Sunday, 6 March 2011

Books Received | The BoSS for 06/03/11

Met the old BoSS? Well, let me introduce you to the new BoSS - same as the old BoSS, more or less... except less is more. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

All caught up? Good. Let's get on with it, then.

So. My holidays happened! A whole week on the isle of Skye, with no work, and none of my usual avenues of play available. I took, like... ten books!

And as per fecking usual, I spent far too long finding entertaining new ways to spend my time and far too little time actually reading. How disappointing. Alas, the postie waits for no man, the fiend, and upon my return there was a stack of new books chilling out in the entrance hallway. He be a few of them...


by Dan Abnett

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 28/04/11
by Angry Robot

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: The colony planet of Eighty-Six looks as dull as all its fellow new worlds to veteran journalist Lex Falk, but when a local squabble starts to turn violent, and the media start getting the runaround from the military high command, his interest is seriously piqued.

Forbidden from approaching the battlezone, he gets himself chipped inside the head of a combat veteran – and uncovers the story of a lifetime. When the soldier is killed, however, Falk must use all his resourcefulness to get back home again... and blow the lid off the whole damn thing.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Brace yourself for the least surprising surprise ever: I've never read Dan Abnett. The Horus Heresy and the Warhammer 40k books this author has made his bread and butter have never been for me - the closest I ever got to a tabletop RPG was Hero Quest when I was but half the size of a regular person - yet Abnett's is a name I hear a lot of folks bandying about, so. He's written a new standalone novel. And by gum, I mean to read it.

Son of Heaven
by David Wingrove

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 01/03/11
by Corvus

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: The year is 2085, two decades after the great economic collapse that destroyed Western civilization. With its power broken and its cities ruined, life in the West continues in scattered communities. In rural Dorset Jake Reed lives with his 14-year-old son and memories of the great collapse. Back in '43, Jake was a rich, young futures broker, immersed in the datascape of the world's financial markets. He saw what was coming - and who was behind it.

Forewarned, he was one of the few to escape the fall. For 22 years he has lived in fear of the future, and finally it is coming - quite literally - across the plain towards him. Chinese airships are in the skies and a strange, glacial structure has begun to dominate the horizon. Jake finds himself forcibly incorporated into the ever-expanding 'World of Levels' a global city of some 34 billion souls, where social status is reflected by how far above the ground you live.

Here, under the rule of the mighty Tsao Ch'un, a resurgent China is seeking to abolish the past and bring about world peace through rigidly enforced order. But a civil war looms, and Jake will find himself at the heart of the struggle for the future.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: The first of twenty - count 'em! - books in the Chung Kuo, a grand series the great Wiki deity informs me was published originally in eight longer volumes between 1989 and the year Prince likes to go on about partying in. Son of Heaven is one of two all-new prequels Corvus commissioned for their unspeakably ambitious re-release of the series, which by all accounts the original publisher rather interfered with.

I've been looking forward to Son of Heaven since word of this David Wingrove renaissance first hit the intertubes. Whether or not I'll stick with the Chung Kuo through to the bitter end remains to be seen, but I do hope to... and the early word is certainly promising. Look for a full review in the imminent.

by Catherynne M. Valente

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 22/02/11
by PS Publishing

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: In this, her first story collection, six years of multi-award winning Cathrynne M. Valente’s acclaimed short fiction comes together in a single volume. From Mars to ancient India, from the interstellar deeps to post-war Leningrad, from selkies and gingerbread houses to zombies, noir detectives, and video games that never were, these stories leap from genre to genre, voice to voice, outer reaches to inner hearts. Here you will find strange secret histories, backalley deals between steampunk and pirate stories, between fairy tales and moon colonies, Antarctic cartographers and interplanetary documentary filmmakers.

Here an author throws her voice — and a family of strange dolls speak, as if by magic.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Having touched base at last with the folks over at PS Publishing, what seemed to me a library entire of unspeakably lovely and inherently little-known novels and collections suddenly became a real possibility - if only I could get my head around e-reading.

I'm still down a tablet - the astonishing pricing of the new wave of Gingerbread slates has rather discouraged that impulse, I'm afraid - but I've still got my HTC Desire, and would you believe: I think I mean to use it! For new (to me) Cat Valente, I'd give a digit of my choosing, so this feels like a pretty sweet deal, really.

The plan is to read through Ventriloquism for potential Short Story Corners as well as ultimately a review, so bear in mind it might be a wee while before you hear any more of this particular beauty. But hear you will.

Camera Obscura
by Lavie Tidhar

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 14/04/11
by Angry Robot Books

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: Can't find a rational explanation to a mystery? Call in the quiet council!

The mysterious and glamorous Lady De Winter is one of their most valuable agents. A despicable murder inside a locked and bolted room on the Rue Morgue in Paris is just the start. This whirlwind adventure will take Milady to the highest and lowest parts of that great city – and cause her to question the very nature of reality itself.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Ah, you know, I didn't love The Bookman - the full review from last summer is here - but my appreciation of the short fiction I've read by Lavie Tidhar is such that... sure, the hell with it: I'll give the next novel in this steampunk series of his a go. In fact from the blurb it sounds like there's a whole new array of characters to get to know anyway, so.

Have I said before how verily I adore the cover art on these books?

The Demi-Monde: Winter
by Rod Rees

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 06/01/11
by Quercus

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history's cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin's arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; and Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. 

But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President's daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Doesn't that sound like a vast amount of fun?

And what little I've heard of Winter, the first of the four volumes of The Demi-Monde, has been along exactly those lines. People are saying it's kind of like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins meets The Matrix - and who wouldn't want to read a thing like that?

Would that I could have brought this beauty - and I should add, this really is a rather pretty book - on holiday with me. It'd have made for perfect rainy-day reading...


That's it for this week. But never fear: the nearly-new and probably only moderately improved BoSS will be back at the same bat-time next week, in the same bat-place. See you then!

So Son of Heaven will be the first book I tear off the TBR - I'm hoping to start in on it this evening. After that, an appetiser from Ventriloquism, I think... and then The Demi-Monde. Yeah. That'll be my week.

What will you be reading?

1 comment:

  1. Just to answer your question - I'm delving through a re-read of Dust of Dreams before tackling The Crippled God, which will hopefully arrive in the post from the UK this week ;-). No time for more than one book with these behemoths - they demand undivided attention