Release week: The Mongoliad, Embedded, The Freedom Maze, Dodger, Under Wildwood, and Neil Gaiman Presents James Branch Cabell

The last Tuesday of September brings a sizable haul of interesting-looking audiobooks, from new sequels, to some of 2011’s most missing, new Terry Pratchett, and the return of Neil Gaiman Presents.

The Mongoliad: The Foreworld Saga, Book 2 By Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo comes with quite a busy byline from Brilliance Audio, but once again it’s one narrator, Luke Daniels, who handles the dozens of accents and handful of storylines as the story picks up where it ended in Book One, the aftermath of the Mongolian invasion of Europe, 1241. Can’t get enough Foreworld? There’s also a 1.5 hour short, Dreamer: A Prequel to the Mongoliad, By Mark Teppo with, of course, Daniels at the helm.

 

2011 saw two strong entries in a very specific subgenre. TC McCarthy’s Germline ended up one of my favorites of the year last year, and now Embedded by Dan Abnett, narrated by Eric G. Dove for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio, gives listeners another look at an embedded journalist in a military sf storyline. Where Germline focused on a near-future resource war in South Asia, Abnett takes a look at both a more distant future and setting, as well as a double meaning for ‘embedded’, as his journalist has himself ‘chipped inside the head of a combat veteran’ in a battlezone on a remote colony planet.

Small Beer Press published Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze late in 2011, and this book for young adults went on to win Norton, Prometheus, and Mythopoetic Awards, as well as be named one of Kirkus Review’s best of 2011, and be selected onto the Tiptree Honor Award List. Now it’s in audio, narrated by Robin Miles for Listening Library. “Set against the burgeoning Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and then just before the outbreak of the Civil War, The Freedom Maze explores both political and personal liberation, and how the two intertwine. In 1960, thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending summer at her grandmother’s old house in the Bayou. But the house has a maze Sophie can’t resist exploring once she finds it has a secretive and playful inhabitant. When Sophie, bored and lonely, makes an impulsive wish inspired by her reading, hoping for a fantasy adventure of her own, she slips one hundred years into the past, to the year 1860. On her arrival she makes her way, bedraggled and tanned, to what will one day be her grandmother’s house, where she is at once mistaken for a slave.”

 

Another teen audiobook release this week is Dodger By Terry Pratchett. Read by frequent Pratchett narrator  Stephen Briggs for Harper Audio, the book sees Pratchett turn his attention and wit to a street urchin in Dickensian London: “A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger. Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl – not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England. From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery. Beloved and best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.”

One of my “regrets” in 2011 was not making time for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood, a middle grade novel billed as an “American Narnia”. Now Meloy is back with a sequel, Under Wildwood, under his own narration for Harper Audio. At 13 hrs and 20 mins, it’s the longest audiobook mentioned so far in this post, though it’s aimed at the youngest listeners of the bunch. Who says kids these days don’t have attention spans?

 

Neil Gaiman Presents returns this week with three novels by 1920s literary satiric fantasist James Branch Cabell, all narrated by Robert Blumenfeld: Jurgen, The High Place, and Figures of Earth: A Comedy of Appearances. “A few words from Neil on Jurgen: Jurgen may be the most famous of James Branch Cabell’s books: It was certainly the one that put him on the map, when, in January 1920, the New York Society for the Prevention of Vice took his publisher to court for violating New York’s anti-obscenity law. Suddenly, Cabell went from an admired but semi-obscure author of literary satiric fantasy, to the guy everyone was reading because he was censored.”

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

EARLIER THIS WEEK:

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

  • Town of Shadows by Lindsay Stern (Scrambler Books, Sep 8) — featured this week on Weird Fiction Review, along with an excerpt
  • The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes (Tyche Books, Sep 17, 2012) — “From one of the writers that brought you the critically acclaimed Mass Effect trilogy comes a new Fantasy twist on the Heist genre.”
  • Collection: Still Life: Nine Stories by Nicholas Kaufman (Necon Ebooks, Sep 18) — from the author of Chasing the Dragon
  • Collection: Jagannath: Stories by Karin Tidbeck (Cheeky Frawg, Sep 22) — “This amazing collection by a wonderful Swedish writer has received glowing blurbs from the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Karen Lord, and Karen Joy Fowler. Elizabeth Hand has written the introduction. We will have a book release party at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, with the author in attendance.”
  • Collection: Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley (Shock Totem Press, Sep 22)
  • Alchemystic by Anton Strout (Ace, Sep 25) — Book One of The Spellmason Chronicles — “Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure.”
  • Crown Thief by David Tallerman (Angry Robot, Sep 25) — sequel to the first book in this series which began earlier this year with Giant Thief
  • Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley (Orbit, Sep 25) — first in a new space opera series
  • Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp (Del Rey, Sep 25) — winner of the Del Rey/Suvudu Writing Contest from the author of the powerful 2011 short story “Filling up the Void” in Daily Science Fiction last year, here: “Something has happened in Spokane. The military has evacuated the city and locked it down.”
  • The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sep 25) — “Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in.”
  • The Tainted City by Courtney Shafer (Night Shade Books, Sep 25) — second in a fantasy series after The Whitefire Crossing
  • Redlaw: Red Eye by James Lovegrove (Solaris, Sep 25) — second in a series after Redlaw
  • When the World Shook (Radium Age Science Fiction) by H. Rider Haggard and James Parker (HiLoBooks, Sep 25, 2012)
  • Anthology: Walk The Fire by J. Daniel Sawyer, Edward W. Robertson, Matthew Sanborn Smith and Brand Gamblin (Sep 25, 2012) — “A shared world anthology featuring stories from Jake Bible, Jason Andrew Bond, Brand Gamblin, Nathan Lowell, Patrick McLean, Edward W. Robertson, J. Daniel Sawyer, Matthew Sanborn Smith and John Mierau.”
  • Teen: The Shimmers in the Night by Lydia Millet (Small Beer, Sep 25) — second in a series afterThe Fires Beneath the Sea
  • Anthology: Rock On: The Greatest Science Fiction & Fantasy Hitsedited by Paula Guran (Prime Books, Sep 25) — sf/f on rock and roll
  • Anthology: The Book of Cthulhu II edited by Ross E. Lockhart (Night Shade Books, Sep 25)
  • Non-Fiction: Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow, Sep 25)

LATER THIS WEEK:

NEXT WEEK (Oct 2):

TWO WEEKS (Oct 9):

THREE WEEKS (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

FOUR 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.”

FIVE 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)
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon, Nov 1)

JUST ADDED TO THE LONG-RANGE CALENDAR:

Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils: A Forgotten Realms Novel by Erin M. Evans (Dec 4, Wizards of the Coast) — “Well, I’m now behind on my own writing, because I couldn’t tear myself away from Lesser Evils. Then again, I’m only behind by a single day—because I really couldn’t tear myself away from Lesser Evils. If the next one’s not out until tomorrow, it’s still too far off. And if Evans is not already a name spoken of as part of the true Forgotten Realms pantheon, along with Kemp, Cunningham, and Salvatore, it can only be because she has fewer books out, and thus hasn’t reached everyone yet.” — Ari Marmell

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