Release Week: Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky, Michael J. Martinez’s The Daedalus Incident, Aimee Bender’s The Color Master, and Kate Elliot’s Cold Magic

AUGUST 7-13, 2013: Some concurrent new releases, another just-barely-delayed, and one of 2010’s most missing in audio make for a varied list of picks this week, from teen dystopian CornPunk to space sf, to a story collection, and a couple of intriguing “genre in the mainstream” books as well. In particular, in the “also out this week”, Victoria Lustbader’s powerful novel Approaching the Speed of Light was a hard cut this week. Enjoy!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Under the Empyrean Sky: The Heartland Trilogy, Book 1 By Chuck Wendig, Narrated By Nick Podehl for Brilliance Audio, about a week and a half after the book’s print/ebook release from Skyscape, but hey, who can’t wait a few extra days for “CornPunk” from the terrible mind of Chuck Wendig, narrated by the voice of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, I ask you? Additionally, it’s a very good “Whispersync for Voice” price deal, and to me strikes into a similar vein as China Mieville’s Railsea. “Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie—his first mate and the love of his life—forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry—angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. When Cael and his crew discover a secret, illegal garden, he knows it’s time to make his own luck…even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.”

Under the Empyrean Sky: The Heartland Trilogy, Book 1 | [Chuck Wendig] The Daedalus Incident | [Michael J. Martinez]

The Daedalus Incident By Michael J. Martinez, Narrated By Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark for Audible Frontiers concurrent with the print/ebook release from Night Shade Books. The book is a recent Big Idea subject on Scalzi’s Whatever blog: “So…I’m crashing an 18th century frigate into 22nd century Mars. While that is certainly a rather large and important-ish idea in my debut novel, The Daedalus Incident, it’s actually not the Big Idea.” And while Kalbli is (I think) a new narrator to me, Bernard Clark was masterful on Hal Duncan’s Vellum.

The Color Master: Stories is a collection of stories by the genre-bending Aimee Bender, narrated by a full cast for Random House Audio out concurrent with the print release. Bender’s stories have appeared all over the place, from Tin House to Lightspeed to being reprinted in anthologies such as James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel’s Feeling Very Strange, and they are wriggly, hard-to-categorize things that make Bender (like fellow Tin House publishee Kelly Link) kind of her own category. Weird, strange, and yet relevant stories to chew on and enjoy.

The Color Master: Stories | [Aimee Bender] Cold Magic | [Kate Elliott]

Lastly, Cold Magic By Kate Elliott is out narrated by Charlotte Parry for Recorded Books. The book was published by Orbit in 2010, beginning Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy which concluded with this year’s Cold Steel. Here: “A bold new epic fantasy in which science and magic are locked in a deadly struggle. It is the dawn of a new age…. The Industrial Revolution has begun, factories are springing up across the country, and new technologies are transforming the cities. But the old ways do not die easy. Cat and Bee are part of this revolution. Young women at college, learning of the science that will shape their future and ignorant of the magics that rule their families. But all of that will change when the Cold Mages come for Cat. New dangers lurk around every corner and hidden threats menace her every move. If blood can’t be trusted, who can you trust?”

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

The House Among the Laurels | [William Hope Hodgson] Approaching the Speed of Light: A Novel | [Victoria Lustbader]

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

  • Gallow: Cold Redemption by Nathan Hawke (Gollanz UK, August 8)
  • Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction edited by Tenea D. Johnson and Steve Berman (Lethe Press, August 10)
  • Jupiter War (The Owner #3)  by Neal Asher (Night Shade Books, August 13, 2013)
  • Cataveiro (The Osiris Project) by E.J. Swift (Night Shade Books, August 13, 2013)
  • Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, Aug 13, 2013) — audio coming with a Scheduled Release Date: 08-19-13
  • Hunting with Gods by M.K. Hume (Simon & Schuster/Atria, August 13) — historical fantasy, third in The Merlin Prophecy series
  • A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (Ballantine Del Rey, August 13) — second in an urban fantasy Steampunk series after March 2013’s A Conspiracy of Alchemists
  • Alien Hunter by Whitley Strieber (Tor, August 13) — “SF thriller, first of a series, about a police detective, whose wife has vanished, who discovers alien killers are behind her disappearance and others across the nation.” (via Locus Online)
  • Fiction: The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, Dreamscape Media, August 13) — “In 1950, a young doctor, Norton Perina, signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating consequences.” — digital audio slipped to August 16

