Release Week: Marie Brennen’s A Natural History of Dragons, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, S.M. Wheeler’s Sea Change, Teresa Frohock’s Miserere, Samuel Sattin’s League of Somebodies, E.C. Myers’ Fair Coin, and The Ship of Theseus

NOVEMBER 6-12, 2013: A fairly quiet week in overall numbers — and nearly absent in concurrent new releases — is thunderously punctuated by some fantastic new audiobooks, taking big bites out of my “most missing in audio” list: Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, S.M. Wheeler’s Sea Change, Teresa Frohock’s Miserere, Samuel Sattin’s League of Somebodies, and E.C. Myers’ Fair Coin. Though it’s not all good news, as my “seen but not heard” list this week is highlighted by Nicola Griffith’s Hild (though an Anne Flosnick-narrated audiobook is coming in two weeks), Cherie Priest’s Fiddlehead, and Trish MacGregor’s Apparation. Also: 1. Late last month Dog Ear Audio posted a Kickstarter update with a sample of Janis Ian’s narration of When Women Were Warriors and it sounds so very, very good. Check it out — it’s a public update and so even if you weren’t a backer it should be available. And: 2. The Black Tribbles podcast posted its first podcast anthology of “afro-futuristic tales inspired by the late Octavia Butler”. Meanwhile, the week-long contest for a 6-month subscription to Audiobooks.com is up to just six entries for “most overlooked” speculative fiction novel of 2013, so if you want pretty decent odds at winning the contest, get your comment in by Monday. Enjoy! And stay tuned; we’re planning an absolutely huge epic fantasy audiobook giveaway to run soon. Update: Some big, big audiobook news to pass along as, and I don’t know exactly when they went up, but Cory Doctorow’s audiobooks (Makers, Little Brother, Pirate Cinema, and For the Win) all have gone live at Downpour.com. More links and info soon!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

First up, and actually it has been available at Downpour.com for a couple of weeks now — it should be available on Audible.com by Friday — but somehow escaped my notice until this week, is one of my most missing in audio for 2013, Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, published in print and ebook by Tor Books in February and now in audio, read by the fantastic Kate Reading (Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera, Guy Gavriel Kay’s Ysabel) for Macmillan Audio. “You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . . All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.”

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Speaking of the most missing audiobooks of 2013, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice is also out this week from Recorded Books, just a few handfuls of weeks after its print and ebook publication by Orbit in early October. Narrator Celeste Ciulla is new to me, though not to my wishlist as she also narrates Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts and Shattered Pillars. Here, Ancillary Justice has been released to rave reviews, most recently being named a write-in semi-finalist for the Goodreads Choice Science Fiction novel of the year. “On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch. From debut author Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice is a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.”

And another of those “missing” audiobooks of 2013 has until now been Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler, published in print and ebook by Tor Books in June, also now in audio from Recorded Books, read by Bianca Amato (Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War, Jo Walton’s Small Change, Charles Stross’ Saturn’s Children). “The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’ many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price. Her journey to win Octavius’ freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly’s quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.”

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock has been one of my most missing audiobooks since its print/ebook publication by Night Shade Books in 2011. And here it finally is, narrated by Eileen Stevens (Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares, Will McIntosh’s Love Minus Eighty, J.M. McDermott’s Never Knew Another, Michael Swanwick’s The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Red Tree, and Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy of Stone) for Audible Frontiers: “Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!”

League of Somebodies By Samuel Sattin was published in print and ebook in April by Dark Coast Press, here narrated by John Keating for Audible Frontiers. We don’t get too many superhero novels, though an uptick in both frequency and excellence of late (James Maxey’s Nobody Gets the Girl, Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age, Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart) makes for some fascinating reading and listening. “Lenard Sikophsky’s father has been feeding him plutonium since the age of six in the hopes of making him the world’s first bona fide superhero. First, he must pass the unusual tests of manhood locked in the centuries old tomb, The Manaton, a secret relic passed down for generations. Falling in love with the beautiful, compulsively suicidal Laura Moskowitz doesn’t make his life any easier. But with the guidance of the Sikophsky men, the antiquated rulebook, and of course a healthy amount of plutonium, Lenard accepts his fate as an exactor of justice. . . . Twenty years later, Lenard’s son Nemo is introduced to the same destiny as his father, only this time the violent entity called THEY are in dangerous pursuit. Lenard’s life and the legacy of his family are put to the test when he is forced to defend everything he loves.”

