All this talk of electronic books today makes me want to tell you about the physical books which have arrived at my house in the last week. And here we go:
* The Wonderful Future That Never Was, Gregory Benford and the Editors of Popular Mechanics (Hearst Books): Or, hey, this is where your flying car went. The picture-heavy book looks at all the breathless predictions about the future that Popular Mechanics has made over its century-long publishing history and tells you all about the ones that didn’t quite show up — at least not in the form shown here. Well, at least we don’t have to all wear silvery tunics. I was slipped an early version of the book to see if I would blurb it, and had so much fun with it that I did. If you’re a big future nerd like I am (or alternately, a retro science fiction writer who needs reference material for when steampunk burns out), this is going be a book you’ll want. It’s out now, and ironically one for which getting the print version is definitely the way to go.
* Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace): Nebula Award winner McDevitt adds to the Alex Benedict saga, and this time the galaxy’s foremost antiquities collector is hot on the trails of clues that point to evidence of a whole new alien civilization — only the second ever found. This hits on November 2.
* The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas, edited by Robin Harve and Stephanie Meyers (Harper Perrenial): No, not Stephenie Meyer, although how amusing would that be? This is a collection of Christmas-related essays from A-list atheists like Richard Dawkins, Brian Cox, Neal Pollack, my personal pal Phil Plait, and others, including Simon Le Bon, which is a name that pretty much pops the “bwuh?” button for me, but, hey, welcome to the party, Simon. The front matter of the book says the book is “an atheist book it’s safe to leave around your grandmother,” which certainly sounds like a dare to me. This is also out on November 2.
* The Fallen Blade, Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Orbit): Grimwood, who writes dark, twisty science fiction, is trying his hand at fantasy this time around. Is it dark and twisty? Well, with vampires skulking around the Renaissance, all signs point to oh, my, yes. I’m a fan of Grimwood’s work, so this is definitely in my “to read” pile. For all y’all, however, you’ll have to wait until January.
* Kris Longknife: Redoubtable, Mike Shepard (Ace): The latest chapter of the long-running Kris Longknife saga has our heroine fighting slavers and pirates while trying to stay clear of a powerful rival power. But then it gets personal. As it always will, sooner or later. This one lands October 26.
* Gilded Latten Bones, Glen Cook (Roc): Cook adds another installment to his fantasy private investigator series, and this time Garrett’s trying to break away from the P.I. lifestyle and settle down. But then someone tries to kidnap his love! And beats up his best friend! Hey, remember when I said it gets personal in the last paragraph? Well, guess what? It gets personal here, too. This is out in November.
* Enemies and Allies, Kevin J. Anderson (Harper): Superman! Batman! Cold war! And so on and so forth. This is the paperback edition, and is out now.