Russian urban fantasist Sergei Lukyanenko’s audiobooks have been a long while coming, but they were worth the wait, and they are my pick(s) for the best new science fiction and fantasy release of December 2010 at Audible.com. Paul Michael narrates Audible Frontiers productions of all four Watch books, all published in the wee hours of 2010:
- Night Watch: Watch, Book 1
- Day Watch: Watch, Book 2
- Twilight Watch: Watch, Book 3
- Last Watch: Watch, Book 4
Publisher’s summary and some blurb-worthy blurbs:
Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the “Others”, an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme “Other” will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light.
When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?
“Brace yourself for Harry Potter in Gorky Park…. The novel contains some captivating scenes and all kinds of marvelous, inventive detail: The vampires’ seduction of a teenage boy is bone-chilling; every time Lukyanenko described the Other-worldly Twilight, I felt lured into it; and the fantastical powers exercised by Anton and his colleagues range from delightful to awesome.” (The Washington Post Book World)
“[As] potent as a shot of vodka…. [A] compelling urban fantasy.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Night Watch is an epic of extraordinary power.” (Quentin Tarantino)
Yes, that Quentin Tarantino. Lukyanenko sets his characters afoot in Moscow, a city and genre re-visited by Ekaterina Sedia’s more Gaiman-Neverwhere-esque The Secret History of Moscow, and the four books, starting with 2006’s Night Watch, literally define Russian urban fantasy.
ALSO IN DECEMBER:
- I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
- Song of Time by Ian R. MacLeod
- Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Priestess of Avalon and Lady of Avalon (1997)
- Kurt Vonnegut gets the Audible Modern Vanguard treatment: Galapagos (1985) narrated by Jonathan Davis; Player Piano (1980) narrated by Christian Rummel; The Sirens of Titan (1959) narrated by Jay Snyder; and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater narrated by Eric Michael Summerer
- A triple feature of John Scalzi: The God Engines, his Hugo-nominated fantasy novella, along with Agent to the Stars and The Android’s Dream both narrated by Wil Wheaton
- Jeffrey Ford: The Shadow Year (2008) narrated by Kevin T. Collins (Audible Frontiers) and Memoranda: The Well-Built City Trilogy, Book 2 (1999)narrated by Christian Rummel (Audible Frontiers).
- The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller
- Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (1957, 1985) narrated by Stephen Hoye (Tantor)
- A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs narrated by Brian Holsopple (Audio Realms)
- Non-genre alert! The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001, FS&G) narrated by George Guidall (Simon & Schuster Audio)
- Non-genre alert! Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov: Marc Vietor narrates and Audible, Inc. production of Nabokov’s 1962 999-line “poem novel”
- Non-genre alert? Sure, it takes place in a town spared from a global nuclear holocaust and might be grouped under apocalyptic science fiction or similar, but anyway: Alas, Babylon by narrated by
SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:
- Anthology: Engineering Infinity edited Stephen Baxter, Charles Stross, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Gwyneth Jones
- Zoo City
- The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale
Note: this post is back-dated from June 23, 2011, for sort order purposes.