Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Abercrombie, Cobley & Aaronovitch Reviewed at SFFWorld

Nila joins the crew (Mark and me) again this week for three reviews. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I’ve no power and had to wait until I was able to get somewhere with power to post these reviews. Mark looks at one of the top fantasy releases of the year, I review a solid, exactly-what-Space-Opera-should-be Space Opera and Nila continues her back-and-forth jaunt with Peter Grant. …

Members of the SFFWorld Forums (as well as readers of fantasy in general) tend to rate Joe Abercrombie very highly, with each new book being one of the most anticipated in the fantasy genre in the year of its initial publication. Mark was the first of us to review Red Country is a great success:

If you’ve read Joe before, there’s a lot here you’ll like. Red Country is as dark, as cynical, as violent and as grimly-humorous as we have come to expect. The characters are as un-stereotypical as ever. The ‘heroes’ are not your clean-cut type, your ‘villains’ are at times worthy of your sympathy, even when they are quite horrendous elsewhere. For example, Shy is that Abercrombean archetype of ‘feisty female’, a damaged person with a troubled past, a murderer and a thief, but perhaps younger and without the total cynicism of Monzcarro Murcatto (of Best Served Cold). If nothing else, Red Country is the tale of her rite of passage.

Interestingly, this is a shorter novel than most of the Abercrombie canon. (The Heroes is about 50 pages longer, at a quick glance.) This is to the book’s benefit. Red Country reads quickly and well, and, although it dips a little in the middle, is tighter and more focused than many of the previous novels. Here, rather like The Heroes, the events written are relatively small scale – important to those involved, but unlike The First Law books, not exactly world-changing. Which is perhaps Joe’s point, in the same way that The Heroes was one small battle in a bigger picture. Violence is violence, regardless of scale. Red Country should quell those complaints about ‘bloated fantasy novels’ often leveled at genre writers.

Sometimes you are hoping for a specific kind of story when you open a book, in this case, I was hoping for an exciting galaxy-spanning Space Opera. With Seeds of Earth the first installment of Michael Cobley’s Humanity’s Fire, I was very pleased:

What makes Seeds of Earth a novel full of that grand sense of wonder, in part, is the many non-human races who comprise the galaxy. Humans (and the Swarm) are far from the only sentient beings in the galaxy. On Darien, humanity has befriended the Uvovo, a race with mystical, symbiotic ties to their world. Our point characters with the Uvovo are Greg, the scientist who’s been studying the race and its history and Chel, his Uvovo Scholar friend and advisor. The two become friends and confidants before, during and after Chel undergoes a Uvovo ritualistic transformative ceremony called husking (which bears some similarities to the transformative race of the Piggies (aka Pequeninos) in Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead).

Seeds of the Earth is a vast-canvas galactic space opera that exemplifies the qualities readers so enjoy in this space opera renaissance – multi-planetary society, dependence on artificial intelligence, alien horde as the enemy, mystical/mysterious alien allies, colonization of humanity, and more importantly he uses these familiar ingredients in a way that is fresh. Cobley packs a lot of ideas and elements into the novel which flows fairly organically. For example, the artificial intelligence utilized by Earth humans is considered the Dreamless by he spirit of the planet Darien.

Working backwards through the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, Nila reviews Moon Over Soho:

Much like in Rivers of London, Peter Grant gets caught up in the magical underworld of London all over again in Moon Over Soho. We are introduced to a new nefarious wizard that I predict we’ll see more of in the third book, we encounter sexy (and almost sparkly) vampires, and the river gods make a token appearance, as does Peter’s old partner, Leslie – the one with a busted face. The fledgling wizard/constable also has to deal with chimera – the unholy mix of human and animals – sex slaves. Oh, yeah, and there’s something biting off men’s penises.

With that said, Moon Over Soho delivers in magical punch what it doesn’t in the series’ recurring characters. We get to meet shadowy figures in a sinister plot, and a new adversary that will keep Peter on his toes. The relationship between he and Leslie is evolving, and I’m anxious to see where Leslie does with her time off to heal. All in all, a lot of new story questions that will keep you coming back for more..

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable in the genre, I run this blog, do tons of stuff for SFFWorld, etc. Yet, some authors/books I’ve never heard of do arrive at the o’ Stuff fairly regularly, like about half of the books in this post…

Darkness Hunts (Dark Angels #4) by Keri Arthur (Signet Select Mass Market Paperback 11/04/2012) – Fourth installment and second since Arthur switched publishers. in a paranormal series featuring a werewolf/elf who can speak with the dead and walk in the world of the living and the dead. Talk about a lady with a lot going on in her life.

New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur returns to the enthralling Guardian World—and a twilight realm of danger and desire…

Risa Jones, half-Aedh/half-werewolf, can enter the realm between life and death. She can speak to the dying and the dead, and she can see the reapers, collectors of souls. What she can not yet see is the identity of a stranger murdering women and draining their blood. Now Risa must summon her gifts to find him, even if it means putting her own life in danger. But Risa needn’t look far. The killer knows who she is.

He tells her his victims are infected by darkness and he’s fated to destroy them. Fascinated by Risa, he engages her in a sinister game: the chance to save the life of his next victim by deciphering his series of clues. In a race against time, she enlists the help of the reaper Azriel.

