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INTERVIEWS

Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded

RECENT REVIEWS

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Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Happy New Year - Reading Resolutions for 2010


Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful or peaceful night depending on your tastes. If I may be so bold I'd also like to suggest everyone make a reading resolution of some sort.  Whether that be to try an author you've been meaning to, finish a series you started, or finally pick-up that book that has been sitting around on the shelves for 3 or more years.  Below are my reading resolutions.

Next year I'm going to attempt to:
  • Read more Science Fiction including some of the suggestions from commenters on this post.
  • Read more short story collections and anthologies.
Read more books from my shelves including:
  • Charles Stross's first two Laundry Files, because they sound so cool.
  • The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick, because the idea of a whole city on a ship intrigues me.
  • The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan, because Morgan's Altered Carbon was so damn good.
  • The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, because Warbreaker was so good.
  • Shadow Falls by Simon R. Green, because it keeps getting mentioned in the Nightside series.
  • The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, because I've heard it is brilliant.
  • Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon, because I love the synopsis and my wife loved it.
  • The City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VandeerMeer, because I've had it forever and Finch sounds fantastic.
Most of my books are still boxed up and will remain that way until late January otherwise this would have been a longer list, but at least it gives me a good place to start. Also, when I move back into my house I'll clean out the bookshelves of books I (probably) won't re-read and of books I (probably) will never read because I've lost interest. And if I'm feel audacious I'll finish the archiving of books I own started last year.

REVIEW | Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (Viking)

Shades of Grey Glossary: The Colourtocracy. A system of hierarchy based on the colour you can see. Purple at the top, Reds at the bottom. (Greys don't really count)
Jasper Fforde has stepped away from his beloved Thursday Next characters to create an entirely new, hilarious, beautiful, and incredibly realized world with Shades of Grey, which is much closer to Science Fiction than anything he has done prior. If you are already a fan of his than go out and get a copy, but if you need to be coerced a bit more read on.
Shades of Grey Glossary: Eddie Russett: A happily unambitious drone of the collective 'til he travels to East Carmine and meets Jane Grey.
Narrator Eddie Russett is likable character who is to take his Ishihara shortly. He has some wonderful dialogue and his inquisitive nature is infectious to the reader as he delves into the mysteries of his world. Eddie has grown up following the rules and trying to help keep the status quo of society. An errant joke lands him the inane task of chair census in an outer town where his father has been sent to replace a recently departed Swatchman, which is kind of like a doctor with paint chips. Shades of Grey is a very colorful and downright silly future where classes are divided depending on what color they can see. Everyone is colorblind with most seeing only one color strongly while others that can only see grey are the lowest class and are treated like pack mules performing the most arduous tasks. The citizens have a last name that somehow coincides with their color perception such as Granny Crimson, Roger Maroon, and Bunty McMustard, which has to be the funniest name I've heard in a while.
Shades of Grey Glossary: The Ishihara. A Colour perception test taken at age 20 that determines one's social standing and career
Color is the most important thing to this society. That is besides their spoons, which are a hot commodity as no one has been allowed to make new ones for hundreds of years. Sounds a bit silly doesn't it?  Well that is because it is as is almost every rule this society lives by. Eddie, a strong red, upon entering East Carmine falls in love with Jane who is a grey and also the most notoriously unlikeable citizen in town. The cast of characters is as colorful as you'll likely find with its backstabbing friends, conniving leaders, and power hungry people everywhere. A lot of foreshadowing goes on as Fforde loves to hint at things including the death of one of the main characters right out of the gate. Step into a world that is regressing on purpose and where people can read barcodes and people can be healed or drugged by the use of color.
 Shades of Grey Glossary: The ‘Something That Happened’: Dramatic event that occurred in the distant and unknowable past. Followed shortly by the ‘Epiphany’ and the beginning of the New Order.
Placed hundreds of years after "Something That Happened" this is a society in stasis that likes it that way. The world of Shades of Grey is all about misdirection, but you don't feel confused with the telling, especially when the pieces start falling together in the end. Eddie Russett is every bit as lovable as Thursday Next, but he is a man all his own with an inquisitive streak that could change the world. What is amazing is the book takes place over less than a week or so of time and it is so packed to the brim that it feels like a month given everything covered. Yet the pacing is slower than that of the Thursday Next series. Shades of Grey is some of the most pleasing Fiction you'll likely find in 2010. Fforde hits all the marks of romance, adventure, thriller, and satire perfectly.
Shades of Grey Glossary: The Yateveo. A carnivorous tree able to snatch prey at great speed. Victims are digested alive. Not pleasant.
Sufficed to say I did not want this book to end.  Shades of Grey is without a doubt the best dystopian novel I've read since Brave New World and it will be re-read many times. Fforde has challenged himself to create something entirely new and different which he more than succeeded at. I give Shades of Grey 9.5 out of 10 Hats. A truly can't miss original book. In some ways it reminds me of a satirical version of Ken Scholes's Psalms of Isaak series with its intricate plotting and highly realized characters along with the dystopian long view. There are layers and layers of intrigue with smartly written characters along with a few intentionally stupid ones. Fforde has laid the groundwork for a series that'll keep me coming back for each fresh coat of paint. And the biggest mystery is never answered. What is up with the swans and why is everyone so terrified by them? At this point I still like the Thursday Next series better, but that could change as Fforde plays more with this world as there are at least 2 more books planned. Fforde has created a site for the series with a wealth of information about this new world.


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REVIEW | The Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers

Recent Procurements - Holiday Edition Spectacular

Well maybe spectacular is going a bit too far, but this was quite a good haul for year's end.  Plus I received a bunch of unexpected review copies so I'll be holed up for the rest of the winter with some quality reads.




Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson - I've been meaning to pick this up for a while, which is why I'm glad my Mother in-law gifted it to me.  Wilson's Spin was a lot of fun and I've heard only good things about Julian Comstock so far with Rob talking it up quite a bit..

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett - This one was almost too on the nose for me, but again it is an intriguing look into the world of book collectors and thieves in the vein of The Professor and the Madman.  This is non-fiction if you weren't sure.

Under the Dome by Stephen King - Some of you may remember my article debating on whether to read the latest King after basically giving up on him.  Well I actually pre-ordered the book, but it never showed up because of a Post Office fiasco involved with my flood a couple months back.  My Uncle kindly dragged this book to the tree this year so it looks as though I'll give it a whirl.  Expect other reviews to go quiet while I am reading this over 1,000 page monster of a novel next month.

Sandman Vol. 3 Dream Country by Neil Gaiman - Slowly but surely I'm collecting this series.  I've actually read all the volumes, but only recently started to get the trades.  My hold-up was deciding whether to get the absolute editions, but ultimate I decided to go with transportability over durability.  Plus I think my shelves would crack under the weight of all those absolutes.



Gift Card & Other Purchases

WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer - Sawyer is one of my favorite Sci-Fi authors and I've been meaning to give his new series a go.   If you haven't tried him before do yourself a favor and pick-up Calculating God, which is his best novel in my opinion.  Watch the second volume in the WWW trilogy is due out in a few short months.  For those bargain hunters out there Amazon is selling the hardcover of WWW: Wake for under $10.

Just Another Judgement Day by Simon R. Green - I've been following the Nightside for a couple years now, but I always wait to read at least 2 books in a row.  That is probably due to their skinny size.  That said I've also got a review copy of The Good, The Bad, and The Uncanny waiting to be reviewed after I'm done with this one.  I'm actually in the middle of Judgement Day and so far Green has managed to introduce another amazingly powerful enemy for John Taylor.

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman - I mentioned ordering this one a little while ago.  It looks even better in the flesh as the cover paper is a parchment type, which gives it a nice texture that goes well with the art. Also when I flipped through it I noticed the publisher used a larger font than normal so it looks to be a quick read as well.



Review Copies

Sleepless by Charlie Huston - Huston is one of those authors that intrigues me and his takes on Noir have had no small part in reintroducing it for a new generation.  The premise is pretty out there as well so I hope to get to it in the next couple of weeks.

I received the first 4 books in Pax Britannia Series, which was a bit unexpected.  I thought I'd be getting just the first book, but the kind people at Abbadon Books sent the whole shebang.  I'll definitely be trying this Steampunk/Horror series in the near future, which starts with Unnatural History by Jonathan Green.

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REVIEW | Already Dead by Charlie Huston
REVIEW | Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers
Recent Procurements - December 9, 2009

LOOKING FORWARD | Fantasy Books to Watch for in 2010

Fantasy releases in 2010 are looking to be just as strong as they were in 2009 with Jasper Fforde, Brent Weeks, Karen Miller, and Brandon Sanderson all checking in with new books and 3 out of 4 of those with series debuts.  Debut books are also looking to be strong as well with the much buzzed Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes and Spellwright by Blake Charlton.  If you haven't heard of either author take note and follow their entertaining twitters.  Many UK hits of 2009 from the likes of Adrian Tchaikovsky and Mark Charan Newton are now getting US publications with the former getting 3 books published over 3 months from Pyr. All in all this should be a busy year between this list, my Sci-Fi, UF, Steampunk and Anthology lists. I say bring it on!  I'm sure I'll find a few other gems along the way and keep in mind most publishers have only announced books up until August or September so the end of 2010 rush should have some blockbusters as well.  Martin or Lynch anyone?

JANUARY

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde - Series Debut
Release Date: December 29th  |  Publisher: Viking

Fforde's books always seem unclassifiable and that is no different with Shades of Grey.  I have read it and will post my review shortly, but let's just say it was just as incredible as Thursday Next only sufficiently different and is without a doubt one of the best dystopian books I've ever read.

Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.

Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

The Many Deaths of the Black Company by Glen Cook
Release Date: January 5  |  Publisher: Tor

The latest Black Company omnibus comprises of Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live.  I might have to give this series another try.  I read the first book and only thought it was okay, not a close friend is now in love with the series so we'll see.

“Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive. . .

“I am Murgen, Standardbearer of the Black Company, though I bear the shame of having lost that standard in battle. I am keeping these Annals because Croaker is dead, One–Eye won’t, and hardly anyone else can read or write. I will be your guide for however long it takes the Shadowlanders to force our present predicament to its inevitable end....”

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman - Series Debut
Release Date: January 10 (UK) / June 15 (US)  | Publisher: Michael Joseph (UK) / Dutton (US)

'Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie for there is no redempt ion that goes on there and less sanctuary'. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place - a place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose - to serve in the name of the One True Faith. In one of the Sanctuary's vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old - he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but now they call him Thomas Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming, violent and profoundly bloody-minded. He is so used to the cruelty that he seems immune, but soon he will open the wrong door at the wrong time and witness an act so terrible that he will have to leave this place, or die. His only hope of survival is to escape across the arid Scablands to Memphis, a city the opposite of the Sanctuary in every way: breathtakingly beautiful, infinitely Godless, and deeply corrupt. But the Redeemers want Cale back at any price...not because of the secret he now knows but because of a much more terrifying secret he does not.
++++++++++

FEBRUARY

The Ruling Sea by Robert V. S. Redick
Release Day:: February 16  |  Publisher Del Rey

Sequel to The Red Wolf Conspiracy and publishing as The Rats and the Ruling Sea in the UK. 

