Whispersync Daily Deal: The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers, read by Simon Vance

Friday, April 18, 2014: Today’s Kindle Daily Deal listings includes Tim Powers’ 1989 novel The Stress of Her Regard for $1.99 with a $1.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Simon Vance for Blackstone Audio, a fantastic audiobook which Dave calls “without a doubt one of the most terrifying and disturbing books I’ve read or listened to” and which I reviewed as “a wonderful and dark novel of a fictionalized Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Keats, and of the more completely fictional Michael Crawford, amidst a world of vampires and poetry”, calling Vance’s narration “magnificent”.

The Stress of Her Regard | [Tim Powers]

“When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee, not only to prove his innocence but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes. Told in the guise of a secret history, this tale of passion and terror brilliantly evokes the 19th century. The chilling horror and adventure blend to create a riveting romantic fantasy.”

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Release Week: Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, Geoff Ryman’s The Warrior Who Carried Life, Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World, Ben Bova’s Transhuman, Jay Lake’s collection The Sky That Wraps, and Cory Doctorow’s Homeland

APRIL 9-15, 2014: After two massive release weeks in a row, we get a bit of a breather here in terms of overall numbers, but a half-dozen fantastic titles make for another week of hard choices for those without infinite time for listening. The ALSO OUT listings have a few items of interest as well, particularly Frank Herbert’s Direct Descent read by Scott Brick, Matthew Costello’s post-apocalyptic horror novel Home, and a wide selection of teen and middle grade titles, including Geoff Rodkey’s Blue Sea Burning. In SEEN BUT NOT HEARD this week there are a few enticing books as well, including Rjurik Davidson’s debut novel Unwrapped Sky and Django Wexler’s first middle grade novel, The Forbidden Library. In publishing news this week, three items of interest to pass along: 1. The table of contents for the Nick Mamatas-edited anthology Phantasm Japan (Haikasoru, Sep 16) has been revealed; author(s) James S.A. Corey talk about the recent announcement of a TV series based on his/their “Expanse” series; and Sarah Chorn (a.k.a. BookwormBlues) will be collaborating on a shared world novel set in “The Shattered Worlds” universe for Antimatter Press. Meanwhile, I’ve recently torn through Off To Be the Wizard (what a great year for funny business 2014 has been!) and have been glued by the ears to Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August since starting into it last night. Fun stuff abounds. Enjoy!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Lagoon By Nnedi Okorafor is the World Fantasy Award winning author’s first novel for adults since 2010′s Who Fears Death. Narrated By Ben Onwukwe (known for his role in London’s Burning) and Adjoa Andoh (known for her roles in Dr. Who and EastEnders) for Hodder & Stoughton, the audiobook is really well done. Onwukwe handles most of the mainline narration, with Andoh providing the introduction and filling in for a few vignettes – an extract of the audiobook on HodderPod gives the first of these, from the point of view of a swordfish — as well as providing all of the female voices “inline” with Onwukwe’s reading. Both narrators display quite a range, from multiple “American” accents to diverse African (Nigeria, Ghana, pidgin English) to British ex-pats and more; from simple dialogue to guttural screams, both actors give fantastic performances. At first, the “inline” insertions are a bit jarring, but as the audiobook progresses it becomes more natural and seamless to the ear. Inspired by “Wizard of the Crow, Under the Dome (the novel), Nollywood movies, and District 9″, Lagoon is a story of first alien contact, Lagos, Nigeria, and (principle among the protagonists) Adaora, a marine biologist. Okorafor’s aliens are different — upon high-magnification examination, Adaora discovers that they are not composed of cellular material at all, but rather billions of tiny metallic crystals — who can shapeshift, read thoughts, and are quite serious when they say that they bring “change” — a keyword refrain that I read as an homage to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Written with a cinematic sensibility, along with the primary thrust of the story (Adaora, rapper Anthony, and soldier Agu trying desperately amidst the chaos of rioting Lagos to bring alien ambassador Ayodele together with the popular but ineffective Nigerian president) there are many, many sub-plots afoot, from a “born-again” church’s bishop hoping to use Ayodele, to small-time 419 scammers preparing to upgrade to kidnapping, to (as is perhaps a defining characteristic of Okorafor’s work to date) the intersection of science fiction and mythology: ghosts, gods, trees, animals, the ocean itself. Highly recommended.

