Monday, November 29, 2010

Science Fiction & SFR Releases for December 2010


My favourite cover this month is for the anthology Engineering Infinity. The style is very reminiscent of the great Richard Powers whose art dominated many SF covers of the 1960's especially Berkley Publishing's releases. On the flip side the ultra-tacky cover from Baen Books  for the Poul Anderson Flandry collection should come with a plain brown wrapper.

Although released late last month, Alan Dean Foster has debuted The Human Blend, the first book in a new near-future series called The Tipping Point. For the titles alone, I am going to give the Love and Rockets SFR anthology a try as well as the SF thriller Mad Skills by Walter Greatshell.

Titles listed are first appearances with release dates based on Amazon data. If I've missed anything you think should be included, please let me know.  Feel free to comment on your choices for December.


ANTHOLOGIES

Songs of the Dying Earth 
Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois 
12/07/10
To honor the magnificent career of Jack Vance, one unparalleled in achievement and impact, George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, with the full cooperation of Vance, his family, and his agents, have created a Jack Vance tribute anthology:Songs of the Dying Earth. The best of today's fantasy writers to return to the unique and evocative milieu of The Dying Earth, from which they and so many others have drawn so much inspiration, to create their own brand-new adventures in the world of Jack Vance’s greatest novel. Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time ever, Jack has agreed to open this bizarre and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. To say that other fantasy writers are excited by this prospect is a gross understatement; one has told us that he'd crawl through broken glass for the chance to write for the anthology, another that he'd gladly give up his right arm for the privilege. That's the kind of regard in which Jack Vance and The Dying Earth are held by generations of his peers. This book contains original stories from George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Dan Simmons, Elizabeth Moon, Tanith Lee, Tad Williams, Kage Baker, and Robert Silverberg, along with fifteen others--as well as an introduction by Dean Koontz.
Engineering Infinity 
Edited by Jonathan Strahan 
12/28/10
The universe shifts and changes: suddenly you understand, you get it, and are filled with a sense of wonder. That moment of understanding drives the greatest science-fiction stories and lies at the heart of Engineering Infinity. Whether it's coming up hard against the speed of light and, with it, the enormity of the universe, realising that terraforming a distant world is harder and more dangerous than you'd ever thought, or simply realizing that a hitchhiker on a starship consumes fuel and oxygen with tragic results, it's hard science-fiction where sense of wonder is most often found and where science-fiction's true heart lies. The exciting and innovative science-fiction anthology collects together stories by some of the biggest names in the field including Stephen Baxter, Charles Stross and Greg Bear.

