Sunday, December 18, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-12-17)

With the year drawing to a close, publishers are continuing to push their early releases for the next year. This week's arrivials were brought to me (and you, my faithful readers) from the fine folks at Tor and DAW.

Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell (Tor (Hardcover 02/28/2012) – I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve read by Tobias Buckell, his Xenowealth novels (Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose) and the handful of short stories I read by him. This is, seemingly, a bit of a departure from his linked Caribbean flavored Space-Opera/Voodo Punk novels, but I expect Arctic Rising (the first ARC I’ve received for my Kindle) to be good nonetheless.

Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it's about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.

Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. Thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air can create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth's surface. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.

Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.

Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped. But when Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop the floating sunshade after it falls into the wrong hands.

Immobility by Brian Evenson (Tor (Hardcover 04/12/2012) – This is Evenson’s first novel with a major publisher, he’s written some acclaimed horror in recent years both in short and novel form.

A far-future thriller that looks at a post human world struggling to stay human.

You open your eyes for what you know is not the first time and you remember nothing. You find out that a catastrophic event known as the Kollaps has destroyed life as we know it.

Suddenly someone claiming to be your friend tells you you're needed. Something crucial has been stolen — but under no circumstances can you know what or why. You've got to get it back or something bad is going to happen. And you've got to get it back fast, so they can freeze you again before your own time runs out.

Paralyzed from the waist down, you're being carried around on the backs of two men who don't seem anything like you at all. Who inject you regularly and tell you its for your own good... to stop the disease, or else they must cut directly into your spine.

Welcome to the life of Josef Horkai...
Critically-acclaimed and O. Henry prize-winning author Brian Evenson turns his literary eye to a post apocalyptic earth in this dazzling science fiction novel, his debut original work for a major publisher.

Sisterhod of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Tor (Hardcover 01/12/2012) – Another in the long line of Dune stories told by KJA and Frank Herbert’s son, Brian. I’ve only read the very first Dune by Frank Herbert, but since I haven’t read any of the books by KJA and Jr, I’ll not say anything.

It is eighty-three years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new Imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind.

The war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus. The descendants of Abulurd Harkonnen Griffen and Valya have sworn vengeance against Vor, blaming him for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built Venport Holdings, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly precursors of Heighliners. Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, is teaching humans to become Mentats…and hiding an unbelievable secret.

The Butlerian movement, rabidly opposed to all forms of “dangerous technology,” is led by Manford Torondo and his devoted Swordmaster, Anari Idaho. And it is this group, so many decades after the defeat of the thinking machines, which begins to sweep across the known universe in mobs, millions strong, destroying everything in its path.

Every one of these characters, and all of these groups, will become enmeshed in the contest between Reason and Faith. All of them will be forced to choose sides in the inevitable crusade that could destroy humankind forever….

Sins of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 4) by Diana Rowland (DAW Mass Market 1/03/2012)– Fourth in a series about vampire hunter on the police force and second after a publisher switch (rare in the middle of a series) from Bantam to DAW.

The homicide beat in Louisiana isn't just terrifying, it's demonic. Detective Kara Gilligan of the supernatural task force has the ability to summon demons to her aid, but she herself is pledged to serve a demonic lord. And now, people who've hurt Kara in the past are dropping dead for no apparent reason. To clear her name and save both the demon and human worlds, she's in a race against the clock and in a battle for her life that just may take her to hell and back.

Leaves of Flame by Benjamin Tate (DAW, Paperback 01/03/2011) –Sequel to Tate’s previous novel, which is still on the stack. These are flying under the radar (and in my terms, not discussed all that much at SFFWorld), and I plan to read at least the first book in this series sooner rather than later.

One hundred years have passed since Colin Harten--transformed to something more than human by the magic of the lifeblood contained in the Well of Sorrows--used his new powers to broker a peace agreement between the human, dwarren, and Alvritshai races of Wrath Suvane. Since then all three races have greatly expanded their empires. And Colin has continuously sought ways to defeat the dark spirits known as the sukrael--and the Wraiths they have created to act for them in the physical world. Yet Colin has not been able to prevent the dark spirits from reawakening more and more Wells, thus extending their power across the lands.

Having mastered three of the five magics of Wrath Suvane, Colin has gifted each race with a magical Tree to protect them from incursionso f the dark forces. He has also realized that unless a certain number of the Wells are left open, their magic can never be stabilized, and the land will be torn apart by this uncontrolled force.

But now the enemy has located the one Well that is key to controlling the entire network, and if Colin can't find a means to stop them from claiming and activating this Well, it could mean the end of all three races...

House Name (The House Wars Book 3) by Michelle West (DAW Hardcover 01/03/2011) – HOUSE NAME is the third novel in The House War, the series that began with The Hidden City and City of Night. Set in the same rich fantasy universe as Michelle West’s Sacred Hunt duology and her six-book Sun Sword series, the House War novels recount the events leading to the momentous battle between the demonic minions of the Lord of the Hells and defenders of the Essalieyan Empire–a realm with a long and bloody history. The empire is ruled by the Twin Kings, themselves the sons of gods. It is also controlled by The Ten, the heads of the most influential Houses in Averalaan, the capital of the Empire.

But The House War focuses no only on the larger war but also on the campaign to control the most powerful of the ruling Houses in the Essalieyan Empire–House Terafin.

As House Name opens, former street orphan Jewel and her den have been given shelter in House Terafin. The price for them to remain there is that Jewel must prove her value to the House. And saving The Terafin, the ruler of the House, from a demonic assassination attempt is certainly a good start.

Now Jewel has been assigned the task of finding the entryways to the ancient undercity that lies beneath the streets of the empire’s capital, Averalaan. But even with the aid of the most powerful First Circle Mage of the Order of Knowledge, Jewel’s search seems hopeless. All of the ways into the undercity seem to be magically disappearing before Jewel can lead the mage to them. And if they can’t find a means to reach the undercity, they will not be able to prevent the demon kin from whatever attack they are planning.

Not only does Jewel fear that failure on her part will see her den expelled from House Terafin, but she has been troubled by grim visions of the future–visions of the death and destruction of all she has come to hold dear.

Yet is is not until the unthinkable happens–a direct attack on House Terafin–that the stakes are raised to a whole new level. And both Jewel and the Terafin can only hope that it is not already too late to prevent the demon kin from reaching the goal they have worked centuries to achieve–the return of the Lord of the Hells to the mortal realm…..

Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright (Tor Hardcover 12/20/2011) – First in a quartet of Space Opera novels by the author of Fugitives of Chaos, which I reviewed a couple of years ago.

Hundreds of years in the future, after the collapse of the Western world, young Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was once Texas as a gunslinging duelist for hire. But Montrose is also a mathematical genius—and a romantic who dreams of a future in which humanity rises from the ashes to take its place among the stars.

The chance to help usher in that future comes when Montrose is recruited for a manned interstellar mission to investigate an artifact of alien origin. Known as the Monument, the artifact is inscribed with data so complex, only a posthuman mind can decipher it. So Montrose does the unthinkable: he injects himself with a dangerous biochemical drug designed to boost his already formidable intellect to superhuman intelligence. It drives him mad.

Nearly two centuries later, his sanity restored, Montrose is awakened from cryo-suspension with no memory of his posthuman actions, to find Earth transformed in strange and disturbing ways, and learns that the Monument still carries a secret he must decode—one that will define humanity’s true future in the universe.

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