The Book Haul, 6/19/08

The books that have arrived at the Scalzi Compound in the last week:

I want you all to appreciate the fact that I nearly killed myself getting this picture for you, on account of I was poorly balanced on a chair while I snapped it. Seriously, I could have broke my neck. The things I do for all y’all. Honestly.

Quick thoughts on selected titles:

Shadow Pavilion, Liz Williams: Nightshade Books has been making quite a full-court press with the Inspector Chen series, which is good, because it’s not the same-old, same-old in terms of fantasy police procedurals (yes, it is a legitimate subgenre; yes, it does have “same-old, same-old” problems). This is the fourth book in the series and will be out in July; those of you following the series wonder where book three is should know it’ll be released simultaneously (or so my press release says).

The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle: This is an anniversary edition, and it’s already out. I think it brings the total number of copies I have of this particular story to three or four. I’ll be giving this one to Athena.

Other Worlds, Better Lives, Howard Waldrop: As it happens, Howard Waldrop is recovering from bypass surgery this week, and would probably appreciate hearing from fans. Here’s one place to send your cards and letters. This collection of selected long fiction will be out in September; put it on your calendar.

Ink and Steel, Elizabeth Bear: I noted this when it was in ARC form; it’ll be out in two weeks. It’s good stuff, which is not at all surprising, coming from Elizabeth Bear. And although this is a bit of inside pool, the painting of Queen Elizabeth on the cover looks like Tor editor Liz Gorinski to me. A very severe Liz Gorinski. Note to self: Do not taunt Liz Gorinski.

Mr. Fooster Traveling on a Whim, Tom Corwin & Craig Frazier: Flying Dolphin Press has been pushing this one hard as a sort of whimsical picture book for adults. Seriously, I think I got a note about it on a weekly basis. So I read it. Eh, it’s cute. And it’s out now.

Victory of Eagles, Naomi Novik: The fantastically-successful Temeraire series was inexplicably not in hardcover until now (unless you count the limited edition of the first books coming out from Subterranean Press); Del Rey is now correcting this error with this book. This book has a starred review from Publishers Weekly and bunches of eager fans and hardly needs me to pimp it; nevertheless, if you didn’t know, it comes out July 8.

The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway: Knopf is pushing this September release, and I suspect this is one SF novel that will be reviewed in the mainstream press, because a) it’s handled by a mainstream publisher (note the not-especially-genre-riffic cover art) and b) the author is John le Carre’s son, so there’s a hook there. It’s nice when that happens. I know some folks may dismiss the book out of hand because of a) and b), but inasmuch as I can think of at least one writing scion who recently delivered a kick-ass book, I won’t be one of them.

King’s Shield, Sherwood Smith: Yay, Sherwood Smith! I like her. This comes out July 1.

House and Home, Kathleen McCleary: I like it when mainstream publishers send me stuff that’s not specifically genre work, because, you know. I do have reading interests outside of science fiction and fantasy. I’m interested in this one (which chronicles the travails of a woman divorcing from her scatter-brained husband and on the verge of losing her beloved home) specifically because it features an invention called a “splotch-catching hot dog diaper.” I can’t even imagine what that’s supposed to be; I’m compelled to read to find out.

Sonic Underground, Volume 2: Not a book, but a DVD collection of the animated show about Sega’s favorite Hedgehog. I can’t imagine it’s actually good, but maybe video-game derived animated TV got better since the 80s, when the hideous Pac-Man TV show sapped my will to live.

The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson: Based on cover art alone, the book Most Likely For My Wife to Show an Interest In. As for me, I opened the book randomly and this was the sentence I saw: “She knew that my penis was gone; she simply had not not seen it yet.” My eyeballs saw that sentence and then my brain sent back a note that it wasn’t planning to get anywhere near it, and that I should move on. I think I will. This book comes out early August.

The Road to Vengeance, Judson Roberts: Hmmm… If I remember correctly, Judson Roberts sent me a Big Idea about this YA series, of which Road is the third volume.


Yup, he sure did. I guess I’ll put that up sometime in the next week, won’t I. I also have Dave Schwarz on the schedule in the next week, too. Yay! Lots of Big Ideas! This makes me happy.

So: what books in this week’s haul are you interested in? Don’t be shy. Share your thoughts. Hey, I almost killed myself taking that picture. I want conversation about these books, damn it.

