Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Publishers Weekly genre round-up
(September 24th issue)

Publishers Weekly is bringin' on the love for the Nightshade boys this week! (And as usual, to read all the fiction reviews in their entirety, click here.) Onward!
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe: * Starred Review * "Equal parts sword-and-sorcery action/adventure and noir whodunit, Bledsoe's finely polished debut is evocative of fantasy legend Fritz Leiber's classic tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. . . Incorporating elements from both hard-boiled mystery and heroic fantasy, Bledsoe's genre-blending first novel is both stylish and self-assured: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. Feist." (Nov.) [You know I'm gonna go order this one in the next ten minutes, right?]

The Web and the Stars: Book 2 of the Timeweb Chronicles by Brian Herbert: "In the sequel to Timeweb (2006), bestseller Herbert (Sandworms of Dune) offers readers a space opera where interstellar travel is mostly embargoed and characters spend over a third of the book in solitary self-reflection. . . Pacing improves somewhat in the book's second half (a grisly torture sequence marks the turning point), but in the end, ideas are spread too thin and most characters drawn too broadly to lift the novel above pulp-era comic strip quality." (Dec.) [Um, ouch!]

Cauldron by Jack McDevitt: "Space opera specialist McDevitt shoehorns two traditional SF plots into his latest Academy novel (after 2006's Odyssey), doing both stories a disservice. . . Despite considerable inventiveness and an enthusiastic pro-space agenda, the story remains superficial, especially frustrating from a writer of McDevitt's caliber." (Nov.) [And again, ouch!]

Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon: "This rich collection from Nebula-winner Moon (The Speed of Dark) offers 15 stories spanning two decades of her career. . . The heart of the collection is “Politics,” a story of young soldiers serving a questionable authority; it sums up many of Moon's themes, from honor and family to being true to oneself. Readers who only know Moon's novels will be thrilled to learn that her short stories are equally entertaining and thoughtful." (Nov.) [Collectors will also be happy to see the amazing cover that Nightshade produced for this book, to ensure that this volume matches the look of her current Kylara Vatta series from Del Rey.]

This Is My Funniest 2: Leading Science Fiction Writers Present Their Funniest Stories Ever, edited by Mike Resnick: "Many-time Hugo-winner Resnick provides further demonstration that science fiction, fantasy and horror clichés can be turned into rich comedy with just a teensy, absurd twist. . . The real prize may be the Lovecraftian sendup “A Study in Scarlet Herrings” by M.M. Moamrath (the pseudonym of Joe Pumilia and Bill Wallace). The overall humor quality ranges from mildly amusing to fall-out-of-your-chair, making it a pleasant companion for light reading." (Nov.)

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker: "This offbeat novel in the form of a minor demon's diary may satisfy devoted Barker fans eager for his return to adult fiction after several years writing the Abarat series, but others, especially first-time readers, are likely to find this fable about good and evil less than rewarding. . . The book's format—simultaneously Botch's first-person narrative and his break-the-fourth-wall address to the reader pleading for him or her to burn the book—may puzzle readers unused to Barker's quirks." (Oct. 30) [Yes, but does Rob Crowther - the world's biggest Clive Barker fan - like it? That's all I want to know. Rob?]

Plots and Misadventures by Stephen Gallagher: "Veteran British horror writer Gallagher (The Kingdom of Bones) shows off his versatility in this collection of 11 stories and a review of Joseph Payne Brennan's Nine Horrors and a Dream. . . Capable of being either subtle or blunt depending upon the needs of his plot, Gallagher has assembled a fine and varied collection of weird fiction that should find many admirers." (Oct.)

Lady of Light and Shadows by C. L. Wilson: "Released right on the heels of her impressive October debut, Lord of the Fading Lands, Wilson's sequel picks up, appropriately, right on the heels of the first title's denouement. Ellysetta Baristani and her betrothed Fey lord, returning hero Rain Tairen Soul, are days away from their wedding, but the wicked Eld lords are drawing ever closer to locating Ellysetta, whose magic they hope to use for their own ends. . . As Ellysetta comes into her own as a proper heroine, driving the story toward its breath-taking conclusion, gratified fans may find their elation giving way to anxiety, as the wait for the next volume will be considerably longer." (Nov.)

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