BookLog 5/28/08

It seems like I just got home, but now I have to get ready to leave again, on account that I will be in Los Angeles at Book Expo America tomorrow through Sunday, having dinner with librarians, doing a panel on online communities with Cory Doctorow, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, doing interviews and signing books. Yes, they’ll be keeping me busy, but not so busy that I will not find my way to In-N-Out. Count on that. Be that as it may, before I went, I wanted to note the books that have come in in the last couple of days. Notes on some of them:

* Luis Ortiz was kind enough to pass along two art-related books he was involved in: Emshwiller: Infinity x Two, which is a Hugo nominee this year in the best related book category and which he wrote, and Paint or Pixel: The Digital Divide in Illustration Art, which is edited by Jane Frank and among others things features essays on illustrations by three artists I’ve been lucky enough to have create my book covers: Donato Giancola, John Harris, and Bob Eggleton. I’m really looking forward to being able to spend some time with both of these, and not just for the pretty pictures.

* Sin in the Second City is unfortunately unreadable — not because it’s a bad book but because it got left out in the rain by the delivery service, and the pages are still drying out. Hopefully it’ll be readable by June 10, which is when the paperback version of the book goes on sale. I do want to read it: books about turn-of-the-century Chicago brothels are strangely appealing to me (more for the turn of the century Chicago than the brothels, actually),

* The arrival of the ARC of Mark Van Name’s upcoming novel Slanted Jack (which comes out in July) reminds me that I have not yet congratulated him for taking this year’s Compton Crook Award, which is awarded to the “best first novel of the year written by a single author… in the field of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror” and is awarded at Balticon (which was last weekend). The award was for his debut One Jump Ahead. It also comes with a $1,000 cash prize. I don’t think I was even nominated for it when I was eligible; I think I would have remembered the thousand bucks. In any event, well done, Mark. Don’t spend it all in one place, unless that one place is a book store.

* Pyr has reprinted Robert Silverberg’s Son of Man, which made me say “cool!” when I opened the envelope; for various reasons I’m wanting to refresh my Silverberg reading, so this is nicely timed for me. I love it when publishers anticipate my needs, even if they don’t know they’re doing it at the time.

What on this stack looks good to you?

32 Comments on “BookLog 5/28/08”

  1. Well… didn’t you get an ARC of Justine Larbalester’s “How to Ditch your Fairy” yet? Ours came yesterday.

    Otherwise, there’s nothing up there that outranks what’s in my “read right away pile.” Publisher’s Weekly just gave an excellent review to Slanted Jack (makes we want to get the first book first), but they also seemed to really dislike Stross’ Saturn’s Children.

  2. I haven’t gotten “Fairy” yet, no.

    I’ll have to track down the “Saturn” review. I enjoyed the book, myself.

  3. Scourge of God. Rapidly becoming the Tarzan series of the twenty-first century.

  4. So far I’m digging the hell out of Saturn’s Children. Should have the review up by Sunday or so.

    Let’s see, today’s haul was all Spectras: Linnea Sinclair’s Shades of Dark; Sarah Hoyt’s Soul of Fire; Jenna Black’s The Devil You Know; Tim Scott’s Love in the Time of Fridges. Lots of paranormally romancey stuff there, I know. It’s the bane of being an SF/fantasy lit-critter. Still, I think Sinclair and Black are okay, and the Tim Scott looks cute.

    Nice to see Son of Man from Pyr.

  5. “The Scourge of God” looks interesting and will wait on the “Son of Man” but will own the “Paint or Pixel”.

    Just love artwork and the way a good storyteller paints the story in your mind…..

    Must be why I read your stuff John, you seem to have the ability to paint a story with words that allow the reader to visualize the complete story and it leaves a more lasting impression on them/ me.

    Thanks for the memories….

