Books What Been Sent to Me Recently

Wow, you say, I bet John Scalzi gets sent a ton of books. You’d win that bet! Here’s some of what’s been sent to me recently, most of which is just out, or on its way in the next month or two.

* Galaxy Blues, Allen Steele — I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned I’m a fan of Allen’s from way back, so any time I pop open a package and one of his books pops out it earns a total, unforced “oh, cool,” from me. This one arrived not more than 30 minutes ago, so I’ve barely had time to read the jacket copy, but what it tells me is that this is another book in set in the Coyote universe, although like Spindrift (Allen’s book prior to this) it’s not directly focused on the world of Coyote itself. I like this kind of universe expanding myself — the idea that you created a universe for one set of stories but that it’s sturdy enough for another set as well. Waste not, want not. I’m looking forward to reading this one at leisure, and soon. This one will be available in a couple of weeks: April 1, to be exact.

Also in the mailing that sent me Galaxy Blues: Dragons Wild, by Robert Asprin, in which a slumming rich kid discovers that he’s actually a dragon. Well, and who hasn’t had that happen, hmmmm? It also hits on 4/1.

* My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy, Andrea Askowitz — I got this and read the title, and the smartass part of my brain said “but, wait! Lesbian pregnancies are always happy occasions!” Because, you know. Generally lesbian pregnancies don’t come as a surprise or anything. This one’s a memoir, and meant to be funny, and has a cute cover (of an upside down rubber duck) that looks enough like it should be a kid’s book that Krissy accidentally put it into a stack of Athena’s books while she was cleaning downstairs. One part of me would be very amused to see Athena pick up the book, read the first chapter and then ask me to explain artificial insemination to her, but the other part of me thinks that maybe she should wait until she’s ten for that. This one comes out in May.

* Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, David Petersen — A compilation of the 2006 six-issue comic book series about sentient medieval mice, which garnered author/illustrator Petersen the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award (sort of like the Campbell Award for comic books). It’s very pretty, although scenes of mousy torture are a bit incongruous. But I suppose that’s part of the appeal. Out in two weeks.

* Goblin War, Jim C. Hines — Jim’s Goblin series has been developing quite a following, I think partly because his Goblin hero Jig pretty neatly fits the Eddie Izzard description of why everyone loves Shaggy and Scooby (if you don’t know this, first, what’s wrong with you, and second, go here and fast forward to 3:05). Basically, Jig’s the guy you identify with because really he’d rather just be at home having a snack instead of fighting the forces of Evil. Mmmm… snacks. Even if his idea of a snack is something fairly vile, because after all, he’s a goblin. On the other hand, Australians eat Vegemite, so who are we to say. Conclusion: Australians are goblins. I just put that in to annoy Justine Larbalestier, whenever she comes around to read this. In any event, Goblin War is out now.

* Looking out toward June release dates, two ARCs I’ve received are particular interest to me: Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill, by N.M. Kelby, and Escapement, by Jay Lake. The first of these (a murder mystery, if you can’t guess from the title) comes from an author who has been enthusiastically recommended to me by Galleycat’s Ron Hogan, and I trust his taste enough to put it on my “to be read” pile (lesson here: personal recommendations work. But you knew that). The second of these is the follow-on to Jay Lake’s Mainspring, which most of you know I was enthusiastic about when it came out, because Jay mad world-building skillz. He’s telling another story in his clockwork universe, and I can’t wait to get into it and see what he’s done this time.

And that’s some of what I’m looking at in book form.

25 Comments on “Books What Been Sent to Me Recently”

  1. I bought Jay Lake’s Mainspring and it reminded me of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Karl May, in the sense that it was like a Boys’ Own Adventure. Not a bad thing at all. And his worldbuilding really is excellent… I’ll have to buy Escapement too.

  2. The second of these is the follow-on to Jay Lake’s Mainspring, which most of you know I was enthusiastic about when it came out, because Jay mad world-building skillz. He’s telling another story in his clockwork universe, and I can’t wait to get into it and see what he’s done this time.

    YAY! I read that based on your recommendation (I think, it was recommended by lots of folks) and loved it. I can’t wait to get this.

  3. You have amazing self-control, I must say. You didn’t actually sit down right where you were and read any (much less all) of them on the spot. I’m impressed.

  4. “Conclusion: Australians are goblins.”

    Duh. I’m just confused why they shot LOTR in New Zealand. Perhaps so they wouldn’t have goblin union trouble. Nothing worse than a goblin union, let me tell you what. Picket lines, are, well, vigorous . . . .

  5. Just a minor note – it is the pb ed. of Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 that’s coming out in a few weeks. It’s been out in hc for some time now.