68 Comments on “The Book Haul, 6/19/08”

  1. Based solely on cover art, I’m interesting in Break of Dawn and the Fourth Watcher. And I’m still interested in starting Novik’s series.

    I’m just amazed at the sure number of books you get week by week. Just this picture alone represents the number of books I’d buy in four months…

  2. Naomi Novik will be coming HERE for a signing/reading – YAY! The only one scheduled so far that is not on either the east or west coast. Unfortunately, not until August 19th.

  3. The one I’m looking forward to the most is Shadow Pavilion because the Inspector Chen series is cool. Also, book three is out in hardback now…I know that because it’s sitting in the pile on my nightstand and I haven’t had a really intense reality-altering hallucination in, well, hours, you know.

  4. As soon as the Novik arrives in store I plan to shove it into people’s hands. Mostly because it’s an excellent addition to a terrific series, but also because I read the ARC about a month ago and haven’t been able to talk about it with anyone.

    Yeah, life is hard.

  5. Victory of Eagles… I can’t spend 20+ € for a single book, so I’ll have to wait months, or maybe a whole year, before I can read it.


  6. You’re one sadistic Mother…

    You make us all jealous-like showing off your loot and then you ask for sympathy ’cause you almost broke your neck bragging? Don’t make me put hate-mail in the wrong thread!

  7. inasmuch as I can think of at least one writing scion who recently delivered a kick-ass book, I won’t be one of them.
    Yeah, but John Le Carre’s son is less likely to send you a dead man’s suit.

  8. The four that interest me the most are Lord of Bones by Justine Musk (because I believe it might fall under her YA series), The Last Vampire (because one of the two authors writes/used to write romantic suspense and I’m curious to see how she crossed over), Shadow Pavilion by Liz Williams (the series rocks), and now The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. I have to know what happened to the character’s penis. Did it fall off like crumbling rock? Does it disappear and re-appear? Or does he have to pretty much kiss that part of his anatomy goodbye? Inquiring minds want to know.

  9. Does anyone know why I can’t see half the images on this site.
    Some of them work fine – I can see the Matrix still & the 13 yrs hands and a couple of other things, but most of everything is blank – including book haul photo.

    I’m on firefox now, but I had the same thing with IE.

    Any ideas?

  10. If memory serves, there’s another book you might consider also picking up on August 19, Kerry.

    Yes, I know, but you and Tobias won’t be in Naperville doing signings, now will you?

  11. We’d be just as jealous/impressed if you laid the books out on the tile floor (which looks clean in the picture – I’m sure that is due to your wife). With the books on the floor, you wouldn’t have to get on a chair and risk your life (unless you are really small. I’ve never seen you in person, so I don’t know.)

    We should not feel sympathy for your willingness to take unnecessary risks.

  12. Have you and/or Athena seen Avatar: The Last Airbender yet? I highly recommend it as an example of children’s TV that’s not “just another kiddie toon.” In fact, I think it honestly is one of the best shows, animated or live-action, on TV today.

    Rather than go on at length about it here, let me link in the review of it I posted elsewhere:

    I promise you, this show is made of awesome.

  13. Did I say, “Hey, I want a picture of every book at once? Go wobble on a chair.” Would I have been just as happy with 2 or 3 pics of the same books, in nice neat rows, and not have you risk your neck?
    Yes, I would’ve been happy. Then you could’ve gotten better close ups of those covers.

  14. I’m drooling over Ink and Steel, perhaps because I’m a big English major dork and I’ve been reading about this book for years now on Bear’s blog.

    I need to read the second Inspector Chen book — the first one left me intrigued and yet a little cold, but I have the second one handy and I’m willing to give it a shot. I also have Inda around here somewhere. In an alternate universe, another me is probably jumping up and down about those two.

    Not excited about Victory of Eagles, because while I loved the first book to itty bitty pieces, I was vastly disappointed in the next two.

  15. Rachel:

    If you’re at work, your workplace is probably blocking Flickr images, at which many of my images recently have been housed.

  16. Somehow I missed finding the Inspector Chen series, probably due to writing too much hate mail. I’m definitely going to check it out.