Lagoon | [Nnedi Okorafor] The Warrior Who Carried Life | [Geoff Ryman]

The Warrior Who Carried Life By Geoff Ryman, Narrated By Patrice O’Neal for Audible Studios (April 10) — Ryman’s 1985 debut epic mythological fantasy novel was lovingly re-released by ChiZine Press in 2013, and now comes to audio. I have had a daily search for Ryman’s books in audio since being strongly recommended him by John Kessel, and finally that patience has been rewarded: “To defeat her enemies she must make them immortal. Only men are allowed into the wells of vision. But Cara’s mother defies this edict and is killed, but not before returning with a vision of terrible and wonderful things that are to come… and all because of five-year-old Cara. Years later, evil destroys the rest of Cara’s family. In a rage, Cara uses magic to transform herself into a male warrior. But she finds that to defeat her enemies, she must break the cycle of violence, not continue it. As Cara’s mother’s vision of destiny is fulfilled, the wonderful follows the terrible, and a quest for revenge becomes a quest for eternal life.” Continue reading

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Release Week: The Word Exchange, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Strange Bodies, The End is Nigh, Steles of the Sky, The Dragon Business, Black Moon, NOD, The Vanishing, No Lasting Burial, King Maker, and David Gerrold’s When HARLIE Was One

APRIL 2-8, 2014: Well, the April 1 avalanche was followed up with an April 8 landslide, with a long, long! list of titles to check out, which took me a good long while to finally make sense of. (Seeing as this is coming a full week late, and the “next” release week is already here!) Just… so many good books that even after cutting beyond the comfort point, I had more than a dozen “picks”. Which does nobody any good, now, does it? So I cut further, and it hurts a bit, but the audiobooks that remain really are all worth checking out in detail — and so are a few of those which just slid into the “also out this week” listings, including Benford and Niven’s Shipstar, Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Ann Brashares’ The Here and Now, Howard Andrew Jones’ The Bones of the Old Ones, Paul Antony Jones’ Revelations, Colin Harvey’s Winter Song, Barry Malzberg’s Overlay read by Stefan Rudnicki, and Charles Beumont’s Night Ride, and Other Journeys read by Rudnicki, J. Paul Boehmer, and Harlan Ellison. Newly added to the long-range listings is John Scalzi’s Unlocked and Steven Erikson’s Willful Child (November), and while the big book news this week includes JM McDermott’s We Leave Together being available for pre-order (June) and the announcement of a new Elizabeth Bear trilogy, the big audiobook news is the casting of narrator Fabio Tassone for Frostborn (Thrones and Bones) by Lou Anders (August). That one is going to be a blast. Enjoy! (One last note up here: while Christopher Priest’s The Adjacent was published last year in the UK and a US audiobook edition was already available, this week’s new US Kindle edition is Whispersync for Voice enabled to the tune of $7.69 plus $3.47.)

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

First up, a pair of literary-minded sf novels, starting with the multiply-starred-reviewed The Word Exchange: A Novel by Alena Graedon (Doubleday and Blackstone Audio, Apr 8, 2014) read by Tavia Gilbert and Paul Michael Garcia. “In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted “death of print” has become a near reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are essentially things of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of our stomachs, change traffic lights and interface with home appliances–even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.”

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (Redhook and Hachette Audio, Apr 8, 2014) read by Peter Kenny. “Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.”

Continue reading

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Whispersync Daily Deal: H. Paul Honsinger’s Man of War series

Monday, April 14, 2014: Today’s Kindle Daily Deal listings includes H. Paul Honsinger’s Man of War series, originally self-published and recently published in new (updated, edited, etc.) editions by 47North, each $1.99 in Kindle with a $0.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible editions, read by Ray Chase for Brilliance Audio. The first book, To Honor You Call Us (Man of War, Book 1), introduces “The Terran Union”, which  “is engaged in a vast interstellar war against the Krag, ruthless aliens intent on exterminating humankind. In 2315, the wily Max Robichaux is given command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer with state-of-the-art capabilities but a combat record so bad, she’s known as the “Cumberland Gap.” Capt. Robichaux’s first mission: to take his warship to the Free Corridor, where the Krag have secretly been buying strategic materials, and to seize or destroy any ships carrying enemy cargo. Far from the fleet and under enforced radio silence, Max relies only on his determination and guile…and the support and friendship of his chief medical officer, the brilliant Dr. Sahin. Because even as he deals with the ship’s onboard problems and the stress of carrying out her risky assignment, Max and the doctor discover that the Cumberland and her misfit crew are all that stands in the way of a deadly Krag attack that threatens to end the war—and humanity—once and for all.”

