Release Week: Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds, Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Ben Bova’s Farside, and Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill

The second release week in February comes with quite a haul, with deep future sf from Mythopoetic Award-winner Karen Lord, a lush collection from Karen Russell, a pair of highly anticipated continued epic fantasy series from Recorded Books, new sf from Ben Bova read by Stefan Rudnicki, and one of the more unique audiobooks to come this year, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. (And one of the more unique books of last year, Patrick Wensink’s Broken Piano for President, gets a professional unabridged production as well.) Unfortunately no sign yet of Robert Jackson Bennett’s latest, American Elsewhere, but there is a Recorded Books audiobook coming in the third quarter this year so there’s some solace there. And of course, there’s the latest in John Scalzi‘s best-selling series The Human Division, with this installment being Tales from the Clarke: The Human Division, Episode 5. Speaking of ongoing episodic audio, The Leviathan Chronicles continued this week with Snipe by Mur Lafferty and Christof Laputka, which “takes you on a round-the-world cat & mouse chase to keep a weapon of catastrophic power from falling into the wrong hands.” And! At the bottom of the post I have a few more Whispersync for Voice “price quirk” deals, as well as a quick run-down of Audible.com’s currently ongoing $4.95 “Win-Win” sale.

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

I had been expecting to lament that The Best of All Possible Worlds By Karen Lord was not in audio this week, but luckily indeed here it is, narrated By Robin Miles for Audible Frontiers — Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins. This was a very happy surprise, as I hadn’t seen any concrete audio news for this book I’ve been eagerly anticipating for a very long time, having thoroughly enjoyed the Mythopoetic Award-winning Redemption in Indigo. And so seeing the book show up in audio concurrent with the US print release from Del Rey, with the fantastic narration of Robin Miles, well, there’s a reason it’s already over there under “Sam is currently listening to”. I’m several chapters in and I’m very much enjoying this one, but: it’s really not quite fair that Lord can go from mythopoetic oral storytelling to deep future interstellar sf as well as she does here. Instead of chasing down the well-trodden path of AI run amok (though perhaps that is in the background somewhere, not yet touched upon), Lord’s far future comes with millenia of genetic selection to the near point of speciation — and developed psi characteristics ranging from empathy to suggestion to telepathy to, well, the ability to pilot mind ships through deep space, though that last bit isn’t yet explored in the story, which focuses on a bio-technician turned guide on a most unusual anthropological expedition across one of the melting plot planets. Here’s both a review in Locus Magazine by Gary K. Wolfe, and lastly the publisher copy: “Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail. Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science-fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story. A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever. Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies… and a force that transcends all.”

The Best of All Possible Worlds | [Karen Lord]  Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories | [Karen Russell]

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories By Karen Russell, Narrated By Arthur Morey, Joy Osmanski, Kaleo Griffith, Mark Bramhall, Michael Bybee, Romy Rosemont, and Robbie Daymond for Random House Audio — Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins — concurrent with print/ebook release from Knopf. Along with a great review by Elizabeth Hand in the Washington Post, here’s the publisher copy: “From the author of the instant New York Times best seller Swamplandia! (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), a dazzling new collection of stories that showcases Karen Russell’s gifts at their inimitable best. In the collection’s marvelous title story, two aging vampires in a sun-drenched Italian lemon grove find their hundred-year marriage tested when one of them develops a fear of flying. In “The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979”, a dejected teenager discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left in a seagull’s nest. “Proving Up” and “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis” – stories of children left to fend for themselves in dire predicaments – find Russell veering into more sinister territory, and ultimately crossing the line into full-scale horror. In “The New Veterans”, a massage therapist working with a tattooed war veteran discovers she has the power to heal by manipulating the images on his body. In all, these wondrous new pieces display a young writer of superlative originality and invention coming into the full range and scale of her powers.”