    Harvey sends…

  6. In-N-Out? Eh. Acceptable. For a chain. Ish. But if you’re in LA, it’s worth tracking down a Tommy’s. Thin, but oh that chili…

    And BTW, I have to say that I’m really annoyed with the Connected Ones, dropping hints about Saturn’s Children a month before us plebes are allowed access to it.

  7. I’ve read the eARC of “Slanted Jack”. Van Name is a (sorry) name to watch.

    I read “Son of Man” a long time ago, it is nice to see it in print again. Maybe Silverberg will get a Library of America volume or three, like P.K. Dick is getting now.

    I love to flip through books on illustration. But I can’t honestly say I’ve read as many as I’ve flipped through.

    Having just finished a pair of military history books, I’m taking some time out to read a couple of cheesy space operas. Just the thing to relax with!

  8. Ack, Scourge of God! Eagerly awaiting that. My fiancee and i absolutely devoured the first trilogy, and have been eagerly awaiting the next books. I haven’t read ‘The Sunrise Lands’ yet, resisting the urge to nom it and then be disappointed at the end when i remember that September is still months away.

    Also, the rotten bookstores here in Canadia don’t stock any Scalzi goodness. I picked up ‘Old Man’s War’ during one of my previous Ohio trips, and ‘The Ghost Brigades’ online.

  9. Yo, John, thanks for the kind congrats. I had a good time at the con, and winning the award was a neat honor. I hope you get a chance to read Slanted Jack and look forward to your thoughts on it.

    Joel, you don’t need to read the first book, One Jump Ahead, before the second. Each stands completely alone. Of course, I’d love it if you bought both .

    Re your stack of books, I have to recommend the Emshwiller. Carol’s a friend (we workshopped together for many years at Sycamore Hill), and I think the world of her. I also loved Ed Emsh’s art.

  10. I’ll have to give Son of Man another try; there’s more than one copy at the large used bookstore attached to my local public library. I do go back every few years to much of Silverberg’s other work from 1968 to 1972 or so: The Masks of Time (aka Vornan-19), Dying Inside, The Book of Skulls, The World Inside (not really a “novel” but a collection of related stories about life in Urban Monad 116, some of which appeared separately), and the story collection The Reality Trip and Other Implausibilities (featuring the novella In Entropy’s Jaws as well as the superior novella-length version of Hawksbill Station). Good stuff.

  11. It was due to the fact that OMW was a first Novel, that I read it back, when it first came out as a member of BSFS. While you may not have made the final cut for that year, you are one of the writers, I look forward to reading ever since. I been too busy to read any of the finalist in time to vote this year, but somehow did find the time in the last month to read the other two books in the series.

    I didn’t even have time to make meet any of the Guest of Honor, to get autographs, at Balticon 42. Sitting trying to recover at the Dead Dog Party, I sat for some time wondering who I was sitting across, while waiting for my SO to come to take me home. My SO ask what I was able to get in the dealer’s room before it closed and I think I may have turn beet red to find out it was John Jude Palencar, as I pull out the 2007 calender he did. He sign both our birthday months and one other cover for my SO.

    Almost forgot I also did get a copy of “Strange Birds” sign in the dealer’s room, from Peter S. Beagle to go with my copy of Gene Wolf’s. I had Lisa Shelling-Clark also sign it for me at Balticon 40 and hope to have a complete set some day, sign by all the authors and Lisa.

  12. Sin in the Second City was quite enjoyable; I’d definitely recommend tracking down a copy.

    Is the Gregory Frost book the sequel to Shadowbridge?

  13. I’m glad someone else shares an appreciation of Robert Silverberg.

    I think it’s disappointing that he seems to be more known as an editor of compilations these days, rather than one of the Grand Masters of the genre.

    While I haven’t re-read anything of his recently (that’s true of a LOT of authors though), when I was in high school and discovering SF, Silverberg was one of my three favorites (with Asimov and Herbert) and I spent hours at the used book stores making sure there were no oddball little books of his that I didn’t have.