But as an attraction between them grows, so does the fear that the stranger’s motives are only part of a larger, more dangerous stratagem—one that that has lured Risa and Azriel into the dark.

The Annotated Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Del Rey Hardcover 11/13/2012) – This is the one that started it all for both Brooks and Del Rey. Say what you will but the fantasy genre might look different without this book. I read this years ago and breezed through it though I enjoyed The Scions of Shannara a whole deal more.


Thirty-five years ago, Terry Brooks brought to life a dazzling world in The Sword of Shannara. Nineteen more Shannara volumes would follow, making the series one of the most popular fantasy epics of all time. Now comes a fully annotated collector’s edition of the novel that started it all—featuring never-before-shared insights into the classic tale, an all-new introduction by the New York Times bestselling author, and replicas of the original sketches for some of the long-lost, black-and-white paintings by the Brothers Hildebrandt that decorated the original edition.

Long ago, wars ravaged the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon reveals that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of a mighty evil, flies into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save his home, Shea must flee, drawing the Skull Bearer after him in menacing pursuit.

Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth.

Shadow OPS: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole (Ace, Mass Market Paperback 01/29/2013) – Easily one of my most anticipated 2013 titles since Myke’s debut Control Point is one of my top reads from 2012’s releases. I conducted an interview with Myke around the time of the release Control Point. After chatting with Myke on twitter and at a couple of geek gatherings, he’s just as cool a guy as he is a terrific writer.

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Black Lament (Black Wings #4) by Christina Henry (Ace Mass Market Paperback 11/04/2012) – This feisty femme is an Agent of death and the devil wants her baby. Fourth book in the series I didn’t even realize existed until receiving the book

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black deals with loss every day. But when tragedy touches her own life, Maddy will have to find the strength within to carry on…

Devastated and grieving, Maddy unexpectedly finds hope with the discovery that she is pregnant. But Maddy’s joy is short lived when Lucifer informs her that he wants the baby, hoping to draw on the combined power of two of his bloodlines. Maddy is determined that her grandfather will never have her child, but she’s not sure what she can do to stop him.

Being pregnant is stressful enough, but Maddy suddenly finds herself at odds with the Agency—forbidden from meddling in the affairs of the supernatural courts. When a few of her soul collections go awry, Maddy begins to suspect that the Agency wants to terminate her employment. They should know by now that she isn’t the sort to give up without a fight…

London Eye (Toxic City #1) by Tim Lebbon (Pyr Hardcover 11/04/2012) – Lebbon launches a post-apocalyptic young adult series with this novel. Lebbon’s no stranger to novels and stories set in dark worlds and/or dark futuristic worlds.

The Hunger Games meets the X-Men in an exciting post-apocalyptic debut

Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. The rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland.

But Jack and his friends—some of whom lost family on what has become known as Doomsday—know that the reality is very different. At great risk, they have been gathering evidence about what is really happening in London—and it is incredible.

Because the handful of London's survivors are changing. Developing strange, fantastic powers. Evolving. 

Upon discovering that his mother is still alive inside London, Jack, his sister, and their three friends sneak into a city in ruins.

Vast swathes have been bombed flat. Choppers cruise the streets, looking for survivors to experiment upon. The toxic city is filled with wonders and dangers that will challenge Jack and his friends . . . and perhaps kill them. But Jack knows that the truth must be revealed to the outside world or every survivor will die.

Magic For A Price (Allie Beckstrom #9) by Devon Monk (Roc Mass Market Paperback 11/04/2012) – I realize many of these Urban Fantasy authors are quick, but this is the ninth book in Monk’s series which started in 2008 with Magic to the Bone. So nine books in a series in four years, plus two books in another series? Impressive

Devon Monk is casting a spell on the fantasy world...

Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control....

Quantum Coin by E.C. Myers (Pyr Hardcover 10/10/2012) – Sequel to very well-received Myer’s debut novel.

Ephraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon—a boy who looks exactly like him.

While examining his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he’s wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he’s liked since second grade suddenly notices him.

But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences—several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways.

As Ephraim learns the coin’s secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers.

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Hardcover 11/06/2012) – After publishing a couple of novels about the Dreamdark fairies, Taylor’s next novel Daughter Of Smoke & Bone catapulted her in the YA fantasy world. This is the second book in the trilogy.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is--and what she is. But with this knowledge comes anoher truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope. But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a "must read" by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by, and The New York Times called it "a breath-catching romantic fantasy."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Newman & Kiernan Reviewed at SFFWorld

Vampires (Mark) and ghosts (me) are the theme of this week’s reviews, appropriate enough one week or so away from Hallowe’en.

Mark is a professed fan of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series and he checks in with the reissue of the third installment, Dracula Cha Cha Cha:

Old Vlad (Count Dracula) is still around and at the start of the book due to marry again – this time to Asa Vajda, Princess of Moldova. Kate Reed, vampyrric super-reporter and erstwhile secret-agent for the mysterious Diogenes Club, is in Rome to meet old friend Charles Beauregarde, now-dying ‘warm blood’ and his vampire lover Genevieve Dieudonne as well as cover this select event.

The writing is as lively as ever, the culture references throughout. You don’t have to have read the earlier books to get a gist of what’s going on but I found I did enjoy reading about characters met before and what happens to them here. It is a tale of three women and how events have led to this. It is also a book with a great deal of closure. Originally the last book in the series, there are major developments here, with the death of some key characters and the consequences of those deaths clearly impacting upon the others. This highlights the need to move on and to change, in a world that was rapidly changing anyway. The point is made that the elder vampires are finding this faster, brighter world with global media coverage difficult to live in.

