Release Week: Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit, Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch, Manil Suri's The City of Devi, and Neal Asher's The Departure

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Release Week: Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit, Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch, Manil Suri's The City of Devi, and Neal Asher's The Departure

Posted on 2013-02-06 at 14:39 by Sam

Led by an intriguing concurrent new release, the first release week of February also brings an author-narrated science fiction novel a bit over 10 years in the waiting since its print publication, several other good-looking concurrent release titles, another big haul of Audible Frontiers titles, and, of course, the next installment in John Scalzi’s The Human Division, A Voice in the Wilderness: The Human Division, Episode 4. Of course, no release week would be complete without my “seen but not heard” complaints, of which there are several this week led by A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan, which has been on my radar an awfully long time. And, also of course, a few more “Whispersync for Voice” price quirks at the bottom of the post, after the upcoming release calendar.


Concurrent with its hardcover/ebook release from independent NYC-based Soho Press is a book which had not even made it onto my radar before its release: Man in the Empty Suit By Sean Ferrell, Narrated By Mauro Hantman for AudioGO — “Say you’re a time traveler and you’ve already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That’s why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks 12-year-old Scotch (lots of it) with all the other versions of who he has been and who he will be. Sure, the party is the same year after year, but at least it’s one party where he can really, well, be himself. The year he turns 39, though, the party takes a stressful turn for the worse. Before he even makes it into the grand ballroom for a drink he encounters the body of his forty-year-old self, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. As the older versions of himself at the party point out, the onus is on him to figure out what went wrong—he has one year to stop himself from being murdered, or they’re all goners.” This is an intriguing enough premise, but what pushes it over to edge to being the most tempting release for me this week is the blurb from Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe:  “Ferrell’s humor and invention will draw you in, and the real emotion in his writing will keep you reading. A clever premise that deepens into a surprising and moving story about fate, identity, and how we shape our own lives and the lives of those around us.” And The Guilded Earlobe has already reviewed the audiobook: “As a tale of time travel, with its intermingling concepts of fate and free will Farrell succeeds where so many other tales of time travel fails. Its brilliantly built plot, complicated character and hints of a near future world were enough to keep my brain spinning in a dizzying euphoria. It may not have had the emotional impact of many more character driven tales, but like the best puzzles, it will never truly leave your mind.”

Man in the Empty Suit | [Sean Ferrell] The Free Lunch | [Spider Robinson]

The Free Lunch By Spider Robinson was first published in 2001, and here is narrated by the author for Blackstone Audio — Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins. “Under the façade of the world’s finest theme park lies a secret which could alter the course of human history. Mike and Annie, refugees from the world outside, find a home underground, behind the scenes of Dreamworld, a theme park where hope exists as it does nowhere else. But Dreamworld is threatened by a jealous competitor who kills what he can’t have. As if this were not trouble enough, the two discover that each day there are more of the “trolls” who maintain Dreamworld than there were the day before. As the trolls continue to multiply, they must discover why, or it could mean the end of Dreamworld -and the real world. Knotted in conflict and turmoil, what was a wonderful, carefree place becomes a battleground on which Earth’s future is at stake. Only Mike and Annie, two unconventional heroes, can save it.”

The City of Devi: A Novel By Manil Suri, Narrated By Vikas Adam and Priya Ayyar for Blackstone Audio — “Editors Select, February 2013 - Mumbai is emptying out under the looming threat of a nuclear bomb. Amidst the chaos a woman sets out to look for her missing husband in a city now mostly occupied with marauding thugs. I love a good dystopian story, and Manil Suri’s absurdist pre-apocalyptic novel has been praised for its astute insights into humanity, divinity, and love - all at the end of the world. —Michael, Audible Editor

The City of Devi: A Novel | [Manil Suri] The Departure: The Owner, Vol. I | [Neal Asher]

The Departure: The Owner, Vol. I By Neal Asher, Narrated By Steve West and John Mawson for Audible Frontiers — out for a good bit in the UK, here an audiobook out in time for the US release from Night Shade Books — “The Argus Space Station looks down on a nightmarish Earth. And from this safe distance, the Committee enforces its despotic rule. There are too many people and too few resources, and they need 12 billion to die before Earth can be stabilised. So corruption is rife, people starve, and the poor are policed by mechanised overseers and identity-reader guns. Citizens already fear the brutal Inspectorate with its pain inducers. But to reach its goals, the Committee will unleash satellite laser weaponry, taking carnage to a new level.”



Salvage and Demolition cover A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

  • Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers and J. K. Potter (Subterranean, Jan 31, 2013) — no audio news for this time travel novella
  • A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan (Tor, Feb 5) -- "Not a day goes by that the post does not bring me at least one letter from a young person (or sometimes one not so young) who wishes to follow in my footsteps and become a dragon naturalist. Nowadays, of course, the field is quite respectable, with university courses and intellectual societies putting out fat volumes titled Proceedings of some meeting or other. Those interested in respectable things, however, attend my lectures. The ones who write to me invariably want to hear about my adventures: my escape from captivity in the swamps of Mouleen, or my role in the great Battle of Keonga, or (most frequently) my flight to the inhospitable heights of the Mrtyahaima peaks, the only place on earth where the secrets of the ancient world could be unlocked."
  • Season of the Wolf by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (DarkFuze, Feb 5, 2013) -- "a heart-stopping supernatural thriller about climate change, the human capacity for evil, and the epic struggle between a small town's citizens and impossible creatures from the dawn of history."
  • Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlin R. Kiernan) (Roc, Feb 5)
  • Homeland by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen, Feb 5, 2013) -- certainly wasn't expecting to see it on Audible (Doctorow is quite strongly anti-DRM) but there doesn't appear to be any audiobook version at all other than a short reading on Doctorow's podcast
  • Mark Chadbourn | The Devil’s Looking Glass: Swords of Albion: Book 3  (Pyr, Feb 5, 2013) — no audio news
  • Lord of the Isles (Isles Series) by David Drake and read by Michael Page (Brilliance Audio, Feb 5, 2013) — also out on the same day are Queen of Demons (Isles Series) and Servant of the Dragon (Isles Series) — Page is the award-winning narrator of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora -- this looks to be "in stock" in the physical format, I assume it's some technical delay and we'll see these in digital download very soon
  • Rising Sun: A Black Hole Sun Novella (HarperTeen Impulse) by David Macinnis Gill (HarperCollins, Feb 5, 2013) — prequel to Gill’s trilogy
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde — Young Adult | Never before in audio  — “In his witty first novel for young fans, New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde introduces fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, who runs an agency for underemployed magicians in a world where magic is fading away.” (Brilliance Audio, Feb 5) -- I have a review copy of this, so I assume like the David Drake audiobooks it's a technical issue
  • Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore (DAW, Feb 5) -- "Urban fantasy novel about a necromancer investigating his sister’s murder." (via Locus Online)
  • The Burn Zone by James K. Decker (Roc, Feb 5) -- again via Locus Online: "SF novel set in a future in which alien haan have settled on Earth, concerning a woman who’s been genetically enhanced to bond with haan infants. ... The author has previously published under the name James Knapp, including 2011 Compton Crook winner State of Decay."
  • House Rules: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel by Chloe Neill (NAL Trade, Feb 5, 2013)
  • The Damnation Affair (Bannon and Claire) by Lilith Saintcrow (Orbit, Feb 5, 2013) -- "In a West where charm and charter live alongside clockwork and cold steel: The West is a wild place, where the poison wind blows and the dead walk. But there is gold, and whiskey, and enough room for a man to forget what he once was--until he no longer can. Jack Gabriel's been the sheriff in Damnation almost since the town grew out of the dust and the mud. He keeps the peace--sort of--and rides the circuit every dawn and dusk with the chartermage, making sure the wilderness doesn't seep into their fragile attempt at civilization. Away from the cities clinging to the New World's eastern rim, he doesn't remember what he was. At least, not much. But Damnation is growing, and along comes a schoolmarm. Catherine Barrowe is a right proper Boston miss, and it's a mystery why she would choose this town where everything scandalous and dangerous is probably too much for a quality lady like her. Sometimes the sheriff wonders why she came out West--because everyone who does is running from something. He doesn't realize Cat may be prickly, delicate, and proper, but she is also determined. She's in Damnation to find her wayward older brother Robbie, whose letters were full of dark hints about gold, trouble...and something about a claim."
  • Fiction: House of Earth: A Novel by Woody Guthrie (Harper/Infinitum Nihil, Feb 5, 2013) -- "Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel—a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world." from Johnny Depp's new fiction imprint. Coming to audio March 19 from Harper Audio. Feature and excerpt from NPR.
  • Fiction: Fellow Mortals: A Novel by Dennis Mahoney (FSG Originals, Feb 5, 2013) -- "When Henry Cooper sets out on his mail route on Arcadia Street one crisp spring morning, he has no idea that his world is about to change. He is simply enjoying the sunshine as he lights up a cigar and tosses the match to the ground, entirely unaware that he has just started a fire that will destroy a neighborhood and kill a young wife."
  • Sword-Bound: A Novel of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson (Feb 5, 2013)
  • Teen: Pantomime by Laura Lam (Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry)

The Best of All Possible Worlds American Elsewhere

Six-Gun Snow White You


  • 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)
  • 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)
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Viking, Early 2014) — book three after The Magicians and The Magician King
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown/Broadway, Early 2014) — “a second-world story of spies, subterfuge, and statesmanship set in a nation of dead gods.”
  • 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: [Again, is there anybody else reading these and picking up titles on occasion?]

Tears in Rain | [Rosa Montero] Blackwood | [Gwenda Bond]

Tears in Rain By Rosa Montero, Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal for Brilliance Audio — Regular Price $13.99 / Member Price $9.79 or 1 Credit — Listen to Tears in Rain, then pick up right where you left off with the Kindle book, available from for $4.99. Get this Audiobook for the reduced price of $1.99, when you buy the Kindle edition first.

Blackwood By Gwenda Bond, Narrated By Stephanie Cannon for AudioGO — Regular Price $22.67 / Member Price $15.87 or 1 Credit — Listen to Blackwood, then pick up right where you left off with the Kindle book, available from for $4.89. Get this Audiobook for the reduced price of $3.99, when you buy the Kindle edition first.

Sanctum: Guards of the Shadowlands, Book 1 By Sarah Fine, Narrated by Amy McFadden for Brilliance Audio — Regular Price $13.99 / Member Price $9.79 or 1 Credit — Listen to Sanctum, then pick up right where you left off with the Kindle book, available from for $3.99. Get this Audiobook for the reduced price of $1.99, when you buy the Kindle edition first.

Posted in Release Week | Tagged release week, sean ferrell, spider robinson