Release Week: Tad Williams, Steven Erikson, Iain M. Banks, and The Lord of the Rings

What the second release week in October lacks in the staggering numbers department, it makes up for with three absolutely stellar titles: urban fantasy from Tad Williams, the latest Iain M. Banks “Culture” novel, and the long-awaited first audio installment of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series. And! The long-awaited digital audio release of the Rob Inglis narrations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

I’ve bemoaned the US audiobook absence of The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar, Book 1 By Tad Williams for quite a few release weeks now, but this week brings a Penguin Audio production of George Newbern’s narration: “You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. … Brace yourself – the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.”

 

Last Wednesday saw the the long-awaited first audiobook in The Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series: Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1 By Steven Erikson, Narrated by Ralph Lister for Brilliance Audio. Is it post-modern epic fantasy? Post-structural epic fantasy? That’s a debate for brighter minds than mine, but this 1999 novel heralded a many-layered tapestry of characters and storylines: “The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.”

The Hydrogen Sonata By Iain M. Banks, Narrated by Peter Kenny for Hachette Audio, continues the “Culture” series: “The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.”

 

Lastly, the 1999-91 Rob Inglis narrations for Recorded Books of J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved The Lord of the Rings series are finally in digital audio download. I still have — and enjoy re-listening to — Martin Shaw’s narration of The Hobbit, but have heard quite a few compliments on the Inglis recordings which are all — all of them — quickly establishing themselves at the top of the Audible bestseller charts.

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

ALREADY OUT WEDNESDAY:

EARLIER THIS WEEK:

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

  • Anthology: Epic edited by John Joseph Adams (Tachyon, Oct 5) — reprint anthology of epic adventure fantasy
  • The Indigo Pheasant (Longing for Yount Volume 2) by Daniel A. Rabuzzi (ChiZine, Oct 9) — follow-up to 2009’s The Choir Boats — “London 1817. Maggie Collins, born into slavery in Maryland, whose mathematical genius and strength of mind can match those of a goddess, must build the world’s most powerful and sophisticated machine – to free the lost land of Yount from the fallen angel Strix Tender Wurm.”
  • Anthology: After (Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia) by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Hyperion, Oct 9, 2012)
  • The Hive by Charles Burns (Pantheon, Oct 9)
  • Teen: The Bridge by Jane Higgins (Tundra, Oct 9) — “This grim first novel, set on a not-so-distant future Earth in a war-torn, divided city that could be Sarajevo, London, or just about any other metropolis, packs a significant emotional wallop.” (Publishers Weekly)
  • Teen: Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown, Oct 9) — “a plain princess finds a forbidden book that leads her to the last dragon in existence” (Locus)
  • Teen: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry, Oct 4) — “a young woman flees an arranged marriage to become a pirate on her own.” (Locus)
  • Janus by John Park (ChiZine, Oct 9) — “a man arrives on the colony world of Janus, where he discovers that, like many of the colonists, he has lost his memory of his life on Earth” (Locus)

LATER THIS WEEK:

NEXT WEEK (Oct 16):

  • Only Superhuman by Christopher L. Bennett (Tor, Oct 16) — “2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.”
  • The Twelve (The Passage, #2) by Justin Cronin (Ballantine, Oct 16) — sequel to The Twelve — coming to audio from Random House Audio
  • Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven (Tor, Oct 16, 2012)
  • Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press and Brilliance Audio, Oct 16)
  • The Walking Dead: The Road to WoodburyThe Walking Dead Series (#2 of 3) by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, Read by Fred Berman (Macmillan Audio, Oct 16)
  • The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon, Oct 16, 2012) — originally released only in the Netherlands as a very, very limited edition, coming to the US in a new edition — no audio news
  • Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin, read by Ron Donachie (Harper Audio, Oct 16) — Martin’s 1982 vampire novel set on the Mississippi River in 1857 — also coming are additional GRRM novels Dying of the Light and Windhaven

TWO WEEKS (Oct 23):

  • Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit, Oct 23) — “Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.” (emphasis mine…)
  • Beautiful Redemption (A Beautiful Creatures Novel) By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (October 23, Dreamscape/Hachette Audio) — “The stunning and bittersweet finale to the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.”

THREE WEEKS (Oct 30):

  • YA: Ruins by Orson Scott Card, from Brilliance Audio, simultaneously released with the hardcover from Simon Pulse — continuing the story of 2010’s Pathfinder (Simon Pulse, October 30)
  • Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson — book one in a new prequel trilogy to Erikson’s Malazan series — published in print by Tor in September, forthcoming from Brilliance Audio which is also putting out the Malazan series in audio
  • Death’s Apprentice A Grimm City Novel By K.W. Jeter and Gareth Jefferson Jones (Thomas Dunne and Dreamscape Audio, Oct 30) — “Death’s young apprentice must stand on his own as he leads an uprising against the Devil.”
  • The Lion in Chains (A Foreworld Side Quest) by Mark Teppo (Brilliance Audio, Oct 30) — a “side quest” in the world of The Mongoliad
  • Kris Longknife: Furious by Mike Shepherd (Oct 30)
  • Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom (Harper Voyager, Oct 30)
  • Cemetery Plot by Alex Granados (Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, Oct 31) — “The apocalypse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”.
  • The Warlock’s Curse: Veneficas Americana #3 by M.K. Hobson (Demimonde, Oct 31) — Kickstarter-funded self-published third book after The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess were published by Spectra
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon, Nov 1)
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