This week only saw a few review copies show up, but I also went to a local used book sale my library was holding where I picked up a few classics and what I'd call modern classics. First up is the used book booty.
Foundation and Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov - I haven't read these in more than 15 years and I don't belive I ever owned them so finding these like-new copies was an easy decision at 50 cents a piece.
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun—or fight them and be destroyed.
When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.
Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Letham - Couldn't pass up this and the next for a buck each.
“The Vision” is a story about drunken neighborhood parlor games, boys who dress up as superheroes, and the perils of snide curiosity.
“Access Fantasy” is part social satire, part weird detective story. Evoking Lethem’s earliest work, it conjures up a world divided between people who have apartments and people trapped in an endless traffic jam behind The One-Way Permeable Barrier.
“The Spray” is a simple story about how people in love deal with their past. A magical spray is involved.
“Vivian Relf” is a tour de force about loss. A man meets a woman at a party; they’re sure they’ve met before, but they haven’t. As the years progress this strangely haunting encounter comes to define the narrator’s life.
“The Dystopianist, Thinking of His Rival, Is Interrupted by a Knock on the Door” is a Borgesian tale that features suicidal sheep. (This story won a Pushcart Prize when first published in Conjunctions.)
“Super Goat Man” is a savagely funny exposé of the failures of the sixties baby boomers, and of their children.
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Letham - This was the big find of the used book sale. It is a first printing, first edition hard cover of a book I've been meaning to read for years. It'll definitely be on my next vacation pile.
The Fortress of Solitude is the story of Dylan Ebdus growing up white and motherless in downtown Brooklyn in the 1970s. It’s a neighborhood where the entertainments include muggings along with games of stoopball. In that world, Dylan has one friend, a black teenager, also motherless, named Mingus Rude. As Lethem follows the knitting and unraveling of their friendship, he creates an overwhelmingly rich and emotionally gripping canvas of race and class, superheros, gentrification, funk, hip-hop, graffiti tagging, loyalty, and memory. The Fortress of Solitude is the first great urban coming of age novel to appear in years.
The Fade by Chris Wooding - After Retribution Falls I'm eager to get at some more Wooding so I bought this along with my wife's birthday present. Something for her equals a little for me and it is a standalone.
A subterranean world of vast caverns, underground seas, crystalline forests. A civilization born of darkness, in darkness, protected by shadows. A city of merchants, whose eyes have turned upward to the surface, where the lethal light of day beats down on their world. A conspiracy so vast that it will swallow them all. This stunningly original fantasy from a multi-award winning author introduces an epic quest across a world like no other in fantasy.
Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan and Marianne S. Jablon - This is the finished copy sent to me for review, which means it should show up in stores shortly.
Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages' wisdom, and winged weapons of war... Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today's most popular authors, including Peter Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.
Blue and Gold by K.J. Parker - This is Parker's next novella from Sub Press coming out later this year. I'm eagar to dip in since Purple and Black was a fine read.
“Well, let me see,” I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. “In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.”
For a man as remarkable as the philosopher Saloninus, just another day.
Of course, we only have his word for it, and Saloninus has been known to be creative with the truth. Little white lies are inevitable expedients when you’re one jump ahead of the secret police and on the brink of one of the greatest discoveries in the history of alchemy. But why would a scientist with the world’s most generous, forgiving patron be so desperate to run away? And what, if anything, has blue got to do with gold?
Speculative Horizons edited by Patrick St-Denis - Yes, the famous Pat from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. Also, if you preorder by May 21st 10% of the cover price will be going to the American Cancer Society. It is an odd, but good grouping of authors.
Speculative fiction is wide in scope and styles, and Speculative Horizons showcases the talent and storytelling skills of five of the genre’s most imaginative voices:
In C. S. Friedman’s “Soul Mate,” it’s love at first sight for Josie at the arts and crafts festival when she meets the handsome Stephan Mayeaux. It all sounds too good to be true until her newfound boyfriend starts to act strangely and unexplained occurrences begin to take place around her.
In Tobias S. Buckell’s “The Eve of the Fall of Habesh,” contragnartii Jazim must carry out one final assignment before the armies of the Sea People lay waste to the city he loves.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to the universe of his bestselling Recluce saga in “The Stranger.” A young herder’s existence will be forever changed by the unexpected arrival of the black-clad man recounting tales of angels living on the summit of the Roof of the World.
In “Flint,” Brian Ruckley introduces us to a young and inexperienced shaman who must venture into the spirit world to discover the source of the sickness which afflicts his tribe before they are all wiped out.
Talk to any cop working for Homicide, Narcotics, or Vice, and they’ll tell you that they get the worst cases imaginable. But in Hal Duncan’s “The Death of a Love,” you realize that they have nothing on Erocide.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu - This is Yu's novel debut, but he did have a short story collection a couple years back called Third Class Superhero. The titular story is quite a fine read and worth tracking down, especially for those prose superhero fans ala Soon I Will Be Invincible. Yu won a National Book Foundation Award for that story as well.
National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award-winner Charles Yu delivers his debut novel, a razor-sharp, ridiculously funny, and utterly touching story of a son searching for his father . . . through quantum space-time.
Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time-travel is serious business. Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do: change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician—part counselor, part gadget repair man—steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother (stuck in a onehour cycle, she makes dinner over and over and over) and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog named Ed, and using a book titled How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe as his guide, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory.
Wildly new and adventurous, Yu’s debut is certain to send shock waves of wonder through literary space-time.
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New Procurements with a bunch of signed books - May 9th, 2010 edition