  6. Question. I read the first half of Mainspring and then something(don’t remember what exactly) just really annoyed me about the book. I think it just got too weird and I gave up on it. Is it worth going back and giving it a second chance or am I just going to get more annoyed?

  7. Well, Alex, it’s not like we’ve ever shared a soda and our feelings, so I can’t say what annoys you and what doesn’t. Personally I’d say give it another shot, and if you can’t get through it a second time, fair enough.

  8. eh, my kids are three and they get what artificial insemination is (sorta).

    But that one sounds interesting, I may have to try and find it.

  9. Now, now, John. Leave us Aussie’s alone. Just because we love Vegemite doesn’t mean we’re goblins. There’re plenty of other ethnic foods that would make the nationality that savors them goblin as well. Look at the Japanese with their nato and the Scottish with their vile haggis (or Mexican chorizo, the lowgrade stuff of which makes haggis look like filet mignon). Let’s not forget the Maori’s and their native dish that literally translates as “rotten corn”. The list goes on.

    Ah, doesn’t matter–I get it all the time from my friends for loving Vegemite.

    Ahem, back to the books–They all look good, but particularly the Jay Lake one, since I love Jay Lake and have been really looking forward to his next book.

  10. Galaxy Blues was serialized in Asimov’s last year, so I read it not having read any of the other books in the universe but it is very good. I have to get my hands on Spindrift…

  11. Allen Steele. Another book to order for my husband’s birthday. Which I always feel is cheating since I want to read the books, too. But it’s okay to get them for his birthday, isn’t it? I let him read them, first.

    We are so far behind, I think we’ve only read two Coyote books. The thing about those wish lists? We fill them up for birthdays and xmas, and the relatives EMPTY them and send us all the books we lusted for. And we don’t have time to read them.

    Retirement can’t come soon enough.

  12. Hobbyns,

    You’re not helping your case with your intimate knowledge of “things goblins like to eat” from various locales. It merely proves that goblins like to eat well when they travel, is all . . .


  13. I really like all of Allen Steele’s books – in fact, I own them all in paperback – right up until Coyote.

    I expected to like it – it was a Steele novel, after all – but I quit about halfway through. The whole starship premise felt goofy, and after that it felt like far too conscious a Heinlein imitation…

    His earlier novels – Clarke County Space and up to the Martian one – felt far more original.

    I shall have to look Escapement up, though – Mainspring has been highly recommended to me by a bunch of sources now!

  14. I just got ESCAPEMENT myself, and am fast-tracking it onto the reading list. Hooray!

    Also recently received: IRON ANGEL, Alan Campbell’s sequel to “Scar Night” — now I can read them both at once, and a pretty interesting looking young-adult called THE COMPOUND. And those are just some of the ARC’s, not even including the finished books that pour in.

    I’ve also been getting a ton of debut novels in lately, too. 2008 is looking like the Year of the New Writer.

    So many books, so little time….

    And of course, before I get to any of those, I have to finish up Hamilton’s DREAMING VOID and Butcher’s SMALL FAVOR.

    I suppose one could have worse problems…

  15. I just put that in to annoy Justine Larbalestier, whenever she comes around to read this

    Wow, I suddenly grokked that “Larbalestier” = L’Arbalestier = someone who wields a crossbow. That’s one of the cooler surnames I’ve run across.

    In any case, a preference for vegemite might well indicate goblin tendencies. Everyone knows that good-aligned characters prefer marmite.

  16. John:
    Thank you very much for the Galaxy Blues heads-up. You are indeed fortunate to have the inside track on these things. Whenever you savor a chapter in such advanced fashion, just remember those of us who will be gnashing our teeth ’cause we have to wait like the proles we are for the actual release date before we get to enjoy the same pleasure.

    * * * *

    Update: Not a total loss; just learned that there’s a new Varley·Yarn available now, so ordered one to keep me afloat until the other two preorders can ship: G B (should be out on All Fools’ Day), and some title that mentioned a Zoe and her tail…


  17. Mainspring was a very good read, and while it was one of the more odd things I’ve read in quite a while, so was Trial of Flowers, by the same author.

    I’m looking forward to the next installment of Mouse Guard too, and not only because I’ve got a 7 year old who seems to enjoy them. I get a very Dumas/Brust feel from it, and the art is very nice.

    Finally, good to see the next Goblin book is coming out. I like those too, but I hadn’t been paying attention to the next in the series. So thanks for that.

    Now, let’s talk trade. I get cookbooks and food-related stuff in the mail pretty regularly, wanna swap? :)

  18. You know, I misread the title as “Books what BAEN Sent to Me Recently.”

    I was cool with the Steele reference, although I hadn’t realized that Baen was publishing him. Then I got to the comic stuff, and was like WTF? Why isn’t any of this on the Baen website.

    It took me a moment to think of re-reading the post title.


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