Today’s New Book Arrivals

In a small reversal from usual trends, the lower five titles are UK releases, so those of you in the US, look upon them and weep (although I suspect most if not all will be eventually released in the US, if they haven’t been already). The top three are from US publishers, however.

Tell me what you see that you wouldn’t mind having for yourself.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

81 replies on “Today’s New Book Arrivals”

“Great North Road” is fantastic, just finished that one last month (It was released in the U.S. on January 1st). “Misspent Youth” is good, and is a prequel to Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga. That one is quite a few years old.

I have both the Noon books in hardcover. I don’t remember how I discovered him, but damn, those books go down like fine wine every couple of years. Great, great books.

The Sawyer book appeals to me a lot, though. Just finished his oeuvre and Sweet Jeebus, he’s a fine writer.

For one second, I was like “what, a Stross I don’t know?”. Then I realized it was the first Merchant Princes Omnibus…

Misspent Youth is… not up to par with the rest of Hamilton. Failed to hold me, and failed to hold anybody I know who read it.

Good to see Jeff Noon being reedited.

Delurking to say: oooo, Robert J Sawyer newness. Shiny. It may be from a US publisher, but yay (good) Canadian author. I’m a Canadian school librarian and I’m always trying to wave good CDN books at the kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with other stuff, it’s just that my students get so saturated with all things American that I try to keep them aware of what’s also going on with books from here.
Also, Sawyer’s books are just good in general, even if they’re not quite of an appropriateness level to wave at my elementary students.

“Great North Road“ is a good book. Mr. Hamilton mixes the usual ingredients: high tech, alien menace, rich and powerful men, sex and beautiful girls. This novel is a bit different because it has less teenagers and it is just one volume. On my Peter F. Hamilton scale, I would say: a four out of five.

Having read Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, I’d be curious to see what the two Peter F. Hamilton books were like. I’d say I had mixed feelings about the aforementioned books but they had enough interesting elements that I’d be willing to try one or two more PFH novels.

Vurt and Pollen are two books that made a huge impact regarding the types of Sci-Fi books I gravitate towards. Those two, Farewell Horizontal and Spares were all books I checked out from the Library when I was still in highschool and the memories have stuck with me during the decade between then and now.

+n to the Jeff Noon love – those are both awesome books, Pixel Juice is also fabulous. Not read them in two decades but I think they’ll stand up.

I think he stopped writing, which is a shame – he is really good at evoking places.

And I’m really not a fan of Stross’s Merchant Prince series – kind of/sort of cut-rate Amber, really not my thing – maybe I’m not into economics enough! His other books, on the other hand, I like a lot.

I’d have to go Red Planet Blues – brilliant title, and the Hugo and Nebula awarded author is promising (am not familiar with the author offhand); and Sharp – because hey, sci-fi and mystery-ish? What’s not to like? (My fave book in HS was a collection of short story sci-fi mysteries, each representing a diff classic mystery trope (is that the right word?), like locked room mystery. I’d love to read it again but sadly don’t remember enough to track it down.)

(Yes, I use parentheses too much (that’s not a problem, is it?).)

Sweet, Jeff Noon rereleases. I’d read Vurt some years ago, but then couldn’t find anything else of his. I did not realize they were quite so old, which is cool. And is that new Sawyer up top? Hadn’t heard about that yet. And, and, and … that seems to be a quality stack right there :)

Spine design:

First: Red Planet Blues
Second: Appalachian Overthrow
Third: none

Big Loser: none

Big point deductions for Stross and Hamilton. I don’t like covers or spines that showcase the author ahead of the title and art. I get that an author’s name sells books, but people that are into an author are going to find their books just fine. People that are just looking for a good book don’t need or appreciate the author’s name hogging the marquee at the expense of good design.

(And if I pick up a book and find pitches for the author’s other titles on the back instead of the one I’m looking at – I’m putting it down.)

