Release Week: The People in the Trees, Of Dice and Men, Night Film, and Lookaway, Lookaway

AUGUST 14-20, 2013: This week brings a strange speculative fiction from Hanya Yanagihara, a non-fiction on Dungeons & Dragons, a haunting literary mystery, a satirical historical fiction, and a pretty good crop of “also out this week” including the latest fantasy novels from Naomi Novik (with narrator Simon Vance) and Mark Lawrence, and the anticipated dystopian debut of young British writer Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season. As usual: Enjoy!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

The People in the Trees By Hanya Yanagihara, Narrated By Arthur Morey, William Roberts, and Erin Yuen for Dreamscape Audio. Published in print/ebook by Doubleday last week, its slight audio slip in date pushes it from a crowded field last week to leading my picks this week. “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.”

http://imagestore.brillianceaudio.com/CoverArt/978-1-4805-2461-3.jpg

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It by David M. Ewalt is out today from Scribner, and Brilliance Audio has the audiobook edition, read by Mikael Narramore. I’ve been on the lookout for another non-fiction title of interest, and along comes this combination memoir/journalism/narrative book that while it doesn’t roll a natural 20, fits the bill quite nicely. “Ancient red dragons with 527 hit points, +44 to attack, and a 20d10 breath weapon, to be specific. In the world of fantasy role-playing, those numbers describe a winged serpent with immense strength and the ability to spit fire. There are few beasts more powerful—just like there are few games more important than Dungeons & Dragons. Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: the game has had a profound influence on our culture. Released in 1974—decades before the Internet and social media—Dungeons & Dragons inspired one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by millions of fans around the world. Now the authoritative history and magic of the game are revealed by an award-winning journalist and lifelong D&D player.”

That haunting literary mystery is Night Film: A Novel By Marisha Pessl, Narrated By Jake Weber for Random House Audio — also being called a “literary psychological thriller” from the author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics that I’m hearing more and more good things about. Here’s the pitch: “On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive, cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova – a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than 30 years.”

Night Film: A Novel | [Marisha Pessl] Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel | [Wilton Barnhardt]

That satirical historical fiction novel is Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel By Wilton Barnhardt, Narrated By Scott Shepherd for Macmillan Audio concurrent with print/ebook release from St. Martin’s. “Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband, Duke, are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina’s high society, a world where old Southern money and the secrets behind it meet the new wealth of bankers, real estate speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War reenactor. … In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a full-bore, headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.”

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

Blood of Tyrants: Temeraire, Book 8 | [Naomi Novik] The Bone Season | [Samantha Shannon]

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

Cover of Celestial Inventories Wrath-Bearing Tree

  • Collection: Celestial Inventories by Steve Rasnic Tem (ChiZine, Aug 15) — “features twenty-two stories collected from rare chapbooks, anthologies, and obscure magazines, along with a new story written specifically for this volume”
  • The Raven’s Shadow (Wild Hunt #3) by Elspeth Cooper (Gollanz UK, August 15) — third in Cooper’s fantasy series after Songs of the Earth and Trinity Rising
  • Dragon Queen (Memory of Flames #5) by Stephen Deas (Gollanz UK, August 15) — fifth in Deas’ dragon fantasy series
  • Holy War by Lynda Williams (Hades/EDGE, August 15) — “SF novel, 9th book in a projected 10-volume series about two far future factions of humanity: bio-engineered Galecks, who can travel faster than light via “reality skimming”, and Reetions, unmodified humans whose society is moderated by AIs.” (via Locus Online)
  • Wrath-Bearing Tree by James Enge (Pyr, August 20) — second in Enge’s prequel trilogy to his previous Morlock Ambrosius trilogy — via Locus Online, Tim Pratt reviewed the book in the July issue of Locus Magazine, concluding, “I’ll keep following Morlock, with his one-word conversations, his quick lateral thinking, his mastery of the mystic and practical arts, his incendiary blood, and his failures as a friend and lover, for as long as Enge wants to keep spinning stories about him.”
  • Dust (Silo Saga) by Hugh Howey (Aug 17, 2013) — “WOOL introduced the silo and its inhabitants. SHIFT told the story of their making. DUST will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.” — audiobook due October 1
  • The Lost Prince by Edward Lazellari (Tor, Aug 20, 2013)

COMING SOON:

The Fall of the Kings | [Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman] Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe | [J. E. Mooney (Editor), Bill Fawcett (Editor)]

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 Torgersen (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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