The great ship Chathrand''s mission of peace was a lie. Now Thasha Isiq and her allies, including the deckhands Pazel and Neeps, must contrive a way to stop the spies and sorcerers intent on launching a worldwide war. But beyond the island of Simja, where powers hidden even from the treasonous conspirators are massing their forces, the Ruling Sea awaits: the greatest ocean in the world, so large that no other ship can cross it, a sea whose southern reaches border lands unknown. And in the crossing, a still darker terror waits in the belly of the ship to be born.

Horns by Joe Hill
Release Date: February 16 | Publisher: William Morrow

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: February 25  |  Publisher: Orbit

What little I've heard about this series has been wonderful so it will be a must to check out.

Yeine Darr is heir to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. She is also an outcast. Until, that is, her mother dies under mysterious circumstances.

Summoned by her grandfather to the majestic city of Sky, Yeine finds herself thrust into a vicious power struggle for the throne. As she fights for her life, she comes ever closer to discovering the truth about her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history – as well as the unsettling truths within herself.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate are bound inseparably together, for both mortals and gods alike.
++++++++++

MARCH

Spellwright by Blake Charlton - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: March 2  | Publisher: Tor

Really looking forward to this one, especially after Aidan's wonderful interview with Charlton.

Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text . . . but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.

Yet he has always felt that he is destined to be something more than a failed wizard. When a powerful, ancient evil begins a campaign of murder and disruption, Nicodemus starts to have disturbing dreams that lead him to believe that his misspelling could be the result of a curse. But before he can discover the truth about himself, he is attacked by an evil which has already claimed the lives of fellow wizards and has cast suspicion on his mentor. He must flee for his own life if he’s to find the true villain.

But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy Nicodemus... and the world.


Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt 1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: March 23 | Publisher: Pyr

From what I've heard this does have a Steampunk angle as well, but is more akin to Fantasy, which is why I left it on this list.  The covers for the whole series are looking spectacular. 

The Wasp Empire has been devouring city after city with its highly trained armies, its machines, it killing Art, and now its hunger for conquest and war has become insatiable. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see that the long days of peace are over.

Books 2 and 3 in the series are going to be published consecutively with book 2 Dragonfly Falling on April 27 and book 3 Blood of the Mantis on May 25.
++++++++++

APRIL

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: April (UK) / Fall (US)  |  Publisher Gollancz (UK) \ Pyr (US)

This is one of the highest buzzed Fantasy novels of 2010 so far and I hope it lives up to it.  As Gollancz put it:

It is the debut novel from an extraordinarily talented twenty-five-year-old author. Fantasy's next global star has arrived.

Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the Shict despises most humans, and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions.

So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well. They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out.

Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.

Fantasy’s newest star has arrived. A manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates has been stolen. And you don’t want the undergates open. On the other side are countless invincible demons, and they want out. Lenk and his misfit companions have to get it back.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Release Date: April 27 | Publisher: ROC

Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire’s last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.

To honour his father’s memory, Tai spends two years in official mourning alone at the battle site by the blue waters of Kuala Nor. Each day he digs graves in hard ground to bury the bones of the dead. At night he can hear the ghosts moan and stir, terrifying voices of anger and lament. Sometimes he realizes that a given voice has ceased its crying, and he knows that is one he has laid to rest.


The dead by the lake are equally Kitan and their Taguran foes; there is no way to tell the bones apart, and he buries them all with honour.

It is during a routine supply visit led by a Taguran officer who has reluctantly come to befriend him that Tai learns that others, much more powerful, have taken note of his vigil. The White Jade Princess Cheng-wan, 17th daughter of the Emperor of Kitai, presents him with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses. They are being given in royal recognition of his courage and piety, and the honour he has done the dead.

You gave a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Tai is in deep waters. He needs to get himself back to court and his own emperor, alive. Riding the first of the Sardian horses, and bringing news of the rest, he starts east towards the glittering, dangerous capital of Kitai, and the Ta-Ming Palace – and gathers his wits for a return from solitude by a mountain lake to his own forever-altered life.
++++++++++

JUNE
Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton (US) - Series Debut
Release Date: June 1 | Publisher: Spectra

I've been very close to ordering the UK version since I've heard so many good things, but with the US release around the corner I'll wait it out, especially since the sequel City of Ruin is still due out.

Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the high-profile and savage murder of a city politician, whilst battling evils within his own life, and a handsome and serial womanizer manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. When reports are received that tens of thousands of citizens are dying in a bizarre genocide on the northern islands of the Empire, members of the elite Night Guard are sent to investigate. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow.

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: June 22  |  Publisher: Pyr

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son....

The Office of Shadow by Matt Sturges
Release Date: June 22 | Publisher: Pyr

The follow-up to Midwinter should be another fun adventure with some interesting characters that I enjoyed immensely in the first volume.  This time the action focuses on Silverdun, which should mix things up a bit.

Midwinter has gone, but that cold season has been replaced by a cold war in the world of Faerie, and this new kind of war requires a new kind of warrior.

Seelie forces drove back Empress Mab at the Battle of Sylvan, but hostilities could resume at any moment. Mab has developed a devastating new weapon capable of destroying an entire city, and the Seelie have no defense against it. If war comes, they will almost certainly be defeated.