Jeff Noon! I can’t wait for those books to be reissued in the US, especially as ebooks. @Chris, Noon actually just released a book (possibly ebook only?) called CHANNEL SK1N. He’s definitely one of my favorite people to follow on twitter–not only does he interact with people (and very kindly), but he also has been doing some interesting microfiction experiments with his twitter account and another one (@echovirus) that he’s collaborating on with a couple of other people, i believe.

Anyway, VURT had a huge impact on teenaged me when it came out, and i’m incredibly happy to see it rereleased.

Anger. Fury. Rant.
Why in hell do these publishers make it so hard and expensive to get UK published books here on the other side of the pond?
There was a time when an outfit named The Book Depository would ship any UK published book, FREE! They still do except for every SF book I want to buy. Some of the better writers in the UK like John Meaney and Gary Gibson are no longer available at The Book Depository. Some them are available at Amazon-UK, with shipping costs equal to the book price.

Has anyone found a way to buy UK-only published books without paying international shipping? Even eBooks?

Rick York –
Here you go:

The first listing is a place I’ve gotten books from before. John Gwynne’s “Malice” and Terry Pratchett’s “A Blink of the Screen” are the most recent, in December. Both published in the UK, neither available in the US yet. The shipping was a little slow, but not too expensive, and the books were unread like new condition. Very happy with them, and I will try them again the next time I see a book published in the UK that isn’t available here yet.

My foray into Hamilton’s writing was the Reality Dysfunction series. I liked it for the most part though I completely understood those who couldn’t stomach it. Based on an interesting idea that gets a little excessive then peters out (no pun intended) at the end. How has his more recent books been in comparison?

“Red Planet Blues” definitely. I had previously read the short story “Identity Theft” that Sawyer expanded into the novel, and heard him read from the book at Chicon. Have been looking forward to it since then.

Phrases such as “award-winning author,” “national best-selling author,” etc., are huge turnoffs for me, especially on the spine. If I’m buying a book, I expect to own it for years and don’t want to have to see promotional language whenever I look at it – the book’s enduring value (if it has any) lies elsewhere. Nor can I really believe any author is happy with such treatment; it’s so goddamn crass and undignified. Of course I would like to hear about any author who does like spine text of this sort.

In addition to being a Scalzi fan, I am a fan of Peter F. Hamilton’s books. I haven’t picked up Great North Road yet, but I am definitely looking forward to reading it. I enjoyed Misspent Youth, but I’ve reread the Nightsdawn Trilogy several times. So much tech! So many great ideas!

I enjoyed the hell out of Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy and I’m currently reading Pandora’s Star, to be followed immediately after by Judas Unchained. Gratuitous, tasteless sex scenes aside, I think he might be fast becoming one of my favorite space opera writers. The man can pack more thought-provoking sci-fi ideas into a single novel to easily create 10 more.

@k8 – awesome news on Jeff Noon, I’ll keep an eye out.

PFH I think has issues with endings, I usually find them a little weak, but at least he doesn’ end everything with a titanic space battle. But I still read all his work, even though the right wing political slant gets grating. I just have to read some old Ken McLeod for ideological balance (back before he went crap, i.e pre Engines of Light)

Misspent Youth is a really old book (like over a decade old). It’s from before all the other Commonwealth books (sets up the universe but is not essential). I wonder why they send it to you now. I liked it but most people didn’t (probably because main protagonist isn’t very likeable). Great North Road is new but it’s also been out in US for a while. I need to go and read that when I finish with my current pile.

I love me some Peter F. Hamilton. But I strongly suggest anyone new to him NOT begin with Misspent Youth. It was a prequel only in the very loose sense of exploring the earliest days of the rejuvenation treatment central to his Commonwealth Saga, and was otherwise about what might happen if an old genius were suddenly the same age as his young son. The best intro to Hamilton, IMHO, is Pandora’s Star. Also, know that it and the sequel, Judas Unchained, are really one big chopped-up novel.