NOVELS and SERIES


Anderson, Kevin J. and Doug Beason 
Ill Wind 
12/28/10
It’s the largest oil spill in history: a crashed supertanker in San Francisco Bay. Desperate to avert environmental damage—and a PR disaster—the multinational oil company releases an untested “designer microbe” to break up the spill. An “oil-eating” microbe, designed to consume anything made of petrocarbons: oil, gasoline, synthetic fabrics, and of course plastic. What the company doesn’t realize is that their microbe propagates through the air. But when every car in the Bay Area turns up with an empty gas tank, they begin to suspect something is terribly wrong. And when, in just a few days, every piece of plastic in the world has dissolved, it’s too late...
Anderson, Poul 
Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra 
Technic Civilization Series 
12/07/10
Captain Dominic Flandry has been knighted for his many services to the Terran Empire—an Empire which is old, jaded, and corrupt, as Flandry well knows. And while that “Sir” before his name may be an added attraction to comely ladies (not that he has ever lacked for the pleasant company of the same), he expects that it will also bring him less welcome attention from envious “colleagues” within the empire. What it is not likely to do is make him more of an object of interest to the Merseians, whose plots he has repeatedly foiled and who are much too aware of how much simpler their plans to replace the Empire would be if he were the late Sir Dominic Flandry. Flandry himself has come to understand that there may be no more point to all his victories than that a few trillion of his fellow creatures may live out their lives before the inevitable coming of the Long Night of galactic barbarism. At best, he may have postponed its coming and shortened its duration. But if that is the most he can achieve, so be it—he’ll keep on fighting, hoping that the barbarians too will pass, followed by a new round of civilization.
Armstrong, Jon 
Yarn 
12/14/10
From the neo-feudalistic slubs and cornfields of his youth to his apprenticeship among the saleswarriors of Seattlehama - the sex-and-shopping capital of the world - to the rarefied heights of power that Tain now treads, Yarn takes its readers on a roller coaster ride through his life. Vada, the stylish revolutionary and love of Tane's life, draws him back into a world he had thought was long behind him. The swirling threads of violence and passion threaten to destroy him and the world he has made for himself. Author Jon Armstrong returns to the high fashion dystopia first glimpsed in Grey, weaving a stylish and scintillating tale of a dark past colliding with Tane's supposedly safe and secure present.
de Pierres, Marianne 
Transformation Space 
Sentients of Orion #4 
12/02/10
Mira Fedor and her friends stand in the eye of the hurricane. Everything is in flux and nothing is as it appears to be. Mira’s pregnancy seems to be proceeding at an inhuman pace and the sedate acceptance of this state of affairs by her biozoon, Insigna, is as much an irritation as it is comfort. It seems clear that the extropists’ procedures have had an unforeseen effect – but will her child be more than human? Or less? Meanwhile, the galaxy-wide conspiracy that has plagued the Orion League for so long is blown wide open. The conspirators stand unmasked, but is there time to prevent their carefully laid plans coming to fruition? And even if there is, how many of the Orion Worlds will pay the price for their leaders’ blindness? The pieces are all in play; all that remains is for each side to commit to its end game. But there’s one question nobody has thought to ask: will god play by the rules …
Farmer, Philip Jose 
Up the Bright River 
12/31/10
This first posthumous collection of the short fiction of Philip Jose Farmer is a celebration of the impressive variety of his prodigious output, from the space adventures he published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s through the 1970s, to his acerbic satires of religion and medicine, to his fictional biographies and memoirs, to his beloved Riverworld. Appearing for the first time in a Philip Jose Farmer collection are his last three “Riverworld” stories—featuring characters from his own family history--as well as the “memoir” of Lord Greystoke which he claimed to have merely edited. Other highlights include “Attitudes,” the first of the Father Carmody stories; “The Two-Edged Gift,” which introduces the fictional science fiction writer Leo Queequeg Tincrowdor; “Toward the Beloved City” (about which its original editor said he had never before really understood the Book of Revelations); and “Father’s in the Basement,” a little-known Gothic horror tale which is also a satire of the writing profession. Farmer created some of the most famous worlds in science fiction, but he also wrote in many worlds, and readers familiar only with his best-known classics may find a few surprises among these tales.