Out concurrent with its print/ebook release from Tor is Farside By Ben Bova, Narrated by the incomparable and always magnificent Stefan Rudnicki for Blackstone Audio — Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins — “Farside, the side of the moon that never faces Earth, is the ideal location for an astronomical observatory. It is also the setting for a tangled web of politics, personal ambition, love, jealousy, and murder. Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some 30 light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world, photographs and spectra that show whether or not the planet is truly like Earth – and if it bears life. Farside observatory will have the largest optical telescope in the solar system as well as a vast array of radio antennas, the most sensitive radio telescope possible, insulated from the interference of Earth’s radio chatter by a thousand kilometers of the moon’s solid body. Building Farside is a complex, often dangerous task. On the airless surface of the moon, under constant bombardment by hard radiation and in-falling micrometeoroids, builders must work in cumbersome spacesuits and use robotic machines as much as possible. Breakdowns – mechanical and emotional – are commonplace. Accidents happen, some of them fatal. But what they ultimately find will stun everyone, and the human race will never be the same.”

Farside | [Ben Bova] All You Need Is Kill | [Hiroshi Sakurazaka]

Originally published in Japan in 2004 and published in print and ebook in English in 2009 by Haikasoru, All You Need Is Kill By Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Narrated By Mike Martindale for Simon & Schuster Audio — Length: 5 hrs and 25 mins. Basis (though with many changes) of the planned 2014 film starring Tom Cruise. “There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again. When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?”

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

Recorded Books brings the continuation of two well-received epic fantasy series including concurrent new release The Daylight War: The Demon Cycle, Book 3 By Peter V. Brett, Narrated By Pete Bradbury, and one of the most missing audiobooks of 2012 in The King’s Blood: The Dagger and the Coin, Book 2 By Daniel Abraham, Narrated By Pete Bradbury; an alternate history series continues with 1635: The Papal Stakes By Charles E. Gannon and Eric Flint, Narrated By George Guidalland there’s also a new unabridged recording of Broken Piano for President By Patrick Wensink, a much improved recording from the abridged version which last year accompanied the Lazy Fascist Press-published indie international bestseller which gained notice from the “World’s Nicest Cease and Desist” letter from Jack Daniels

Shadow on the Crown: A Novel by Patricia Bracewell (Viking Adult and Penguin Audio, Feb 7, 2013) — historical fiction set in the early 1000s

The Magician’s Apprentice By Trudi Canavan, Narrated By Richard Aspel for Bolinda Publishing — Length: 25 hrs and 19 mins — replacing the incredibly stripped down abridged recording (under 6 hours) narrated By Rosamund Pike

Among several other additions to the Audible Frontiers Dungeons & Dragons collection: Gauntlgrym: Legend of Drizzt: Neverwinter Saga, Book 1 By R. A. Salvatore, Narrated By Victor Bevine (with the remaining 3 books in this series coming over the following weeks) and Spellfire: Forgotten Realms: Shandril’s Saga, Book 1 By Ed Greenwood, Narrated By James Patrick Cronin

Among a few other Audible Inc titles, the adventure memoir of sf writer leads the way in terms of my interest this week: Predators I Have Known By Alan Dean Foster, Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer. In fiction: Swan Song: Hooded Swan, Book Six By Brian Stableford (1975), Narrated By Zach Herries; Husk: A Novel By Corey Redekop, Narrated By Paul Costanzo; The Shattered Horse By S. P. Somtow, Narrated By Napoleon Ryan; The Oracle Glass By Judith Merkle Riley, Narrated By Linda Bruno; The Code of the Zombie Pirate: How to Become an Undead Master of the High Seas By Scott Kenemore, Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark; and several novels by Barbara Hambly, narrated variously by Anne Flosnik, Simon Vance, and others

Among several other releases by Audible Frontiers of previously published books, the completion of Joel Rosenberg‘s Guardians of the Flame series, read by Keith Silverstein: The Heir Apparent: Guardians of the Flame, Book 4, The Warrior Lives: Guardians of the Flame, Book 5, The Road to Ehvenor: Guardians of the Flame, Book 6 , and The Road Home: Guardians of the Flame, Book 7 — along with two more Rosenberg novels, D’Shai (Narrated By Ray Chase) and Not for Glory: Thousand Worlds, Book 3 (Narrated By Maxwell Glick) — as well as: The Legend That Was Earth By James P Hogan, Narrated By John Morgan; Captive of Gor: Gorean Saga, Book 7 By John Norman, Narrated By Lexi Maynard; and Drifter, McCade’s Bounty, and Alien Bounty By William C. Dietz, all narrated By Bill Quinn

