Just Arrived, 5/8/10
Posted on May 8, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 22 Comments
More books! Wheee!
* Terminal World, by Alastair Reynolds (Ace): On a world where all the humans live in a huge city with segregated technology zones (cool stuff closer to the top, of course), an undercover cop learns he has to leave the city and go into the dangerous, untamed zones beyond, or else — well, you know. Bad things will happen. Out June 1.
* The Waters Rising, by Sherri Tepper (Eos): Oooh! A new Sheri S. Tepper novel! I’ve been a huge fan since Grass, and kind of get annoyed that Tepper is not more celebrated than she is, since I think she’s been one of the more consistently interesting SF/F writers of the last double decade. But don’t mind me, I’m just griping. This book is apparently in the same universe as her 1993 book A Plague of Angels and features a world threatened by rising waters and a cast of characters dealing with the implications therein. This gets bumped to the top of my TBR list. Out in September.
* How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe, by Charles Yu (Pantheon): A time-machine technician goes looking for his father. Which tells you very little about the book because Yu spends a fair amount of time fiddling with conventional novel format in it. Interesting conceptually; I’ll have to dig into it at some point to see if it’s also a good story. Out in September, so I guess I have some time.
* Dragongirl, by Todd McCaffrey (Del Rey): Anne’s son continues the family’s Pern franchise, with this sequel to Dragonheart. This is the fourth solo book for McCaffrey fils, although he and his mother will be collaborating again on a new Pern novel soon, if the publicity information in this ARC is to be believed (and why would it lie?). Out July 27.
* The Heir of Night, by Helen Lowe (Eos): The first book a new fantasy series called “The Wall of Night.” Precis: An ancient terror is gather its forces for a final battle! A plucky young heroine must turn back its dark tide! Oh, and there’s magic, too. Out in October.
* The Queen of Sinister, by Mark Chadbourne (Pyr): The second book of Chadbourne’s “The Dark Age” trilogy, which takes place in a post-magical apocalypse Britain. This time around, a really nasty plague besets the land, and the woman who can help those afflicted isn’t quite herself — well, it’s more like she may be five different people, all in one body. Complications are fun! Listed release date is 6/3, but Amazon says it’s in stock now.
* The Infinity Gate, by Sara Douglass (Eos): The third and final book of the DarkGlass Mountain fantasy series. The heroes of the previous books in the series gear up for a final confrontation against the forces of the evil DarkGlass Mountain. Out in June.
* Distant Thunders, by Taylor Anderson (Roc): The latest installment of the “Destroyermen” series, featuring a US destroyer plunged back through time. I like that one of the day jobs for the author of this series is “forensic ballistic archaeologist.” That’s a gig to have! And useful, no doubt, for this particular series. This one’s out on July 1.
* The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, by Phil Jimenez and John Wells (Del Rey): Everything you could have ever possibly wanted to know about Wonder Woman and her universe — and more! Read closely, now, there will be a quiz. And we’ll be using the Lasso of Truth on you! Out now.
The Queen of Sinister has been out for a few years in the UK, it’s probably that version that Amazon has. It’s a very good read though, Chadbourn’s best and it works as a standalone book. You don’t need to know anything other than the premise to understand it, and even that is handled reasonably well at the start. I’d skip his next novel though, Hounds of Avalon, as it i nothing more than a 500 page prologue for his next series and adds nothing to either Devil in Green or Queen of Sinister.
I’ve always have mixed feelings about Tepper. I have absolutely loved some of her books (particularly “Grass”, “Sideshow”, “A Gate to Women’s Country” and other books written around then) but she has a tendency to get too didactic in my opinion. (Admittedly, the last I read was “The Family Tree”, partly because of this, but probably more because of the “so many books, so little time” thing.)
That plot synopsis for Terminal World raises a good question: What IS the undercover force like in the world of Judge Dredd?
John, the Yu book appears to be entitled “How To Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe,” unless the version you were sent has a modified title. In any case, it sounds like a “metafictional” premise that’s right up my alley.
Darnit! I thought I was done with Reynolds but that sounds too fun not to put my self through the pain.
You lucky dog. The rest of us have to wait a whole ‘nother month for the new Alastair Reynolds! I hope you feel suitably guilty.
