generating quite a bit of buzz when Gollancz published it last year. Hobbit reviewed it at the time and liked it. Pirates, talking rats, and a strange artifact. What’s not to like?

Scant years after a terrible war that shook empires, a six-hundred-year-old ship sets sail for enemy lands in an attempt to forge an enduring peace between the world’s two greatest monarchies. A vast city afloat, the ancient vessel bears a royal bride-to-be; a stowaway tribe of foothigh warriors; an honest young tarboy with a heritage of treason; a rat with a magical secret; and a dark conspiracy centered around the Red Wolf, a legendary and dangerous artifact.

When the conspiracy is uncovered, the voyage takes a turn into perilous waters, and the sword-wielding young bride and her quick-witted tarboy companion must face deadly assassins, treacherous mermaids, and monstrous slavers to uncover secrets at the highest levels of power—secrets that will send heroes and traitors alike careening towards a mysterious destination that could destroy both empires at a stroke.

A publishing sensation in England, The Red Wolf Conspiracy marks the debut of a remarkably gifted young writer.