In response, the Seelie reconstitutes a secret division of the Foreign Ministry, unofficially dubbed the "Office of Shadow," imbuing it with powers and discretion once considered unthinkable. They are a group of covert operatives given the tasks that can't be done in the light of day: secretly stealing the plans for Mab's new weapon, creating unrest in the Unseelie Empire, and doing whatever is necessary to prevent an unwinnable war.

The new leader of the "Shadows" is Silverdun. He's the nobleman who fought alongside Mauritane at Sylvan and who helped complete a critical mission for the Seelie Queen Titania. His operatives include a beautiful but naïve sorceress who possesses awesome powers that she must restrain in order to survive and a soldier turned scholar whose research into new ways of magic could save the world, or end it.

They'll do whatever is required to prevent a total war: make a dangerous foray into a hostile land to retrieve the plans for Mab's weapon; blackmail a king into revolting against the Unseelie Empire; journey into the space between space to uncover a closely guarded secret with the power to destroy worlds.
++++++++++

JULY

The Reluctant Mage by Karen Miller
Release Date: July 28  |  Publisher: Orbit

This is really the 2nd half of a long story following the events of The Prodigal Mage in the world that started with The Innocent Mage.

Nine months have passed since Rafel disappeared in the expedition over the mountains. Deenie, now eighteen, starts having disturbing dreams about her brother. She comes to believe he's not dead after all, but is in trouble and needs her help.

She enlists the aid of her friend Charis, and the girls hatch a plan to escape from Lur. They succeed and survive the hazardous journey round the coastline past the mountains. But to their dismay, they discover that the lands beyond Lur are blighted with lawlessness and chaos. The remnants of Morg's consciousness that survived his death splintered at his downfall and sought refuge in whatever bodies could be found to host them.

Throughout their travels and adventures they get some answers about the other lost expeditions, and keep hearing about one fearsome mage whose stronghold is in the blighted near-mythical land of Dorana. Deenie knows this is her brother - and that Rafel is not only in danger, but has become dangerous. If he's not stopped he could become a threat to the whole world. Perhaps even another Morg.
++++++++++

AUGUST

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson - Series Debut
Release Date: August 17  |  Publisher TOR

The Way Of Kings introduces the three protagonists who will be our windows on the strange and wondrous world of Roshar and the drama about to unfold there:

• Dalinar, the assassinated king’s brother and uncle of the new one, is an old soldier who is weary of fighting.
He is plagued by dreams of ancient times and legendary wars, visions that may force him into a new role he could never have imagined.
• Merin, a highborn young man who has been brought low, indeed to the most miserable level of military slavery, and like Ben Hur must suffer and struggle to survive and rise again.
• Shallan, a naïve but brave and brilliant young woman who will do anything to save her impoverished noble house from ruin.

These are people we will come to know deeply and take to our hearts. But just as important to The Way Of Kings is a fourth key ‘character,’ the unique world of Roshar itself, a richly imagined setting as real as science fiction’s Dune, as unforgettable as epic fantasy’s Middle Earth. Through all the volumes of The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson will make Roshar a realm we are eager to visit.


The Black Prism by Brent Weeks - Series Debut
Release Date: August 25  |  Publisher: Orbit

The first in a new series from Brent Weeks has me excited.  I do love color magic and I'm anxious to see Weeks's take on it.  There are numerous descriptions around the net that Weeks said are all partially wrong or reveal too much.  If you search my site you'll find some.
++++++++++

SEPTEMBER

The Dark Commands by Richard K. Morgan
Release Date: September 14  |  Publisher: Del Rey

Sequel to The Steel Remains, which I'll finally be cracking sometime in the New Year.

Ringil, Egar and Archeth are back. In a world still cursed by slavery, a corrupt aristocracy and a vicious church, justice is in short supply.
Richard Morgan brings his trademark visceral writing style, turbo-driven plotting and thoughtprovoking characterisation to the fantasy genre, producing a follow-up to his first foray into fantasy, and taking Ringil and Co. on the beginnings of a hopeless quest.
++++++++++

OCTOBER

The Tales of Odd by Neil Gaiman
Release Date: October 4 (UK)  |  Publisher: Bloomsbury

This edition comprised of an entirely new Odd story in addition to the already released Odd and the Frost Giants.  No US date has been announced yet for the new story.

The two stories in this exciting novella follow the adventures of the intrepid young Viking Odd. As a brave and solitary twelve-year-old, in the first tale, he endeavours to free three Norse Gods trapped in the bodies of an eagle, a bear and a fox; then, in the second, a few years older, taller and stronger he sets off on a testing and epic journey to the Holy City of Jerusalem. But of course with Neil Gaiman's wit and style the stories transcend the normal and become humorous, rich and layered tales of a life lived courageously.
++++++++++

Long Leads We Are All Hoping For:

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

I've seen July, Aug, and November so until Lynch himself confirms this is in the air.

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The first draft is done, but much polishing is going on.

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Yeah...ummm.  Fingers crossed.


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LOOKING FORWARD | Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, & Steampunk Coming in 2010
LOOKING FORWARD | Big Anthologies Coming in 2010
AUTHOR INTERVIEW | Karen Miller author of The Prodigal Mage

Merry Christmas everyone!!!





Merry Chrismahanaqwanza to all! 

REVIEW | Show and Tell and Other Stories by Greg van Eekhout (Tropism)

I've finally gotten on the short story kick I've been meaning to get to for ages. In the last couple of weeks I've read Survival by Storytelling, The New Dead anthology edited by Christopher Golden (more about later), and I'm half way through the so far wonderful Clockwork Jungle Book, which is the 11th issue of Shimmer with the theme of Steampunk animal tales.  Which brings me to van Eekhout's sci-fi collection Show and Tell and Other Stories.