Forbeck, Matt 
Amortals 
12/28/10
Matt Forbeck arrives as the new king of high-concept - with a blockbuster action movie in a book. In the near future, scientists solve the problem of mortality by learning how to backup and restore a persons memories into a vat-bred clone. When Secret Service agent Ronan "Methusaleh" Dooley is brutally murdered, he's brought back from the dead one more time to hunt his killer, but this time those who wanted him dead are much closer to home.
Foster, Alan Dean 
The Human Blend 
Tipping Point #1 
11/23/10
Alan Dean Foster’s brilliant new novel is a near-future thriller that has all the dark humor and edgy morality of an Elmore Leonard mystery, in addition to the masterly world-building and quirky but believable characters readers expect from Foster. This gripping adventure reveals a place where criminals are punished through genetic engineering and bodily manipulation—which poses profound questions about what it means to be human. Given his name because radical surgery and implants have reduced him to preternatural thinness, Whispr is a thug. His partner in crime, Jiminy Cricket, has also been physically altered with nanocarbonic prosthetic legs and high-strength fast-twitch muscle fibers that give him great jumping abilities. In a dark alley in Savannah, Whispr and Jiminy murder what they take to be a random tourist in order to amputate and then fence his sophisticated artificial hand. But the hapless victim also happens to be carrying an unusual silver thread that appears to be some kind of storage medium. Ever quick to scent potential profit, Whispr and Jiminy grab the thread as well. Chance later deposits a wounded Whispr at the clinic of Dr. Ingrid Seastrom. Things have not gone smoothly for Whispr since he acquired the mysterious thread. Powerful forces are searching for him, and Jiminy has vanished. All Whispr wants to do is sell the thread as quickly as he can. When he offers to split the profits with Ingrid in exchange for her medical services, she makes an astonishing discovery. So begins a unique partnership. Unlike Whispr, Ingrid is a natural, with no genetic or bodily alteration. She is also a Harvard-educated physician, while Whispr’s smarts are strictly of the street variety. Yet together they make a formidable team—as long as they can elude the enhanced assassins that are tracking them.
Greatshell, Walter 
Mad Skills 
12/28/10
Unconscious for fourteen months after a debilitating accident, Maddy Grant awakens at the Braintree Institute, where scientists have successfully implanted her with a radical technology designed to correct her brain injury. But Maddy is more than cured. Her intellect has been enhanced to process information faster than a computer-an ability that's sending her emotions into overdrive. To monitor her condition, the institute sends Maddy to the nearby village of Harmony, where she will be free to interact with the community. But Braintree's scientists are not only monitoring her behavior, they're modifying it, reprogramming her personality to become someone else. A killer.
Lovegrove, James 
Age of Odin 
12/28/10
Gideon Dixon was a good solider but bad at everything else. Now the British Army doesn't want him any more. So when he hears about the Valhalla Project it seems like a dream come true. They're recruiting from service personnel for execellent pay with no questions asked to take part in unspecified combat operations. The last thing Gideon expects is to finding himself fighting alongside the gods of the ancient Norse pantheon. The world is in the grip of one of the worst winters it has ever known, and Ragnarok-the fabled final conflict of the Sagas-is looming.
McCaffrey, Anne, and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 
Catacombs 
Tale of the Barque Cats #2 
12/07/10