Appalachian Overthrow caught my eye, along with Red Planet Blues. I keep feeling very envious of all those books that come your way, but I don’t envy all the book reviews that you have to write to keep them coming.

Really glad Jef Noon is getting reprinted, I was worried a few years ago as at an art exhibit in London with a post-apocalyptic feel they were using old trashed remainder books as props, and half of them were copies of Vurt and Pollen! He;s a good writer and John, i hope you try one of them if you have time, its a very British sort of SF and I enjoyed it a lot.

Ugh, why must Peter F Hamilton continue to consume two months of my life at a time by turning out those bricks? OK, I wouldn’t keep doing if if I didn’t enjoy it, but when I saw that chunk of pulp, I immediately thought “there goes 8 weeks.”
It probably won’t float to the top of my reading list until sometime in 2014 though.

I really enjoyed Great North Road, but dear Lord, it’s a big bastard of a book. Takes a bit of time to get going, but fits absolutely everything together so very neatly. After the rather disappointing ‘Void’ novels I thought it a real return to form.
Misspent Youth on the other hand is getting on for ten years old, rather slight and not something I’d bother re-reading.

“Phrases such as “award-winning author,” “national best-selling author,” etc., are huge turnoffs for me, especially on the spine.”

I agree with you on this. That an author is a New York Times best-seller does not impress me. It won’t decrease your chances with me, but it isn’t going to score points. And on the spine! Seriously! I did note that the two spines I like had these tag lines, and they are the only two titles in the stack that use them.

I’m actually pretty okay with “Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Author” on “Red Planet Blues”. It looks pretty classy there and actually imparts very useful information to people who know what those are.

“National Bestselling Author” with “E. E. White” means nothing and is just stupid. Nice spine design though.

Getting ready to read the latest Sawyer (always up for his latest, whatever it may be). I gather that I’ve already read the Stross in its original iterations as The Merchant Princes. The rest are authors I’m not that familiar with. :)

Pretty much everything, with the following in Order:

Stross (although I’ve read all the Merchant Princes, so if it is just the collection, put at end)
Hamilton (GNR first)

This is the best set I’ve seen on here in a while.

The E.E. Knight book. Although the series is getting pretty long it’s a huge deal in my household since it’s a series of books we discuss at breakfast or dinner.

I’ve had Sawyer’s books on my to-read list for a while now.

I do love coming to this blog and finding new authors and books to read.

Vurt was written a long time ago. I remember reading it in Aruba (my only vacation in 10-15 years) in the 1990’s…I think Pollen was written a long time ago too. I’m a bit confused on the books; these aren’t newly published but just what people think to send to you?

I like the Stross books. However, if they are not yet released in the US, you can always
order them at You have to pay postage, but they will send you the book…

I did not enjoy The Great North Road as much as Hamilton’s other works, but perhaps I should give it another go. I would like to get Misspent Youth as I think its the only Hamilton book I don’t have besides the Commonwealth guide.

Hi mr Scalzi, the next time you post a stack like this, would it be possible to add some kind of text representation to go along with the picture? I only ask as i’m blind, and thus have no idea of the titles in your pictures. Thank you.

Hi John,

Great group of authors! Looking forward to Red Planet Blues. Met Rob at his book launch in TO a few years ago and was moved to read him even more afterwards (fiction and non fiction). He’s funny, and includes hard science ideas while writing engaging characters. I was drawn into reading his books by encountering his presence in other forms of media (radio/TV).

Similarly, I started reading your work after getting hooked by Whatever. * I Laughed my way thru Redshirts BYW. Got the Tshirt too. Thanks. I hope You’ll make it to TO sometime.

I’ve never been disapppointed by Stross. I’ll keep his book until a weekend so I can luxuriate in finishing it.

I remember picking VURT up from the library because it had a neon pink/yellow cover and drew the eye. It was a pleasant surprise and I went on to read two more before exhausting the library loan program’s selection. Never heard of him again till now.

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