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

NOVEMBER 13-19, 2013: As happened last week, amidst a fairly quiet week overall there’s still a pair of fantastic audiobooks from my “most missing in audio” list: Tim Powers’ Hide Me Among the Graves and Lewis Shiner’s Slam. Additionally, this week brings one of the most fantastically-produced non-fiction titles I’ve ever had the occasion to come across, an Audible-published Skyboat Media full cast production of Report from Nuremberg, complete with archive audio from the source material. The “also out” listings this week are led by more new releases from fantastic independent audio publisher Iambik, along with C.S. Fuqua’s poetry collection White Trash and Southern, Vonda McIntyre’s Superluminal, Philippa Ballantine’s Kindred and Wings, and new books in the Romulus Buckle, Baskerville Affair, and Jeremiah Hunt series. Coming soon — later this week in fact — are a good pile each of Dr. Who audiobooks (including one by Neil Gaiman) and an epic haul of Greg Egan’s hard sf. In terms of news, there’s been a lot, but the most recent bit is that Buzzy Multimedia has just posted a sample of James Marsters reading The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith, due out in full in January. Enjoy!

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers, read by Fiona Hardingham for Blackstone Audio was published in print/ebook last year by William Morrow, a stand-alone follow-up to the fantastic The Stress of Her Regard which both Dave and I loved. Dave had the decency to actually write it down properly. Perhaps I made up for it by going on to listen to and love Powers’ Declare and Last Call and On Stranger Tides… Anyway. The Stress of Her Regard was performed magnificently by Simon Vance, and here the atmosphere of Powers’ secret history of mid-19th Century Europe is under the capable voice of Hardingham, whose rendition of Jane Rogers’ The Testament of Jesse Lamb was simply wonderful. A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction and a 2013 Mythopoeic Award Nominee. “Winter 1862, London. Adelaide McKee, a former prostitute, arrives on the doorstep of veterinarian John Crawford, a man she met once seven years earlier. Their brief meeting produced a child who, until now, had been presumed dead. McKee has learned that the girl lives—but that her life and soul are in mortal peril from a vampiric ghost. But this is no ordinary spirit; the bloodthirsty wraith is none other than John Polidori, the onetime physician to the mad, bad, and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Both McKee and Crawford have mysterious histories with creatures like Polidori, and their child is a prize the malevolent spirit covets dearly. Polidori is also the late uncle and supernatural muse to poet Christina Rossetti and her brother, painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti.”

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Slam [print/ebook/CD] by Lewis Shiner, read by Stefan Rudnicki, is Shiner’s 1990 novel of a paroled tax evader, anarchist skateboarders, and, well, 23 cats. (And a UFO hoaxter; an elderly blind/deaf couple seeking centuries-old pirate treasure; an arsonist; and even more cats.) Somehow it was available at Audible in mid-October (and, via a $2.99 Kindle plus $2.99 Whispersync for Voice special, an instant grab once I saw it live there) but I wanted to go ahead and feature it on its official release date this week. As I said during my listening to the audiobook, “I could listen to Stefan Rudnicki read Lewis Shiner all day.” Rudnicki was masterful on Glimpses, Shiner’s World Fantasy Award winning novel, and here Rudnicki voices one of Shiner’s mainstream fictions with the same aplomb. Slam when released in 1990 was on the liminal edge between the Cold War’s pessimism and the dawning of the modern Internet. Technological advances seemed to promise post-scarcity just across the horizon. Now looking back, Slam seems almost more a paean to that optimistic hope, that one could plug in to a new network of possibilities and live more or less disconnected from that other grid — that grid of laws and finance and capital — in peace and happiness and freedom. As it turned out, deregulated corporate power ended up the victor, buying up land, air, water, laws, politicians, prisons, countries, whatever; opting out wasn’t an option. I enjoyed the heck out of this audiobook and am looking forward to next month’s audio release of Shiner’s Collected Stories.