Greg van Eekhout has grown to be one of my favorite short story writers over the past year with his always entertaining and surprisingly original tales.  His stories have appeared in various Year's Best anthologies, Asimovs, The Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy in addition to be nominated for a Nebula Award.  After recently reading his debut novel Norse Code and his story in Paper Cities I was eager to get at more of his work.  In my trolling I came across chapbook publisher Tropism Press, which just happened to publish Show and Tell and Other Stories with 6 stories.  All of which were new to me.  The stories range from the odd to the downright strange with a lot of laughs along the way.

In the Late December is the most offbeat little Christmas story you'll likely find.  Santa in the far future is still doing his job in order to keep reality going as the Universe is dwindling by delivering gifts to little boys and girls who happen to be some unusual sentient beings.  This is a story of triumph and resignation from an endearing Santa that somehow makes despair a bit funny.  This story was worth it for the cover price alone, especially given the time of year.  This story is available on Strange Horizons for those interested in a holiday treat.

Native Aliens skews the perspective to show how life runs in strange circles sometimes.  Split into two points of view with one of oppressed human in 1945 Indonesia and the other of an alien going to earth. It is definitely the most moving piece in the bunch as it is a highly personal story based on the oppression van Eehout's parents faced.

Anywhere There's A Game is a series of flash fiction strung together from a longtime pro basketball player.  Instead of talking about the best players he has known he wants to talk about the most remarkable. Everyone from a Zombie, clairvoyant, and flying shooting guard make cameos.  Even if you aren't a sports fan you'll get a kick out of this one.

Authorwex was by far my favorite story of the collection as it entertains the idea of being able to meet your favorite author, albeit in robot form. The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting as it felt more like the beginning to a bigger tale yet it had me laughing on each page as the main character unwittingly falls into something out of his control.  The world building was also very interesting with how the society is built.

Show and Tell was just about as strange as you can get.  Picture a future where the norm is to have six arms or two mouths and basic humans are considered strange.  The main character's inner dialogue was hilarious as he frets about what he is showing to the class, which will decide if he passes on to the next grade.

Far As You Can Go would probably have been classified as one of the earliest Green Punk stories if the term had existed than.  It was a bleak future of scavenging where a young man is befriended by a robot of sorts.  The action was a bit jarring towards the end and left a few too many unanswered questions for me.  It makes me curious whether Greg is done with this tale.

Definitely grab a copy of this collection if you are a Sci-Fi short story fan as it does not disappoint.  I give Show and Tell and Other Stories 9 out of 10 Hats.  I hope van Eekhout gets to do a larger collection someday.  His second novel, which is also his first YA novel Kid vs. Squid comes out in May 2010.  If you want to get a taste of Eekhout he has the short story Last Son of Tomorrow up on tor.com and a bunch of podcasts freely available.


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Covers Unveiled for Jay Lake's Pinion and Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds


Jay Lake's third and final clockpunk novel Pinion is slated for release in March from Tor.  A synopsis has not been released yet, but the cover is quite impressive as have all the rest in the series.  I think it is also my favorite of the series thus far. UPDATE: Stephan Martiniere has been confirmed as the artist.



Alastair Reynolds' US publisher Ace has smartly gone with the same art as his UK publisher for Terminal World.  The art is beautiful, but I'm not too crazy over the yellow type.  It is with great shame I admit to not having read any of Reynolds's novels, but I'll be rectifying that next year with the Steampunk infused Terminal World

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains ...Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels - and with the dying body comes bad news. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality - and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.


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Covers Unveiled for Kraken by China Mieville

REVIEW | The Demon Redcoat (Traitor to the Crown) by C.C. Finlay (Del Rey)

One of my reading goals this year was to finish up any trilogies that I had started while they were still fresh in my mind. The Demon Redcoat caps off C.C. Finlay's American Revolution secret history series Traitor to the Crown that started out very strongly with The Patriot Witch followed by A Spell for the Revolution.  I thought enough of The Patriot Witch to include it as the Runner-up to Best Fantasy Series debut of 2009. With The Demon Redcoat, Finlay again sets the proper tone enmeshing the reader in what daily life was like during revolutionary times yet making it all feel natural. The customs and dialogue are like something straight out of a historical novel.

Proctor is back to his saving ways as he attempts to finally put a stop to the terror The Covenant has wrought upon the Americas. Only this time he is not only doing it to defend his country, but to protect his daughter with Deborah. To do so Proctor must travel to England to cut off the threat at its source.  Lydia travels with Proctor which certainly expands the view of how freed slaves were treated in Europe. This also gives Lydia's character a lot more depth, which she desperately needed after being trod upon so much.

As Proctor makes his way from America to England he travels on the same boat with John Adams, which was quite an infamous voyage that nearly didn't make it.  Adams was a colorful character, whose dialogue was pitch-perfect and I wonder if it was drawn directly from historical sources.  As always it is interesting to see how Finlay weaves the use of magic to explain oddities of historical records.  We are also entreated to a stay with Benjamin Franklin who opens the doors of Europe to Proctor, although I felt Finlay's portrayal of Franklin was a bit on the kind side given some of the dubious actions attributed to him during this period. But Franklin was instrumental in establishing good relations with the French and other underground happenings.