Caitlín R. Kiernan is a writer admired greatly by many, including myself. She weaves stories that blend the dark fantastic and the real seamlessly. Her latest novel, The Drowning Girl, (March 2012) is a tale of haunted people:

To say that Imp is an unreliable narrator is an understatement and settling down into the novel is not an easy task. Imp writes her stories, tells them to us, but occasionally a person will argue with her about whether or not certain elements of what she wrote should have been included. It isn’t clear to the reader who this argumentative person is, initially, which further enhances the fractured sanity of Imp. The bulk of the story is told from Imp’s point of view; she relates her past, her family all the while moving through a period of her life where she takes in a woman thrown out by her roommate, meets a ghost/mermaid/wolf-girl, and continues to paint. Kiernan also intersperses stories written by Imp into the main narrative.

Kiernan explores many heady themes in this novel; perception of reality, gender identification, hereditary legacies, art & the creation of story, the nature of sanity, modes of narrative, and accepting one’s place in the world. The Drowning Girl is a multilayered novel that is by no means linear despite Imp’s attempts to convey her story as such. It isn’t a novel that can be or should be taken at face value.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-10-20)

Only a few books this week, but one most definitely stands high above the others and already has a very high spot on Mount ToBeread. In other words, I’ll be reading it VERY soon.

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit Hardcover 11/13/2012) –New Joe Abercrombie, what else needs to be said? Like all of his fiction, this takes place in the same world as the marvelous First Law trilogy and keen observers may note something about the hand on the cover.

They burned her home.
They stole her brother and sister.
But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust . .

Prodigy (Legend Series #2) by Marie Lu (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Trade Paperback 01/29/2013) – Second installment of Lu’s Legend Series. She seems to have a fair amount of buzz behind this Series

"Prodigy" is the long-awaited sequel to "Legend", the must-read dystopian novel for all YA fans of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins and "Divergent" by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of "Les Miserables", the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy. The "Twilight Saga" producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, will produce. Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games? Dystopian fiction at its very best in this thrilling instalment in the Legend trilogy. Praise for Legend: "If you liked "The Hunger Games", you'll love this". (Sarah Rees-Brennan, author of "The Demon's Lexicon"). "Legend is impossible to put down and even harder to forget". (Kami Garcia, author of "New York Times" bestselling author of "Beautiful Creatures"). "A fine example of commercial fiction with razor-sharp plotting, depth of character and emotional arc, 'Legend' doesn't merely survive the hype, it deserves it". ("New York Times"). "Marie Lu's dystopian novel is a 'Legend' in the making". ("USA Today"). Marie Lu works as an art director for a video game company. Legend and Prodigy were built round the world that Marie Lu created for a popular Facebook game also called Legend. She was born near Shanghai but currently lives in California.

The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Spectra, Trade Paperback Reissue 10/16/2012) – With the MASSIVE popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones Bantam is re-releasing GRRM’s backlist in trade paperback market. This is his take on the Rock and Roll subculture of the 1960s, which Mark enjoyed a few months back.

“The best novel concerning the American pop music culture of the sixties I’ve ever read.”—Stephen King

From #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin comes the ultimate novel of revolution, rock ’n’ roll, and apocalyptic murder—a stunning work of fiction that portrays not just the end of an era, but the end of the world as we know it.

Onetime underground journalist Sandy Blair has come a long way from his radical roots in the ’60s—until something unexpectedly draws him back: the bizarre and brutal murder of a rock promoter who made millions with a band called the Nazgûl. Now, as Sandy sets out to investigate the crime, he finds himself drawn back into his own past—a magical mystery tour of the pent-up passions of his generation. For a new messiah has resurrected the Nazgûl and the mad new rhythm may be more than anyone bargained for—a requiem of demonism, mind control, and death, whose apocalyptic tune only Sandy may be able to change in time . . . before everyone follows the beat.

“The wilder aspects of the ’60s . . . roar back to life in this hallucinatory story by a master of chilling suspense.”—Publishers Weekly

“What a story, full of nostalgia and endless excitement. . . . It’s taut, tense, and moves like lightning.”—Tony Hillerman

“Daring . . . a knowing, wistful appraisal of . . . a crucial American generation.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Moving . . . comic . . . eerie . . . really and truly a walk down memory lane.”—The Washington Post

Dreamsongs Volume I> by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Spectra, Trade Paperback Reissue 10/16/2012) – With the MASSIVE popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones Bantam is re-releasing GRRM’s backlist in trade paperback. This is the first of two volumes collecting just about all of his short fiction.

Even before A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin had already established himself as a giant in the field of fantasy literature. The first of two stunning collections, Dreamsongs: Volume I is a rare treat for readers, offering fascinating insight into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.

Gathered here in Dreamsongs: Volume I are the very best of George R. R. Martin’s early works, including his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award–winning stories, cool fan pieces, and the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin’s New York Times bestselling children’s book of the same title originated. A dazzling array of subjects and styles that features extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs, Volume I is the perfect collection for both Martin devotees and a new generation of fans.

