Quite a lot of review copies showed up this week along with a nice big package from Night Shade. Descriptions are in italics.
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar - This is my second copy as I had pre-ordered it and Angry Robot sent me a copy along with the next book. After reading some of Lavie shorts and his recent guest post I'm eager to get at this.
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,
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard - Really intrigued by this one, which would be only the second Fantasy book I've read using Aztec mythology. de Bodard has done some wonderful short fiction and has been gain quite a name the last year or two, but this is her debut novel.
Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. Aliette De Bodard is the hottest rising star in world SF and Fantasy, blending ancient crimes with wild imagination.
Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann - One of my most highly desired titles here as I love the premise of a Steampunk superhero in 1920s NYC.
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.
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas - I've been hearing wonderful things about this book for ages from my UK cohorts so I'm glad Roc is giving it a good push here. The finished cover is gorgeous.
The power of the Realms depends on its dragons. With their terrifying natures, they are ridden by the aristocracy and bred for hunting and war. But as dangerous political maneuverings threaten the complacency of the empire, a single dragon has gone missing. And even that one dragon-returned to its full intelligence and fury-could spell disaster for the Realms...
Geosynchron by David Louis Edelman - The final book in the Jump 225 Trilogy again featuring art from the always impressive Stephan Martiniere. In this case it will be a little while before I get to it as I still have Infoquake staring at me from my mountainous to-read pile, but this will probably be the push I needed to get to it sooner.
The Extra by Michael Shea - World Fantasy Award winner Shea dusts of a short from the 80s in the first in a trilogy. It looks to be a large scale Running Man type story where movie extra are put in disaster roles and if they survive they get a payday and a chance to get out of the hell that LA has become. At first I wasn't sure if it was something I'd like, but the idea is growing on me.
Books and films have skewered Hollywood's excesses, but none has ever portrayed one man's crazy vision of the future of big action/adventure films as The Extra does. As over-the-top as Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles, as savagely dark as Robert Altman's The Player, and more violent than Rollerball, this is the story of the ultimate, so-insane-it-could-only-happen-in-Hollywood formula for success, a brave new way to bring the ultimate in excitement to the silver screen. Producer Val Margolian has found the motherlode of box-office gold with his new "live-death" films whose villains are extremely sophisticated, electronically controlled mechanical monsters. To give these live-action disaster films greater realism, he employs huge casts of extras, in addition to the stars. The large number of extras is important, because very few of them will survive the shoot.
Incandescence by Greg Egan - Looks to be a hard sci-fi novel, but relatively short so I may fit this in between some of the doorstoppers.
The Amalgam spans nearly the entire galaxy, and is composed of innumerable beings from a wild variety of races, some human or near it, some entirely other. The one place that they cannot go is the bulge, the bright, hot center of the galaxy. There dwell the Aloof, who for millions of years have deflected any and all attempts to communicate with or visit them. So when Rakesh is offered an opportunity to travel within their sphere, in search of a lost race, he cannot turn it down. Roi is a member of that lost race, which is not only lost to the Amalgam, but lost to itself. In their world, there is but toil, and history and science are luxuries that they can ill afford. Rakesh's journey will take him across millennia and light years. Roi's will take her across vistas of learning and discovery just as vast.
The Maze of the Enchanter: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith vol. 4 - The prolific Ashton has been quite well regarded for decades for his early work in Fantasy, but I must admit to never having delved in. Maybe this will bring me into the fold.
Published in chronological order, with extensive story and bibliographic notes, this series not only provides access to stories that have been out of print for years, but gives them a historical and social context. Series editors Scott Conners and Ronald S. Hilger excavated the still-existing manuscripts, letters and various published versions of the stories, creating a definitive "preferred text" for Smith's entire body of work.
Tails of Wonder and Imagination edited by Ellen Datlow - One of the best anthologist tries for something a bit different. At first I wasn't interested, but perusing the stories it looks to be a strong collection with some very familiar names.
What is it about the cat that captivates the creative imagination? No other creature has inspired so many authors to take pen to page. Mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy stories have all been written about cats.
Tails of Wonder and Imagination features more than 200,000 words of stories in which cats are heroes and stories in which they're villains; tales of domestic cats, tigers, lions, mythical part-cat beings, people transformed into cats, cats transformed into people. And yes, even a few cute cats.
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