Just Arrived, 4/19/10

Because books arrive even when I’m away from Teh Intarweebs!

* Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, adapted by Tony Lee, Illustrated by Cliff Richards (Del Rey): Really? I mean, come on, now, guys. Really? Also: Really? Out May 4.

* Insatiable, by Meg Cabot (Willam Morrow): Meena Harper doesn’t believe in vampires, but do vampires believe in her? Inasmuch as this is touted to be a modern-day sequel to Dracula, I think you can guess what the answer to this might be. Out in June.

* Labyrinth, by Kat Richardson (Roc): The latest Greywalker novel, featuring the back-from-the-dead-but-not-undead heroine Harper Blaine, tracking down the guy who killed her, even if the death didn’t take. The catch: he’s dead, and it did take. Never a dull moment, man. Scheduled for August 3.

* The Fuller Memorandum, by Charles Stross (Ace): Charlie’s back with another Laundry Files novel, which means more chthonic bad guys vs. English bureaucracy, featuring computation demonologist Bob Howard. Honestly, why The Laundry Files isn’t its own BBC series by this point is completely beyond me. This one is out July 6.

* Robert Heinlein, Volume 1: Learning Curve (1907 – 1948), by William H. Patterson, Jr. (Tor): This first installment of a two-book authorized biography takes Robert Heinlein from birth to his marriage to Virginia Gerstenfeld (i.e., Ginny Heinlein). Lots happens in between. Expect this first volume in August.

* The Return of the Great Depression, by Vox Day (WND Books): Conservative commenter and occasional Whatever visitor Vox Day argues that the recession is far from over, and indeed the worst may be yet to come. Wheee! Out now.

* Genesis, by Bernard Beckett (Mariner): In a post-apocalyptic future, a precocious student prepares for a final examination that will decide her future in ways she can’t even imagine. Out May 11.

* The Last Page, by Anthony Huso (Tor): A newly coronated young king and his mysterious former lover face a nation on the brink of a bloody civil war. Can magic avert the crisis — or will it bring it on? Debut novel for Huso, this one’s coming in August.

83 thoughts on “Just Arrived, 4/19/10

  1. “Really? I mean, come on, now, guys. Really?”

    Here’s a thought. How about you read it first, John, before starting the negative vibes? :-)

    You might actually like it?

  2. Tony Lee:

    I did read it or at the very least flipped through it (it doesn’t take particularly long). It’s a perfectly fine adaptation into graphic novel form, and people who liked that will like this. But I wasn’t hugely in love with the original (or, for that matter, the original of the original — I prefer Sense and Sensibility) and I’m ready for the culture to move on from this particular undead way station. So I stand by my “Really?” comments.

  3. I saw a movie called Insatiable, but I don’t think it’s based on the book. It contains some amazing physical feats though.

  4. What does “authorized biography” mean, given that Heinlein and his wife are both dead, and have no immediate family?

    (Don’t get me wrong…I will almost assuredly pick this up.)

    As far as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” goes: I pre-ordered the novel and started it almost immediately. But after 40 pages, it just seemed like the joke had already been told and there wasn’t much further point.

  5. Someone less lazy than I am might find it amusing to track back through the Just Arrived posts and see how long it’s been since the last time without either at least one zombie book or vampire book.

    I know, I know — tastes vary, market pressure, lots of worthy variations on a theme, etc, etc. But … damn.

  6. Maybe if they had gone with P&P&Z: The Graphic Novel the first time out…? I haven’t actually read any of them. I have chuckled at the concept, but really, a couple of paragraphs will do me.

  7. Heinlein bio ? Cool (breaks into girlish laughter interupted by giggling fits and shouts of joy) I mean, thanks John, you made my day !

  8. Genesis, by Bernard Beckett … Out May 11.

    By “out,” I assume you mean out in paperback or reissued, as this one’s been out for a while.

  9. I’m about a dozen chapters short of finishing P&P&Z and it’s been amusing, but I don’t understand how it made the NYT Best Seller list…

  10. As long as we’re handing out “Realies”:

    Meena Harper? Really?

    I bet she looks just like Count Drapula’s long-dead wife. Maybe his dark servant Renfeeld will capture her for him.

  11. Okay, I was waiting for a query to run so I checked for myself to see how long it’s been since the last Just Arrived without either at least one zombie book or vampire book. I had to go all the bloody way back to … uh … last Wednesday.

    I withdraw my objection, Your Honor.