That Skyboat Media non-fiction title I mentioned in the intro is Report from Nuremberg: The International War Crimes Trial by Harold Burson, narrated by Christian Rummel, Richard McGonagle, Gabrielle De Cuir, Stefan Rudnicki, Kristoffer Tabori, John Rubinstein, Harold Burson, Jim Meskimen, Arthur Morey, Joe Nocera, Robert Forster, and Scott Brick for Audible. From archival audio of reporters’ typewriters clanging behind the original radio broadcasts, to Rudnicki’s introduction, to the sometimes chilling performances of this full cast, I can’t recall a non-fiction title that compares in any way to this. In terms of fiction, World War Z perhaps comes (intentionally? one would have to ask Max Brooks, but I suspect yes) closest, but it’s yet another achievement for Skyboat, really. The trial revealed and publicized much of the horrific goings on of the Nazi regime to the world, amidst enduring questions of the legal authority of its court; following down the rabbit hole of stories here, and you learn of ancient prisons converted to housing one or more of the guilty from the trial, and then being destroyed after the death or release of their final prisoner amidst fears of their becoming shrines for a new generation of fascists. That’s the thing about history — you can keep going and going. Here, though, it’s a spotlight on — and is being released on the anniversary of — the opening of the first and most famous trial, November 19, 1945.

Report from Nuremberg: The International War Crimes Trial | [Harold Burson]

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for cheering on the underdogs. And it certainly helps when said pint-sized upstart does fantastic work the right way. For Canada-based Iambik Audiobooks, that’s releasing exquisite and often edgy, innovative, and diverse fiction from fantastic small press publishers, Mundania Press in the case of my last pick this week, Krista D. Ball’s Tranquility’s Grief. Tranquility’s Grief is volume 2 of the Tales of Tranquility, following Book 1: Tranquility’s Blaze. “As the bodies of her father and her sister burned, Bethany refused to say good-bye. She would say it only when she saw the release of their spirits and the burning of every person connected to their deaths. Only then would they rest in peace. Thousands are dead. Lady Champion Bethany’s tainted sister is slain. Her home lost forever. And Magic yet survives. Bethany thought she’d given everything in the fight against Magic. She was wrong. When the deaths of those closest to her shake her already crumbled world, she doesn’t wilt and die. She still has one thing left to gain even now: revenge. Prophecy or no, half-goddess or not, Bethany vows to bring order back to the world with the edge of her blade. No matter who she must defy. No matter what stands in her way. No matter who must die. For what they’ve done to her, all will pay.” The narrator here is Cori Samuel, who is a longtime LibriVox contributor and in terms of commercial audiobooks was absolutely fantastic on J.M. McDermott’s Last Dragon last year.

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

The Quest for the Immortal Walker is the fourth and last book of the Chronicles of Valonia series by Katie Paterson, narrated by Karen Savage for Iambik; the print/ebook edition was published by KAMedia Works. “The Master of Hades has waited centuries to fill the world with his evil, and now he has his chance, with his despicable sorceress and his heinous creatures of death. Only the Immortal Walker can stop this catastrophe, and it is Rachel and Gareth’s final quest to find him. But who is the Immortal Walker and where is he? Faced with dangerous situations the twins have to battle on and solve the mystery, before the Master of Evil takes over. But can Rachel and Gareth do this, and will they be in time to save the world from the eternal fires of Hades and its Supreme Master of Darkness?” First line: “Deep under the black mountains in her damp, dark caverns Rathyen rattled six stones in her gnarled, grimy hands and threw them across the stone table for the second time.”

Inner Diverse is Book 2 of the Splintered Universe series, a metaphysical thriller trilogy which started with Outer Diverse. Written by Nina Munteanu and narrated by Dawn Harvey, originally published by Starfire World Syndicate. “Detective Rhea Hawke continues her quest for truth and justice in a world that is not what it seems. Rhea’s search takes her to the far reaches of the known universe from the Weeping Mountains of Horus to the blistering deserts of Upsilon 3. Amidst the turmoil of an imminent extra-galactic war, Rhea holds the key even as those she trusts betray her. No one is what they seem…” First Line: “I pulled out a second wad of soyka gum and chewed nervously then resumed paddling, eyes sharp for any boiling masses of water snakes.”