To Honor You Call Us: Man of War, Book 1 | [H. Paul Honsinger] For Honor We Stand: Man of War, Book 2 | [H. Paul Honsinger]

In For Honor We Stand (Man of War, Book 2) the story continues. Overall, the series is pitched: “A far-future story in the tradition of “ships of wood, men of iron” novels, To Honor You Call Us and the Man of War series combines the adventure of exploration, the excitement of war, and the dangers of the unknown through the eyes of a ship and her crew.”

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Whispersync Daily Deal: Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris read by Alessandro Juliani

Wednesday, April 9, 2014: Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is Bill Johnston’s “definitive” 2011 translation of Stanislaw Lem’s classic 1961 sf novel Solaris. “Telling of humanity’s encounter with an alien intelligence on the planet Solaris, the 1961 novel is a cult classic, exploring the ultimate futility of attempting to communicate with extra-terrestrial life.” On sale for $0.99 and offering a $1.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Battlestar Galactica’s Alessandro Juliani for Audible, which commissioned the new (and first direct to English) translation to mark the 50th anniversary of the novel’s release.

Solaris: The Definitive Edition | [Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)]

“When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wonder if they can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within their hearts.”

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Whispersync Deals: Pierce Brown’s Red Rising and Sarah Fine’s Guardians of the Shadowlands series

Tuesday, April 8, 2014: While it’s not in the Kindle Daily Deal listings, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising has been on sale for $1.99 in Kindle for at least the past day or so, with a $4.49 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Tim Gerard Reynolds for Recorded Books. Released in late January 2014 and a NY Times bestseller, the book is pitched as “Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow” by Scott Sigler. Well, now. The first in a new series: “Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow – and Reds like him – are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’ s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’ s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies…even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.”

Red Rising | [Pierce Brown] Sanctum: Guards of the Shadowlands, Book 1 | [Sarah Fine]

Sarah Fine’s Guardians of the Shadowlands series (Sanctum and Fractured) are both on sale today for $1.99 Kindle, each with $0.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrades to the Audible editions, read by Amy McFadden for Brilliance Audio. “A week ago, 17-year-old Lela Santos’ best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone – she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife. As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets.”

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Release Week: Dark Eden, Desert of Souls, Reign of Ash, Games Creatures Play, Tales of the Radiation Age, Salvage, and Ian McDonald’s Desolation Road and Cyberabad Days

MARCH 26-APRIL 1, 2014: A fantastic range of releases this week, from a 2012-UK-published novel of mind-bending interplanetary science fiction finally getting a US release, to epic fantasy, a big-name paranormal fantasy anthology, post-apocalyptic sf, to near-future sf for young/new adults, and some long-missing audiobooks from Ian McDonald’s backlist. Also out this week: Scott Sigler’s Galactic Football League, Steven Erikson’s The Bonehunters (Book 6 in his Malazan Book of the Fallen), a new audiobook edition of David Saperstein’s sf classic Cocoon, Lemony Snicket, fiction novels Frog Music and Every Day is For the Thief, and more. There are also some fantastic-looking books in the “seen but not heard” listings, including Felix Gilman’s The Revolutions and Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, along with a pair of essay collections as well: Battle Royale Slam Book, and the Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson-edited essay anthology Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction. Lastly, a bit of administrivia to take care of here: I’ve been copypasting the full “coming soon” listings like a massive, unending hydrocarbon chain every week, and otherwise not saying much about what’s going on down there. With this week, I’m starting a new routine of identifying new entries of interest. This week’s additions are headlined by a new Kingkiller Chronicle novella from Patrick Rothfuss, “The Slow Regard of Silent Things”, due out in November, and Nightmare Carnival edited by Ellen Datlow, due out in October. Meanwhile, the big non-release audiobook news for me is the casting of Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road with narrators Dioni Collins and Nazneen Contractor, and the big book news of the week is the announcement of a new series from Tad Williams, continuing his beloved “Memory, Sorry, Thorn” series. Enjoy!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Dark Eden: A Novel by Chris Beckett, narrated by Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, Robert Hook, Heather Wilds, Nicholas Guy Smith, Hannah Curtis, and Bruce Mann (April 1) is a BSFA-nominated 2012 novel which came strongly recommended to me from Steven Erikson, and I’ve been looking for a US release ever since. Well, here it is, given a full cast treatment by Random House Audio. “On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say – and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.”