The week’s haul from Crossroad Press includes among others: Journey: The Five Worlds Trilogy, Book 2 By Al Sarrantonio, Narrated By Dave Courvoisier; Twilight Hankerings By Ronald Kelly, Narrated By J. C. Hayes; The Crossings By Jack Ketchum, Narrated By Scotty Drake; Horrorween: The Orangefield Series, Book 1 By Al Sarrantonio, Narrated By Gene Blake; and The Quest of the Thirteen By John DeFilippis, Narrated By Timothy J. Danko

One adult sf/f release from Brilliance Audio next week: The Beast of Calatrava: A Foreworld SideQuest By Mark Teppo, Narrated By Luke Daniels — Length: 3 hrs and 36 mins

Iambik Audio had a big week: Bearded Women By Teresa Milbrodt, Narrated By Darla Middlebrook; The Hair Wreath and Other Stories By Halli Villegas, Narrated By Dawn Harvey; Fire Logic: Book 1 of Elemental Logic By Laurie J. Marks, Narrated By Anita Roy Dobbs; Race for the Heir: Book 2 of the Prophecies of Ballitor By Kirsty Riddiford, Narrated By Ruth Golding; and Tranquility’s Blaze: Book 1 of Tales of Tranquility By Krista D. Ball, Narrated By Cori Samuel (who was wonderful on JM McDermott’s Last Dragon)

Short: A Man and His God: A Sacred Band Tale By Janet Morris (1981), Narrated By David Kudler — Length: 1 hr and 52 mins — “This landmark short novel contains what may be the first male/male kiss in modern fantasy, and was widely reprinted, after appearing in somewhat different form in Thieves’ World(r), in the Science Fiction Book Club, two Issac Asimov collections, and the Baen Book “Tempus” by Janet Morris.”

Teen: Maggot Moon By Sally Gardner, Narrated By Robert Madge for Candlewick on Brilliance Audio — Length: 3 hrs and 38 mins — Scheduled Release Date: 02-12-13 — “On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know.”

Two shorts for kids from Nation9: The Stones of Five Colors and the Empress Jokwa By Dan Redwine, Narrated By Ken MacMillan (15 mins) and Intro to Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of the Four: Intro to Classics By Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated By Zach Taylor (51 mins)

And a few more quick notes:

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

Sutherland's Rules American Elsewhere

  • Sutherland’s Rules by Dario Ciriello (Panverse, February) — “Some people go gentle into that long good night. Billy Sutherland isn’t one of them. All Christian White wants is a quiet life. But between the FDA threatening new regulations which would bankrupt his business, and the challenges posed by his open marriage to Carol, his attractive, younger, bi wife, peace isn’t anywhere on the horizon. And when he receives a letter from Billy, his old chum and sometime guardian angel from their hippie days, asking him to come to London and help him to collect on a forty-year-old IOU, Christian’s other problems start to look insignificant. Because the IOU is for two hundred and fifty kilos of charas, high-grade hashish from Afghanistan. And Christian owes Billy too much to even consider refusing.” Blurb from Nebula/Hugo winner Ken Liu: “SUTHERLAND’S RULES is an exciting adventure that will keep you turning the pages: fun, fast, fabulously plotted.”
  • American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit, Feb 12, 2013) — no audio quiet yet; c’mon publishers, it took far too long for The Troupe to make it into audio, get working sooner on these! There is a Recorded Books audiobook coming in the third quarter this year
  • Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui (Vintage, Feb 12) — “This is not a new book, but it’s very worth mentioning — Paprika came out in Japan in 1993, and was made into a movie by Satoshi Kon a dozen years later. This English translation, by Andrew Driver, came out in 2009 on a small press. But now, it’s out in a fancy edition from Random House, so you can learn why Japanese readers went into mourning when Yasutaka went on strike years ago. There’s a lengthy review of the book, comparing it with the film, over at Strange Horizons.” (via io9)
  • The Afrika Reich: A Novel by Guy Saville (Henry Holt, Feb 12, 2013) — US release for this 2011 alternate history novel
  • Anthology: Who Done it? with Lev Grossman, Lemony Snicket, Libba Bray, and more (Soho Teen, Feb 12)
  • Teen: The Ruining by Anna Collomore (Penguin/Razorbill)
  • Teen: Revel by Maurissa Guibord (Random House/Delacorte)
  • Teen: The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge (Random House/Delacorte)
  • Teen: Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer (Harper/Balzer+Bray)
  • Anthology: Futuredaze edited by Hannah Strom-Martin and Erin Underwood (Underwords Press)