Proctor stumbles around England for a bit too long as Finlay tries to ensnare him in nearly every major event of the time.  Yet the history lesson learned is perhaps done better than my professors ever accomplished.  I wonder how this series would be treated in high school as supplemental text for those who have trouble with text book learning?  Part of the story is told from the view point of Banastre Tarleton who is a British loyalist responsible for keeping the American forces on their toes during this period.  Many atrocities were committed by him and his men that are explained away by the demon of the title, which made for a nice twist on the narrative. I could have done with a few more section from Tarleton's point of view, but I can understand why Finlay refrained as some things done in his chapters are quite horrible.

The Covenant illustrious membership is finally revealed, which I'll refrain from going into detail about because it is too good to spoil. Let's just say it is a bit of a who's who of infamous European magical celebrities. Although, I do think Finlay colored one of the leaders much darker than history traditionally paints him.



Overall, it took a bit long to get to the ending, especially with the turnabout Proctor has to undertake towards the end.  The time spent on the sea was a too much for me as well as Proctor's time in another famous locale.  The final battle itself worked well, but felt a little rushed given everything it took to get there. At this point the formula of the series has grown a little tiresome on me.  The Demon Redcoat is still quite enjoyable, especially for alternative history fans, but it felt the most labored out of the lot.  Yet the cast of historical characters does enliven the story quite a bit.  I give The Demon Redcoat 7.5 out of 10 Hats.  I'm eager to see what else Finlay has next in his quiver as he has grown quite a bit as a writer.  He has mentioned doing another book in this world although probably later in the timeline with new characters, but he also mentioned recently on twitter that he has changed projects so I'm not sure what to make of that.  The first volume of the series The Patriot Witch is still freely available as a full eBook.


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Covers Unveiled for Kraken by China Mieville and Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton



Kraken by China Mieville is looking very good.  The cover is so simple yet evocative.  Kraken is a standalone with a very Lovecraftian twist.  Really can't wait for this one to come out next June. 
 Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world.

UPDATE: James over at Speculative Horizons tipped me off to the UK cover for Kraken, which is very cool as well.




Newton's Nights of Villjamur has been gaining strong accolades in the UK.  We finally get a crack at it in June stateside.  The cover when compared to the UK is a bit ho-hum and nowhere near as interesting as what Tor UK did.  The art is also a bit bright for what is supposedly a very dark read.  I'm still eagerly awaiting its release and follow-up City of Ruin though.

Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.  When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the high-profile and savage murder of a city politician, whilst battling evils within his own life, and a handsome and serial womanizer manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. When reports are received that tens of thousands of citizens are dying in a bizarre genocide on the northern islands of the Empire, members of the elite Night Guard are sent to investigate. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow.

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LOOKING FORWARD |  Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, & Steampunk Coming in 2010

LOOKING FORWARD | Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, & Steampunk to Watch for in 2010

Culling this list was quite difficult compared to the anthology edition and the Fantasy list. For the purposes of this list I've put any Zombie related titles under Urban Fantasy. Be forewarned spoilers do exist in these descriptions if it is a long running series. Everything is listed in publication order by category.

Urban Fantasy is definitely top-loaded for the first few months of 2010 with many major releases for long-established series with a new Dresden Files and Nightside. We've got some big guns with Mieville checking in with Kraken, which is a standalone. Amelia Beamer's debut The Loving Dead sounds like a great twist on zombies. One theme I noticed was very few Sci-Fi books piqued my interest that weren't from either small houses such a Powell's Silversands and Jason Stoddard's Winning Mars or those that only have a UK publication scheduled as with Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky. In the Steampunk area we've got Lavie Tidhar's debut novel The Bookman, which is also the start of a trilogy. George Mann is treating us to two helpings of his Steampunk world with Ghosts of Manhattan and The Osiris Ritual while we should see the next two volumes of Gail Carriger's series this year as well. All in all this should be a jam-packed year and this only comprises releases up to September for the most part.

URBAN FANTASY

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny (Nightside 10) by Simon R. Green
Release Date: January 5 |  Publisher: Ace

Things were going so well for P.I. John Taylor, that it was only a matter of time before everything hit the fan. Walker, the powerful, ever-present, never to-be-trusted agent who runs the Nightside on behalf of The Authorities, is dying. And he wants John to be his successor-a job that comes with more baggage, and more enemies, than anyone can possibly imagine.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Heartland (Codex of Souls 2) by Mark Teppo
Release Date: January  | Publisher: Night Shade Books

Seek the Light! Embrace the Heartland! Markham returns to Paris where he lost his love - and nearly his life! The ancient order of manipulative magicians that once cast him out is now in turmoil... a turmoil made all the greater by the swaths of destruction that Markham tried to avert in the Pacific Northwest. Teamed with an unlikely partner, Markham seeks to overturn the corrupt remains of an order no longer able to police its own practitioners. Yet, he can't escape the feeling that he's still just a pawn in a larger game. The second novel of the Codex of Souls further explores the strange occult world first introduced in Lightbreaker. Mark Teppo's vision of a magical underworld is a non-stop adventure that continues to bring new light to the occult origins of our history.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Where Angels Fear to Tread (Remy Chandler 3) by Thomas E.Sniegoski
Release Date: March 2  |  Publisher: Roc

Six year-old Zoe York has been taken and her mother has come to Remy for help. She shows him crude, childlike drawings that she claims are Zoe's visions of the future, everything leading up to her abduction, and some beyond. Like the picture of a man with wings who would come and save her-a man who is an angel.

Zoe's preternatural gifts have made her a target for those who wish to exploit her power to their own destructive ends. The search will take Remy to dark places he would rather avoid. But to save an innocent, Remy will ally himself with a variety of lesser evils-and his soul may pay the price...

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Changes (Dresden Files 12) by Jim Butcher
Release Date: April 6  |  Publisher: Roc

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...