Dark Eden: A Novel | [Chris Beckett] The Desert of Souls: Dabir & Asim, Book 1 | [Howard Andrew Jones]

The Desert of Souls: Dabir & Asim, Book 1 by Howard Andrew Jones is the author’s 2011 sword-and-sorcery debut set in 8th century Baghdad, also at long last in audio, read by Peter Ganim for Audible. “In 8th-century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life-and-death chase through the ancient Middle East. Stopping the thieves – a cunning Greek spy and a fire wizard of the Magi – requires a desperate journey into the desert, but first Dabir and Asim must find the lost ruins of Ubar and contend with a mythic, sorcerous being that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time. But against all these hazards there is one more that may be too great even for Dabir to overcome….”

Continue reading

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Whispersync Daily Deal: Hugh Howey’s Sand and Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird

Sunday, April 6, 2014: Today’s Kindle Daily Deal listings bring both sf and paranormal historical fiction Whispersync deals, starting with Hugh Howey’s Sand Omnibus, his first new novel since his best-selling Silo Saga, on sale for $1.99 Kindle with a $1.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Karen Chilton for Howey’s Broad Reach Publishing. “We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.”

Sand: Omnibus Edition | [Hugh Howey] The Firebird | [Susanna Kearsley]

Susanna Kearsley’s 2013 NY Times best-seller The Firebird is on sale for $2.99, with a $1.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Katherine Kellgren (Connie Willis’ Blackout/All Clear, Jo Walton’s Among Others, Jay Lake’s Green) for Audible Studios. “Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird – the mythical creature from an old Russian fable. Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna who leads her into the past on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.”

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Whispersync Deals: Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes, Megan Miranda’s Fracture, and Aric Davis’ A Good and Useful Hurt

Friday, April 4, 2014: Today’s Kindle Daily Deal list includes Chuck Wendig’s standalone novel The Blue Blazes, for $1.99 Kindle plus $0.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Patrick Lawlor for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio. “Meet Mookie Pearl. Criminal underworld? He runs in it. Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it. Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job. But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give….”

The Blue Blazes | [Chuck Wendig]

Also there are two books in the monthly deals listings, starting with Megan Miranda’s 2012 novel Fracture, at $1.99 Kindle plus $3.49 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by Therese Plummer for Audible Studios. “Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend, Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine – despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?”

Fracture | [Megan Miranda] A Good and Useful Hurt | [Aric Davis]

Also in the monthly listings, Aric Davis’ A Good and Useful Hurt, at $1.99 Kindle plus $1.99 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the Audible edition, read by the always-fantastic Luke Daniels for Brilliance Audio. “Mike is a tattoo artist running his own shop, and Deb is the piercing artist he hires to round out his studio’s motley crew of four. The last either expects is romance, but that’s what they get as they follow their off-kilter careers and love lives into complete and total disaster. When Mike follows a growing trend and tattoos the ashes of deceased loved ones into several customers’ tattoos, he has no idea that it will one day provide the solution – and solace – he will sorely need.”

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Casting News: Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road to be narrated by Dioni Collins and Nazneen Contractor

Since it’s no longer April 1, some serious news to pass along: Monica Byrne’s debut The Girl in the Road (May 20, Crown and Random House Audio) has been cast, with actresses Dioni Collins (BioShock Infinite) and Nazneen Contractor (Star Trek Into Darkness24) providing the voices of Mariama and Meena, respectively. I’ve been waiting and waiting on official news that there would be an audiobook, so this is doubly exciting:

The Girl in the Road Cover dioni-collins-MV5BMTk0Njc5NDQ0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM3NzA5Mg_V1_SX640_SY720 nazneen-contractor

A debut that Neil Gaiman calls “Glorious,” The Girl in the Road describes a future that is culturally lush, technologically slick, and emotionally wrenching. Continue reading

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