League of Somebodies | [Samuel Sattin] Fair Coin | [E.C. Myers]

Fair Coin by E.C. Myers, narrated by Macleod Andrews for Audible Inc. One of the the March 2012 Pyr Teen titles (print/ebook), the October 2012 follow-on Quantum Coin is due out soon in audio as well. “Ephraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon – a boy who looks exactly like him. While examining his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he’s wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he’s liked since second grade suddenly notices him. But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences – several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways. As Ephraim learns the coin’s secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers.”

Lastly this week, something a bit… strange. Originally, Hachette Audio had some interesting plans for S., a Mulholland-published collaboration between creator J.J. Abrams (Lost, and now at the helm of both the Star Trek and Star Wars film franchises) and author Doug Dorst. The book is crammed with snippets and clips and so much non-textual content that in the end, Hachette went in another direction. That direction was producing the “novel within the novel”, Ship of Theseus, by fictional (or is he?) author V.M. Straka, as a standalone audiobook. Shades of “The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern” perhaps? Perhaps.

Ship of Theseus by V. M. Straka, J. J. Abrams, Doug Dorst

What I can and will tell you is that the audiobook is narrated by Graeme Malcolm, who I most recently heard on an absolutely masterful turn on Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman, and that: “Please note: In S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst conceived of a multi-layered novel-within-a-novel that involves handwritten notes in the margins and physical objects slipped between the pages. Because an audio edition is unable to recreate those innately visual pieces of the story and the intended experience of S., the text of Ship of Theseus has been recorded here.  Award-winning actor Graeme Malcolm reads the work of an incendiary novelist who may never have existed at all. What is Ship of Theseus, and who is its mysterious author V.M. Straka? Conceived by filmmaker J.J. Abrams and written by acclaimed novelist Doug Dorst, Ship of Theseus is the central novel within the experience that is S., a multi-faceted narrative of love and mystery. Ship of Theseus is at its core and is the final book written by a man shrouded in deception and violence. It tells the mystical adventure of an equally mysterious figure, who is struggling to discover his own identity. Abducted onto the eponymous ship, the main character is swept into a story that spans oceans and ports, mountains and caves, capitals and citadels. Two things sustain him: his lifelong search for his love, Sola; and the infernal purpose of the ship and its crew. Equal parts Kafka and Lovecraft, Ship of Theseus is both a frightening adventure and a philosophical treasure hunt.”

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

God Save the Queen: The Immortal Empire, Book 1 | [Kate Locke]

INDIE WATCH:

Earthrise: Her Instruments 1 | [M.C.A. Hogarth] Strays: The Glaring Chronicles, Book 1 | [Matthew Krause]

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

  • Anthology: Space Opera edited by Rich Horton, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear and Jay Lake (Nov 6, 2013)
  • Anthology: Coins of Chaos edited by Jennifer Brozek, with stories by Jay Lake, Richard Dansky, Nathaniel Lee, Seanan McGuire, and more (Hades Publications, Nov 6) — “17 short stories based on the The Hobo Nickel…. During and after the great depression Hobo Nickels were traded for food, sex, shelter, and power. In Coins of Chaos, twenty seemingly ordinary nickles are carved with dark representations of world evils and imbued with magical powers that transform the deliciously macabre bits of lost art into carriers of death, destruction, and ill luck.”
  • One’s Aspect to the Sun by Sherry D. Ramsey (Tyche, Nov 6)
  • Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett (Transworld/Doubleday UK, Nov 7) — latest Discworld book; US release due March 2014
  • Anthology: Mister October, Volume I: An Anthology in Memory of Rick Hautala and Mister October, Volume II: An Anthology in Memory of Rick Hautala edited by Christopher Golden (JournalStone, Nov 8)
  • Ambassador by Patty Jansen (Nov 9, 2013) — “You remember Cory Wilson from The Far Horizon? Well, he’s all grown up for this space opera/crime adventure.
  • Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest (Tor, Nov 12, 2013) — latest and sadly last novel in Priest’s Boneshaker series The Clockwork Century
  • Hild: A Novel by Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) — a discussion with the author at the LA Times; the author wrote about Anne Flosnick getting started in October as narrator; and  LibraryJournal says: “Since Griffith has won the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, the Premio Italia, and the Lambda Literary Award six times, you’re well advised to grab this fictionalized portrait of a girl name Hild who grew up in seventh-century Britain and became St. Hilda’s of Whitby. Griffith gives us a determined and uncannily perceptive Hild who seems capable of predicting the future (or at least of human behavior), a trait that puts her in the life-and-death position of being made the king’s seer. The writing itself is uncannily perceptive, with none of the flowery excess of some historical fiction writing, though the detailed narrative runs close to 600 pages. I thought of Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall even before I noted the comparison in the promotion.” — coming to audio November 26 from Macmillan Audio
  • Apparition by Trish J. MacGregor (Tor, Nov 12)
  • The Waking that Kills by Stephen Gregory (Solaris, Nov 12) — “A dark novel of Possession.” reviewed on Tor.com by Niall Alexander as “As an insidious novel that gets under your skin and itches insatiably from within, The Waking That Kills does the business brilliantly—and beautifully, too.”
  • Collection: Horse of a Different Color by Howard Waldrop (Small Beer Pres,, Nov 12)
  • Serial: No Lasting Burial (The Zombie Bible) by Stant Litore (Nov 12, 2013) — “A first-century Israeli village lies ruined after zombies devour most of the coastal community. In their grief, the villagers threw the dead into the Sea of Galilee, not suspecting that this act would poison the fish and starve the few survivors on land. Yeshua hears their hunger. He hears the moans of the living and the dead, like screaming in his ears. Desperate to respond, he calls up the fish. Just one thing: The dead are called up, too. No Lasting Burial ushers readers into a vivid and visceral re-interpretation of the Gospel of Luke and the legend of the Harrowing of Hell. The hungry dead will rise and walk, and readers may never look at these stories the same way again.” (from the author, the book will be released in print, ebook, and audiobook at the conclusion of the serial run)