“Fans, genre historians and aspiring writers alike will find this shelf-bending retrospective as impressive as it is intriguing.”—Publishers Weekly

“Dreamsongs is the ideal way to discover . . . a master of science fiction, fantasy and horror. . . . Martin is a writer like no other.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

Dreamsongs Volume II by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Spectra, Trade Paperback Reissue 10/16/2012) – With the MASSIVE popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones Bantam is re-releasing GRRM’s backlist in trade paperback. Some consider this book to be his best. This is the second of two volumes collecting just about all of his short fiction.

Whether writing about werewolves, wizards, or outer space, George R. R. Martin is renowned for his versatility and expansive talent, as demonstrated in this dazzling collection. Dreamsongs: Volume II contains acclaimed stories such as the World Fantasy Award winner “The Skin Trade,” as well as the first novella in the Ice and Fire universe, The Hedge Knight—plus two early screenplays. Featuring extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs: Volume II is an invaluable chronicle of a writer at the height of his creativity—and an unforgettable reading experience for fans old and new.

“Science fiction, fantasy and horror fans alike will be blown away by the diversity and quality of stories. . . . This extraordinary collection is one to cherish.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Dreamsongs is the ideal way to discover . . . a master of science fiction, fantasy and horror. . . . Martin is a writer like no other.”—The Guardian (U.K.)


“Of those who work in the grand epic-fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best. In fact . . . this is as good a time as any to proclaim him the American Tolkien.”—Time

“Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times

“I always expect the best from George R. R. Martin, and he always delivers.”—Robert Jordan

Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Spectra, Trade Paperback Reissue 10/16/2012) – With the MASSIVE popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones Bantam is re-releasing GRRM’s backlist in trade paperback. I read this one years ago, I found the old Pocket mass market paperback in a used book shop. I remember it being very dark and moody.

"A whisperjewel summoned him to Worlorn, and a love he thought he'd lost. But Worlorn isn't the world Dirk t'Larien imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew. She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight, forever falling toward night. Amid this bleak landscape is a violent clash of cultures in which there is no code of honor - and the hunter and the hunted are often interchangeable." Caught up in a dangerous triangle, Gwen is in need of Dirk's protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her - and his cunning cohort. But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it's becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies. While each will fight to stay alive, one is waiting for escape, one for revenge, and another for a brutal, untimely demise.

Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Spectra, Trade Paperback Reissue 10/16/2012) – With the MASSIVE popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones Bantam is re-releasing GRRM’s backlist in trade paperback. I read this one years ago, I found the old Pocket mass market paperback in a used book shop. I remember it being very dark and moody.

“Told with a true storyteller’s voice: clear, singing, persuasive, and wonderfully moving . . . a truly wonderful book.”—Jane Yolen

From #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and acclaimed author Lisa Tuttle comes a timeless tale that brilliantly renders the struggle between the ironbound world of tradition and a rebellious soul seeking to prove the power of a dream.

Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms, to bring news, gossip, songs, and stories to a waiting populace. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So she challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance. But even after winning that bitter battle, Maris finds that her troubles are only beginning. Now a revolution threatens to destroy the world she fought so hard to join—and force her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“Martin and Tuttle make wonderful professional music together . . . shifting easily from moments of almost unbearable tension to others of sheer poetry and exhilaration.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A powerful flight of the imagination . . . an entirely enjoyable reading experience, wrought by a pair of writers noted for excellence.”—Roger Zelazny

“It’s romance. It’s science fiction. It’s beautiful.”—A. E. van Vogt

“I didn’t mean to stay up all night to finish Windhaven, but I had to!”—Anne McCaffrey

Slated by Teri Terry (Trade Paperback 01/29/2013 Nancy Paulsen Books) – Debut novel from Terry under one of the newer (2011) imprints at Penguin.

Kyla has been Slated—her memory and personality erased as punishment for committing a crime she can’t remember. The government has taught her how to walk and talk again, given her a new identity and a new family, and told her to be grateful for this second chance that she doesn’t deserve. It’s also her last chance—because they’ll be watching to make sure she plays by their rules.

As Kyla adjusts to her new life, she’s plagued by fear. Who is she, really? And if only criminals are slated, why are so many innocent people disappearing? Kyla is torn between the need to know more and her instinct for self-preservation. She knows a dangerous game is being played with her life, and she can’t let anyone see her make the wrong move . . . but who can she trust when everyone is a stranger?

Debut author Teri Terry has written a brilliantly compelling, original and thought-provoking novel about an uncomfortably plausible future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Katya's World, Martian War & The Dead of Winter at SFFWorld

Going on two weeks in a row, here are three reviews from the same gang as last week …

Jonathan L. Howard has published a few adult fantasy novels and now with Katya’s World
he launches a new young adult series for the fine folks at Strange Chemistry:

Jonathan L. Howard’s Katya’s World tells the story of the human colony world Russalka; a world whose surface is primarily water. As such, much of the action takes place on a submarine and focuses on Katya Kuriakova, a young cadet in the navy. Evoking the juvenile novels of Robert A. Heinlein and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, it has been suggested that Howard is starting a submarine-punk trend with Katya’s World. Be that as it may, and whatever one wishes to label the novel, Howard has given readers a fun, engaging novel that is the tip of an iceberg of a series.