In Catalyst, award-winning authors Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough introduced readers to the beguiling Barque Cats: spacefaring felines who serve aboard starships as full-fledged members of the crew. Highly evolved, the cats share an almost telepathic bond with their minders, or Cat Persons—until, suddenly, there is no “almost” about it, and a particular Barque Cat, Chester, learns to exchange thoughts with his human friend, Jubal. Other cats soon gain the same ability. Behind the seeming miracle is a mysterious cat named Pshaw-Ra, who possesses knowledge and technology far beyond anything the Barque Cats—or their humans—have ever seen. When fear of a virulent plague leads the government first to quarantine and then to kill all animals suspected of infection, Pshaw-Ra—with the help of Chester, Jubal, and the crew of the starship Ranzo—activates a “mousehole” in space that carries the refugees to a place of safety: Pshaw-Ra’s home planet of Mau, where godlike cats are worshiped by human slaves. But Pshaw-Ra’s actions are less noble than they appear. The scheming cat plans to mate the Barque Cats with his own feline stock, creating a hybrid race of superior cats—a race destined to conquer the universe. Yet right from the start, his plans go awry. For one thing, there’s a new queen on Mau: Pshaw-Ra’s daughter Nefure, a spoiled brat—er, cat—with a temper as short as her attention span. Pshaw-Ra’s other daughter, the rightful queen Renpet, is exiled, running for her life in the only direction available to her—down into the vast catacombs beneath the Mauan desert. Far from receiving the hero’s welcome he expected, Pshaw-Ra must use every bit of his considerable cleverness just to survive. Meanwhile, as usual, Chester and Jubal stumble right into the middle of things, in the process uncovering the lost secrets of the Mauan civilization. But that’s not all they uncover. In the forgotten catacombs deep below the Mauan capital, something has awakened. Something as old as the universe. Something that hungers to devour all light and life—and that bears an undying hatred for cats.
Niven, Larry 
The Best of Larry Niven 
11/30/10
With the publication of his first story, “The Coldest Place”, in 1964 Larry Niven launched one of the most important careers in the history of science fiction. Over the next decade his stunning hard science fiction won four short fiction Hugo Awards and both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for his all-time classic novel, Ringworld. But it was the short stories that amazed and astounded first. Stories like “The Coldest Place”, “Becalmed in Hell”, “Neutron Star”, and “All the Myriad Ways”set the boundaries for ‘Known Space’, one of science fiction’s grandest future histories, while Niven also explored the classic tavern story in his ‘Draco’s Tavern’ sequence and even fantasy in his ‘Magic Goes Away’ stories. Astoundingly, there has never been a single compendium the focused solely on Niven’s best short fiction until now. The Best of Larry Niven collects no less than twenty seven stories written over a period of thirty-five years, bringing together some of the best-loved stories in science fiction for the first time, along with some overlooked classics. Whether this is your first time in Known Space or you’re visiting old friends in Draco’s Tavern, The Best of Larry Niven is unforgettable.
Taylor, Travis S. and Les Johnson 
Back to the Moon
12/07/10
Decades after the last footprints were left on the Moon, the U.S. was preparing to return to the Lunar surface in a new class of rockets, when the mission suddenly became much more urgent. It would have to be a rescue mission. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world China had sent its own Lunar expedition. A manned expedition. Until a distress call was received, no human outside of China even knew that the mission was manned—or that their ship had crash-landed and couldn’t take off again. Time was running out, and if the four Chinese astronauts were to be rescued, the American lunar mission would have to launch immediately, with only a skeleton crew. Once the heroic U.S. astronauts were underway the army of engineers and scientists back home had the daunting task of deciding what equipment could be left on the Moon to permit the Lunar lander vehicle vehicle to lift safely from the Moon with the two U.S. astronauts and the four stranded Chinese taikonauts! Could the U.S. mount such a mission successfully—and would thousands of years of instilled honor “allow” the Chinese astronauts to accept a rescue?

SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCE (SFR)

Love and Rockets 
Edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Kerrie Hughes 
Introduction by Lois McMaster Bujold 
12/07/10
Space...the final frontier. Or is it? Many say there's no frontier more forbidding than a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. But what if one's a human, and the other's an alien? Here is an original collection of space opera stories where authors take love (unrequited or not), on a spaceship, space station, or planetary colony, and add enough drama, confusion and mayhem to ensure that the path to true love-or short-term infatuation-is seldom free of obstacles.
Koch, Gina 
Alien Tango 
Alien #2 
12/07/10
It's been five months since marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty's high school boyfriend. And that's all before evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital.

Two great resources for the latest information on science fiction romance can be found at The Galaxy Express and the SFR Brigade. Be sure to pay them a visit.

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Fantasy Releases for December 2010


Favourite cover this month is Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren. Top picks for December include the Pamela Freeman Casting Trilogy which is a terrific omnibus package, The Iron Palace by Morgan Howell, the newest Sevenwaters tale from Juliet Marillier, The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip (a long-time must buy author for me), and Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren.

The next post will include the December science fiction and SFR releases.


ANTHOLOGIES

Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar 
Edited by Mercedes Lackey 
12/07/10
In March 1987, a young author from Oklahoma published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This modest book about a magical land called Valdemar was the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles. Now readers can take a journey to the world of Valdemar-including Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, and Judith Tarr-each adding their own special touches.
People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy
Edited by Swirsky, Rachel & Sean Wallace 
12/14/10
From Sholom Aleichem to Avram Davidson, Isaac Bashevis Singer to Tony Kushner, the Jewish literary tradition has always been one rich in the supernatural and the fantastic. In these pages, gathered from the best short fiction of the last ten years, twenty authors prove that their heritage is alive and well - in the spaces between stars that an alphabet can bridge, folklore come to life and histories become stories, and all the places where old worlds and new collide and change.