    I read the first two Tremeraire books for the sake of a wonderful premise but I haven’t felt compelled to resume the series. Anything with the word Viking on the cover will probably at least get a glance-over from me in the bookstore. I’m sure my parents would be ashamed at the kind of slut I’ve become for vikings and dragons.

    Gifting The Last Unicorn is an awesome idea. Shamelessly stolen and will be presented to my daughter as a thoughtful gesture from my own little brain :)

    That book next to “Shadow Pavilion”, I’m surprised something with the title “Lord of the Boners” wasn’t your read immediately cover-to-cover and we get no mention of it at all!

  17. You have the new Sherwood and the new Naomi! I hates you, my precioussss…

    Seriously, I just pre-ordered both of them yesterday, and I really hope Amazon ships The King’s Shield expeditiously, as I’m going to be traveling over the 4th-of-July weekend and it would be awesome to have a fat novel to read while I waste too much time in airports.

    Not excited about Victory of Eagles, because while I loved the first book to itty bitty pieces, I was vastly disappointed in the next two.

    Stephanie, I thought the 4th was a great improvement over the second and third, for what it’s worth. And it does some really interesting stuff with the politics and the world-building.

  18. I’ll pile on to the Naomi Novik antici…pation (said in my best Tim Curry). That would definitely be the first one I would get my grubby mitts on from the selection above.

    Other than that, I’ve read a few of EE Knight’s books and have found them entertaining in most cases. Fourth Watcher and the Dimension Next Door are both books that would probably catch my eye on the bookshelf, but I don’t know whether I’d buy them or not based on title/cover alone. The back covers would need to woo me sufficiently first.

    The sweaty youth, I mean, Road to vengeance books are something I would probably avoid based on cover-cheese factor alone.

  19. May I suggest putting the books on the stairs, if you have them, or the floor? Or a tripod?

    Other Worlds, Better Lives is the most tempting at the moment. Trying to avoid fiction because I’m studying the history of crypto for a presentation in a couple of months.

  20. Thanks for the Howard Waldrop update, I have passed it on.

    You might mention how people can write to him.

    Do you actually have time to read all those books?

  21. Jeff Beeler:

    The link in the section about Waldrop contains an address at which card/letters, etc will be forwarded to Howard.

  22. I grew up in the nineties, and I saw that Sonic TV show when it was new. It was awful.

  23. I have pre-orders in for the Novik and Knight books.

    I am so sucked in to those two series.

    Thinking of that, I probably oughta pre-order Zoe’s Tale, too.

  24. Liz Williams AND Elizabeth Bear?

    I may cry in jealousy and frustration.

    I have had Precious Dragon on pre-order for like a YEAR now. It keeps getting moved back of shifted to another form. (Yes, I know it was out in hard back, but find hardback uncomfortable to read and reread.)

    This is the Elizabeth Bear that’s the sequel to New Amsterdam?

    Who write The Last Vampire? I can’t tell.

  25. I used to think it would be great to be a book reviewer. To be paid to read books and tell people what I thought about them.

    Then I realized that as a book reviewer you have to read ALL the books, even the bad ones.

    I’m now happy that I’m not a book reviewer.

  26. Oh man. I want that Naomi Novik book. One thing though, I won’t end up buying it until the paperback hits, so I’m going to have to find some other route to reading it. Not because I don’t buy hardbacks, but because I don’t switch to hardbacks in the middle of a series. Because mixing paperbacks and hardbacks on the same bookshelf is just an affront to all that is right. And so is not having all of the books of a series in the same spot.

  27. You’re a lucky sonofagun to get the Howard Waldrop book! It never fails to amaze me that he isn’t mega-famous. “Heart of Whitenesse”, “Custer’s Last Jump”, “Night of the Cooters” — all pure genius.

    Of course, I felt that way about Avram Davidson, so I guess I’m just out of touch with the realities of the market or something.

  28. I also have Dave Schwarz on the schedule in the next week, too.

    John, you don’t mean, by any chance, David J. Schwartz who wrote Superpowers, do you?

    In which case, yay! I Knew Him When, and it’s a pleasure to see the book getting some really solid reviews.

    If not, um, never mind.

  29. I’m with Skip @34. I don’t begrudge the author the extra royalties from a hardback, but, man, I HATE it when a publisher changes the format of a series half way through.

  30. to #35: Jeff Paulson.

    Thanks for the nice comment about Howard. Oddly enough, I as Howard’s publisher, have previously published a Davidson collection: Limekiller.