COMING SOON:

Slam by Lewis Shiner, read by Stefan Rudnicki for Blackstone Audio Hide Me among the Graves by Tim Powers

DECEMBER:

NEXT YEAR:

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer Southern Reach trilogy the-girl-in-the-road-monica-byrne

UNDATED or 2015:

  • When Women Were Warriors by Catherine M. Wilson, read by Janis Ian for Dog Ear Audio — in late October, Dog Ear Audio posted a Kickstarter update with a sample of Janis Ian’s narration of When Women Were Warriors and it sounds so very, very good
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, read by the author for Simon & Schuster Audio — out in print/ebook in late October
  • A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, coming from Audible
  • Quantum Coin by E.C. Myers, coming from Audible (Fair Coin released Nov 6, 2014)
  • All the Worlds Against Us (Jon and Lobo) by Mark L. Van Name (Baen) — Audible Frontiers has produced the previous books in the series, under fantastic narrations by Tom Stechschulte
  • Tsarina  by J. Nelle Patrick (2014)
  • The Thousand and One: Book II of The Crescent Moon Kingdoms by Saladin Ahmed (2014?)
  • Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Bobby Dollar #3) by Tad Williams (DAW, 2014)
  • Ebon (Pegasus, #2)  by Robin McKinley (2014?)
  • The Doors of Stone (Kingkiller Chronicle #3) by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, 2014?)
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5)  by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, 2014?)
  • Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy #3)  by Ken Follett (2014?)
  • The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire, #6) by George R.R. Martin (2015?)
  • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf, 2015) — “Knopf has acquired a new novel by Paolo Bacigalupi, the science fiction writer whose 2009 book “The Windup Girl” sold 200,000 copies and was considered one of the top novels of the year. The new book, “The Water Knife,” is set in a lawless, water-starved American Southwest in the not-too-distant future.”
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury USA, 2015) — first novel from 2010 Clarion Workshop graduate
  • John Claude Bemis is set to launch a new Steampunk/alchemist series for young readers, to be published by Disney/Hyperion starting in 2015
  • The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4)  by Peter V. Brett (2015?)
  • The City of Mirrors (The Passage, #3)  by Justin Cronin
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5 Responses to Release Week: Marie Brennen’s A Natural History of Dragons, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, S.M. Wheeler’s Sea Change, Teresa Frohock’s Miserere, Samuel Sattin’s League of Somebodies, E.C. Myers’ Fair Coin, and The Ship of Theseus

  1. Pingback: SF/F/H Link Post for 2013-11-15 « Radar Eldritch Radar Eldritch

  2. it is getting harder and harder to decide where to allocate my audible credits! I picked up ancillary justice but I am also very tempted by miserere and sea change. meanwhile, I am saving a credit for hild and still have a wishlist that includes two more books by Martha wells, love minus eighty, never knew another, and many others.

    • montsamu says:

      Yeah, I have about 50 books I want to listen to in the next 6 weeks. And no credits anywhere in sight. I’m scheduling myself for 10, counting my current listen Ancillary Justice, and also counting Hild and Never Knew Another on your list. Really, really hope to get to Miserere and Sea Change, too. So many books!

  3. Pingback: Cory Doctorow audiobooks now available at Downpour.com | The AudioBookaneers

  4. Pingback: Release Week: Tim Powers’ Hide Me Among the Graves, Lewis Shiner’s Slam, Report from Nuremberg, and Krista D. Ball’s Tranquility’s Grief | The AudioBookaneers

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