NOVELS and SERIES


Abnett, Dan 
Prospero Burns 
Horus Heresy Series 
12/28/10
The Emperor is enraged. Primarch Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons Legion has made a terrible mistake that endangers the very safety of Terra. With no other choice, the Emperor charges Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, with the apprehension of his brother from the Thousand Sons home world of Prospero. This planet of sorcerers will not be easy to overcome, but Russ and his Space Wolves are not easily deterred. With wrath in his heart, Russ is determined to bring Magnus to justice and bring about the fall of Prospero.
Asprin, Robert and Jody Lynn Nye 
Dragons Deal 
Griffen McCandles #3 
12/07/10
As head dragon and owner of a successful gambling operation in New Orleans, Griffen McCandles has a lot on his plate. Especially since the Krewe of Fafnir-a society of dragons-has asked him to be the king of their Mardi Gras parade. Being the king is a huge honor, and despite the extra responsibilities, Griffen can't resist the Krewe's offer to lead the biggest party of the year. But not everyone is happy with Griffen's new leadership status. A group of powerful dragons is out to bankrupt his business, from the inside out. And when a young dragon in Griffen's employ is murdered, it becomes clear that certain dragons will stop at nothing to dethrone the new king...
Beukes, Lauren 
Zoo City 
12/28/10
Publishers Weekly - In Beukes's riveting parallel world, those who cause someone's death are both blessed and cursed with companion animals who mark them as killers while giving them special powers. In a run-down slum in Johannesburg, journalist and former addict Zinzi December uses the power provided by her Sloth to find lost objects, supplementing her meager income by running 419 scams. When a rich client is murdered, Zinzi is drawn into an investigation that involves teen pop stars, sleazy record producers, and ethics-challenged newspapermen. ; IMDB listings, newspaper articles, and book excerpts quickly establish how much (or little) this alternate universe is different from ours. Zinzi herself narrates with a hard-boiled voice that glides easily between resigned despair and hope as her case and her personal life (including her relationship with her animaled lover, Benoît) intertwine. Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots.
Cast, P.C. 
Goddess of Legend 
12/7/10
After her car plummets off a bridge, Isabel, a world-weary photojournalist, struggles between life and death when she's saved by the Water Goddess - with one tiny caveat: Isabel must travel to another time to seduce the legendary Lancelot du Lac away from Queen Guinevere. The handsome knight is a dream for any woman in any century. But Isabel is the one who's seduced by King Arthur. For Isabel, a deal is a deal. Now, the King watches as fate takes from him the mysterious beauty he has come to worship, knowing all too well that any interference on his part could destroy the kingdom he loves.
Cunningham, Elaine 
Winter Witch 
Pathfinder Series 
12/07/10
In a village of the frozen north, a child is born possessed by a strange and alien spirit, only to be cast out by her tribe and taken in by the mysterious winter witches of Irrisen, a land locked in permanent magical winter. Farther south, a young mapmaker with a penchant for forgery discovers that his sham treasure maps have begun striking gold. This is the story of Ellasif, a barbarian shield maiden who will stop at nothing to recover her missing sister, and Decclan, the ne'er-do-well young spellcaster-turned-forger who wants only to prove himself to the woman he loves. Together they'll face monsters, magic, and the fury of Ellasif's own cold-hearted warriors in their quest to rescue the lost child. Yet when they finally reach the ice-walled city of Whitethrone, where trolls hold court and wolves roam the streets as men, will it be too late to save the girl from the forces of darkness?
Freeman, Pamela 
The Castings Trilogy 
12/02/10
A thousand years ago, the Eleven Domains were invaded and the original inhabitants were driven onto the road as Travelers, belonging nowhere, welcomed by no one. Now the Domains are governed with an iron fist by the Warlords, but there are wilder elements in the landscape that cannot be controlled and that may prove the Warlords' undoing. Some are spirits of place - of water and air and fire and earth. Some are greater than these. And some are human. Bramble: A village girl whom no one living can tame, forced to flee her home for a crime she did not commit. Ash: A safeguarder's apprentice who must kill for an employer he cannot escape. Saker: An enchanter who will not rest until the land is returned to his people. As their three stories unfold, along with the stories of those whose lives they touch, it becomes clear that they are bound together in ways that not even a stonecaster could have foreseen - by their past, their future, and their blood. This omnibus edition includes all three novels - Blood Ties, Deep Water, and Full Circle - together for the first time.
Howell, Morgan 
The Iron Palace 
The Shadowed Path #3 
12/28/10
Seventeen years have passed since Yim, an ex-slave blessed by the benevolent goddess Karm, sacrificed her body—and perhaps her very soul—to Lord Bahl, avatar of the evil Devourer. In that selfless act, Yim stripped Lord Bahl of his power but became pregnant with his son. Now that son, Froan, is a young man. And though Yim has raised him in the remote Grey Fens and kept him ignorant of his past, the taint of the Devourer is in his blood. Even now an eldritch call goes out—and the slumbering shadow stirs in Froan’s blood, calling to him in a voice that cannot be denied. Armed with a dark magic he barely understands, Froan sets out to claim his destiny. When Yim seeks to stop him, her sole hope is that Honus—the love she abandoned—will take up the sword again for Karm’s sake and hers. Only then can she hope to face the impregnable bastion of unspeakable evil: the Iron Palace.
Kennedy, Kathryne 
Beneath the Thirteen Moons 
12/01/10
