A giant pile of things showed up this week between a trip to The Strand and a bunch of review copies, which includes some interesting audio productions for the first time. Behold the mighty stack!
The Skinner by Neal Asher - This is the first book in his Spatterjay series, which I picked up used. Asher is very well regarded in the UK, but he seems to have gotten short shifted a little so far in the states. To remedy this I decided to finally take the plunge after Gav and Mark kept mentioning him and the new covers Asher has been getting in the UK.
On the planet Spatterjay arrive three travelers: Janer, acting as the eyes of the hornet Hive mind, on a mission not yet revealed to him; Erlin, searching for Ambel -- the ancient sea captain who can teach her how to live; and Sable Keech, on a vendetta he cannot abandon, though he himself has been dead for 700 years. This remote world is mostly ocean, and it is a rare visitor who ventures beyond the safety of the island Dome. Outside it, only the native Hoopers dare risk the voracious appetites of the planet's wildlife. But somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop -- and Keech will not rest until he brings this legendary renegade to justice for hideous crimes committed centuries ago during the Prador Wars.
While Keech is discovering that Hoop is now a monster -- his body and head living apart from each other -- Janer is bewildered by a place where the native inhabitants just will not die and angry when he finally learns the Hive mind's intentions for him. Meanwhile, Erlin thinks she has plenty of time to find the answers she seeks, but could not be more wrong. For one of the most brutal of the alien Prador is about to pay the planet a surreptitious visit, intent on exterminating all remaining witnesses to his wartime atrocities. As the visitors' paths converge, major hell is about to erupt in a chaotic waterscape where minor hell is already a remorseless fact of everyday life . . . and death.
Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time ever, Jack has agreed to open this bizarre and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. To say that other fantasy writers are excited by this prospect is a gross understatement; one has told us that he'd crawl through broken glass for the chance to write for the anthology, another that he'd gladly give up his right arm for the privilege that's the kind of regard in which Jack Vance and The Dying Earth are held by generations of his peers.
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams - Another audio collection, which I've already started listening to. The narration is wonderful and the stories so far are better than expected and I haven't even gotten to the Moorcock or Sawyer yet. Tim Lebbon's The Horror of the Many Faces has been the best up till now, which is a great dark Lovecraft style Holmes piece.
Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov - The last of the big audio package is one that has been making some waves. Pehov's novel was translated from Russian by the same person behind the Night Watch series, which bodes well for this classic style Epic Fantasy trilogy.
After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.
An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one, black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.
Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.
Epic fantasy at its best, Shadow Prowler is the first in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold on his quest for a magic Horn that will restore peace to the Kingdom of Siala. Harold will be accompanied on his quest by an Elfin princess, Miralissa, her elfin escort, and ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in their world…and by the king’s court jester (who may be more than he seems…or less).
Reminiscent of Moorcock's Elric series, Shadow Prowler is the first work to be published in English by the bestselling Russian fantasy author Alexey Pehov.
Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley - This is part of a joint venture between Tor and Heavy Metal magazine, which looks quite interesting just flipping through.
In Pleasure Model, the first book in the Netherworld trilogy, down-and out police detective Rook gets a big break when he’s assigned to a bizarre and vicious murder case. The clues are colder than the corpse and the case looks like it’ll remain unsolved—until an eyewitness is discovered. But the witness is a Pleasure Model, an illegal gene-grown human. Plesur’s only purpose is to provide satisfaction to her owner—in any way. When the murderer targets Plesur in order to eliminate the one witness, Rook takes her into hiding to protect her. Thus begins a descent into the dark world of exotic pleasure mods and their illicit buyers and manufacturers. Rook frantically looks for clues, struggling to stay one stop ahead of those looking to kill them both. But is Rook falling under Plesur’s spell….?
Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley - This is one I've been salivating over for quite some time and will be read in very short order since I loved The Quiet War so very, very much.
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..
The Dream of Perpertual Motion by Dexter Palmer - This steampunk debut caught my eye with its cover a few months ago and than I went and forgot all about it until the review copy showed up. Well, it certainly caught my eye again. Seriously go take a look at this well done cover.
Imprisoned for life aboard a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis, the greeting-card writer Harold Winslow pens his memoirs. His only companions are the disembodied voice of Miranda Taligent, the only woman he has ever loved, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father Prospero, the genius and industrial magnate who drove her insane.
The tale of Harold’s life is also one of an alternate reality, a lucid waking dream in which the well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, where the realms of fairy tales can be built from scratch, where replicas of deserted islands exist within skyscrapers.. As Harold’s childhood infatuation with Miranda changes over twenty years to love and then to obsession, the visionary inventions of her father also change Harold’s entire world, transforming it from a place of music and miracles to one of machines and noise. And as Harold heads toward a last desperate confrontation with Prospero to save Miranda’s life, he finds himself an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all: the perpetual motion machine.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin - So far this seems to be the debut of the year gaining huge accolades throughout the blogosphere. I grabbed a copy while at The Strand where I was quite betwixt and between many selections as always. Since nearly everyone has reviewed it already I'll probably hold off for a little while.
The Lord of the Sands and Time by Issui Ogawa - Another one from my Strand trip. This is part of Viz Media's attempt to publish translations of popular Japanese Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I've heard mixed things, but the description sounds interesting enough since I'm a sucker for time travel books.
Sixty-two years after human life on Earth was annihilated by rampaging alien invaders, the enigmatic Messenger O is sent back in time with a mission to unite humanity of past eras—during the Second World War and ancient Japan, and even back to the dawn of the species itself—to defeat the invasion before it begins. However, in a future shredded by war and genocide, love waits for O. Will O save humanity only to doom himself?
Prince of Storms by Kay Kenyon - The final book in The Entire and the Rose Space Opera/Fantasy series, which I still have to catch up with. Another really great Pyr cover.