COMING SOON:

Cover of The Inner City The Office of Mercy: A Novel Six-Gun Snow White

MARCH:

APRIL:

MAY and LATER:

SEPTEMBER and LATER:

  • The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) by Scott Lynch (Spectra, September 3)
  • Shaman: A novel of the Ice Age by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit, 3 Sep 2013) — UK release date, US date not confirmed for this historical fiction “novel set in the ice age, about the people who made the paintings in the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France, about 32,000 years ago”
  • Monsters of the Earth (Books of the Elements #3) by David Drake (Tor, September 2013)
  • Three (Duskwalker Cycle #1) by Jay Posey (Angry Robot, Autumn 2013)
  • Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest (Tor, Autumn 2013)
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner and Simon & Schuster Audio, September 24) — King returns to The Shining
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Sep 24, 2013)
  • Dead Run, The by Adam Mansbach (HarperCollins, Sep 24, 2013)
  • Hero by Alethea Kontis (Harcourt Children’s Books, October 1)
  • Pandemic by Scott Sigler (Crown, Oct 1, 2013)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image, Oct 15, 2013) — an audiobook for this doesn’t make sense and so there isn’t one and won’t be one, but definitely a project I’m looking forward to
  • Copperhead by Tina Connolly (Tor, October 15, 2013) — follow-on to Ironskin cover revealed
  • Collection: Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor (Prime, October 2013)
  • Twenty-First Century Science Fiction by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor, Nov 5, 2013)
  • Maze by J.M. McDermott (Apex, January 2014)
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown/Broadway and Recorded Books, April 1, 2014) — “a second-world story of spies, subterfuge, and statesmanship set in a nation of dead gods.”
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Viking, Early 2014) — book three after The Magicians and The Magician King
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2014) — the first of three “Southern Reach” novels being published in 2014 — “For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious, remote, and concealed by the government as an environmental disaster zone even though it is to all appearances pristine wilderness. For thirty years, too, the secret agency known as the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth. Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next expedition will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in Area X? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it?”

WHISPERSYNC FOR VOICE PRICE QUIRKS:

The Speed of Dark | [Elizabeth Moon] Swan Song | [Robert McCammon]

The Speed of Dark By Elizabeth Moon, Narrated By Jay Snyder for Audible Frontiers — Regular Price :$24.95 / Member Price :$17.46 or 1 Credit. “Listen to The Speed of Dark, then pick up right where you left off with the Kindle book, available from Amazon.com for $7.99. Get this Audiobook for the reduced price of $5.99, when you buy the Kindle edition first.”

Swan Song By Robert McCammon, Narrated By Tom Stechschulte for Audible Inc. — Regular Price :$39.95 / Member Price :$27.96 or 1 Credit / Sale Price :$4.95. “Listen to Swan Song, then pick up right where you left off with the Kindle book, available from Amazon.com for $8.54. Get this Audiobook for the reduced price of $3.95, when you buy the Kindle edition first.”

AUDIBLE.COM “WIN-WIN” SALE:

Speaking of Elizabeth Moon and obviously of Swan Song above, through February 18 Audible.com is having another $4.95 “Win-Win” sale through February 18. While there are dedicated SF and Fantasy sections this time around, I still scanned through for titles of interest:

The Road | [Cormac McCarthy] Fuzzy Nation | [John Scalzi] The Lies of Locke Lamora | [Scott Lynch]

PICK: The Road
Fiction: Shantaram
PICK: Swan Song

Fiction: Zeitoun

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One Response to Release Week: Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds, Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Ben Bova’s Farside, and Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill

  1. Pingback: Release Week: Paul Cornell’s London Falling, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Valour and Vanity, and Carlos Fuentes’ Terra Nostra | The AudioBookaneers

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