Sunday, 28 August 2011

Books Received | The BoSS for 28/08/11

In the second instalment of this week's duty-free double-ender of books received: The First Days of the last days... the last lark of a certain stormlord... a sequel to a science fiction classic... a trio of short stories come to us by way of Cumbria... and the wisdom of geeks, because - I presume - the crocodiles were out.
Now, to pick up where we left off yesterday...


The Children of the Sky
by Vernor Vinge

Vital Statistics
Published in the US
on 11/10/11
by Tor

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: After nearly twenty years, Vernor Vinge has produced an enthralling sequel to his memorable bestselling novel A Fire Upon the Deep. 

Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them.

While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them — and among the humans — who seek power... and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed.

On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge’s already stellar career.

My Thoughts: Now there's a book I've heard a bunch about -- and all good things!

Alas, A Fire Upon the Deep remains one of my greatest sf oversights. Thanks to Tor, however, I have copies of both that classic, and this sequel... and though I understand Vernor Vinge put out a sidequel of sorts to A Fire Upon the Deep by way of A Deepness in the Sky, I think the first and the latest book in the series should set me off to a sterling start.

Should be a sweet week's worth of reading right there... but I can't very well stop when we've only just begun, now can I?

Geek Wisdom
edited by Stephen H. Segal

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 05/09/11
by Quirk

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: We live in the era of the geek. Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book heroes are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town. Clearly, the geeks know something that other folks don't... something we'd all do well to learn from.

So here it is: Geek Wisdom, painstakingly gathered and interpreted by a diverse team of hardcore nerds who've spent years poring over the most beloved texts of the modern-day imagination. Beginning with close to 200 of the most powerful and oft-cited quotes from movies (Do, or do not - there is no try), television (The truth is out there), comics (With great power comes great responsibility), science, the Internet, and more, Geek Wisdom offers illuminating insights into the eternal truths to be found therein. Yes, this collection of mini-essays is by, for, and about geeks -- but it's just so surprisingly profound, the rest of us would have to be dorks not to read it.

My Thoughts: I am geek! Here me roar!

Now I don't often read the likes of this giftable little hardcover, but with Genevieve Valentine and N. K. Jemesin on the roster of contributors, I simply had to take a look -- and I'm glad I did. Geek Wisdom covers all the obvious stuff, of course, but there's seems to be rather more to it than pithy entries on The X-Files and the ineffable wisdom of little green men (one in particular). However, given that it isn't the sort of book you'd read in a sitting, it might be a bit before I get back to you all with a full-on review.

But it's on the coffee table... and I drink a lot of coffee... so. :)

The First Days
by Rhiannon Frater

Vital Statistics
Published in the US
on 05/07/11
by Tor

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. 

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni’s stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form.  

Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.

My Thoughts: Look, everyone! Look at the zombies! Aren't they horrid?

More horrid than the last self-published zombie sensation I started reading? That would be the Autumn series by David Moody, and no, I can't imagine how it could possibly more dreadful than that trash. And Graeme's certainly a fan [link] of The First Days -- then again, the man does love his zombies, so take of his recommendation what you will. Can't say I'm entirely sure about this new series myself... nor does this priceless lift from the blurb for book two, coming November, bode very well for The First Days: featuring the "further zombie-killing, civilization-saving adventures of a pair of sexy, kick butt heroines and the men who love them."

So, uh. No? :/

Oh, I don't know. I'll probably give it a wee read sooner or later, and pray that part of the pitch is just the work of some marketing so-and-so with designs on paranormal romance's target audience.

The Beautiful Room / Field / Lexicon
by R. B. Russell / Tom Fletcher / Christopher Burns

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
mostly on 07/03/11
by Nightjar Press

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

My Thoughts: These three chapbooks are a bit of a departure for The BoSS, but I couldn't very well let them come and go without remarking on their loveliness at least a little. As if I'd let them off so lightly!

In fact the plan, as it stands, is to round up this Cumbrian triumvirate of genre shorts for a single, triple-threat edition of Short Fiction Corner. I've already read one of the three - "The Beautiful Room" by R. B. Russell - and it proved a creepy/crazy/beautiful thing indeed, which bodes very well for the others. Then there's my pre-existing fondness for all things Tom Fletcher (his Mario Kart asides excepted), the striking design Nightjar Press has conjured up for all their chapbooks - of which there are many more - and the fact that none other than Nicholas Royle is behind these strictly-limited releases... surely you can begin to imagine how well I hope this is going to go.

And go it shall, shortly.

Stormlord's Exile
by Glenda Larke

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 04/08/11
by Orbit

Review Priority
2 (It Could Happen)

The Blurb: A series of extraordinary events mark the beginning of summer: earth tremors ravage the Hyddenworld; Jack and Katherine have a child, Judith; and a mysterious gem is found near Brum. That same night, after decades of sleep, the Emperor of the Hyddenworld awakens...

Jack, born of the Hyddenworld, knows that he has a foot in each world but doesn’t wholly belong to either. Is he human, or hydden? Judith too is a child of two worlds, with her human mother and hydden father. She knows who she is supposed to be – the Shield Maiden, bearer of the gems and helper of humankind – but somehow this destiny seems too much to accept.

The discovered gem puts Brum firmly in the path of the Empire – Jack must travel back to the Hyddenworld. He knows that the four gems need to be reunited soon and that the Shield Maiden must be ready to wield them.

If Judith does not embark on her own great journey soon, or the gems can’t be found, then both the hydden world and the human will be threatened with extinction.

My Thoughts: Now I haven't read or heard very much at all about these books, of which I understand Stormlord's Exile is volume three of three, though I do believe I have review copies of the previous instalments in the series kicking about somewhere in the library...

So I'm going to turn this one over to you folks. If any of y'all have read these books, please, do chime in; I'd really appreciate the advice. Am I going to enjoy Glenda Larke, do you think, if I make the time for this completed series, or would I be best to devote my energies elsewhere?

And that. Is. That.

On top of everything else, two editions of the BoSS in two days have left me profoundly pooped, so I hope you'll forgive me if I'm not so effervescent this afternoon. That said, here's hoping something I've blogged about this weekend has managed to catch your eye. I've certainly got more than enough to be getting on with!

As ever, if there's anything you think I'm missing, feel free to poke me in the right direction in the comments. But please, no poking me in the wrong direction. :P

On which note...


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