White Trash & Southern: Collected Poems, Volume 1 by C. S. Fuqua, narrated by C.S. Fuqua for his own “Cooperative Ink” label. He released a (short!) short story earlier this year, Hush, Puppy!: A Southern-Fried Tale of fried cornbread, complete with barking dogs and other sound effects, and here takes on his new collection: “Two hundred thirty-two poems, 232 stories of life, from birth to death, domestic bliss to domestic violence, political stupidity to flatulent bus travelers, celebration, mourning, joy, sadness…Poetry in this data-saturated age is not, for most, a viable way to make a living. So why expend the time and energy to create something that few people will listen to and even fewer will purchase? To which I must ask, why do people sing in the rain, paint pictures, dance? Because it provides pleasure and reward and perhaps even keeps them sane. As a writer of fiction and nonfiction, I am most concerned with story. When I write poetry, I view it not as some lofty literary tool to fool or condescend, but as an exercise in crafting story within the strictest confines. White Trash & Southern is a collection of such exercises, spanning nearly three decades. To create a complex story within a limited number of words – to communicate far more than appears – is a challenge that can provide enormous reward and satisfaction. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. But at least I remain sane. Sort of.” It’s Fuqua’s second collection to come to audio this year, after his fiction collection, Trust Walk, Narrated By Timothy B. Phillips for Celeritas Unlimited LLC. “Descend into a world of dark and light, a world in which karma is real. The 35 stories collected here explore the motivations of the human spirit, the qualities that lead us into temptation as well as deliverance, that make even the most ordinary among us extraordinary. In ‘Walking After Midnight,’ a Year’s Best Horror Stories selection, a man sinks in self-pity as he drives home in a snowstorm after a long day’s work, his wife recently deceased, his son a casualty of war decades before. In the swirling snow, he swerves to avoid a man at the edge of the road. The truck flips and fatally injures the driver, but he won’t die alone.”

White Trash & Southern: Collected Poems, Volume 1 | [C. S. Fuqua] Superluminal | [Vonda N. McIntyre]

Superluminal (1983) By Vonda N. McIntyre, Narrated By Rachel Evans for Audible Inc. “From the ocean’s emerald depths, where whales and adapting humans live in harmony … to the rigors of inter-dimensional travel, the universe is order and laws; the universe is hierarchies, evolution, and space…Now a young pilot with a new bionic heart, a man from a plague-ravaged world, and a beautiful diver from the sea are about to discover that their destinies – and their souls – are entwined. A voyage to a distant planet, a message in a crystal, an accident, and a love affair have suddenly cracked open the known order of the Universe. Two women and a man are caught up in a mystery, and now they are changing every world they travel in, and every life they touch” Also out this week by McIntyre is a short, The Adventures of Field Theorems, narrated by Simon Brooks.

ALSO ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War: The Chronicles of the Pneumatic, Book 2 | [Richard Ellis Preston] Kindred and Wings | [Philippa Ballantine] Watcher of the Dark: The Jeremiah Hunt Chronicle, Book 3 | [Joseph Nassise]

ALSO ALSO ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

  • Datura, or A Delusion We All See by Lina Krohn (Cheeky Frawg, Nov 15) — “Fantasy novel about an editor and writer for a magazine that specializes in oddities. The book was first published in 2001 in Finnish, and is here translated by Anna Volmari and Juha Tupasela.” (via Locus Online) — Publishers Weekly gives this a starred review: “Shadows of Kafka and Strindberg are infused with Krohn’s love of her fragile characters. The absurdist antilogic of nightmare colors this parable of elegant chaos and denies readers moral comfort or clear resolution. Aficionados of the surreal will find this a contemporary masterwork.”
  • Collection: The Explorer and Other Stories by Jyrki Vainonen (Cheeky Frawg, Nov 15)
  • Collection: Beyond the Rift by Peter Watts (Tachyon, Nov 18, 2013) — “Combining complex science with skillfully executed prose, these edgy, award-winning tales explore the shifting border between the known and the alien.”
  • Collection: In the Company of Thieves by Kage Baker (Tachyon, Nov 15, 2013)
  • The Orphans’ Promise (Secret of Ji, Book Two) by Pierre Grimbert, translated by Matt Ross and Eric Lamb (Nov 19, 2013) — audiobook coming in December, read by Michael Page for Brilliance Audio
  • The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones (Broken River Books) — “You haven’t heard of William Colton Hughes. Or, if you have, then you’re not telling anybody. Not telling them anything, ever. He’s not the serial killer on the news, in the textbooks. He’s the one out there still punching his card, and a few other people’s too. He is a nightmare come to life, waiting in his apartment for you to knock on his door.”
  • Wild Fell by Michael Rowe (ChiZine, Nov 19, 2013) — “The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century.”
  • Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo by Miyuki Miyabe and translated from Japanese by Daniel Huddleston (Haikasoru, Nov 19, 2013) — “In old Edo, the past was never forgotten. It lived alongside the present in dark corners and in the shadows. In these tales, award-winning author Miyuki Miyabe explores the ghosts of early modern Japan and the spaces of the living world—workplaces, families, and the human soul—that they inhabit. Written with a journalistic eye and a fantasist’s heart, Apparitions brings the restless dead, and those who encounter them, to life.”
  • Bloodstone (Rebel Angel #2) by Gillian Philip (Tor, Nov 19)
  • Collection: Tyrannia and Other Renditions by Alan DeNiro (Small Beer Press, Nov 19)
  • New Under the Sun by Nancy Kress and Therese Pieczynski (Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick, Nov 19) — “Anthology of two original novellas, latest in a series of such anthologies, edited by Mike Resnick, in which a veteran author is paired with a newcomer.” (via Locus Online)
  • Art: Spectrum 20: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner (Underwood Books, Nov 19)
  • Non-Fiction: Creating an Online Presence (Careerbuilding for Writers) by Cat Rambo (Nov 17, 2013) — “Covers the basics of creating and maintaining an online presence for writers. What you need on a website, how to effectively use social media, how to find readers via social media, what free resources are available to writers, whether it’s worth it to pay for online advertising, and, most importantly, how to promote yourself online without using all your valuable writing time.”