Kathryne Kennedy's award-winning first book, now available for the first time to the trade market, features a magical, watery world in which mammoth trees grow up from the ocean floor, supporting all life within their canopy. In spite of the beauty and abundance, the world is harshly divided into two classes: pampered royalty and struggling have-nots. In search of a Healer for her swampland village, smuggler Mahri Zin inadvertently kidnaps the heir to the throne, Korl Com'nder. As the two become lovers, they discover that not only are their fates intertwined, but the very survival of their peoples depends on them...
Koontz, Dean 
What the Night Knows 
12/28/10
In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy. Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family — his wife and three children — will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer. As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return. Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling.
Marillier, Juliet 
Seer of Sevenwaters 
Sevenwaters #5 
12/07/10
The young seer Sibeal is visiting an island of elite warriors, prior to making her final pledge as a druid. It's there she finds Felix, a survivor of a Viking shipwreck, who's lost his memory. The scholarly Felix and Sibeal form a natural bond. He could even be her soul mate, but Sibeal's vocation is her true calling, and her heart must answer. As Felix fully regains his memory, Sibeal has a runic divination showing her that Felix must go on a perilous mission-and that she will join him. The rough waters and the sea creatures they will face are no match for Sibeal's own inner turmoil. She must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love...
McKillip, Patricia A. 
The Bards of Bone Plain 
12/07/10
Publishers Weekly - World Fantasy Award winner McKillip (The Bell at Sealey Head) offers a rich, resonant story of poetry, riddles, mystery, and magic. Phelan Cle never wanted to be a bard--that's his decidedly unmusical father's ambition for him--but now that he's about to graduate from Bardic School at Caerau, he's determined to make it easy on himself. He chooses what should be a straight-forward thesis topic: Bone Plain, where legend says all poetry originated, where Nairn the Wanderer, the Fool, the Cursed, the Unforgiven, one of the greatest bards in history, failed the mysterious Three Trials and disappeared forever. History surrounds the school and the nearby standing stones, where archaeologist Princess Beatrice digs up an unusual artifact that may hold the key to the mysteries of Bone Plain. McKillip seduces readers with lyrical prose; intriguing, complex characters; and resonant riddles-within-riddles.
Parker, K. J. 
Blue and Gold 
12/31/10
“Well, let me see,” I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. “In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.”
For a man as remarkable as the philosopher Saloninus, just another day. Of course, we only have his word for it, and Saloninus has been known to be creative with the truth. Little white lies are inevitable expedients when you’re one jump ahead of the secret police and on the brink of one of the greatest discoveries in the history of alchemy. But why would a scientist with the world’s most generous, forgiving patron be so desperate to run away? And what, if anything, has blue got to do with gold?
Resnick, Mike 
The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale 
12/01/10
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advance of the Americans east of the river. An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Alva Edison out West to the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on a mission to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic. Hired to protect this great genius, Wyatt Earp and his brothers. But there are plenty who would like to see the Earps and Edison dead. Riding to their aid are old friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. Against them stand the Apache wizard Geronimo and the Clanton gang. Battle lines are drawn, and the Clanton gang, which has its own reasons for wanting Edison dead, sends for Johnny Ringo, the one man who might be Doc Holliday's equal in a gunfight. But what shows up instead is The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo, returned from the dead and come to Tombstone looking for a fight. Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where "Bat Masterson" hails from the ranks of the undead, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.
Turtledove, Harry 
Atlantis and Other Places 
Atlantis #4 
12/07/10
Publishers Weekly - Alternate historian extraordinaire Turtledove (Hitler's War) explores a dozen different "what if?" scenarios in this reprint collection. These stories, some dead serious and some absurdly improbable, demonstrate his ability to slip, chameleonlike, from one mode to the next. An aging John Audubon searches for rare birds in "Audubon in Atlantis," and Hitler's life takes a very different turn in the epistolary "Uncle Alf." "The Catcher in the Rhine" adeptly blends an American classic and a Wagnerian opera. Perhaps the most outrageous is "Bedfellows," featuring George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Turtledove also takes a few potshots at the modern media in "News from the Front." Helpful forewords explain the inspiration for, or divergence point of, each story. Whether he's going for humor or pathos, action or social commentary, Turtledove's research is always solid, his speculation thoughtful, and his execution professional.
Warren, Kaaron 
Walking the Tree 
12/28/10
Botanica is an island, but almost all of the island is taken up by the Tree. Little knowing how they came to be here, small communities live around the coast line. The Tree provides them shelter, kindling, medicine – and a place of legends, for there are ghosts within the trees who snatch children and the dying. Lillah has come of age and is now ready to leave her community and walk the tree for five years, learning all Botanica has to teach her. Before setting off, Lillah is asked by the dying mother of a young boy to take him with her. In a country where a plague killed half the population, Morace will otherwise be killed in case he has the same disease. But can Lillah keep the boy’s secret, or will she have to resort to breaking the oldest taboo on Botanica? Another astonishingly imaginative novel from the acclaimed author of Slights.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Young Adult Releases for December 2010