  31. Oh the Waldrop book makes me happy! I’ve been a fan every since I hated reading “Custer’s Last Jump” because it wasn’t, y’know, like, a STORY but all these weird… bits! Until I finished it and then I was hit upside the head by a clue by four like a Warner Brothers cartoon and it’s been love ever since.

    I’m not someone who absolutely needs every book by an author on my shelves, but Waldrop is definitely an exception. Between this and his forthcoming (I hope!) novel this could very well be a good year for me :)

  32. Hooray for King’s Shield!

    Sherwood Smith is, indeed, a terrific person, but whatever! These are great books!

    Thanks for posting this, John. I hadn’t heard this was coming out.

  33. Time for stupid questions, but with the amount of books you are getting all of the time… where do they all fit? And I would assume you don’t have enough time to read them all, so isn’t that a bit frustrating?

  34. I <3 the Novik series. Waiting with bated breath for this next one.

    Based solely on cover art, the “Fall With Honor” book looks good. Otherwise, that “Road to Vengeance” series looks pretty spiffy. More reason to hit up the YA shelves.

  35. Where on EARTH do you put all these books you’re constantly getting? (I volunteer my spare bedroom, by the way.)

  36. Shadow Pavillion! Shadow Pavillion! Shadow Pavillion!

    I love that series! I wonder if the tea kettle Badger gets more appearances. Also, I hope it’s more Chen than his demonic partner.

  37. I truly hate it when a book goes hardcover mid series. I like to keep my books together and having 3 paperback and 1 hardcover for Temeraire annoys the heck out of me.

    That and I am anal retentive on my books for some reason.

    All PB or all HC. I do not like 1/2 & 1/2.

    So now it is a contest of wills. Me vs Del Rey. Probably depend how weak I am when I hit the local bookstore and see it on the shelves. But right now, against getting it.

  38. Uh… sorry? There are other books there? I saw the Naomi Novik and my brain locked on OMGTEMERAIRE! Some of the material in the sequels to the first book wasn’t up to the first book, I grant, but the characters keep me going. And I forgave Novik the first two-thirds of the third novel because of the upshot of the final third. I wanted so badly to see her do something with how the dragons’ existence would tip some political scales, and that one gave me grinning and giggle fits.

  39. Ooooh. Thanks for the headsup. I’d forgotten Smith’s King’s Shield was coming out so soon. I nominated Inda (Bk 1) for a Hugo when it came out and it was by far the best book I read that year. This series is the best Sherwood has ever written. She and Marth Wells are the most undervalued authors IMO.

    Off to order from Amazon.

  40. I read the first chapter of the Gone-Away World before I knew that Nick Harkaway was John le Carre’s son, and was greatly impressed by it. The only reason I didn’t read further was because it was a library book, and as I’m already reading a stack of books, I felt it would be unfair to deprive someone else of the chance to read it while I finish with said stack.

    The cover is atrocious, though. I much prefer the UK edition.

    Of the others, only the Waldrop caught my eye. And reminds me I really should read more Waldrop. And by more, I mean any.

  41. As for me, I opened the book randomly and this was the sentence I saw: “She knew that my penis was gone; she simply had not not seen it yet.”

    . . . .

    What the hell is that even supposed to mean? Note: This question is rhetorical. I have no intention whatsoever of ever getting close enough to the book to learn. I think you broke my brain.

  42. I’m extremely jealous that you have a copy Smith’s King’s Shield. I keep walking thru Borders/B&N hoping they accidentally have early copies.

    I’m only mildly jealous that you have Novik’s latest. I loved the first one, thought the second was good if slow in parts, and the third & fourth unfortunately didn’t fare as well in my opinion. I hope the next one doesn’t continue that trend.

  43. Tangent on King’s Shields somewhat in response to #50:
    I nominated Inda for a Hugo in whatever year it was eligible also. I totally agree that Smith is underrated. I don’t quite understand why her Inda series hasn’t received more attention. I think it fulfills the same need for people that love epic fantasies like Jordan’s Wheel of Time and Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Its worldbuilding is certainly on par with both if not on a larger scale.