Katya is a smart young girl whose sense of loss and detachment is cloud that covers her character, but pleasingly, this element of her character is just one fraction. From her interactions with her uncle to the even more engaging discussions she has with Kane, Katya is bright young girl. She’s headstrong but Howard smartly keeps her on the positive side of too plucky. Her smarts are evident in her actions and it becomes clear her promotion at the beginning of the novel is justified.

Mark takes a look at another mash-up from sorts from Kevin J. Anderson. This time, Anderson’s The Martian War recasts H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds:

Kevin’s version combines fiction with ‘real’ people. Not only is the author HG Wells a key character, but the evolutionist and scientist Professor TH Huxley, who, as a mentor of Wells, introduces HG to a covert symposium of like-minded scientists, working for the British government against an impending war versus Germany. The sudden arrival of Doctor Moreau (see Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau) raises their awareness to a possible invasion from Mars. Moreau has been working for astronomer Percival Lowell in the Sahara Desert recreating the Martian canals to let the Martians know of intelligent life on Earth. Lowell doesn’t realise that letting others know of human intelligence can make the humans a threat rather than an ally, something Lowell comes to regret...

As before, with Nemo, one of the great fun things about such a novel is the way it combines real people with fictional characters. Here, as well as TH Huxley, astronomer Percival Lowell, and Giovanni Schiaparelli, (the original cartographer of the ‘canals’ on Mars), we have the fictional Dr. Moreau, Hawley Griffin (from The Invisible Man) and Selwyn Cavor (from The First Men in the Moon) amongst others. It is great fun spotting the references, some subtle, others less so. Even ol’ Jules Verne gets a mention.

Nila reviews The Dead of Winter, the first in a vampire/western hybrid from Lee Collins

The Dead of Winter is about Cora Oglesby; spook hunter, devoted wife, drunk, and faithful minion of a Christian God. She’s also a damn good shot. She and her husband, Ben Oglesby, arrive in Leadville, Colorado in the dead of winter (imagine that) after the local sheriff and his deputy run across something that just don’t sit right in their minds.

In the forest around town, something took down two wolf hunters, making a bloody mess without leaving a trace of the bodies. After negotiating terms with Cora and Ben, the sheriff hands over responsibility to the spook hunters and off they go into the woods to catch their monster..

The Dead of Winter is an interesting and entertaining story about a hard and flawed woman who must face her own sins to beat her arch-enemy. A well written story, with good pacing, the story is told in the third person. The novel is written primarily from Cora’s point of view, but the author takes occasional forays into other characters’ heads in a fashion that can be a bit disconcerting. Though Mr. Collins maintains the point of view shifts more steadily in the second half of the book, he does a bit of jumping during the first part. Just bear with it, Mr. Collins eventually settles the ride for you (sorry, it’s a western, I can’t seem to shake the vernacular).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-10-13)

An enormous haul this week which balances out the very small hauls the past couple of weeks. The November releases from Ace/Roc and DAW comprise the bulk of what arrived.

Bronze Summer (Book Two of The Northland Trilogy) by Stephen Baxter (Roc Hardcover 11/06/2012) – Second installment in Baxter’s distant past alternate history saga.

Stephen Baxter’s “imaginative [and] bold”* novel Stone Spring drew readers into an alternate prehistoric scenario that now continues with Bronze Summer. Thousands of years have passed. And a wall that was built to hold back the sea, must now hold back the advancing armies of a reviving Troy…

What would have been the bed of the North Sea is now Northland, a society of prosperous, literate and self-sufficient people. They live off the bounty of the land, an area created by the building of the Wall. It began as a simple dam, thousands of years ago. Now, inhabited from end to end, the Wall is a linear city stretching for hundreds of miles, and a wonder of the world.

For millennia, the Wall has also kept the growing empires of the Bronze Age at bay. But decades of drought have destabilized those eastern civilizations. Men—and women—filled with greed and ambition have now turned their eyes toward the fertile West. A new and turbulent age is dawning. For any wall, no matter how strong, can be breached—particularly from within…

*Daily Mail (UK)

Bowl of Heaven by Larry Niven (Tor Hardcover 10/16/20129) – Two of the major Hard SF writers of the past couple of decades come together for the first time in a good old first contact novel. .

In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.

A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Hitman:Damnation by Raymond Benson (Del Rey, Paperback 10/30/2012) – The popular video game series gets a prequel novelization/video game tie-in by a writer familiar with penning such adaptations/novelizations/tie-ins. .


Since the devastating conclusion of Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 has been MIA. Now fans awaiting the return of the blockbuster videogame and film phenomenon can pinpoint the location of the world’s most brutal and effective killer-for-hire before he reemerges in Hitman: Absolution. When the Agency lures him back with a mission that will require every last ounce of his stealth, strength, and undercover tactics, they grossly underestimate the silent assassin’s own agenda. Because this time, Agent 47 isn’t just going to bite the hand that feeds him. He’s going tear it off and annihilate anyone who stands in his way.

Collision Course by David Crawford (New American Library, Trade Paperback 11/06/2012) – Sequel to Lights Out

Only the strong will survive. But what does it mean to be strong?

The “Smash” has been building for years—runaway national debt, escalating oil prices—but when order finally breaks down, it happens astonishingly fast. Economic collapse. Government in chaos. Gas shortages. Loss of power. No running water. Martial law. Rioting, looting, and lawlessness…

Security specialist DJ Frost saw the writing on the wall, and he has prepared. He’s planned his bug-out route to escape a city many are now trapped in. With his ATV, night-vision goggles, gear, guns, and enough gas to get him to his retreat home in the country, he ventures out alone under cover of darkness.