He's fighting to save his child.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Kraken by China Mieville
Release Date: June 29 |  Publisher: Del Rey

Kraken is a standalone with a very Lovecraftian twist. Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia
Release date: July 2010  |  Publisher: Prime Books

Sedia is always mixing things up from book to book and this description is no different.

Vimbai moves into a dilapidated house in the dunes, trying to escape her embarrassing immigrant mother, and discovers that one of her new roommates has a pocket universe instead of hair, there is a psychic energy baby living in the telephone wires, and her dead Zimbabwean grandmother is now doing dishes in the kitchen. When the house gets lost at sea and creatures of African urban legends all but take it over, Vimbai has to turn to horseshoe crabs in the ocean, to ask for their help in getting home to New Jersey.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn - Series Debut
Release Date: July  |  Publisher Tor

When Evie Walker goes home to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she stands to inherit. Hidden behind the old basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again.

The magic of the storeroom prevents access to any who are not intended to use the items. But just because it has never been done does not mean it cannot be done. And there are certainly those who will give anything to find a way in. Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, protecting the past and the future even as the present unravels around them. Old heroes and notorious villains alike will rise to fight on her side or to undermine her most desperate gambits. At stake is the fate of the world, and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer - Debut
Release Date: July 15  |  Publisher: Night Shade Books

Girls! Zombies! Zeppelins!

Locus Editor Beamer's debut has been pitched as if Shaun of the Dead and Garden State had a love child living in San Francisco, you'd have this sexy novel, set at the outbreak of a zombie plague.

Kate and Michael are roommates living in the Oakland hills, working at the same Trader Joes supermarket. A night of drunken revelry changes their lives forever, but not in the way that anyone would expect. A slow-spreading plague of zombie-ism breaks out at their house party, spreading amongst their circle of friends, and simultaneously through the Bay Area. This zombie plague - an STD of sorts - is spread through sex and kissing, turning its victims into mindless, horny, voracious killers. Thrust into extremes by this slow- motion tragedy, Kate and Michael are forced to confront the choices they've made in their lives, and their fears of commitment, while trying to stay alive and reunite in the one place in the Bay Area that's likely to be safe and secure from the zombie hoards: Alcatraz.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Pariah by Bob Fingerman
Release Date: August 3 | Publisher: Tor

A frightening, darkly comedic look at people surviving a zombie onslaught, from award-winning comics sensation and novelist Bob Fingerman.

The world is in chaos. A zombie plague has devoured every nation on the planet. New York City is no exception. Imagine eight million zombies. Shoulder to shoulder. Walking the streets, looking for their next meal. The residents of one apartment building have bonded to keep themselves safe from the onslaught, but their inevitable demise lurks right outside their window, a constant reminder of the doom that awaits them. Forced to remain in the safety of the building, the tenants find themselves at each others’ throats. When they spy a lone teenage girl who walks among the hordes, unattacked by the undead, their world opens up.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll - Series Debut
Release Date: August  |  Publisher: Tor

When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her  neighborhood, her life is turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, asks her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to Garet by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening.…The precious silver box is stolen from Garet’s home. When she investigates, Garet learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old. Opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?

On her journey, she will meet fey folk who walk unnoticed among humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager that she can’t stop thinking about. Can Garet trust anyone to guide her? The fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans, and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she’s got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

STEAMPUNK

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar - Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: January UK/June US|  Publishers: Angry Robot

Tidhar has been making a name for himself in short form for many years now and with his first novel being the start of a steampunk series it is a must.  With his first novel length work being a Steampunk book I just have to try it.  A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees - there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack. For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure, The Bookman is the first of a series.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate 2) by Gail Carriger
Release Date: March 30  | Publisher: Orbit

Soulless was one of the most fun I've had all year.  So Changeless will be a must for me to check out.  Plus I think this will have less of the romance angle that was a bit strong for me in the first book.

Alexia Tarabotti, now Lady Maccon, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her into the backwaters of ugly waistcoats, Scotland, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only A soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
Release Date:  March 30  |  Publisher: Orbit

A steampunkish tale with a Inuit protagonist is what caught me here.  At the edge of the known world, an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy-an Empire fueled by technology and war.

A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army find themselves unexpectedly thrown together. The Aniw girl, taken prisoner from her people, must teach the reluctant soldier a forbidden talent - one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely forever brand him an outcast.

From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations - and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pinion by Jay Lake
Release Date: March 30 | Publisher: Tor

The final book in Lake's clockpunk series following the events of Mainspring and Escapement.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann
Release Date: April 27 | Publisher: Pyr

Ghosts of Manhattan is a spin off of sorts to Mann's Newbury & Hobbes series only placed in the US and pushed forward in time, which should make for a very interesting setting. Lou Anders has also mention it should harken to something close to The Shadow.

1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters, and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed "The Roman." However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Osiris Ritual (Newbury & Hobbes 2) by George Mann
Release Date: August 3  |  Publisher: Tor

Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, imagines life can be a little quieter from now on after his dual success in solving The Affinity Bridge affair. But he hasn't banked on his villainous predecessor, Knox, hell bent on achieving immortality, not to mention a secret agent who isn't quite as he seems...So continues an adventure quite unlike any other, a thrilling steampunk mystery and the second in the series of "Newbury & Hobbes" investigations.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Release Date: September(est)  |  Publisher: Tor

Follow-up to the wondrous Boneshaker, Cherie has thus far described the alterna-world Civil War era Steampunk adventure Dreadnought as more gruesome than the first.  The Clockwork Century books are meant to be standalone so it wouldn't be inappropriate to read them out of order.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: October | Publisher: Simon Pulse

Follow-up to Leviathan.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


SCIENCE FICTION

Absorption by John Meaney - Series Debut
Release Date: February | Publisher: Gollancz

The universe is dark. And it is alive.

