The Book Haul, 6/27/08
Posted on June 27, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 39 Comments
What came in this week?
* I’m really excited to get Cycler, which is the first novel of my good pal Lauren McLaughlin, and which has a hell of a premise, which you might be able to infer from the cover, and the apparel of the model — and if you can’t infer it, I’m not going to spoil it for you, not in the least because Lauren is going to come back to pen a Big Idea piece on the book this August. But come on. It’s all there on the cover, people! Figure it out!
* Ghostgirl started off online, became hugely popular, got a book deal, blah blah blah… yes, yes, all very nice, well done you, Tonya Hurley. What impresses me about the book, actually, is the actual book design, which includes a transparent panel in the shape of a coffin and is otherwise fairly gothtastic, up to and including the liberal use of pink (which, I have been assured by people in the know, is an advanced goth color. I know my daughter made a beeline toward the book when she saw it, which suggests the people packaging this thing know how to appeal to an audience. This is also an August book.
* First thought on seeing Shadow of the Scorpion, aside from “cool, new Asher,” was “holy crap that’s the biggest flea I’ve ever seen.” This is a Polity novel, so fans of the series have something to live for this July. Arriving at the same time, and from the same publisher, Incandescence, by Greg Egan, which also comes out in July but is already available in the UK. Man, I hate having to wait, just because I’m American. I know, the rest of you out there in the world are not sympathetic. Of course, I don’t actually have to wait, because I have the ARC. But still.
* Busted! isn’t actually a book, it’s the first issue of Fray, which is, as it describes itself “a quarterly of true stories and original art.” This particular issue has as its subject people getting caught doing things, mostly things they probably ought not to have been caught doing. Their web site contains excerpts. I recommend this one as choice bit of stupidity and well-deserved comeuppance. It’s interesting stuff. Mind you, I remember Fray.com from back in the day. Those were times, I will tell you, once you get off my goddamn lawn, you damn kids.
* The record for ARC sent furthest in advance for 2008 goed to Alembical, an anthology of four novellae written by Jay Lake, Bruce Taylor, James Van Pel and Ray Vukcevich, which won’t be out for another six months (technically it will debut at World Fantasy, which is in late November, but still). Haven’t gotten into the book yet, but the fact that Jay Lake has extruded yet another story causes me to fear him even more. He’s a perpetual motion writing machine. You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. In, uh, pages. Yes, that’s it.
Thoughts/comments on any of the books here?
Cycler…? Ahhhh and ewwww!
The cover picture for the short story kind of ruins the punchline a bit, but yeah, that kid got just about everything he deserved for that one. Too bad his girlfriend didn’t, too (public service indeed).
And not that I think the author had any say in the cover art for the book, or that it’s in any way indicative of said book’s quality, but I’ll be glad when the “crop her head/half her face off the cover” trend is over. Maybe she’ll get her face back for the general release the way Charlie did for the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s How To Ditch Your Fairy. But hey, no judging books by their covers and all that–I’m sure it’s quite a read.
I’m excited for the new Egan book. I also wish they’d reprint Permutation City. I had to sell my copy when I moved back to the States from Israel ages ago, and didn’t think to look for a new one until it was already out of print.
Um, I have several guesses for Cycler… but none that really gel as definitive from the cover.
– Vampire who recycles unattractive under garments
– Woman cyclist competing in a mans world.
– Transgender body part stealer.
– Woman with serious menstruation issues.
You know, you just reminded me that I have been meaning to pick up a Daniel Silva book for a long time now. But the way I do things with a new (to me) author is start from the beginning which means It’ll probably be a while before I get to “Moscow Rules”
The problem, of course, is that first I’ll have to read the new Michael Connelly and Robert Crais books first.
And by then, I’ll probably forget again.
I thought the beheaded-woman-on-the-cover craze was supposed to be over.
I have been waiting on the new Asher for a while, but it is a bit anticlimactic since the main Cormac saga ended two months ago, at least it did if you had access to British books. This is a small side trip like Prador Moon last year, though it will still top my reading list like all of his work.
Really enjoyed Egan’s Dark Integers recently.
Cycler, eh, is she one of the servants from the Village? The sign from far away reminded me of their giant bike logos. The cover actually reminds me of laundry, but not in the Stross sense, or does it? Either that or she juggles detachable body parts.
That Alembic cover looks mighty tasty to me. All faux medieval…
Though, the most intriguing one for me is “The Pisstown Chaos.” Wazzat????
Sarah Vowell had a hilarious piece on the radio a few years ago about diving into Goth culture. She told how she inadvertently impressed her new friends by choosing pink as the key color in her new wardrobe, and then thoroughly awed them with her choice of a nickname: “Debbie.”