    There was something about his works that felt like, for lack of a better phrase, real writing. Writing that was a step above the “merely” functional prose that most of the SF that I was delving into at the time had. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the brusque style of Asimov, when you couple it with the big ideas being tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras, but sometimes it’s nice to have something you can really chew on in the writing itself.

    I’ve always felt like I was in on some sort of secret in Robert Silverberg – I’m glad there are others still in the club as well these days.

  14. Still have a fond spot for Mr. Silverberg: back in third grade I mastered the covert art of reading one book opened within (behind) the ostensibly-followed, opened textbook from which We Were Supposed To Read at the time. [0] There was this particular skinny paperback that I must have read at least sixteen times [1] — just kept returning for the imagery, although I couldn’t have told you who had written it had you held a shotgun to my forehead. That book set me on a strange and frivolous path, and I’ve never regretted any jot or tittle of serious behavior lost.

    Learned some thirty years later that that novel, Revolt on Alpha C [2], was written by none other than Robert S. The debt which I owe him is way bigger than the purchase price of all of his books combined, even if he were to receive the entire proceeds from same.

    [0] The trick is to turn the pages of the official textbook at the same time as everyone else does, and to devote at least 0.03% attention to noting which problem or paragraph is the alleged current focus of the rest of the class. Just in case the teacher tries to catch you out…

    [1] Counting the four times I “borrowed” that book during two subsequent years of grammar school, at least twenty.

    [2] Apparently one of his earliest novels. Pulpy, yes — but delicious and nutritious.

  15. Peer David’s Tigerheart looks good. I’ve found that his original stuff is much more interesting than any of his tie-ins. He should do more original fiction. Yea, I know.They don’t always pay the bills though.

  16. That picture reminds me I picked up an ARC of Tigerheart at NYCC but I haven’t managed to get around to reading yet. Damn my habit of acquiring books at a far faster rate than I can actually read them. :(

  17. You’ll probably have to skip over to Glendale or Hollywood for the nearest Double-Double, but, hell. You’ve got people for that.

  18. Hmm, the closest In-N-Out to the Expo is at 119 Brand Blvd.
    Glendale, California 91204, near the Glendale Galleria. Unless one of your sponsors is willing to pony up for the Cookout trailer.
    ( for details)
    $1250.00 for and hour and a half of Burger Love.

  19. I’ll second the recommendation of Devil in the White City I quite enjoyed it.

    As for that lovely stack of books up there… I’m with everyone else and want that Stirling!

  20. What looks good to me?? Uh all of them DUH!! LOL I love books almost any genre of books so if you ever get tired of the constant shipments I’d be more then happy to provide you my address to forward them to :)

  21. “Emshwiller: Infinity x Two” is a wonderful book. When a friend brought one back from a convention and showed it to me – I went right out on bought one for myself. It has my Hugo vote.

  22. That Silverberg book is fascinating. I read it a few years ago (I bought an old paperback version of it from and was enthralled by it. Is he still kicking around? What’s he up to these days?

  23. I would snap up “Slanted Jack”- I read the first book and very much enjoyed it.As to Silverberg…I avoid his later books after the run-in I had with the Majipur series which I intensely dislike.I still have a warm corner for “Tom O’bedlam” and “The Gypsy Star” in my heart, though- they were two my first SF&F books when I was still in elementary school, and to this day I find the characters there captivating.

  24. Scourge of God (yes, I know I’m late to the party, but wanted to weigh in). Count me among those who have been waiting for it since about 30 seconds after finishing “The Sunrise Lands.”

    Which was about 18 hours after Amazon delivered it, which was immediately upon publication, due to a pre-order.

    Once a geek, always a geek. I had the same problems with the second Thomas Covenant trilogy, 25 years ago, except Amazon didn’t exist and I couldn’t afford the books in hardcover so I had to wait for the paperback (the Brooklyn Public Library never got enough copies).

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