Just Arrived, 5/7/10
Posted on May 7, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 22 Comments
Once again, many of these didn’t actually just arrive; some of these showed up whilst I was traipsing about the North American continent recently. But hey! I’m all about catching up!
* For the Win, by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen): In which Cory imagines what is essentially an underage proletariat uprising in the world of massive multiplay online role playing games. That Cory Doctorow. He’s such a geek. This is another YA from Cory, who I think has really found his stride as a fiction writer in that field; it really suits him and the tales he likes to tell. And of course like much of the best YA, you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it, which comes as a relief to this days-away-from-41-year-old. The book will be out next Tuesday (which means, as a practical matter, that your local bookstore may already have it), and Cory’s also starting his North American book tour next week.
* The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Anchor Books): The trade paperback version of Zafon’s bestseller, in which a struggling author gets a book deal from a publisher that’s too good to be true… and what do you know! It is! Man, writers never get a break. Out 5/18.
* Little Vampire Women, by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina (Harper Teen): Yeah, Little Women and vampires. You know the drill on these things by now. Out in bookstores.
* The Hittite, by Ben Bova (Forge): You know, just the other day I was saying to myself, hey, why don’t I see very many books about Hittites? They were a perfectly cromulent historical civilization! And then, bam, this book shows up on my doorstep. See? The Secret was right! (Note: The Secret isn’t right.) And actually the book is less about the Hittites than a single Hittites who, while on a quest to find his stolen family, comes across a battle at a little town called… Troy. Now we’re talking! Out now.
* 137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession (Norton): Very recently I seem to have gotten on the radar of non-fiction publishers, particularly those who have books of a scientific bent. To which I say: Awesome. More please. This book, for example, looks at the friendship between physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, and their mutual fascination with the number 137, which apparently has some mystical import. And now I just know I’m going to see the number 137 everywhere I go. Scheduled for 5/17 but Amazon says it’s out now, so you tell me who you’re going to believe.
* Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality, by Manjit Kumar (Norton): In which the two titans of 20th Century Physics went at it on the subject of the very fabric of existence! Kind of like scientific luchadores! Well, not very much like that at all, actually. But that’s a hell of an image I just put into your head. The real question is whether this book will be as entertaining as the Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Puppets. We can hope. This one is out 5/24.
* Metrophilias, by Brendan Connell (Better Non Sequitur Press): Thirty six short stories about thirty six cities. That’s one short story for each city, mind you, not thirty six for each city. Because that would be 1,296 short stories overall. And that’s, like, a lot for one book. Out now.
* The Liar’s Lullaby, by Meg Gardiner (Dutton): Edgar Winner Gardiner is back with a new thriller featuring forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, who has to uncover the mystery of a musician’s death — a death with national political implications. Which are some of the best kind of implications! Gardiner will be along in June with a Big Idea about this book, which — not at all coincidentally — will also be out in June.
* The Ambassador’s Mission, by Trudi Canavan (Orbit): The first in the new “Traitor Spy Trilogy,” which is itself set in the world of Canavan’s “Black Magician Trilogy”. In this books, a magician is called upon to find another magician who is killing the thieves of Imardin, sparking an underworld war. Out 5/18.
* The Stuff of Legend, Book I: The Dark, by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III (Villard): In this graphic novel, set in 1944, the Boogeyman steals a child, and the child’s toy decide to get him back. Go, toys! Go! Out now.
I am very pleased to see the underserved constituency of ancient Near Eastern history SF/F fans get a book aimed at them! REPRESENT!
Oh, and I suppose the rest of them look interesting as well.
I hope you noticed that May 17 is the 137th day of the year (except leap years).
I’m especially amused by which day of the year 137 is scheduled for.
I’m so stoked that Cory is coming locally for two (TWO!) events to support FTW. The Cary (NC) Barnes and Noble on Saturday May 22 at 4, and Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books on Sunday May 23 at 1. I’m not sure about FTW specifically for my interests, and hopefully he’ll be willing to sign MAKERS.