*Alembical, that is.
OK, stupid question. What genre is “Moscow Rules”?
Supernatural fantasy? Mystery? Thriller?
Every time I see “Moscow” now I think of the “Nightwatch” series, which I loved.
Random Michelle K:
It’s a thriller.
The ARC for Ghostgirl came in a coffin shaped box. With gummi bears and temporary tattoos. (The gummi bears are integral to the plot apparently.) It is, without a doubt, the best packaging of an ARC ever.
A few months ago, I received three arcs for a vampire novel that came with a small fuzzy bat, a pen shaped like a coffin that opened, and a foam garlic clove. Each of the items had the title of a different one of the books.
I like Silva quite a lot. Good writing and, hey, the agent who serves as his protagonist is an art restorer… I’m reading the paperback of Secret Servant which has an excerpt from Moscow Rules in the back and it sounds pretty good.
I’m pretty sure Alembical will have an image on the cover when it’s not an ARC *g*.
I just received my copy yesterday, and I’m eager to read what the other three authors came up with. The idea of four novellas in one book all written specifically for that project was exciting.
Scalzi – how many books do you read a week/per year? It seems to me that you wouldn’t have enough time to read all these books.
JLR @ 4: You is correct. Well one of your guesses is.
Cycler‘s one of the best books I’ve read this year. You’re in for a treat, Mr Scalzi.
Speaking of Asher, does anyone know why the availability of the Cormac books so spotty here in the U.S.? I don’t see any indication when Line War will have a U.S. edition, and the Tor website only lists US editions of the first and third novel in the series. If Asher had a UK-only publisher, I’d understand that it takes time to line up a US publisher, but this is Tor. What’s up?
If you have too many, and need a place to send any of them, I’d be pleased to give them a nice home…
What’s The Pisstown Chaos? Inquiring minds want to know.
Disclosure: I’m a friend of Derek Powazek and told him he should send you Fray. The original site is what got me writing on the web, which is what got me writing, period.
Oh, and put me on the Pisstown bandwagon. What the hell is it about?
For everyone wondering about Pisstown Chaos, here’s more information from the publisher, Softskull Press.
New. Greg. Egan. Book. Must. Buy. Now.
I’ve been busy, so it’s no shock that I missed its release, but … I’ve been waiting for this book for nigh on a decade now.
Well, aphrael, if you’re in the US, you’ll have to wait a couple more weeks.
Not so; certain online booksellers will happily ship non-US versions to me.
I’m consumed with jealousy that you have an advance copy of Incandescence. I ordered it months ago, with the desperate hope that it would indeed turn up in May, as first promised by the publisher. Now I’ve got to wait for at least another month. And this is after reading “Riding the Crocodile”, the wonderful prequel that Egan published online months ago. I long to understand the nature of the Aloof!
I’ve read some Egan, who can be described with the rubric “hard sci-fi” I guess. I remember thinking it was cool that his post-singularity (in the broadest sci-fi sense of that word) fully aware AI characters were fully adult when they were issued their first public-private keypair.
When it became clear that Nightshade wasn’t going to get Incandescence out anywhere near on time, I cracked and had a UK copy shipped over. It’s awesome to finally have a new Egan novel. I’ll admit, though, this one isn’t a favorite — even by Egan standards, it has *long* stretches of math-thought-experimentation and very incremental narrative progression. On the other hand, those who really enjoy digging into the mathematics will probably get more out of it than I did.
(and hey, any Egan is better than none!)
So I went over to see what Cycler was all about.
I can’t wait to read that.
I’m betting Cycler is a cyclic hermaphrodite akin to Breeds of Man by FM Busby http://www.amazon.com/Breeds-Man-F-M-Busby/dp/0553270087
Figure wearing both bra and boxer shorts; title “Cycler” with double-pointed arrow.
I surmise: protagonist who cycles back and forth between male and female states.
Cover overall looks aimed towards young, modern literary audience. LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS for Yuppies?
Albemcal caught my eye. Looking forward to that one.
Cycler sounds like it has the potential to either be really, really amazing or totally blow chunks. Are there any advance reviews of it anywhere?
Cycler most definitely does not blow chunks.
Wow, thanks for the Breeds of Man clue, Erik. I’ll be sure to check it out. And thanks, Justine, for saying my book does not blow chunks. I was explicitly trying to not blow chunks.
John kindly offered the link, but just a couple of words on The Pisstown Chaos. It’s by David Ohle who has maybe 300 fans on the planet, but they number amongst them Shelley Jackson, Ben Marcus, Brian Evenson, Ed Park…so if any of those folks are your bag, Ohle is very much your bag…