    ([grumble] But there were “were-beasties” … [grumble] … and “someone who crawls back out of Hell” … [grumble]. Frazernabbin’ technicality.)

  12. The new Laundry Files books sounds like Stross is channeling “Adam Hall” and The Quiller Memorandum series. That would be too awesome.

  13. I’m with Scalzi on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It took me forever to finish because the conceit got tired very quickly. Very few scenes were new, it wasn’t as action-packed as promised, and really… it was just Pride and Prejudice with the occasional zombie. Not worth a read. Hopefully the graphic novel is more interesting. Or maybe even the forthcoming video game.

  14. You know, if there is one trend I would like to see go away it’s this concept of sticking zombies and sea monster into classic novels. What’s next, Cather in the Rye and Zombies? Or Brave New World of Zombies? Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim? Come on, people!

  15. John H @ 15:

    I’m about a dozen chapters short of finishing P&P&Z and it’s been amusing, but I don’t understand how it made the NYT Best Seller list…

    There are some books that I suspect make bestseller lists at least as much by strength of a clever concept as by the implementation. I haven’t read P&P&Z, but I can see that the shelf appeal of it is probably pretty high.

  16. Maybe if you think of it as a prequel to Left 4 Dead, it’ll go down easier. :)

    I’m all over the Kat Richardson book, and the RAH biography, for sure. I’ll have to check on some of these others.

    I’m not sure that ‘conservative’ (whatever that even means anymore) people are the only ones thinking a new depression is coming, especially considering nothing was done about, and hardly anyone was punished for, the recent economic problems. Some of the people responsible for enabling this situation back in the Clinton days were put in charge of things now. :(

    It’ll be interesting seeing how the GOP spins their obstructionism of the looming ‘economic regulation’ issues considering they’re the ones moaning so much about all the money (they helped spend) for the bailouts.

  17. I don’t think it’s fair to say that I am *over* zombies and vampires, because I was never actually into them (well, I sort of liked Buffy, but for different reasons), but I am very definitely sick of them. Enough. I’m not interested in reading Anne of Green Zombies. I would not be amused by a novel feature a zombie, a vampire, and a werewolf teaming up to fight crime. I definitely don’t want to see Harry Potter and the Undead Prince and I really hope that our esteemed host doesn’t decide that The Vampire Brigades is a pretty darned nifty idea for a new OMW book because, well, it isn’t.

  18. Tumbleweed @ 24:

    It’ll be interesting seeing how the GOP spins their obstructionism of the looming ‘economic regulation’ issues considering they’re the ones moaning so much about all the money (they helped spend) for the bailouts.

    Well, shockingly, it looks like they’re going to lie about what’s in the bill. (Who would’ve guessed?) Specifically, they’re claiming that it’ll mean a never-ending string of government bailouts. They’re also re-using the false but always effective claim that Dems wouldn’t work with them.

    Bob Corker (R-Tenn) — who spent months working on this with Chris Dodd (D-Conn) — has admitted that Repubs’ characterization of the bill is “not intellectually pure”. Though he has somehow simultaneously signed onto a filibuster threat that relies those “not intellectually pure” arguments.

    It’s hard to tell how much of this is political kabuki, given that Repubs aren’t the only ones who get lots of Wall Street funding.

  19. My problem with William H. Patterson Jr. is that he regards Heinlein’s final works The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset as the culmination of his writing, and regards the “World as Myth” propounded in those novels (i.e., a way for past Heinlein characters to freely interact) as a worthwhile idea rather than sheer self-indulgence. Indeed, Patterson seems unable to understand why some readers consider those books to be awful (see, for example, his various posts at rec.arts.sf.written). This attitude suggests that he may not be a suitably objective biographer, unless Tor’s editors did their jobs well.

  20. I read P&P&Z. I much preferred the original, although it was many years ago that I read that. I didn’t quiz the person I borrowed it from, who reported that it was “fun”, as to whether she’d read the original; perhaps that’s part of the appeal, much lighter and faster. I am going to probably ignore the other like-things, although if BuJold was to do (Georgette Heyer’s) “Frederica and the Vampires” or some such I might give it a try.

    The best of these I’ve seen recently is Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

  21. Re #25. I think it is fair to say that I at least am over zombies. It only took one movie, which was the 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead.” But, for those of you who like them, enjoy.

  22. At the risk of sounding totally disinterested in P,P&Z:

    Oooooooooh, a new Laundry novel!!!! I can barely wait until July.

    And I heartily second your suggestion that it be a BBC series – if they green-lit “Demons” then this should be pure gold!