Of this list, “The Hittites,” the two Norton books, and the Orbit book are the most interesting. I enjoyed Zafon’s “The Shadow of the Wind” but “The Angel’s Game” was… I don’t know. Too “meta” or something for me.
The Trudi Canavan one is actually already out in dead tree hardback – the overpriced kindle edition was evidently embargo’d for 2 weeks though, til the 18th.
Too bad she has a publisher that isn’t actually, you know, interested in selling books.
Little Vampire Women, by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina (Harper Teen)
Is it just me, or has the joke worn way thin, entirely too quickly? I mean, seriously, nice concept, once. Maybe. But it’s a throw away idea – the sort of thing you expect to find as a footnote – perhaps as part of a list of rejected books in a Jasper Fforde novel. Are people actually reading these things?
Actually, the Hittites were very imperfectly cromulent—while the Hittites did invent the cromulus, the Hittite design was inherently unstable. So even though the Assyrians and Babylonians built many fewer cromuluses, all of the surviving examples come from those later civilizations.
a) Niels Bohr would have distracted the referee, hit Einstein over the head with Hawking’s chair, gotten the 1-2-3 when the ref finally turned back around and been declared the new champion of the world (if it indeed exists).
b) wtf is a cromulus? I hate it when I’m missing the joke.
Thanks for the heads up on Trudi’s new one. Hadn’t realized it was available.
137? I was off by 100? Damn.
How the hell does NC rate two visits by Cory, yet he isn’t coming anywhere near DC. I cry foul!
COD: NC *is* near DC! Cary is just a short train-ride away, and not a bad one, not many stops. Or it could be just “vengeance is mine” because Lev Grossman is going to DC and not (yet?) to NC in support of “The Magicians” in trade paperback. Which is, like, totally unfair and stuff.
By near DC I mean I can reasonably drive there to meet Cory and buy the book, and still sleep in my own bed that night. Charlotte and Raleigh are 4-5 hours each way! And really, I would much he go to Richmond VA, then I don’t even have to fight DC traffic! I’m selfish that way :)
Sam@4: I had a similar reaction to “Angel’s Game”. I enjoyed it and am glad that I read it, but where “Shadow of the Wind” felt more playful, AG seemed to take itself a lot more seriously, to its ultimate detriment.
I hope that they keep translating Zafon, though. Even if AG wasn’t as good as SofW, they were good enough in combination to keep me coming back.
Have you tried “The Club Dumas” by Arturo Perez-Reverte? Kinda sorta what AG might have been if it hadn’t been so concerned with itself.
My son will love the Doctorow, and I’m pretty excited about anything to do with Hittites. So, yay.
#8 martin, a cromulus is a device for measuring cromulence (technically it detect cromulons, which are, of course, the fundamental particles of cromulence).
Little Vampire Women?
Hopefully that flash in the pan will end very soon.
I mentioned “A Tale of Two Cities Destroyed by Godzilla” on Twitter a few days ago and I still do not have a book deal. So maybe the monster mash-up thing is over. Maybe.
Silly man. Godzilla is under copyright!
I’m not aware of 137’s mystical import, but it definitely has physics import. (137.036, to be precise.) The reciprocal of it is a physical constant, a pure number having to do with the strength of electromagnetic interactions.
I remember reading somewhere that it was originally thought to be 136, and Arthur Stanley Eddington concocted some explanation as to why it had to be exactly 136, then it was measured to be 137 and he hunted around until he found a place where he figure he was off by one. (But it’s not exactly 137 either.)
@ AlanM #16
Thank you for that comprehensive explanation. A cromulus detects cromulons in order to measure cromulence. I get it. Of course, if I knew what cromulence was…..
FYI the Fine Structure Constant (a unitless mix of fundamental constants) is almost exactly 1/137.
Also, the ‘blackout’ in Flashforward was 137 seconds, so RJS is a fan too :)