COMING SOON:

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SEPTEMBER and LATER:

OCTOBER and LATER:

NEXT YEAR:

  • The Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson (Jo Fletcher Books, January 7, 2014) — a “Viking fantasy novel” by a new Icelandic author
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.J. Carey (Orbit, Jan 7, 2014) — “Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.” — link to cover
  • Rex Regis by L. E. Modesitt (Tor, Jan 7, 2014)
  • Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Work Done for Hire  by Joe Haldeman (Ace Hardcover, January 7, 2014) — novel about an ex-sniper turned sf screenwriter turned reluctant hitman; I’ve hear Haldeman read from this novel in draft and am very much looking forward to its release
  • Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh by Jay Lake (Prime Books, January 7, 2014) — “Markus Selvage has been bent by life, ground up and spit out again. In San Francisco’s darkest sexual underground, he is a perpetual innocent, looking within bodies – his own and others’ – for the lost secrets of satisfaction. But extreme body modification is only the beginning of where he will go before he’s finished…”
  • Rex Regis (Imager Portfolio)  by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Jan 7, 2014)
  • 1636: Seas of Fortune  by Iver Cooper (January 7, 2014)
  • Black Arts: A Jane Yellowrock Novel  by Faith Hunter (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Darkest Fear (Birthright) by Cate Tiernan (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Watchers in the Night (Guardians of the Night) by Jenna Black (Jan 14, 2014)
  • The Man Who Made Models: The Collected Short Fiction  by R.A. Lafferty (Centipede Press, January 14, 2014)
  • The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne)  by Brian Staveley (Jan 14, 2014)
  • Dawn of Swords (The Breaking World)  by David Dalglish (Jan 14, 2014)
  • Dirty Magic (Prospero’s War) by Jaye Wells (Jan 21, 2014)
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, January 21, 2014) — book 2 in The Stormlight Archive after The Way of Kings
  • The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’ Lacey (Jan 28, 2014)
  • A Darkling Sea by James Cambias (Tor, Jan 28, 2014)
  • Maze by J.M. McDermott (Apex, January 2014)
  • Leaving the Sea: Stories by Ben Marcus (Knopf, January 2014)
  • The Emperor’s Blades (The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Stavely (Tor, January 2014) — “follows siblings Valyn, Kaden, and Adare, who are in different parts of the world when they learn about the assassination of their father, the Emperor. All of them are in danger of being the next targets, and all of them are caught in the maelstrom of conspiracy, intrigue, treachery, and magic that sweeps through Staveley’s auspicious debut novel.”
  • Reign of Ash (Book Two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga) by Gail Z. Martin (Orbit, January 2014) — follow-on to Ice Forged
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach, Volume 1) by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Feb 4, 2014) — the first of a trilogy of “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?”
  • Like a Mighty Army (Safehold) by David Weber (Feb 4, 2014)
  • The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 2) by Brian McClellan (Orbit, February 2014)
  • Like a Mighty Army (Safehold)  by David Weber (Feb 4, 2014)
  • V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History  by Allen Steele (Feb 4, 2014) — narrated by Ray Chase
  • Empire of Men  by David Weber and John Ringo (Feb 4, 2014)
  • The Waking Engine by David Edison (Feb 11, 2014)
  • The Judge of Ages (Count to a Trillion) by John C. Wright (Feb 25, 2014)
  • The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (Feb 25, 2014)
  • Dreamwalker by C.S. Friedman (February 2014)
  • Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)  by Patricia Briggs (Mar 4, 2014)
  • Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides) by Mur Lafferty (Orbit, Mar 4, 2014) — sequel to The Shambling Guide to New York City
  • The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan (Mar 4, 2014)
  • Hope Rearmed by S.M. Stirling and David Drake (March 4, 2014)
  • Blood and Iron (The Book of the Black Earth) by Jon Sprunk (Pyr, March 11)
  • Resistance by Jenna Black (Mar 11, 2014)
  • Working God’s Mischief (Instrumentalities of the Night)  by Glen Cook (Mar 11, 2014)
  • Mentats of Dune  by Brian Herbert (March 11, 2014)
  • Lockstep  by Karl Schroeder (Mar 25, 2014)
  • The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher (Mar 25, 2014)
  • Anthology: The Time Traveler’s Almanac by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer (Tor, Mar 18, 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 Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (April 1, 2014)
  • Cauldron of Ghosts (Crown of Slaves) by David Weber (April 1, 2014)