  23. I thought that both Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter were kind of fun riffs and actually quite well done.

    This is why they print lots of books, after all–because not everyone likes the same thing.

    That said, a graphic novel of the novel that’s a riff on the novel seems a bit much to me, too. What next? A novelization of the graphic novel of the novel that’s a riff on the novel?

  24. JJS @ 30 – George Romero started the zombie movie movement, to be sure, but to consider his work representative of the entire genre is to make a really huge mistake. Even his latter zombie movies are very different from his earlier work (I’m one of the apparently few who consider his latter movies far superior to his original ones, but this is a matter of personal preference).

    You may also enjoy the comedic zombie movies more, like Shaun of the Dead, or Return of the Living Dead. I know I do.

  25. Bearpaw @ 26 – ‘political kabuki’ actually sounds like a lot of fun! Kinda like crossing politics with Japanese zombies. If the politicians wore the makeup and outfits, I’d tune in to C-SPAN all the time. But then again, I just may be coming down from my weekend Cherry Blossom Festival high. :)

  26. christy@32, ITV was responsible for Demons not the BBC. Besides, my 6th graders absolutely loved the show and they are the target demographic, not me.

  27. My problem with PP&Z was that once you insert a major change into a story like zombie infestation, the story ought, properly, to take a left turn at Albuquerque and never come back. Not follow, nearly word for word in places, the story it’s pastiching. Because society is bloody well going to change under such circumstances.

    That and Pride & Prejudice really is my favorite of the books. Probably because I saw the BBC adaption first.

  28. New Laundry novel! It shall not escape my clutches, no, no, it shall not. And I shall be a happy happy little camper, yes.

    Although why this series is called “The Laundry Files” and not “The Laundry Cycle” escapes me.

  29. I wonder if the Heinlein biography will shed light on Heinlein’s obsession with adult men who form “romantic” relationships with underage girls:

    Time for the Stars
    Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
    The Door Into Summer
    Time Enough for Love

    This theme comes up often enough in Heinlein’s stories that I have to wonder if it derives from something discreditable in Heinlein’s personal life.

  30. Mark @40: one writer refers to this phenomenon as “bathing in the blood of virgins”. If Gary Stu can get it on with teenage babes, then clearly he’s not really middle-aged and counting.

  31. Nick @20: Adam Hall’s Quiller books were on my mind when I picked the title, but alas, my brain was hijacked by the literary ghost of Anthony Pryce instead. (And the reference to J. F. C. “Boney” Fuller was too good to throw away.)

    The books have indeed been optioned for film/TV rights, but not by the BBC. The role playing game is in active development and should ship later this year. And I’m hoping that after “The Fuller Memorandum” is out and I’m finished writing “Rule 34″, the next Laundry book will be “The Apocalypse Codex” (and do unto Modesty Blaise what “The Jennifer Morgue” did to James Bond).

  32. Julia @ 34. Actually, Natalie Portman has optioned P&P&Z last December, so expect to see it in a cinema sometime soon. Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov have optioned Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Seth is actually writing the script of ‘his’ novel.. not that I consider inserting a few scenes into someone else’s masterpiece a legitimate work, but that’s a debate for another time.

  33. “A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia” by Viktor Pelevin. If you’re tired of approaches to old monsters written by people who seem only to read other F&SF.

  34. In #6 Steve Burnap writes:

    What does “authorized biography” mean, given that Heinlein and his wife are both dead, and have no immediate family?

    Virginia Heinlein was alive when Bill Patterson began this project, and gave him considerable help.

    Bill has impressed me with his thorough knowledge of Heinlein’s life and times, and he has generously helped me with my own Heinlein research. I’m really looking forward to reading his book.

    Unlike the correspondent at #29. To whom I suggest that the issues Gottacook raises about Heinlein’s later works may be less important in Volume 1 of the biography; of course, skipping the book altogether is always an option.

  35. 40: Kip, the narrator in “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” isn’t middle-aged or even an adult. He’s a schoolkid. Don’t know about the others.

  36. I loved “Atrocity Archives,” but was underwhelmed by “Jennifer Morgue.” Though it did not stop me from pre-ordering the third volume months ago; which I think is all that really matters when everything is said and done. (Charlie’s fifth Laundry basket will be a pastiche of Lemming of the BDA. You see naughty necromancers always make that one mistake: by the time the Shoggoths got back from assimilating the experimental new filling resin, I had every eldritch-periodontist from West Lothian and Borders surrounding the place.)