  44. I pre-ordered King’s Shield from Barnes and Noble and it came in today. I’m graciously letting my sister read it first, but I’m not home anyway. She better be done by the time I get there. I was shocked when B&N sent me a message saying it had been shipped, as it’s not supposed to come out till July, and doubly shocked when it came in earlier than it was supposed to. But it’s good shock.

    So for all you people waiting for King’s Shield — check out B&N is my suggestion. It’s up on their website at least. Last time I looked at amazon, they didn’t have it.

  45. Definitely want the Waldrop. Used to read a lot of his work when I was younger. His stories used to pop up everywhere. Unfortunately I thought he’d already exited stage left so I was pleasantly surprised to find he is still with us albeit unwell.

  46. Another copy of Ink and Steel? That just ain’t fair.

    On the plus side my copy of Shadow Pavilion came this week. Now I just need to read books 2 and 3.

  47. Elizabeth B, #52

    Your mother never let you baby sit, did she? A few months as a candy striper at the local hospital would do wonders for you.

  48. Sonic the Hedgehog

    There were two versions. The syndicated show was Sonic and Tails battling, annoying, and bollixing Robotnik and his henchmen. Saturday morning it was the story of an outlaw band resisting Robotnik’s schemes to subdue and enslave them. Sonic appeared every now and then, Tails a bit more often, but it was basically their story on Saturday morning.

    I suspect it’s the second version Tom hates with such a passion. It wasn’t about Sonic the Hedgehog, but about some girly stuff no real boy would ever be interested in. Unfortunately, not every market carried both versions. Most often the network version would be aired in markets where the syndicated version wasn’t. Less often the network affiliate would carry something other than network programming on Saturday morning. So the interweaving story arcs would be missed.

    Tom to the contrary, it was a good show. Basic plotting, basic characterization, basic humor. All done with care and consideration, and a feel for what young children like, and what their parents would watch with them.

    And Sonic was a responsible young scalawag. That’s what probably killed it for Tom. :D

  49. For you Sherwood Smith fans (obligatory disclosure: she’s a friend of mine and also my TV-writing partner) she’s just had several books come out from a small press, including the prequel to Crown Duel. They’re all sold on Amazon if you search for her name.

  50. OH! JEALOUS! You haz the new Novik! Although I am confused about the others not being in hardback – because all the ones I’ve bought or borrow were hardback, maybe that’s just the UK editions?

    I’ll probably have to wait for the UK version, WAH!

  51. I’ve recieved about a book a row from what you have. The most interesting, and likely to be read sooner than the others is the Liz Williams. The series is pretty fun and has a (mostly to this type of subgenre and American audience) mythology that informs the backdrop.

    What I don’t have from your snapshot is the next Valentine novel, I really like Knight’s series, even if I’m a book behind. Really entertaining stuff there.

    When I recieved the actual final book of the Mr. Fooster my wife said, haven’t you received that book like four times already? Yeah, big marketin push on that one.

  52. I don’t mean the newer sonic one. Sonic Underground was awful. That was the one with two characters they just made up (Sonia and Manic) where they burst into song every so often and were obsessed with chili dogs. Not only was it bizarre, but it wasn’t funny or interesting either. Tails wasn’t involved.

  53. Wait a sec. There were a couple of Sonic shows it appears. There was Sonic Underground, the one John just got that I hated when I was little, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) which I never saw, and then a more recent one based on the Sonic Adventure games (I saw a few of the early episodes and didn’t think much of it, its ultimate fate is unknown to me).

  54. The Nick Harkaway World cover is bad design. Because that’s what I thought the name of the book was. My eye was drawn first to the only clean word–‘world’–which made the away in Gone Away look like a shadow of Harkaway, which made me think that Nick Harkaway was the primary text.

    Guess it goes to show us that it’s not just non-scions who get bad covers.

  55. Oh flickr, that’d be it.
    I’m not at work, I’m just in the lovely open & honest United Arab Emirates.
    There are depraaved people on flickr apparently –
    “We apologize the site you are attempting to visit has been blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates.”
    (got to get me an IP address mask next time I’m back in civilisation – theve blocked Livejournal now!)

  56. I’ve read the first two Road to Vengeance books, and they are actually pretty good (though they second has the feel of a novel that was cut in half and I assume the most recent release is the 2d half of the 2 novel). The author does a good job of showing how psychotic the Viking lifestyle was, as compared to the typical Scandinavian farmer.

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