The number of young adult speculative fiction releases is down for the third consecutive month. Whether this is a seasonal effect or indications of a trend remains to be seen. Viewing the cover selection for December, I was unable to pick a standout for favourite cover.The tiles featured below are initial releases and do not include reprints.

Reading picks for this month include The Lost Saint by Bree Despain, Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, Entice by Carrie Jones, Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey and Tempetuous by Leslie Livingstone.

I noted with interest the complete lack of a decent description for the final Vampire Academy novel Richelle Mead. Funny how once a series reaches a certain critical mass the traditional promotional methods go by the wayside.

Please let me know of any error omissions. Next up - Fantasy releases and Science Fiction/SFR releases for December.


NOVELS and SERIES


Block, Francesca Lia 
Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets 
12/21/10
In this new volume, three of Francesca Lia Block's works are collected together for the very first time. In The Rose and the Beast, nine classic fairy tales are turned inside out in classic Block style. Kirkus Reviews said about this Los Angeles Times bestseller, "Block uses language like a jeweled sword, glittering as it cuts to the heart." In Psyche in a Dress, the Psyche we all know from Greek mythology finds herself in California. Tempted by gods and demons she must discover a way to find herself again. And in Echo, a retelling of the story of Echo and Narcissus, Echo meets a broken angel, vampires, and the fairy daughter of a rock on her quest for true love. Love and magic and believing in ourselves are timeless themes, and this new collection will introduce Francesca Lia Block to a whole new generation of readers waiting to fall under her spell.
Boudreau, Helene 
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings 
12/01/10
Fourteen-year-old Jade feels like a freak-of-nature when she finally gets her first period while trying on an XL tankini at the mall. It gets worse when she runs into handsome Luke Martin in the feminine products aisle while her dad Googles 'menstruation' on his BlackBerry. But "freak-of-nature" takes on a whole new meaning when raging hormones bring on another metamorphosis-complete with scales and a tail. When Jade learns she's inherited her mermaid tendencies from her late mother, it raises the question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?
Cruz, Melissa de la 
Bloody Valentine 
Blue Bloods #7 
12/28/10
Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even the strikingly beautiful and outrageously wealthy Blue Bloods, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps - the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing. Combined with all the glitz, glamour, and mystery fans have come to expect, this is sure to be another huge hit in the Blue Bloods series.
Despain, Bree 
The Lost Saint 
Dark Divine #2 
12/28/10
Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace’s relationship with Daniel is put in danger — in more ways than one. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her — not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung. Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to The Dark Divine.
Fisher, Catherine 
Sapphique 
Incarceron #2 
12/28/10
The only one who escaped . . . And the one who could destroy them all. Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe. Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.
Gow, Kailin 
Silver Frost 
Bitter Frost #3 
12/22/10
Enter the world of Feyland, where beautiful strong fairies have been at war for years. Breena, the beautiful half fairy, half human princess from Oregon, has ascended to her rightful place in Feyland, as Queen of the Summer Kingdom. Being Queen isn't at all what she expected. Now the weight of Feyland falls heavily on her shoulders. The landscape of Feyland is scattered with the silver blood of fairies, turning the once whitish blue frost of the Winter Kingdom to silver frost, and danger lurks everywhere including within her own court. Secretly in love with her intended Winter Prince Kian, now Breena is faced with the realization of war, and the possibility of Kian as her greatest enemy. To help her navigate through the politics within her court and Feyland, help comes in the form of an old friend. Before she knows it, Breena's heart is torned between two loves, just as torned as Feyland. The fate of Feyland depends on her choices, can she make the right ones even if it means turning away from her love forever?
Harvey, Alyxandra 
Out for Blood 
Drake Chronicles #3 
12/21/10
Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?
Jones, Carrie 
Entice 
Need #3 
12/14/10
Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that’s not how things have worked out. For starters, well, Nick is gone. He’s been taken to some mythic place for warriors called Valhalla, where Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. It’s just not going to be easy. Meanwhile, Bedford needs its warriors more than ever, since a group of evil pixies is devastating the place, with teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent. But even if Zara and her friends can find the way to Valhalla, there’s that other small problem: Zara’s been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to leave with her? Especially considering she hasn’t turned into just any pixie . . . She’s Astley’s queen.
Livingstone, Lesley 
Tempetuous 
Faerie #3 
12/21/10
"I don't love Sonny Flannery." That's the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn't know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae that's hidden deep underneath New York City. But Kelley's not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she's got to find out who's after his magick—and how to use her own. She's got to uncover who's recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She's got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she's got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he's around Kelley. The intrigue and romance that began with Wondrous strange and Darklight come to a stormy head in Tempestuous, the breathtaking conclusion to Lesley Livingston's ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.
Mead, Richelle 
Last Sacrifice 
Vampire Academy #6 
12/07/10
The astonishing final novel in Richelle Mead's epic series. Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.
Patterson, James 
The Gift 
Witch & Wizard #2 
12/13/10
When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order. But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is "The One Who Has the Gift." While trying to figure out what that means, Whit and Wisty's suspenseful adventures through Overworld and Shadowland lead to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion: the highly-anticipated fulfillment of the heart-pounding opening prologue of book one... The Execution of the Allgoods.
Robinson, A.M. 
Vampire Crush 
12/28/10
First, six mysteriously pale new students show up at Sophie McGee’s high school. Then, Sophie’s childhood nemesis James reappears, still displaying a knack for making Sophie’s blood boil. When Sophie finds out that James has a connection to the new students, she decides to investigate...never expecting her life will quickly begin to resemble a campy horror movie, complete with budding crushes and bloodthirsty villains. Perfect for fans of the Vampire Kisses and Vladmir Tod series, A. M. Robinson’s debut novel sparkles with action, intrigue, irresistible wit, and sizzling romance
Sanderson, Brandon 
Alcatraz Versus The Shattered Lens 
Alcatraz #4 
12/01/10
The fourth and final book in the fabulously funny Alcatraz Smedry series. Alcatraz Smedry is on a mission to save the day! In his final adventure in the series by bestselling adult fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz has a lot to prove and, as always, little time in which to do it!
Schreiber, Ellen 
Once in a Full Moon 
12/28/10
Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever. Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight. Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run. Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens ...once in a full moon.
Stolarz, Laurie Faria 
Deadly Little Games 
Touch #3 
12/30/10
Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend. Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...
Terrell, Heather 
Fallen Angel 
12/28/10
Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael. Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are otherworldly. Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side. In this electrifying novel, Heather Terrell spins a gripping supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.

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