  37. LaundryLaundryLaundry…Yay!

    I couldn’t finish the first chapter of P&P&Z. It’s amazing that people thought it was “Great story!” clever, rather than just “Oh, hey…neat” clever….

  38. I gots the jealous RE: the new Laundry Files book – but I’ll agree with PrivateIron @ 50. I enjoyed “Atrocity Archives” much more than the 2nd installment (tho’ both were great fun).

  39. It seems very fashionable to write zombie stories now, even take old works and zombiate them. What is this really about? Is it just a playful use of the macabre? I can see wanting to see a zombie movie, or play a zombie-shooting game (which is better than shooting seemingly normal humans), but read about it? Whatever. We humans really to go our of our way to be gross.

  40. AlanM @26: “… I would not be amused by a novel feature a zombie, a vampire, and a werewolf teaming up to fight crime.”

    Sounds like the Ankh-Morpork City Watch to me.

  41. Heinlein bio could be very interesting. I’m just now going through his bibliography (please hold you cries of “Noob!” and “Unclean!” till the end).

    Reading “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls” now, and I’m in one of those situations where, having read the summary on the back, and being a quarter of the way into the book, I don’t see how they get from here to there, but I’m dying to find out how.

  42. Heinlein was my first SF hero writers. I’ve read all of his work, and some, like SIASL, several times. But, there can be a problem with getting too much real information about your heroes. I think I’ll leave R.A.H. up on his pedestal.

  43. Our library has Genesis by Bernard Beckett already available as a downloadable audiobook. The date on it says April 2009. The audio was released a full year before the book?

  44. @ Tumbleweed:

    >Have Spacesuit, Will Travel? Adult man?

    An 18 year old man, old enough to serve in the military. What would you think if an 18-year old guy down the street wanted to hang around your 11 year old daughter?

  45. @ mythago:

    John Ringo does have characters quote Robert Heinlein in some of his novels. He probably recognizes in Heinlein a kindred redneck.

  46. I’m not sure that ‘conservative’ (whatever that even means anymore) people are the only ones thinking a new depression is coming, especially considering nothing was done about, and hardly anyone was punished for, the recent economic problems.

    You are absolutely correct. While I don’t consider myself a conservative, (although I can certainly understand why John would), the economists and investors who believe that we are in the early stages of a very large economic contraction span the political spectrum. One of the very best economists on the subject is Steve Keen, an Australian who probably leans further left than most commenters here. Steve and I have very little in common politically, but we both recognize that the global problem is excessive debt, not insufficient government spending, bank loans, consumer demand, or animal spirits as the various Neo-Keynesian witch doctors would have you believe.

    And on a completely unrelated note, I am very excited about Mr. Stross’s new Laundry novel.

  47. Perhaps Kip’s interest in PeeWee is that she’s his only fellow human kidnapped-into-space victim? It’s not like he was following her home from the malt shop!

  48. @54 – I can’t imagine now I overlooked that, but Sir Pterry is in a different league and anyway, he was there first (or, at least, earlier). However, all the rest of you can just cut it out.

  49. Bill Higgins @48: I raise my concerns now (rather than waiting until the release of volume 2 of the biography) because Patterson is so assiduously a supporter of the “World as Myth” idea that if it were up to him, he would retitle the The Past Through Tomorrow omnibus (which of course includes many pre-1948 stories) as Timeline: Leslie LeCroix. I grok wrongness here. Yes, I know that Patterson has done a lot of research for many years into Heinlein’s life – but I seriously doubt that there is any evidence that Heinlein would have wanted to retroactively give this label to the “Future History”; indeed, the appendix of To Sail (where the various characters’ first appearances in earlier stories and novels are listed) explicitly includes the Past Through Tomorrow title, and Heinlein would probably not have done so if he’d wanted that whole group of stories to be retitled with the LeCroix timeline.

  50. Mark Plus @ 59 @ Tumbleweed:

    >Have Spacesuit, Will Travel? Adult man?

    An 18 year old man, old enough to serve in the military. What would you think if an 18-year old guy down the street wanted to hang around your 11 year old daughter?

    I don’t recall any indication of romance between Kip and Peewee in “Have Space Suit – Will Travel”. Does anyone have a pointer to what specific passages are the basis for this claim?

  51. Correction to Heinlein Title?

    AMZN lists it as “Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1949): Learning Curve”

  52. “The Fuller Memorandum”

    The tagline on the cover is hilarious: “The name of the game is Bob Howard vs. Evil — and Evil cheats.”

    WANT!