For Gabe Horne, the “Smash” is nothing compared to his own moral and spiritual collapse after losing his wife and son. But in this time of crisis, he may not have the luxury of drinking himself to death. There are others at his door, and they will need to help one another to survive.

Each man, in his own way, will face the ultimate challenge of preparedness in this new world order—as both hurtle toward a devastating showdown.…

The Dragon Men (A Novel of The Clockwork Empire #3) by Steven Harper (Roc Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012)– Harper is a fairly prolific novelist, this is the third in his steampunk (or rather clockwork) series, which looks interesting. I hadn’t even realized a second book was published nor have I seen the first.

As China prepares to become the ultimate power in an era of extraordinary invention and horror, Alice Michaels’ fate lies inside the walls of the forbidden kingdom….

Gavin Ennock has everything a man could desire—except time. As the clockwork plague consumes his body and mind, it drives him increasingly mad and fractures his relationship with his fiancée, Alice, Lady Michaels. Their only hope is that the Dragon Men of China can cure him.

But a power-mad general has seized the Chinese throne in a determined offensive to conquer Asia, Britain—indeed, the entire world. He has closed the country’s borders to all foreigners. The former ruling dynasty, however, is scheming to return the rightful heir to power. Their designs will draw Gavin and Alice down a treacherous path strewn with intrigue and power struggles. One wrong step will seal Gavin’s fate…and determine the future of the world.

Blood Crime (A Hollows original graphic novel) by Kim Harrison, illustrated by Gemma Magno (Del Rey Trade Paperback 09/26/2012) – Harrison is one of the most popular authors of Urban Fantasy and this is an original story set in the milieu she’s made popular.

You can’t tell the story of how it all began for supernatural cops Ivy Tamwood and Rachel Morgan without telling how it all nearly ended. The fiery living vampire and erstwhile earth witch never asked to be paired up in the first place. And having to work Inderland Security’s crummiest beat—busting two-bit paranormal street punks—sure didn’t sweeten the deal. But when it counts, Ivy and Rachel always have each other’s backs. They’d better—because someone just hung targets on both of them.

It doesn’t take a hotshot homicide detective to know that nearly getting flattened by a falling gargoyle or impaled by a lead pipe aren’t on-the-job accidents. But it doesn’t seem possible that the class of crooks Ivy and Rachel routinely collar could kill anything but brain cells. So who put Cincinnati’s tough and tender twosome on their “to do in” list? Is Ivy’s vampire master, the powerful and seductive Piscary, jealous of her growing bloodlust (and just plain lust) for Rachel? Or have forces unknown—living or undead—made the partners prey in a deadly witch (and vampire) hunt?

Before this case is cracked, Ivy and Rachel will face down vicious dogs, speeding locomotives, rogue bloodsuckers, and their own dark desires; spells will be cast and blood will be spilled; and Kim Harrison’s hair-raising, heart-racing, dark urban world of magic and monsters will leap howling from the pages of her second electrifying, full-color graphic novel..

The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff (DAW Mass Market Paperback 11/06/2013) – Huff is incredibly prolific, bouncing between fantasy, urban fantasy and military science fiction: This book (the mass market paperback version of the book I received last year) is the sequel to The Enchantment Emporium.

"The Gales are an amazing family, the aunts will strike fear into your heart, and the characters Allie meets are both charming and terrifying." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris

Alysha Gale's cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family's Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies' sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family...

The Clone Redemption (Clone Army #8) novel by Stephen L. Kent (Ace Paperback 10/30/2012) – Kent keeps churning out this series, publishing at least one per year. I only read one installment, the fifth (The Clone Elite, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. If Ace were to reissue a couple of omnibus volumes of three novels each, I’d buy the first two omnibus volumes right now. Hear that ACE? Omnibus editions!

Earth, A.D. 2519. Less than a year has passed since the clone military of the Enlisted Man’s Empire toppled the government of the Unified Authority. Now the clones rule Earth, but a new enemy has emerged—and set off civil war…

Formerly trained to fight for the U.A., clone Marine Wayson Harris had led the Enlisted Man’s Empire invasion of Earth and wrested control away from the old regime. He’s now ready to do what it takes to ensure the new balance of power isn’t jeopardized.

When a trio of religious fanatics from Mars attempts to attack Harris, he fears there is more unrest among the colony’s residents. Hoping to stave off an uprising, he leads a troop of Marines to Mars. But once there, they learn the situation is much graver than they first feared.

The red planet’s refugees have decided the clones are their number one enemy, and measures to eradicate them are underway. And when Harris is kidnapped and drugged, he discovers something disturbing about himself.

He can be reprogrammed…

Flame of Sevenwaters (A Sevenwaters novel) by Juliet Marilier (Roc Hardcover 11/06/2012)– I read her debut novel, and the first of the Sevenwaters saga waaaay back in October 2004 when it was the SFFWorld Fantasy Book Club of the Month and liked it very much. Unfortunately, this series was one of quite a few I really liked at the start, but never finished out.

that is a “gripping tale of enduring love” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Marillier returns to Sevenwaters with the story of a young woman destined to unlock the secrets of the Otherworld…

Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years, she’s returning home, having grown into a courageous, forthright woman with a special gift for gentling difficult animals. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.

Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara has become desperate to see his only son, married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish—only to allow their murdered bodies to be found, one by one.

When Maeve finds the body of one of the missing men in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother Finbar embark on a journey that may bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign, or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible…

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick (Ace, Hardcover 12/06/2012) – Secret history near future SF by two of the most awarded SF writers

Two science fiction masters—Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick—team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the secret history of the US space program…

Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

But public disinterest and budget cuts changed that future. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars—and unexplored planets and solar systems—in his eyes.

Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability—and his willingness—to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions...

Polterheist (Esther Diamond #5) by Laura Resnick (DAW, Mass Market Paperback 11/06/2012) –This series seems to have gained some solid momentum for Resnick, this being the fifth volume.


In the fifth novel of this witty fantasy series, Esther Diamond returns, working as an elf in Fenster & Co., a Manhattan department store during the Christmas season. Meanwhile, the store’s trucks are getting hijacked. The cops suspect the Gambello crime family, but Esther’s friend Dr. Z adok believes there’s more going on at Fenster’s than frustrated shoppers — like someone trying to stage the rebirth of an ancient demon.

Kris Longknife: Furious (Kris Longknife #9) by Mike Shepherd (Ace Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012) – Shepherd churns these books out on a very regular, annual schedule. In addition, he’s also released a couple of e-only novellas in the universe. :

Having used unorthodox methods to save a world—and every sentient being on it—Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted across the galaxy for crimes against humanity. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.

But Kris is a Longknife, and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things—not when all hell is breaking loose. Now she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities—and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…

Halo: The Thursday Warby Karen Traviss (Tor, Hardcover 10/02/2012) – Second installment in the trilogy Traviss is penning in the Halo universe has been focusing her writing on some of the most popular genre franchises over the past handful of years - Star Wars, Gears of War and now Halo. I’ve only read, but greatly enjoyed, her first three Wess’Har novels, but I think this could be an interesting book.

Welcome to humanity’s new war: silent, high stakes, and unseen. This is a life-or-death mission for ONI’s black-ops team, Kilo-Five, which is tasked with preventing the ruthless Elites, once the military leaders of the Covenant, from regrouping and threatening humankind again. What began as a routine dirty-tricks operation―keeping the Elites busy with their own insurrection―turns into a desperate bid to extract one member of Kilo-Five from the seething heart of an alien civil war. But troubles never come singly for Kilo-Five. Colonial terrorism is once again surfacing on one of the worlds that survived the war against the Covenant, and the man behind it is much more than just a name to Spartan-010. Meanwhile, the treasure trove of Forerunner technology recovered from the shield world of Onyx is being put to work while a kidnapped Elite plots vengeance on the humans he fears will bring his people to the brink of destruction.

Shadowheart (Volume Four of Shadowmarch) by Tad Williams (DAW Trade Paperback 11/06/2012) – This was as very good conclusion to the four book trilogy, as I said in my review: This entire saga started out with great promise, albeit a bit slowly as is often the case with Tad Williams’s epics. What that does is provide for a solid foundation for which Tad can throw his story and play with the gods he creates, give the true Epic sense to his character’s journeys they richly deserve, and allow a true sense of world changing events to be felt within his narrative. Each character gets an emotional spotlight, through either the scenes in which they appear, or through the reflections of other characters.

The long-awaited concluding novel in Tad Williams's thrilling epic Shadowmarch series.

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

And now, something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age-an age of unending darkness?

The Shattered Dark (A Shadow Reader novel Book 2) by Sandy Williams (Ace Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012)– Second in Williams’s Urban Fantasy series, I don’t recall seeing the first

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…

McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae.

With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dirty Streets in the Future Underground - 3 New SFFWorld Reviews

Three, count ‘em three reviews to mention this week! Joining Mark and I once again is the great N.E. White (aka tmso in the SFFWorld Forums. We’ve got two urban fantasies and one alternate future history…

People who have been reading my blog for a while or have come to know me through the SFFWorld Forums are likely aware that Tad Williams is one of my favorite writers of the fantastic. So it was cautious optimism that tempered my initial reaction to the news Mr. Williams was trying something new, paring down from large-scale epic to the more slim Urban Fantasy of The Bobby Dollar Novels. The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a great success:

Dolorious, a.k.a. Bobby Dollar, is our first person narrator and one of many ‘Advocate’ angels who argue against the denizens of Hell for recently deceased souls. As an advocate, Bobby often appears just as people die and similar to the role a lawyer plays, he must argue for the soul’s place in Heaven. What becomes evident is how not all souls who may have seemed virtuous get immediate entrance to the pearly gates. Hell’s advocates are vicious and much like prosecutors whereas the angelic Advocates seem to be more of the defense. Shortly into the meat of the novel, a soul whose owner committed suicide vanishes as Bobby and his antagonists from Hell arrive to argue for the man’s soul. This has never happened before and sets in motion what becomes a layered and entertaining plot.

