Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control. It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile. These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.
This was a bit of a slow week at work for me, so I spent more time than usual reading book blogs and book news and science fiction-y things on the Interweb. This of course means I found more books that I will never have time to read, though they all sound potentially fascinating. Here's this week's discoveries:
The Mythology of Supernatural: The Signs and Symbols Behind the Popular TV Show by Nathan Robert Brown
Berkley Trade (08/02/11)
A look into the paranormal legends and lore features on the hit television show Supernatural.
From angels to demons, The Mythology of Supernatural explores the religious roots and the ancient folklore of the otherworldly entities that brothers Sam and Dean Winchester face on the hit television show Supernatural-and that have inhabited the shadows of human imagination across countless cultures and centuries.
The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror (2011 Edition) edited by Paula Guran
Prime Books (08/23/11)
This incomparable annual compilation of the best short fiction and novellas features an unmatched variety of the quietly weird, the merely eerie, high fantasy, modern Lovecraftian horror, nightmarish near-future scenarios, the darkly humorous, the supernatural, and the monstrously mundane from the likes of established bestselling authors such as Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R. Martin, and legendary writers like Joe R. Lansdale, Tanith Lee, and Gene Wolfe.
Neil Gaiman's name automatically makes this anthology one for me to find. I've also read a couple of Holly Black's stories and enjoyed them. I've come to find that I generally perfer anthologies to a single author's short story collection because there's more variety in not only subject, but also styles, characterization, and language. I don't know how they've already found all the best fantasy and horror stories of the year and it not even being September yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what's included.
Geek Wisdom edited by Stephen H. Segal
Quirk Books (08/02/11)
THE GEEKS HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH.
Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book superheroes are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town. Clearly, geeks know something about life in the 21st century that other folks don’t—something we all can learn from. Geek Wisdom takes as gospel some 200 of the most powerful and oft-cited quotes from movies (“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”), television (“Now we know—and knowing is half the battle”), literature (“All that is gold does not glitter”), games, science, the Internet, and more. Now these beloved pearls of modern-day culture have been painstakingly interpreted by a diverse team of hardcore nerds with their imaginations turned up to 11. 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. So say we all.
While I might not be a classic geek in the sense that I can be pretty inept with technology, I can't recite the entire original Star Wars trilogy, and I have no interest in watching the originalStar Trek series, I am most definitely a geek. I read about scientific developments, love science fiction and fantasy, wish superheroes were real and would very much like to visit the TARDIS. This sounds like an interesting, and mostly likely amusing, collection of essays that would greatly appeal to me with possibly filling in some blanks in my nerd teachings.
Angel Dush Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson
Eraserhead Press (02/10/05)
Meth-heads, man-made monsters, and murderous Neo-Nazis. Blissed out club kids dying at the speed of sound. The un-dead and the very soon-to-be-dead. They're all here, trying to claw their way free.
From the radioactive streets of a war-scarred future, where the nuclear bombs have become self-aware, to the fallow fields of Nebraska where the kids are mainlining lightning bugs, this is a world both alien and intensely human. This is a place where self-discovery involves scalpels and horse tranquilizers; where the doctors are more doped-up than the patients; where obsessive-compulsive acid-freaks have unlocked the gateway to God and can't close the door.
This is not a safe place. You can turn back now, or you can head straight into the heart of the Angel Dust Apocalypse.
I was won at "kids mainlining lighting bugs". If that's literal, that would be awesome. Do their veins start glowing? Are they actually consuming the bugs or just the luminescent qualities? If the streets are radioactive, wouldn't they already be glowing? Apocalyptic world meets drugged-out club culture meets... well, I'm not sure what, but it definitely sounds interesting. And that cover? Wow, creepy.
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker (The Company #1)
Tor reprint (12/27/05)
This is the first novel in what has become one of the most popular series in contemporary SF, now back in print from Tor. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus. One of these is Mendoza the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden.
But while there, she meets Nicholas Harpole, with whom she falls in love. And that love sounds great bells of change that will echo down the centuries, and through the succeeding novels of The Company.
If this is one of the most popular series in contemporary science fiction, I've been stuck in a closet because I've never heard of it or of Kage Baker. All I know is that time travelers + the inevitable alternate time streams + ominous corporations = good times. This was originally published 1997 and is the beginning of an eight books and counting series. All the books get pretty solid ratings, so this one must provide a pretty solid base and the beginnings of a great sci-fi world.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Henry Holt & Co. (10/12/10)
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he's doing all right--until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he's a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
The title of this book made me laugh and do a bit of a double take. That's a fun play on words there. Zombies, magic, things going wrong, potential coffeeshop hipsters in mortal peril? That could be fun.
Lost at the Con by Bryan Young
ShineBox Digital Publishing (05/18/11)
Lost at the Con tells the tale of a drunken political journalist and his dangerous assignment to a science fiction and fantasy convention. Though he'd rather be at home drinking his liver to death, his spiteful editor delivers an ultimatum: take the assignment or lose the steady paycheck. Since Cobb can't afford to turn down the job, he heads to Atlanta and dives head first into the realm of Griffin*Con, renowned the world over as the Mardis Gras of geek conventions. There, he finds all of the science fiction, fantasy, and cosplay he would expect, but he also finds something more sinister: a seedy underbelly of geeky debauchery, slash fiction, booze, sex, and drugs. Can he make it through this assignment without snapping and winding up on the front page himself? Or will the entire experience change him in ways he never imagined possible? It's been called "A masterful blend of fictional Gonzo journalism and geek culture that is sure to please audiences inside and outside the geek community."
I've heard stories about the happenings at Dragon*Con, which is what Griffin*Con is satirizing. It always sounds like there's a dark underbelly at that con in Atlanta that either isn't at San Diego Comic Con or I've managed to stay far, far away from. Even though this is fictionalized, I bet there's more truth in it than the author would admit.
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar (The Bookman Histories #1)
Angry Robot (10/05/11)
BOMB OUTRAGE IN LONDON!
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? His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself...
Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure. The Bookman is the first of a series.
File Under: Steampunk [ Alternate History! | Reptilian Royalty! | Diabolical Anarchists! | Extraordinary Adventure! ]
If a book is steampunk in nature, it gets an automatic add to my disturbingly long TBR list. This sounds like it could have some of that delightful insanity of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and, of course, books playing such a crucial part to the plot is always appealing. Though it leaves me wondering exactly how would someone hide bombs in books? Are they teeny tiny bomb stuck in the binding? Exploding ink? How did the royal family turn into lizards?
All book blurbs pulled from the wonderful Goodreads.com