People across the universe are glimpsing shards of darkness moving at the edge of their vision; hearing echoes of a dark, disturbing musical chord; and dreaming of becoming crystal, and joining the Ragnarok Council. Absorption is the first of a new space opera trilogy packed with space warfare and mindblowing rationale for Norse mythology. This is SF to rival Peter F. Hamilton.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Winning Mars by Jason Stoddard - Debut
Release Date: March 1 | Publisher: Prime Books

Jere Gutierrez is bucking the trend at the dying art of "linear" entertainment - what we know today as TV shows. His combination of astounding stories, captured in the moment, are captivating millions. Of course, every one of his stories are fabricated and engineered and orchestrated, even though they're sold as "real." Unfortunately for Jere, his backers have begun to see through his tricks. Desperate for another story, one large enough to capture the attention of the world, he teams up with a retired TV executive to create an ad-supported mission to Mars, complete with corporate sponsors and extreme sports events. What Jere doesn't know is just how captivating his Winning Mars will be.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
Release Date: February | Gollancz

No announced US publication as of yet, but the interesting description and setting has piqued my interest greatly.  Also a video game is planned based around the book which is slated to be released on Xbox and for the PC in 2010.

The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend. More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man's time is over. A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro - the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity's last refuge. Stations have become mini-statelets, their people uniting around ideas, religions, water-filters - or the simple need to repulse an enemy incursion. It is a world without a tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct - the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price. VDNKh is the northernmost inhabited station on its line. It was one of the Metro's best stations and still remains secure. But now a new and terrible threat has appeared. Artyom, a young man living in VDNKh, is given the task of penetrating to the heart of the Metro, to the legendary Polis, to alert everyone to the awful danger and to get help. He holds the future of his native station in his hands, the whole Metro - and maybe the whole of humanity.

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Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley
Release Date: March 23  |  Publisher: Pyr

The Quiet War is over. The city states of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have fallen to the Three Powers Alliance of Greater Brazil, the European Union and the Pacific Community. A century of enlightenment, rational utopianism and exploration of new ways of being human has fallen dark. Outers are herded into prison camps and forced to collaborate in the systematic plundering of their great archives of scientific and technical knowledge, while Earth's forces loot their cities, settlements and ships, and plan a final solution to the 'Outer problem'. But Earth's victory is fragile, and riven by vicious internal politics. While seeking out and trying to anatomise the strange gardens abandoned in place by Avernus, the Outers' greatest genius, the gene wizard Sri Hong-Owen is embroiled in the plots and counterplots of the family that employs her. The diplomat Loc Ifrahim soon discovers that profiting from victory isn't as easy as he thought. And in Greater Brazil, the Outers' democratic traditions have infected a population eager to escape the tyranny of the great families who rule them. After a conflict fought to contain the expansionist, posthuman ambitions of the Outers, the future is as uncertain as ever. Only one thing is clear. No one can escape the consequences of war - especially the victors.
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Silversands by Gareth L Powell - Debut Novella
Release Date: April | Publisher: Pendragon Press

In an age where interstellar travel is dangerous and unpredictable, and no-one knows exactly where they’ll end up, Avril Bradley is a Communications officer onboard a ship sent to re-contact as many of these lost souls as possible.

But a mysterious explosion strands her in a world of political intrigue, espionage and subterfuge; a world of retired cops, digital ghosts and corporate assassins who fight for possession of computer data that had lain undisturbed for almost a century. . .

This is the debut novel from the critically-acclaimed author of the short story collection The Last Reef, Gareth L Powell, with stunning cover artwork by Vincent Chong.

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Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds
Release Date: June 1 | Publisher: Ace
Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains ...Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels - and with the dying body comes bad news. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality - and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.
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ODD ONES

Sleepless by Charlie Huston
Release Date: January 12 | Publisher Ballantiine

A gripping and imaginative work of speculative fiction about an epidemic of sleeplessness from the bestselling author who Stephen King calls "one of the most remarkable prose stylists to emerge from the noir tradition in this century," for fans of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk.

The world is in the grip of an epidemic of sleeplessness. In L.A., a cop named Parker Haas is working undercover to stop black market trade of a drug called Dreamer, the only thing that helps the sleepless. But his interest in the drug is more than professional. His wife is sleepless, and they don't know yet if their infant daughter is also sick. Then Park discovers that the black market he's trying to stop is the creation of the very company that makes the drug. But how can a lowly cop go after the son of one of the world's richest and most powerful men?

Trapped by these things--a dying wife, an infant daughter, a truth that could unravel his career--Park risks all for one chance to do his part in repairing a broken world.

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The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Release Date: March 4 | Publisher: Putnam

Sebastian Prendergast lives in a geodesic dome with his eccentric grandmother, who homeschooled him in the teachings of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. But when his grandmother has a stroke, Sebastian is forced to leave the dome and make his own way in town.

Jared Whitcomb is a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart-transplant recipient who befriends Sebastian, and begins to teach him about all the things he has been missing, including grape soda, girls, and Sid Vicious. They form a punk band called The Rash, and it's clear that the upcoming Methodist Church talent show has never seen the likes of them. Wholly original, The House of Tomorrow is the story of a young man's self-discovery, a dying woman's last wish, and a band of misfits trying desperately to be heard.



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