I’ve long been a fan of the of biblical themes receiving the “gritty” treatment, making Heaven and Hell much deeper than their biblical indications would lead one to believe. After all, my senior thesis in college was on such a topic. In that essay, I recall mentioning the comic book Spawn which depicted the conflict between heaven and hell in a similar light as does Tad Williams with an emerging third faction. In The Dirty Streets of Heaven, this conflict between Heaven and Hell is more of an underneath the surface thing and informs the characters and setting more so than actually being a primary plot point. In one interview with Tad Williams, the great writer Michael Moorcock came up as an influence, specifically the similarities between Moorcock’s depiction of the eternal conflict between Chaos and Order. I’d also point to Steven Brust’s To Reign in Hell which also grittifies the conflict between Heaven and Hell and even the great Tim Burton film Beetlejuice in how the afterlife is a bureaucratic extension of the real world dictated by unseen higher ups down to street walking ‘grunts’ and pencil-pushing desk jockeys.

Mark has long been a fan of David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series and is following along with the major re-release of the series. The latest installment is The Middle Kingdom which is now book three but was originally book one:

After the setting of the scene in Son of Heaven, and the seriously violent events at the conclusion of Daylight on Iron Mountain, here’s where the story begins to move up a gear and many of the epic story’s main characters are introduced.

Beginning in 2190, the book briefly recaps on the events outlined in Daylight on Iron Mountain: the fall of the US, the nuking of Japan and the subjugation and ethnic cleansing of Africa. These events alone would make an epic story, though they are dealt with here in the matter of a few pages.

With such a list of characters it should be obvious that this is a complex and lengthy scenario where the reader is expected to be in for the long game and therefore and not everything is resolved here in The Middle Kingdom. What keeps the reader’s interest is the juxtaposition between all these disparate and often conflicting elements. The cultural values of the Han are very different to what we see in our Westernised society today, and the way that the old traditional values are combined with the new way of progress is jaw-dropping in their implementation. (Think of the film Blade Runner for such a similarly intriguing mix of Western and Eastern values.) The Han regime is harsh, from their point of view necessarily so, but the promise for the bright and glorious future makes it potentially worthwhile. Not all in positions of power see it this way, of course, and there are secret plans and counterplots a-plenty in order to both overthrow and maintain the current positions of power.

Nila reviews Whispers Underground, the third Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, an urban fantasy series that has been gaining some good buzz over the past couple of years.

The story begins with a ghost, of course. An offbeat, neighborhood kid named Abigail has found a ghost living in an old tunnel beneath her school. She decides to tell Peter, whom she knows deals with “weird magic stuff”. Together with his partner, Leslie May, whose face fell off in the first book, the three head on down to investigate. Mr. Aaronovitch sets the book’s mood with this opening scene, and while not the focus of the book, we learn a bit about the magic Peter can wield and the new, tenuous relationship he has forged with his new magic-constable partner, Leslie.

As is customary of this series, the reader is in for an educational treat on the history of one of London’s neighborhoods, and police procedurals. In this case, we get a peek into the BTP (British Transport Police) and the underground system that is vast and just might include secret tunnels and a race we’ve never seen before. Maybe.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Orbit! Celebrate with $1.99 eBooks

Orbit Books, the US Imprint, is celebrating 5 years of publishing not just good, but Great Science Fiction and Fantasy in the United States. From content, to cover design/packaging, Orbit has done a fantastic job of branding themselves with titles of very high quality. 

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin I read Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms a couple of years ago and was very impressed.  For $1.99, I'll be downloading this one for the kindle.

Feed by Mira Grant (My review, of the books I read last year, one of my favorites and trilogy which is on the whole, excellent)

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (My review, one of the top 2 SF novels I read which was published 2011)

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks I loved Weeks's Night Angel Trilogy, gave this one a shot when it first published and it didn't work for me.  I'm chalking that up to bad timing so I'll be getting this one for my kindle.

Soulless by Gail Carriger (My review, ultimately a novel that didn't work for me but one that I'm not surprised to have found a very receptive audience.)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-10-06)

Only a few books this week here at the o' Stuff, so let's take a look...

The Hydrogen Sonata (A novel of The Culture) by Iain M. Banks (Orbit Hardcover 10/09/20129) – Of the four Culture novels I read, two worked for me, two didn’t. I’m seeing lots of good things about this one and it is poised as a Major SF release for 2012..

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.

It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (Razorbill , Hardcover 01/15/2013) – Concluding volume of the trilogy which began with Across the Universe and continued with A Million Suns. Also the first review copy I’ve received for a book publishing in 2013

The final book in the trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh—to build a home—on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who—or what—else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But as each new discovery brings more danger, Amy and Elder will have to look inward to the very fabric of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed—friends, family, life on Earth—will have been meaningless.

The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by David T. Wenzel and adapted byChuck Dixon (Del Rey Trade Paperback 09/26/2012) – The acclaimed adaptation gets a re-release with new art just in time for the film adaptation.


First published in the United States more than seventy-five years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is one of the best-loved books of all time. Now a blockbuster film by Peter Jackson, Academy Award–winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit was also adapted into a fully painted graphic novel, a classic in its own right, presented here in a new expanded edition.

When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark upon a dangerous quest to reclaim stolen treasure from the evil dragon Smaug, Gandalf the wizard suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, a quiet and contented hobbit. Along the way, the company faces trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and worse. But in the end it is Bilbo alone who must face the most dreaded dragon in all Middle-earth—and a destiny that waits in the dark caverns beneath the Misty Mountains, where a twisted creature known as Gollum jealously guards a precious magic ring.

Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.