  • Baltic Gambit: A Novel of the Vampire Earth by E.E. Knight (April 1, 2014)
  • Shipstar  by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford (Tor, April 8, 2014)
  • Transhuman  by Ben Bova (April 15, 2014)
  • The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes (Gollanz UK, 17 Apr 2014) — from the author of Tome of the Undergates
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton, April 2014) — “The Nigerian megacity of Lagos is invaded by aliens, and it nearly consumes itself because of it.”
  • The Moon King by Neil Williamson (Newcon, April 2014) — Debut novel: “The story of The Moon King grew out of its setting, the sea-locked city of Glassholm, which is a thinly veneered version of Glasgow, Scotland where I live. Glasgow is a city of mood swings, brilliant with sun and warm sandstone one minute and dour with overcast and rain soaked tarmac the next. Summer days are long and filled with light. The winter months pass mostly in darkness. Living here, your spirit is tied to the city’s mood. As soon as I hooked that almost bipolar sense to the idea of natural cycles, the story blossomed. In Glassholm, the moon never sets and everything, from entropy to the moods of the populace, is affected by its phasing from Full to Dark and back to Full again. I wanted to know what would life be like there, what quirks nature might throw into the mix. And what would happen if it was discovered that the cyclic euphorias and depressions were not natural after all.”
  • Immolation (Children, #1) by Ben Peek (Tor UK, Spring 2014) is “set fifteen thousand years after the War of the Gods. The bodies of the gods now lie across the world, slowly dying as men and women awake with strange powers that are derived from their bodies. Ayae, a young cartographer’s apprentice, is attacked and discovers she cannot be harmed by fire. Her new power makes her a target for an army that is marching on her home. With the help of the immortal Zaifyr, she is taught the awful history of ‘cursed’ men and women, coming to grips with her new powers and the enemies they make. The saboteur Bueralan infiltrates the army that is approaching her home to learn its terrible secret. Split between the three points of view, Immolation‘s narrative reaches its conclusion during an epic siege, where Ayae, Zaifyr and Bueralan are forced not just into conflict with those invading, but with those inside the city who wish to do them harm.”
  • Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson (Tor, Spring 2014) — “Caeli-Amur: a city torn by contradiction. A city of languorous philosopher-assassins and magnificent creatures from ancient myth: minotaurs and sirens. Three Houses rule over an oppressed citizenry stirring into revolt. The ruins of Caeli-Amur’s sister city lie submerged beneath the sea nearby, while the remains of strange advanced technology lie hidden in the tunnels beneath the city itself.”
  • The Furies: A Thriller  by Mark Alpert (April 22, 2014)
  • Authority: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 1, 2014)
  • The Sea Without a Shore by David Drake (May 6, 2014) — Lt. Leary series
  • Graphic novel: All You Need Is Kill: The Graphic Novel by Nick Mamatas, Lee Ferguson, Fajar Buana, and Zack Turner, based on the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (VIZ Media/Haikasoru, May 6, 2014)
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (Random House/Crown, May 2014) — “traces the harrowing twin journeys of two women forced to flee their homes in different times in the near future. The first, Meena, is a Brahmin-caste student whose odyssey takes her from the coastal city of Mumbai toward Djibouti across a futuristic but treacherous bridge that spans the Arabian Sea. The second, Mariama, escapes from slavery as a small child in Mauritania, joining a caravan heading across Saharan Africa toward Ethiopia.”
  • The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (Greenwillow, Summer 2014) — “Fans of the late writer Diana Wynne Jones – who died in March 2011 – are in for an unexpected treat. In the summer of 2014, Greenwillow will publish a new title from the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author. Titled The Islands of Chaldea, the book is a standalone novel unconnected to any of the author’s earlier works. It is also the result of an unusual, asynchronous collaboration between the writer and her younger sister, Ursula Jones.”
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Viking, August 2014) — book three after The Magicians and The Magician King
  • The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgerson (Baen, 2014)
  • Colossus by Stephen Messer (Random House Children’s Books, 2014)
  • The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks (Orbit, 2014)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books, 2014) — the first of an announced trilogy of translated editions of this 400,000-copy-selling Chinese sf series
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