Today’s Books and ARCs, 9/25/14

A nice selection of books to take you into the weekend. What looks good to you in this stack? Let me know in the comments.

52 Comments on “Today’s Books and ARCs, 9/25/14”

  1. I love XCKD but held off on buying What If. Is there much new in it that’s he hadn’t already posted online?

  2. Just looked up Three-Body Problem on Amazon. It looks like the book concept is as jazzy as the name.

  3. Dark Defiles. Very jealous, too busy to pick it up right now so I’m waiting till next week. A Land Fit for Heroes is my favorite modern fantasy to recommend to people. It’s a little like getting them a box and saying “It’s got something fuzzy inside.” They think it’s a kitten or similar and it’s actually a spider. On closer inspection the spider turns out to be an amazing, if somewhat bizarre pet.

  4. I also looked up “The Three-Body Problem” on amazon. I found two books and now I want them both.
    On the other hand, I did know beforehand about the actual Three-Body Problem.
    In real life, I am content with having found an explicit solution to the Two-Body Problem.

  5. Currently just finished The Steel Remains and have started listening to The Cold Commands, so Dark Defiles is something I want (and will have in a couple weeks.) I’m liking Morgan’s fantasy so far, though it does, for an author who is an avowed anti-neoliberal, seem like his characters like to use violence or the threat of it as a first resort. At times I wonder Morgan is setting the reader up for a table turn, wherein his putative protagonists are revealed to be the main threat in the narrative; perhaps he is actually doing that. Anyway, I’m interested to see where the rest of the series goes; I’ve been waiting to read it now for 5 years. (I don’t read series until the final book is near publication.)

  6. I’ve got Horns, The Dark Defiles, and The Three-Body Problem (the last two courtesy of NetGalley), and am debating which to start next. Morgan’s work is awesome, and I’m currently behind on this latest series, so maybe that’ll be next. Just have to read The Cold Commands first.

  7. What if is awesome. Yes, I’ve already seen some of it online, but it’s great to have it in book form.

  8. I’d like to reach through my screen to pluck out ,The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus.

    Also, interesting title, The Septic Circle.

    Golden Son sounds downright royal.

  9. _What If_ has quite a few entries that aren’t online. I’m not sure what the fraction is (1/3? 1/2?), but it’s a fun read.

  10. What if… there was a way to get people to see that science can be fun.
    What if… there was a cool way to get people to think critically.
    What if… there was a way someone could take their infinite curiosity and turn it into a career.
    What if… there was a way to show that art and science are not mutually exclusive.

    Now that would be a book I’d pay money for. Probably one for myself and one for my dad.

  11. You should read Way of Kings/Words of Radiance by Brian Sanderson. Fantasy, so normally not my cup of tea, but really good writing.

  12. The Three Body Problem and What If are the ones I’m most interested in. I’m seeing a lot of love for The Dark Defiles, though, which makes me curious about it.

  13. Richard K Morgan wrote some of my absolute favorites. His fantasy stuff doesn’t do it for me though. I read The Steel Remains and hoped he’d go back to SF noir.

    You guys have talked me into What If?

    The saying in my office used to be “There’s a Dilbert for that”. Now it’s “There’s an XCKD for that”

  14. I can’t wait to check out The Idea Thesaurus.

    Richard K. Morgan, bringing back “gritty” one torture scene at a time! I like his SF Noir much better even if it did turn my stomach sometimes.

    Is Horns a reprint/movie tie-in?

  15. The Septic Circle, from its reviews on Goodreads, sounds amusing.

    I suspect a fair number of people may find the title off-putting, though. It’s meant as a play on the word “skeptic”, and the story is a comedy about a group of paranormality enthusiasts. But “septic”, without some strong indicators otherwise, doesn’t have many amusing connotations.

    (The reason I checked for further info about the book is that Hilde was hospitalized twice in 2009 for septic infections, and we’ve known several people who died way too early from “It’s just a bad case of flu” that turned into runaway septic infections. So “Septic” in the book’s title had me braced for something grim and serious, not a comedy.)

  16. I just gave my son a copy of What If for his birthday. He and I both read the column every Tuesday and even if the articles aren’t new I feel great about supporting Munroe.

  17. I’ve already read Horns, although I’m reminded that I need to get around to watching the movie.

    Randall Munroe is always guaranteed fun.

    I don’t recognize anything else. I guess the Writer’s Idea Thesaurus looks interesting, but I’m not a writer.

  18. What If? is fantastic… got it as a birthday present from close friends and it’s just a blast to read (even if most of it I’d already read online)

  19. I amalready through “What If”. I bought it though i knew most stories from his web page. Primary reason was to support the author.

    New were only unpublished questions and short but funny comments on them.

  20. Horns is on my iPad, Dark Defiles is on pre-order, and Munroe is on my wishlist. That idea book looks intriguing. In summary, best stack I’ve seen here that matches my tastes.

  21. I reviewed an ARC of The Steel Remains for my friend’s book review blog. It was not bad, but not fantastic, either. Got turned down for The Three-Body Problem, though, so I’m looking forward to when it comes out for real.

  22. A bit off topic, but I just received my copy of “Unlocked” in the mail today and it’s BEAUTIFUL.

  23. @MilesArcher

    The ‘What If’ book claims to be 51% new. I haven’t checked that, but it doesn’t feel implausible — and it’s pretty much guaranteed that *some* XKCD readers have checked and would have made a fuss if it wasn’t true.

  24. So jealous to see “the dark defiles” on this list!

    Richard K Morgan is to fantasy what Peter F Hamilton is to space opera, to me. That is, my favorite working author in the field.

  25. The physics major in me gets all excited over What If and the Three-Body Problem (for the title as I know nothing else about it)

  26. Got What If on pre-order and can confirm that’s 50/50 new/old. Mind you, it’s pretty much worth getting just for the front, back and inside cover blurbs! Not that I’ve been able to get past the front cover. My husband snaffled it shortly after arrival and I haven’t been able to get near it since…

  27. I’m curious how What If handles the mouseover text in book form. Does he just leave it off entirely? Because that would be sad.

  28. Squeee! The Dark Defiles! Richard Morgan really is great: there is very little of his that I do not love. I will just put in a word here though for Market Forces: neither one of his cyperpunky-space-opera-MilFic-Kovacs type books nore one of this fantasy series. It remains a great idea and a biting satire.

  29. Did I miss something? Cold Commands has the (anti-) hero ordering a gang rape of a woman that lasts two chapters. At the end, he then kills her once they are done with her. Can someone please explain how this is acceptable?

  30. But that’s the thing, Mr. Morgan. I -had- enjoyed all six of your previous books. Devoured the Takeshi Kovacs series and hunted down Market Forces and Thirteen. When Steel Remains came out, I ate that up the week it came out. That scene in Cold Commands stopped me. I won’t finish the series and I will pick up any new books with great trepidation. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, you (like Mr. Scalzi ) won’t lose sleep over the gentle sensitivities of losing one reader. What amazes me (and what I meant by the “how is this acceptable”) is that given the general tone and scope of Whatever (both the author and the readers), that there are this many people cheering, “yay, more gang rape!” Does not compute in my head.

  31. HORNS is very enjoyable…especially the first half…and that major movie release is just around the corner.

  32. I really want to read Golden Son. Red Rising inspired me to start a blog, and write reviews as I felt I should be giving something back to the Authors. Since then I have written many reviews and hopefully helped move some books to people who needed a good read. John if you ever consider selling that I would love to be let know.

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