New Tepper novel, YES!!!!
@ Steve Burnap: I can see how you would find some of her work too didactic, though I find that her work has become *less* didactic over the years.
I bought Terminal World from Amazon UK a couple of months ago. OTOH, I’m a big Reynolds geek and own all his books in UK hardcover.
I really enjoyed Anderson’s first “Destroyermen” book as I thought he did a really good job with the WW II history and his parallel universe setting (not that surprised to learn he’s a “forensic ballistic archaeologist” as he really seemed to know his antique weapons). In the second one his battle scenes got a bit repetitive for me though. Have to think semi-seriously about this last one.
Well Terminal World was a lot of fun, I liked the combination of sci-fi sub-genres. It is Steampunk but there is a hinting of Reynolds’ usual high-concept sci-fi.
He introduces a new theory on the composition of existence. Straying (I think) from his usual writings that source the physical properties of this world. Being an astrophysist helps him to create a tantalizing new reality (or distorted version of this current one). I’ll say no more, lest I spill the beans :)
Being that the usual order of printing is America > Australia. I’m glad I was able to be one of the first for that one!
Thrilled to hear read about the new Tepper novel. September, where art thou.
So, Terminal World. The plot synopsis I read elsewhere make it sound like a reworking of William Hope Hodgeson’s The Night Lands: far future, last remnants of humanity all reside in huge structure, hero must journey out of structure to save the world. Anyone familiar with both works care to confirm or disprove this hypothesis?
Was lucky enough to read Terminal World in an electronic file of an earlier draft last year. Like most Reynolds, it’s well worth your time.
Great news on a new Sherri Tepper novel- she’s been a long time favourite, although I don’t think that starting with Sideshow the week after I had my kids was my best move.
I’ve also found that she’s become less didactic over the years- I find her writing very similar to Margaret Atwood’s in a lot of ways. There’s a lot there, and while it at times it can sound preachy, there’s generally a great sense of irony and humour behind it. I’m always surprised when there’s a discussion about women authors in SF and she is not included.
I can’t really be sorry about a new Todd McCaffery novel…one of my daughters is very into Pern, and out of all of the ‘family’ inheritors of series (Brian Herbert *cough*), at least he’s not massacring the canon. It’s better than Twilight.
In re Tepper: I loved GRASS, but a friend of mine stopped speaking to me when I told her I thought that GIBBON’s DECLINE AND FALL was a huge disappointment. Actually, the words I used were “heavy-handed crap with cardboard villains who do everything but twirl their mustachios and cackle evilly”. This put me off Tepper for a while. New one sounds interesting though.
In re McCaffery: It’s better than Twilight.
High praise indeed.
JD Rhoades@15: That’s about where I am. I’ve been meaning to try a newer one…sounds like I should.
I swore – literally – that I would never read another Todd McCaffrey book. Maybe one co written with his mom, but I’d have to take a long look at it first, but absolutely no more by Todd solo. He can’t plot, write, mold character or come up with an original idea. Bah. I hoped, for a while he would “get it” and the books would improve but not so, sadly. I now see the Pern series as closed with the books by the original author, Anne, and the rest are just kindnesses mom allows her kid and are not to be considered valid. Other (better) writers probably could do a good, interesting job of writing about Pern if it was opened to be a shared storyline, but Anne hasn’t wanted that. It’s all too bad, really.
“How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional World” is a bizarre book. In a world of Robert Heinlein’s ‘fictons’, Charles Yu searches for his father in Universe at some odd angle from ours. He has a dog who ontologically at least doesn’t exist, but is good company for all that, and running his time machine is an AI named Tammy with self-esteem issues. This time machine seems closer to a TARDIS is some aspects. Ah well.
It is a rather slender volume, but so far it has been a fun read.
I’ll be reviewing it shortly on my Bewildering Stories website.
I am horribly jealous that you have the new Tepper book so far in advance. But I’m thrilled to know that it really exists! Thanks for the teaser/info.
I have heard good reviews of Alastair Reynolds. George RR Martin really liked one of his books. I look forward to reading him this summer.
One of my favorites Tepper’s, and the first I read, is “The Revenants” (1984). Worth finding a copy if you can.
All these sound cool. I totally agree with you about Tepper.