  53. Captain Button et. al.

    I’m currently re-reading “Have Space Suit…” Kip’s age, unless I’ve missed something, is not given, but he’s applied to MIT, so he’s high school. I graduated HS at 16, so the age differential can’t be 18-11.

    Kip’s father, near the end of the book, says:

    “I’m glad you like Peewee. She is about twenty years old intellectually and six emotionally; she usually antagonizes people. So I’m glad she has gained a friend who is smarter than she is.”

    That is NOT a father worried about inappropriate romance.

  54. Why not crowned? Coronated is just UGLY. It’s one of those “picked up an extra syllable on the round trip” words, like orient->orientation->orientate. Blechhhh…

  55. Gottacook @ 29:

    Given that the “World as Myth” novels were the last major works written by Heinlein, and that he (RAH) believed them to be the capstone to his long and successful career, I don’t see how they can be considered to be anything other than the “culmination of his writing”.

    I think you are mistaken in saying that Patterson “seems unable to understand why some readers consider those books to be awful” — but whether they are awful or not is a subjective opinion. If someone else (yourself, for example) believed them to be bad, that would be just as subjective, and would by your logic be equally as disqualifying a position to take and keep one from being a suitable biographer.

    While I’m not fortunate enough to have seen galleys or an advance copy, I know Bill Patterson well enough (we’ve corresponded via email for years, and I’ve made a couple of small contributions to Heinlein research — for example, while he claimed to be a “champion” fencer, he was only so-so in competition with other schools while attending the Naval Academy) to know that any non-objectivity he may have, he recognizes, and that it is a _good_ thing that he has studied not only Heinlein, but the context from which his writing (including the World As Myth stories) came. He knows what Heinlein was trying to do with those stories and is in a position to judge whether RAH was successful, and that is more important in a literary biography than whether the general fan finds them as entertaining as his Juveniles or his pre-War short stories or his Hugo-winning novels.

    No doubt other writers would bring a different sensibility and perspective to a Heinlein biography. However, given the access that Ginny gave him to RAH’s otherwise-closed archives, no one else has been in the position for the last decade to put together the biography that Patterson has been writing. If anyone else were to write the story, it would be missing some big chunks that Patterson will be able to include.

    I’m looking forward to the book, and expect it will be a strong contender for the “Best Related Book” Hugo award.

  56. Bill @75: Okay, that was well argued. I never said Patterson isn’t the most qualified person to write a Heinlein biography; he probably is. I sincerely hope, however, that you’re correct in writing that “any non-objectivity he may have, he recognizes.” And I trust that you can understand why his desire to retitle The Past Through Tomorrow as Timeline: Leslie LeCroix might make him seem non-objective as to the merits of those late novels.

  57. Genisis is Wonderful! One of my favorite books from last summer.

    As for the and Zombie books, they sell off of their titles. Or, rather, we sold them off of their titles alone. Lots of them.

  58. I was overwhelmed with second galleys when this topic rose, so though I look in here periodically, I missed this thread till someone mentioned it on my facebook page (where I post all developments I’m in contact with about both the biography and the Virginia Edition as they occur).

    Hearing about the Fuller Memorandum made my day. While I agree that Atrocity Archive was stronger than Jennifer Morgue, I wouldn’t say either of them dip out of first rate.

    I did want to respond to a bizarre set of comments upthread about Timeline: Leslie LeCroix.

    Of the many things I could say about the -“Future History revised and corrected”- (that’s as close as I can render a quasiquote) volumes of the Virginia Edition, I’m going to settle on just one comment (with a few parts): The mission of the Virginia Edition was to be a collected works with special attention on Heinlein’s own best versions of his works. (a) Heinlein is on record as being quite cold to the title Past Through Tomorrow. (b) Heinlein himself took special pains to re-set the Future History as one timeline in the multiverse of the World As Myth, and he specifically re-designated the Future History as Timeline: Leslie LeCroix, just as our consensus timeline is Timeline: Neil Armstrong.

    So if anyone has a beef with Timeline: Leslie LeCroix, I suggest he takes it up with Heinlein.

    And, just to be 100% clear — that doesn’t have anything to do with anything I might or might not think about the World As Myth supernovel.

  59. “A Heinlein bio is exciting”

    I thought so too — ten years ago. Now I’m just tired.

  60. @82 Bill Patterson

    “Now I’m just tired.”

    Congratulations. By RAH standards, you’ve finally reached mature wisdom. :)

    Yeah, yeah, I’m late to the party. So sue me.

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