COMING SOON:

  • The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen and translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers (Pushkin Press, Nov 21, 2013) — “A highly contagious book virus, a literary society, and a Snow Queen-like disappearing author.”
  • Nothing O’Clock (Dr. Who) by Neil Gaiman (Nov 21, 2013) — According to Bleeding Cool, here’s what Gaiman has to say about the book: “Nothing O’Clock stars the Eleventh Doctor, the Matt Smith Doctor, with Amy Pond as his companion. I set it somewhere during the first season of Matt Smith, mostly on Earth, in our time now and in 1984, but also somewhere else, a very, very long time ago. I had never created an original monster for Doctor Who and really enjoyed getting to create a creepy Doctor Who monster of the kind that we haven’t quite seen before… I hope that the Kin will get out there and occasionally give people nightmares. And that you will be worried if a man in a rabbit mask comes to your door and tries to buy your house.” — both standalone and as part of a Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 stories anthology for Dr. Who’s 50th anniversary, whose constituent stories are also all available standalone
  • The Arrows of Time (Orthogonal)  by Greg Egan (Gollancz UK, November 21, 2013) — book 3 after The Clockwork Rocket and The Eternal Flame — the Night Shade Books US release has moved to 2014 — audiobooks for the entire series are coming November 26 along with (on November 25) Diaspora, Distress, and Permutation City
  • CARLUCCI’S EDGE by Richard Paul Russo, read by Kristoffer Tabori for Blackstone Audio (Nov 25)
  • Short: We Robots By Sue Lange, Narrated By Katina Kalin for Audible Inc (Nov 25)
  • Through the Black Veil By Steve Vera, Narrated By Alison Edwards for Carina Press (Nov 25)
  • Freeze Frames By Katharine Kerr, Narrated By Katina Kalin for Audible Inc. (Nov 25)
  • Hild: A Novel by Nicola Griffith, read by Anne Flosnick for Macmillan Audio (Nov 26) — published in print/ebook Nov 12 by 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.”
  • The Land Across by Gene Wolfe (Tor, Nov 26) — audiobook coming from Audible (digital, concurrent release) and Brilliance Audio (CD media, January), Narrated By Jeff Woodman
  • 47 Ronin by Joan D. Vinge, read by Steve Baker for Macmillan Audio (Tor, Nov 26) — novelisation of the upcoming film: “From ancient Japan’s most enduring tale, the epic 3D fantasy-adventure 47 Ronin is born. Keanu Reeves leads the cast as Kai, an outcast who joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the leader of the 47 Ronin. Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master and banished their kind.”
  • Last to Rise by Francis Knight (Orbit, Nov 26) — concluding volume in a new trilogy which started with Knight’s debut Fade to Black in early 2013
  • Alien Honor: A Fenris Novel, Book 1 By Vaughn Heppner, Narrated By Jeff Cummings for Brilliance Audio (Nov 26)
  • Wild Justice (Nadia Stafford #3) by Kelley Armstrong (Nov 26, Plume Paperback)
  • The Irreal Reader: Fiction & Essays from The Cafe Irreal edited by G.S. Evans and Alice Whittenburg (Guide Dog, November 2013)
  • Collection: Bleeding Shadows by Joe R. Lansdale (Subterranean, November 2013)
  • The remaining launch titles for Broken River Books are due out by the end of November 2013: Gravesend by William Boyle; Peckerwood by Jedidiah Ayres; XXX Shamus by Red Hammond; and Street Raised by Pearce Hansen

DECEMBER:

Collected Stories by Lewis Shiner

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
  • The Philosopher’s Zombie by Robert J. Sawyer (April 2015)
  • Anthology: The End has Come: The Apocalypse Triptych #3 edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey (June 2015) — via io9
  • 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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